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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

Factors that influence your website’s credibility

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Factors that influence your website’s credibility

Factors that influence your website’s credibility

Your online website is the digital portrayal of your business. Viewers go through it with an intention of peeking into the functioning of your business and even the reputation of it.

One of the most decisive factors behind your brand gaining business through its website is the credibility it holds. The potential customers will only bank upon your business website after they trust it and the people behind it. In case you are an ecommerce website or a website that deals with customers’ sensitive information, you will have to put in extra efforts to gain customers’ trust.

As per the Stanford Web Credibility Research, websites become more credible by being useful and easy to access. A website’s usefulness is marked by its features, functionalities, and UI. However, the website’s ease of use is determined by the implemented web design. Hence, a lot of factors together contribute to enhancing your site’s trust score.

If you are clueless and would like to make your website more credible, here is a list of the factors that immensely influence your website’s credibility.

Search engines’ perception of your website

Search engines employ their algorithms and bots to assess the performance of your website and rank it, accordingly. If you are doing things in a right manner i.e. White SEO, following Google Algorithm updates and content policies, your website keeps moving up the search engine ranking ladder. That is a great first impression for your website visitors.

With tools like the  Alexa Traffic Rank tool, the online audience has access to your site’s global and location-based ranking. Your site’s search engine ranking is capable of heavily impacting your site’s credibility. So, make sure that you put efforts into that direction.

Social proof of your business

Establishing a social proof of your business website is crucial for its credibility impression. You need to put up links to all the social media pages of your business on your website. Apart from that, your website having a list of your clients/brands who have been associated with your business can be impactful.

Client/customer testimonials and reviews

Regardless of the nature of your business operations, i.e. whether it deals in product sales or services, you will always have customer reviews and testimonials coming in. Based on the customer experience granted by the business, these customers will either have a positive or a negative opinion of your business.

You can, however, put up the positive client/customers testimonials or reviews for your audience to see. But, refrain from putting up fake testimonials because the internet audience is smart enough to spot that. To make these testimonials and reviews more reliable, you can link them to the social profiles of the related client/customer, if permitted.

The presence of adverts on the website

Many blogging websites choose to put up targeted advertisements in order to make ad money. As beneficial and seemingly rewarding it might seem to the website owners, these ads irritate the audience who have to deal with them popping up every now and then.

To be honest, Ads make your website look less credible. Since it takes only 50 milliseconds for the users to form a first impression of a particular website, you wouldn’t want them to see these ads at least on the homepage of your website.

An updated blog

If you are starting career as a blogger and have just set up a website for it, you will obviously need more of your audience’s trust to help your blog grow. And if you are not a blogger but a mainstream business, you would still need a blog because that would eventually build your site’s credibility.

So, an updated blog that posts regular updates, fresh posts, and engages with the comments made on it, is termed as more credible by the audience.

Consistent website updates

If we suppose that your website was set up in the year 2005 and has managed to look the same, you have successfully killed its purpose and probably its audience engagement as well.

It is very important to keep updating the website content because it gives the message that your business is moving ahead and is growing. Without any updates, the site audience would be free to make an opinion that your business simply doesn’t care.

Accessible contact information

If your business or brand isn’t accessible to its audience, people will deem things to be fishy. It is very important for your website to make it easy for your audience to contact you. Hence, for building your credibility, put out your phone number, physical address, and an email address on the website.

Even if your website is strictly accessible only on a membership-based model, it should make the contact information public for all the audience to see.

A great web design that encourages seamless navigation

A study mentioned that 94% of the negative website feedback was design related. If your website design is such that the visitors are having a hard time navigating through its pages or if they get lost while browsing through different sections, your business is in for a loss.

On the other hand, if your audience is able to figure out the navigation and is able to quickly get to the part they are looking for, your site’s trust meter will go up.

A fast loading website

The truth is, if your website takes more than 2-3 seconds to load, visitors will be swift to abandon it. If they do so, they will never have the opportunity to go through the other content which would mean that you will miss out on those visitors who would have otherwise contributed to your site’s credibility score.

Spelling and grammar

My personal favorite on the cringe-o-meter: a website with bad grammar and wrong spellings. One couldn’t agree more that a website with such characteristics is a big-time blunder. I personally prefer to stay away from such websites because they don’t appear to be trustable since the website owner does not simply seem to care.

If you are not a language expert, always rely on professional services to get your content crafted. Hiring an expert content writer will eliminate the chances of glaring mistakes and even help you create value-offering content.

