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What is Lead generation ?

Many successful small business owners are continuously looking to expand their customer base and grow their businesses. Business growth are often a difficult and long-term process, though. one among the foundational elements of growing a business has access to a gentle stream of sales leads. A lead may be a person, or business if you’ve got a corporation that sells to other businesses (B2B), that has an interest within the products or services you’re selling.

Here are some tips for creating a system which will assist you identify sales leads in your small business, and — with the proper focus and energy — turn them into customers.

1. Identify Your audience
The first step of lead generation is identifying your audience . you cannot successfully reach and sell to your ideal customer if you do not know exactly who that’s , so it is vital to research your audience and are available up with a transparent picture of who they’re , where they live, what they wish to do, what proportion money they create , what their lifestyle and personality is like, etc.

If you do not have already got one, you ought to also create a comprehensive marketing plan as a part of this step.

2. Pick Your Promotional Methods Wisely
In order to get leads, you would like a promotional plan which will get your products and services ahead of members of your audience . There are variety of the way you’ll promote your business, and again, you’ll want to use your marketing decide to identify the foremost effective methods for your business.

Some marketing ideas include an informational website, a blog, social media, speaking engagements, industry events, current customer referrals, pay per click (PPC) advertising, and traditional advertising.

3. Create a Sales Funnel
Once you recognize who you’re targeting and have determined how best to succeed in them, you would like to possess an idea for collecting contact information. the primary a part of the method involves funneling all prospects to a typical form or landing page that encourages them to share their contact information, generally reciprocally for a free gift, a coupon, a sample or another value-added incentive.

At now , it’s vital to possess a customer relationship management (CRM) database which will assist you keep track of potential customers through the method .

4. Use an Email Newsletter to create Relationships
Now that you’re in touch with prospects, it is time to cultivate those relationships so you’ll take them from the lead stage through a purchase (and eventually a repeat sale!). one among the simplest ways to make consistent communication together with your prospects is thru an email newsletter.

While you’re planning your email marketing plan, confirm you’re conscious of and follow regulations that are a neighborhood of the CAN-SPAM Act.

5. Leverage Social Media to attach and have interaction
Social media provides variety of opportunities for little businesses to make conversations with prospective customers and generate new leads. you’ll create a Facebook page, Twitter profile, LinkedIn company page, Pinterest account or a YouTube page to draw in and have interaction your audience, then funnel them through your process to become leads.

Plus, once you’ve got leads within the system, you’ll use social media to speak to them and determine more about what they have and need . The more positive touchpoints a customer has together with your business over time, the more likely he or she is going to be to trust your brand and eventually purchase from you.

Lead generation should be thought of as a long-term and continuous process. If you get an efficient system in situ using the sales lead tips above, you’ll streamline the lead generation process and increase your opportunities for business growth.

Channels of lead generation

Broadly speaking, there are two channels of lead generation: inbound and outbound.

Both channels are obviously aimed toward generating leads for your business. But there’s a slender difference within the way they work.

The outbound method involves a proactive plan to reach bent your audience. This usually begins with purchasing lead lists. You then contact these leads by calling them directly (cold calling) or sending them physical mails (direct mail). For a wider reach, businesses look beyond lead lists and use billboards, print ads, television ads, and radio ads. the stress here is on budget, media connections, and the way much marketing muscle you’ll flex.

In outbound lead generation, your pitch is sort of apparent and there are not any efforts made to teach your audience.

The inbound method attracts leads using online content. You create an internet site , otherwise you write a blog, and you optimize it for online search through SEO (search engine optimization) techniques. this suggests the content has the acceptable keywords and answers the questions your audience is asking. When your content is definitely discoverable and begins to interact your readers, they become your leads. counting on how you interact with them from then on, they will become your customers too.

In inbound lead generation, you educate your audience through a carefully planned content strategy. This takes time and involves little or no budget spend. Two keywords here: content and SEO (search engine optimization). and therefore the domain is essentially digital.

A detailed check out lead generation

Big business or small, B2B or B2C, every business depends on leads. If you’re a salesman , you’re always on the lookout for more leads. If you’re a marketer, you’re discovering new ways to get them. Generating leads isn’t easy, but it’s not rocket science either. during this page, take a deep dive into every aspect of lead generation:

B2B lead generation: Classifying your leads
In B2B, inbound is that the preferred channel of lead generation. the entire process of drawing a lead into doing business with you—by educating first and selling later—matches the B2B business model, where businesses don’t make impulsive purchase decisions. Which is why inbound marketing in B2B takes leads through three levels of the sales funnel: ToFu (top of the funnel), MoFu (middle of the funnel), and Bofu (bottom of the funnel).

ToFu: Leads at the highest of the funnel need awareness. They ignoramus about what you offer and what domain you use in, so you’ll got to create a conversation around both these focus points—without selling your product up front. If you sell CRMs, you attract ToFu leads by talking about how SDRs (sales development representatives) can do their job better using CRM software. Blogs, ebooks and guides are content types that employment well at this stage.

MoFu: Leads within the middle of the funnel need nudging. They’re not completely clueless about what you are doing , but they’re not able to buy either. they need many questions on your business, and they’re also beginning to compare you with the competition. Be prepared to share content like case studies, testimonials and videos that still educate and yet make a robust case for your brand.

BoFu: Leads at rock bottom of the funnel need your product/service. They’re past the education stage, they know exactly what you’ll give them, and now you’re making a transparent pitch. this is often the proper time to supply an attempt , demo, or a reduction and convey them into your business. The leads that get to the present stage are way fewer than those that step into the funnel, so confirm you offer maximum value here.

 

6 ways to get sales leads online

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Content marketing

Create and distribute content with a primary specialise in education, not selling. Content are often produced in various formats—blogs, infographics, videos, case studies, white papers.

Social media

Depending on your business, every social media platform are often a precious lead generation channel. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are essential for B2C; LinkedIn is elementary for B2B.

Email

With email, you get to initiate a one-to-one conversation together with your recipient, while sharing a blog, inviting them for a webinar, informing them a few product update, or offering a reduction .

Display ads

Also called banner ads, display ads are like print ads for digital. Crisp copy, a persuasive CTA (call-to-action), illustrations and animation are effective elements in display ads.

PPC (pay-per-click) ads

 Clicking on a PPC ad takes the visitor to a landing page, which collects the lead’s information. PPC ads work because they contain keywords relevant to your audience, plus they seem on page one among Google.

Webinars

Webinars require people to share their email ID, which makes it a perfect lead gen activity. Timely webinars, with relevant topics and quality speakers, can build a brand around your business.

What is Email marketing ?

What is Email marketing ?

email marketing

 

In its most elementary sense, email marketing is that the use of email to market products or services. But a far better email marketing definition is that the use of email to develop relationships with potential customers or clients. Email marketing is one segment of internet marketing, which encompasses online marketing via websites, social media, blogs, and more. it’s essentially spam done electronically rather than through the mail.

 This kind of selling are often wont to build relationships with customers or drive them away

At its best, though, email marketing allows businesses to stay their customers informed and tailor their marketing messages to their audience.

Email Marketing are often Personalized
Email marketing allows you to focus on particular groups of consumers or maybe specific individuals. Offering individual customers special birthday deals on merchandise or services is a method to try to to this. A restaurant might send an email to customers on their birthdays offering 50% off an entree, as an example . this type of personalization helps a business gradually develop and maintain a relationship with a customer which will cause increased sales and customer loyalty.

Other Advantages of Email Marketing
The two biggest advantages of email marketing are price and ease. Compared to other sorts of marketing, emailing is a cheap thanks to advertise your company and its products or services. it is also extremely easy to line up and track an email marketing campaign, which makes it easily accessible for little businesses.

You can add a newsletter sign-up choice to your website, as an example , then send newsletters to the e-mail list that accumulates as people check in . a daily newsletter may be a simple and effective thanks to send updates about your company, upcoming events, and special offers. Email software also makes it easy to schedule automated promotional emails for patrons who haven’t purchased recently.

Email Marketing remains Relevant
In the age of social media, it’s tempting to write down off email. But consider the subsequent statistics:

91% of email users check their email a minimum of once each day .1
Email marketing returns a powerful $42 for each $1 spent.2
59% of survey respondents say email influences their purchase decisions.3
Email marketing features a conversion rate of two .3%, compared to a quarter for social media.4
The huge advantage of email over social media is that prospects and customers are more likely to ascertain an email than social media. Just posting something on social media doesn’t suggest that everybody you would like to ascertain your message will see it. However, an email will sit in an inbox until it’s read (or deleted).

Ideally, email marketing should go hand in hand with social media. Adding social media “Like” or “Share” buttons to your marketing emails gives a further way for patrons to attach together with your brand. Snippets of positive reviews from social media fans are often included in emails, and conversely, social media postings are often wont to encourage fans to subscribe your email newsletters.

Email marketing can substantially increase your income if you are doing it correctly. it is a good way to urge people to go to (and revisit) your website or blog, and more traffic usually equates to more income.

Email Marketing Tips
Effective email marketing takes effort though. Here are a couple of strategies for creating the foremost of your email marketing campaigns.

email marketing

Build your own list. All you are going to try to to by sending unsolicited email is close up most of the people you’re hoping to show into customers. Whether through your website, in your store, or at an occasion , make it clear when customers are opting in to receiving your emails.
Adhere to the principles of the CAM-SPAM Act. These rules include having a non-deceptive subject line, a way of unsubscribing, and your name and address at the top of the emails.5
Don’t just send ads to shop for all the time. Use your emails to create rapport with customers by sharing your expertise or that of others, giving them tips and insights they will value. Share information that lets them know more about you and your company.

Treat your list well. Remember that the people you’re communicating with over email have trusted you with their information; they deserve your respect. If you would like an opportunity to convert them from customers to fans and even evangelists for your brand, then make them feel special.
Stick to a schedule if you’re doing a newsletter. Sending email on a daily day or days can help your subscribers know what to expect from you and when.
Optimize your email for mobile usage, as statistics show that roughly half emails are opened on mobile devices.

Why You NEED to Raise Organic CTR’s

Why You NEED to Raise Organic CTR’s

Does organic click-through rate (CTR) data impact page rankings on Google? This has been a huge topic of speculation for years within the search industry.

Why is there such a debate? Well, often people get hung up on details and semantics (are we talking about a direct or indirect anking factor?), Google patents (which may or may not even be in use), and competing theories (everyone’s got an opinion based off something they heard or read). To make matters more confusing, Google is less than forthcoming about the secrets of their algorithm.

But if CTR truly does impact Google’s organic search rankings, shouldn’t we be able to measure it? Yes!

In this post, I’ll share some intriguing data on the relationship between Google CTR and rankings. I’ll also share four tips for making sure your Google click-through rates on the organic SERPs are where they need to be.

organic google ctr

To be clear: my goal with this post is to provide just a brief background and some actionable insights about the topic of organic click-through rates on Google. We won’t dissect every tweet or quote ever made by anyone at Google, dive deep into patents, or refute all the SEO theories about whether CTR is or isn’t a ranking factor. I’m sharing my own theory based on what I’ve seen, and my recommendations on how to act on it.

Google CTR & Rankings: Yes! No! Who Bloody Knows!

Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting recently published a post with a headline stating that CTR isn’t a ranking factor. He clarifies within that post that Google doesn’t use CTR as a direct ranking factor.

What’s the difference between a direct and indirect ranking factor? Well, I suggest you watch Rand Fishkin’s awesome video on this very topic.

Basically, we know certain things directly impact rankings (I got a link from a reputable website, hooray!), but there are many other things that don’t have a direct impact, but nevertheless do impact ranking (some big-time influencer tweeted about my company and now tons of people are searching for us and checking out our site, awesome!).

It’s essentially the same issue as last touch attribution, which assigns all the credit to the last interaction. But in reality, multiple channels (PPC, organic, social, email, affiliates, etc.) can play important roles in the path to conversion.

The same is true with ranking. Many factors influence ranking.

So here’s my response: Direct, indirect, who cares? CTR might not be a “direct core ranking signal,” but if it impacts rank (and I believe it does), then it matters. Further, even if it doesn’t impact rank, you should still care!

But don’t take my word for it that Google has the technology. Check out these slides from Google engineer Paul Haahr, who spoke at SMX:

headlines and click through rate
google ctr experiments

Also, AJ Kohn put together a good post about Google click-through rate as a ranking signal last year. He included a couple eye-opening quotes that I’ll share here because they are important. The first from Edmond Lau, a former Google engineer:

“It’s pretty clear that any reasonable search engine would use click data on their own results to feed back into ranking to improve the quality of search results. Infrequently clicked results should drop toward the bottom because they’re less relevant, and frequently clicked results bubble toward the top. Building a feedback loop is a fairly obvious step forward in quality for both search and recommendations systems, and a smart search engine would incorporate the data.”

The second from Marissa Mayer in 2007 talking about how Google used CTR as a way to determine when to display a OneBox:

“We hold them to a very high click-through rate expectation and if they don’t meet that click-through rate, the OneBox gets turned off on that particular query. We have an automated system that looks at click-through rates per OneBox presentation per query. So it might be that news is performing really well on Bush today but it’s not performing very well on another term, it ultimately gets turned off due to lack of click-through rates. We are authorizing it in a way that’s scalable and does a pretty good job enforcing relevance.”

Also, check out this amazing excerpt from an FTC document that was obtained by the WSJ:

“In addition, click data (the website links on which a user actually clicks) is important for evaluating the quality of the search results page. As Google’s former chief of search quality Udi Manber testified:

The ranking itself is affected by the click data. If we discover that, for a particular query, hypothetically, 80 percent of people click on Result No. 2 and only 10 percent click on Result No. 1, after a while we figure out, well, probably Result 2 is the one people want. So we’ll switch it.

Testimony from Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt confirms that click data is important for many purposes, including, most importantly, providing ‘feedback’ on whether Google’s search algorithms are offering its users high quality results.”

Why Organic Google CTR Matters

If you have great positions in the SERPs, that’s awesome. But even high rankings don’t guarantee visits to your site.

What really matters is how many people are clicking on your listing (and not bouncing back immediately). You want to attract more visitors who are likely to stick around and then convert.

In 2009, the head of Google’s webspam team at the time, Matt Cutts, was asked about the importance of maximizing your organic CTR. Here’s a key quote that says it all:

“It doesn’t really matter how often you show up. It matters how often you get clicked on and then how often you … convert those to whatever you really want (sales, purchases, subscriptions)… Do spend some time looking at your title, your URL, and your snippet that Google generates, and see if you can find ways to improve that and make it better for users because then they’re more likely to click. You’ll get more visitors, you’ll get better return on your investment.”

In another video, he talked about the importance of titles, especially on your important web pages: “you want to make something that people will actually click on when they see it in the search results – something that lets them know you’re gonna have the answer they’re looking for.”

Bottom line: Google cares a lot about overall user engagement with the results they show in the SERPs. So if Google is testing your page for relevancy to a particular keyword search, and you want that test to go your way, you better have a great CTR (and great content and great task completion rates). Otherwise, you’ll fail the quality test and someone else will get chosen.

[Want to improve your CTR? Get 13 of our best tips in this guide]

Testing the Real Impact of Organic CTR on Google

Rand Fishkin conducted one of the most popular tests of the influence of CTR on Google’s search results. He asked people to do a specific search and click on the link to his blog (which was in 7th position). This impacted the rankings for a short period of time, moving the post up to 1st position.

google click through rate

But these are all temporary changes. The rankings don’t persist because the inflated CTR’s aren’t natural.

It’s like how you can’t increase your AdWords Quality Scores simply by clicking on your own ads a few times. This is the oldest trick in the book and it doesn’t work. (Sorry.)

Isn’t CTR Too Easy to Game?

The results of another experiment appeared on Search Engine Land last August and concluded that CTR isn’t a ranking factor. But this test had a pretty significant flaw ­– it relied on bots artificially inflating CTRs and search volume (and this test was only for a single two-word keyword: “negative SEO”). So essentially, this test was the organic search equivalent of click fraud.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying Google will never use CTR in organic rankings because “it’s too easy to game” or “too easy to fake.” I disagree. Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) has been fighting click fraud for 15 years and they can easily apply these learnings to organic search. There are plenty of ways to detect unnatural clicking. What did I just say about old tricks?

Before we look at the data, a final “disclaimer.” I don’t know if what this data reveals is due to RankBrain, or another machine-learning-based ranking signal that’s already part of the core Google algorithm. Regardless, there’s something here – and I can most certainly say with confidence that CTR is impacting rank.

NEW DATA: Does Organic CTR Impact SEO Rankings?

Google has said that RankBrain is being tested on long-tail terms, which makes sense. Google wants to start testing its machine-learning system with searches they have little to no data on – and 99 percent of pages have zero external links pointing to them.

How is Google able to tell which pages should rank in these cases?

By examining engagement and relevance. CTR is one of the best indicators of both.

High-volume head terms, as far as we know, aren’t being exposed to RankBrain right now. So by observing the differences between the organic search CTRs of long-tail terms versus head terms, we should be able to spot the difference:

google ctr versus organic ranking

So here’s what we did: We looked at 1,000 keywords in the same keyword niche (to isolate external factors like Google shopping and other SERP features that can alter CTR characteristics). The keywords are all from my own website: wordstream.com.

I compared CTR versus rank for one- or two-word search terms, and did the same thing for long-tail keywords (search terms between 4 to 10 words).

Notice how the long-tail terms get much higher average CTRs for a given position. For example, in this data set, the head term in position 1 got an average CTR of 17.5 percent, whereas the long-tail term in position 1 had a remarkably high CTR, at an average of 33 percent.

You’re probably thinking: “Well, that makes sense. You’d expect long-tail terms to have stronger query intent, thus higher CTRs.” That’s true, actually.

But why is that long-tail keyword terms with high CTRs are so much more likely to be in top positions versus bottom-of-page organic positions? That’s a little weird, right?

OK, let’s do an analysis of paid search queries in the same niche. We use organic search to come up with paid search keyword ideas and vice versa, so we’re looking at the same keywords in many cases.

position vs google click through rate

Long-tail terms in this same vertical get higher CTRs than head terms. However, the difference between long-tail and head term CTR is very small in positions 1–2, and becomes huge as you go out to lower positions.

So in summary, something unusual is happening:

  • In paid search, long-tail and head terms do roughly the same CTR in high ad spots (1–2) and see huge differences in CTR for lower spots (3–7).
  • But in organic search, the long-tail and head terms in spots 1–2 have huge differences in CTR and very little difference as you go down the page.

Why are the same keywords behaving so differently in organic versus paid?

The difference (we think) is that pages with higher organic click-through rates are getting a search ranking boost.

How to Beat the Expected Organic Search CTR

CTR and ranking are codependent variables. There’s obviously a relationship between the two, but which is causing what? In order to get to the bottom of this “chicken versus egg” situation, we’re going to have to do a bit more analysis.

The following graph takes the difference between an observed organic search CTR minus the expected CTR, to figure out if your page is beating — or being beaten by — the expected average CTR for a given organic position.

By only looking at the extent by which a keyword beats or is beaten by the predicted CTR, you are essentially isolating the natural relationship between CTR and ranking in order to get a better picture of what’s going on.

google ctr and rankbrain

We found that, on average, if you beat the expected CTR, then you’re far more likely to rank in more prominent positions. Failing to beat the expected CTR makes it more likely you’ll appear in positions 6–10.

So, based on our example of long-tail search terms for this niche, if a page:

  • Beats the expected CTR for a given position by 20 percent, you’re likely to appear in position 1.
  • Beats the expected CTR for a given position by 12 percent, then you’re likely to appear in position 2.
  • Falls below the expected CTR for a given position by 6 percent, then you’re likely to appear in position 10.

And so on.

Here’s a greatly simplified rule of thumb:

The more your pages beat the expected organic CTR for a given position, the more likely you are to appear in prominent organic positions.

If your pages fall below the expected organic Google search CTR, then you’ll find your pages in lower organic positions on the SERP.

Want to move up by one position in Google’s rankings? Increase your CTR by 3 percent. Want to move up another spot? Increase your CTR by another 3 percent.

If you can’t beat the expected click-through rate for a given position, you’re unlikely to appear in positions 1–5.

Essentially, you can think of all of this as though Google is giving bonus points to pages that have high click-through rates. The fact that it looks punitive is just a natural side effect.

If Google gives “high CTR bonus points” to other websites, then your relative performance will decline. It’s not that you got penalized; it’s just that you didn’t get the rewards.

4 Crucial Ways to Raise Your Google CTRs

Many “expert” SEOs will tell you not to waste time trying to maximize your CTRs since it’s supposedly “not a direct ranking signal.” “Let’s build more links and make more infographics,” they say.

I couldn’t disagree more. If you want to rank better, you need to get more people to your website. (And getting people to your website is the whole point of ranking anyway!)

Google Ads and many other technologies look at user engagement signals to determine page quality and relevance. We’ve already seen evidence that CTR is important to Google.

So how do you raise your Google CTRs – not just for a few days, but in a sustained way? You should focus your efforts in four key areas:

  1. Optimize pages with low “organic Quality Scores.” Download all of your query data from the Google Search Console. Sort your data, figure out which of your pages have below average CTRs, and prioritize those. Don’t risk turning one of your unicorn pages with an awesome CTR into a donkey with a terrible CTR! It’s far less risky turning a donkey into unicorn!
  2. Combine your SEO keywords with emotional triggers to create irresistible headlines. Emotions like anger, disgust, affirmation, and fear are proven to increase click-through rates and conversion rates. If everyone who you want to beat already has crafted optimized title tags, then packing an emotional wallop will give you the edge you need and make your listing stand out.
  3. Work to improve other user engagement metrics. Like click-through rate, we believe you need to have better-than-expected engagement metrics (e.g. time on site and bounce rate). This is a critical relevance signal! Google has enough data to know the expected conversion and engagement rates based on a variety of factors (e.g. industry, query, location, time of day, device type). If your content performs well, you’re likely going to get a rankings boost. If your content does poorly, there’s not necessarily a penalty, but you definitely won’t get any bonus points.
  4. Use social media ads and remarketing to increase search volume and CTR. Paid social ads and remarketing display ads can generate serious awareness and exposure for a reasonable cost (no more than $50 a day). If people aren’t familiar with your brand, bombard your target audience with Facebook and Twitter ads. People who are familiar with your brand are 2x more likely to click through and to convert!

