How Much Of You Goes Into Your Content?

When it comes to producing content for the purpose of SEO, you can’t be boring.

Be Your Weird Self
It’s Okay To Be Your Weird Self!

Well… you can be boring. If you want to write a standard piece of writing, then you can do. “After all,” you’ll tell yourself, “it’s to serve a purpose, isn’t it? The content doesn’t really matter – that’s just the dressing around what really matters, the purpose of attracting people to my site to buy items or a service…”

That’s a nice thought and it might well work. You might be the lucky one, who rises above the fact that content is – and always has been – king. If you don’t produce something worth reading, then it’s effectively a fancy version of Lorem Ipsum. Words just thrown on a page with no specific purpose in mind.

What would ya say ya do here?

The problem is, nine times out of ten, it’s not going to work. Even if your purpose is just to draw people to your site for another reason, it’s still got to… you know… draw people to your site. And no one is going to want to come if they see dull headlines in Google searches and even duller writing if they decide to click through.

That is not SEO. That is dumb.

It makes sense to make whatever you write as good as it can be. There are some people in this world who can write enthralling content about things that have nothing to do with them – and these people tend to be paid very well to do it. For the rest of us, we should stick with the basic principle for all writing: write what you know.

 

So what do you know?

The most simple answer is… you.

This is me!

If nothing else, blogging has proved that people are interested in people. We can’t help ourselves. We like gossip, we like to peek into other people’s lives – we’re all inherently nosey even if we pretend that we’re not.

It makes sense to inject as much of yourself as possible into anything you write. It’s possible to do this without invading your own privacy or putting your life online. Focus on things you have learned, experiences you have had – and then write about them in the abstract. Your readers need to feel that you are a real person, with a real history, which you can at least give the appearance of.

You can still keep a veneer of privacy; don’t include your phone number on your site, but do include your Twitter. No need to give out your home address, but an online P.O. box service could allow people to feel they can touch base with you in a physical sense. There are always ways and means of giving an impression of your life without fully revealing it.

It makes sense to try and engage people with your writing. The more engaged people are with a person, with their personal story, the more likely they are to follow what they do. Or, buy the products they might be selling – why do you think celebrities who know nothing about fragrance have signature perfumes? People are buying as much into the person as they are the fragrance.

4 Tips to Help You Take Your SEO Strategy to the Next Level


Hopefully you already understand the value of SEO and what it can potentially do for your business (if you don’t know, then here’s a method for estimating potential organic traffic from SEO). Not only do the highest ranking pages across the web enjoy the most traffic, they also attract the most sales.

For businesses, high rankings also mean increased revenue because these websites get more clicks. A study done by Chitika found that the first search result for a keyword query gets roughly 33% of the total searches clicks alone.

In addition, roughly 64% of the traffic that a website receives comes from search queries. As a result, putting more effort into your SEO strategy will only help your business grow.

If you are ready to get better results from SEO, you’ll need to use some advanced techniques once you’ve mastered the basics. Here are 4 tips to help you take your SEO strategy to the next level.

Use Data to Target the Right Customers

In the same way that you use Google Keywords Tool for keyword data, you can also learn more about your potential customers by using social media. One way to do this is by using Quora in order to learn more about what your target audience wants and the topics that matter to them most.

First, go to Quora, then enter the primary keyword that you would like to target (e.g., teeth whitening). Then hit the “enter” button.

Then look at the result that has the most answers. These answers can be used to create high quality content that is guaranteed to attract the interest of your target audience.

You can also take advantage of this same technique by searching for answers on forum threads, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups and more. As long as you make sure to answer the question with the content that you create, you will start to see a big difference in your search traffic and ultimately your conversion rate.

Create Better Landing Pages

A well-designed landing page can lead to significant numbers of leads and sales for your business. Unfortunately, many companies do not understand the vital role that well-optimized landing pages play in converting visitors to leads.

According to a study done by MarketingSherpa, roughly 44% of the clicks for B2B companies go to a homepage, not a landing page. While a home page is effective for telling people about your business, landing pages are how you actually start the conversation about your product or service.

If you want to drive conversions, you need to make sure that you have dedicated landing pages for your website and that it includes a headline, followed by SEO copy that is optimized for your keyword phrase and a call to action.