Detailed product information

If you run an ecommerce website, you should put up detailed information about the products that you are showcasing. This information can include the physical attributes of the product, its usage, the variants, customer reviews and images to make it easy for the customers to make a choice. When your customers don’t have to look at external resources to retrieve information about the products listed on your site, your site looks more credible.

Trust seals and website security certificates

To build your site’s credibility, always consider getting Trust seals which are third-party seals are highly trusted by the online audience. Intended to display the trust score or the sales counter of a particular business, these trust seals are vouched by third-party internet security organizations. Also, having an SSL certificate for your website is a compulsion if you want to come across as a credible online business.

It is never a bad idea to shell out some investment towards getting trust seals and SSL security certificates for your websites.

Team members’ bios and photos with their social profiles

If you are a business that targets the maximum number of leads with its website, you must let out information about the team members who are the people behind your business.

Putting up bios along with professional looking photographs is a good idea to make your business website look more credible.

Errors and links

Broken links and pages that yield an error message every time a visitor clicks on them, make up a deadly combination and contribute to killing your site’s user experience. This could, in turn, make your site appear less reliable. So, figure them out and fix them before your site visitors come across them.

 

 

7 Examples of A Lead Generation Website Homepage

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 7 Examples of A Lead Generation Website Homepage

7 Examples of A Lead Generation Website Homepage

In inbound marketing, the philosophy is letting the potential customers come to you. Instead of vice versa. But when they came, how can you make them stay? Now, that’s the million dollar question.

In order to guide visitors from the top of the funnel to the middle of it, you need to create an awesome lead generating homepage.

What is lead generation?

It is the process of warming up strangers into potential customers who are interested in your products or services.

Visitors who first visited your homepage may not know much about your brand or your products. They are at the very top of the funnel. At this stage, feeding them information is what you should aim to do. Build a relationship with them and gain their trust. When they trust you enough, they are more likely to buy from you.

Now, a homepage is one important tool you can use to gain leads.

“The homepage is your company’s face to the world. Increasingly, potential customers will look at your company’s online presence before doing business with you — regardless of whether they plan to close the actual sale online.” – Jakob Nielsen

Homepage often serves as a starting point. From there, visitors are guided into other pages such as product, contact us, blog etc.

The point is: Your homepage serves as the first impression and the first chance for you to grab their attention in that short 10 – 20 seconds window.

What’s better, attain their attention for long enough and transform them into leads using solely your homepage.

Does that sound like a fantasy? Well, there are homepages out there that do this, and they do it amazingly well. Why don’t we see how they do it and steal a little inspiration?

I’m going to show you 7 awesome examples of a lead generation website homepage.
1. Landbot

Ever scroll through a homepage, have a once over at a page full of descriptions, and still have no idea what they are selling? I know that frustration. I will also exit that webpage in a flash while sighing how they wasted my time.

Landbot does no such mistake. They tell you what they do, by showing you exactly what they do. On their homepage, you talk with a Landbot yourself. You are persuaded to sign up for a chatbot service by a chatbot.

Impressed? Register up now. Voila, lead generation nailed.

What they did right: They show you what they do, tell you what they are, ask you to sign up in a dynamic and unique way. And it all takes less than a minute.

2. Bombfell

One-liner is important. It gives visitors the most impactful and relevant information in one sentence, in one second.

Bombfell did it. Compact, beautiful and simple.

The background photo showcased what exactly their product is. Paired with a clear call-to-action.

And that’s just above the fold.

Scrolling down, there are more headers with precise and short sentences guiding visitors through the process. When you get to the end, there are more call-to-actions that urge visitors into leads.

Here’s the trick: If a call-to-action doesn’t work at first, doesn’t mean it won’t work at the end. Put a call to action at the head and the end of your homepage.

3. Discord

Sometimes you need to show a little character to spark interest. Discord did just that.

Discord knows exactly who their competitors are. They even addressed it directly on their homepage.

Their intent is clear: ditch them, join me, I’m better, click here to start now.

The brilliance here is how they target the pain point. Their visitors are most probably already users of their competitors. They are here to seek an alternative.

Why they need an alternative? Discord said it loud and clear. They know exactly what will drive users away from their competitors and use it into their persuasion.

The point here is: You need to know your targeted audience, you also need to know your competitors. Use your knowledge to target pain point and generate leads.

4. Mancrates

Here’s another example that is full of character.

When you have a business with such a clear intent and clear targets in mind, you can go all out, all at once.

One-liner slogan paired with a clear call-to-action. The classic lead generation combination. Classic and efficient.

Scrolling down, visitors are presented with a brilliant copy that showcases the philosophy of the brand. They build an animated image in visitor’s mind. While stressing again and again that they sell perfect gifts for men.

