All posts in Content

Measurement

Content marketing moves away from a hard sell and focuses on the story. Instead of badgering customers to buy, the goal is to provide them information, to address their concerns, to answer their questions, to position yourself as the trusted, credible authority. (And then, sell them some stuff. Well, business is business!.) Establishing a relationship is critical: Are you connecting with the audience? Are they connecting with you? Paying attention to engagement metrics is one of the most important steps in effective content marketing.

Some key metrics to look at:

  • Start with the usual suspects. How many retweets, likes,+1s, pins, etc.? What type of comments are people leaving? Reviews, ratings? Start here, but don’t end here!
  • Unique visitors. How many distinct visitors came to your site? Give it parameters so you can track and compare more easily. For instance, how many unique visitors did you get this week vs. last week? This month vs. last month? This quarter and year vs. last quarter and year? Now, remember, someone could visit your site 1000 times in a day, but he or she is just one unique visitor. So this metric tells you a part of the story.
  • Page views. This tells you another part. If a visitor clicks through to different pages, each page loaded is a page view. This is an important number to look at, particularly if you do paid ads. Again, put parameters around it to track and compare, and use this to determine which pages are getting the click-throughs.
  • Average stay. How long are people camping out on your site? Are they bouncing from the landing page, or are they taking the time to get to know you? This is where good content marketing shines: the goal is to get people interested and to encourage them to dig deeper into your content and website. This also makes the common problem of developing enough solid content more pressing! You’ve got to give them something to dig into! (But that’s a story for another day!)
  • Bounce rate. High=bad. Low=good.
  • Return visits. High=good!
  • Conversions. Use a CRM to track visitors and their progress through the sales funnel. Some good options include SugarCRM, Salesforce, or InfusionSoft.

Connect with your audience with great content, and then make looking at these reports a regular part of your strategy.

BullseyeContent marketing. There are few terms more buzzy this year than this. But according to the Content Marketing Institute, while 90 percent of B2C marketers are using content marketing, 52 percent do not have a strategy. It’s like throwing darts at a board blindfolded: success is a complete accident, and it is not repeatable. A good content strategy not only opens your eyes, it improves your aim. Where do you start?

At the beginning. The excitement of starting a new initiative, of creating fresh, fun content needs to be tempered. Not a lot – keep most of it, but slow down. You need to focus on creating fresh, fun content that helps you meet your goals and objectives. To do that, you have to go through a discovery phase.

  • Take some time to assess your brand’s position. What makes you unique? What do you have to offer your visitors? What are your strengths? Where do you fit in within your industry? Evaluating this will help you create a content strategy that bolsters strengths, lifts up weaknesses, and hits your audience where it counts.
  • Develop user personas.  These are fictional representations of different types of audience members. What types of people use your service, visit your site, buy your products? Flesh them out into “real” people, and then ask, “What objections might they have? What are their pain points? What do they care about?”
  • Do an inventory of your current content. What do you offer your visitors now? Do you have a deep bank? Is content categorised and relevant to your brand? Or is it a hodge-podge?
  • Review analytics for your site(s). Which elements grab people? Which deter people? Which content are they drawn to?
  • Using the information from your user personas and analytics, brainstorm keywords and topics. Set up Google Alerts for these topics to stay on top of the news affecting your business, industry, and audience.
  • Create a content calendar. This will help you plan content that is relevant, allow for flexibility so you can respond to news, and give you a backup in case the creativity well runs dry and you have no idea what new content you can develop.

It seems like a lot of work! But whether you want to do content marketing or you already are, you need a strategy that enables you to use it effectively. This will keep you from taking wrong turns and keep you on the right track for success.

BlogIn the search and content marketing worlds, you have to stay flexible – otherwise you’re apt to get whiplash from all the changes! Nothing is permanent, and as we’ve seen with the decreased emphasis on specific keywords and the shifting status of links, today’s tried and true techniques may be tomorrow’s black hat. Guest blogging is the latest tactic to come under question. So, what’s the answer? Yes, no? Maybe.

 

 

Why Not?

Because Matt Cutts said so! In a recent blog post:

Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.

And our favorite line, “Stick a fork in it, guest blogging is done.” Cutts takes issue with unscrupulous use of guest blogging and shams set up to “automate” guest blogs or buy and sell links.

