SEO Articles

My 6-Step Content Marketing Formula That Drives 3,549 Visitors

Writing a blog post is easy.

If you don’t write often, you may feel otherwise, but just follow this
and you’ll be good to go when it comes to writing. Or, you can just watch the
video below.

But still, you write a blog post and then what do you do?

Well, I’ll tell you this… most people forget the “marketing” in content marketing. Most people write content but don’t do a great job of promoting it.

Here’s the thing: I figured out the perfect formula to promoting content.

Best of all, it’s not complex. Heck, it doesn’t even take 30 minutes. It’s so easy that I broke it down into 6 steps.

And just to give you an idea before we dive into the formula, it’s so effective here is the traffic to my latest blog post.

35,492 visits in a week isn’t too shabby. The post didn’t do exceptionally well and it didn’t tank. It was just an average post.

Now you probably won’t see the same results as me as I’ve
been doing this for a long time, but your results will be much better than what
you are currently getting. Hence, I used the number of 3,549 in the title as
you should be able to drive 1/10th of what I am generating.

So, let’s dive right into the formula.

Step #1: Optimize your headline

8 out of 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 out of 10 people will click through on your headline to read the rest of your article.

No matter how well written your content is, promoting it won’t
be effective if no one likes your headline.

Now I know what you are thinking… I’ve already published my
article, is it too late to change my headline?

Nope, you can always change your headline, just try not
to change the URL of the article once it is already published.
And if you decide
to change the URL, use a
301 redirect
.

There’s a really simple way to come up with headlines that work. Heck, it doesn’t even take more than a minute or two.

Just head over to Ubersuggest and type in the main keyword or phrase your article is about.

You’ll see a report that looks something like this:

Now I want you to click on “Content Ideas” in the left-hand navigation.

You should now see a report that looks like this:

This report shows you all of the blog posts around the web
that contain your keyword or phrase within their title. And it breaks it down
by social shares, backlinks, and search traffic.

You can use this to see what is working in your space.

Ideally, you want to look for headlines that have thousands of social shares (or hundreds if you aren’t in a popular industry), at least 10 backlinks, and more than 100 estimated visits. Just like the example below.

Making your headlines similar to ones that meet those 3 criteria
will increase your odds of getting more traffic.

Step #2: Add 3 internal links

The easiest way to get your new content more love is to
build links.

Yes, links are hard to build, but internal links are not…
plus they are still effective.

I rank for competitive terms like “digital marketing”…

A lot of it has to do with internal links. I link to my main
digital marketing page within my sidebar and within my content.

Every time you publish a new blog post, I want you to go into your older content that is relevant to your newly published blog post and add a link to it. Do this to 3 of your older blog posts.

This helps with indexing and it also helps your new
content rank higher on Google.

Step 3: Share your content on the social web carefully

The problem with social media marketing is that people think they can just share their content on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn and it will automatically do well.

Sadly, it won’t because billions of URLs have been shared
already.

In other words, we just tend to ignore most of the links
people share.

But there is a simple way to stand out and get thousands of visitors from the social web, just like I get.

So, what’s my secret?

Well, I will give you a hint. Just look at one of my most
recent posts on LinkedIn:

And here is one from Facebook:

Do you notice a pattern?

I’m evoking curiosity. In other words, I am piquing your
interest and if you want to know the “solution” you have to click through to my
site.

With the LinkedIn post, I tell you that marketing is going
to change next year. I also make a point to say how it is going to change in a
way that nobody is talking about.

I do this because we all can assume marketing will change. But
by saying it is in a way nobody is talking about, it evokes curiosity. And if
you want to know how it will change you have no choice but to click through
over to my site to read the rest.

With my Facebook post, I also evoke curiosity. I talk about a Google algorithm update, but I hint that I have an answer to leveraging Google’s latest algorithm update. And if you want to know what it is, you have to click through over to my site.

Whenever you post on the social web, evoke curiosity if you want people to head over to your site.

The easiest way to do this is that every time you share one of your articles on the social web, add a few sentences above the link that helps pique peoples’ interest.

