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Mobile-Friendly: 6 Test Tools You Need to Know

Posted by on Jul 22, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Mobile-Friendly: 6 Test Tools You Need to Know

Mobile-Friendly: 6 Test Tools You Need to Know

Look around you, are there people currently looking at their phone screen? There sure are some around me.

The society as a whole is utilizing internet on the go more and more frequently. As a matter of fact, more than half of Google queries come from a mobile device.

Google itself has released a mobile-friendly algorithm back in 2015. Which is designed to favor mobile-friendly sites in ranking which triggered a whole mobilegeddon terror.

What’s more, just last February at PubCon a webmaster conference, Google announced that they’ll be switching more sites to mobile-first index. Even though Google said it won’t affect any SERP ranking at the moment. But as all things Google, be wary and be ready.

You can read more about the mobile-first indexing on Google itself, or this FAQ compiled on SearchEngineLand. Be aware though those two articles are kinda dated but still relevant due to the experimental nature of the indexing.

Although the mobile-first index is still being rolled out in a snail pace for the sake of experimenting. There is no doubt that being mobile friendly is a must for every website out there and it will only be increasingly relevant.

Google wants you to put out mobile friendly and responsive websites.

Maybe not now, but definitely sometime soon.

What’s more, I’m pretty sure everyone would lose less hair if every website they tap into using their smartphone fits nicely and functions perfectly.

So now that you, me and Google are all on the same page that says we want mobile-friendly websites. Here are some tools on the internet that can help you do just that.

So here is a list of 6 mobile-friendly test tools from yours truly – Google.
1. Google Mobile Site Test

Just Google “mobile friendly” to access the tool.

Now if you Google “mobile friendly”, the first column on your result page will be an input bar for you to run a test. That is Google’s very own mobile-friendly test tool a.k.a THE Google mobile site test.

The first column is Google’s very own mobile-friendly test

In fact, if you’ve been following the Google Webmaster Blog. You’ll notice that there is an illustration on the site that urges you to run a mobile-friendly test. Yes, they are both the same thing.

Do you notice on the right site that Google is asking you to check whether your website is mobile-friendly?

Thumbs up at the effort that Google is putting in. They REALLY want you to go mobile friendly.

The site is straightforward and simple to use. All you need to do is type in the URL of your website, and run the test. In less than a minute, you’ll either get a green “page is mobile-friendly” or a red “page is not mobile-friendly”.

Hey the SEOPressor website IS mobile-friendly, hooray!

This news portal, unfortunately, is not.

Straight to the point and simple.

Whether your page is deemed green or red, you can view details on page loading issues. Because let’s face it, no web page is perfect, even if we want it to be. That gives you a simple overview of what you can fix to make it better.

2. Chrome DevTools’ Device Mode

Click here to access the tool.

If you’re a Chrome user, you can utilize their DevTools’ Device Mode to help you build your own mobile-friendly site.

How it looks like when device mode is on.

Utilizing the device mode, you can simulate the environment of a list of portable device and gauge how your site performs.

I won’t go over all the functions of the Device Mode. In a nutshell, by utilizing Device Mode you can gauge the responsiveness of your webpage via a list of portable device emulators. However, there also exist some downsides. For an example, they can’t emulate GPU and CPU behavior.

The point is, the tool will be sufficient for most mobile-friendly testing tasks. So go ahead and make use of this free tool to tweak your website. Up the game on mobile-friendly and responsiveness.

Now that you get an overview on the mobile-friendly-ness of your website. Let’s talk about speed.

When users load a page on mobile, they are on the go, they want to reach a page and they want to reach it fast.

So here’s where speed comes into the big picture. 53% of mobile site visits were abandoned if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Being a mobile-friendly website is important, being a blazing fast mobile-friendly website is even more important. Google helped you built a mobile-friendly website. They also want to help you to tweak it to perform at its best.

3. Test My Site

Click here to access the tool.

Taking only a minute time tells you the time required to load your webpage using a 3G connection. You can also download a free copy of the report on how to improve your performance.

4. PageSpeed Insights

Click here to access the tool.

This web performance tool also gives you some insights on how optimized your website is.

It gives you stats on your website speed, optimization level and etc. It is excellent because in one click it also provides you with a solution on how to fix any problems. Follow the appropriate guides and you can have your website updated in no time.

5. Chorme User Experience Report

Click here to access the tool.

You can pair the web performance tool up with the Chrome User Experience Report to get a clearer view of how your website performs as a whole.

The data is a part of Google Cloud Platform, free to explore via Google BigQuery

As a whole, tools 4 and 5 together give you heads up on how to perform better. A website with better performance gains more edge in the mobile-friendly race.

Now that you have optimized your website performance, you can access it on your mobile device to see it for yourself how it performs, mobile-friendly wise. What’s better than testing out how mobile-friendly a website is, by viewing it in mobile!

6. Chrome Devtools’ Remote Debugging

Click here to access the tool.

While developing your website, you can make use of the remote debugging tool to inspect your page in real time.

This gives you the advantage of examining your website under the mobile condition that you want. While still maintaining the same control over the development.

Update your website builder software

In the case where your website is hosted, it is most probable that the software homepage has already created a how-to guide for you to haul your website into being mobile-friendly. If you want to know more about how to make a website mobile-friendly.

Click here to access the guide to customize your website software.

At the end of the day, the users want more mobile-friendly websites that work. Therefore, Google tries to deliver by emphasizing on mobile-friendly optimizations.

With the mobile-first index being rolled out, the age of internet on the palm is no longer a future event.

Making use and taking advantage of all the guides and tools that have been lying in the Google dungeon will definitely benefit you. Bracing the dark, cold corridor of the dungeons may be intimidating. That’s why we did it for you and compiled these 6 tools to help shape your mobile-friendly website!

Now, brave warrior, storm your way through the optimization and you may be rewarded with a high SERP rank by Google.

The list of mobile friendly test tools

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Best Strategy To Rank Your Content On Google

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How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

My very first blog post here on Yoast.com was about why you should focus on SEO as a blogger. That post was one of the hardest posts I’ve ever written, as I was not focussing on SEO at all back then. I honestly didn’t want to spend time doing keyword research and research my audience. Now, almost four months later, I’m having fun with optimizing my blog posts and am creating a routine in this. And with success, my average position in Google is rising, along with the total impressions and total clicks. Today, I will share why and how I’m optimizing my blog posts. 

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SEO for bloggers

In the beginning of June I was at a conference for Dutch speaking bloggers. I gave a talk about SEO for bloggers and attended several talks myself. One of the talks I saw was by the owner of a big mom blog in the Netherlands. When the audience asked her how she managed to grow, she explained it was a combination of writing a lot, using Google Search Console and using Yoast SEO Premium.

“Anyone could do it,” she told the audience.

Challenge accepted.

The day after the conference, I started optimizing my blog posts. And with success. Where my average organic growth was around 10 percent per month from the start of this year, it was a whopping 86% in June compared to May. Turns out that the SEO tips we give at Yoast, even work for bloggers! Who knew?

Well, probably everyone knew. At least at Yoast. But I’m stubborn and always used the ‘that won’t work for me’ card. But really, as I wrote before, I didn’t want to focus on SEO. I’m a blogger. Who needs SEO?

How to rise in Google

The process of rising to the first page or even the top three result is a long one. You need the right tools and you need the right plan. You need patience and you need to be able to analyze your current data.

To rise in Google, I use two tools:
Google Search Console and Yoast SEO Premium.

Google Search Console is a great tool to see what keywords people use, what the click through rate to your website is and what position you are. You can compare your data as well. The newest data unfortunately is 3 days old, so you need patience with growing.

While you can do this all without our SEO plugin, I can’t live without our premium plugin anymore. I use the premium plugin to check my internal linking structure and use the link suggestions to make sure I am linking to all relevant posts on my website.

