SEO and link building are inexorably linked but the ties that bind them together are constantly shifting. Hence, bloggers have the responsibility to keep themselves updated with the link building tactics that Google, being the most popular search engine, dictates to us.
But before link building, it must be emphasized that content is king. Andrey Lipattsev, Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, said this when asked what the two other ranking factors were in the top three list:
“I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”
(For the uninformed, the third is RankBrain, Google’s AI system for processing search queries.)
So make sure you consistently create quality content for your blog. With patience and persistence, great useful content is a major step towards becoming an authority in your niche. And authority sites and pages get higher ranking at Google.
Then you look at your links. Do they come from quality and authority sites? Are you at par with worthy rivals in your niche? These link building strategies are for bloggers who are serious about wanting to improve their blogs’ search engine ranking.
1. Research your competitors
This isn’t an actually tactic for getting the links but it is crucial you do this and do it right. Set aside ample time to go through your competitors’ link profiles. You won’t be able to get all of them but what you do get will be valuable information, especially those links that are common to many of them. Focus on the sites that are known authorities in your industry and link to them. If your post is good enough, you might get a backlink from them, which will be great for your SEO.
There are backlink checker tools you can use to get these data. Use a plugin to export your competitors’ backlinks to a CSV file for easier sorting. Tools that reveal the competitors’ techniques and sources help you analyze the links and how you can get them as well.
Keep in mind that researching your competitors’ links isn’t a one-time thing. Get tools that alert you about their new links so you stay updated.
2. Use infographics
Infographics have been around forever but the past few years, it has become prevalent especially in well-known websites. Really great ones become viral in social media. Well-designed and useful Infographics can drive backlinks from authoritative websites to your blog. Here are elements of infographics that go viral:
Eye-catching design. It goes without saying that striking designs will get the attention first. If this isn’t your forte, outsource the process. Many online creators like Canva and Fiverr do them.
Well-researched information. Statistical data from credible sources are easier to understand as a visual representation. Choose popular topics but do background check on existing infographics about the topic so you can create one that is different from them.
Promote it. Discover the influencers in your niche and email them about your infographic, with its link. If it’s interesting and useful, they may use it and link it back to your blog. Exploit social media. Pinterest is obviously the first choice since it’s a search engine for images. The full image will also be displayed. For SEO purposes, description should be based on the topic’s keywords. Put your blog name on top so people will know where the content comes from. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are widely-used social media sites that are good for promoting infographics.
3. Guest blogging
When guest blogging, choose authority sites in your niche. They have a wider audience and are seen as credible. Write more than once so it doesn’t appear you’re only after backlinks. Include many outbound links and an internal link to the blog you’re guesting at.
4. Use the broken links method
This method has high link value and is one of the effective link building strategies around. You start by looking for popular websites in your niche, then you look for their broken links, usually in the resource pages. Chrome’s Check My Links is a very useful tool for this. Email the webmaster and let them know about it. Webmasters don’t like 404 pages as too many of them can have a negative affect on their websites SEO. Offer them your website as a replacement for the broken link. Naturally, your page or site must contain information related to their niche. Webmasters usually acquiesce to such requests to show their thanks.
5. Write list articles
List articles or ‘listicles’ as they’re sometimes known make for interesting reading because they require less effort to assimilate, information is given out in an orderly manner and is isolated to a particular element. For link building, a list about people (top 10 web developers in India) or companies (top 10 fashion blogs) will give you a link back from those mentioned in your blog post.
6. Have an RSS feed
If your blog is run on WordPress, Joomla or other content management system, chances are you already have an RSS feed. If you have to create one, use Feedburner.com because it gives statistics on your subscribers. Other sites will scrape your contents. So always include a link to your other pages so you get a link back. Install the RSS footer plugin for WordPress since it adds a link to your blog after every post.
7. Leverage the power of internal links
For all your blog posts, always create a link to another previously published page that is related or gives a more detailed description of something briefly mentioned in your current post. It’s a very good link building tactic and so easy to do.
