Harmonizing Mobile Web Design for SEO and Usability (UX)

harmonizing mobile web design seo ux

Long gone are the days when sites were optimized for bots, meta keywords were abused, and crawlers penalized keyword stuffing. Forget about purchasing links too. Other search engines including Google have developed to the point of being able to interpret sites just as humans do, and they are getting better with this deciphering every day. Thanks to this, as such, the gap between optimizing a mobile-friendly site for UX as well as optimizing it for SEO is narrowing at a rapid rate.

Data collected at the beginning of 2016 shows that smartphones accounted for 52% of the traffic to major sites in the first quarter of 2018. Based on estimates this percentage has increased the first quarter of 2015 from 31%. Google rolled out a mobile-friendly algorithm update during the middle of 2016, stressing the need to build websites offering better mobile experience. Therefore, what can you do to balance the mobile UX and mobile SEO of your site while boosting its ranking in search results? A couple of quick guidelines given below will help you get started.

Focus on the most crucial content for that page

When choosing content for smartphones, consider what the user may be searching for in a short time frame. Considering that they are using their mobile device to browse the net, one can safely assume that surfers either have a shorter attention span or spend less time on their desktop or a combination of both. What type of content provides the maximum value to its respective page? Is it possible to save space by trimming the content? Is there good content, which is more suited for another page? Assessing your on-page content is an excellent way to remove excessive fluff that takes up valuable mobile screen estate, but focuses specific page content for your target keywords as well.

Navigation and User Flow

How do your users navigate through your site when you trim down its content? What is the most common conversion path? Leaving the most relevant page or essential page links visible while hiding the others under a drop-down menu (or removing them from your mobile-friendly pages entirely) saves the time of the visitor as well as frees up space. A link from the homepage to a contact or services page is essential. You can put the link to an “our story” page or “about us” under the drop-down.

Optimizing Individual Elements

Blanket styling is an ideal initial step for designing a responsive site. However, do not forget that individual elements may require particular attention too. On occasions, specific elements may not show up the same as others when using blanket style setting. Grid layouts are unarguably excellent frameworks, but they too have their flaws. Perfecting the look of individual elements with small tweaks can make a huge difference and avoids having a user who going away because of unsightly, wrongly sized or misaligned elements and a user who stays.

Capitalize on Mobile Only Features

What do smartphones allow us to do that that the desktop cannot? Click-to-Call buttons are pretty much the norm on mobile sites currently. Are there interactions that visitors can accomplish with the page using a mobile design approach? Why do you not add a swipe feature rather than clicking between images? Does your address link go to Google Maps? Are button and navigation elements easily accessible on the mobile screen? Most users are right-handed, and most of them use their thumb to navigate. Therefore, you should keep these critical functions at the top right. Remember to synchronize your address and phone details with Google My Business too.

Minimize Forms

It is tricky to set up forms on mobile-friendly sites, as they have to collect information from the visitors without discouraging them from filling out the fields. Fine tune your forms for quick information gathering, as mobile users are likelier to have a shorter attention span than desktop users. Will basic contact information suffice? A primary name, email, and phone form could capture that lead quickly on smartphones with a follow-up later to gather other details you may require.

Interstitials

A recent update shows another excellent example of Google adapting to rank, based on UX. Does your site display popups when a smartphone user first lands on the page? You could now be facing a penalty. Before launching, Google announced that it would penalize sites containing these intrusive pop-ups… a sensible decision. These pop-ups, covering up the main page degrades the visitor’s experience, unless the pop up includes details required to be displayed by law, like age verification, which alter your approach in gathering this information. It is better to use a small banner at the top of the screen, which does not block the on-page content.

The more advanced Google becomes, the tighter SEO and UX are working in tandem. Your mobile site creates an ideal user experience if it is clean and straightforward with specific content on respective pages. They send positive signals to Google’s algorithm and boost your website’s rankings while optimizing it for mobile. Should you need help with having SEO and UX working together on your site, give our Vancouver SEO agency a call today.


Cary BlackburnCary is the Co-Founder, Chief Technical Officer and SEO Specialist at Coronation Internet Marketing Ltd. He’s been involved in marketing, graphic design and web design for over 20 years.

3 Actionable Techniques You Can Use Right Now to Attract Search Engine Traffic

Previously, ‘falling behind’ had a different definition. Now; however, it means not ranking high on Google. You know how they say, ‘the best place to hide a dead body is page 2 of Google search’. In a rush of technologically evolving businesses, it has become one of the key concerns for the tech-savvy.

The goal is to gain more and more organic traffic from search results on the search engines. Organic traffic not only means more business in terms of sales but also it makes your website more attractive to advertisers because only an interested prospective customer would land on the website.