It’s hard to decide which blog posts to optimize. I found out my blog post about a lipstick review I did last year, still generates a lot of traffic. I’m not a beauty blogger, but apparently the post hit home. But posts I wanted to rank, weren’t ranking at all. I picked one of those blog posts and started to optimize it. You can do this by completely rereading the text, checking the bullets of our content analysis and adding relevant links to other blog posts – the internal linking tool helps with that, and to link from other relevant posts to this post. Orphaned content – content that’s not linked to – is horrible and it’s something you need to fix as soon as possible if you want to rank. 

A great site structure is a must for both visitors and Google. Learn how to set it up today in our Site structure training! »

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How to optimize without spending all day optimizing

I want to write. I want to blog. The last thing I want to do, is work on optimizing my blog posts for Google, Pinterest  or Facebook.

As I won’t go viral after I hit that publish button and I won’t get millions of hits after I shouted out that I blogged, I need to optimize the posts. I do this right after I finished a blog post. I reread it, go through all the bullets of the plugin and determine if I want to change its suggestions, or just ignore those stupid red and orange bullets that are out there to make my life miserable. The one thing I do check for every time, are internal links and a proper meta description. While writing meta descriptions are my nightmare, they are important in getting people to actually click that link.

Checklist

I’ve created my own checklist before I publish a post. While I sometimes go back to a blog post to create new links if I published new blogs, I make sure all my new posts at least check off the following:

There are at least 3 links to other blog posts I’ve written that are relevant to the topic. If there are no relevant links, I need to either create more content or perhaps remove the blog post altogether.
There is at least one relevant high quality image and it has the focus keyword in its alt description.
I’ve written a compelling meta description.
My readability is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
My SEO analysis is green. And if it’s not, the feedback it gave me was something I chose to deliberately ignore.
I’ve checked old blog posts to see if I can link to this new blog post.

Routine

It’s important to create your own routine in this. While in the beginning it might feel as if you’re messing around and it won’t have any use, if you continue to do the steps above, you will see improved results in Google and Google Search Console.

I’m curious how and if you are incorporating SEO tactics in your blogging. Please let me know, because I’m eager to learn from you too!

Read on: Site structure: the ultimate guide »

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WordPress Security – 8 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Site

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in Greg's SEO Articles | Comments Off on WordPress Security – 8 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Site

Whether you use a WordPress website to promote your Company products and services or as a blog to share your thoughts and opinion, the security of your site is very important. WordPress has become a popular blogging platform in the recent years because it is easy to develop, design, and manage. In fact, you almost do not need any special knowledge to use a WordPress website.

WordPress is preferred by most individuals and business owners for many reasons. It has a simple, DIY and user-friendly interface, called dashboard. More so, WordPress allows you to install your custom theme and Plug-Ins and edit them to taste. SEO optimization is another benefit of WordPress that cannot be overemphasized.

Excellent features of WordPress

1.     WordPress Plug-Ins

A plug-In refers to additional software that’s added to a WordPress site in order to give it a desired feature or function. There are several kinds of WordPress plug-ins for different functions. For instance, there are Plug-ins for SEO, security, display and performance, cache, image properties, comments management, social media integration, video embed, e-commerce, and lots more. Your choice will depend on what you are looking for.

2.     WordPress themes

WordPress also allows you to decide how you want your website to look. Do you want a static homepage or the one that displays all your pages? There are thousands of themes out there that you can choose from. There are free and premium themes recommended by WordPress developers and those designed by third-party professional web designers.

3.     Easy Customization

After you might have chosen your theme and plug-ins, you can still modify and customize them to your taste. Depending on the character of your installed theme/plug-in, you can choose from a wide array of customization options available.

WordPress Security

With the constant increase in the number of cyber crimes and online attacks on many websites, it is very important to keep your WordPress site as secure as possible. As earlier identified, WordPress allows you to easily and effortlessly adjust your settings to suit your needs. This makes it easy for you to avoid all forms of attacks on your WordPress website.

Why Is WordPress Security So Important?

A hacked or compromised WordPress website can be a big blow to you and/or your business. Cyber attackers can steal your login details, personal information, and caches and gain an access to your dashboard. The case can be fatal if you use your website for business transactions.

Hackers can alter your payment gateway and divert your funds. More so, they can access your database and steal your customers’ information and vital documents. Depending on the type of attack and aim of the attacker, it may take forever to retrieve your website and you know the damage and loss this can cost you.

How can you protect your WordPress site?

The fact that WordPress is an Open Source platform and everybody has access to the source codes makes it a favorite target of most cyber hackers. Most attacks come from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Germany, and Poland. Popular WordPress attacks include

  • SQL Injections
  • Clickjacking
  • Cloaking
  • Blackhole Exploit Kit attacks
  • Password and Login brake efforts

The truth, however, is that there is really no way to prevent an intrusion of a script master if he targets your site. Still, there are ways to protect your site from possible attacks. If your site is well protected, a hacker would prefer to pick another easier victim.

8 Things You Must Do to Protect Your Site

1.     Forget about using “admin” as your username.

Many attackers focus on the default WordPress username using brute force. Bruteforce is a password cracking robot that has the ability to guess the password to a username. Bruteforce can guess over a thousand passwords in few seconds. If you are unlucky, your password may be among the guesses and the attacker will access your account.

To avoid this, you should change your username from the default “admin” or “administrator” from your WordPress control panel.

Steps:

  • Go to MySQL tool (phpmyadmin)
  • Find your database
  • Go to wp_users and browse for “admin”
  • Under the user_login column, change it to something else.

2.     Choose a strong password

After you have changed your username, the next thing is to change your password. Usually, the best practice is to use a combination of Upper and Lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers.

Steps

  • Go to Users
  • Profile
  • Password

Furthermore, make sure you change the password to your cpanel as well because a hacker can seize your site through the cpanel. More so, make sure both passwords are unique and that you don’t use them on any other platform.

To save you the headache of having to think of new passwords to use, you can auto-generate a password using the options available on your dashboard. Auto-generated passwords are strong and unique.

3.     Use a Custom login URL

Now that you have a new Username and Password, the next is to have a custom login URL. This will guarantee you a maximum protection against brute force. Typically, a brute force attack needs your login URL and username.

There are many WordPress plug-ins that allow you to customize your login URL. The default WordPress login URL is “yoursite.com/wp-admin/”. You can change this to “yoursite.com/logmein”. This will make it hard for an attacker to locate your login URL even if he has your Username and Password.

4.     Use emails for logging in instead of usernames

Instead of adopting the native and common practice of using a username to login to your WordPress, you can make use of an email instead. Remember to input your full name at the User settings on your dashboard so that the Full name will be the one to be displayed on public posts.

5.     Use CAPTCHA for registration and login

CAPTCHA provides an extra layer of security for your data. It protects you against robots and brute force attacks. CAPTCHA is an acronym for Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (CAPTCHA). It is a challenge test that forces the web browser to prove that he or she is not a bot. It is a bot trap that helps to prevent automated bots or scripts from accessing your website.

There are various types of CAPTCHA. We have the Image and text type of CAPTCHA. The Image form of CAPTCHA is to test if the user trying to access your website can see an image correctly or not. The number type of CAPTCHA is used to test common logical reasoning, such as rewriting what is displayed, perform simple arithmetic or identify the words printed.

If you have an unprotected registration form, hackers can simply access your page and create thousands of accounts in few seconds using automated bot system. These accounts are meant to do three things; alter your database, steal your information or spam your website.

Again, there are some useful CAPTCHA plugins available for you. Go to your WordPress dashboard, click on the plugin, add new, and search for the keyword “CAPTCHA”. Choose the one with good reviews and configure it.

