SEO Articles

Should you use Google’s updated Disavow Links tool?

30-second summary:

In early November, Google made a UI update to its Disavow Links tool.
The core functionality hasn’t changed, meaning that some SEO practitioners will continue to use it incorrectly.
Disavow continues to have no impact on fixing negative SEO and often won’t make your website do better in search.
However, it can reduce the chances of being served with manual actions as a result of your backlink profile.

Once upon a time, Google’s Disavow Links tool seemed like a godsend to SEO practitioners everywhere. Hailed on its launch in 2012 — not long after the Penguin algorithm update — as the search engine’s “best spam reporting tool yet”, disavow links allowed webmasters to instruct Google to ignore all links from certain domains.

Flash forward eight years and the feature, which has seen its fair share of controversy, has been incorporated into Google’s updated Search Console. In the words of Google analyst John Mueller,

“the core functionality has not changed…it’s a UI update.”

However, the revised Disavow tool does include some new features, such as the ability to download your disavowed links as a .txt file, as well as improved support.

The response from SEO practitioners has been somewhat tepid, whether because it won’t change the way the tool has been misused to this point, or simply because there are other, more pressing matters Google could have attended to first. Here, we’ll go through the pros and cons of Google’s Disavow Links tool, and whether these new changes that have been made are worth it.

How webmasters were using the Disavow Links tool wrong

Coming as it did in the wake of the Penguin update, many people saw disavowal as an easy way to remove spammy backlinks from their site’s profile, encouraging the revised algorithm to look more kindly upon their sites. That said, there were still some inherent issues with the way that many site owners tended to use it. The disavow tool was only meant to be used in exceptional circumstances when all other avenues of removing low-quality links had been exhausted.

Google itself pointed out in its Help Center at the time that “most sites will not need to use this tool”, but that didn’t stop many from wantonly adding all manner of backlinks to their lists for disavowal. Yet, the tool acts more like a signpost for the algorithm, rather than a way to formally avoid any backlink penalties or combat any perceived negative SEO.

What has changed about Disavow Links?

The main differences between the updated and the old version of Disavow are in its location, now that it sits within Search Console. There are also a few new basic functions, such as the ability to download your complete list of disavowed links in .txt format and an unlimited number of files you can see when you request an error report.

That ultimately means that little has changed for SEO practitioners, other than further encouragement against using it to improve their sites’ rankings outright. In fact, this might explain the Twitter response from the public who, as outlined by Search Engine Journal, seem more interested in an update to the Request Indexing tool, which was discontinued in October 2020. Indeed, without the request indexing tool, site owners who have requested to have some of their backlinks discontinued will have to wait until the next time their site is crawled for the changes to take effect, rather than be able to flag them with Google immediately.

Is the new Disavow Links tool worth using?

Put simply, the changes that Google has made to Disavow Links shouldn’t make a significant enough impact on the majority of webmasters to warrant using it any differently. However, it might be the revision that discourages more people from using the tool incorrectly, especially since one of its other new features makes it easier to get rid of your list of disavowed links altogether and start again.

When it comes to improving your site’s performance, there are arguably far more important things to focus on before you start disavowing links. Considering how little it will actually help those who think it’s a reliable way to boost their chances with the algorithm — which doesn’t even take disavowals into account — the best course of action would be to use the tool exactly as you were before the update. That means sparingly, and only when absolutely necessary, with no misconceived notions that it could improve your negative SEO, or your rankings altogether.

The post Should you use Google’s updated Disavow Links tool? appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Read More

Simple Ways to Improve User Experience

Simple Ways to Improve User Experience

What gets under your skin whenever you land on a website? It must be those huge banners that block all content, requesting your email address before you even start reading.  It could also be the obligation to remove your ad blocker before you can proceed to the content.

In these and similar instances, you immediately click out of the site, right? We all do. No one can blame you. Now, as a marketer or business owner, you realize just how critical user experience can be for the success of your business.

What is User Experience (UX?)

UX is a term used in design, including of apps, websites, products, and machines—pretty much everything that involves a human as the end-user. User experience refers to the quality of interaction the user gets with your website, app, or product. The goal for UX designers is to create pleasant, easy, exciting, and successful interactions for the user.

In a nutshell, UX on a website entails aspects such as:

Branding and appearanceDesign and feelUsability and responsiveness

What Does User Experience mean for SEO?

User experience and Search Engine Optimization are peas in a pod. And because 2 in every 3 businesses rely on a website for customer interactions, you can expect that good or bad user experience will have a big say on your bottom line.

In the example in our introduction, you exited a site that requested your contacts before you could access their content. Customers can exit from your website too if you try their patience with ‘annoying’ ads, poor navigation, ‘mobile unfriendliness,’ or pages that take too long to load.

When users suddenly leave your site after landing on it, it’s termed as a high bounce rate in SEO. Search engines will get suspicious of the relevancy, freshness, and quality of your site. They will begin to doubt your ability to satisfy user’s queries and needs. If the high bounce rate continues, eventually, your organic search engine ranking will get revised downwards. 

Other consequences of a bad user experience on SEO include:

Tanked leads—eventually, bad UX  leads to low SERPs ranking and limited inbound linksLow conversion rates—dissatisfied  users are hard to convertBad reviews—exasperated users may leave bad ratings on  your site or products

Good user experience, on the other hand, leads to all the desirable SEO metrics that most marketers dream about. These include longer user duration on site, repeated visits, high SERPs ranking, more inbound links, and higher conversion rates. An excellent user experience is the key to successful digital marketing. In the long run, it facilitates growth and expansion for your business.