Psst! The real secret to fantastic landing pages is crafting a great call to action.

“A clear call to action gives direction to users and helps you achieve your business goals. Without a clear call to action your website is simply a brochure. Brendan of Gumpshen, a Belfast web design agency

You can also include a persuasive video that explains your proposition in further detail and includes testimonials from recent customers.

Optimize Your Content & Understand How Keywords Relate

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) is a technique for indexing and retrieval that relies on a mathematical formula to identify the patterns that appear in a paragraph of text. While LSI keywords are NOT a ranking factor that Google looks at when determining the rankings for the pages of your website that type of thinking about how the words that are most relevant to your business relate to each other can lead to better quality content which CAN improve your rankings when you research them with longtail keyword research tools and of course should be considered when planning anchor text for your backlinks.

There are a number of tools on the web that are available to help you uncover LSI keywords for your main keyword phrase. Make sure to include these relevant keywords in your content along with your keyword phrase and make your content sound as natural as possible.

Don’t be tempted to over-optimize for any keyword phrases because it could result in a Google penalty. However, by using them carefully, you can have a major impact on your search engine rankings.

Find Long-tail keywords That Are Easier to Rank for

If you only target the keywords that your competitors are targeting, chances are that you are missing out on a lot of traffic that you could obtain simply by targeting keywords that are easier to rank for.

To figure out what these keywords are, use a keyword tool to analyze the live keyword rankings of your competitors. Live keywords are those keywords that your competitor is currently ranking for. However, these may not be keywords that they continuously target, which is what will give you the advantage.

By attacking your competitors live keyword rankings, you can increase traffic to your website and gain rankings for keywords that your competitors are not actively targeting.

Thanks to Brian Hong of Infintech Designs,a New Orleans based SEO & Web Design company for this article.

 

10 Ways To Make Your Lead Generation Site Convert On The First Visit

Building a high quality site to generate organic traffic then capture and convert the leads you seek may sound pretty straightforward. The reality is most companies don’t go the extra mile needed to effectively do that. Low quality photos, confusing navigation and uninspiring calls to actions are just a few of the reasons visitors leave your site in the blink of an eye. Will they return? Odds are they’ve already found a competitor whose website outsold you.

After analyzing over 300,000 online sales leads, the team at Straight North learned nearly 85 percent of visitors convert on the first visit. The secret, then, to generating leads is building a site that converts quickly. To help you do just that, they’ve created a guide to the 10 factors that play a major part in converting first-time website visitors.

Presentation: 10 Factors That Impact Conversion

Find out why quality photos, easy navigation and irresistible calls to action made the list in the presentation below:

This intriguing conversion guide and it’s  insights were shared with me by Brad Shorr, Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, a Chicago SEO agency that also offers PPC and web design services.  I thought it would be worth sharing with all of you. Let me know if you have any questions or further insights to share on conversion.

SEO Counts For Nothing If You’re Haemorrhaging Customers At The Checkout

The ultimate purpose business isn’t to do great SEO, it’s to sell loads of products. And if your checkout experience on your website isn’t up to snuff, then no matter how highly ranked you are on Google, you’re going to miss out on some fat profits.

 

So what can businesses do to eliminate their checkout woes and not only drive customers to their sites but also get them to actually part with their cash?

Insert A Progress Indicator

When customers have to fill out form after form on your website asking them for card numbers, billing address, home address and their mother’s maiden name, they sometimes get a little worried that the process is never going to end. They wonder how many more pages they have to go through before they can finally convince you to dispatch whatever it is that they want.

This is why many companies are now trying to reassure their customers by including a helpful progress bar that persists throughout the checkout process. To do so, they’re turning to a Magento agency who have the tools to implement these features, making the whole experience of checking out a little less disconcerting for shoppers.

Get Rid Of The Sign-In Barrier

According to Kissmetrics, most customers don’t make it past the first stage of the checkout process. There’s a huge dropoff, they say, right when the transaction process gets under way.

A good way around this is to help a customer login faster by remembering who they are from their email address. It requires some clever programming tricks, but a lot of online stores have figured out how to enable customers to log in if they are returning, without getting them to re-enter their passwords and account details. Experts, like Christian Holst, say that 30 percent of users abandon their shopping carts when asked to register up front.