6.     Enable the 2-factor authentication

Make your login page ask for additional information, such as date of birth, mother’s maiden name, and so on. This will add another layer of security. It even protects you from physical attacks or possible password leaks through phishing or keylogger. Again, check the WordPress plugin directory for a suitable 2-factor authentication plugin that suits you.

7.     Utilize SSL certificate

An SSL Certificate is highly recommended if you perform financial transactions on your WordPress website. Likewise, if you store personal or sensitive information on your site, you should consider adding an SSL certificate. The SSL Certificate is just a Proof of Identification which groups the domain name with the server name or hostname. SSL certificate usually put the mind of your customers/readers at rest that they site is verified by a trusted hostname/authority. Advent Digital offers an easy and one-time SSL certificate setup for WordPress websites. Check it out now!

8.     Always Update your WordPress

There is no gain in staying in the past when the world has already advanced to the next level. WordPress developers typically identify some major flaws and shortcomings before you and make moves to fix them. Therefore, each new version of WordPress comes with its own improved security measures.

Updating your WordPress version is easy, free, and without any downtime. Upgrade and updates are not only limited to your WordPress platform. It also comprises of your plugins and themes. The developers of each plugin work every day to ensure that their products are healthy and safe from any form of attack.

Most attacks are due to the use of outdated WordPress features. You should not be caught offside simply because you didn’t update your features as soon as new versions are released. Luckily, WordPress offers an easy and effective way to update these features. You can turn on auto-upgrade during installation or install a plugin that sends a notification to your email once a new version of any of your plugin or theme is released.

Conclusion

WordPress is an easy and convenient way to blog about your hobby or sell your business to the world. Because it is an open-source platform, cyber hackers usually use this advantage to compromise many websites and take control of vital data. Highlighted above are 8 concrete ways of protecting your website from various cyber attacks.

Ask Yoast: Nofollow tags for Amazon affiliate links

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Ask Yoast: Nofollow tags for Amazon affiliate links

Ask Yoast: Nofollow tags for Amazon affiliate links

When you add a nofollow tag to a link on your site, you’re basically telling search engines that they shouldn’t count your backlink when ranking that page. Doing this helps you avoid leaking link value to pages that may not be trustworthy, or, in case of affiliate marketing, to your advertiser’s website.

But what if you include several affiliate links in every blog post you publish? While you probably link to relevant products, all these links should still have a nofollow tag. This can easily become a large amount of nofollowed links. Does this have any consequences for the link value of your pages?

Nikola was worried about this and emailed us his question:

I have a nofollow tag on my Amazon affiliate links because in Google’s Webmaster guidelines it’s said that ad links should have this tag. But I’m worried that this will cause a drop in link value of my pages as I add these links to almost all of my posts. What should I do? Do Amazon affiliate links hurt blog SEO?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Adding a nofollow tag to Amazon affiliate links

“No, they don’t hurt blog SEO. Nofollow doesn’t hurt anything. If it’s an ad it deserves a nofollow and you’re doing it perfectly right and you shouldn’t change anything. Good luck.”

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Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO conundrum you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to [email protected], and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: please check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question may already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, we’d like to refer you to our support page.

Read more: How to cloak your affiliate links »

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Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

Chatbots & Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Customer Service

“Intelligent machines are very quickly going to start taking over human functions, and this process is already in place with customer service… In the future, I see service people working hand-in-hand with machines.” – Nancy A. Shenker, Founder and CEO, theONswitch

The future is coming and it might be coming even faster than you thought. 5% of companies worldwide are using chatbots regularly in 2016. While 80% of businesses in the US want chatbots by 2020.

The number will only rise with the availability of technology gets wider while the price gets lower.

In the customer service sector where a lot of human resources are needed to answer mostly repetitive questions, AI chatbot is especially valuable.

So what exactly is a chatbot?

A chatbot is a program that is personified to conversationally assist in performing certain tasks usually in the environment of a messaging application.

To put it simply, Siri is a chatbot, Google Assistant is a chatbot, and when you tell Lyft to pick you up at home on Facebook Messenger, yes you’re talking to a chatbot.

Siri, the artificial intelligence personal assistant, can also be viewed as a chatbot.

With emerging online shopping platforms, websites and applications alike. The whole shopping experience is having a major makeover. Customers don’t visit the brick and mortar to browse through items nor they seek out salesperson for inquiries as much as they did anymore.

With a tap, a click, a zoom and reading through reviews left by other customers, they decide whether to make a transaction or not. All virtually.

What do customers want from customer service?

Now that everything in the industry is only getting better and faster, they are expecting only the best.

The best shopping experience, the best after-sales service, and the best customer service.

The most help and information. In the least time and hassle. Through the most friendly yet professional manner.

Customer service should not be just a department anymore, it should be the core and focus of a business. Communicating with the customers and knowing what they want help build the whole shopping experience.

In this era where shopping options are plenty and competition is high, the quality of customer service could very well be the push you need to win the race.

“Provide help to users before they know they need it, be predictive” Jay Baer – Marketing and customer service author and speaker; Owner, Convince & Convert

Collecting data and catering to customers’ needs will be an important step for every business owners for now and moreover for the future.

So where do Artificial Intelligence and chatbot come in?

A chatbot is the sales assistant, the customer service personnel in the new age of shopping.

As mentioned before, a chatbot is a personification. When a customer is engaged in a conversation with a chatbot, they should feel like they’re talking to someone instead of something.

Chatbot armored with AI has the power to learn. Through numerous conversation with customers, they are collecting data, and through this immense absorption, they can grow and adapt.

Although NLP (Natural-language processing) for chatbots still has a long way to go, Siri can help me shoot a quick text to Mom telling her I’m coming home with takeaway dinner. For me, that’s good enough for now.

I don’t expect Siri to be as good as J.A.R.V.I.S, I’m no Ironman. But the customers only expects the best. You better give them a J.A.R.V.I.S.

Ironman in his suit, optimized with J.A.R.V.I.S, the artificial intelligence personal assistant

When you have a large number of inquiries coming in every day. You have a lot of data to look at. Through data, you can detect a pattern. Most of the time a large percentage of customers might be making the same kind of inquiry.

“ How long will it take for my item to be delivered?”
“ What color options this item has?”
“ How can I be upgraded to premium?”

A human customer service personnel may feel numb and bored by these repetitive questions, but a chatbot won’t. They’re not living, after all, they can’t feel bored or annoyed.

Chatbots can be used to handle the long list of repetitive and easily foreseen question that can be answered with a straightforward answer.

If you noticed the same kind of questions being asked dozens of time a day? Let it be handled by a chatbot might be a better idea before your customer service personnel can’t handle it anymore.

Where are AI and chatbot now? Where will they be in the future? What about human personnels?

AI is already widely optimized and utilized in current chatbox services.

Most of the customer service chat box you can find in retail sites are actually handled by a human personnel but at the same time powered by AI.

Typeform uses a chatbot-esque flow to make your survey more engaging.

A list of suggested answers is at hand. AI also foresee what question the customer has and gives timely suggestion answers so both the personnel and customer can go through the process as hassle-free as possible.

Powered by data, technology, and clever programming, chatbots can completely take over the above situation.

Initial contact with customers could be handled by chatbots. Instead of the personnel choosing from a list of suggested answers, the chatbot itself decides which answer should be given by analyzing the incoming inquiries.

Optimizing chatbots, general inquiries can be completed within minutes. A win-win situation where the customers are happy and tickets cleared.

That gives human personnel more time and energy to solve complex or technical questions that require more than a one-liner answer.

Greatly reducing the workload of human personnel as only after filtration that an inquiry that requires their expertise would reach them.

Chatbot VS Human

In an ideal future, chatbots are perfectly capable of handling conversations and complains. They understand the human language completely and can react as needed.