Ways to Improve User Experience

Now that you understand just how critical user experience is, and how closely Google other search engines track it, shouldn’t you do something about it? There are many ways to improve the user experience. Some are as easy as placing your sign up forms and social media widgets in the right place.  Others are involving and might need an overhaul of your entire site’s design.

i. User Journey Mapping

There is no room for guesswork when optimizing your website. That’s the plain truth. You have to get everything right from the word Go. Proper UX optimization, therefore, demands the tracking of the user journey and their behaviors on the site.  This monitoring helps to reveal how users navigate your site, interact with your content, and fill your forms. 

User journey visualization similarly allows you to see the amount of time users spend on your site, whether they come back and the pages they visit. You can follow your user’s journey using Google Analytics or similar SEO metrics tools. These tools reveal who your users are, their location, demographics, their intent, and behaviors when they visit your site.

With the information gathered, you will be able to identify aspects on your site that need improvement and how that can be done. For instance, to improve UX you might need to:

Shorten sign up formsImprove site speed on desktop or mobileShorten article length or  provide more details Increase or minimize the use of video

ii. Usability Test

As hinted before, usability is one of the foundational pillars of user experience.  The test is done to find out how easy a person can load, navigate, and interact with your website. A website with a poor UX will have low usability.  It then discourages users from staying longer or coming back on your site. Search engines, in turn, lower your rankings when they catch a whiff of it.

During a usability test, you track and evaluate how people of average or low skill can use your product (in this case, your site) without much struggling. The test should be done on both desktop and mobile devices.

iii. Desktop

Usability tests on the website are used to measure and optimize UX before Murphy’s Law calls. Essential elements to be included in the survey are navigability, accessibility, readability, and speed, among many others. Your survey participants should not know that they are being tested on these things.

iv. Mobile

Because mobile devices live in their own realm, a desktop usability test is not enough. Find out how your site appears on a small screen and how easily users can access it, read it, navigate in it, or communicate through it.

v. Design

Design is everything on a site. It births a user interface through which a person can then have a user experience. Design tricks to make your website more user friendly on both desktop and mobile include:

Simplifying navigation Improving responsivenessImproving page speedUsing the right colors Using photos and videos

vi. Have a clear CTA

The main objective behind your UX optimization efforts is to improve the conversion rates. That cannot happen without a clear CTA. Users can still bounce out of your sites regardless of your beautiful content and smooth navigation if there is no clear direction for the next step in their journey.

Make your CTA clear and easy to find. Statistics show that colorful and well-designed CTAs perform better than the regular type. An orange CTA, experts believe, can boost conversion by 32.5% while a CTA that’s been made to look like a button can increase click rates by 45%.

How to Measure User Experience

Tests and measurements are critical in any endeavor to improve user experience. Here are some of the ways to measure the UX on your site:

i. Feedback from customers

It’s all about the customers. Hear them when they speak or push them to say something when they do not. You can go about collecting user feedback by requesting for comments at the end of each of your pages. You can install a chatbot on your site so users can ask questions and find help in real-time.

You might also have to go through reviews left on your site or third-party review sites. User feedback reveals customers’ pain points when they are on your website and can provide direction on how to fix those issues.

ii. Check Google Analytics

As mentioned before, Google Analytics is a reliable source for metrics on user experience. The analytics tool tracks and records user behavior on your site. You can measure UX by looking at Google Analytics’ metrics, such as:

Click-through rates Page load  speedTime on siteBounce rate

For traffic-related UX metrics, go to Conversion, Goals then Overview to generate a full report on sessions, bounce rate, and conversions.

For user-behavior-related UX metrics, go to Analytics, Behavior then Behavior Flow to identify the exact scenarios causing the high bounce rates and click-through behaviors.

iii. Heatmap

Heatmaps show how users navigate your site and where they spend most of their time. Tracking this UX metric can provide insights on how to improve and create an excellent experience throughout your site.

Several SEO tools have a heat map feature, or you can use the free version with Google Analytics’ Page Analytics.

iv. Test again

A one-time test for your user experience is not enough. It should be a continuous process after each alteration on your website. User needs are always changing, and your website’s branding, design, and usability should keep up with the dynamism.

The bottom line

User experience is a critical part of search engine optimization. An SEO strategy that doesn’t address UX is incomplete and poses a significant risk to your business’ growth objectives.

Read More

How to Use Listicles in Your Content Marketing

How to Use Listicles in Your Content Marketing

There are many different forms of content you can utilize throughout your content marketing strategy.

One very effective form of content is the listicle. Listicles can help to present a large amount of information in an easy to read and digest article. They’re also incredibly shareable and tend to rank higher in the search engines, which means more traffic for your website.

In this post, you’ll learn what a listicle is, why it’s so effective, and how you can create and optimize listicles to improve your content marketing strategy.

I’ll also give you some examples, so you can see what effective listicles look like and how they appear in the search engines.

What Is a Listicle?

Put simply a listicle is an article that includes a list of items. Sites like Buzzfeed have made this style of content incredibly popular, but it’s been around for a long time.

Each item of your list will include a few sentences, or multiple paragraphs to explain the list item.

The goal of your listicle could be a pure delight, like “50+ Travel Destinations You’ve Never Heard Of”, or for educational purposes like “20 Best Sites To Find Awesome Online Courses (Free & Paid)

No matter your niche, you’ll be able to come up with a topic idea that has the chance to be a popular list post.

Why are Listicles so Effective in Content Marketing?

Readers are naturally drawn to the style of a list post. The headline style can be compelling, plus the promise to learn how to do something new, or be entertained in a unique way is hard to pass up.

The use of multiple headlines makes listicles very easy to scan and digest. Even though a lot of listicles contain a ton of content, they aren’t as overwhelming to the reader.

