November 16th, 2012 — Freebie Friday
It’s Freebie Friday, and today I’m going to share with you a report on search engine optimization. This report is actually an adaptation from a presentation I created when I was asked to teach a seminar on SEO to area online newspaper editors.
Download your free copy by clicking here – Search Engine Optimization
November 3rd, 2012 — SEO Saturday
Search Engine Optimization as we know it is terminally ill, and experts have predicted that by mid-2014, it will have been laid to rest. Does that mean we don’t need to optimize our sites? Not at all. We still need to practice good on-page optimization, but the most important thing bloggers can do to rank well is to reduce off-site SEO efforts and spend our time creating quality content.
As we go through the list of things we need to do to Penguin-and-Panda-proof a website, the next item on Google’s list of things that make a quality site asks, “Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?”
Remember, the new trend in SEO is to “forget about SEO.” And the way we do that, is by replacing old-school SEO tactics with high-quality content. I’ve always focused on providing original, relevant, and quality content on this blog. And guess what? None of the Google updates have affected my traffic. Not farmer. Not Panda. And not Penguin. And I don’t fear any future Google crack-downs.
Why? Because today’s SEO tip is to ensure your site is written by someone who is enthusiastic about the topic and ensure your content isn’t shallow.
So, basically today’s topic is how to create compelling content that is relevant to your audience, fresh, authoritative, and has some meat on its bones.
The problem with most of the sites that got “Google-slapped” by the recent algorithm updates is that they either contained unedited PLR (private label rights) content, had poor-quality outsourced material created for cheap, scraped content from other sites (duplicate content), or were just full of ads and links with no real content at all. Those are the types of sites Google wants to sandbox.
This is GREAT news for us, because real websites with real content will start to rise in the search engine results. The key to ranking well in the search engines is to become an authority blogger. Pick your blog’s topic, and write with authority. Consistently. That’s it. It’s very simple – not always easy, but simple.
Here are some tips for becoming an authority blogger:
- Be passionate about your topic. Enthusiasm is one of the key components Google is looking for in content.
- Post consistently. Write new blog content at least once per week (but the more often, the better). Try to publish your posts at about the same time of day, and if you don’t blog every day, post on the same day(s) each week so readers will know when to check for new content.
- Be real. Transparency is important to grow an online following. You must be honest and open on your blog. Let people get to know you as a person. Be easy to contact.
- Make your site easy for your readers. Use clear navigation. Have a well-designed site. Simplify your category structure – it’s best to use a limited number of broad categories and use tags for more specific searches. A blog that dozens of categories strewn down the sidebar appears overwhelming to readers. Here’s a post I wrote on how to make your site easy for your readers.
- Be generous. Give away your best stuff for free. Always think of ways to add value to your blog posts. Include actionable takeaways that your readers can easily implement.
- Keep up with (and inform your readers of) the trends in your topic. Be a student, but be an authority. One of the best ways to become an authority blogger is to keep learning about your topic. The more you know, the more you have to share with others. And the more interesting and relevant content you share, the larger your audience will become.
If you keep these six tips in mind as you build your blog, you won’t ever have to fear past or future Google updates because your site will be the type of quality site Google is looking for.
October 21st, 2012 — Potluck Sunday
As we near the death of SEO (more on that next SEO Saturday, but it’s true – SEO is terminally ill), sites with social media clout and genuine content are rising to the top of the search engine results pages. In light of that, today’s posts of the week roundup features some tips you can use as you strive to grow your community and provide great content for your readers. If that hasn’t been your focus in the past, it’s time to change.
The next big thing in marketing is content marketing via social media. And from this day forward, that will be the focus of posts at OnBloggingWell. We’ll still use the regular 7-topic format, but the content within those categories will be geared toward social content marketing.
- 30 Tips for Promoting Your Blog Content – Econsultancy (Digital Marketing Excellence) shares an infographic with us this week that builds upon the premise, “If you market it, they will come.”
- Retailers Pin Hopes on Christmas – “Brands are relying on social to boost sales this holiday season.” AdWeek discusses how holiday marketing has taken an interest in Pinterest.
- 12 Internal Linking Best Practices – from Search Engine People. Yeah, I know I said SEO is dying a slow death. But, according to a July Forbes article (“The Death of SEO: The Rise of Social, PR, and Real Content”), those who know WAY more about these things than I ever will, claim on-page SEO tactics will still be viable (quote from that article, “Follow internal SEO practices to make sure it is found”). It’s the backlinking frenzy that is going by the wayside. Which is great news for bloggers, because backlinking is time-consuming and (if you outsource) is very expensive. Learn to optimize your on-site content and market your content via social media. Social Content Marketing. Memorize that phrase.