Match The Checkout With The Feel Of Your Site

If you’ve ever used Google Shopping to find a bargain, you might have found yourself on a less well-known shopping site to complete the purchase. Often in these situations, the price is good, but the checkout experience is a little unnerving. The reason for this is that the look at feel of the checkout area of the site is often very different from that of everything else because the retailer is using a third-party payment solution.

For smaller retailers, it’s much easier and cheaper to use generic checkout solutions from third party providers. But the evidence suggests that customers don’t like this. The transition from the “My Cart” page to the checkout page has to be seamless to retain customer trust. Any minor changes can cause alarm.

Ask For Shipping Information First

Some ecommerce sites jump the gun a little by asking their customers for their billing information first. Customers aren’t all that bothered about where their card is registered, all they care about is where their products are sent.

Of course, billing information is important to retailers, but they should leave requests for this until after the customer has entered shipping information. Retailers who align themselves with their customers’ priorities are better able to meet their needs.

Hopefully these tips will help you better convert your ecommerce visitors, because traffic that doesn’t help the bottom line is wasted marketing budget!

2016 Was Rough. 2017 Doesn’t Have To Suck For Your SEO Too

How’s your business doing?

Ideally, you should be asking yourself this question as the new year closes in on you. Ideally, your business will be doing well! Hoping to build on a good 2016 and push off into 2017 in the right way, with the thinking that you can better your goals and push your business further than ever before!

But the reality is that not everyone is lucky enough to be that optimistic. 2016 may have hit your business as hard  as it has kicked the general populace.

The good news though is that the internet has an enormous amount of tools you can use. You can promote and market yourself with social media. You can seek advice and help. You can search for anything in the world.
Searching, it’s pretty much why the internet exists, right? Searching might be the key to your 2017 in business, no matter the results of your 2016.

People aren’t opening bulky books of yellow paper, leafing through alphabetically and choosing to call a business based on nothing but a hope and a praryer. and you will too if you stick to the practices of the 20th century. There are at least twenty places you need to be listed online right now. Register your business, it’s details, and services across the net and make sure you are seen in the areas people are looking.

Being seen is the biggest reason you should be using the internet, other than selling your products or services. Think about it. If nobody notices your business, how can they buy your stuff? They can’t. Get seen, make sales.

So, once your business is registered at city hall, it’s time to take a look at search engines. People should be finding your business when they look for it, but what more can you do? Ideally, you want to position yourself to become the answer to a question. When people search for answers, they will find you! In a perfect world anyway. But, when there is a will, there is a way!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is where you can fight your way to the top of the search rankings, so you are seen before others. The higher you are, the more web traffic you’re going to get. Weaponize your website with keywords to become the name on the tip of your customer’s tongue and don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.

Businesses like CandidSky or consultants like me can step in and get you up and running.  Of course, none of this is going to change things for you and your business overnight. These changes and methods will take time, but as long as you’re dedicated to them and see the internet as the tool it can be, you’ll be there before you even realize it.

Construction

Also, never think you’re going to be finished. There are always improvements you can make to your services, website and marketing. This isn’t something that will end unless your business does – so keep pushing forward and finding new ways to make your business matter to people.

Outreach For “Boring” Industries

Updated: 11/9/2016
I was recently asked to contribute to Ahref’s monster expert roundup that ended up with 90 SEO experts contributing! It’s worth the read!

I thought I’d share my own response to the prompt:

1) Please tell us about your favourite “white hat link building strategy that scales”.
(What makes it your favourite one? How to execute it properly?)
2) How do you scale it?
(What tools do you use? Where do you hire people to scale it?)

Building Links For Boring Industries

People often think that building links is difficult in “boring” industries. However, there is a benefit to working for clients who’s peers and competitors are not at the top of their online marketing game. I’ve worked in plenty of boring niches:  First time mortgage preapproval guide,  Conference Center,  hunting decoys and more.

A perfect example for being creative came from this idea I had for a Houston steel door company I’m working with on their marketing that could apply to other “boring industries” like a cleaning servicehome care services or driving limos.