With a listicle, the readers know what to expect. Without the list element, your readers don’t know how long the post will be, it could be three tips or up to 50.

Listicles can also help make drier, or more dense, articles easier to read. Since the article will be broken up into numerous sections. For example, if you have a post titled, “How to Speed Up Your Website” you could turn it into a listicle titled “How to Speed Up Your Website in 10 Easy Steps”.

The listicle version is much more accessible and less intimidating to the reader than the first version.

Listicles are easy to scan and the use of a number-based headline will get you more clicks than a standard headline.

Now that you’ve seen how listicles can be a valuable addition to your content marketing strategy let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of the process.

7 Tips for Writing a Great Listicle

Follow these tips to create awesome listicles.

Choose a popular topic suitable for a listicle
Perform keyword research and pick a keyword
Choose the format for your listicle
Make your listicle title H2
Format your individual list items with H3 tags
Create named sitelinks to improve search engine appearance
Add how-to schema markup

1. Choose a popular topic suitable for a listicle

The first thing you need to do is pick a suitable topic for your listicle. Even though listicles work for every niche, they won’t work for every topic.

Some topics will naturally fit better into a list, while others will be better suited for different styles of content.

One quick way to determine if a topic is going to work in a listicle format is to see what type of content Google is currently ranking.

If list posts are already ranking for that search term, then you know that you can rank if you create a post that’s better than what’s currently ranking.

On the other hand, if you do a search for a keyword and find it populated with other types of content, like “ultimate guide” style posts, then you’re probably better off staying away from a listicle for that topic.

If you do move forward with a listicle, make sure that every list item you include matches the topic of the list. Don’t add extra list items just to make your headline more compelling.

You can also look at keyword traffic data to see if a keyword could benefit from a listicle post (I’ll go in-depth on this below).

Only include valuable takeaways

It’s no secret, a lot of list posts are filled with fluff. To truly make your listicle a valuable asset for your business make sure every point you’re adding contributes value. If it’s a how-to post, then each item needs to be actionable.

Your listicle shouldn’t be a to-do list for your readers, it should also include how to do each of the items on your list.

Another way to expand the depth of your list post is to add additional resources for each of your sections. This allows you to link out to additional posts on your site while providing more value to your readers.

2. Perform keyword research and pick a keyword

Once you’re set on creating a listicle post you need a keyword and related keywords, to build the post around.

With keyword research, you’ll be able to find what people are already searching for and ensure your post ranks for those keywords.

Here’s a general approach you can follow to uncover the perfect keywords:

Dig deep into your niche on Google to better understand your competitors and what your readers want
Write down topic ideas and group topics together to create topic buckets
Use a keyword research tool like SEMRush and insert your keyword ideas from above and filter out the high competition and lower volume keywords
Look for long-tail keywords that are less competitive and have more words in the phrase
Research your competitors in SEMRush to uncover what keywords are bringing them the most traffic

The process above is just a quick overview, this keyword research guide will guide you through finding the perfect keywords in depth.

The final step for creating a listicle is finding keywords that are well-suited for a list post.

To do this you’ll have to type your keywords into Google and analyze the search results.

For example, here are the search results for the keyword “marketing tips for eCommerce”.

Listicles in Google Search Results

You’ll notice how all of the search results are listicle style posts. You can use these posts to inform your content and determine how many items you should include in your list.

Beyond finding the right keywords to write about, you’ll also need to optimize your post around your keywords.

Here are a few tips for optimizing your listicle:

Add your target keyword to the beginning of your article title
Write a meta description for your article that includes your target keyword(s)
Include your target keyword within the first 100 words of your article
Add related keywords throughout your post and within your headings
Add your target keyword to your URL

3. Choose the format for your listicle

There are a variety of different formats your post can take. The intent of the keyword will help to inform the format of the post.

Keyword intent is what type of information searchers are looking for when they search for a specific keyword. The best way to figure out what someone is searching for is to examine the first page of the search results.

This will show you the type of content that users want.

Since listicles can come in many forms, here are some of the most popular forms to model your article after:

Short and sweet list post

This style of post is commonly associated with Buzzfeed. This is where you’ll create a long list of items with very short descriptions. Usually, this includes compelling images and other media as well.

Simple lists don’t tend to do as well for SEO purposes, since there’s not that much content. However, they can perform very well across social media and can be used in other forms of promotion.

Expanded list post

Expanded list posts are similar to the short description list post above, but instead of having a small description, this post will go into each step in great detail.

This will give your reader everything they need to take action on every step. This style of post is best for how-to style content, where you’re showing your reader how to do something.

Best of list posts

Best of list posts are also on the shorter side of content length, but they can be effective for building backlinks to your site.

With this style of post, you create a list of things like best bloggers, best quotes, best websites, best resources on a given subject.

Then, you email that person, or company, and let them know they’ve been featured on your list. Often, this will lead to a ton of shares across social media or even backlinks.

Roundup list post

Roundup list posts, or interview list posts, compile helpful advice from a bunch of experts. To create this style of post you reach out to a bunch of experts and ask them a question, then compile their answers into a list.

This is similar to the “best of” list post above and can be used to generate backlinks and a ton of social shares.

4. Make your listicle title H2

One thing that a quality listicle needs are proper formatting and the use of headings. Your article needs to be broken up so it’s easy to scan and digest.

Your headings need to stand out from the rest of the body content, especially if you have a long list post, like “39 Ways to Promote Your New Blog Post.”

To help the search engines understand the type of post you’re writing you’ll want to use simple formatting techniques.

For the post title, you’ll want to use an H1 tag and an H2 tag for the title of your list.

Here’s how the HTML of your article will look when formatted properly:

List Elements HTML

Now, there is some debate about the impact that using multiple H1 tags has on rankings. However, only using a single H1 tag per page makes sense from a user experience point of view.