You are presented with more call-to-action and more enthusiastic, emphatic and persuasive copy while you scroll to the end of the page.

Their trick is: Embrace the brand identity that was built specifically for your targeted audience. Talk to your potential customers directly and empathize with them.

5. Tumblr

Tumblr with its 555 million monthly visitors is one of the major social media sites on the internet.

One special thing about Tumblr’s homepage is: they proudly feature a random visual creation by one of its user.

Accompanied by two simple call-to-action buttons at the center.

Scrolling down, visitors are presented with how the site works. They talk to visitors like they’re talking to a friend at school. Casual, simple, no-brainer, and really, just whatever.

One thing that they stressed throughout is how simple you can use it, and how diversely you can use it. They personified themselves as a welcoming figure of a community and casually show you the ropes.

Charmed? Sign up now and join the community. There, another successful lead generation.

What they did: Talk to the audience not unlike talking to a friend, be friendly, be helpful. The last thing you want to do is posed as some intimidated figure and scare them out of your homepage.

6. Patreon

A patron is a person who supports with money, gifts, efforts, or endorsement an artist, writer, museum, cause, charity, institution, special event, or the like.

Patreon homepage sums itself up using 4 simple words. Creators, come get paid.

It’s a platform for creators and what they do is help them get paid. Concise and catchy.

Now, that’s what I call a powerful one-liner.

They address the targeted audience then attack their pain points directly. Who wouldn’t be appealed by getting paid for their creative work?

Directly under the powerful slogan, there are two call-to-action buttons. The “start my page button” in red – which creates a sense of urgency.

Scrolling down, visitors are presented with more information on their operation. Endorsement from active users and last but not least, another call to action paired up with 4 simple words: let’s get you paid.

Their brilliance: Using the least words to create the most powerful and compelling partner to your call-to-action button.

7. Basecamp

The moment someone clicks on their homepage, they’re presented with numbers.

This amount of people signed up last week, you should too. Are you still not convinced? Here are some testimonials from our users. And here’s more data on how our business grows.

Start a free 30-day trial. The call-to-action says.

Well, instead of just telling you how good they are themselves. They are using data and testimonials to back them up.

For a software that is targeting businesses, they know hard facts are more convincing than crafty words. And if the amount of businesses signed up is anything to show, they are really killing that lead generation.

How they did it: Utilize cold hard data, cause customers’ heart is just as rock hard when it comes to budgeting. Regardless of how good your product works.

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How To Improve Conversion Rate Using Colors

Interesting Facts About Color Psychology.
Real Case Scenario Included.
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A Complete Guide Every Marketer Must Have!

Reputation Management SEO: How to Own Your Branded Keywords in Google – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by on Jul 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Reputation Management SEO: How to Own Your Branded Keywords in Google – Whiteboard Friday

Reputation Management SEO: How to Own Your Branded Keywords in Google – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

A searcher’s first experience with your brand happens on Google’s SERPs — not your website. Having the ability to influence their organic first impression can go a long way toward improving both customer perception of your brand and conversion rates. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand takes us through the inherent challenges of reputation management SEO and tactics for doing it effectively.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are chatting about reputation management SEO.

So it turns out I’ve been having a number of conversations with many of you in the Moz community and many friends of mine in the startup and entrepreneurship worlds about this problem that happens pretty consistently, which is essentially that folks who are searching for your brand in Google experience their first touch before they ever get to your site, their first experience with your brand is through Google’s search result page. This SERP, controlling what appears here, what it says, how it says it, who is ranking, where they’re ranking, all of those kinds of things, can have a strong input on a bunch of things.

The challengeWe know that the search results’ content can impact…
Your conversion rate. People see that the reviews are generally poor or the wording is confusing or it creates questions in their mind that your content doesn’t answer. That can hurt your conversion rate.
It can hurt amplification. People who see you in here, who think that there is something bad or negative about you, might be less likely to link to you or share or talk about you.
It can impact customer satisfaction. Customers who are going to buy from you but see something negative in the search results might be more likely to complain about it. Or if they see that you have a lower review or ranking or whatnot, they may be more likely to contribute a negative one than if they had seen that you had stellar ones. Their expectations are being biased by what’s in these search results. A lot of times it is totally unfair.

So many of the conversations I’ve been having, for example with folks in the startup space, are like, “Hey, people are reviewing my product. We barely exist yet. We don’t have these people as customers. We feel like maybe we’re getting astroturfed by competitors, or someone is just jumping in here and trying to profit off the fact that we have a bunch of brand search now.” So pretty frustrating.

How can we influence this page to maximize positive impact for our brand?