Just Say No To Low Google CTRs!

You want to make sure your pages get as many organic search clicks as possible. Doing so means more people are visiting your site, which will send important signals to Google that your page is relevant and awesome.

Our research also shows that above-expected user engagement metrics result in better organic rankings, which results in even more clicks to your site.

Don’t settle for average CTRs. Be a unicorn in a sea of donkeys! Raise your CTRs and engagement rates! Get optimizing now!

Source: www.wordstream.com

 

Display Ad Ideas

Display Ad Ideas

8 Super Creative, Crazy Effective Display Ad Ideas

Display ads often yield abysmal click-through rates and even lower conversion rates. What accounts for their disappointing performance? It’s a matter of inbound vs. outbound marketing: Unlike search ads, display ads are not served to searchers who are actively looking for something. Instead, we tack image ads onto social feeds or informational sites with the hopes that they’ll distract users from their current activity and entice them to click through to our website. As if disrupting the user from their intended activity isn’t enough of a challenge, we’re also competing with other image ads, making for a pretty chaotic space.

display ad ideas

Rest assured, despite the not so favorable odds, you CAN design super-creative ads that break through the noise and captivate viewers, ultimately scoring clicks for your business. Here are 8 creative, effective image ad ideas to explore, using real examples from our own marketing campaigns and client accounts and backed by real data.

Creative Display Ad Tip #1: Consider Your Venue

It’s critical that you consider the platform on which you are displaying an ad before you design it. When it comes to social ads, you’re not just competing with other paid content, you’re competing with the users’ entire social network.

WordStream’s Paid Social Specialist, Brett McHale, says that social ads should “blend in AND stand out” on the page. Sounds pretty contradictory, huh? He goes on to explain that social content should be contextually relevant (meaning that it doesn’t look like an advertisement) and still grab readers’ attention with entertaining images and design elements like contrasting colors and negative space.

Want to create designer-quality display ads in minutes? Try our free Smart Ads Creator.

Using stock photos in social media ads will kill your performance. Instead, we recommend following Krista Neher’s “three R” strategy to drive your social content. Use real pictures of real things taken by real people. You can even solicit photos from your audience to use in these ads.

Michael Kors, the first brand invited to display ads on Instagram, has this practice down pat. Their ads feel native to the platform, yet still showcase their products. Their very first post, the first image above, resulted in a 370% increase in new followers.

Creative Display Ad Tip #2: Speak to Your Target Demographic

With display advertising, you have the opportunity to segment your audience based on their demographic details. Take advantage of this level of granularity and build ads that will resonate with each segment of your target audience.

Taking a “one size fits all” approach rarely yields great results for advertisers. For example, imagine a jeweler who specializes in women’s jewelry. He may be inclined to create ads geared toward a female audience, thinking this is target persona. However, upon examining his audience segments on a deeper level, he may find that a good portion of his audience is male and these men order more expensive items, likely as gifts. The jeweler should absolutely create another set of ads that resonate with a male audience.

One of our account managers, Allen Finn, shared a real-life example of this in a post on how small businesses can compete with the big guys. His team, who was working with a weight-loss client, recognized that, while men were less likely to click on their ads than women, they were significantly more likely to follow through with a conversion. In an effort to boost click-through rates for these ideal male prospects, they created this ad below.

The new ad yielded a significant uptick in click-through rates and astounding CPAs (3x less than the account average). As you can see, simply adjusting the ad content can pay dividends.

Want more tips? Here are 7 Steps to Master the Google Display Network.

Creative Display Ad Tip #3: Get Your Mind IN the Gutter

We’ve all heard it—sex sells. In fact, invoking sexual innuendo is one of the strongest and most effective marketing tactics. Of course, this tactic is nothing new. We can track it all the way back to 1871, when Pearl Tobacco began printing naked maidens on their packaging, leading to an abrupt uptick in sales. Fellow marketers took note and the strategy spread like…wildfire.

But before you start swapping all of the models in your image ads for scantily clad replacements, remember that most online advertising platforms have strict policies prohibiting erotic images in ads. To make it through the approval process, marketers must be stealthy and use images or messages that simply imply sex. I love this example, from Volkswagen. The image and copy is completely PG, but the innuendo is clear.

Here at WordStream, we stumbled upon success with this tactic completely by accident. We created a guide titled “69 Creative Marketing Ideas to Boost Your Business” and began promoting it through our social channels. Engagement rates for these shares soared, so we dove into the data and recognized that people were commenting and sharing the posts due to the (unintentionally racy) numerical reference in the title. Because it was gaining such visibility, we also saw an impressive number of people clicking on the URL to view the guide. Based on its success organically, we began using paid ads to promote this guide.

Creative Display Ad Tip #4: Go EMO

Leveraging emotional triggers in ad copy is one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience. According to Courtney Seiter, Content Marketing Manager at Buffer, the four “basic” emotions are happiness, sadness, surprise and anger or disgust. Humans respond to each of these emotions differently, but they all incite them to take action.

Earlier this year, we worked with a client to provided weight loss solutions. Originally, they were running the ad below which features a generic stock photo. Not only is the image easily overlooked, it hardly screams “it’s time to lose weight”. In fact, until you read the text blurb, it’s unclear that the ad has anything to do with weight-loss services.

Recognizing that this ad was destroying the campaign’s performance, our strategy team decided to take a vastly different approach. They wanted their ads to connect with viewers on a personal level, urging them to seek help immediately. To achieve this, they created an ad that provoked disgust.

It was served solely to a male audience and the results were astounding.  The grotesque image of the beer belly, coupled with the “size does matter” double-entendre, caught viewers’ attention. It hit home for those whose midsections looked strikingly similar, yielding a 47% higher CTR than the original ad. For more examples of “wins” with emotion ad copy, check out Helen’s post on the emotional science behind PPC ads.

Creative Display Ad Tip #5: Channel Your Inner Comedian

There’s no disputing that humor works wonders when it comes to advertising. In fact, according to a study published by the Journal of Marketing in 1993, when the humorous images and copy coincide with ad objectives, they are “more likely to secure audience attention, increase memorability, overcome sales resistance and enhance message persuasiveness”. Based on these findings, who wouldn’t want to integrate humor into their marketing strategy?

Unfortunately, there’s no secret sauce to building funny ad copy. We recommend brain storming with your team, customer focus groups and even turning to local comedians for inspiration. Even if you don’t have a super-exciting product offering, a little creativity can go a long way, as you can see in GoDaddy’s witty banner below.

When in doubt, borrow from widely-known cultural references (just be sure you’re abiding by the platform’s advertising guidelines). While the ad below isn’t hilarious in its own right, viewers associate it with Will Ferrell’s Anchorman movie, which is riddled with slapstick humor. The quote below the image, which is also from Anchorman, reiterates this. Even better, when users click to like it, the heart appears directly over both the ice cream and Ron Burgundy’s heart. Pretty clever, right?

Creative Display Ad Tip #6: Implement a Feel-Good Discount

I am the biggest sucker for discounts. A few years ago, a blue satin dress at TJ Maxx caught my eye. I didn’t love the style, but the fabric was pretty and the length was perfect for my stumpy, 5-foot-1 frame. I figured I’d give it a shot and headed to the changing room. I was on the fence about it, so I made a deal with myself—if it was below $75, I’d buy it, above $75 and it’d land in the discard pile.

I took a look at the price tag and, at $109, it came in over budget. However, I then noticed that it was a Stella McCartney, designer dress originally priced at $1,750. That’s discount of 94% off! Let me repeat, a NINETY-FOUR PERCENT discount. Needless to say, I made the purchase and, despite spending a little more than intended, I felt great about it, even proud.  I had scored an AMAZING discount.

Salma Hayek has the exact same dress! And yeah, she may have styled it better but I bet she didn’t score the same discount…

The bottom line here is that humans are more likely to follow through with a purchase when we feel like we’re getting a deal on it. Advertisers should take advantage of this and include special offers or discounts in their display ads.

To truly determine what resonates with your audience, experiment with multiple offers. In the example below, you can see that we experimented with two different options, Free Shipping and 50% off. The client’s click-through rates DOUBLED when we switched to the second offer. Another example might be to test a 50% discount versus $10 off the order.

Of course, you’ll need to be mindful of which offers make the most sense for your business model, but this tactic is definitely worth exploring!

Creative Display Ad Tip #7: Pick Your Color Palette Wisely

Every detail matters when you’re building your image ads and color choice is no exception. To choose the main color for your ad, consider the psychological association we have with different colors.

Source: KissMetrics’ Infographic, How Do Colors Affect Purchases?

Once you’ve chosen your primary color, pair it with a contrasting color to ensure that your text is easy to read and your CTA button is highly visible. Use the handy chart below for help picking the perfect combination.

Source: SnackToolsBlog Post 

Finally, when selecting your color scheme, consider the background on which your ads will be displayed. Of course, with the GDN this is often unknown and frequently changing. However, on social platforms you know exactly what backdrop you’re working with. For example, the Facebook platform is blue and white. Ads that are predominantly blue and white are at risk of blending in with the Newsfeed, thus garnering very little traffic. Instead, advertisers should use contrasting colors to make their ads stand out.

I love this example from Tough Mudder, which really pops on the newsfeed. Whose eyes wouldn’t be drawn to all that bright orange?

Creative Display Ad Tip #8: Shock Viewers with Unexpected Images

With ads cluttering the internet, it’s tough to create ads that stand out. One highly effective way to cut through the noise is to use audacious images to elicit a reaction from viewers. This technique, which has been dubbed “shockvertising”, evokes strong feelings among viewers, making them more likely to engage with the ad and remember it.

While digital advertisers should employ this wisely—steering clear of blood and gore, hypersexualized images and the like—a little creativity can go a long way with this tactic. I love the example above, which is for motor engine oil. The initial message “he burnt a newborn baby’s hand” paints the subject as a villain, but it goes on to say “but he save the rest of it from a burning building” turning him into a hero. They deftly intertwine this with the tagline “it’s what’s inside the counts.”

Finally, I’ll leave you with the advice I was given when building my first display ads—“When in doubt, turn to puppies or babies.”  They seem to do the trick, regardless of the product you’re selling or who your target audience is.

Source: www.wordstream.com

SEO Basics

SEO Basics

SEO
Basics: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Search Engine Optimization

WordStream has come to be known mostly as a PPC destination. But we also know a thing or two about SEO, and people ask us all the time for a primer on SEO basics. So we’re delivering: This article will be an introduction and overview of search engine optimization (SEO), a mandatory marketing tactic if you want your website to be found through search engines like Google.

SEO Basics Guide

In this guide to SEO for beginners, you’ll learn:

  1. What is SEO & Why is it Important?
  2. Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best
    Practices
  3. On-Page Optimization Best Practices
  4. Information Architecture Best Practices
  5. How to Execute Content Marketing & Link Building
  6. Common Technical SEO Issues & Best Practices
  7. How to Track & Measure SEO Results
  8. Additional SEO Considerations (Such as Mobile,
    International & Local SEO Best Practices)

By the time you reach the end of this SEO basics
guide, you’ll have a strong understanding of what search engine optimization
is, why it’s valuable and important, and how to get great results in an
ever-changing SEO environment.