Step #4: Message everyone you link out to

It’s common to link out to other sites within your blog
posts.

Heck, sometimes I even link out to my competition.

If you don’t ever link out to other sites, you are making a
big mistake. It helps with authority and trust.

If you are using stats and data within your article, you
want to cite your sources. This brings credibility to you and it helps brand
yourself as an expert which can help with Google’s medic
update
.

Now, when you link out to a site, go and search their email
address. You can typically find their email address on their website.

Or if you can’t find their email address, look for a contact
page on their site, you’ll typically see a form that you can fill out.

Whether you find an email address or contact form, I want
you to message each and every single site you link out to with a message that
goes like this:

Hi [insert their first name],

I just wanted to say, I love your content. Especially your article on [insert the name of the article you linked out to].

I linked to it from my latest blog post [insert URL of your blog post]. It would make my day if you checked it out and even shared it on your favorite social network if you enjoyed it.

Cheers,

[insert your name]

When I send out these emails, I am getting 50 to 60% of the people to respond and share my content. But of course, my blog is popular, so for me, it isn’t too hard. But it hasn’t always been that way, and I’ve been leveraging this tactic for ages.

On the flip side, I also use this tactic on a few of my
blogs that are in other niches and don’t use my name (no one knows I own them)
and I am seeing success rates around 20%.

Just make sure you don’t use this tactic to ask for a link back.
Your success rate will be slim.

Step #5: Send an email blast

These last two tactics produce a large portion of my
results, and you shouldn’t take them for granted, no matter how basic they may
seem.

If you already haven’t, start collecting emails from your
site. You can use free tools like Hello Bar
to create popups or sliders.

Hello Bar will plug into whatever email provider you are
currently using.

Once you are up and running, every time you release a new
blog post, send out an email blast.

Here’s an example of one of my email blasts.

It’s so effective it generated 13,544 clicks.

I’ve found that you can drive good traffic from emails as
long as you do the following:

  1. Scrub your list – if someone doesn’t open your emails over the last 30 or 60 days, remove them from your list. It helps keep your emails in people’s inboxes.
  2. Send text-based emails – if you look at the email I sent, I keep it simple. No images, nothing fancy, just text and a link back to my site. It’s that simple.
  3. Evoke curiosity – just like how I explained with the social media posts, your emails won’t do well unless you evoke curiosity.

As you write more content you will get more traffic, which will cause your email list to grow. That will also cause you to get more traffic. 🙂

Step #6: Send a push notification

I don’t know why so few sites are leverage push notifications. It’s so effective I believe I will get more traffic from push notifications in 2020 than I will from email marketing.

To give you an idea, when I analyze my competitors in the
marketing arena, only 3 out of 19 use push notifications.

In other industries, the percentage is far worse, which means there is more opportunity for you.

Here’s how push notifications work….

Someone comes to your site and through their browser, they get a message if they want to subscribe to your site.

A portion of your visitors will click “allow”. With NeilPatel.com, roughly 5.4% of visitors are currently clicking “allow”.

You can send push notifications and get subscribers using a
free tool like Subscribers.com.

And then when you write a new blog post, you log into Subscribers.com and click on the “Create Notification” button. From there you will see a screen where you can enter the title and description of your latest post.

As you can see from the image above, you’ll notice that I use an “icon” image, a “large” image, and I show “custom buttons.”

Using those 3 elements is the key to getting the most
traffic from push notifications. Here are some of my stats from using
Subscribers.

I’m getting roughly 6,000 visits from every push notification
I send. That’s not too bad.

And if you are curious about what a push notification looks like, here’s what people get when I send it out.

What’s cool about push notification is no matter what
website someone is on, they will see a message similar to the one above, which
will bring people back to your site.

No dealing with spam filters or messages not going through. Plus, if someone isn’t online when you send a push notification, the next time they use their web browser they will see your message.

Conclusion

Promoting your content doesn’t have to be hard.

You don’t need “advanced” tactics or anything that is out of
the box. The basics work well, and I have been using the above formula for
years… literally.