Leverage Your Non-Text Content

Build resources that go beyond basic informational content. Of course, you’re likely familiar with how to create great infographics, like this one on moving to St. Petersburg, but one of my favorites is making photo galleries readily available and easy to cite. Home services companies are a great example. With Tennessee Contracting & the Nashville roofer for example, I made it a priority to offer tons of detailed photos of metal roofs in a variety of colors and types of buildings. Then we reached out to pages like  that mentioned “metal roofing,” but didn’t offer their readers a good photo to illustrate what they were talking about.

standard-metal-ribbed-panel

If you go this route, it’s important to make it clear on gallery and photo pages that the photos can be freely used in blog posts and other online content, so long as the user links back to the page of the site where they found the photo. Giving them an embed code box beneath the image is another great way to encourage this.

Leverage Your Product/Service’s Benefits For Links

One of the benefits for building to utilize steel doors is an improvement in fire safety. So that opens so many possibilities for links and visibility!

Let’s open up BuzzSumo to find some of the top influencers when it comes to fire safety.

Buzz Sumo For Firesafety

From here there are a couple of different paths you can take to turn that concept into links and social shares here’s my favorite way.

Come up with a “question” you want to get answered about fire safety. Then you do need to dig for some contact information.

For NFPA, I went to their Press Room page to get their media email. For the question I came up with this:

“We’re putting together some resources for our metal door customers about fire safety, specifically around steel doors but general research and statistics could help too, can you point us to your best resources or have a quote from one of your officials that we could include?”

Once they reply with a resource, keep that conversation open with a thank you, and let them know you’ll share that resource when it becomes available online.

Repeat this process with other influencers until you have sufficient content to make a page, post or infographic and then share it with the contributors, who now have a vested interest in sharing it.

Since they’re not direct competitors, they will not feel anything holding them back from sharing it and often mentioning it on their own site or blog as well.

Remember to tailor your question’s difficulty and focus based on your target, and the less sophisticated the website the less sophisticated your question should be!

Is Your Business Actually Ready For SEO?

An SEO consultant like me can do a lot of good for your website. But, ultimately, we can’t work miracles.

dont-rush-a-miracle

Sure, you might see your site rise to the first page of Google, but there are no guarantees of making any more sales – unless you’re prepped & ready to rock. With that in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some of the things your business should be doing to get ready for SEO.

Try some of them out, and you will make me (or whoever you choose) very happy indeed. 

What Exactly is Your Goal?

I get nauseated when I think of just how many businesses I’ve consulted who open up their Google Analytics account and I find out that for the past 10 years of business they have never, ever configured a Goal for their website. This is actually indicative of a bigger problem

choosing-your-life-goals
What are your goals again?

Why do you want to invest in SEO, anyway? Is it just because everyone else is? If so, you are making the first big mistake that many businesses do, in my experience.

Ranking for number one on the SERPs is not a validbusiness goal. Neither is getting twice as much traffic as you are getting today.

Your SEO campaigns should be tied in revenue with your overall business and marketing aims so you can measure its results. Spending a small fortune on search is pointless if you don’t improve your sales, for example. So, establish your goals and use SEO as one of the many tactics you can use to achieve them.

Have You Actually Optimized Your Business Itself Not Just A Website?

It was a painful conversation. The client had sent me their email login information so I could setup Google Search console, and I got a peek at the gmail account associated with it during the process. In that moment I saw that the last three email leads sent from their site hadn’t even been opened in the two days since they’d been sent.

  • SEO can’t rescue a bad business model.
  • SEO can’t fix a lack of follow up on leads
  • SEO can’t fix a terrible product
  • SEO can’t fix a snotty receiptionist
  • SEO can’t fix poor customer service

You need to make sure you’re taking every advantage for your business. Local brick and mortars should consider POS software & loyalty programs. Online vendors should review their customer support emails for opportunities to both build time saving articles that answer common questions. Optimize your business, not just a website!

What Makes Your Business Unique?

I’ve talked to dozens of people who “want to rank #1” and I always ask them…do you really think you DESERVE to be number one? What makes you special? Are you actually communicating that in your marketing or not?

Uh...what? Make sure you're saying what you think you're saying.
Uh…what? Make sure you’re saying what you think you’re saying.

Once you know your business goals, you need to develop a strong brand message about your company and it’s value to it’s customers. Doing so is a vital part of your communication, not just to your customers, but also to your employees and the outsourced agencies you work with.

