What is the best way to market your online business with little to no budget? How do you best spend your advertising dollars if your main aim is to get quality traffic for your client/company?
If you own a website and have little or no advertising budget, or if you are a marketing expert looking to get better results for your clients, how do you go about it?
The answer I have might surprise you, but you will be amazed at how effective it can be. Various experts emphasize the importance of social media every year, but a lot of them discredit SEO in the process. Some “experts” are even starting to go as far as saying that SEO is dying, but you need to realize that what they are saying isn’t entirely the truth.
According to data by Hitwise, an authority when it comes to online analytics, search engine traffic keeps on increasing every day, and some fields are even getting as far as a 20% increase in searches in a year, amidst the buzz about social media these days. SEO traffic has also been proven to be more effective than other sources of traffic over the years, and around 80% of visitors that land on your blog through a long tail search keyword are first time visitors.
The above paragraphs are focused on proving one point; SEO Traffic is just as effective as it has always been, and the value that can be gotten from it keeps increasing every day.
The question now is how do you effectively optimize your blog for the search engines? Well, you need links; not just any link, but quality links. I’ll be sharing with you a few tips to help you build quality backlinks below.
1. Submit Short Reports to Document Sharing Sites
You can build quality backlinks to your website by taking an approach focused on submitting short, expert reports to document sharing sites online like Scribd. Writing a quality 3 – 4 pages report only takes around 2-3 hours, and you can use that opportunity to position yourself as an expert in your field. Put your best into the report, format it properly, include quality links back to pages on your website within the report and then submit it to the top document sharing websites online.
For a list of top document sharing sites to submit to, make sure you read this article listing 29 resources.
2. Distribute Your Content as Packaged eBooks Across the Web
Have you written any article on your blog, or for article sites online before? This opportunity might be very effective for you. Look for the best articles you’ve written on your blog, rewrite some of the sections to include deep links to other articles and pages on your blog and then turn those articles into PDF files for distribution across the web.
There are several ways to turn your content into PDF and most Microsoft Office software come with limited PDF converting software these days. If you want something better, you can check out the PDF converter provided by Dopdf.com
Once you have your content packaged as a handy PDF file, the next step is to start distributing it across the web. Share it on forums across the web, share it on ebook distribution sites, get other bloggers to share it with their audience, and do as much as you can to get it on as many websites as possible. That way, Google and other search engines will index your ebook, notice your links and then credit your website for it.
3. Interlink Your Blog Posts by Guest Blogging on Authority Blogs
A lot of us are familiar with guest blogging, and most of us even use it already, but very few of us know how beneficial it can be to our SEO. If you’re hearing about SEO for the first time, make sure you read this article, and this one, to learn more about it.
This process involves looking for the top blogs in your field, contributing quality unique guest posts to them, and interlinking articles on your blog in your bio. Most people only link to their homepage in their guest posts, but linking to internal pages can also be effective.
4. Use Images to Build Backlinks like a Smart Marketer
You might not have heard about this before, but images can also help you gain quality backlinks, from quality sources. Images can be found everywhere around us, and you can easily take pictures of nature around you and use them anyhow you want without being held legally liable. If you have good talent for photography, this will be a good approach for you. All you need to do is take several quality images every day, upload those images to image sharing sites and give people license to use it anyhow they want as long as they credit you by linking back to your website. You can upload your images to Flickr, stock photo sites, and any other creative common sites. If you upload a lot of images every day, you will be able to get some quality backlinks over the months that will end up having impact on your SEO. The best part of this, though, is that those links will keep on increasing even after you’ve stopped uploading images to the internet actively.
5. Smart Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is mostly known as a way to make a lot of money, and probably also as a way to build a giant email list, but one other thing it can be used for is building backlinks, especially to a sales page.
This approach will also be useful for people with a product for sale. Look for ways to get a lot of people to promote your product as an affiliate, and create HTML texts for them to use to link to their affiliate links. The HTML texts can include keywords you plan to rank for, so that when people promote your product as an affiliate and use your default HTML code, not only will it result in income for you, but you will also get quality backlinks that might eventually impact your rankings.
6. Interview Experts to Contribute on a Controversial Subject
A smart tactic you might also want to consider is getting experts in your field to contribute on controversial topics. Your aim will be to make sure the topics are so controversial that they will want to make sure their readers learn more about it, and as a result link back to you in the process.
What you need to do is get a few experts (anything from two to ten experts) to contribute an answer to a controversial question on your blog. You should then publish the answers from the 10 different experts into the same post and send them a link to let them know it has been published. Also make sure you remind them to share it with their audience.
This approach can be overused, and as a result ineffective. What you want is something so controversial and thought-provoking that any expert will want to share, so make sure you invest a lot more time into your questions and how the entire post is phrased. Here’s an example from Think Traffic that you should read to get a better idea.
7. Link Out to Other Blogs on a Regular Basis
This particular approach has double benefits.
A lot of bloggers are so deep into the thought of building backlinks that they have forgotten that linking to other websites can also be as effective. Search engines are very smart, and they know that another trait of an authority website is that it keeps on linking to other websites online. Your links could be to blogs, it could be to research data or surveys and it could be to videos that educate on a subject. Linking out to content from other bloggers will increase your perceived authority in the eyes of the search engines and that of your readers, and you will also end up getting quality links from other blogs in the process.
There are several approaches to building quality links. It could be by linking to other articles that explain some of your points in an article you’ve written, or it could be an article that serves as an ultimate guide on a subject and links to several expert articles written on the subject. A blog that does this well is Copyblogger; an example is this post of theirs on Facebook marketing.
This guest post was written byJohn Smith, who helps promote Medifast coupon code and the top eDiets promo code for his clients.
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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