Now, I know there are other things you can do to promote your content, but let’s be realistic: we are all strapped for time. And I’ve found the ones I’ve mentioned above to produce the biggest bang for the buck.

So, what other simple ways do you promote your content?

The post My 6-Step Content Marketing Formula That Drives 3,549 Visitors appeared first on Neil Patel.

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Microsoft Advertising talks intelligence, UI updates, audience solutions in SMX keynote

NEW YORK – As brands look to compete in today’s market, identifying ways to connect with audiences is critical – especially since growth relies so heavily on the marketer’s ability to find better ways to meet the needs of customers, said Christi Olson, head of evangelism at Microsoft Advertising and Bing, during a keynote session at SMX West on Wednesday.

“Consumers want brands to help them, anticipating their needs and making their buying experience frictionless,” said Olson. “Our [Microsoft’s] goal is to help retailers become more competitive and deliver more engaging customer experiences that unlock new revenue and fuel future growth,” she added.

Customer journeys are also getting more complex and less linear, which means it’s more imperative than ever for advertisers to understand the advanced technologies and innovations that drive meaningful brand engagement.

Delivering value with AI

According to Olson, Microsoft is leaning heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning to create better experiences for customers. One example is the Seeing AI app, which has helped over a million people with vision impairments read a menu in a restaurant or count out money when making a purchase. Another example includes the integration of AI into Microsoft Dynamics 365 products to help our customers manage information and tackle common business challenges. Moreover, AI can now help service teams quickly identify and resolve equipment issues remotely, or empower HR teams to land top candidates. 

(See Also: Get the just-released Periodic Tables of PPC)

“Creating better experiences for your customers, people you engage with is not about handing off your advertising to machines. At a time of advancing automation, creativity remains the essential differentiator of greater value than at any other point in human history,” Olson said.

To help organizations adopt AI-driven capabilities quickly and easily, Microsoft aims to integrate intelligence with the products and services that consumers already use daily. Olson said that Microsoft will be launching a new class of purpose-built Dynamics 365 AI solutions aimed at delivering out-of-the-box insights from unified data. That data can then be infused with advanced intelligence to support integrated team actions across sales, customer service, and marketing.

Personalization at scale

In our connected world, a user’s device is the key stepping stone to understanding the consumer, Olson said. Devices provide context, which helps marketers better understand what matters to a consumer in a particular location and at a particular time. The right message at the right moment is the next level in customer service and can turn intent into action.

Context also allows retailers to better than ever anticipate what a customer might need based on when, where and how they arrive at their site and help them decide how to respond to them. Consumers are always on the hunt for product information, deals, local availability and local discounts online. Retailers who don’t make efforts to supply the right, personalized information at the right time will lose out.

“As we think about this enormous opportunity, we at Microsoft see four key areas of opportunity for retail,” Olson explained. These include:

Know your customer. Deliver unforgettable customer experiences that make your brand stand out from the crowd.

Empower your employees. Provide your team with the tools that enable extraordinary customer service.

Deliver intelligent supply chain. Improve agility to reduce costs and drive customer satisfaction.

Reimagine your business. Stand out in today’s competitive retail environment by reinventing your business model, starting with the customers and working backward.

Uniting the Internet and the Intranet

One of the biggest challenges facing organization is the difficulty of finding and accessing company information through company intranets. Earlier this month, Microsoft introduced the new Microsoft Edge and Microsoft Bing for business.

Olson said Microsoft’s ambition is for Bing and Edge to deliver the best search and browser experiences for businesses and consumers alike. With enhanced capabilities like deep intranet integration, improved people search, and features that support business resources, Microsoft aims to make employee productivity more efficient and impactful.

Olson said Microsoft will be introducing even more features for the consumer audience in spring 2020.

Microsoft’s redesigned UI

In October, Microsoft Advertising unveiled the platform’s interface refresh, designed to better align with the update Google Ads rolled out in full a year ago.