However, in the realistic future, it will need a long long time before any machine can pass the Turing Test. Moreover, handle each and every kind of customer need on its own.

Chatbots can’t completely take over human personnel because, at the end of the day, they are not human.

Now that chatbot can’t be as intelligent as a human, what are they good for? Well, they should be intelligent enough to tell when they need a human to step in.

In place, is the ability of chatbot to tell when a situation requires more than what they can offer and promptly connect the customer to a human personnel.

Chatbots are not sentient nor will they point a gun on you, I think…

The line between when a human person needs to step in or should the chatbot take full control to handle customer service should be tread lightly and cautiously.

If not, you’ll be left with a lot of frustrated users, flooded email inbox, and idle chatbots.

Let’s think about what a human can do that a chatbot can’t do. First of all, a human can process a much more complex language input and output, which is critical in a conversation. A human can act without following a set of instructions. Most importantly, a human can feel emotions.

So the time when a chatbot sends a customer to a human customer service personnel should be:

when the inquiry is too complex to be understood,
when the inquiry is out of what they know, and
when the customer is here to complain, or on a brighter side, to send a compliment.

Like how AI implemented into chat box software are making things easier for both the customer and personnel. The realistic visualization of how a chatbot should function in the future should be the same, make things easier for everyone.

In the future…

Chatbots won’t completely take over the customer service jobs. Robots will not eat all the jobs. Ideally.

As mentioned before, customer service is evolving into the core of a business. It’s only getting bigger and everyone will need all the help they can get.

That help will be chatbot.

Though chatbots now are buggy and their self-learning function is terrorized by fun-loving-crowds at the moment.

As all things science, human will push the boundary of knowledge and one day NPL technology may be good enough to help create bots that can converse fluently.

In the future of customer service, customers won’t be able to differentiate whether they’re talking to a human or a bot who passed the Turing test. In the future, bots will be the first line of contact in customer service line.

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5 Analyses You can do Without an SEO Platform

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Analyses You can do Without an SEO Platform

5 Analyses You can do Without an SEO Platform

Having a major SEO monitoring platform like Brightedge or Conductor is great. They come with integrated rank tracking. Plus, they have interesting interpretations of that data. A strict rank tracker won’t provide that.

These insights come at a cost. Lots of costs, actually:

Money – the monitoring platforms are expensive.

Time – a good configuration job takes time. It implies long-term commitment.

Inertia – it’s harder to get data out than in. We analyze within the tool. This means long-term commitment.

What if we could get the best of these analyses and avoid these burdens? Say we’re working with a small site. Or we’re working with a small section of a site. Or we’re trying choices on for size. Or that we can’t afford to shell out!

We want the power, without the pitfalls. With a bit of elbow-grease, we can get there. Let’s walk through a spreadsheet I use every day. It does some things you’d expect from the big platforms, without the cost.

GET THE SHEET
Five common monitoring questions we can answer without expensive tools

Here are five questions monitoring platforms answer. They’re simple enough. And often they go unasked if we don’t have a platform handy:

Do we rank for what we’re targeting?
We’ve chosen some terms. Do we show up?

Does the right content rank?
The ranking page for a term is sometimes wrong. If it is, we could have technical or information architecture problems.

How have our rankings changed?
In the last week? The last month?

How would traffic increase with a higher ranking?
Let’s set a ranking goal. Sometimes we hope for a #1 ranking. Other times we know #4 is the highest we can hope for. If we get there, what reward will we have?

Which ranking changes matter?
For big terms, small changes make a difference. A top ranking for a minor term often doesn’t. Which changes in ranking should we focus on?

Let’s see how to answer these questions.

What do we need?

Before we start answering, we do need data to dig into. Here’s what we need:

From rank tracker

From us

Rank today

Keyword

Rank 7 days ago

Landing page mapped to each keyword

Rank 30 days ago

Target ranking for each keyword

Estimated search volume

Anticipated CTR at each rank

I’ve set up the spreadsheet to use exports from rank tracker Stat. With some work, we could use other sources — Moz or AuthorityLabs, for instance. The things in the “from us” column might not make sense yet. read on, we’ll clarify.

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//

Getting the data into the sheet
Ranking data

We’ve exported this data from Stat. It’s pasted in the “Paste data here” tab. With some tweaking, you can use data from any source.

The sheet basis a lot of its analysis on the data pasted here. For instance, it treats the most recent date in this table as “today”. Any data from “7 days ago” or “30 days ago” is, therefore, relative to that date. That also means there’s no value in putting more than 30 days of data in here!

Our data
Keywords

The spreadsheet will only calculate information for terms manually added to this list. This is helpful if your export includes many terms. Google Sheets lacks the horsepower of Excel! Of course, the terms must also be in the export from the ranking tool.

Landing pages mapped to each keyword

Put your intended landing page here. This is basically the data field your rank tracker doesn’t have. It’s the difference between the monitoring platforms and the rank trackers. It’s a fine line to draw.

Target ranking

This allows a little extra analysis, as we’ll see. With your SEO hat on, where do you think your site ought to rank?

Anticipated CTR at each rank

Any CTR table is fine. This one is generated by a mathematical formula that has approximately correct characteristics. Some of the monitoring platforms allow you to select different models. In practice, that doesn’t matter. What’s important is the shape of the curve. Adding any more detail assumes more detail than we have a right to.

Answering our questions

Let’s look at the calculations necessary to answer our questions. The sheet puts all the calculations in one place. This is convenient because:

We need similar data to answer each question.

We often ask these questions at the same time.

Updating one sheet is simple. Even if updating it requires a copy and paste.

Each calculation is straightforward. None take more than a VLOOKUP. Follow along in the sheet while reading — it’ll keep things concrete. And if you still feel confused, take a look at our Excel for SEOs guide. It’s plenty applicable for Sheets, too.

Do we rank for what we’re targeting?

This is the basic question. If this was all we needed, we could’ve stuck with the rank tracker! However, this is the basis for answering the rest of our questions. Fortunately, it’s easy to do.

Find the keyword in the rank tracker output.

If it’s there, give us the ranking from the most recent date.

Does the right content rank?

This is one of the simplest features that integrated platforms provide. In addition to specifying terms, they allow you to associate a desired landing page with a term.

We need to look at:

The keyword

The page we say we want to rank for this keyword

The page that is actually ranking for this keyword

The “page we want to rank”, like the keyword, is hard-coded into the sheet. This is the definitive place that information is stored. That’s usually fine because the point of this is to be able to do a lightweight analysis. That said, there’s no reason the data couldn’t be stored somewhere else and pulled in for this.

In this case, I’m using conditional formatting to shade the Ranking URL column red if an undesirable page is ranking.

Find the keyword in rank tracker output.

Find the page that’s ranking for the keyword.

Is the ranking page the same as the page we said we want to rank?

How have our rankings changed?

This builds on the previous step. If we know how we rank today, and 7 days ago, we can compare our rankings on each of these days. Again, this is the sort of thing you might be able to get within your ranking platform. Not always — a surprising number of them don’t make this data easily accessible in the default dashboard.

Find the keyword in the rank tracker output.

Find the most recent ranking.

Find the ranking from 7 days ago.

Subtract the current ranking from the ranking 7 days ago.

How much would better rankings increase traffic?

We can often get a pretty good idea where a client could reasonably rank. For instance, say we were recommending long-tail pages for them to create. We can eyeball various SERPs, looking at things like the DA and PA of sites that are already there, and guess at where the new pages will land.

In the last step, we estimated potential traffic based on current ranking. We could just as easily estimate potential traffic for this hypothetical ranking.

By taking the difference of potential traffic and estimated current traffic, we get an idea of what the client stands to gain.