A hierarchical headline approach helps both your readers and the search engines better scan and digest your content.

Even though this might seem like a small change, every bit helps when it comes to SEO. The higher you can rank in the search results, the more traffic your website will receive.

If you’re writing a how-to listicle, then this is the type of post formatting you’ll want to use.

5. Format your individual list items with H3 tags

To further optimize your content for the search engines you can identify the main areas of your list using an HTML list. This will further highlight the most important areas of your post.

An HTML list has a great chance of being picked up as the featured snippet, especially for list posts, and how-to posts that educate readers on a step-by-step process.

By using the HTML list element you can increase your chances of your post being used as the featured snippet.

Here’s an example of what the list element will look like with HTML:

Listicles Title Formatting

The list above is formatted using an H2 tag, while the individual list items will use H3 tags. This helps the search engine crawlers identify your list items, even when your article has other headings present.

Using the list element makes crawling your website easier, and it makes it easier for your readers to digest your content.

If you’re writing a listicle that lists out steps or includes a list of items, then this is the formatting you’ll want to use. You can also use this style of formatting within each of your main list items to create lists within lists to further explain how-to content.

Additionally, make sure you include the following elements with your list post:

Use an H1 heading for your post title
Use the H2 heading for the title of your list
Use H3 headings for your list items
Include related keywords in your H2 and H3 tags

Here are some ideas for improving the value of your content and making it more useful to your readers:

Adding actionable steps with bullets
Including screenshots
Embedding YouTube videos that go deeper into the idea
Adding infographics
Including tangible examples

6. Create named sitelinks to improve search engine appearance

How your site appears in the search results will influence the number of people who click on your article. There’s no point in ranking high in the search engines if searchers aren’t clicking through to your website.

Another way to further optimize your content is to create internal links for each of the items in your list. This helps to enhance your search engine listing in the search results.

This is similar to the step above, but you’ll be adding an additional anchor text that links to a section of your list.

This not only helps your readers better navigate your content, but it can enhance your search engine appearance (as you’ll learn below).

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

Wrap your list elements in <ul><li> tags
Use H3 tags for every element on your list
Add internal links to each item on your list that points to each H3 heading within your content.

This is how the HTML version of your post will look:

Named Anchors in Listicles

Now when your post ranks in the search engines, each part of your list will also display in the search results. If searchers are looking for a specific step of the process, they can navigate to it directly in the search results.

Overall, this will enhance your search engine appearance and improve your CTR. Your CTR is the percentage of people that click on your search engine result from the search engines.

This can also provide a better user experience across the board, since your visitors will be able to find the exact content they’re looking for, instead of having to scroll through the entire article.

7. Add how-to schema markup

This final step is a bit more complicated, so only move forward if you feel comfortable adding a few lines of code to your article.

Schema markup helps Google better understand your site’s content, so it can be used as a featured snippet, or even be utilized in voice search (which is a growing trend).

Understanding how-to schema

How-to schema is a form of structured data offered by Google. Structured data gives clues to Google about the meaning of the content on a page. All you have to do is add a small piece of code to your page, which tells the search engine bots the “type” of content to expect.

Google offers how-to schema instructions that guide you through the process of adding schema to your site.

It’s important to note that adding how-to schema to your page doesn’t influence the appearance of your page, but only communicates with the search engine crawlers about what your page is about.

Adding how-to schema to your site

Here’s a quick process to follow to add schema to your site:

Go through the schema markup requirements to determine if your content is eligible.
Write the schema script (you can use this template and customize it with your site information)
Use the Google Rich Results test to test your code

There are also a handful of free schema generators you can use to generate the code for you.

Finally, you’ll need to embed the <script> in the <head> section of your page. If you’re using WordPress you can add the script on a per-page basis, or use a plugin that lets you add individual scripts to individual pages.

Here’s an example from Google of what your post could look like with the proper schema markup:

Google HOW-TO Schema Example
Examples of Listicles that Perform Well in Google

Listicle content is not only very popular with readers but loved by the search engines as well. Search engines like Google are trying to provide the best and most relevant content possible, since readers enjoy list posts, it only makes sense they’ll perform well in the search engines too.

Here are some examples of listicles that perform well in Google:

The 10 Best Online Courses on Digital Marketing (Free & Paid)

This article ranks high for a variety of keywords related to “best digital marketing courses”.

Here’s how it appears in the search results:

Example of a Listicle in Google Search Results

Here’s an example of the individual article links being added to the post:

Example of a Listicle

Top 10 Search Engines In The World (2021 Update)

This article ranks highly for the keyword “top search engines” and related keywords. Here’s how it appears in the search results:

Example of a Listicle in Google Search Results

This post what takes could be a shortlist into an expanded version with detailed explanations of each of the search engines.

Example of a Listicle
Key Learnings

Listicles are a very effective type of article to use throughout your content marketing. By strategically using listicles you can create high-ranking content that delights your readers and brings your site a ton of traffic.

List posts can be created across nearly all niches and most topics. List posts are easier to read and skim, plus they can break down complex topics for your visitors.

To start you’ll need to choose a popular topic in your niche that’s big enough to support a list post. You’ll also need to make sure that list posts are currently ranking in the search engines for that given topic.

Next, you’ll need to perform keyword research to determine which keyword(s) you’ll be targeting with this post. Since list posts are great at picking up backlinks and social shares, you’ll want to take advantage of this by targeting as many relevant keywords as possible.

Finally, you’ll want to optimize your post properly to make it easier for readers to skim your content and the search engine bots to crawl your site.

By creating listicles for your website you’ll grow your traffic levels while creating content your readers will enjoy.