The redesigned UI, explained Olson, enables advertisers to manage campaigns more easily with the following improvements:

Improved usability and navigation. The new online navigation includes more intuitive features for greater integration with Google Ads, saving advertisers more time when it comes to campaign management. Advertisers can use the new global menu to switch accounts, quickly access tools and settings like ad preview, shared library, conversion tracking, Google Import, and more.

Better organization of features. The new vertical page menu includes Ads & Extensions, Audiences, Experiments, and other features to deliver more streamlined access for advertisers. As advertisers navigate campaigns, page menus will adapt to only display the pages and data that are applicable to each campaign.

Modern look and feel. The new online experience is now more up to date and consistent with other Microsoft products.

Intelligent audience solutions

Currently, Microsoft Advertising offers intelligent audience solutions designed to help advertisers reach a target audience with a personalized ad experience at the right time.

These solutions include AI-driven targeting capabilities such as location, device, in-market audiences, Google Import, campaign-level associations, and more. Microsoft is currently piloting LinkedIn Profile Targeting, product audiences, similar audiences, and customer matches.

Eventually, Olson said, Microsoft plans to roll out customer combinations with “or” and “and” logic.

Amping up for new retail solutions

“For retailers to power great experiences on their website, search is critical,” Olson said.

With Intelligent Search, Microsoft aims to bring advertisers closer to understanding shopper intent with scale, intelligence, and AI. To do this, Olson pointed to Bing’s index that retailers can embed on their sites to grow visibility. Bing technology allows marketers to understand consumer behavior and trends while leveraging the power of machine learning and AI to help automatically optimize to boost conversion rates, Olson said.

As part of Microsoft’s vision to further unlock search for retailers, Intelligent Search will deliver personalized product recommendations through deep learning algorithms. Experimentation and custom rankings will help businesses achieve goals and drive up consumer satisfaction. Additionally, advertisers will have an improved ability to analyze transactional, behavioral, and demographic data from the sites.

Microsoft PromoteIQ, a vendor marketing solution that enables retailers to generate high-margin advertising revenue with their own advertising experiences, will become fully integrated with the Microsoft advertising platform. Currently in private preview, the PromoteIQ Network will allow retailers to scale commerce advertising revenue using an expanded integration with the Microsoft Advertising platform and sales teams, providing access to new channels to help retailers maximize monetization.

The age of digital marketing is
behind us, and our new reality—though it may at times seem daunting—is
marketing in the digital age. One in which marketers simply cannot find success
talking at
customers through single, traditional channels. Instead, brands must engage
with them on new and meaningful levels, wherever they are.

As Olson stated during her session, Microsoft is setting out “to help reimagine how [advertisers] serve customers and grow your business, deliver more engaging customer experiences that unlock new revenue and fuel future growth.”

The post Microsoft Advertising talks intelligence, UI updates, audience solutions in SMX keynote appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google starts new Search Console training series on YouTube

Today at SMX East, Daniel Wasiberg a Search Advocate at Google, announced a new YouTube series aimed at training users on how to get the most out of using Google Search Console.

It’s on the YouTube channel. The new series will be on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel available at https://www.youtube.com/googlewebmasters/

What it covers. The series covers everything from the basics, such as getting started, verifications, reports and settings. The series will go through how to monitor your site traffic, fix numerous issues reported by Search Console, as well as help searchers find your web site on Google search.

Coming soon. Right now, Google only posted a teaser video on the channel, but Daniel Waisberg said the series is coming soon.

The trailer. Here is the trailer:

Why we care. Google Search Console offers a critical set of tools that should be mastered by everyone in the SEO space. It should also be a toolset used by developers, webmasters, publishers and site owners. This video series should help everyone learn more about how to use Google Search Console through tips and advice from a Googler, Daniel Waisberg, who not only gets search but deeply understand analytics and the publishing world.

The post Google starts new Search Console training series on YouTube appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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How to Fix the WordPress Error “There has been a critical error on your website”

With the release of WordPress 5.3, there is a new WordPress Error “There has been a critical error on your website”. There are a lot of errors that you can encounter with WordPress, like internal server errors, database connection errors, and even ones that say “There has been a critical error on your website.” A lot of times, the full error is:

“There has been a critical error on your website. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions.