Traditionally people would buy traffic (PPC), but there are several downsides to that when compared to organic traffic. Although reaching the ideal level of organic traffic might cost you a bit in the beginning, in terms of hiring SEO experts and investing in SEO tools, it is a sustainable approach. This is because on the other hand; you needed to keep paying for traffic using PPC techniques.

Similarly, organic results have high click-through rates compared to PPC advertisements. This is because users doubt the credibility of advertisements and have more trust in organic results.

A few years back, I came across a small business owner who almost shut his business website down because he was not generating any leads online. Upon investigating further, he told that he had constantly been posting products on his website but never got traffic.

Conducting some research, I found out his poorly maintained website was the reason. He had no idea what search engine optimization was. I gave him a few SEO tips which made him realize he was at fault.

If you have read this far, it means you have a reasonable knowledge of SEO already. I know you are not here for basic SEO tips, which is why we shall discuss some more advanced tips that can help you proceed in your organic traffic game.

1. Broken Link Building

You must know that backlinks play a great role in the ranking of a webpage. In other words, more and more domains linking to your page means higher rankings on the search engine for your page.

So, what is a broken link?

Also referred to as a Dead Link, a broken link refers to a link on a page that does not work. Either the link does not exist anymore for some reason, or it is an improper (improperly inserted) link.

In a broken link building strategy, you find pages that have broken links and then suggest to them your link as a replacement for that broken link. If you want to go a step further, you can look for all the pages that link to that same broken link and then suggest to all of them, your link, instead. This is known as ‘Deep Broken Link Building.’

Let us briefly go through the steps of how you can do it.

Step 1. Find links pages, as they are the best place to look for broken links.

  • Use Google search term “keyword inurl:links.” This will give hundreds of results of pages containing links with your keyword in them.
  • Use simple Google results bookmarklet tool to get the results in a list form.
  • Use another tool to remove the duplicates from the list.

Step 2. Check for link ranking. Using a tool such as Ahrefs, you can find out the ranking of the domains and sort them accordingly. This would help you figure out which link you want to target first.

Step 3. Using SEO Spider tool you can now find which of the domains have broken links. It will also fetch the broken links from those pages.

Step 4. Using Ahrefs batch analysis tool, you can find out how many
domains refer to each of the broken links you just fetched.

Step 5. Using another tool, e.g., BuzzStream, you can reach out to all of the domain owners at once, who have a particular broken link on their page. Prepare your pitch well – the way you structure your email will decide if the owner is convinced.

2. Content Re-launch

Many platforms that provide SEO tips for beginners tend to miss out this important strategy. This is primarily because it is a relatively newer tactic.

This strategy involves optimizing your previous posts and then reposting them. This strategy has proven quite beneficial for some. A great example that set a precedent for many is Hubspot.

Let us discuss in the light of their case, how they increased their traffic by 106% by using their content re-launch strategy.

In the process they refer to as ‘Historical Optimization,’ they optimize their old blog content to make it fresh and up to date. This also includes better SEO and rectifying the mistakes in the past. So how old is old content? There is no set definition, according to them. It can be a week old or a year, or even more.

I will highlight how they went about it so that you have a clearer picture of what content re-launch is and help you construct your re-launch strategy.

Upon analysis of their posts from the past, they found that their older posts were performing better than the new posts. Another surprising element of the report was that they generated 46% of their leads from the top 30 posts, which only made up 0.5 percent of their total posts.

This led them to set their goals accordingly, considering two outcomes.

  1. To get more leads from high traffic blogs with low conversion rates.
  2. To get more traffic on the blogs with higher conversion rates.

This helped them identify their re-launch strategy. They figured the lowest yielding posts despite high traffic so that they could optimize them in a way to get more conversions from them. On the other hand, they found that the posts that had high conversions did not get much traffic. They could now optimize that post to gain more traffic and generate more leads overall.

This is why it is suggested that you not only focus on the new content but also make use of the old content and optimize it to get more traffic and more leads.

The image below shows the traffic on some of their posts before and after optimization.

3. HARO

Some of us still are not aware of HARO. However, it is the most powerful means for small businesses and entrepreneurs to gain media attention and be featured in press releases.

HARO is the acronym for Help A Reporter Out. It was formed as a platform for journalists and/or reporters to interact with the experts of a field, which they had to write for. Those experts, in turn, got PR opportunities from the journalists.

HARO has turned into a business and has evolved much more. You can make an account and start getting emails full of queries from reporters of well-established news platforms. This would not only help you interact with them, but you can also place backlinks in the content that you provide them, as your contribution. This would generate more traffic to your website or whatever webpage you intend.

Remember, though it will not sound like an impressive tool at first, backlinks from media sites are the strongest, as they reflect authenticity and credibility.

Tips on HARO

Given it is a big outlet – there would be many responses to a single query. You need to plan your pitch accordingly for your response to stand out. It requires a lot of patience to utilize such a platform.