This is one of the most straightforward techniques for justifying investment in SEO to clients.

Find the keyword in the rank tracker output.

If it’s there, give us the ranking from the most recent date.

Look up the estimated CTR for that ranking.

Look up the estimated search volume for the term.

Multiply estimated search volume by estimated CTR.

Repeat steps 3-5, assuming that the ranking is our “ideal ranking”.

Subtract estimated traffic from “ideal traffic”.

Which changes in ranking have impacted us the most?

This is an analysis I love. It uses basically the same calculation as the previous section. The difference is it deals with two real numbers instead of hypothetical ones.

We try to keep our clients from looking at rankings too often. Sometimes they insist, and sometimes it really is appropriate to be working with them on a weekly basis.

Rankings move around a lot, even day to day. That means there is a lot of noise. If we’re going to productively have a conversation about ranking changes on a weekly basis, we need to focus on two or three changes that were the most impactful.

They way I do this is by calculating the amount of traffic that we could have received in our position 30 days ago. I also calculate estimated traffic for today. Then I take the difference between these sums.

It’s a simple enough calculation. That said, it really brings to the fore changes that have had a big impact. I find the two or three terms that stand out and focus the conversation on those.

Using the steps from the last answer, get the estimated search volume for the term today.

Using the steps from the last answer, get the estimated search volume for the term as it ranked 30 days ago.

Subtract the “30 days ago traffic” from the “today traffic”.

Next steps

Have a play with the sheet. Honestly, that’ll be much more informative than reading my wordy descriptions. If nothing else, understand that this is what you’re paying for when you buy into a monitoring platform. If it sounds hard, there are folks out there that provide this service!

We’re always interested to see solution to other micro-problems. I’d love to see any that you all have to share!

GET THE SHEET

SEO and Content Marketing: Your Key to Success

Posted by on Jul 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on SEO and Content Marketing: Your Key to Success

SEO and Content Marketing: Your Key to Success

We all love PB&J, at least I do, and what I also love is combining the power of both SEO and content marketing for the best tasting digital marketing sandwich ever.

Let’s look at it this way, SEO is the peanut butter to your content marketing jelly.

Carefully applied first layer of SEO peanut butter helps prevent your jelly spread from seeping into the bread. Saving you from a soggy sandwich disaster. At the same time, they taste pretty damn fantastic together. I call it a WIN-WIN situation.

Like peanut butter and jelly, SEO and content marketing are both unique in their own ways.

Content marketing is the soft flow of creativity sparks.

Like sweet sticky jelly, it attracts potential customers with colorful and varying contents ranging from photos to blog posts.

It helps to catch attention and interest from the public. Sparking public curiosity about the brand and its product. Striking the strongest when the itch of a sweet tooth is the strongest by giving them a timely feed of sweet content.

SEO, on the other hand, is technical. It is best when utilizing the whole network of websites instead of on a single content page. It requires a chunky load of data research and tracking.

Users looking at your website might not even know that it exists. But they do.

They exist in the lightning-fast loading speed, perfectly responsive design even on different mobile devices, easy-on-the-eye font size, appropriately highlighted titles and more.

First of all, SEO and content marketing work well each on their own. They are both fantastic digital marketing strategies that attract customers and converts.

But, pairing them up together makes it work even better. There are so many aspects overlapping that you might as well do them both together and get double the result instead of just one.

SEO makes your content easier to navigate.

First and foremost, if you ask me what makes or breaks a website for me. I would say how comfortable the browsing experience is.

Does it load fast enough? Are the paragraphs too chunky to read? Does the video loads smoothly and ends promptly? Are there annoying pop-ups covering content that I actually want to read? I can go on for a few more lines but you get the gist.

SEO as per Google’s guideline actually helps to make the whole browsing experience much smoother and more comfortable for users.

A well-optimized website and content are easy to navigate to both crawlers and readers.

It gives you a clear view of what it offers and what it is about. From the title, URL, description, down to image ALT.

Easy navigation to what the website has to offer from one drop-down menu.

No matter how good your content is, it won’t matter to the potential customers if they can’t even access it comfortably.

What’s worse, a good piece of content may risk never reaching the audience it deserves. Because your website is littered with bad code that gives out the wrong signal to Google. Thus users are never directed to your content.

Pumping out good content is important, but your hard work will have a harder time to pay off if your website is not optimized.

SEO wants good boosts good content.

SEO stands for search engine optimization, to put it simply, it helps you get to that number 1 spot on a search page.

What do people search for? Best Italian restaurant in Denver. The difference between affect and effect. How to unclog a kitchen sink. The list goes on.

I tried searching “How to unclog a kitchen sink” on Google. Right after two results from wikihow, ranked third is an article from “ahs”. Which is a company website that sells home warranty plans.

The search result for “how to unclog a kitchen sink”, on no. 3 is an article from a home warranty company.

Selling home warranty plans to those looking to unclog a kitchen sink. Smart move right?

Imagine the website has only three pages, one about us, second contact us, third plans and pricing. What will the users need to type into the search bar to reach their homepage if they don’t already know of its existence before?

Optimizing their website might boost them to the first position when users are looking for home warranty plans. But other than that there’s not much more help to offer.

By building a blog, the website is updating constantly with blog posts that cater to their potential customers’ interest. Be it unclogging a sink, how to properly clean a clothes dryer or landscaping ideas, there’s so much more that can be optimized and help put the website out there.

The same website ranking number 1 on the query “home warranty” thanks to their page titled “What is a Home Warranty”. Clever SEO paired up with good content boosts their visibility to the top to potential customers.

With some SEO keyword researching power, you get more ideas on what kind of content to push in order to reach out to your targeted audience.

With these constant update of relevant content, all of them armored with good optimization. The website as a whole has a much wider spectrum to be discovered by potential customers.

SEO needs backlinks, good content marketing helps create backlinks.

One of the factors that are considered to rank a page is backlink. Building backlink is one major element of SEO. Any incoming links from other web pages are considered backlinks.

Now, let’s sit down and think for me. When would I want to link an article?

When it’s relevant to what I want to talk about.
When it has good quality content that I want to share with my readers.
When it’s reliable data.
When it inspired my own writing.

That’s what your website and your content should aim to be.

Relevant, quality, reliable, inspiring posts will get a constant steady flow of backlinks.

Take HubSpot’s blog as an example. They sell marketing and sales software. They also run a blog, a quality blog where people constantly look up to to learn new stuff about marketing, sales and customer service.

This is their page autority and amount of backlinks that they have received.

To put it down.

The more quality posts you put out, the more backlinks you will get. The more quality backlinks you got, the higher chance you will have to be ranked on that sweet first page of SERP. The higher you are ranked, the more visitors you will get. The more visitors you get, the more chance you get to lead-gen.

Now you see the core of why content marketing and SEO go hand in hand.

SEO thrives on fresh content, content marketing creates a constant flow of content.

For SEO consistency is key, fresh content is king.

Google favors up-to-date contents, you very rarely get a result from a Google query that is from 5 years ago.

Imagine searching for SEO tactics and the first result page tells you to stuff in as many keywords as you can in a single article. That is so 10 years ago.

What is preferred now instead of keyword stuffing, is having your targeted keyword consistently placed across the website. With every new piece of relevant content being published, crawlers will index it.

When a website has a lot of pages sharing similar keywords, Google will assume that the website has a certain authority on the topic. Thus slowly increasing its rank.

Up-to-date contents are not only favored by Google, it is favored by users too.

Like the example I mentioned above, you wouldn’t want to be given out a dated technique to apply on your website only to be penalized by Google.

Not only that, via regular updates it builds a sense of anticipation for the readers. They got curious about the next piece of content that will be published. They start looking forward to updates.