Learn more about debugging in WordPress.”

There has been a critical error on your website

Things being what they are, you’re likely thinking about what it means, and how to fix it? All things considered, ideally you’ll have the option to illuminate it, however in case you’re not happy with investigating WordPress issues, or apprehensive you’ll destroy something, WP Fix It can help with this issue. https://wpfixit.com/product/wordpress-support/


What does this error mean?

On the off chance that you’ve at any point known about the Blue Screen of Death with Windows, well WordPress has a proportionate, which is known as the White Screen of Death. That appears to be frightening. The blunder “There has been a critical error on your website” is really a comparable adaptation of the White Screen of Death. After WordPress 5.3, this is generally observed rather than the previous White Screen of Death. Kindly note that despite the fact that it might be terrifying, your site isn’t lost. It very well may be fixed.


How to Fix the WordPress Error “There has been a critical error on your website” issue

A great deal of times, the straightforward issue is to rollback the site. To do that, you have to have a reinforcement of your site. Shockingly, not every person backs up their site, so in case you’re understanding this, and one of those individuals who don’t have a reinforcement accessible, at that point this investigating instructional exercise is for you.

So as to fix the issue, you need to discover where the issue turned out badly. You do this by investigating whether it was a subject or module strife.

Theme Conflict Troubleshoot

To perform this, you just activate a default theme, like Twenty Nineteen. Unfortunately, because your site is showing an error, you will need to perform the troubleshoot with either your web host’s file manager (like cPanel’s Filemanager), or use FTP or sFTP (it’s like secure version of FTP.) It’s important to note that in switching themes, you won’t lose your chosen theme’s settings. To do this, you rename your active theme’s folder by adding DISABLE or OFF to the end of the folder’s name. For example, if you’re using Twenty Eighteen and the folder is ‘twentyeighteen’, you would name it ‘twentyeighteenDISABLE’ or ‘twentyeighteenOLD’ . Go back to the front of your site and refresh.

The objective is to check whether the mistake leaves. In the event that it doesn’t, it is anything but a subject issue. Try to rename the organizer back to its unique name when you’re finished investigating.


Plugin Conflict Troubleshoot

If it’s not the theme, it might be a plugin issue. In a way, troubleshooting is similar. However, it’s much easier to rename the plugin folder to ‘pluginsOFF’. Visit the site, and log-in. This will turn off all of the plugins. Please note that it won’t remove the original settings of those plugins, as they will be there when you reactivate them later on.

Once the plugins are off, go back and rename the folder back to ‘plugins’. Go to your WordPress admin area and reactivate each, one-by-one, until you get the screen that says “There has been a critical error on your website”. The plugin that you just reactivated, is the problem.

(Change plugins folder name via cPanel)

(Change plugins folder name using FTP – Filezilla)

Once more, in case you’re not happy with doing any of these investigating steps, WP Fix It is here to help solve this issue. https://wpfixit.com/product/wordpress-support/

When you’ve discovered the issue, you probably need to rollback the subject or module that caused it. You can do this several different ways.

  1. Download the original plugin files directly from the WordPress plugin directory, and replace the plugin via Filemanager with your web host (or cPanel), or through FTP or sFTP.
  2. Use WP Rollback plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-rollback/ to roll the plugin back to the previous version.

If you use WP Rollback, it will give you several versions to choose from. It will tell you what version you have. Below, you can follow the images to get an idea of how to use WP Rollback.


Step 1: Choose the plugin to rollback. Click ‘Rollback’ if it is available in the plugins listed in your WordPress admin.

There has been a critical error on your website

Step 2: Choose the version you want to rollback to.

There has been a critical error on your website

Step 3: Read the warnings. It might be better to test, before rollback. Only rollback if you’re sure.

There has been a critical error on your website

You will want to hold off to update when the developer does another release of the plugin or theme.