How to Create More Clickable Google Search Snippets
Google search results are becoming ridiculously competitive. Plus, Google’s search results are becoming incredibly engaging: Many search users prefer to use search results (open “People Also Ask” results, clicks image and video carousels, etc.) that getting a click from search results is getting harder and harder.
With the introduction of new and flashier ways to be seen, you still have to learn how to creatively and dynamically exploit those offered tools. Being seen with so many others attempting the same technique is just as hard as it was when visibility relied only on ranking.
How to get more people click your search listing in SERPs? Here are three really effective ways:
1. Monitor Your Click-Through
The first step to improving your search snippet visibility is to set up monitoring of how your pages are performing right now and get alerted if anything changes.
Finteza is an advanced analytics platform allowing you to keep a close eye on your site performance in search and all the various channels.
To monitor your click-through from organic search:
- Register an account at Finteza
- Add their tracking code to your site and give it some time to accumulate some data
- Click “Sources” and there choose “Search”
- Go to “Pages” to see how your top landing pages are performing in search:
This gives you bird’s eye view on your site organic performance in organic search. It’s a great way to analyze and evaluate your old content. Using Finteza, you can also set up a retargeting campaign to target those search referrals better if they choose to return to your site.
Repeat steps above at least weekly to see if any of those pages start losing clicks from search: These might need some work. Here’s exactly what you may want to do:
2. Use Semantic Analysis
Google uses a variety of analysis methods to identify high-quality content that meets their users’ needs. One of the key components of Google’s content evaluation process is semantic analysis.
Basically speaking, semantic analysis is about clustering your key topic into subtopics and concepts that constitute it. To give a quick example, if we were to apply semantic analysis to [hiking], we’d come up with a variety of underlying concepts including, National Parks, Mountains, picturesque trails, being outdoors, and even birdwatching.
All of those concepts relate to hiking in some way or another.
Broadly speaking, semantic analysis helps machines understand natural language – the way that humans communicate – including context, goals, etc.
When it comes to search optimization, semantic SEO helps:
- Create more indepth and richer content that meets Google’s expectations
- Optimize for intent (what’s the end goal behind each search)
- Give Google enough context for them to create a more clickable search snippet for your listing.
Another example of semantic analysis in action is Google’s results for [where it was filmed]. While the query is seemingly absolutely generic, Google is able to understand this question relates to the movie “It”.
Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that goes right to the source, i.e. Google search snippets. For each query you type, it would collect Google’s search snippets and apply semantic analysis to them to come up with the list of underlying concepts:
[TextOptimizer’s results for [where it was filmed] – as you can see the tool got the actual context of the query and clustered it into related topics]
Including 20-25 of these concepts into your content will help Google better understand your text, and create richer more clickable search snippets. Here’s a more detailed review of the site I did previously.
3. Optimize for Rich Snippets
Rich snippets have become the new keywords. These little details are what causes your listing to “pop” in a search, catching the eye of the user no matter what place on the first page you occupy. Proper use of rich snippets are a requirement for being seen.
“Rich snippets” are search results providing the user with more answers right within SERPs. To qualify for rich snippets your web page should have rich markup:
Here are the supported types of rich snippets:
If you have reviewed a tool or a product, use Aggregate Rating structured data for your search snippet to look like this. This will populate stars in search that definitely draw an eye!
Recipes will have some nutritional and preparation information, like how long it takes to cook and how many calories are in each serving.
Events will show dates and times for each event for quick reference. Every event name is linked in search results giving you more clickable links in search.
There’s a number of structure data types that allow you to add more details to your brand knowledge graph (NOT for local businesses though).
These include: Official social media accounts, logo, and the corporate contact:
Movies and Books
Movies and books will also show off a ranking system, and some product pages have a star rating alongside price.
HowTo markup will help Google to locate more information from your tutorial, for example, number of steps, time to complete, etc.:
HowTo Schema shouldb’t be used for recipes though. Other than that there are no official restrictions to certain types of tutorials that can have it.