The post How to Use Listicles in Your Content Marketing appeared first on

Read More

SEO Pricing: The Hard Truth about the Cost of Search Engine Optimization

SEO Pricing: The Hard Truth about the Cost of Search Engine Optimization

It’s a question every SEO asks at a certain point. Why? Because like any other marketing activity, SEO costs money and the expenses can sometimes pile without much to show for it. Being a shrewd business owner, you must always find ways to maximize your returns while minimizing expenses.

So, what constitutes a “good SEO deal?”

Is it $500 per month? $5,000 per month? Or should you do your SEO on your own to eliminate expenses altogether? Let’s begin with what others are paying.

A Look at Industry Data

Since this is a question millions of digital marketers struggle with every year, there’s been considerable research on SEO pricing.

For example, I recently bumped upon one survey where 70% of small businesses said they spend under $100 on SEO per month. Another 17% of the respondents, meanwhile, said they spend between $101 and $199. According to this survey, therefore, close to 90% of small businesses spend under $200 on SEO per month.

More surprisingly, about 54% of the respondents said they spend nothing ($0.00) on SEO. Of the businesses in this category;

The majority do SEO on their ownThe others disregard SEO entirely!

An even more detailed study report, however, was released recently by Ahrefs. Ahrefs’ study wasn’t focused on what marketers pay, but rather SEO pricing among agencies. The two key survey questions were;

How much do you charge for SEO services?What SEO pricing model(s) do you use?

In total, 357 SEO agencies were interviewed, though at the end, only 348 “clean” submissions were accepted. The following were the key takeaways from the study;

Most agencies (74.71%) charge a monthly retainer$501-$1,001 is the most popular retainer rangeAbout 36.78% charge an hourly rateHourly rates rarely exceed $150 (88%)At least 50.44% charge $75-$150/hour

It’s worth noting that more experienced SEOs charge a higher price compared to the newer guys. The average hourly rate for agencies that have been in the industry for;

<2 years is $79.39/hour2-4 years is $110.69/hour4-10 years is $118.85/hour>10 years is $142.50/hour

In summary, therefore, for a regular project, you’ll likely pay, on average;

$110/hour$501-$1,001/month, or$1,001-$2,000/project

Making the Right Decision

Now that we know what agencies charge, we can focus on finding that “sweet deal.” Let’s begin by getting the paid vs. DIY SEO debate out of the way.

Pay or Do It Yourself?

A tough question, right?

The truth is that DIY SEO is cheaper. You don’t have to pay someone to do the job for you. So, you may not even have to allocate a budget for the SEO.

However, we also want to stress that DIY SEO isn’t free. Just because you’ve saving the budget doesn’t mean it’s free.

You’ll need to (according to Blue Corona);

Educate yourself – 80+ hours/yearPerform keyword search – 3 hours/weekEngage in blogging – 24 hours/weekMaintain your social media – 8 hours/week

The total time spent on DIY SEO, therefore, is 80 + (35/week x 52) = 1,900 hours per year. If your digital marketing ROI is $50/hour, 1,900 hours spent on SEO would equate to a $95,000 investment. So, is it free? NO. Is it cheaper? With regards to upfront costs, yes.

The biggest advantage of DIY SEO, however, is that once you get into the grove, you can achieve a lot more than you’d ever get from an agency or SEO consultant because of the greater dedication and will to succeed.  

So, How Much Should You Spend on SEO Services?

Well, we’ve already established what other marketers pay on average (i.e. $1,001 to $2,000 per project). You can always use that as a reference point.

However, you don’t have to pay that much. Indeed, depending on the type and size of your business, your location, and whether you choose to outsource or DIY your SEO, the cost will vary significantly.

What we want to stress is that;

Cheap SEO is a trap and costly; avoid itSEO is a broad term. It’s not just about keywordsYour SEO will need to grow as the business grows

Why is Great SEO an Important Investment for Your Business?

Since it’s impossible to put a fixed price on SEO, the best approach is to look at it as an investment which is just as important as the rest of your marketing. Here’s what makes great SEO vital;

Organic search is often the primary source of website trafficSEO boosts brand trust and credibilityGood SEO means a more satisfying user experienceGood SEO boosts engagement and conversions

How Can You Invest in Your SEO for the Highest ROI?

Whether you choose to outsource or DIY, there are several steps you can take to establish and run a highly profitable SEO campaign.

Aim to rank for evergreen and money keywordsImprove your site navigationOptimize your website and content for mobile searchesOptimize your site for speed. Faster sites get more trafficWrite high-quality content that adds valueInvest in inbound and outbound link buildingConsider using SEO tools to boost your ROI

DIY Search Engine Optimization with SEO Tools

If, like the majority of small business owners, you choose the DIY route, search engine optimization tools can prove invaluable. An SEO tool is a software program designed to help you with things such as spying on the competition, auditing your SEO strategy, keyword search, SEO tracking, and data mining.

Some of the popular SEO tools to consider are;

Google keyword plannerGoogle analyticsGoogle trendsSEMRushAhrefsMoz ProScreaming FrogYoast SEO for WordPress

BiQ: Demystifying SEO Pricing and Paying Only for What You Use

Finally, you should also consider the new kid on the block – BiQ! Still in the beta stage, the BiQ SEO tool is different from the other SEO tools because you only pay for what you need.  

Traditionally, when you decide to start doing SEO, you go online, pick an agency, pay whatever they’re demanding, and then work begins. So, you never really get the chance to discuss the specific SEO services that you need because, you know, SEO is just SEO. It comes as a package, right?

Well, it doesn’t. SEO is an umbrella term. It comprises several elements, including keyword search, competitor analysis, SEO auditing, and so forth. What happens if you only use a few of these services? What if you need keyword analysis but not auditing?