A strong brand message will help you create a stronger foundation for your keyword research and SEO content. It can also help you laser-target the right people for your campaigns. Don’t underestimate how important this step is.

If you are struggling with getting your message across, get some business communication training to help you find your feet. It strengthens your brand marketing, of course. But you will also find you can communicate better with employees – and consultants.

Let It Go, Let it Go!

When you ask an expert about their opinion in what works, you have to trust them. Ask any SEO, and they will all tell you about nightmare clients that take search practices from 5-6 years ago as Bible. Try to avoid being one of these customers, and let the expert do their thing. I know how hard it can be when you have to hand over responsibility – especially when you run a small business.

Let it GO!
Let it GO!

But if you have researched your consultant enough – which is imperative, by the way – you should have nothing to fear. It’s not just your ego you will have to give up, either. A good SEO will want access to your analytics software, sales data and a whole lot more besides. If you aren’t ready to hand over the keys, you won’t get the results you need – it’s as simple as that.

Be prepared for the long haul

SEO takes a long time to get right. You might be tempted to go for a consultant who guarantees you top spot within a week – avoid these snake oil salesmen like the plague. There is a lot of work to do when you are starting out from scratch. And, even when the consultant has given you a solid foundation, there will be lots more to come. You will need to invest in creating amazing content, outreach, constant keyword research, and a whole lot more besides.

Taking these first steps will give your SEO consultant a lot to work with – and you can enjoy better results.

So You Want To Grow Your Online Business? Here’s How It’s Done

Running a successful business is a great achievement. And these days, more and more people are doing just that thanks to the Internet boom. Getting a business up and running, and making a profit has never been easier! But what happens once you are ready to grow and develop your company so it becomes even more of a success? Well, that’s when things start to get slightly harder. In fact, many online companies get it terrible wrong when they try to expand. And mistakes at this stage can always prove fatal. To help you grow your business and increase your profits, here are my top tips.

Aim To Increase Sales To Existing Customers

It is much easier trying to persuade your existing customers to buy more rather than trying to find completely new ones. This also works out a lot cheaper for you as well, as you don’t have to work on expanding your marketing strategies too much.

Instead, just offer some more products that you know your current customers will love. If you aren’t too sure what you should be offering, go with products or services that are similar to the ones that you currently offer and don’t forget to check in with your customer service team to find out what “pain points” they hear about from customers. Solving more of your current client’s problems is more managable than trying to solve problems for people who are not yet aware of your business.

Don’t forget the value of keeping your “Churn rate” under control, the number of people you lose every month vs the number of recurring clients you keep. Many business who are trying to expand also offer reward schemes to loyal customers. This ensures that they keep on coming back for more!

Take Over Another Business

The easiest way to increase your profits and sales is to simply buy out and take over another Internet company. Maybe you know a fellow online entrepreneur who wants to sell their business for a profit? Or perhaps you have heard that someone simply wants a change of career and is ready to sell their part of an online business?

Recycle Reduce Reuse

Whatever the reason, if you have the capital to buy the business, taking over the company and merging it with your own shouldn’t be too difficult. For more advice, you can see TUPE guidelines for employers on different websites.

Don’t Be Scared To Hire A Contractor

If you have never grown a business from scratch before, it can be a fairly daunting task. And that is why many online entrepreneurs prefer to hire specialist consultants to help them increase the size of their company.

Meet & talk SEO yo

Hiring someone as a contractor is also a great way to free up your cash flow. This is because your expenses will be slightly altered. Your consultant will know exactly what you need to do in order to start bringing in large numbers of sales and profits!

Increase Your Online Presence

SEO is like scrabble

As an online business, I am sure you will have a strong online presence already. But this needs to be taken up a notch now that you are ready to expand. So you need to actually commit time and energy to your organic marketing strategy to make sure that your business starts to get noticed by even more people.

Don’t forget that there are skilled SEO consultants who can help shape youre strategies. Share current and shareable content on social media. Start blogging so your website’s SEO improves. These are just some of the ways you can take your business from strength to strength online.

Own a Restaurant? Feast on This Tasty SEO Advice!

SEO is just as important for restaurants as it is for any other business. Even if your food is the best food on the entire planet, you need the harness the power of the Internet to get the word out about it.