One word of caution here: Only use structured data when it absolutely makes sense. Google frowns upon using Schema just for the sake if rich snippets. If it is not an actual review, don’t use the ratings markup, as it could backfire. Google actually sends manual penalties for a structured abuse, so read the documentation properly to make sure you follow all the rules!
Optimizing for rich snippets relies heavily on whichever website builder and/or CMS you are using. For most of them there are lots of plugins and addons allowing to quickly integrate structured markup.
The above tips will hopefully help you generate more clicks from your current organic positions without having to invest in improving it. See it as a low-hanging fruit opportunity to improving your traffic!
Do you have a tip for optimizing search snippets? Let us know in the comments!
Top the Charts! 5 Must-Know SEO Solutions to Promote Your Managed IT Service
According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second. That’s 3.5 billion searches a day.
When someone searches for your managed IT service, you have the opportunity to attract them straight towards your website.
All you need is search engine optimization or SEO!
Here are five SEO solutions that can help drive traffic to your website. With these techniques, you can attract new customers and grow your business!
Let’s get optimizing.
1. Topics & Keywords
An effective SEO strategy starts with a list of keywords. These keywords reflect the content your customers are searching for online. Using these keywords, you can create content that matches their search intent.
To start, you can use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. These tools will show you the popularity of each keyword.
Once you have this list, you can create pillars and clusters. Pillars give your website visitors the main page of collective content. Then, the clusters break this content into sub-topics with specified information.
This strategy can help boost your SEO plan and attract people to your Managed IT Services.
That way, you’re attracting new website visitors while providing them with an easy, efficient user experience, too.
2. On-Site SEO
Your website needs optimization as a whole as well as on a page-based level. To start, make sure your website’s content hierarchy is well-structured.
Then, there are a number of areas that require review to ensure these SEO solutions work.
Once you’ve studied your target audience to determine your keywords, you also need:
- Descriptive URLs
- Keyword-optimized page titles
- Compelling meta descriptions
- Content optimization (includes keyword placement in headers, body text, etc.)
- Good user experience
- Structured data markup
- Effective call-to-action language
As part of your overall SEO strategy, on-page SEO is an important component of attracting visitors.
3. Off-Site SEO
An off-site SEO strategy includes local SEO. This strategy helps you attract local customers to your website and business.
To start, make sure your listings are updated with the correct content information.
This includes your Google My Business listing as well.
4. Technical SEO
Technical SEO ensures search engines can find your content. These areas include:
- Website speed
Technical SEO solutions are essential for success. Otherwise, how will customers find your website?
According to Fit Small Business, search is the number one driver of traffic to content sites. In fact, it beats social media by over 300 percent.
Your content should consider customer search intent. That way, you’re giving visitors content that answers their questions. This can include service content, credibility content, and marketing content.
This content should also add value to your business.
Consider writing blog posts or white papers. You can also post videos or add testimonials to your website.
That way, your SEO content shows visitors you’re a valuable resource.
Bring It in: 5 Must-Have SEO Solutions
With these five must-have SEO solutions, you can attract new visitors to your website. The right techniques will then turn these visitors into leads, then leads into paying customers!
That way, your company grows, one SEO strategy at a time.
Check out our latest posts for more effective tips and tricks!
SEO 101: The Essential SEO FAQ for Bloggers
I don’t provide SEO services and I am self-taught – which hardly makes an expert. But I’ve been blogging for a lifetime and for all these years I’ve been reading about and implementing SEO practices – which means I know more than an average blogger.
With that said, I’ve decided to put together this SEO FAQ for those who want to quickly understand the concept without going too indepth:
What is SEO?
Simply put, SEO is about making a website easy for search engines to discover, go through and understand.
- creating content (based on search engine users’ needs),
- making your content “link-worthy” (i.e. attract backlinks),
- using HTML and structured data to make content easier to understand for the machine, etc.
SEO is NOT trying to “fake” any of positive signals search engines use to rank web pages. Search engine friendliness should be authentic and SEO professionals should work together with website owners to achieve that.