You build yourself a group of loyal readers. That, in turn, give you consistent visits. With a higher level of trust and loyalty, they are more likely to turn into customers.

I, myself am a loyal fan of the HubSpot blog. I check on the site once a week to pick up some new articles to read. And to be honest, if I ever run a commerce site I might just pick up their service.

So by giving out constant relevant fresh contents, it not only pleases the potential customers, it also gives you an edge to be ranked higher.

So my two cents are…

Both SEO and content marketing works great on its own, but why have a jelly sandwich or peanut butter sandwich when you can have a PB&J?

The internet is crowded, if you want to stand out from the crowd, utilizing one technique is not going to be sufficient. By combining both SEO and content marketing you’re boosting the best sides of each technique and making them even better.

Without good content, SEO techniques can only carry you that far. Like an amplifier, SEO helps your content shine. Both of them together bring you one step nearer to the shiny throne of success.

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Google Expanding Carousel Layout for “Best” Keywords

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Google Expanding Carousel Layout for “Best” Keywords

Google Expanding Carousel Layout for “Best” Keywords

Over the past year we’ve seen Google expanding their carousel layout and experimenting with new UI for SERPs (see Dr Pete’s helpful mega-guide to the SERP layout), last week we saw some new layouts around filtering and today we’re noticing an expanded rollout across some commercial keywords that will dramatically impact user behaviour.

What is the Google carousel layout?

The carousel layout has been around for a little while and looks something like this:

Typically this layout has been reserved for relatively non-commercial queries like movies, books, landmarks and so on.

Expanding the carousel layout to commercial queries

This morning we saw a dramatic increase in the coverage for carousel queries, and of note we see this expanding across very commercial queries like “best project management software”:

These queries are not cheap to advertise on and typically have multiple adwords slots against them. These are commercial queries that are competitive and monetized.

While it’s obviously early days, it looks like Google might be putting the cart ahead of the horse for some of these queries. Take “best accounting software”:

Noticeably absent from the carousel is Xero, Netsuite, or Zoho. #1, #2 and #3 in the adwords slots. Of course whether they’re the best or not I’m not going to comment on but not even appearing in the carousel seems like a slap in the face.

Implications

Distilled NYC VP Noah Lemas wrote around a year ago about Google’s increasingly aggressive attitude towards third party aggregators. This is yet another step in that direction, and more and more sites need to be wary of Google as a competitor, as well as a channel. The bottom line here is that if you are a business who could be replaced by Google – particularly an affiliate or comparison site – you need to start thinking fast about how you can add unique value.

That said, this could also be a defensive play by Google – Amazon are now bidding on product listing in paid per click, and this may be Google’s way of avoiding losing market share to them.

What’s next?

Anyone think we might see this expand to keywords like “best credit card” soon? These are some of the most expensive keywords on Google and tough to rank for. A carousel result here would materially impact the bottom line for companies like Nerdwallet….

The growing percent of queries featuring carousels (thanks @cyrusshepard for pointing me to this graph).

Discussion

What are you all seeing? Drop any insights into the comments! We’ll update this post with more as we have it….

5 Inbound Marketing Techniques Every Startup Need to Know

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 5 Inbound Marketing Techniques Every Startup Need to Know

5 Inbound Marketing Techniques Every Startup Need to Know

Creating a startup is no easy work, we are well aware of that. That’s why we have this list of 5 inbound marketing techniques that can help you break through the noise and reach the audience you want.

Why inbound marketing you ask? Well, first of all, inbound marketing costs relatively lower compared to outbound marketing like tv advertising.

For a startup, you probably can’t allocate as much budget as you would like on marketing. Which is why the low-cost aspect of inbound marketing is so important to a startup business.

What’s more, the effect of inbound marketing is long term and long lasting. By buying advertisement you’re just renting a temporary place to showcase your product or your brand.

But the core of inbound marketing is having customers coming to you instead of vice versa. By putting out content that interests your targeted crowd, you ensure yourself an audience and a group of potential customers.

As the masterminds at HubSpot put it, inbound marketing is “The best way to turn strangers into customers and promoters of your business”. If you’re launching a startup, or already own one, inbound marketing can be your best friend.

If you don’t want to get swallowed by the waves of startups out there, here are the 5 inbound marketing techniques that you need to know.
1.Create free content, gain leads

Create contents that your targeted audience would want to know, such as…

Guide
Ebook
Video
Product review
Infography
Checklist
Grading tool
Blog title/keyword/URl/etc generator
Industry news update
Slideshows

Inbound marketing starts with content. Not just any content but relevant content.

Think about it. Why would I want to know the 20 most popular knitting pattern of 2017 when I’m actually looking for a lipstick? The list of “it” lip colors on the latest New York fashion week sounds more like it, right? That would be correct if you’re running a makeup e-commerce site and someone like me (age 20s – 40s, female) is a part of your targeted audience.

Create a list of persona who is your targeted audience. Think of what concerns them. Write about it. Don’t just keep creating content for the sake of content. You gotta work smart not just work hard.

Here’s what you can do.

Create a blog. Like we did, like HubSpot did, like Danny Brown did.

Set a tone. Now this concerns your targeted persona and your branding. HubSpot gives mostly informative articles, guides, and tips. While Danny Brown tends to get a little more personal, he talks about his family, his home renovation updates etc.

Why are they so different?

Hubspot is selling you software and services, it’s a company brand. While Danny Brown is a personal brand, he sells advice and skills. That’s why they have different approaches to blogging.

Consider what you are, who your targeted personas are, then set a tone for your blog.

Now that you have a blog for your startup, you will slowly build a group of readers and they will start looking forward to your next content. Taking advantage of this, you can turn them into leads by offering them more free content.

Put a little box somewhere, preferably strategically at the end of your blog post, then tell them to type in their email to sign up for a weekly newsletter.

Voila, you got your leads.

An example of a pop up offering a user more free stuff – Our little effort to share with you awesome contents while asking little in return

Not only that, you can also offer them e-books, guides, checklists, reports etc to download. Once again, all those are awesome ways to gain leads. There is a long list of content that you can create, fit it according to what your personas would like. In return, you gain leads, subscribers who will continue reading your stuff, revenue for your startup and all of that from a little effort of content creating.

2. Build your presence on social media, it’s free!

The next inbound marketing tip concerns social media. Be it Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, pick one or more and start building your profile.

It might be too much of a hassle to manage multiple social media accounts. So remember your list of targeted persona? Summon them and ask them which platform they prefer.

Other than that, consider the type of startup you’re owning.

If you’re a florist, Instagram will be excellent to showcase your beautiful bouquets. If you’re a B2B enterprise, Twitter will be a better place to go. While restaurants tend to utilize Facebook.

Consider what each platform has to offer and which one can benefit your startup the most.

More than 70% of customers consult social media before deciding on a purchase. That’s how integrated social media is to our everyday lives down to decision making.

What can you post on social media?

Announcements: promotional sales, close for the day, special valentine’s day product
Daily updates: the dress is just in, perfect weather today for a pint of craft beer
Events: like our Facebook page and show us to get a 10% off
Behind the scenes: our programmer Wayne is working hard to present you the new chat feature on our homepage
Interactions: answer queries, retweet/share/repost positive feedbacks
Promotions: a cutout from when you got interviewed by the local newspaper

If you’re a florist, showcase the fresh flowers that are just in. If you’re a restaurant show off your lunchtime crowd. If you’re a B2B enterprise, give quick tips regarding your area of expertise.

Social media platforms are often time awesome places to get feedbacks and gain interaction with the crowd. You can answer their questions, promote positive feedback from customers, chime in on hot social topic and more.

Here’s a Facebook page example of Panzano an Italian restaurant at Denver.

Panzano runs an excellent Facebook page that boost a variety of posts ranging from event announcements to self promotion. It also serves as a platform for testimonials from satisfied customer.