1. What is SEO
& Why is it Important?

You’ve likely heard of SEO, and if you haven’t
already, you could obtain a quick Wikipedia definition of the term,
but understanding that SEO is “the process of affecting the visibility of a
website or a web page in a search engine’s unpaid results” doesn’t really help
you answer important questions for your business and your website, such as:

  • How do you, for your site or your company’s site, “optimize” for
    search engines?
  • How do you know how much time to spend on SEO?
  • How can you differentiate “good” SEO advice from “bad” or harmful
    SEO advice?

What’s likely interesting to you as a business
owner or employee is how you can actually leverage SEO to help drive more
relevant traffic, leads, sales, and ultimately revenue and profit for your
business. That’s what we’ll focus on in this guide.

Why Should You Care About SEO?

Lots and lots of people search for
things. That traffic can be extremely powerful for a business not only because
there is a lot of traffic, but because there is a lot of very specific,
high-intent traffic
.

If you sell blue widgets, would you rather buy a
billboard so anyone with a car in your area sees your ad (whether they will
ever have any interest in blue widgets or not), or show up every time anyone in
the world types “buy blue widgets” into a search engine? Probably the latter,
because those people have commercial
intent
, meaning they are standing up and saying that
they want to buy something you offer
.

seo primer

People are searching for any manner of things
directly related to your business. Beyond that, your prospects are also
searching for all kinds of things that are only loosely related to your
business. These represent even more opportunities to connect with those folks
and help answer their questions, solve their problems, and become a trusted
resource for them.

Are you more likely to get your widgets from a
trusted resource who offered great information each of the last four times you
turned to Google for help with a problem, or someone you’ve never heard of?

What Actually Works
for Driving Traffic from Search Engines?

First it’s important to note that Google is
responsible for most of the search engine traffic in the
world (though there is always some flux in the actual numbers). This
may vary from niche to niche, but it’s likely that Google is the dominant
player in the search results that your business or website would want to show
up in, and the best practices outlined in this guide will help position your
site and its content to rank in other search engines, as well.

Regardless of what search engine you use, search
results are constantly changing. Google particularly has updated lots of things surrounding how they rank websites by way of lots of different animal names recently,
and a lot of the easiest and cheapest ways to get your pages to rank in search
results have become extremely risky in recent years.

So what works? How does Google determine which
pages to return in response to what people search for? How do you get all of
this valuable traffic to your site?

Google’s algorithm is extremely complex, and I’ll
share some links for anyone looking to dive deeper into how Google ranks sites
at the end of this section, but at an extremely high level:

  • Google is looking for pages that contain high-quality,
    relevant information
     about the searcher’s query.
  • They determine relevance by “crawling” (or reading) your website’s
    content and evaluating (algorithmically) whether that content is relevant
    to what the searcher is looking for, mostly based on the keywords it contains.
  • They determine “quality” by a number of means, but prominent among
    those is still the number and quality of other websites that link to your
    page and your site as a whole. To put it extremely simply: If the only
    sites that link to your blue widget site are blogs that no one else on the
    Web has linked to, and my blue widget site gets links from trusted places
    that are linked to frequently, like CNN.com, my site will be more trusted
    (and assumed to be higher quality) than yours.

Increasingly, additional elements are being weighed
by Google’s algorithm to determine where your site will rank, such as:

  • How people engage with your site (Do they find the information they
    need and stay on your site, or bounce back to the search page and click on another
    link? Or do they just ignore your listing in search results altogether and
    never click-through?)
  • Your site’s loading speed and “mobile
    friendliness”
  • How much unique content you have (versus very “thin” low-value
    content or duplicate content)

There are hundreds of ranking factors Google’s
algorithm considers in response to searches, and they are constantly updating
and refining their process.

The good news is, you don’t have to be a search
engine scholar to rank for valuable terms in search results. We’ll walk
through proven, repeatable best practices for optimizing
websites for search that can help you drive targeted traffic through search
without having to reverse-engineer the core competency of one of the world’s
most valuable companies.

If you’re interested in learning more about how
search engines work, there are a ton of great resources available, including:

Now, back to SEO basics! Let’s get into the actual
SEO tactics and strategies that will help you get more traffic from search
engines.

2. Keyword
Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices

The first step in search engine optimization is
really to determine what it is you’re actually optimizing for. This means identifying
the terms people are searching for (also known as “keywords”)
 that you
want your website to rank for in search engines like Google.

Sounds simple enough, right? I want my widget
company to show up when people look for “widgets,” and maybe when they type in
things like “buy widgets.” Onto step three!

Unfortunately it’s not quite that simple. There are
a few key factors to take into account when determining the keywords you want
to target on your site:

  • Search Volume – The first factor to
    consider is how many people (if any) are actually searching for a given
    keyword. The more people there are searching for a keyword, the bigger the
    audience you stand to reach. Conversely, if no one is searching for a
    keyword, there is no audience available to find your content through
    search.
  • Relevance – If a term is frequently searched for
    that’s great: but what if it’s not completely relevant to your
    prospects
    ? Relevance seems straight-forward at first: if you’re
    selling enterprise email marketing automation software you don’t want to
    show up for searches that don’t have anything to do with your business,
    like “pet supplies.” But what about terms like “email marketing software”?
    This might intuitively seem like a great description of what you do, but
    if you’re selling to Fortune 100 companies, most of the traffic for this
    very competitive term will be searchers who don’t have any interest in buying
    your software (and the folks you do want to reach might never buy your
    expensive, complex solution based on a simple Google search). Conversely,
    you might think a tangential keyword like “best enterprise PPC marketing
    solutions” is totally irrelevant to your business since you don’t sell PPC
    marketing software. But if your prospect is a CMO or marketing director,
    getting in front of them with a helpful resource on evaluating
    pay-per-click tools could be a great “first touch” and an excellent way to
    start a relationship with a prospective buyer.
  • Competition – As with any business
    opportunity, in SEO you want to consider the potential costs and
    likelihood of success. For SEO, this means understanding the relative
    competition (and likelihood to rank) for specific terms.

First you need to understand who your prospective
customers are and what they’re likely to search for. If you don’t already
understand who your prospects are, thinking about that is a good place to start, for your business in
general but also for SEO.

From there you want to understand:

  • What types of things are they interested in?
  • What problems do they have?
  • What type of language do they use to describe the things that they
    do, the tools that they use, etc.?
  • Who else are they buying things from (this means your competitors,
    but also could mean tangential, related tools – for the email marketing
    company, think other enterprise marketing tools)?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have
an initial “seed list” of possible keywords and domains to help you get
additional keyword ideas and to put some search volume and competition metrics
around.

Take the list of core ways that your prospects and
customers describe what you do, and start to input those into keyword tools
like Google’s own keyword tool or tools
like Uber
Suggest
 or WordStream’s keyword tool:

You can find a more comprehensive list of keyword
tools below, but the main idea is that in this initial step, you’ll want to run
a number of searches with a variety of different keyword tools. You can also
use competitive keyword tools like SEM Rush to see what terms your
competitors are ranking for. These tools look at thousands of different search
results, and will show you each search term they’ve seen your competitor
ranking in Google for lately. Here’s what SEM Rush shows for marketing
automation provider Marketo:

SEMRush Keyword Data

Again: this doesn’t just have to be something you
look at for competitors. You could look at related tools that are selling to
the same market for content ideas, and even look at the major
niche publishers who talk about your topic (and that your prospects are
reading) and see what kinds of keywords those sites are driving traffic for.

Additionally, if you have an existing site, you’re
likely getting some traffic from search engines already. If that’s the case,
you can use some of your own keyword data to help you understand which terms
are driving traffic (and which you might be able to rank a bit better for).

Unfortunately, Google has stopped delivering a lot of the information about what
people are searching for to analytics providers
, but you can use SEM
Rush (or similar tools, such as SpyFuon your own site to
get a sense of the terms you’re ranking for and their estimated search volume.
Google also makes a bit more of this data available in their free Webmaster
Tools interface (if you haven’t set up an account, this is a very
valuable SEO tool both for unearthing search query
data and for diagnosing various technical SEO issues –
more on Webmaster Tools set up here).

Once Webmaster Tools is set up, you can navigate
to this link when logged in and see the
search queries that are driving traffic to your site:

These could be good terms to focus additional
content promotion and internal linking around (more on each of those topics
later), and could also be great “seed keywords” to help you get more great
ideas about what to target.

Once you’ve taken the time to understand how your
prospects talk and what they search for, have looked at the keywords driving
traffic to your competitors and related sites, and have looked at the terms
driving traffic to your own site, you need to work to understand which
terms you can conceivably rank for
 and where the best
opportunities actually lie
.

Determining the relative competition of a keyword
can be a fairly complex task. At a very high level, you need to understand:

  • How trusted and authoritative (in other words: how many links does
    the whole site get, and how high quality, trusted, and relevant are those
    linking sites?) other entire sites that will be competing to rank for the
    same term are
  • How well aligned they are with the keyword itself (do they offer a
    great answer to that searcher’s question)
  • How popular and authoritative each individual page in
    that search result is (in other words: how many links does the page itself
    have, and how high quality, trusted, and relevant are those linking
    sites?)

You can dive deeper into the process of determining
how competitive keywords are in Backlinko’s
in-depth guide
 or by using WordStream founder Larry Kim’s competitive index formula (tip
number 3).

There are also a variety of different tools (most
of them paid) that offer keyword difficulty scores:

And while it’s more advanced in nature, Nick
Eubanks’ post about understanding rank potential offers
a great in-depth look at not only understanding but creating an actionable
formula for determining keyword competition and your own site’s actual
likelihood of ranking for a term.

If you’re looking to dive even deeper into the
topic of keyword research and keyword targeting, there are several great
resources on the topic:

3. On-Page
Optimization

Once you have your keyword list, the next step is
actually implementing your targeted keywords into your site’s content. Each
page on your site should be targeting a core term, and a “basket” of related
terms. In his overview of the perfectly optimized page Rand
Fishkin offers a nice visual of what a well (or perfectly) optimized page looks
like:

Let’s look at a few critical, basic on-page
elements you’ll want to understand as you think about how to drive search engine
traffic to your website:

Title Tags

While Google is working to better understand the
actual meaning of a page and de-emphasizing (and even punishing) aggressive and
manipulative use of keywords, including the term (and related terms) that you
want to rank for in your pages is still valuable. And the single most impactful
place you can put your keyword is your page’s title tag.

The title tag is not your page’s
primary headline. The headline you see on the page is typically an H1 (or
possibly an H2) HTML element. The title tag is what you can see at the very top
of your browser, and is populated by your page’s source code in a meta tag:

The length of a title tag that Google will show
will vary (it’s based on pixels, not character counts) but in general 55-60 characters is a good rule of thumb here.
If possible you want to work in your core keyword, and if you can do it in a
natural and compelling way, add some related modifiers around that term as
well. Keep in mind though: the title tag will frequently be what a searcher
sees in search results for your page. It’s the “headline” in organic search
results, so you also want to take how clickable your title tag is into
account.