Done as in “Done”?

Guest blogging as a content strategy is not horrible practice – but with a big caveat. It has to be genuine, good, solid content. Say you are a management consultant and you help clients improve their leadership abilities. You work with a senior manager at a real, reputable company and she wants to write a post on how to improve communication skills. Or, perhaps she has done such a tremendous job improving her own skills in this area that you ask her to share her thoughts or tips with your readers.

Here’s why this guest post is different and why it’s not “done”:

  • No one’s getting paid, no one’s outsourcing guest posts, no one’s buying links. It is, as they say, on the up and up.
  • It’s content that your audience could learn from and use in their lives. The point of good content!
  • You know this person, and you can vouch for the authenticity of the post as well as its veracity.
  • It’s one post. You have (or should have!) lots of other great content on your site.
  •  You don’t spin this article or post it on more than one site.
  • You use other reputable SEO and content management techniques to bring traffic to your site. You don’t depend on guest blogging to generate all your link activity.

This type of guest post can help add value to your site. It’s genuine content, and that’s what Google – and more importantly, your audience – wants to see. If it’s not real, don’t do it. It’s a good SEO rule to live by.

Poor EyesightSEO is alive and well, but what about the traditional mainstay of search engine optimisation: the keyword? Is focusing on keyword strategy worth your time and resources, or is this still a vital part of your SEO approach?

First, why do many believe that keywords are endangered species that are on fast-track for extinction? A few reasons:

  • The 2013 Hummingbird update reflects Google’s progress towards semantic search. Instead of focusing on keywords, the search engine wants to focus on the meaning behind searchers’ queries.
  • Google moved all of its search results to https:, or secure sites. This blocks SEOs and webmasters from accessing rich keyword data from organic searches.

Despite this, one fundamental truth remains: keywords organize the Internet. According to some experts, the internet contains over 1.2 zettabytes of information – or 1.3 trillion gigabytes. With the sheer volume of information, there has to be a way to categorize it and return relevant search results.

Keywords serve this important purpose, and despite how “intuitive” search becomes as Google seeks to infer meaning we still have to use them. For instance, if we entered “Why are aardvarks purple?” Google knows we need information on purple aardvarks. We’re not going to get results on orange cats, yellow panda bears, or 1949 Fords.

So, no, keywords are not dead; in fact, they’re an integral part of ensuring your websites are visible and that Google can serve them to searchers. The key to keywords is natural and relevant. Keyword stuffing has long worn a grey or black hat, so that’s not a change. Instead of worrying about ranking for a particular keyword, the focus should be on providing clear, informational, trustworthy answers to the most common questions about your business, your industry, your particular niche.

Google does want to figure out the intent of a search – but they still need to find results with relevant content, and they still use keywords in this effort.

Some tips for optimal use of keywords:

  • Use keywords naturally and don’t be afraid to use synonyms. Google will recognize them, and readers will not get a spam vibe from your site because you’ve used the phrase “best gloves in the UK” 14 times on a single page.
  • Cover a single topic per page. Target the users’ intent: for instance, do they want to learn how to properly knot a tie? Dedicate a page to this helpful topic.
  • Don’t overdo it. One page is enough to help people learn to put on a tie. You don’t need another page with a video, another with tie-knotting FAQs, and yet another with famous celebrity tie-wearers. One thought, one page.
  • After you publish content, do a search of Google, Bing, and Yahoo to see what types of variations come up. You can use this information to create more specific keywords that ensure people looking for the information you have can find you.

Natural, relevant keywords that target your audiences’ intents can help you rank more highly – and more importantly, reach the people you need.

Woman Using ComputerContent is king. In 2014, it’s time to amend this famous and oft-repeated mandate. How about “shareable content is king”? What good is content if it is static, if it stays in its kingdom on a lonely website? We have the potential to put our content in front of the eyes of a much broader audience. Infographics are an ideal tool: they are visually appealing, immediately engaging, short and concise, and easy to share not only on social platforms but on other websites. Make sharing easy by embedding a codes into your infographics. Here’s the why and how.

The Why:

Embed codes:

  • Make it easy to share your infographic.
  • Provide links back to your website.
  • Are, thanks to magic and modern technology, simple to generate.