They utilized their Facebook page diversely by posting events being host at their restaurant, showing off their handsome staff team and promoting a recommendation they got from a gastronomy website. They also received a good amount of thank you notes from satisfied customers which serve as free advertisement.

When utilized actively and correctly, social media page can be a powerful inbound marketing technique. It is an important place to establish your startup image and it also doubles as an advertisement platform. There are 1.4 billion active users on Facebook who visits it daily, it’s also free. There’s no reason for you to not utilize it to promote your startup.

3. Get some sprinkle of SEO magic

While SEO might not be as easy (or as hard) as getting a fairy to sprinkle you with fairy dust, there is a wide collection of resources online that tells you how to optimize your website. Consider those as your fairies.

The world of SEO might be foreign and slightly scary but as Moz put it “There are many aspects of SEO, from the words on your page to the way other sites link to you on the web. Sometimes SEO is simply the matter of making sure your site is structured in a way that search engines understand,”.

There they said it. Making search engine understand your site.

I understand that you don’t build your website for the search engine, you build it for people. I preach building a website with “for the people” mindset, that’s what makes a great website.

But if no one ever reaches your site, building it for people may be simply not enough.

Building your startup’s website in accordance with guidelines will do you more good than harm. And more often than not those guidelines were written with “for the people” in mind. So you don’t have to feel contradicted.

Here’s the webmaster guideline from search engine giant Google to help you get started.

If you want to learn more, there are many awesome blogs out there that aim to help out webmasters on SEO. Like Moz, Search Engine Land, Search Engine Roundtable, just to name a few.

Having a properly optimized website has a couple benefits that can boost the success of your startup. As mentioned before, the guideline was written with “for the people” mindset.

So optimizing your website means creating a better browsing experience for your targeted audience.

The most crucial point of SEO is boosting your SERP ranking. With a boosted ranking, you gain higher exposure, broadening the surface of your funnel.

The number one ranked website on a Google search page gets 33% of traffic . That is A LOT of traffic. Imagine that amount of traffic, the number of leads and the amount of transaction that can happen.

Your startup business will start serving you money, fame, and success in no time.

You don’t need to hire an expert to SEO your website, as mentioned before, there is a lot of free sources on the internet that you can take advantage of and take SEO into your own hands. If you still find it a little intimidating, there’s a lot of inexpensive SEO tools out there that can help you out. Like our SEOPressor WordPress plugin. A little SEO effort can help your startup business in a long way.

4. Make good use of your landing page

What is a landing page? Let me quote from good old Google “a web page which serves as the entry point for a website or a particular section of a website.”

Yup, couldn’t chain it up better myself. The entry point to your website. The page that the public saw the moment they click on your call-to-action.

Now, think of what you want. What is your motive for having people coming to your landing page? Do you want leads? Do you want them to install your app? Or you want to tell them what your company does?

Now summon up your list of personas again, what do they want from your company? What is their pain point? How should the design be to please them into giving you a try?

I would say keep it focused, straight to the point and please, for the sake of everyone, hassle-free. Here are 7 effective landing page tips that can help you build just that.

If you’re still not sure how well your landing page fare, Wordstream has a landing page grader that pairs up with Google AdWords to give you a good idea of how well your landing page is structured.

If you host your website on WordPress like we do, here are some WordPress landing page templates that can help your startup grow and make things easier for you.

Here’s my pick of a good landing page.

Landbot is a company that builds chatbots. They tell you all that by letting you chat with one directly. I call them absolutely brilliant.

Landot’s landing page tells you what they do by showing you exactly what they do, and with humor.

Your startup might not build nor utilize chatbots, but that’s not the point. The point is your landing page needs to…

has a purpose
is easy to navigate
interests potential customers
optimized

Think of landing page as the first impression. You would definitely want to impress your date with everything you got and leave a good impression, right? So why would you make a less than up par landing page and leave your personas with a bad impression? By working on your landing page, you can convince more potential customers to stay and turn them into real customers for your startup business.

5. Remarketing, the ultimate personalized form of marketing

Ever clicked on a product page, not buying, exit and see an ad displaying the exact product on another website days after? Yup, you’re being remarketed.

To put it clearly, remarketing works by putting a cookie to the browsers of those who visited your website. Then based on your chosen criteria, a group of audience is shown ads highlighting your products or company while they’re out browsing other websites.

Though you may wonder isn’t advertising an outbound marketing technique instead of inbound marketing technique?

Well, this actually works more like a booster to your inbound marketing rather than a part of your inbound marketing. When employed timely and accurately with a bit of research and planning. Remarketing can magnify your inbound marketing effectiveness in ten folds.

There are a lot of companies out there who offer this service like HubSpot, Criteo, and Google AdWords to name a few.

The advantage of remarketing is you can establish a more personalized and relevant advertising via effective targeting.

You are showing ads to a group who has shown interest and visited your homepage. You are showing ads to someone who has once considered buying from you. That is better than mindlessly advertising to a big crowd who may not care what you have to offer at all.

Me being re-targeted across mutiple websites. Guess who was just checking out flight tickets on AirAsia a few days ago?

You can even further specify your targeted audience and how ads appear via different settings based on which company you employed. You can decide to show them an ad for a product that they have viewed before, now with a special discounted price because it’s Christmas, trice a week. That’s how crazily customized remarketing can get.

However, in order to achieve the level of effective personalization and customization, you will need to work with a lot of data and carefully planned strategies. So be clear with your goal and expectation in mind before plummeting into remarketing.

Here’s an awesome article to AdWords remarketing practices that you can make use of if you decide to utilize this tactic.

With a little investment, researching, and planning, remarketing can be the best friend to your inbound marketing. So why not give it a try, it might just be the boost that your startup needs.

Now that you know the 5 inbound marketing techniques. It’s time to put your skill to the test and be on your way to become the owner of a successful startup!

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Guide in Becoming The Perfect Inbound Marketer

10 must-have qualities of a perfect inbound marketer.
Proven examples on applying the best inbound marketing techniques.
Compact guide with less fluff!

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Tips & Advice

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Overcoming Writer’s Block: Tips & Advice

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Tips & Advice

We’ve all been there, the age-old enemy of a writer: writer’s block.

In fact, I have a blank document up for an afternoon. Despite knowing what topic I’m going to write. Nothing just seems to come to my mind. As if there’s a force opposing me from putting my fingers on the keyboard.

For a copywriter or a content creator, we can’t afford to waste time. We have a deadline to catch and a product to sell.

So here are some quick tips on how to overcome writer’s block.
Read more, write more, push on.

1. Read more from your industry, research more on your topic.

“For all I know, writing comes out of a superior devotion to reading.” – Eudora Welty

Read books, articles, blog posts. You can only write as good as you can read. How can you produce something when you have absorbed nothing?

From reading frequently you get used to the structure, the vocabulary, the flow of a sentence and how to put a punctuation. You see where the pull is placed and how the ending persuades.

It’s impossible to create something that you have never seen before. So instead your best effort should be put into recreating something great but off your own ideas.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” – Albert Einstein

As a copywriter, you are trying to create conversion. You want to sell something. How can you convince anyone to buy from you if you yourself don’t know what it is?

Here’s an example from Apple. See how they flaunt their knowledge of the product?

I’ll be frank I have no idea what an OLED screen is, nor do I know what differs true blacks from black. But I appreciate having that information about the device. It is perfectly convincing and wowed me with the high technology it seemingly possesses. All in one 25 words sentence.

2. Ask yourself what you want to write and create a list.

Writing on a blank document from the scratch is always the hardest. The beginning is always the hardest. If you find yourself getting the writer’s block before you even start on it.