Do Bloggers Need to Know SEO?
SEO aims at helping a page rank on top of organic search results, and search engines are known to bring the most qualified leads (people turn to Google when they know what they want).
No traffic source is as effective as search traffic. Unlike driving clicks with ads (PPC), organic search is NOT interrupting user’s surfing the web. Instead, it serves them content exactly when they ask
This makes SEO one of the most important digital marketing channels. It can drive highly targeted traffic and pre-qualified leads to your site on a continuous basis (no need to keep investing in ads)
How Has SEO changed over the years?
SEO is maturing fast and it has been exciting to watch. The biggest driving force behind this evolution is Google that has been working hard on their search algorithm to understand natural language and search intent, as well as penalizing any manipulating tactics.
The result: SEO has become more integrated into other marketing channels. Furthermore, SEO is more about focusing on long-term goals rather than quick traffic gains
If ten years ago SEO was all about creating fake signals (keyword stuffing, link buying, etc.), these days it’s all about creating linkable assets that rank and engage potential customers.
Can SEO Be Handled “At Home”?
WordPress bloggers generally don’t have to worry about getting SEO help. WordPress is pretty well set up and there’s a variety of free plugins to help.
Here’s a detailed guide to get yourself educated: Google SEO: Should it be your only priority?
What is The Most Important SEO Element?
Content… by far! Content is the foundation of any SEO strategy. Content ranks, attracts links, spreads, engages customers and turns them into believers.
Content is not just an article or a blog post. By content I mean any kind of text you put on your site, from a landing page copy to your “About us” page or a product description.
Many businesses jump into digital marketing without willing to invest in content, and this strategy is doomed to failure. Building on-site content should be everyone’s SEO priority.
Text Optimizer is a great tool that helps you create better content by providing you with the mindmap of associated concepts and questions. It uses semantic analysis to process Google’s search snippets and break any keyword into subtopics.
While it’s primarily search intent optimization tool, it’s also helpful for overall content research showing which topics to cover and how to structure your article.
You can read my own Text Optimizer case study here.
What Are the Most Dangerous SEO Myths?
- Keyword density… This is one of the most persistent SEO myths out there. Why I dislike it so much is because it fills the web with trash content. Keyword-density focused strategy spoils the brand image and creates lots of problems which take lots of time to fix.
- On-page SEO alone will get you to #1. There are so many SEO agencies there that are happy to keep “optimizing” your website but rankings won’t come. The reality, you still need outbound tactics to gain backlinks and external visibility (branding) to achieve higher rankings
- SEO is dying… SEO death has been predicted for years now. These days with Google’s new SERPs features that aim at keeping the user using Google, and the fast growth of voice search, SEO is predicted to die soon again
The truth is, SEO is full of ingenuous tools and people. It is evolving together with search engines and it will survive Google’s death one day.
What’s the Best SEO Advice You’ve Received?
There’s a real human being behind each query.
Really if you stop thinking of keywords as “word strings to optimize for” and start seeing them as a real person’s question, SEO becomes much clearer (and more fun).
This mindset helps build more helpful content, optimize for search intent better (why would anyone type this into the search box? What are they willing to do once they find the answer?)
On top of that, by looking at keyword research as something that helps you serve your customer will help you understand your audience better and come up with better products and offers, on a higher-level.
Answer The Public is a nice free tool that turns keyword research into question research helping you to clearer see your readers’ struggles behind their search queries.
On top of that, the tool also mind-maps the retrieved keywords / questions helping you in brainstorming.
Where Does a Blogger Start with SEO?
As stated above, there’s not much a blogger can do to start with SEO except for creating useful original content.
Here’s also a nice clutter-free introduction into SEO: SEO Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization . Here’s a much easier guide but also one that lists the most essential step: 3 Basic Steps to Making Your New Blog SEO-Friendly. Here’s also a helpful writing checklist that will help you handle the basics:
As you may have noticed, I am not listing a ton of tools here as I don’t want this guide to overwhelm the reader. Those mentioned are a good start!
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