Meta Descriptions

While the title tag is effectively your search
listing’s headline, the meta description (another meta HTML element that can be
updated in your site’s code, but isn’t seen on your actual page) is effectively
your site’s additional ad copy. Google takes some liberties with what they
display in search results, so your meta description may not always show, but if
you have a compelling description of your page that would make folks searching
likely to click, you can greatly increase traffic. (Remember: showing up in
search results is just the first step! You still need to get searchers to come
to your site, and then actually take the action you want.)

Here’s an example of a real world meta description
showing in search results:

Body Content

The actual content of your page itself is, of
course, very important. Different types of pages will have different “jobs” –
your cornerstone content asset that you want
lots of folks to link to needs to be very different than your support content
that you want to make sure your users find and get an answer from quickly. That
said, Google has been increasingly favoring certain types of content, and as
you build out any of the pages on your site, there are a few things to keep in
mind:

  • Thick & Unique Content –
    There is no magic number in terms of word count, and if you have a few
    pages of content on your site with a handful to a couple hundred words you
    won’t be falling out of Google’s good graces, but in general recent Panda updates in particular favor
    longer, unique content. If you have a large number (think thousands) of
    extremely short (50-200 words of content) pages or lots of duplicated content where nothing changes but the
    page’s title tag
     and say a line of text, that could get
    you in trouble. Look at the entirety of your site: are a large percentage
    of your pages thin, duplicated and low value? If so, try to identify a way
    to “thicken” those pages, or check your analytics to see how much traffic
    they’re getting, and simply exclude them (using a noindex meta tag) from search
    results to keep from having it appear to Google that you’re trying to
    flood their index with lots of low value pages in an attempt to have them
    rank.
  • Engagement – Google is
    increasingly weighting engagement and user experience metrics more
    heavily. You can impact this by making sure your content answers the
    questions searchers are asking so that they’re likely to stay on your page
    and engage with your content. Make sure your pages load quickly and don’t
    have design elements (such as overly aggressive ads above the content)
    that would be likely to turn searchers off and send them away.
  • “Sharability” – Not every single
    piece of content on your site will be linked to and shared hundreds of
    times. But in the same way you want to be careful of not rolling out large
    quantities of pages that have thin content, you want to consider who would
    be likely to share and link to new pages you’re creating on your
    site before you roll them out. Having large quantities of
    pages that aren’t likely to be shared or linked to
    doesn’t position those pages to rank well in search results, and doesn’t
    help to create a good picture of your site as a whole for search engines,
    either.

Alt Attributes

How you mark up your images can impact not only the way that
search engines perceive your page, but also how much search traffic from image
search your site generates. An alt attribute is an HTML element that allows you
to provide alternative information for an image if a user can’t view it. Your
images may break over time (files get deleted, users have difficulty connecting
to your site, etc.) so having a useful description of the image can be helpful
from an overall usability perspective. This also gives you another opportunity
– outside of your content – to help search engines understand what your page is
about.

You don’t want to “keyword stuff” and cram your core keyword and
every possible variation of it into your alt attribute. In fact, if it doesn’t
fit naturally into the description, don’t include your target keyword here at
all. Just be sure not to skip the alt attribute, and try to give a thorough,
accurate description of the image (imagine you’re describing it to someone who
can’t see it – that’s what it’s there for!).

By writing naturally about your topic, you’re
avoiding “over-optimization” filters (in other words: it doesn’t make it look
like you’re trying to trick Google into ranking your page for your target
keyword) and you give yourself a better chance to rank for valuable modified
“long tail” variations
 of your core topic.

URL Structure

Your site’s URL structure can be important both from
a tracking perspective (you can more easily segment data in reports using a
segmented, logical URL structure), and a shareability standpoint (shorter,
descriptive URLs are easier to copy and paste and tend to get mistakenly cut
off less frequently). Again: don’t work to cram in as many keywords as
possible; create a short, descriptive URL.

Moreover: if you don’t have to, don’t change your
URLs. Even if your URLs aren’t “pretty,” if you don’t feel as though they’re
negatively impacting users and your business in general, don’t change them to
be more keyword focused for “better SEO.” If you do have to change your URL
structure, make sure to use the proper (301 permanent) type of redirect. This
is a common mistake businesses make when they redesign their
websites
.

Additional URL resources:

Schema & Markup

Finally, once you have all of the standard on-page
elements taken care of, you can consider going a step further and better
helping Google (and other search engines, which also recognize schema) to
understand your page.

Schema markup does not make your page show up
higher in search results (it’s not a ranking factor, currently). It does give
your listing some additional “real estate” in the search results, the way ad
extensions do for your Google Ads (formerly known as AdWords) ads.

In some search results, if no one else is using
schema, you can get a nice advantage in click-through rate by virtue of the
fact that your site is showing things like ratings while others don’t. In other
search results, where everyone is using schema, having reviews may be “table
stakes” and you might be hurting your Google CTR by omitting them:

There are a variety of different types of markup
you can include on your site – most probably won’t apply to your business, but
it’s likely that at least one form of markup will apply to at least some of
your site’s pages. 

You can learn more about schema & markup with
any of these resources:

Also check out our walkthrough on off-page SEO (the factors on other sites
that can affect your own site’s rankings).

4. Information
Architecture & Internal Linking

Information architecture refers to how you organize
the pages on your website. The way that you organize your website and interlink
between your pages can impact how various content on your site ranks in
response to searches.

The reason for this is that search engines largely
perceive links as “votes of confidence” and a means to help understand both
what a page is about, and how important it is (and how trusted it should be).

Search engines also look at the actual text you use
to link to pages, called anchor text – using descriptive text to
link to a page on your site helps Google understand what that page is about
(but in a post-Penguin world especially, be sure
not to be overly aggressive in cramming your keywords into linking text).

In the same way that a link from CNN is an
indication that your site could be important, if you are linking to a specific
page aggressively from various areas on your site, that’s an indication to
search engines that that specific page is very important to your site.
Additionally: the pages on your site that have the most external votes (links
from other, trusted sites) have the most power to help the other pages on your
site rank in search results.

This relates back to a concept called “PageRank.”
PageRank is no longer used in the same way it was when initially implemented,
but if you’re looking to understand the topic more deeply here are some good
resources:

Let’s walk through a quick example to help you
understand the concept of how link equity (or the number and quality of links
pointed to a page) impacts site architecture and how you link internally. Let’s
imagine we have a snow removal site:

  1. We publish an amazing study on the impact of snow on construction
    in the winter in cold weather climates. It gets linked to from all over
    the web.
  2. The study is published on our main snow removal site. All of the
    other pages are simple sales-oriented pages explaining various aspects of
    our company’s snow removal offerings. No external site has linked to any
    of these pages.
  3. The study itself may be well-positioned to rank well in search
    results for various phrases. The sales-oriented pages much less so. By
    linking from our study to our most
    important sales-oriented pages, however, we can pass some of the trust and
    authority of our guide onto those pages. They won’t be as well positioned
    to rank in search results as our study, but they’ll be much better
    positioned than when they had no authoritative documents (on our site or
    on other sites) pointing to them. An important additional note here: in
    this example our most-linked to page is our fictitious study. In many
    cases, your most linked to page will be your home page (the page that
    people link to when they talk about you, when you get press, etc.)
    so being sure to link strategically to the most important pages on
    your site from your home page is very important
    .

Information architecture can be an extremely
complex topic – particularly for larger sites – and there are a number of great
additional resources below with more specific answers listed at the end of this
section, but at a high level the most important things to keep in mind are:

  • You want to understand your
    most linked-to pages
     (use tools like Ahrefs, Majestic SEO, or Moz
    and look at “top pages” reports to determine these).
  • Keep your most important search pages (the pages you are using to
    target your most valuable keywords) “high up” in your information
    architecture
    : this means linking to them often in
    navigation elements and linking to them whenever possible from your most
    linked-to pages (e.g., make sure your home page and your site’s version of
    our hit snow study are linking to the most valuable pages on your site
    from a search perspective – your “money pages”).
  • In general you want to have a “flat information architecture” for
    your site
     – meaning that you keep any pages that
    you want to have rank in search engines as few clicks as possible from
    your home page and most linked-to pages. See this older video for a more in-depth
    explanation of how to flatten your site’s structure

Below are a number of additional resources around
information architecture (many of these are older resources, but the SEO principles
outlined in them still largely hold true):

5. Content
Marketing & Link Building

Since Google’s algorithm is still largely based on
links, having a number of high-quality links to your site is obviously
incredibly important in driving search traffic: you can do all the work you
want on on-page and technical SEO, if you don’t have links to your site, you
won’t show up in search results listings.

There are a number of ways to get links to your
site, but as Google and other search engines become more and more
sophisticated, many of them have become extremely risky (even if they may still
work in the short-term). If you are new to SEO and are looking to leverage the
channel, these riskier and more aggressive means of trying to get links likely
aren’t a good fit for your business, as you won’t know how to properly navigate
the pitfalls and evaluate the risks. Furthermore, trying to create
links specifically to manipulate Google rankings doesn’t create any other value
for your business in the event that the search engine algorithms shift and your
rankings disappear.

A more sustainable approach to developing links is
to focus on more general, sustainable marketing approaches such as creating and
promoting useful content that also includes specific terms you’d want to rank
for and engaging in traditional PR for your business.

The process of creating and promoting content that
will get you links and social shares is a labor-intensive one. Once again
you’ll find more detailed step-by-step guides to various aspects of content
marketing below, and there are a lot of different ways to effectively create
content, help it to get discovered, and rank well in search results. Most
approaches, however, will require you to walk through some variation of the
following three core steps:

1. Identify & Understand Your
Linking & Sharing Audience

The first thing you need to do in working to get
traction for your content, is understand who is likely to link
to and share your content. There are several tools to help you identify
influencers within your niche who might share your content, but probably the most
powerful is BuzzSumo:

Similar tools include FollowerWonkLittle Bird and Ahrefs. More
detailed tutorials on using these tools to better understand your niche are
included below.

The idea in leveraging these tools is to first
identify the thought leaders and potential linkers in your space, and
then understand what they share and link to. Find out what their
problems are, what types of content they typically share, and start to think
about how you can create something they would find valuable and want to share
with their audience (who would also find it valuable).

As you work through this process, start to think
about what you can do for these influencers. How could you help them with their
own projects? What can you do (unsolicited) that would help them achieve their
own goals or what could you create or offer that would be of value to the
audience they are creating content for and trying to help? Do
you have access to unique data or knowledge that would help them do their jobs
better? If you can consistently be of use to smart content creators in
your niche, you’ll start to build powerful relationships that will pay
dividends as you’re creating content
.

Before you create a major piece of content, you
should have already thought about how that content will get shared: who will
share it, and why would they?

2. Determining What Content You Can
Create & How You Can Promote It

Next you have to try to understand what your own
capabilities are, and what kind of content you can create that will be likely
to be shared and promoted by others.

A number of different types of content assets will
be shareable:

Focus on creating different content assets that
will be of real value, have a plan for promoting those assets, and don’t be shy
about letting people who you’ve featured or whose audience would benefit from
your resource know that it exists.