  • Give them the exact response that they need, so that they do not have to edit it. When they find the content rich and useful, they will just copy-paste it along with your links placed in it.
  • Address everything the reporter has asked, and do not miss out an important point. Otherwise, your response will not stand a good chance of being used by the reporter.
  • Place the link wisely. An author’s bio is a good way to place a link to your organization.

Over to You

Do not undermine the potential that the worldwide web has. If you think your blog or business website is not generating as much traffic as it should, it does not mean you are in a bad business. You just have to let people know you exist, and it is never too late to do so.

If you are not already utilizing the power of blogs, do it now. They are a great way to highlight the pain points of the potential consumers and to present how your business solves them. Blogs also help your website rank higher in search results.

To begin with, you can use keyword research tools to help optimize your content. Do not let any constraints hold you back.

This is the right time, so take the first step, and you will see your business grow.


Bill Acholla

Bill Acholla is a digital marketer helping small business owners build their brand through content marketing. If you like this article, check out his business blog at Billacholla.com for more actionable marketing tips.

 

10 of the Best Components for a Strong On-Page SEO

Being one of the first results of a Google search can be a game changer for your brand. The impact that being #1 in targeted keyword rankings can have on your bottom-line cannot be expressed. But how do you step-up and become the leader of the pack?

A set of effective on-page SEO techniques could be the missing piece of your puzzle. They are the cornerstone of any good SEO strategy. In fact, 61% of respondents in a study said improving SEO is one of their top priorities for inbound marketing.

The crux of the matter is that by improving your on-page SEO, you can improve your search rankings. If you increase the number of people who discover your business, you can increase the number of prospects you have. More leads being generated equates to more sales. Sounds pretty logical, doesn’t it?

What is On-Page SEO?

Search engine optimization involves using techniques to improve a website’s visibility and rankings through organic search results. Similarly, on-page SEO refers to optimizing the pages on your website to gain relevant traffic from the search engines. That includes both content and the coding under the hood.

Search engines have complex algorithms to determine search rankings. They take into consideration hundreds of different factors to decide on a rank. Obviously, you can’t control all of them, but there are a few that you can work on to improve your rankings.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important ranking factors, why they matter, and what you can do about them.

Highly Effective On-Page SEO Elements

1. Title Tags

Your page titles play a significant role in determining your rankings. Each page and post should have a unique title that includes the primary keywords for that page or article. The closer the keyword is to the beginning of your title, the better. But more than that, it’s important that the use of the keyword is natural.

The length of the title is equally important. Ideally, you should keep it between 40 and 70 characters. Any longer than that and it will probably get cut off when turning up in the search results.

2. Meta Descriptions

Many people often forget to add a meta description to their pages. They’re a great place to add relevant keywords to your content. While it may not directly impact your rankings, they do improve your click-through rate (CTR). This, in turn, can have a somewhat modest impact on your rankings.

Give some thought to what might compel a reader to click on your result over others, and frame a meta description based on that. Try to keep it under 160 characters preferably.

3. URL Structure

When choosing a URL for your page, be sure to use the keywords you are targeting. In fact, 63% of the best sites, across industries, have keywords in their domain URL. URLs should be search engine friendly as they ensure better crawling. Shorter URLs are also likely to perform better than longer ones.

It’s better to use words and punctuations in the URL over codes. Session IDs have been known to add to content duplicity thereby affecting rankings. You can add cookies to your site to help reduce this problem.

4. Body Tags

It’s advisable that you break up your article into smaller sections and paragraphs to make it easier to read. These sections can each be given a separate heading to make the content more structured and easier to consume. You can make use of H1, H2, H3, and other such tags here.

Providing a hierarchy to the page’s content tells search engines which segments have more importance. Again, keyword-rich headlines will prove to be more helpful than generic ones.

5. Keywords

The importance of including relevant keywords throughout your content cannot be stressed enough. They are the key to letting search engines know what your content is all about. But keep in mind that excessive use of keywords can be just as harmful. Remember to use variations of your keyword as well.

Leverage tools like Google AdWords to see what keywords are trending in your domain. It even does a comparative keyword analysis and makes suggestions on phrases you can use.

 

Image via Google AdWords

6. Optimized Images

Images are a great way to make your pages visually appealing. Use your focus keyword in the image file name, title, description, and alt-tags. Ensure that you use proper captions with the images as well.

Image optimization will help you rank higher in Google Image Search, thereby increasing site traffic. It will also help you reduce page load speeds and considerably improve your conversion rates. You can use tools like TinyPNG to create optimized versions of the images you plan to use.

Image via TinyPNG

7. External and Internal Links

It’s imperative that you have both internal crosslinks as well as outbound links to improve your SEO.