Hopefully this article will help you through solving this issue with “There has been a critical error on your website”, but if you’re not computer savvy to troubleshoot, then no worries, we’re here to help at WP Fix It. https://wpfixit.com/product/wordpress-support/

When you’ve investigated the issue and everything is up and working on your WordPress site, true to form, you ought to consider utilizing a reinforcement tool like UpdraftPlus, and backup up your site.

The post How to Fix the WordPress Error “There has been a critical error on your website” appeared first on WP Fix It.

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Let’s kill the hourly rate: We are leaving money on the table

One of the hottest topics and hotly debated threads on r/ppc is about rates and what you should charge. What does an agency charge? What should I charge as a freelancer? How do you charge if you do work on Amazon versus Google or Facebook?

Different ways to charge clients

There are a lot of models for how you are going to charge a client. No one model is perfect and you have to do what is right for your business in the end.

Hourly

Bill for each hour of your time and track how many hours you worked that week. This is one of the most common ways we have seen freelancers charge for their time.

Pros

Work more hours and you know you are going to get paid more (all things being equal). Clients love to love the hourly rate because they are familiar with it from designers and other creative industries.

Cons

As you get better at a task and it takes you less time, you end up making less money even if you are getting better at your task. How does that make any sense? This is the biggest drawback to the hourly rate, in my opinion.

Percent of spend

Scale that spend up and bill each of your clients more money at the end of the month. This is the most common way we see agencies charge. It’s what clients expect to hear but increasingly clients do not want to pay this way as it can lead to abuse.

Pros

As clients trust you and they spend more money, you see your agency revenue increase in lockstep with that higher spend. Assuming that increase is leading to a profitable business, this can work out well for both sides.

Cons

Not every client loves this because it can be abused by some agencies to just spend money but not have it be profitable. Also, there are some clients who don’t think an agency should be paid $10,000/month, even if they manage a large ad spend budget that has a good ROAS. 

This can lead to “negotiation” on agency fees or firing the agency and taking it all in-house. The latter being from a lack of value for what agencies can do and thinking they are easily replaceable. You can not in-house an outside point of view for your business.

Monthly retainer

Charge a fixed or flat monthly fee for the work that was agreed upon in the contract and proposal.

Pros

It keeps billing simple and both sides know what to expect each month. It’s easier to sell it to clients versus other methods above. Clients are less likely to feel like they are getting ripped off.

Cons

Scope creep can increase the workload and yet, it can be harder to increase that monthly fee. If you don’t think about where you will be a year from now with that client, you could find yourself with an unprofitable client on your hands.

Performance-based

Not as widely used but an interesting model we have done with clients. You set a target based on top-line revenue you bring into the business. As you hit different tiers, you get paid on that tier level.

Pros

Clients love it because they feel the agency is putting skin in the game. If the agency is good at what they do and the client’s site is top-notch you can make a lot of money each month.

Cons

This depends on trust from both sides and a site that is ready to convert. If that site is not good, you can spend a lot of time going nowhere. Also, some clients may not pay the bonus even after the agency did an amazing job. I worked on an account in the UK where this happened.

Mixed Model

Do a combination of the above. Maybe you do a month strategy fee and then do 5% of ad spend each month. You could do a monthly retainer with a performance bonus basked in. There are a few ways you can mix this model up.

Pros

It gives you a base retainer for each client but gives you the upside if work increases and the client wants a deeper relationship. You can make more money to cover your costs.

Cons

A more complex pricing model that some clients might find more complicated. It can be harder to explain to some clients or turn them off because you still have a percentage of spend in there.

Kill that hourly rate

Once you start charging hourly, you often get into discussions about how long something took. 

This could be because the client was thinking it would take less time or they feel it should take less time because they used to do it themselves.

If you spend all of your time talking about hours and how long a task took on their invoice, the conversation shifts away from outcomes and towards labor.

This shift is about pressuring you to be faster at a task, where there might not always be a faster way to do it. Sometimes faster is not better if you don’t reach the same outcome.

Less time spent on a task means the client spends less money on marketing. So many view marketing as a cost center, when it’s an investment center. Based on my experience, the majority of clients who like hours are just trying to find the cheapest person to do the task.