3. Map Your Assets to Specific
Keywords

Finally, don’t forget about your keywords! This
doesn’t mean that every time you create a great resource you need to cram in a
keyword that doesn’t fit: it means that you can use keyword research as
a means for discovering pain points 
(if people are turning to search
engines to look for things, they want content that provides a great answer to
their question!), and that as you create new assets you want to look for the
different ways you can incorporate the language your prospects and customers
are using into your assets: particularly those that will actually get linked to
and shared (as you will increasingly need to get some sort of distribution for
pages where you want them to rank for valuable keywords).

Additional Resources:

6. Common
Technical SEO Issues & Best Practices

While basics of SEO like the most efficient ways to build
links to drive search engine rankings have changed in recent years (and content marketing has become increasingly
important) what many people would think of as more “traditional SEO” is still
incredibly valuable in generating traffic from search engines. As we’ve already
discussed, keyword research is still valuable, and technical SEO issues that
keep Google and other search engines from understanding and ranking sites’
content are still prevalent.

Technical SEO for larger, more complicated sites is
really its own discipline, but there are some common mistakes and issues that
most sites face that even smaller to mid-sized businesses can benefit from
being aware of:

Page Speed

Search engines are placing an increasing emphasis
on having fast-loading sites – the good news is this is not only beneficial for
search engines, but also for your users and your site’s conversion rates.
Google has actually created a useful tool here to give you
some specific suggestions on what to change on your site to address page speed
issues.

Mobile Friendliness

If your site is driving (or could be driving)
significant search engine traffic from mobile searches, how “mobile friendly”
your site is will impact your rankings on mobile devices, which is a
fast-growing segment. In some niches, mobile traffic already outweighs desktop
traffic.

Google recently announced an algorithm update
focused on this specifically. You can find out more about how to see what kind
of mobile search engine traffic is coming to your site along with some specific
recommendations for things to update in my recent post, and here again Google
offers a very helpful free tool to get recommendations on how to
make your site more mobile-friendly
.

Header Response

Header response codes are an important technical
SEO issue. If you’re not particularly technical, this can be a complex topic
(and again more thorough resources are listed below) but you want to make sure
that working pages are returning the correct code to search engines (200), and
that pages that are not found are also returning a code to represent that they
are no longer present (a 404). Getting these codes wrong can indicate to Google
and other search engines that a “Page Not Found” page is in fact a functioning
page, which makes it look like a thin or duplicated page, or even worse: you can indicate to Google that all of your site’s
content is actually 404s
 (so that none of your pages are
indexed and eligible to rank). You can use a server header checker to see the
status codes that your pages are returning when search engines crawl them.

Redirects

Improperly implementing redirects on your site can
have a serious impact on search results. Whenever you can avoid it, you want to
keep from moving your site’s content from one URL to another; in other words:
if your content is on example.com/page, and that page is getting search engine
traffic, you want to avoid moving all of the content to
example.com/different-url/newpage.html, unless there is an extremely
strong business reason
 that would outweigh a possible short-term or
even long-term loss in search engine traffic. If you do need to move content,
you want to make sure that you implement permanent (or 301) redirects for
content that is moving permanently, as temporary (or 302) redirects (which are
frequently used by developers) indicate to Google that the move may not be
permanent, and that they shouldn’t move all of the link equity and ranking
power to the new URL. (Further, changing your URL structure could create broken links, hurting your referral traffic streams and making it
difficult for visitors to navigate your site.)

Duplicate Content

Thin and duplicated content is another area of
emphasis with Google’s recent Panda updates. By duplicating content (putting
the same or near-identical content on multiple pages), you’re diluting link
equity between two pages instead of concentrating it on one page, giving you
less of a chance of ranking for competitive phrases with sites that are
consolidating their link equity into a single document. Having large quantities
of duplicated content makes your site look like it is cluttered with
lower-quality (and possibly manipulative) content in the eyes of search
engines.

There are a number of things that can cause
duplicate or thin content. These problems can be difficult to diagnose, but you
can look at Webmaster Tools under Search Appearance > HTML Improvements to
get a quick diagnosis.

And check out Google’s own breakdown on duplicate content. Many paid SEO
tools also offer a means for discovering duplicate content, such as Moz analytics and Screaming Frog SEO Spider.

XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps can help Google and Bing understand
your site and find all of its content. Just be sure not to include pages that
aren’t useful, and know that submitting a page to a search engine in a sitemap
doesn’t insure that the page will actually rank for anything. There are a number of free tools to
generate XML sitemaps.

Robots.txt, Meta NoIndex, & Meta
NoFollow

Finally, you can indicate to search engines how you
want them to handle certain content on your site (for instance if you’d like
them not to crawl a specific section of your site) in a robots.txt file. This file likely already
exists for your site at yoursite.com/robots.txt. You want to make sure this
file isn’t currently blocking anything you’d want a search engine to find from
being added to their index, and you also can use the robots file to keep things
like staging servers or swaths of thin or duplicate content that are valuable
for internal use or customers from being indexed by search engines. You can use
the meta noindex and meta nofollow tags for similar purposes,
though each functions differently from one another.

Additional Resources:

7. How to Track
& Measure SEO Results

So once you start writing your awesome SEO content and putting all of
these steps into motion, how do you actually track whether and how well it’s
working?

On its face this question has a fairly
straightforward answer, with some key metrics to focus on, but with each metric
there are some key factors to consider as you measure your site’s SEO
performance.

Keyword Rankings

Looking at where your site ranks for a list of
keywords certainly isn’t a final destination – you can’t pay your staff in
rankings, things like personalization in search results have made them variable
across different locations, and therefore hard to track, and of course all they
indicate is where you show up in search results. Some would even go so far as to declare them dead. But
getting a rough idea of where your site ranks for core terms can be a useful
leading indicator of your site’s health. This doesn’t mean you should
get overly obsessed with rankings for any one term
. Remember: your ultimate
goal is to drive more relevant traffic that drives more business –
if you sell blue widgets, is it more important that you rank for “blue widgets”
or that you outline and execute an SEO strategy that helps you sell more blue
widgets in the most cost-efficient way possible? Use rankings as a general
health check, not a course-charting KPI.

A number of tools can help you check your rankings.
Most offer fairly similar functionality but features like local or mobile
rankings are sometimes unique in some of the tools. If you’re a small business
or just getting started with SEO, I’d recommend picking a free and easy-to-use
tool and just keeping an eye on a handful of the core terms you want to track
to help you gauge progress.

Organic Traffic

Organic traffic is a much better leading indicator
of the health of your SEO efforts. By looking at the organic traffic to your
site, you can get a gauge for the actual volume of visitors coming to your
site, and where they’re going.

You can measure your organic traffic easily with
most analytics tools – since it’s free and the most-used, we’ll look at how to
get this information in Google Analytics.

For a quick check, you can simply look at your
site’s main reporting page and click on “All Sessions” to filter for organic
traffic (traffic from search engines that excludes paid search traffic):

You can also drill down to look at the specific
pages driving traffic and goals by creating a custom report and designating
users and goal completions as your metrics, and landing pages as your
dimension:

Note: Make sure once you view this report that
you’re selecting the organic traffic segment again, or you’ll be looking at all
of your traffic by page rather than just unpaid traffic driven by search
engines.

This can be powerful for sites just getting started
with SEO, because frequently most of your site’s traffic will be driven by
what’s known as “branded queries,” or searches that contain your company’s
brand name (for instance a branded search for WordStream might be “WordStream
PPC” versus a non-branded search term, which might be “pay-per-click
software”). You clearly want to have people searching for your brand, and of
course you want them to find you when they do, but unless your site has been
penalized by Google, you will almost certainly rank for your brand and have
that branded traffic come to your site’s home page. What most of your ongoing
SEO efforts should be centered around is driving incremental traffic to the
site (people who might not have found and engaged with you otherwise).

As I mentioned in the keyword section of the guide,
unfortunately Google has made it difficult to get data around the actual
keywords people are searching for, but by looking at page-level traffic
(outside of your site’s home page) you can start to glean insight into your
overall SEO progress. Looking at rank data and using the tactics mentioned in
the keyword section of this guide will also help you to get more insight into
the actual terms that are driving traffic (and whether your SEO growth is being
driven by optimization efforts rather than off-line marketing).

Organic Leads & Sales

Obviously the primary way to measure your search
engine optimization results should be actual leads, sales, revenue and profit.
Like with any business activity you need to answer: how does the activity help
to move your bottom line?

The simplest path here is to set up goals or
e-commerce tracking in a tool like Google Analytics. You can use the above
report to look at organic traffic and goals (or different e-commerce metrics)
by landing page, which means that you are specifically looking at who converts
among the people who are landing on your site from an organic search (versus
people who may have come to your site from PPC or another channel within the
window that your analytics tracking can track, then searched for you, then
converted).

This seems pretty straightforward, and generally
for most businesses is a good initial way to measure the success of your SEO
efforts, but again there are a few caveats and things to keep in mind with this
data:

  • Web-based analytics is always imperfect. If you’re transitioning from billboards or newspaper ads to
    online marketing, you’ll likely be impressed by the volume and precision
    of the data available, but there can frequently be a variety of different
    tracking issues that can make the data you’re seeing anywhere from
    slightly to wildly off – always have a degree of skepticism about data
    that doesn’t seem to add up, and do what you can to have some checks in
    place to make sure that your analytics information is synced to your
    actual revenue and spend data.
  • Your system might create gaps in tracking. If you have a back-end system that you can’t quite tie to
    analytics for some reason, you might have some gaps between what you can
    track as goals and actual sales.
  • Attribution and life-time value metrics can be tricky. This is more of a business and web metrics problem than
    something specific to SEO, but figuring out how you attribute sales to
    different channels and factoring in life-time value to your site’s traffic
    can be tricky. Make sure you’re applying the same types of tough questions
    and attempting to measure SEO the same way you would with any other
    marketing endeavor.
  • You can learn more about multi-channel attribution in
    Avinash Kaushik’s in-depth guide
  • KISS Metrics offers a nice overview of cohort analysis and multi-touch
    attribution
  • Omniture is a popular paid web analytics platform that can have a
    steep learning curve – these two resources offer some good tips to
    creating useful SEO reports

Additional Resources

8. Additional
SEO Considerations

For many businesses, getting the technical aspects
of SEO right, understanding the keywords you want to target, and having a
strategy for getting your site’s pages linked to and shared is really all you
need to know about SEO. There are, however, some specific cases and business
types that need to be concerned with specific types of search.
A few types of search environments that require unique approaches include:

  • International SEO –
    There are a number of benefits and trade-offs to different approaches
    to ranking sites in different countries and
    in different languages. Aleyda Solis has an outstanding guide to international SEO best practices if
    you’re trying to reach customers in a variety of international markets,
    and Google also offers some recommendations and best practices in their own guide.
  • Local SEO – For small businesses and franchisees, getting
    local rankings for different variations of {your location} + {your
    service} (e.g. “Boston pizza shops”) is really the most valuable organic
    search traffic available. While getting links and shares, doing keyword
    research, and ensuring your site doesn’t have technical issues helps with
    localized rankings, there is a separate set of ranking factors local businesses
    should be aware of. Matthew Barby has an excellent guide on the topic.
  • App Store Search Engines –
    If you have an app – either as the core product offering for your company,
    or as a means for enabling mobile users to be able to interact with your
    business – having your app show up in searches on various app stores can
    be extremely valuable. Justin Briggs and Stephanie Beadell have written multiple outstanding posts on the topic.