The How:

When you have an infographic, it will typically be too large to fit within your webpage, so you have to resize it. The smaller version is a preview, if you will, for viewers. Create a full res version and provide a link for viewers to click on so they can view the image in all its glory. That way, they don’t have to pull out the magnifying glass to read it. A helpful tip: make sure the link opens in a new window so their experience on your site is not interrupted.

There are two ways to generate the embed codes. One is to simply use a code generator. If you run a WordPress site, for instance, you can install an embed code generator and, within a few clicks, you have your code. One such plugin is the aptly named “Embed Code Generator.”  There are other tools, as well, for non-WordPress sites that you can find online. Another option is to take a little time and write the code yourself.

Include:

  • Source URL (http://seoisawesome.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/content-infographic)
  • Image URL: (http://seoisawesome.uk/how-to-create-shareable-content-with-infographics-infographics/)
  • Title: (5 Tips for Sharing Infographics)
  • Image Alt: (embed codes infographics)
  • Courtesy of Site Name: (SEOisAwesome)
  • Courtesy of Site URL: (http://seoisawesome.com)

Here’s a sample code:

<div sytle=”clear: both”><a href=http://seoisawesome.uk/how-to-create-shareable-content-with-infographics-infographics/><img align=”center” src=http://seoisawesome.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/content-infographic-small.jpg title=5 Tips for Sharing Infographics” alt=”embed codes infographics” border “0” /></a></div><br/><div>Courtesy of <a href=www.seoisawesome.uk>SEOisAwesome.uk</a></div>

There are other elements you can include (such as image width and height), but this is the basic idea.

Most infographics on the web do not employ an embed code, and this is a missed opportunity. By embedding this code, you are helping others share your content and create rich backlinks to your website. There’s no excuse not to take this easy step- especially with the help of code generators! You’ve put in the work to create a great infographic – why not ensure as many people as possible experience it?

Optimising your landing pages is an absolute must. They’re the key to higher conversion rates, and they may be the key to your entire SEO programme. Not sure even where to begin, though? These tips can help.

  • Dump the clutter. People can’t focus on your message if you have too much on the page. Cluttered landing pages only detract from your overall point, and studies have suggested that the more clutter you have on the landing page, the more likely people are to get confused and click away. Get rid of anything visitors don’t actually need to look at. Not only will it help them get the message, but it may also help you to distill your efforts on the page.
  • Offer consistency. Try to stay with your message and image from start to finish for customers. It helps build your brand and customer trust. From the initial ad to the landing page to the response form, make certain that you’re sending the same message, using the same images, and generally offering the same feel for those potential customers. It will help customers to believe in your brand more than any other out there.
  • Create meaningful headlines. Headlines draw attention, and ensuring that you have solid ones on your site is going to help push your message forward. It’s one of the first things site visitors look at, so spend some time crafting yours. You shouldn’t have a headline just for the sake of having one, though. Make certain that it accomplishes something.
  • Get to the point. Site visitors hate boredom. If you overwhelm them with too much text, useless headlines, or babble, they’re not going to stick with you for long, so say what you need to, and get them to convert.

Landing page optimisation is essential to your online marketing success. If you’re not sure what’s going wrong, take the time to consult with a professional SEO company. They can do a quick analysis and offer you suggestions than only an outside eye can provide.

Attracting Guest Posters

All of the infinitely more successful sites have them. They’re guest bloggers, and if  you haven’t considered adding a few guest posts to your site, it may be time to do just that. They can do wonders for your ranking, not to mention your time management skills, as just imagine what you could do with the extra time if you had just one guest post per week! How do you actually get these people who want to work for free to your site? Here’s a quick tutorial that may help.

  1. Visibility Matters. If you’re going to get people to post to your site, you need to make certain there’s an easy way for them to do it. Add a tab, a link at the bottom, or even an ad to the side just to let them know that you’re willing to accept guest posts.
  2. SEO Can Help. You optimise your site for your keywords, why not optimise it for something like “guest posts” as well. Some people search for opportunities like that on a regular basis, so adding it to your site’s keywords could only help your efforts.
  3. Ask and Ye Shall Receive. You likely follow several other blogs on your own, and if they work well with your site, you may want to consider asking those bloggers to post to your site. You may also get turned down, but it never hurts to ask.