You can improve the chances of a search engine finding you by linking your page to other pages on your website. One way to do that is to refer to other articles you may have written in your present one. This helps enhance user experience and keeps them engaged for longer periods by providing more content to consume.

Use outbound links to articles or pages of other websites to establish your site’s credibility and authority. The Reboot marketing firm found a positive correlation between SEO and outbound links. Ensure that you’re linking to relevant content and pages that have a high Domain Authority to get the most out of this tactic.

8. Page Load Speed

A website that loads quickly is essential from both a user and website owner perspective. Users are more likely to stay if a web page is quick to load. A delay of even one second can result in an 11% drop in page views and a drop in conversion rates by 7%.

Make use of resources like Google’s PageSpeed Insights to track the performance of your website and derive actionable insights.

Image via Google PageSpeed Insights

Search engines like Google measure bounce rates and dwell times when determining your search rankings. A few easy ways to improve page load speeds are:

  • Minimizing HTTP requests
  • Reducing server response time
  • Enabling compression and browser caching
  • Optimizing images

9. Social Sharing Buttons

Social SEO is all the buzz these days. Social media is a staple marketing tool and brands should be making the most of it. By adding social share buttons, you enable visitors to amplify your brand’s message. They are a simple and effective way to boost site traffic and page engagement.

10. Monitoring Results

No matter what changes and optimizations you make, it’s important to gauge your performance and check your results. You can’t boast having an effective on-page SEO if you can’t track the results.

You can use tools like Pro Rank Tracker, for example, to check your search rankings. It even provides you with insights on how to improve your SEO.

Image via Pro Rank Tracker

Conclusion

There’s a lot more to on-page SEO than just publishing relevant content and having links in your articles. As a marketer, you’ll have to account for other factors too, like the ones discussed above. Once you get your on-page SEO game on-point, you’ll see marked differences in your page performance and site traffic.

These techniques will help build the value of your pages and the relevancy of your internal pages for particular keywords. If you have any points to add, then we’d love to hear from you in the comments section.


Shane BarkerShane Barker is a digital marketing consultant that specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

Debunking 8 Common SEO Myths

SEO is like doing a hard but an interesting puzzle. It may be complicated, but the satisfaction and the rewards of nailing that puzzle are enormous.

Now, with any puzzle, you usually have all the pieces you need to complete it. Sometimes, however, even when a piece you need is right in front of you, you aren’t able to see it.

It’s the same thing with SEO. You see, there are many myths and misconceptions floating around in the SEO industry. You may aim to do things right, but you end up choosing to do something different because some “gurus” shared information about SEO that they aren’t even sure about.

The way some people do SEO is they follow age-old techniques such as keyword stuffing, spamming, and by spinning articles, which used to work in 2012. Now, when they obviously fail to rank, they end up making some cold statements like SEO no longer works or that it’s dead.

This really ticks me off, and I believe it’s a huge demotivator for people who are genuinely interested in learning SEO.

It’s evident that Google likes to toy with our websites like a kid in a sandbox (I am sure that panda, penguin, hummingbird and the other animals from the Google’s zoo agree with me on this one).

Knowing this, we certainly cannot afford to jeopardize our website‘s ranking by following wrong information shared by so-called “professionals” and propagated by unwitting newbies.

To counter this misinformation, I have researched the eight most common myths floating around the industry; legends often found on online forums, blogs, and other media. I’ve made an effort to debunk them in the form of an interesting infographic.

What I want for you to understand is that SEO, just like any good thing, works only for those who are patient, those who keep on experimenting and those who are always keen on expanding their knowledge on the subject. I hope this will help answer most of your questions.

Please share this knowledge with your friends and other bloggers in your network and please do leave a comment below if you have any other disastrous myths to share, have questions for me or would like to make a counter-argument. Our readers and I would love to hear what you have to say.

Debunking the 8 Common Myths in SEO Industry


Hey guys, my name is Imran Khan. Being in the SEO industry for a decent period, I have seen many techniques go obsolete, and new ones emerge at the same time. The core concept, which is user experience, however, remains the same and I don’t see it going anywhere. Let’s connect!

8 Tips to Propel Your E-commerce Business Forward with SEO Digital Marketing

There is a popular moral exemplified in the hare and tortoise fable:

Slow and steady wins the race. SEO digital marketing for an e-commerce business isn’t exceptional in most cases.

Customers aren’t always easy to engage. According to experts, the average rate at which carts are abandoned is currently 69.2 percent.

So, it takes commitment, implementation of a variety of effective marketing strategies, and patience to reach your audience, increase traffic to your e-commerce store, and increase sales.

Slamming your audience with aggressive advertorial messages can overwhelm your target buyers, or even worse, irritate and be a huge turn off for them.

Instead, effective SEO digital marketing boils down to reaching your prospects repeatedly over time, create a lasting relationship, and eventually getting them to trust your brand.