With traditional SEO tools, you’d still pay the whole “SEO” cost, meaning that you end up paying even for services you don’t need.

That ends with BiQ.

With BiQ, SEO pricing is dependent on the specific services you need. Is it keyword intelligence? Content intelligence? Link intelligence? BiQ allows you to choose from these features (there are six in total) and pay only for what you need. Sign up for the closed Beta test at


SEO is a foundational pillar for any successful digital marketing campaign. And, it can be expensive. Fortunately, with tools such as Google Analytics and BiQ, you don’t have to worry about SEO pricing anymore. These tools make it possible to plan and execute an incredibly successful, low-cost SEO campaign – even on your own!

Read More

10 Best Online Resources to Learn WordPress in 2021

10 Best Online Resources to Learn WordPress in 2021

Wordpress is one of the biggest platforms that help in the management of your content. It serves as a content manager for years and is still one of the smartest tools for this purpose. It can be used by anyone who is starting a new blog, by a novice business who is busy making a portfolio for his website. It is not a new tool or has been introduced recently. It is being used for this purpose for years and is an essential part of website makers.

WordPress helps you in building any website. It could be an eCommerce site, an online portfolio, a news portal, a blog page, or stuff like that. There are different resources from which you can learn wordpress and the most common among them are Codex:

It is a free source of learning, and the person who has any experience of learning wordpress from it has the right words to say about it. It is one of the most trustworthy sources, and it gives all the information in detail. WordPress codex is looked like an online manual book because when the reader starts learning it, they experience it as a manual book present in the online form.

Also, as it is a free learning resource, so nobody has to pay for it and is comfortable in access. Everybody can benefit from it only when they need to learn WordPress in detail. But if someone is looking for a surface study of WordPress, then codex is not the right choice. Because it gives you a complete explanation, and you have to go through it thoroughly.

One of the most exciting and appreciable thing about codex is that it is a wiki. And you can only learn wordpress from it and take part in other tasks like editing, contributing, translating, and discussing different pieces of information. It is a complete source of information, and one gets fully benefited from it regarding the learning of WordPress.

WordPress TV:

It is one of the coolest tools of learning WordPress is one of the most effective ways because you can get written information from it and the video and audio. As the name suggests, the learner can get the data from the television screen, so everything is displayed in video tutorials.

It is also free in use, and there is no issue of signing up or wasting time on such things. It is for free, and the person using it can directly get into the video they want to watch or to the information they are looking. Beginners quickly digest the videos that come because they are simple, and one can easily understand them.

Another exciting option is that the user can also make videos and join the community of WordPress by it. But it is only possible if the user follows all the rules and guidelines while making the videos. If they are according to the criteria mentioned by them, they can become members of the WordPress community.

WordPress is a simple but smartest tool, and all kinds of content and information can be searched on it quickly. Also, the content available on it is understandable, and this also allows you to learn the other language.

Official WordPress Lessons:

The official WordPress lessons are one of the friendliest tools for learning WordPress and is also named to LEARN. It has been introduced after WordPress TV and is also for free. All the information is available on its website, and on clicking on it, you get the book of WordPress opened in front of you.

It consists of a step by step guideline for making a website, and therefore, for beginners, it is the best learning source. This website’s theme is not so colorful or creative, but it gives you all the required information to make a website. There are no images or videos like stuff on it, but the steps are easy to follow.

If an intermediate level person is planning to learn WordPress from it, it is not recommended for them because they would not understand as it a basic level learning resource. It gives you all the necessary configurations, knowledge of preparing a stage, personalization of website, and publishing pages and posts.

Lynda is not a free online learning source. But if someone is learning from it, they would never regret paying Lynda. It is the biggest online learning platform that gives you knowledge of different fields and professions and WordPress, which you help in building a professional and creative website.

Lynda offers courses that you can pursue online, and they are not related to a basic level of knowledge or information. The courses arranged by Lynda are of a broad topic, and those topics include software development. Business both small and big, designing courses and photography courses. So if someone is paying for these courses, they would not regret the penny they spent on it.

In learning WordPress from Lynda, there are different options you can look at. During the first month, the trial of learning is for free, and one does not have to pay for it. After one month, around 29.99 dollars are spent, and if someone goes for an annual package, they can get a discount over it is approximately 33 percent.

Lynda gives you all the information and knowledge in video form. Also, there is an option to practice the things you have learned from it by attempting quizzes. You can watch the videos repeatedly until and unless you completely understand them. You also earn a learning certificate once you are done with it. And the certificate is beneficial for you at the end of the day.

Lynda’s course is divided based on skill level, subjects, study, authors of the course, and learning types. By keeping all these things in mind, the course Lynda is divided into different topics.

Smashing Magazine:

It is an online portal for learning different topics of WordPress, including coding, development of mobile, graphic designing, and web designing. It is an online magazine in which all the information is displayed in the form of blogs. Readers can read them, and then they can also ask something if they want to in the comment section. The comment section is made to listen from people about what they have to say about WordPress and what they wish to write in their blogs.

There is a limited time when you have to read the posted blog and later upload a new blog by removing the previous one. You have to read those blog online to get all the knowledge of WordPress. The blogs cover almost all the topics and help the reader get as much information as possible. It is an extended category, and readers can digest the blogs easily. Also, it offers other services like SEO and SEO services in Wah Cantt are given according to the knowledge of blogs uploaded by smashing magazine. 

But when it comes to the blogs’ content, it is not friendly for the beginners because they need necessary information, and it consists of details. But it is a free learning portal.


It is a paid platform where everything is explained through tutorials. It is suitable for beginners because it gives all the necessary knowledge to them within one hour. There are detailed videos in which all the information of WordPress is explained in a brief form.