- How to Optimize Your New LinkeIn Company Page in 7 Steps – LinkedIn has taken huge strides to improve profile pages. Check out this article by Portent, then head over to your LinkedIn page and spruce it up.
- 10 Google+ Power Tips for B2B – Stand by and watch. Google+ will become of vital importance in your social content marketing strategy. After all, who owns Google+? Social Media B2B brings out some great tips for all of us to implement. I admit – I’m TOTALLY lacking in the Google+ arena, but it’s time for me – and all of us – to change that!
October 14th, 2012 — Potluck Sunday
Another week has rolled by, and, as always, many bloggers shared some great information with us. Here are some of the blog posts I found most useful during the past week.
- 5 Facebook Marketing Resources You Didn’t Know About — by Joanna Lord at SEOMOZ. Actually, I knew about three of these, so I felt special when I read her post. Facebook provides a lot of great information for marketers, and Joanna points out some of their tools.
- The 7 Most Important SEO Factors for Bloggers — by John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing. Duct Tape Marketing consistently offers great content, and this piece is no exception. SEO doesn’t need to be scary, and John does a great job of explaining some simple ways to help your content get found online. Bonus: John’s post featured a pic from one of my favorite photographers – Trey Ratcliff of Stuck in Customs.
- 8 Small Business Product Landing Pages Critiqued for Conversion — by James Gardner at UnBounce. I was glad to see a good post on landing pages, since that has been our focus here lately.
- Make the Web Faster with mod_pagespeed, Now out of Beta – by Google Webmaster Central. Yeah, I know, this one is a bit geeky, but the first sentence says “Speed Matters,” and it is one of the criteria Google uses in its top secret algorithm to rank pages. It’s a good idea to keep up with trends, so that’s why I put this piece in the mix.
- A Simple Guide to Reddit for Marketers — by Danny Brown. Reddit? Seriously? With all the Twitter/Facebook hoopla in marketing, we can’t forget about all the other great social media marketing tools out there. Even the president of the United States recently put Reddit in the spotlight by using the platform to answer policy questions. In this post, Danny shares a great infographic titled, “The Reddit Marketing Field Guide.” I think you’ll find it useful.
October 6th, 2012 — SEO Saturday
If you’ve been around the world of online marketing for long at all, you’ve probably heard that you need to create “landing pages” on your website. The purpose of this post is to explain what a landing page is and share why you need them. In future SEO Saturdays, I plan to post about what elements your landing page should include, how to optimize them, and how to set up your lead capture form.
What is a landing page?
A landing page, also known as a “squeeze” page or lead capture page, is simply a page that someone who comes to your site “lands” on when they get there. Most of the time, the traffic has been driving to that particular page through some sort of campaign, either social media marketing or email marketing or paid advertising or even through search engine optimization.
Most often, a landing page has something free to offer those who arrive there, such as free white papers, reports, ebooks, free trials, webinars, or videos. You can use this “ethical bribe” to give in exchange for a visitor’s email address. Once you have their email address on your list, you can then share information about your industry with them and pitch products and/or services. (Aside: Don’t use your email list for pitches only – always give good content between pitches.)
Why do you need to create landing pages on your website?
The purpose of a landing page is to convert a site visitor to a lead. You’ve probably worked hard to set up your website and create quality content. The next step most people jump into is driving traffic. And it’s true, you need to be driving traffic to your site, but if you don’t have a means in place to convert that traffic to genuine leads, then you can’t effectively market to those leads. A landing page is the opening to your sales funnel.
Creating a specific landing page for a specific offer makes it easy on those who land on your website. If you’ve promoted a special offer via social media and led your traffic to your site’s home page, then the visitors must find where the special offer is on your site and navigate to it. This creates frustration, and unless your offer is irresistible, they will leave without taking action.
Do I need more than one landing page on my site?
I get asked that question a lot. The short answer is yes. Each landing page should provide an answer to a question or issue your audience has. By supplying answers to their problems, you’re positioning yourself as the authority in your niche. I usually suggest that my clients brainstorm the top 5 ways their business benefits their audience and prepare a free short report that helps solve each problem. Those reports will be delivered via landing pages within their site.
Once the visitor-turned-lead is on your list, then you can begin the lead nurturing process that will hopefully convert that lead into a paying customer. We’ll discuss more on this process during the month of October, as setting up your lead capture system will be the over all theme for On Blogging Well this month.
Until next time,