Organic search is one of the most valuable sources of traffic for an e-commerce business. However, it’s frequently neglected. Andy Hughes at Caffeinated says “From substandard content to website architecture that lessens search visibility, most online stores make rookie mistakes that end up compromising their search engine ranking for competitive keywords, increased traffic, and attracting new customers.”

Do you want to propel your e-commerce site using proven SEO digital marketing strategies?

In this article, I focus on highly effective SEO strategies that can help you achieve your objectives.

1. Use high-traffic keywords (generic) for product categories

Different product keywords fall into several categories. These are keywords such as type, color or product model, and generic phrases that describe the product. For instance, ‘Men’s football shoes’ is a generic keyword whereas ‘Nike Air Foamposite’ is a specific keyword associated with a specific product.

Consider using the product keywords for the product pages on your website. Then, you can target the generic keywords using the product categories. Thus, before you begin building your e-commerce store, it’s important to create a website architecture that allows you to use generic search phrases as product categories.

Note that the generic keywords are likely to receive a high search volume. Thus, it’s wise to use such phrases as a product keyword as it will funnel the e-commerce store visitors towards the products they need.

For instance, you can optimize a page for keywords like ‘hedge trimmers’ like Reviewlatest does. Then, link this page to products that have been optimized for their specific model name and number.

A major benefit of using your category pages as the funnel is that they will direct all internal searchers towards the products they need. Besides, these pages attract external searchers and help them discover relevant products they might be looking for.

2. Identify and deal with duplicate content issues

Most e-commerce stores have numerous pages. One common problem facing these stores is duplicate content. Product descriptions appear on category pages, product pages, PDFs, archive pages, and more. That makes it difficult for the search engines to detect the original source of the information on your e-commerce store.

Unless Google can identify the page that ‘owns’ each piece of content, the search engine will always struggle to work out where and how to rank your e-commerce store on the search results.

Fortunately, you can easily fix this mistake. First, establish the right source of all pieces of content used across a variety of pages on your site. Then, ensure each page contains original content. Most e-commerce stores tend to copying product descriptions and promotional copies from the product manufacturers and distributors. This results in duplicate content appearing on numerous e-commerce stores.

Keep in mind that original content is important for better search engine ranking. Therefore, take the time to create original, top-quality content for your site. Once you start outranking some e-commerce giants, you will thank yourself for the efforts.

3. Use Long-tail keyword

Research has proved that the top 10,000 key phrases in Google’s index get less than 20 percent off all search traffic. That implies that the long-tail keywords (less searched keywords) receive more than 80 percent of the traffic from search.

Therefore, it’s wise to optimize your e-commerce store pages for long-tail keywords.

4. Use high-traffic, under-utilized keywords

As said earlier, giant online retailers like Amazon often use generic keywords as product categories. If your competitors are still using the exact keywords you’re using, then, outranking them becomes a challenge. Luckily, most e-commerce stores ignore high-traffic generic key phrases, offering you a distinct advantage.

These keywords are often subcategories or product variations that can generate great traffic each month but are too small for giant e-commerce stores to prioritize. That means optimizing your pages for such keywords offers your site the ability to outpace your competitors and probably the giant stores.

5. Make sure that your pages load fast

Page load speed is one of the factors that search engines consider when ranking websites. If your website pages load faster than your competitors, then, you will be rewarded a high rank in the search engines.

Note that optimizing a page load speed is associated with short-term costs. For instance, you will need a professional developer. However, the long-term benefits in terms of SEO and conversion out weight the cost of hiring a professional developer.

6. Double check the e-commerce store’s on-page optimization

Most e-commerce stores aren’t configured for on-page optimization. Thus, configuring your e-commerce platform for on-page SEO will drive your site a notch higher in the search engine rankings. Make sure that your content, title tags, images, and other aspects of on-page SEO are handled excellently.

7. Use social media

Effective social media marketing is all about consistently sharing the right content that is relevant to your audience and engage your customers and prospects always. Avoid spreading yourself thin by using every existing social media platforms. It’s wise to focus on channels that your target audience is using.

8. Don’t ignore email promotions

Design your e-commerce store in such a way that your customers can subscribe for regular updates. This will allow you to send them highly customized regular promotional emails. Remember, your customers are interested in how your product is likely to benefit them. Thus, they will be more interested in email promotions that offer great discounts and other details about products that meet their interests.

Slow and steady will win the race: E-commerce industry is associated with a steep competition but using the right SEO digital marketing strategies in the right way will help you outpace your competitors in the long-run. Using diverse, proven SEO strategies will improve your chances of success.


Catherine Park is a professional Content Writer and a blogger with full of energy and positivism. She is expert in writing exclusive contents on business and technologies that are helpful for large enterprises, SMEs and business startups.