It is one of the most effective educational platforms because the students looking for online WordPress course will benefit from it. They also have an opportunity of resolving their queries through question-answer sessions. After learning through video tutorials, the students can again ask questions, and they would be given answers to them.

You can learn from it and can also get its services from a free video course. You can watch the video for free initially, but you have to pay for the videos. The further sessions of video tutorials can only be unlocked by Access pass. To get the access pass, you have to pay a certain amount of money, and then you can watch the other video tutorials, which are full of information related to WordPress. For some of the access passes, you can pay weekly basis, and for some, you can spend yearly.

WP sessions:

WP sessions are the paid learning sessions. But you will never feel bad or would regret spending some dollars on it. You can pay for one week at a beginner level, and in one week, all the necessary knowledge would be given, and then you can move forward to the intermediate level because this course is for all the groups of learners. If you like the session and want to pursue it further, you can buy yearly WP sessions. Buying it will give you free five-month learning.

It is a paid version, but if someone is willing to take it for a year, then they could get a session of five months with a discount. Talking about the course, it is not complicated, and the beginners can quickly get all the detailed information of WordPress in one week. The primary purpose of the WP session is to help you in building a business of your own.

The videos they make help you make your website, but they also help you make your website grow to set up a profitable business from them. It aims to help you in launching a business of your own in the best possible way.

You can also take bonus courses from WP session or personal guidance learning sessions and download them for further training.

WP Apprentice:

It is a learning resource for both beginners and people of higher levels. At the start, it gives you all the ground knowledge of WordPress, basically what a beginner needs to hear. In one month it gives you all the early training, and at that time it is free.

Later, if you are looking for a WordPress introductory course, you can get it on WP apprentice, but you have to pay for it.  It is a bite-size training, and 15 dollars are required to get this training. There are different access-pass for other months, and there is an access-pass for yearly courses. There are additional charges for other passes. You can access a particular monthly or weekly learning session on WP apprentice by paying for those passes.

The learning sessions are in the form of video tutorials, and in those tutorials, almost everything is covered. The content they create is not informative but is engaging as well. The videos help you learn how to make creative content, content in your article that you will upload on your website, and all the knowledge of creating a website. They also explain the ranking system, the business features, and everything else in their video tutorials.

WP Kube:

It is a free learning source, and one quickly learns the new things they upload by just signing in. The user can connect their email with it, and in this way, they would stay updated regarding the new blogs they post. They teach WordPress through their blog post because they do not make video tutorials. Instead, they cover all the information in their blogs.

Connecting your email with it will help you know about the new blog they are going to post, and when they would post, you can go, sign in, and read their blog. It is an easy learning source because you do not have to pay for it. You have to sign and read all the written material present on the page.

Ithemes training:

I themes is one of the biggest platforms, but it has all the knowledge of WordPress. It uploads the video tutorials in which all the information from singing to adding links is explained in detail. You can sign up for a three-month free tutorial, and then you have to pay for it.

It gives you information related to WordPress and about the branch of wordpress like plugins and SEO. 

The post 10 Best Online Resources to Learn WordPress in 2021 appeared first on WP Fix It.

Read More

How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher

How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher

30-second summary:

The pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before.
Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online since the beginning of 2020.
We caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.
Know how CMOs can find value in SMM efforts, conduct market analysis, and run social media campaigns that actually succeed in the eyes of top management.

From learning banana bread recipes to connecting with loved ones, hunting jobs, and now shopping holiday gifts, the pandemic drove people inside their homes and onto social media like never before. 2020 has shown us how people have resorted to Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn. While Hootsuite has closely been monitoring the changing behaviors of consumers online, we caught up with Henk Campher, VP of Corporate Marketing and Head of Social Impact at Hootsuite, to help you derive a cream level perspective for your digital strategies.

Q. Paid ads have their own cons like reduced page reach, how do you maintain an upward graph for organic page reach and boost relationships, engagement, and direct sales?

Henk Campher: Never take a one-size-fits-all approach to social media marketing, especially with organic content. To reach a large audience, organic posts need to be optimized. To do this, you need to understand the platform and audience you are optimizing for. Start by focusing on the platforms that make the most sense for your business. For example, if you’re a B2B company, you may find the most value on LinkedIn or Twitter whereas a B2C company may gravitate towards Snapchat, Instagram, or TikTok to reach a younger crowd. 

If you want organic content to perform well on social media, create engaging and personalized content that is fitting for the platform you are using. Give people a reason to follow and engage with your social posts. To better understand what content resonates with your audience, start by using social listening tools—at Hootsuite, we integrate directly with Brandwatch so our customers can navigate social intelligence capabilities directly from their dashboard.

Case study:

Securian Financial, a Hootsuite financial services customer, was able to leverage social listening to determine that their key demographics shifted away from complaining about quarantine to sharing positive content around being connected. What arose was Life Balance Remix, a UGC campaign encouraging people to share content that highlighted their “new normal” and garnered thousands of participants with over 2.5 million campaign impressions across Twitter and Instagram. 

Beyond creating the right content for the right platform, it’s essential to connect with people. Show your audience the human side of your brand. You can do this by lifting up your employees on social media and sharing their stories or connecting with the wider community through an employee advocacy tool, like Hootsuite’s Amplify tool. If you want to boost engagement on posts, ask your audience relevant and interesting questions. This is also a great opportunity to learn about what interests them. If you focus on value and creating the right content, you’ll be able to successfully develop relationships with your audience, boost engagement, and drive sales.

Q. What are the top social media metrics that can help CMOs see direct value in marketers’ social media marketing efforts?