As you start thinking about guest posters, there are two things you want to remember. First, the better your site is, the more likely you are to get great authors who want to post to your site. Second, if you start asking for guest bloggers, there’s a chance you could get overwhelmed quickly, so you may want to put some editorial guidelines in place before you ever begin your search.

Link building is important. Content marketing is important. In a world where all things are equal, which essential SEO task should get your attention?

Who Cares About Link Building?

Link building is still an essential part of any good optimisation programme. It helps to demonstrate to search engines your authority in a subject matter. After all, if everyone seems to like you enough to link back to your site, then it’s a good bet that you should be popular enough to rank well for a given set of keywords. Link building takes time. It’s a good demonstrator of your ability to work with other sites and build online relationships. It’s also one of the older ways to optimise your site.

Content, Content, Content

If you read any search engine news at all, you know that content has become increasingly important over the past several years. Nothing is more preached these days than the importance of solid content. It’s good for your rankings. It’s good for your customers. It’s even good for you because it directly demonstrates your ability to know your customers, know what they want, and offer them a bit of virtual value. Whether you’re getting it out there on your blog, on your site, or through your social media channels, it’s the one way you have to directly interface with your customers day after day, and that alone makes it important, not to mention the rankings boost it will offer you these days.

So, which of the two is more valuable? The bottom line here is that both of these tasks are important. There may be times when link building seems to be more important to your strategy than content marketing. The reverse might be true a week, a month, or even a year later. Look carefully at your analytical data, and go where the trends, and your company goals, take you.

Content is supposed to be king, right? Google values fresh content more than almost anything else these days, and if you’re serious about marketing, that could mean spending all of your time developing ever fresher content, hoping to please the Google giant into making you number one. How can you achieve your goals without completely abandoning your life?

  1. Repurpose old content. Your old stuff has a shelf life, but it may still be relevant. If there’s a way to update posts, go ahead and do so to keep your clients, and the search engines, happy.
  2. Blog. A lot. Blogs are a great way to keep the content flowing to the search engines, and customers love them. The key here, though, is to make sure you’re blogging about material related to your business. It can be tempting to blog about your kids, your weekend, or something unrelated, but the only posts that will really help your rankings have to be somewhat industry related.
  3. Consider a content firm. You barely have time to run your own business, right? Why not outsource your content work to a solid copywriting company and put that part of your business on autopilot? You may already work with a company that handles content, so take a look around, and find someone to tackle this mundane task for you.

More than anything else, remember that you shouldn’t just be producing content for the sake of content. A good content strategy can go a long way toward giving your customers what they actually want to see, which may make Google happier than anything else possibly could.

As you think about optimisation, the chances are good that you’re thinking first about those landing pages that are supposed to be converting visitors into customers. How do yours rank? Many of the worst landing pages have a few things in common.

The worst landing pages have . . .

  • Poor, ineffective, or non-existent headlines: The old adage that you have just a few seconds to capture a potential customer’s attention still holds true. If your headline doesn’t do it, or if you don’t have any headlines, you have a problem. A better headline would grab them instantly and offer a forceful shove into the copy below, which is exactly what you want. If you’re not sure how to craft a proper headline, do a bit of research or hire an effective web copywriter.
  • Unrelated images: Pictures of puppies, kittens, and children are cute, but if they don’t have anything to do with your products or services, you don’t need them on site. Find the best possible images you can to include on your landing pages, even if it means buying better stock photography or hiring a professional photographer to tackle the task for you.
  • Long copy: It’s not hard to make people very, very, very tired of reading about your product quite quickly. In fact, after just a few words, they’re likely to be sick of reading what you have to say. Short, concise copy does it for landing pages. Save the lengthy verbiage for your product pages.
  • Poor lead generation forms: You want them to come to you, to fill out that form, to click submit, so make certain those forms work well. You not only need to test them before you actually put them on the page, but you also need to make certain that they’re the perfect length. Too long and people will get bored. Too short and you may not capture the information necessary to get that lead.

Your potential customers aren’t going to overlook the flaws in your landing pages. Neither are the search engines. Before you do any other optimisation work, focus on those landing pages!

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