Plan your content carefully

Many people would say that content is the main course when it comes to SEO.  Content is a powerful tool in the world of SEO. But that doesn’t mean that you should create and share everything you can think of when it comes to content. New content needs to be frequent, yes. But it’s even more important that it’s new and refreshing. Quality beats quantity.

Believe me when I say that search engine algorithms can detect businesses going for the latter over the former. And they don’t like it one bit.

Content Theory of SEO
Source: WikimediaFlicky

Don’t neglect social media

McDonald’s. Pizza Hut. KFC. Burger King. Subway. Taco Bell. What do all these restaurants have in common? Aside from the fact that they’re all wildly popular? They all have millions of followers on Twitter. You may not think that social media is a powerful marketing tool for restaurants.

But you’re wrong, my friend! It’s just that you need to go about the practice in a very specific way. Make sure you engage in social media. But if you feel stuck, then get help from a service that manages social media for restaurants. The number of followers you have, as well as your “sharing power”, all help boost SEO. Don’t forget that Bing, has stated directly that it uses social signals. What? Bing? Yes, Bing.  Google is NOT the only game in town!

Social media for restaurants
Source: Flickr

Make sure your website is speedy

Google doesn’t want to link users to websites that load really slowly. And yes, their automated algorithm is able to tell how fast your website loads! If your website is crawling, then it’s less likely to be favored by search engines. So make sure it runs as smooth as silk.

How fast is fast enough? You should aim for a 2 second load time at the slowest.

A mistake that restaurant owners usually make? They use images that have enormous file sizes. They want to show off their food with the highest resolution photos possible. But this can lead to an overload when it comes to your website. High-quality photos are important, but they shouldn’t be several megabytes in size! You can use the Imagify plugin in wordpress, or use tinypng.com (like I did for the images in this post) to reduce most images by half or more.

Act Like A Local

Home is where your stomach is! When people search for restaurants, Google automatically narrows down to their specific region!

Restaurants are very local

You need to take hold of your hometown advantage, and spend some time on your local SEO efforts.

Start blogging

You may not think that a blog can do much good for a restaurant. After all, people aren’t exactly after your writing, are they? They want your food! Well, you shouldn’t underestimate people’s appetite for a good article.

You should also avoid underestimating how much Google appreciate well-written content! Enjoyable and useful blog posts are among the most sought-after things when it comes to Google’s algorithm. So get blogging, and make sure they’re good and compatable with your link building strategy.

 

Just keep blogging!

Get feedback

Google wants to ensure that the websites they link to are of a good quality. Of course, not every website Google finds is “good”. But they websites that show in the first page of results are usually helpful and effective. If they’re not, then that reflects badly on Google.

So you should ensure that your users are actually enjoying the website! Get feedback from the people who use your website. If you notice several people experiencing a problem, then solve it as soon as you can.

Want an expert SEO opinion? Here’s some of my previous clients I’ve worked with,  if you want a skilled seo analysis of your restaurant’s site here’s the cost of my services. Happy ranking restaurateur!

The Top Link Building Strategies in 2016

For a business trying to get off the ground, link building sounds like a nice thought, but something they could never have time to implement. Between broken link building, content marketing, and email outreach, it’s just too much to handle. It can sound impossible, but it’s not.

pile-of-website

Today I’ll show you some of the top link building strategies in 2016, followed by an infographic from OnBlastBlog that will expand and build upon that knowledge. You’ll be an expert at this vital SEO tactic before you know it!

The Power of Link Building (Infographic)

Link building infographic

Link building has never, nor will it ever, die. It is the process of connecting your site to other sites, other readers, and other influencers. It drives everything else we do as webmasters, and it is this fundamental truth that makes it so very important. It doesn’t matter if you have a sexy, exciting product or you’re pitching steel doors, roofing or urinal dividers.

Matt Cutts, a veteran Google employee and source of SEO knowledge, once said that link building is “creativity plus sweat,” but what does that mean?

It’s all about tying your link building process into everything else you do. Your ultimate goal is to build relationships and create new and exciting pathways to your content. The more varied and natural links you have, the more PageRank and authority your website receives as well.
If you want to grow a prosperous website, then it needs links to flourish. Otherwise you’re cutting it off from the very connections it needs to grow. Knowing this, take a look at the infographic for all of today’s top link building strategies and let me know how it helped you in the comments!