Local Link Building – 3 Great Ways to Get Authority Links for your Local Business

The power of SEO is not lost on local business owners. Ever since the advent of the Internet, customers have been moving away from the old-school ways of finding companies, such as the Yellow Pages. Nowadays the first thing most people do when needing to find a product or service is simple, they “Google it.” Thus, it is crucial for business owners to get in front of those customers when they go Googling.

The best way to do that is through SEO, but ranking organically can be hard. While SEO consists of the basic fundaments of links and content, breaking through the competition can prove a challenge for many.

Probably the hardest part of this process is the link building. It’s arguably the most important part of SEO, but can be very difficult to do correctly (which is one of the reasons Google rewards it so much). However, it doesn’t have to be hard, and today we will go over some tips that can help you secure authoritative and relevant links to your local business.

Tip #1 – Collaboration

This tip is one of my favorites because it harkens to a very old school technique, ye olde “link exchange.” Years back one of the main tactics for businesses was to exchange links to either other, usually on a dedicated “links page.”

This was a decent strategy, mutually beneficial to all involved. However, as SEOs tend to do, we ruined a good thing. It became extremely messy, links pages became long, keyword stuffed and spammy, and “reciprocal links” were rumored to be devalued.

However, when you take the underlying principle and build upon it, it’s not half bad. It comes down to collaboration and cross-promotion with other business owners (ideally not direct competitors).

This shouldn’t be done with some random link on a links page, but rather with a thought-out piece of promotional content, or strategic cooperation or partnership. Here are some examples:

  • “Industry Roundups” are essentially very large link exchanges, except they add a layer of promotion (getting featured in an article, ego bait of a headshot and byline), and a layer of value (insights from industry experts). This can gain backlinks and rank. Try doing that with a links page.
  • Reach out to local business owners in different cities. They don’t compete directly with you, but their websites are extremely relevant and would make a perfect source for a link.
    • Offer to contribute or trade content with them. Reciprocal links be damned, if you can get cited in a quality article, go for it.
    • Work out a referral partnership, as sometimes companies get calls from outside of their coverage area. Be sure to get listed on their site as a “Partner.”

You get the idea, work to build rapport with other business owners and eventually it will work out in your favor. I like to say, “there is a link hiding in every relationship.”

Tip #2 – Events

This is probably my favorite tactic for local businesses to use, largely because it gives them an excuse to do standard marketing and promotion, and has the side effect of generating links that will benefit your SEO in a long-term way.

First, I’ll let you in on a little secret. There is very little differentiating “white hat” link building from “getting press coverage.” Whether the press is the New York Times or local mom bloggers, getting naturally occurring mentions and citations in various publications is what link building is all about.

The trick comes down to doing something that is press-worthy. Unfortunately, there is no secret recipe for getting mentioned in the press. However, we do have the advantage that most journalists and bloggers are always on the lookout for something to write about.

That’s why local events are so great because they combine local relevance, an excuse for promotion, and a press-worthy happening, all in one. When doing this with SEO in mind, we take total advantage.

Here’s the process in a nutshell:

1. Pick an event you want to host/sponsor; it could be:

  • Charity fundraiser
  • Block party
  • Industry seminar
  • Community organizing
  • Something specific to your niche

2. Prospect all the various outlets that would make mention of your event:

  • Local newspapers
  • Local blogs
  • Niche blogs
  • Vendors/Partner Websites
  • Industry Associations
  • Event Calendars

3. Set up a website for the event, a press release and a flyer:

  • Host on your company’s website, or:
  • Host on a dedicated microsite, but if you do this you’ll want to 301 redirect it to your companies site at some point to gain the SEO juice.

4. Set up a Facebook Page, along with a Facebook Ad Campaign to promote it.

5. Send out a promotional e-mail, phone calls, and start the ad campaign.

6. Make sure to ask nicely after the fact for links on all your blog posts/news mentions.

See what I mean? You are doing something worthwhile, and the side effect is links. This is the best way to go about link building, since people are hip to the link building gimmick at this point, and are looking for real value.

Tip #3 – Local Scholarships

This is another tactic that has a little bit of a jaded history. Scholarships have been used as a gimmick to attain backlinks from .EDU sites for many years now. Like I said above, when SEOs find something that works, we ruin it.

However just as with the link exchanges above, if we add on layers of real value, the underlying strategy is solid. Consider this:

  • Scholarships are a way to give back to your community.
  • They can help obtain talent for internships and employment in your niche.
  • They can be niche or location specific (but probably not both, as its too slim a segment).
  • They can be combined with other promotions/events.
  • They are totally newsworthy, especially in niche and local publications (if you were a journalist in a small town, wouldn’t you cover a scholarship that’s specific to your county?)