Hiring agency A at $50/hour is going to be the same as hiring agency B at $100 or $150/hour. We all know this is not the case.

If agency B comes down in price, then this tells the client that this set of work is worth that much. Even if it’s going to cost you a lot more to deliver on the work. We should stop selling hours and starting selling outcomes.

No one right way future

As much as I believe there is no right answer to what we should charge as an industry, I also believe that we should stop underselling ourselves and leaving money on the table. The biggest way we leave money on the table is by competing on price.

Tell me if you heard this one before: you are talking to an awesome client and the brand is one you want to work with. They love you and you love them…you got that first date vibe going on. They ask about your pricing for the project and you tell them your fee structure.

There is this pause and you just wait for them to respond. What has only been 30 seconds feels like minutes. The client then tells you some other agency can do the work for X or your hourly rate of $150/hour is too high because they talked to someone who can do it for $100 cheaper.

Not valuing the work can come from not understanding the task and what it takes to deliver. What is worse is that the client does not value the task and just wants someone, anyone…the cheapest agency to do the work. Large brands have been known to be just as bad at this as SMBs.

What do you do? Some agencies will come down in price and not change the scope of work. Other agencies will come down in price but will ask for a change in scope of work. Other agencies will just say they don’t compete on price and this is what it costs to do the work right the first time.

Working with a client needs to be a partnership. Both sides need to understand that each other’s success creates a rising tide which lifts all boats. Creating a win-win partnership is the only way that both sides will succeed and will be in business a year from now. Remember, an agency is a business and needs to make a profit. Killing the hourly rate can help us get there as an industry.

Duane Brown will be participating in a roundtable discussion about profitable pricing strategies at SMX East on Nov. 12.

The post Let’s kill the hourly rate: We are leaving money on the table appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Five sure-fire strategies to build inbound links

Google’s Matt Cutts declared guest blogging (and other tactics) as a way of generating SEO inbound links as a “spammy practice” that was dead and gone, way back in 2014. It was a statement that generated plenty of response, both defending and arguing against Cutts’ assessment of the practice.

Five years later, guest blogging — or guest posting if you prefer — hasn’t gone the way of the dodo.

Now as far as flooding your site with poor content that relies on tricking people with the anchor text, yes, those days are mostly behind us. Search engine algorithms have really wised up in recent years and the value of the inbound link hasn’t gone away. It’s only changed.

Before starting your link-building journey, it’s important to understand the primary objectives:

Value and quality take top priority

A guest post can be a great way to bring in new traffic and boost your SEO, but there’s a catch. It has to contain relative information that offers something of value to the audience. The choices on the internet are endless and in an age where everyone knows how to explore the internet, a clickbait guest blogging strategy doesn’t hold up for long.

As for what goes into that content, longer content tends to do better than the shorter stuff. This isn’t to say that an effective guest post needs to be 4,000 words. You don’t necessarily want to test the limits of your audience’s attention span, but the 125-word blurb isn’t likely to result in a lot of traffic.

The main focus is to provide value to the readers with the information and give them a reason to finish and share the content. Generally, the most successful guest posts tend to fall in the sweet spot of 300 to 1,600 words.

Grammar and voice of the content are also of importance. If you were writing a guest post for a medical journal, you would probably use a less conversational style than if you’re writing for “Parents Magazine”

Don’t go crazy with the keyword stuffing

Just because you have access to all the words, that doesn’t mean you need to use all the words. Throwing as many keywords into your post and finding a way to cram them into every sentence simply isn’t going to do much good in the long run. Google’s algorithms are going to pick up on this and if you really overdo it, the article could get marked as spam. Then all that hard work was for nothing.

It goes back to what we touched on earlier about adding value to the audience. Yes, keywords matter, but keyword stuffing is a frowned upon blackhat technique that works against your link goals. 

So how do you know when your content is in danger of falling under the keyword stuffing label? Say you’re working on a post and want to rank for “best gardening hose” and wrote something like this:

“If you’re looking for the best gardening hose the Acme Aqua 2000 is the best gardening hose on the market today and will meet all your needs. More people think it’s the best gardening hose than all the others and tell their friends that it’s the best gardening hose on the market today.”