So What Now?

So if you’ve gotten this far, you should know a lot
of information about how search engines rank websites and about how you can
position your own site and business to generate more search traffic from search
engines like Google. What should you do next?

Prioritize.
No site does a perfect job of executing against every single aspect of search
engine optimization. Think about the things you do well, have budget and
resources for, and that will give your business the best return for your
investment – this will be at least slightly different for every business and
site.

If you’re great at creating and promoting content,
determine which keywords to go after and focus your efforts there.

If you have a large and complex site, focus on
getting the technical SEO right (or hire someone who can).

If you’re a small business that would benefit from ranking for very specific geo-focused terms but not much else, shore up your local SEO efforts (and then maybe focus on other marketing efforts once you start to see diminishing returns from your efforts there).

Always remember that the ultimate objective with any search engine optimization efforts is to get more exposure and traffic for your business or your site’s content.  Look for ways that search engine traffic can help your business and site: don’t just chase after the latest SEO buzzwords or jump every time Google makes a recommendation that might improve your search rankings while hurting your overall business.

Source: www.wordstream.com

SEO Basics

What is Social Media Marketing?

As I scroll through my Instagram feed a day (cough, cough…multiple times a day), I consistently notice new posts and stories by The Frye Company. I’ve always been a lover of their boots, clothing, and accessories, but I also love the content they share on their Instagram profile.

Their posts are on-brand, creative, and aesthetically pleasing. All of their photos have an equivalent filter on them to make sure they match — this makes their Instagram profile look professional, artistic, and arranged when visitors, like myself, browse their page.

Frye’s Instagram account also encourages interaction between the corporate and its followers by providing them with a selected hashtag to use in order that they are often featured on the account once they post a photograph with a Frye product.

Frye’s Instagram account may be a great example of successful social media marketing — it’s attractive, distinctly Frye engages their 197K followers, and promotes their products.

But why is social media marketing so important? Why does one have to spend time creating social media accounts for your business? and the way do you actually build a social media marketing strategy that’ll work for your specific sort of business?

In this guide, we’ll cover the answers to all or any of those questions — but first, let’s define social media marketing.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]
What Is Social Media Marketing?
Benefits of Social Media Marketing
Create a Social Media Marketing Strategy
Social Media Marketing Resources

What is social media marketing?
Social media marketing is the act of making content to market your business and products on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your unique content should be tailored to the precise platform it’s being shared on to assist you to boost conversions and increase brand awareness.

Social media marketing is all about meeting your audience and customers where they’re and as they socially interact with one another and your brand.

While social media marketing as an entire is incredibly valuable and beneficial to your business growth (as you will see within the following section), your strategy will differ supported which social networks your audience spends their time on.

Before we dig deeper into social media marketing, let’s segment the strategy by the platform.

Facebook
Users: 2.2 billion
Audience: generation X and millennials
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: Brand awareness; advertising
Twitter
Users: 335 billion
Audience: Primarily millennials
Industry impact: B2B and B2C
Best for: Public relations; customer service
Instagram
Users: One billion
Audience: Primarily millennials
Industry impact: B2C
Best for Natural-looking media, behind-the-scenes, and user-generated content; advertising
LinkedIn
Users: 645 million
Audience: Baby boomers, generation X, and millennials
Industry impact: B2B
Best for: B2B relationships, business development, and employment marketing
YouTube
Users: 1.9 billion
Audience: Millennials, closely followed by Generation Z
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: Brand awareness; entertainment, and how-to videos
Snapchat
Users: 300 million
Audience: Primarily Generation Z
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: Brand awareness; advertising
Pinterest
Users: 250 million
Audience: Primarily older millennials and younger baby boomers
Industry impact: B2C
Best for: Visual advertising; inspiration
Now that we’ve detailed the basics of every social media network, let’s discuss why social media marketing is useful for your business.

Benefits of Social Media Marketing
There is a spread of reasons why your company should use social media marketing. We’ve created an inventory of the four most beneficial reasons to think about.

Let’s dive in.

  1. Increase Brand Awareness
    In 2018, there have been over 3.2 billion people on social media globally. thanks to the sheer amount of individuals on social media, you’ll see why ensuring your business is sharing content associated with your products also as details about your company via a platform or two has the potential to assist you to improve brand awareness.

In fact, social media has been proven to spice up brand awareness by driving up engagement. Social engagement includes things like comments, likes, shares, and re-posts. Social media also helps you increase brand awareness by directing traffic straight to your site. you’ll do that by including direct links to your website in your profile, bio, and posts.

Featured Resource

How to Build a Brand for Your Company

  1. Generate Leads and Boost Conversions
    Promoting and sharing your products on social media may be a simple thanks to improving lead generation, boost conversions, and increase sales because you’re advertising to people that have opted to interact with you by following your account.

Here are some samples of ways you’ll use social media to get more leads.

Create contests for your visitors and followers to participate in on your social media profiles.
Include links to your website and offers within the bio sections of your profiles.
Host live videos to form announcements about products and supply updates or details about exciting news at your company.
Implement a social media marketing campaign on one of your channels.
Sell your products through your social profiles. for instance, you’ll enable Facebook’s Shop Section or Instagram’s Shopping feature on your profiles. These features allow your visitors and followers to click on products you’ve shared in posts to look at information like price, material, and size. Then, visitors can easily proceed to checkout through the platform and buy the merchandise directly from you.

  1. Foster Relationships With Customers
    By connecting and interesting together with your social media followers, you’ll be ready to build lasting relationships between them and your business. you’ll do that by interacting with them on your posts, responding to their questions and comments, and providing them with any help they’ll need.

You can also ask your followers questions on your products, their pain points, or create giveaways to assist you to build trust and show them what proportion you value their input and support.

What are your tips for optimizing blog posts? Share them with me in the comments below!

Like this guide? Don’t forget to share it!

Thank me ❤️ by sharing this article…

 

Seo (Search Engine Optimization)

Seo (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO Optimization – Learn to Optimize for SEO

This guide will be an introduction to and overview of search engine optimization (SEO), a hugely important tactic for driving traffic to your site.

In this guide you’ll learn:

What is SEO & Why is it Important?

  1. SEO Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices
  2. On-Page Optimization Best Practices

Let’s get started!

A search query like “I want to buy car” displays clear commercial intent

People are searching for any manner of things directly related to your business. Beyond that, your prospects are also searching for all kinds of things that are only loosely related to your business. These represent even more opportunities to connect with those folks and help answer their questions, solve their problems, and become a trusted resource for them.

Are you more likely to get your widgets from a trusted resource who offered great information each of the last four times you turned to Google for help with a problem, or someone you’ve never heard of?

What Actually Works for Driving SEO Traffic from Search Engines?

It’s important to note that Google is responsible for the majority of the search engine traffic in the world. This may vary from one industry to another, but it’s likely that Google is the dominant player in the search results that your business or website would want to show up in, but the best practices outlined in this guide will help you to position your site and its content to rank in other search engines, as well.

learn seo basics

Google dominates among search engines, but don’t sleep on sites like Yahoo and Bing

So how does Google determine which pages to return in response to what people search for? How do you get all of this valuable traffic to your site?

Google’s algorithm is extremely complex, but at a high level:

  • Google is looking for pages that contain high-quality, relevant information relevant to the searcher’s query.
  • Google’s algorithm determines relevance by “crawling” (or reading) your website’s content and evaluating (algorithmically) whether that content is relevant to what the searcher is looking for, based on the keywords it contains and other factors (known as “ranking signals”).
  • Google determines “quality” by a number of means, but a site’s link profile – the number and quality of other websites that link to a page and site as a whole – is among the most important.

Increasingly, additional ranking signals are being evaluated by Google’s algorithm to determine where a site will rank, such as:

  • How people engage with a site (Do they find the information they need and remain on the site, or do they “bounce” back to the search page and click on another link? Or do they just ignore your listing in search results altogether and never click-through?)
  • A site’s loading speed and “mobile friendliness”
  • How much unique content a site has (versus “thin” or duplicated, low-value content)

There are hundreds of ranking factors that Google’s algorithm considers in response to searches, and Google is constantly updating and refining its process to ensure that it delivers the best possible user experience.

2. SEO Keyword Research & Keyword Targeting Best Practices

The first step in search engine optimization is to determine what you’re actually optimizing for. This means identifying terms people are searching for, also known as “keywords,” that you want your website to rank for in search engines like Google.

For example, you may want your widget company to show up when people look for “widgets,” and maybe when they type in things like “buy widgets.” The figure below shows search volume, or the estimated number of searches for a specific term, over a period of time:

search volume for seo keywords

Tracking SEO keywords across various time periods

There are several key factors to take into account when determining the keywords you want to target on your site:

  • Search Volume – The first factor to consider is how many people are actually searching for a given keyword. The more people there are searching for a keyword, the bigger the potential audience you stand to reach. Conversely, if no one is searching for a keyword, there is no audience available to find your content through search.
  • Relevance – A term may be frequently searched for, but that does not necessarily mean that it is relevant to your prospects. Keyword relevance, or the connection between content on a site and the user’s search query, is a crucial ranking signal.
  • Competition – Keywords with higher search volume can drive significant amounts of traffic, but competition for premium positioning in the search engine results pages can be intense.

First you need to understand who your prospective customers are and what they’re likely to search for. From there you need to understand:

  • What types of things are they interested in?
  • What problems do they have?
  • What type of language do they use to describe the things that they do, the tools that they use, etc.?
  • Who else are they buying things from?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have an initial “seed list” of possible keywords and domains to help you find additional keyword ideas and to put some search volume and competition metrics around.

Take the list of core ways that your prospects and customers describe what you do, and start to input those into keyword tools like Google’s own keyword tool or tools like WordStream’s keyword tool:

wordstream seo keyword tool

WordStream’s Free Keyword Tool for SEO

Additionally, if you have an existing site, you’re likely getting some traffic from search engines already. If that’s the case, you can use some of your own keyword data to help you understand which terms are driving traffic (and which you might be able to rank a bit better for).

Unfortunately, Google has stopped delivering a lot of the information about what people are searching for to analytics providers. Google does make some of this data available in their free Webmaster Tools interface (if you haven’t set up an account, this is a very valuable SEO tool both for unearthing search query data and for diagnosing various technical SEO issues).

Once you’ve taken the time to understand your prospects, have looked at the keywords driving traffic to your competitors and related sites, and have looked at the terms driving traffic to your own site, you need to work to understand which terms you can conceivably rank for and where the best opportunities actually lie.

Determining the relative competition of a keyword can be a fairly complex task. At a very high level, you need to understand:

  • How trusted and authoritative (in other words: how many links does the whole site get, and how high quality, trusted, and relevant are those linking sites?) other entire sites that will be competing to rank for the same term are
  • How well aligned they are with the keyword itself (do they offer a great answer to that searcher’s question)
  • How popular and authoritative each individual page in that search result is (in other words: how many links does the page itself have, and how high quality, trusted, and relevant are those linking sites?)