Ask yourself these questions:

Have you done enough research?
Do you have all the points that you need to write on?
Do you know enough about the subject to write?

If you do, you should come up with a list. Not like a draft not even like a sketch, just a list of things that you want to include in your writing. Be it a sentence, a keyword, a quote. Make a list of it.

Here’s the list I made for this post. It’s different from the end result and it’s messy and unorganized. But it helped me to get focus on the topic.

Now you got your brain focused on what you want to write. You have cleared out a path on what you are gonna write. You will find yourself starting to add more and more to the list and without knowing, you are writing.

3. Use swipe file

A swipe file is a collection of advertisements or copy examples. It’s simple to start creating your own swipe file by utilizing applications like Evernote. You can also keep a folder of PDF on your Dropbox or Google Drive. As long as you can easily retrieve them for your need.

Browse through them when you’re stuck. See how others write. Analyse their ways of writing. That will, in turn, inspire your own writing.

If reading books, blog post or copy is like having your 3 meals a day. Reading through your swipe file should feel like eating vitamins or supplements. It should be focused and effective.

You target what you need, and you analyze how others do it. If you can’t think of a good headline, open up the folder of headlines. Know where you’re stuck and pull inspiration for it.

You can even try to modify them to your own use like you would a template. The point is you don’t have to stare at a blank document or a jumbled list of content. You have a skeleton to put in your own words. That can really help push start your work.

4. Eliminate distractions

Now that you have everything you need. You know what you need to write, you identified the tone of the piece, you even have your featured image ready. But you just can’t type it out.

Maybe the music is too loud, your phone screen keeps flashing or you can’t help eavesdropping on your co-worker’s conversation.

What you need to do now is take a deep breathe and tell yourself to focus. Turn off your music and phone, move to another space. Force yourself to focus.

Distraction can be hard to beat. There are tools that can help you like software that gives you a minimal distraction writing space. I call them writer’s block app, FocusWriter and WriteMonkey to name a few.

The minimalism interface and daily goal task bar of Focus Writer.

Utilizing them can help keep your mind from wandering to other applications on your computer. Or get distracted by that little pop-up chat bubble.

If your working space is cluttered, clean it up. Wash that empty coffee cup that has been sitting there for hours. Tear off those dog-eared post-its. Keep your workspace as distraction-free as your typing screen.

Everything you need is in your mind, and all you need is your fingers to type it out.

But the most important part is, you need to help yourself to focus. You need to take control of the steering wheel. Only then can you start sailing and fill up that empty document.

5. Freewrite

If you still can’t focus. Why not try writing about what is distracting you? Freewrite can help you free out your mind and get focused.

Write whatever you want, whatever it is on your mind. Disregard structure, disregard grammar, you can have a dozen of typos in a sentence but it doesn’t matter.

If you’re frustrated with your inability to write. Curse it out. Think of it as a window to throw out all the glue that’s messing with your mind. Vent it out or keyboard smash.

Writing something, anything is better than staring at the blank document for hours.

Writing is a way to organize your thoughts. An organized mind is more focused because you have to get rid of all the white noise in your brain. You are giving your brain some fresh air.

With that breath of fresh air, you can now get back on track and start writing what you’re meant to instead.

Move your muscles to activate your mind

6. Crack your joints

If you’ve been sitting in the same spot for the whole morning. I would recommend you to try moving around.

Go take your bathroom break, and while you’re at it have a quick stretch. Pop your neck and your knuckles like you’re stepping into the ring. Well metaphorically you are, and your opponent is writer’s block.

You don’t notice how cramped up you are until you start moving around. Then you’ll be strike with a throbbing pain from the top of your spine, your waist, even your wrist.

Staying still in the same posture for a long time is bad for your body. Not only that, it’s also bad for your creativity. So move around, pop those knuckles cause you need to finish up another copy in an hour.

7. Chew a gum, drink a cup of coffee

If you bring gums around with you, now is the good time to chew one out. Get your muscles moving. Maybe it’s just me but I always feel more refreshed when my mouth doesn’t taste so stale. Snack on some crackers, get a mint or brew yourself a cup of coffee.

Chewing gum gets more blood flow to your brain. It wakes you up and gets your gears start warming up. The effect only lasts for a 15 to 25 minutes window though. Make use of that window to get a hydrogen blast on your writing.

If gum’s not your thing. Well, maybe you need a coffee break. Coffee encourages the flow of stimulation chemicals in our body. It gives a wake-up call to your numb state of unproductiveness. Take advantage of that caffeine rush to get through the slump.

When you got that head start from the chemical boost, you will realize in your frenzied state of word vomiting you have a big chunk of content out already. Now while that chemical rush retreats, you can start editing stuff instead. In no time, you’ll have your first draft done and staring back at you.

Shift your focus for a breath of fresh air

8. Do other creative work

Sometimes you need to keep your mind off your current work. But not completely. You still want to keep the creative side of your brain active, but with some other stuff.

Brainstorm about the featured image for your post with the designer. Or just open up your notebook to start sketching. Watch a creative video on youtube is another good idea, have you watched the dollar shave club video? That’s pretty funny and inspiring for someone in marketing.

Some writers like to work on multiple works at the same time. So when they are stuck on one, they can jump to another. If you have multiple projects under your belt, you can try jumping around.

The point is, put down what you’re currently working on. Stop trying to write. Work on something else instead. Sometimes it just gets really boring staring at the same thing for hours. So why not shift your focus to something else? It works for your creative flow like pressing the f5 button, trust me.

9. Take a rest

If the worst comes to the worst, you have tried everything you can. But your creative juice is still stuck and your mind is as dry as the Sahara desert. My friend, give yourself a break.

If it’s time for lunch break, get a sandwich and go take a walk in the park, or just walk around the block. Take your mind off your work completely. What’s more, don’t actively think about anything at all. You might catch your mind wander to stuff like “maybe I should change that “a” to “the” ” or ” Do I need to pick up a new jar of jam after work?”. But don’t dwell on it. Let your mind go completely blank.

Let your conscience focus on other things instead. Like the texture of your sandwich bread, how the concrete feels under your feet, how bright the sunlight is. Let the sensory take control of your brain. Feel, not think.

If you’re lucky enough to work from home, do some housework that relies on muscle memory. Do the laundry, vacuum your room, or even take a long warm bath.

Give your brain some time to rest. When you feel you’re ready to start writing again, you will realize your productivity has returned. You are not stuck anymore.

Develop a routine and stick to it

At the end of the day, success lies in perseverance, resilience, and discipline. There is no shortcut to these qualities, the only way to achieve it is by doing it.

Putting off work until the last minute and rely on random bursts of creative energy to complete a project may work. But it’s not the ideal way when you’re in a corporation with 9-5 working hours and deadlines to catch. I personally think (no offense) that it’s just an excuse to not deal with writer’s block.

Developing a routine is beneficial to both your writing process and your mental health.

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is famous for sticking to a fixed routine when he’s in the midst of writing a novel.

“The repetition itself becomes the important thing; it’s a form of mesmerism. I mesmerize myself to reach a deeper state of mind.”

Find out what works for you in the restriction of your work hour and working environment. Maybe you feel more productive arriving at the company after a jog in the morning. Then stick to it, jog every morning before work.

Sit down and write for an hour non stop the first thing you turn on your computer. Do it every working day, embed that into your muscles and mesmerize your brain into the process days in and days out.

When your body and mind got used to the schedule, you will find that ideas and creativity come naturally everytime you sit down for writing time. Say goodbye to writer’s block when you have routine and discipline as your weapon.

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18 Effective Tips To Generate Ideas For Your Blog

The ultimate guide for every blogger to get more ideas for your blog post.
Identify the potential topics that you should have in your blog
Get more traffic to your website by applying these techniques
18 useful tips included to help you get creative on blog titles