There are, however, some ways to address it. In order to change these results, make them better, Minted, for example, of which I should mention I used to be on Minted’s Board of Directors, and so I believe my wife and I still have some stock in that company. So full disclosure there. But Minted, they’re selling holiday cards. The holiday card market is about to heat up before November and December here in the United States, which is the Christmas holiday season, and that’s when they sell a lot of these cards. So we can do a few things.

I. Change who ranks. So potentially remove some and add some new ones in here, give Google some different options. We could change the ranking order. So we could say, “Hey, we prefer this be lower down and this other one be higher up.” We can change that through SEO.

II. Change the content of the ranking pages. If you have poor reviews or if someone has written about you in a particular way and you wish to change that, there are ways to influence that as well.

III. Change the SERP features. So we may be able to get images, for example, of Minted’s cards up top, which would maybe make people more likely to purchase them, especially if they’re exceptionally beautiful.

IV. Add in top stories. If Minted has some great press about them, we could try and nudge Google to use stuff from Google News in here. Maybe we could change what’s in related searches, those types of things.

V. Shift search demand. So if it’s the case that you’re finding that people start typing “Minted” and then maybe are search suggested “Minted versus competitor X” or “Minted card problems” or whatever it is, I don’t think either of those are actually in the suggest, but there are plenty of companies who do have that issue. When that’s the case, you can also shift the search demand.

Reputation management tactics

Here are a number of tactics that I actually worked on with the help of Moz’s Head of SEO, Britney Muller. Britney and I came up with a bunch of tactics, so many that they won’t entirely fit on here, but we can describe a few more for you in the comments.

A. Directing link to URLs off your site (Helps with 1 & 2). First off, links are still a big influencer of a lot of the content that you see here. So it is the case that because Yelp is a powerful domain and they have lots of links, potentially even have lots of links to this page about Minted, it’s the case that changing up those links, redirecting some of them, adding new links to places, linking out from your own site, linking from articles you contribute to, linking from, for example, the CEO’s bio or a prominent influencer on the team’s bio when they go and speak at events or contribute to sources, or when Minted makes donations, or when they support public causes, or when they’re written about in the press, changing those links and where they point to can have a positive impact.

One of the problems that we see is that a lot of brands think, “All my links about my brand should always go to my homepage.” That’s not actually the case. It could be the case that you actually want to find, hey, maybe we would like our Facebook page to rank higher. Or hey, we wrote a great piece on Medium about our engineering practices or our diversity practices or how we give back to our community. Let’s see if we can point some of our links to that.

B. Pitching journalists or bloggers or editors or content creators on the web (Helps with 1, 4, a little 3), of any kind, to write about you and your products with brand titled pieces. This is on e of the biggest elements that gets missing. For example, a journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle might write a piece about Minted and say something like, “At this startup, it’s not unusual to find blah, blah, blah.” What you want to do is go, “Come on, man, just put the word ‘Minted’ in the title of the piece.” If they do, you’ve got a much better shot of having that piece potentially rank in here. So that’s something that whoever you’re working with on that content creation side, and maybe a reporter at the Chronicle would be much more difficult to do this, but a blogger who’s writing about you or a reviewer, someone who’s friendly to you, that type of a pitch would be much more likely to have some opportunity in there. It can get into the top stories SERP feature as well.

C. Crafting your own content (Helps with 1, a little 3). If they’re not going to do it for you, you can craft your own content. You can do this in two kinds of ways. One is for open platforms like Medium.com or Huffington Post or Forbes or Inc. or LinkedIn, these places that accept those, or guest accepting publications that are much pickier, that are much more rarely taking input, but that rank well in your field. You don’t have to think about this exclusively from a link building perspective. In fact, you don’t care if the links are nofollow. You don’t care if they give you no links at all. What you’re trying to do is get your name, your title, your keywords into the title element of the post that’s being put up.

D. You can influence reviews (Helps with 3 & 5). Depending on the site, it’s different from site to site. So I’m putting TOS acceptable, terms of service acceptable nudges to your happy customers and prompt diligent support to the unhappy ones. So Yelp, for example, says, “Don’t solicit directly reviews, but you are allowed to say, ‘Our business is featured on Yelp.'” For someone like Minted, Yelp is mostly physical places, and while Minted technically has a location in San Francisco, their offices, it’s kind of odd that this is what’s ranking here. In fact, I wouldn’t expect this to be. I think this is a strange result to have for an online-focused company, to have their physical location in there. So certainly by nudging folks who are using Minted to rather than contribute to their Facebook reviews or their Google reviews to actually say, “Hey, we’re also on Yelp. If you’ve been happy with us, you can check us out there.” Not go leave us a review there, but we have a presence.