Yikes! Not only will Google spot this as spam but your savvy readers will too. If you’re still unsure about how to recognize if you’re guilty of keyword stuffing, you may want to brush up on why it’s bad for SEO.

Target websites with a higher domain than yours

Just like we mentioned earlier in regards to content, quality counts as well when building in those links. The internet is a battlefield and websites are constantly vying for power in the form of higher search rankings. By guest posting for websites with higher domain authority, you’ll be giving yourself a leg up and getting the most value out of those blogging efforts — from an SEO perspective, of course.

Google cares not just about the number of links, but the quality of those backlinks. As to what makes a high-quality link in 2019, there are a few must-haves.

Consistent traffic flow is important because it shows that it’s active. Authority is also of importance and by that, we mean domain authority. Websites with a low domain authority as ranked by Moz, tend to have a low ranking of 0-20. They may be new or simply not very active. Whereas a website with a domain authority ranking of 60+ is going to be a well-established one that has a steady flow of traffic and is regarded for high-quality content.

All links are not created equal, so think critically about who you want to link to and who you want linking to you. Now that we understand this, it’s time to start on with link-building:

Five sure-fire strategies to build inbound links

So how to go about guest blogging with a strategy that actually works for you rather than throwing chance to the wind? Obviously, you need to find some places that would welcome a contribution to your knowledge.

1. Target keyword phrases

A Google search for a keyword phrase as simple as “write for us” or “become a contributor” is one way to go about it, but that approach can be a little tedious. A great way to hone in on potential places for guest posts is to check out relevant industry sites and competitor sites. Looking at where their inbound links are coming from can provide a valuable springboard to start with.

2. Use guest blogging platforms

If writing isn’t your forte or you don’t have the time, you can still use guest blogging as a viable means of high-authority link building. There are multiple outlets such as DFY Links that offer a variety of guest blogging campaigns with high-quality backlinks.

3. Build an authority content piece

Pitching a blogger for a backlink is a lot easier when it’s to a long-form resource page. Rather than just pitching a topical article to a blogger, focus on selling your existing authority content. Many bloggers have a “resource” section and are looking to populate it with the “right” content.

4. Provide a testimonial

Testimonial link building is a win-win scenario. On the one hand, this is a perfect way for them to build customer trust. Testimonials have an associated level of credibility that garners customer trust. Additionally, these mentions also include a rare backlink of high value that will pay dividends in your SEO strategy for years to come. Finally, some clients also find that these specific backlinks provide a steady stream of click-through traffic which augments their current SEO and paid ad efforts.

5. Using SERPs to find sites that accept guest posts

The internet is replete with a multitude of link building opportunities. Forums, blogs and millions of websites all host backlinks but one must be judicious in selecting which avenue to explore. After generating your list of potential opportunities, it’s time to start filtering by: 

  • Domain Authority 
  • Domain Rating 
  • Referring Domains
  • Spam Score (Moz)

By targeting sites of high domain authority and ones with low spam scores, you can develop a sound SEO strategy. Strong SEO strategies tend to remain relatively unaffected by search engine algorithm changes that may arise in the future.

A few search operations that I typically use

  • [target keyword] + “Become a Contributor”
  • [target keyword] + “Become a Guest Blogger”
  • [target keyword] + “Contribute”
  • [target keyword] + “Submit a Guest Post”
  • [target keyword] + inurl:guest-posts
  • [target keyword] + inurl:write-for-us

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, you should consider every link, both inbound and outbound as a potential place to establish a connection when building an effective guest posting SEO strategy.

The SEO shortcuts of just a few years ago are becoming a thing of the past. Trust and authority are more valued by today’s search engine algorithms. Thankfully, guest posting as an effective strategy for link building is still alive and well in 2019 and the years to come. It’s all about how one goes about it that determines its effectiveness. 

The post Five sure-fire strategies to build inbound links appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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