They are also not very expensive when you consider it as a marketing expense. I prefer to go for a $1,000 scholarship (although many will cheap-out for $500). If you can obtain 30 press mentions or links from .EDUs, that’s $33 per link. I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that any day of the week.

Here’s a quick summary of the process:

1. Decide if the scholarship will be niche specific (legal, vocational, technical, artistic), or location specific. As an example, Empire Maids has an NYC specific scholarship, which works for them because it’s their coverage area, while Lucid Chart has a design specific scholarship, as they are a visual design company.

2. Think of a unique take on it, to give it a spin that will appeal to bloggers and journalists. Should it be video submissions? A maker/builder contest? An essay submission? Have this be something you care about, so it’s not a bore going through all the submissions.

3. Put together a beautiful landing page. Doesn’t have to cost a ton, but should include all the relevant information and an area for students to submit. Make it pretty; people will be more likely to share and link to it.

4. Prospect, prospect, prospect. First, you want to get all high schools or universities that have an “External Scholarships” page. Here are some handy Google searches that will surface these for you:

  • inurl:k12 “external scholarships”
  • site:.edu “external scholarships”

Secondly, you want to prospect all the local or niche blogs/publications that might be interested in this. Go after every local newspaper, local blogger, and even University blogger you can track down.

5. Put together a well thought out, and descriptive e-mail about the Scholarship and what it means to you, your community and/or industry. Again, this is all about publicity, not about link building, so don’t mention links until after the fact (and only if necessary).

That’s it! You can get more or less aggressive (i.e., facebook ad campaigns), but that’s up to you.

Conclusion

Link building can be hard, and frustrating, but that’s part of what makes it so valuable. The competition will not take the extra step to find success, which leaves the door open for you and your company to dominate. These few tips can help you acquire some backlinks, but more importantly, if should motivate you to think outside the box when contemplating publicity for your business.


michael hayes

Michael Hayes is founder of Darby Hayes Consulting, a NYC based digital marketing agency. He can be reached at mike(at)darbyhayesconsulting.com.

 

How to Optimize Your Blog Posts for SEO

Blogging is a fantastic way to improve your brand’s reputation in its industry and attract more people to your company’s site. But it takes more than just great content to get people to visit your blog. You need to make the most of your content with the right search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. By optimizing each blog post using the methods below, you’ll increase the visibility and reach of your blog.

1. Conduct Keyword Research

Every blog post needs one primary keyword. This is the subject of your post, and you can also use a couple of variations on it. Good keywords are those that align with both the content in the blog post and your target audience’s purchasing intent. The most important thing to remember about keywords is that they should be a natural part of your post.

It’s almost always better to target long-tail keywords, which are longer, more precise search terms. There are two big benefits with these keywords. First is that visitors searching for long-tail keywords are often more ready to buy something than those just looking for general information. Second is that there’s less competition in the search results for long-tail keywords, making it easier to rank your page higher.

There are many tools that can help you choose the right keywords, such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, Ahrefs and Moz Keyword Explorer. When considering a keyword, make sure you look at how many searches it gets per month, how competitive it is and if there are any competitors of yours with high-ranking pages for that term.

2. Use Keywords Throughout Your Post

When you’ve chosen a target keyword, you need to use it correctly to get the best results from an SEO standpoint. A good keyword density target, which is how much you use the keyword in the post, is about 1.5 to 2.5 percent. Let’s say you write a 1,000-word article. You should have your target keyword in the article about 15 to 25 times.

This may sound tricky at first, but there are actually a few key places you should include your target keyword. These places are the title, the page URL, headings and sub-headings, the meta tag, and the introductory sentence and concluding paragraph. Sprinkle it in through the body, as well.

The two most important places are the title and the URL. Keep your title to 65 characters or less since Google will cut off longer titles. If your title is longer, make sure to include your keyword at the beginning, as seen in the example below.

The key here is to produce reader-friendly content. Don’t sacrifice this just to slip the keyword in a couple of more times. You may end up getting a penalty from Google for keyword stuffing.

3. Optimize Your Meta Description

When web users look through the search results, the meta description is the text displayed underneath the title to your page that explains what the page is about. They can read this and decide if they’ll check out your content or not.

After the page title, the meta description is the second-biggest ranking factor, which makes it imperative to use your target keyword in it. What you write is also crucial here, because you’ll only get people to visit your site if the meta description is engaging them.

4. Be Careful with Topic Labels

Topic labels, also known as tags, are a way for bloggers to categorize their posts. Although these can better organize the content on your blog, they can also cause problems if you overdo it with them.

You’ll run into issues with your topic labels if you put too many on a post or if you have several similar tags. For example, if you write a post about blogging and tag it “blog,” “blog posts” and “blogging,” the search engines could punish you for using similar tags.

Your best bet is to come up with a list of about 15 to 25 tags that fit your blog. When you write a post, choose up to three tags to use.