Henk Campher: For both B2C and B2B brands, the key to successful social measurement is to keep your metrics simple. Trust classic cross-platform metrics like return-on-ad spend and lifetime value, as these measures also tie directly to your organization’s business goals. Once you choose the content you think will resonate with your audience, test your ideas to identify which posts generate the most engagement, shares, and impressions, and do this for each social platform. Continue to test, learn, and optimize. But when it comes to measuring your efforts on social, it is important to keep your business objectives in mind and develop KPIs that match the overall goals and expectations of your organization. Metrics such as impressions and reach should be analyzed consciously.

If your goal is to build brand awareness, focus on overall engagement and how long visitors are staying on your website. This will help evaluate if your content isn’t just “content-for-content-sake” but is actually resonating with your audience and driving conversions. 

Q. What are the typical touchpoints/aspects marketers must include in their social media campaigns to reflect value for the brand and meet CMO expectations?

Henk Campher: One of the most important aspects of a social media campaign is social listening. A robust social listening tool allows you access to real-time insights into consumer sentiment, shifting trends, and competitive intelligence. These insights are key to helping a brand better understand how consumers feel about a campaign and what they want from your brand.  

The best social media campaigns also have specific goals in mind and are purpose-driven. You must understand the customer segment you’re trying to reach through a specific campaign. To achieve this, create profiles or personas for your core constituencies that integrate data and insights from marketing channels (including social) and CRM. Understanding how, where, and when to engage with your constituents requires a clear picture of their motivations and their needs.

Another important aspect is social data integration. Our ‘Social Transformation Report‘ uncovered that only 10% of marketers feel they have mature practices around integrating social data into enterprise systems like Adobe, Microsoft, Marketo, or Salesforce. However, according to our ‘2021 Social Trends Report‘, 85% of organizations that integrate social data into their other systems have the confidence to accurately quantify the ROI of social media. While data integration is a complex process, a much more accessible entry point that can help marketers better connect social engagement to customer identity and measurable ROI is integrating paid and organic social media activity.  We found that mature organizations with completely integrated paid and organic social strategies are 32% more confident in quantifying the ROI of social media. 

Q. How important is it for any brand to have involvement in social matters and social investments?

Henk Campher: The most successful brands this year didn’t put themselves front and center of the conversation—they decided to listen instead. After taking the time to listen, brands must find creative and empathetic ways of adding value to the conversation instead of trying to lead it. Brands should stay true to their identities and their audience by asking:

“What is my role?”
“What conversations make sense for me to weigh in on and why?”
“How can social media contribute to my business objectives?”

Having a voice in important conversations is powerful for a brand. However, if a brand is posting about topics that don’t align with the brand’s personality and identity, customers will notice. As a wealth of different conversations are taking place across social media at all times, it’s important to create a blueprint for how to comment on a conversation, if at all. 

Q. What methods can CMOs implement to use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for effective market analysis?

Henk Campher: There are various tried-and-true methods CMOs can implement when using social media platforms for market analysis. Before you begin your analysis, always have a clear goal in mind. It’s important to look at what exactly you want to analyze whether it’s your brand, product, or competitors. Doing a quantitative content analysis by assessing the engagement rate of your social posts can give companies an idea of if a message or product is resonating with your followers. Social listening is another incredibly powerful tool for analysis. Through social listening, you can zero in on how people are talking about your brand.  It’s also important to not be shy. Be empowered as a brand to implement tactics like polls and surveys on social to get in touch with customers and glean informative insights into how your audience is thinking about your brand. 

Q. How would you push an online event that involves employee referral on social media for a maximum turnaround?

Henk Campher: Develop an effective social media strategy in advance and provide your employees with the right resources and tools to promote the event. You can do this by crafting the content and social platform guidelines in advance so it is easy for employees to spread the word on social media. At Hootsuite our Amplify tool allows brands to extend their social reach and increase employee engagement. Using platforms that are suited for employee advocacy will garner the most successful results. 

Q. What are your expert tips on the most effective ways to run a social media campaign, especially during the holiday season 2020?

Henk Campher: The holidays are a great opportunity for brands to increase engagement and drive sales on social media. Here are my four tips to create an effective social media campaign and stand out from the competition: 

Tweak your social media posting schedule to accommodate changing workdays or times. B2B businesses often have higher engagement rates during the day, as employees are leaving early and working less in the evening. B2C companies generally have a better reach when it’s not during typical work hours. 
Continue to curate content over the holidays, even if there might be a downturn of activity on social channels across the board. If you go quiet on social, your customers will notice. 
Maintain community engagement as relationships, connections and engagement are key to any successful social media campaign. Always respond to customer issues or comments promptly.
The holidays are a great time to showcase the ‘human’ side of your business. Take advantage of platforms like Instagram to showcase the company, employees, and interact with the community at large. 

Q. What are the most common mistakes you see brands making in their social media pushes?

Henk Campher: The most common mistake brands make is thinking of social media merely as a broadcast medium. With nearly three billion people on Facebook every month, more than one million on Instagram, and hundreds of millions more on Twitter, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat, it’s tempting to think that way. While social media started with organic posts and later turned to paid social advertising, brands should never lose sight of social media’s core value: establishing and maintaining relationships. Take the time to invest in relationship building, as this helps brands build strong bonds with their audiences and boost customer loyalty, which ultimately benefits their business. Rather than pump out promotional content, take the time to establish your brand’s personality, and connect with customers by taking on an empathetic “human-first” approach.

How is your brand making the most of social media marketing this holiday season? Are there challenges you’re facing with regards to creating value from a board room perspective? Feel free to share your thoughts on our interview, drop a comment!

The post How C-suite derives business value from social media: Q&A with Hootsuite’s VP of Corporate Marketing, Henk Campher appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Read More