E. Filing trademark violations (Helps with 1 & 3). So this is a legal path and legal angle, but it works in a couple of different ways. You can do a letter or an email from your attorney’s office, and oftentimes that will shut things down. In fact, brief story, a friend of mine, who has a company, found that their product was featured on Amazon’s website. They don’t sell on Amazon. No one is reselling on Amazon. In fact, the product mostly hasn’t even shipped yet. When they looked at the reviews, because they haven’t sold very many of their product, it’s an expensive product, none of the people who had left reviews were actually their customers. So they went, “What is going on here?” Well, it turns out Amazon, in order to list your product, needs your trademark permission. So they can send an attorney’s note to Amazon saying, “Hey, you are using our product, our trademark, our brand name, our visuals, our photos without permission. You need to take that down.”

The other way you can go about this is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) protocols. You can do this directly through Google, where you file and say basically, “Hey, they’ve taken copyrighted content from us and they’re using it on their website, and that’s illegal.” Google will actually remove them from the search results.
This is not necessarily a legal angle, but I bet you didn’t know this. A few years ago I had an article on Wikipedia about me, Rand Fishkin. There was like a Wikipedia piece. I don’t like that. Wikipedia, it’s uncontrollable. Because I’m in the SEO world, I don’t have a very good relationship with Wikipedia’s editors. So I actually lobbied them, on the talk page of the article about me, to have it removed. There are a number of conditions that Wikipedia has where a page can be removed. I believe I got mine removed under the not notable enough category, which I think probably still applies. That was very successful. So wonderfully, now, Wikipedia doesn’t rank for my name anymore, which means I can control the SERPs much more easily. So a potential there too.

F. Using brand advertising and/or influencer marketing to nudge searchers towards different phrases (Helps with 5). So what you call your products, how you market yourself is often how people will search for you. If Minted wanted to change this from Minted cards to minted photo cards, and they really like the results from minted photo cards and those had better conversion rates, they could start branding that through their advertising and their influencer marketing.

G. Surrounding your brand name, a similar way, with common text, anchor phrases, and links to help create or reinforce an association that Google builds around language (Helps with 4 & 5). In that example I said before, having Minted plus a link to their photo cards page or Minted photo cards appearing on the web, not only their own website but everywhere else out there more commonly than Minted cards will bias related searches and search suggest. We’ve tested this. You can actually use anchor text and surrounding text to sort of bias, in addition to how people search, how Google shows it.

H. Leverage some platforms that rank well and influence SERP features (Helps with 2 & 4). So rather than just trying to get into the normal organic results, we might say, “Hey, I want some images here. Aha, Pinterest is doing phenomenal work at image SEO. If I put up a bunch of pictures from Minted, of Minted’s cards or photo cards on Pinterest, I have a much better shot at ranking in and triggering the image results.” You can do the same thing with YouTube for videos. You can do the same thing with new sites and for what’s called the top stories feature. The same thing with local and local review sites for the maps and local results feature. So all kinds of ways to do that.

More…

Four final topics before we wrap up.

Registering and using separate domains? Should I register and use a separate domain, like MintedCardReviews, that’s owned by Minted? Generally not. It’s not impossible to do reputation management SEO through that, but it can be difficult. I’m not saying you might not want to give it a spin now and then, but generally that’s sort of like creating your own reviews, your own site. Google often recognizes those and looks behind the domain registration wall, and potentially you have very little opportunity to rank for those, plus you’re doing a ton of link building and that kind of stuff. Better to leverage someone’s platform, who can already rank, usually.
Negative SEO attacks. You might remember the story from a couple weeks ago, in Fast Company, where Casper, the mattress brand, was basically accused of and found mostly to be generally guilty of going after and buying negative links to a review site that was giving them poor reviews, giving their mattresses poor reviews, and to minimal effect. I think, especially nowadays, this is much less effective than it was a few years ago following Google’s last Penguin update. But certainly I would not recommend it. If you get found out for it, you can be sued too.
What about buying reviewers and review sites? This is what Casper ended up doing. So that site they were buying negative links against, they ended up just making an offer and buying out the person who owned it. Certainly it is a way to go. I don’t know if it’s the most ethical or honest thing to do, but it is a possibility.
Monitoring brand and rankings. Finally, I would urge you to, if you’re not experiencing these today, but you’re worried about them, definitely monitor your brand. You could use something like a Fresh Web Explorer or Mention.com or Talkwalker. And your rankings too. You want to be tracking your rankings so that you can see who’s popping in there and who’s not. Obviously, there are lots of SEO tools to do that.
All right, everyone, thanks for joining us, and we’ll see again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

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