5. Optimize Your Images

Images spice up your blog posts, which is why content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images, according to CMO Council. Large walls of text can turn off readers, and images break up the monotony. Of course, your images need to fit the content of the post to be effective.

When you put images in your posts, there’s a simple way to boost the post’s SEO. Put your target keyword in the alt text of the image, as that’s what search engine bots look at to determine the content of the image.

6. Include Internal and External Links

If you’ve ever found yourself spending hours on Wikipedia jumping from page to page, then you know why you should put internal links in your blog posts. Some benefits of internal linking include increased page views, reduced bounce rate, and better crawling and indexing (it surfaces your other relevant and authoritative pages to search engines). These internal links must be natural and not forced.

It’s also good for SEO to add a couple of external links on each post. Your readers will appreciate being able to get more information or see your sources.

7. Promote Your Blog Posts

Social media is an excellent tool for getting your blog posts in front of a larger audience so make sure to share all your posts on your own social media. To get your content shared more, include social sharing buttons on each post, allowing readers to easily share it across their social network of choice.

Keep in mind that your blog posts aren’t going to be ranking in the top 10 immediately. That kind of search authority takes time. But if you publish new posts often and optimize them with the tips above, you’ll gradually improve your search rankings and the amount of search traffic your site gets.


qurban

Jen McKenzie is an up-and-coming author from NY. She usually writes on business, marketing and HR subjects. When not at her desk, you can find her taking long strolls in the countryside or enjoying her free time brushing up on photo editing. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie on Twitter.

 

5 Popular Content Marketing Myths You Shouldn’t Believe in 2018

As internet trends come and go, they can cause you to abandon your current content strategy and adapt to new practices. By the same token, many of yesterday’s tactics have lost their effectiveness. Protect yourself by learning about five popular content marketing myths that you should ignore in 2018.

Any content will do

Avoid the mistaken belief that practically any content will help you achieve your goals. Instead, you need to understand the people who comprise your audience and use that knowledge to create an online experience that matches their expectations.

Additionally, you must avoid the myth that quantity matters more than quality. If you get in a rush to publish online content, its quality might be diminished, and fewer visitors to your site will have the experience that they’re looking for.

Rather than taking a hasty approach to content, plan your editorial calendar, including the topics and titles that you will cover in coming months. Plan your content and then make sure it has the quality and information needed to engage your audience.

Content Marketing isn’t for “boring” industries.

Sometimes industries and products are so exciting that the words practically leap from your mind onto the page. Other times, you might not understand why anyone would be interested in your content. In either case, what you write matters, as well as how you write it.

In other words, content marketing works for every business that wants to engage their audience and build relationships. The key is to publish high-quality material that solves real-world problems for prospects and customers while adding value to the marketplace.

Anyone can create great content.

Try thinking of content creation as you would think about working on your vehicle. You can do simple things with your car such as inflate tires and refill fluids. However, when the time comes for an engine overhaul, you instinctively look for an expert mechanic.

So, consider involving yourself and your team in the production of basic content while allowing expert employees or freelancers to do the “heavy lifting.” For a freelancer, you can expect to pay between $20 and $30 for each article.

If you get your employees to do the work, consider offering them a chance to work remotely. Doing so can reduce your overhead while substantially increasing employee productivity.

Content marketing ROI can’t be measured.

Every business wants to get ample returns on the money they invest at every level. Unfortunately, many business owners and managers believe the myth that they can’t track the returns generated by content marketing. This isn’t true.

In the end, the goals you set determine how you will measure ROI. So, when you execute a content marketing strategy, you have the responsibility to set goals that contribute to your mission. Also, you need to define relevant metrics that allow you to measure progress.

You can always measure things like page views, downloads, visitor time on site, gathered leads and conversion rates since it’s the engaged website and social media visitors who will contribute the most to your profitability.

Good content is all you need

Don’t believe the notion that, by publishing high-quality content, you can forget about other content marketing issues and SEO.

Even if you have created the most valuable content on the web that precisely meets the needs of your audience, you will still need to promote it. Needless to say, content promotion is a specialized field of its own. In other words, you can’t just promote a Facebook post or tweet and consider the job done.

Instead, spend time optimizing your content to meet the queries of the search engine users that you want to reach. Furthermore, when the time comes to expand your audience, you can utilize PPC and guest-blogging campaigns to promote it.

In conclusion, you have a lot of myths to ignore in 2018, if you want to succeed in content marketing. As you adjust your beliefs, remember that creating a new and successful strategy takes time and effort.


qurban

Jen McKenzie is an up-and-coming author from NY. She usually writes on business, marketing and HR subjects. When not at her desk, you can find her taking long strolls in the countryside or enjoying her free time brushing up on photo editing. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie on Twitter.