You can dive deeper into the process of determining how competitive keywords are by using WordStream founder Larry Kim’s competitive index formula.

3. On-Page Optimization for SEO

Once you have your keyword list, the next step is actually implementing your targeted keywords into your site’s content. Each page on your site should be targeting a core term, as well as a “basket” of related terms. In his overview of the perfectly optimized page, Rand Fishkin offers a nice visual of what a well (or perfectly) optimized page looks like:

perfectly seo optimized page

The “Perfectly Optimized Page” (via Moz)

Let’s look at a few critical, basic on-page elements you’ll want to understand as you think about how to drive search engine traffic to your website:

Title Tags

While Google is working to better understand the actual meaning of a page and de-emphasizing (and even punishing) aggressive and manipulative use of keywords, including the term (and related terms) that you want to rank for in your pages is still valuable. And the single most impactful place you can put your keyword is your page’s title tag.

The title tag is not your page’s primary headline. The headline you see on the page is typically an H1 (or possibly an H2) HTML element. The title tag is what you can see at the very top of your browser, and is populated by your page’s source code in a meta tag:

title tags for seo

Your title tag matches your organic result headline: Make it clickable

The length of a title tag that Google will show will vary (it’s based on pixels, not character counts) but in general 55-60 characters is a good rule of thumb here. If possible you want to work in your core keyword, and if you can do it in a natural and compelling way, add some related modifiers around that term as well. Keep in mind though: the title tag will frequently be what a searcher sees in search results for your page. It’s the “headline” in organic search results, so you also want to take how clickable your title tag is into account.

Meta Descriptions

While the title tag is effectively your search listing’s headline, the meta description (another meta HTML element that can be updated in your site’s code, but isn’t seen on your actual page) is effectively your site’s additional ad copy. Google takes some liberties with what they display in search results, so your meta description may not always show, but if you have a compelling description of your page that would make folks searching likely to click, you can greatly increase traffic. (Remember: showing up in search results is just the first step! You still need to get searchers to come to your site, and then actually take the action you want.)

Here’s an example of a real world meta description showing in search results:

Meta descriptions = SEO “ad copy”

Body Content

The actual content of your page itself is, of course, very important. Different types of pages will have different “jobs” – your cornerstone content asset that you want lots of folks to link to needs to be very different than your support content that you want to make sure your users find and get an answer from quickly. That said, Google has been increasingly favoring certain types of content, and as you build out any of the pages on your site, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Thick & Unique Content – There is no magic number in terms of word count, and if you have a few pages of content on your site with a handful to a couple hundred words you won’t be falling out of Google’s good graces, but in general recent Panda updates in particular favor longer, unique content. If you have a large number (think thousands) of extremely short (50-200 words of content) pages or lots of duplicated content where nothing changes but the page’s title tag and say a line of text, that could get you in trouble. Look at the entirety of your site: are a large percentage of your pages thin, duplicated and low value? If so, try to identify a way to “thicken” those pages, or check your analytics to see how much traffic they’re getting, and simply exclude them (using a noindex meta tag) from search results to keep from having it appear to Google that you’re trying to flood their index with lots of low value pages in an attempt to have them rank.
  • Engagement – Google is increasingly weighting engagement and user experience metrics more heavily. You can impact this by making sure your content answers the questions searchers are asking so that they’re likely to stay on your page and engage with your content. Make sure your pages load quickly and don’t have design elements (such as overly aggressive ads above the content) that would be likely to turn searchers off and send them away.
  • “Sharability” – Not every single piece of content on your site will be linked to and shared hundreds of times. But in the same way you want to be careful of not rolling out large quantities of pages that have thin content, you want to consider who would be likely to share and link to new pages you’re creating on your site before you roll them out. Having large quantities of pages that aren’t likely to be shared or linked to doesn’t position those pages to rank well in search results, and doesn’t help to create a good picture of your site as a whole for search engines, either.

Alt Attributes

How you mark up your images can impact not only the way that search engines perceive your page, but also how much search traffic from image search your site generates. An alt attribute is an HTML element that allows you to provide alternative information for an image if a user can’t view it. Your images may break over time (files get deleted, users have difficulty connecting to your site, etc.) so having a useful description of the image can be helpful from an overall usability perspective. This also gives you another opportunity – outside of your content – to help search engines understand what your page is about.

You don’t want to “keyword stuff” and cram your core keyword and every possible variation of it into your alt attribute. In fact, if it doesn’t fit naturally into the description, don’t include your target keyword here at all. Just be sure not to skip the alt attribute, and try to give a thorough, accurate description of the image (imagine you’re describing it to someone who can’t see it – that’s what it’s there for!).

By writing naturally about your topic, you’re avoiding “over-optimization” filters (in other words: it doesn’t make it look like you’re trying to trick Google into ranking your page for your target keyword) and you give yourself a better chance to rank for valuable modified “long tail” variations of your core topic.

URL Structure

Your site’s URL structure can be important both from a tracking perspective (you can more easily segment data in reports using a segmented, logical URL structure), and a shareability standpoint (shorter, descriptive URLs are easier to copy and paste and tend to get mistakenly cut off less frequently). Again: don’t work to cram in as many keywords as possible; create a short, descriptive URL.

Moreover: if you don’t have to, don’t change your URLs. Even if your URLs aren’t “pretty,” if you don’t feel as though they’re negatively impacting users and your business in general, don’t change them to be more keyword focused on “better SEO.” If you do have to change your URL structure, make sure to use the proper (301 permanent) type of redirect. This is a common mistake business make when they redesign their websites.

Schema & Markup

Finally, once you have all of the standard on-page elements taken care of, you can consider going a step further and better helping Google (and other search engines, which also recognize schema) to understand your page.

Schema markup does not make your page show up higher in search results (it’s not a ranking factor, currently). It does give your listing some additional “real estate” in the search results, the way ad extensions do for your AdWords ads.

In some search results, if no one else is using schema, you can get a nice advantage in click-through rate by virtue of the fact that your site is showing things like ratings while others don’t. In other search results, where everyone is using schema, having reviews may be “table stakes” and you might be hurting your CTR by omitting them:

Afford your organic results more real estate by adding markup and schema

There are a variety of different types of markup you can include on your site – most probably won’t apply to your business, but it’s likely that at least one form of markup will apply to at least some of your site’s pages

Further SEO Reading & Resources

This guide is intended to serve as an introduction to SEO. For a more in-depth overview of content creation for SEO, the technical considerations of which you should be aware, and other related topics, read Tom Demers’ comprehensive introductory guide to SEO basics

Source: https://www.wordstream.com/seo

Content Marketing

A type of promoting that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that doesn’t expressly promote a complete however is meant to stimulate interest in its merchandise or services.


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What will content mean in marketing?
Enter content selling. Content selling could be a strategic selling approach targeted on making and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to draw in and retain a clearly outlined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable client action.

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SEO Basics

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate promoting is that the method of earning financial gain each time you promote somebody else merchandise or services. If you generate a procurement for the corporate, you get paid. If you do not generate a procurement, you are doing not get paid.

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Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click

Do you have any idea about PPC marketing? are you eager to know about it, or if you already know about PPC, but u want to use PPC as marketer business. But you are not sure where to start and whom to approach. This is the first lesson you’re going to find on the blog page about this course. here you are going to learn about PPC so keenly. we hope this blog may help to grow your business

firstly let’s know the definition of ppc and how it works on advertising

PPC stands for pay-per-click, a model of internet marketing in which advertisers pay a fee each time one of their ads is clicked. Essentially, it’s a way of buying visits to your site, rather than attempting to “earn” those visits organically.

Search engine add IS one of the most in-demand forms of PPC.search engine promotes links when user types keyword for his/her business-related
It permits advertisers to afford for ad placement for instance: if we offer the keyword like PPC COURSE IN HYD google may suggest our ad may be shown on the top of Google results page.

Every time our ad is clicked, sending a visitor to our website, we have to pay the search engine a small fee. When PPC is working correctly, the fee is trivial, because the visit is worth more than what you pay for it. In other words, if we pay $3 for a click, but the click results in a $300 sale, then we’ve made a hefty profit.

Pay Per Click (or PPC advertising) may be a sort of paid digital marketing where advertisers pay a fee whenever their ad is clicked. The term PPC can apply to paid ads on social media networks, like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. However, today we’ll specialise in Google Adwords which helps your ads stand bent program users, displaying them at the highest and right-hand side of Google’s search engines. We’ll also explore Google Display Network which displays your ads on relevant websites your customers and prospects land on.

We’ll take a glance at the advantages of both services to assist you opt the simplest fit your business and therefore the best thanks to reach your audience .

1. the way to Decide if PPC may be a Good fit Your Business:
To decide if PPC may be a good fit your business you’ll got to assess whether you’ll afford to be involved. does one have a allow paid advertising or does one got to specialise in amplifying your organic reach? If you are doing have a paid budget is it best to spend the whole sum on PPC or are there other paid tactics you’ve got to account for?

PPC is an efficient option if you would like to succeed in people that are actively checking out terms associated with your business. If you opt to make a PPC campaign your budget are going to be determined by your audience, competition, and therefore the sorts of products/services you would like to drive awareness of.
2. Choose the simplest Google PPC Option for Your Strategy:

Why Choose Google Adwords?

Google Adwords helps you get your business found by your audience who look for specific terms associated with your brand, products, and content. you’ll determine the way to found out your Google Adwords account and set your budget here. First, let’s take a glance at the advantages to assist you opt if Adwords will assist you achieve your digital marketing objectives and enable you to succeed in your ideal audience.

Benefits:
Use the free Google Adwords Keyword Planner to assist you research the longtail keywords your audience is checking out – use these terms to make your Adwords campaigns.
Create compelling ads that deliver the messages and products/services your prospects are checking out.
Set a daily budget to make sure you don’t exceed your allocated spend.

Reach your customers on whatever device they’re searching on – e.g. desktop, mobile, or tablet.
Measure the impact of your campaigns and determine what percentage people see your ads, the share of prospects who click on your ads, and therefore the number of sales you’ve made as an immediate result.
You can test and tweak your ads at any time and pause and re-start your ads as you see fit.

Why choose the Google Display Network?

The Google Display Network allows you to put your ad ahead of the proper person at the proper time and on the proper sections of relevant websites. You’ll find everything you would like to understand about fixing your Google Display Network ads here, but first, let’s take a glance at the advantages to assist you to opt if it’s the proper option for you.

Benefits:
You can choose from an array of ad formats, including text ads, image ads, mobile ads, and video ads.
Target your ads to make sure they reach the proper, specified audience of your choice – the topics targeting feature enables you to put your ads on websites associated with your chosen topics.

There is a variety of pre-made ads you’ll choose and customize otherwise you can prefer to build your own ads from scratch.
The automatic bidding tool automatically sets the budget on your ads for you – the budget is about to make sure your ad achieves the utmost number of clicks for rock bottom cost.

Reach and frequency reporting allows you to trace and measure your ad’s performance and enables you to get what percentage people your ad reached and the way many of us clicked it.
Stay tuned next week for the ultimate article within the series, where I’ll explain the way to measure the success of your digital marketing campaigns.