Identifying and Creating Content That Works

Identifying and Creating Content That Works

It is almost impossible to find someone working in digital marketing, who wouldn’t agree with the statement that ‘effective content identification and creation is one of the most important elements of digital success’. Yet comparatively few companies are creating content that really works, and this article will help fix that.

Finding the best content ideas

Content ideation can be as simple as answering questions that front line staff frequently redress or comparing one product or service to another, but it is important to substantiate gut feel with data-driven insight and expertise, and give your content a better chance of delivering returns from your investment (whether the investment is time or monetary).

To prioritise the right kind of content and turn a good idea into a functional and effective content output (regardless of the medium), you need to understand your audience, be aware of the external environment, and maximise all of the relevant data.

Content planning

Some of the most useful ways for identifying new content ideas include:

  1. Google Search Console (GSC) query data: Each month take a look at the latest search query data. See what your audience needs are, how they are searching, what questions they have, and how much of these requirements are catered for with your website.
  2. Competitor analysis: Your competitors will also be investing in content creation, marketing insights, data platforms and digital expertise, so take a moment to leverage some of their insight and content outputs to fill gaps in your own marketing calendar. Always look to create content that is the best example available, don’t scrape or create similar content items to your competition, always strive to be the best.
  3. Repurposing existing content: Often this includes adding to existing content based on fresh data, new consumer insight, or simply adding and expanding value to what’s already in place. If your site is text heavy consider alternative content types, as these often have distinct and disparate audiences ready to get your brand in front of.
  4. Google Answers & Knowledge panel: Creating content to fulfil new Google opportunity can be a fantastic means to keep your content relevant and reflective of your audience needs (Google Answers is a great, immediate insight into this area), as well as a means to drive new visibility and traffic to your website via search engine updates.
  5. Answerthepublic.com: For early stages of content ideas, this site is a great help. Simply type in a keyword, topic area, or overview term, and answerthepublic.com will provide hundreds of content suggestions in a matter of seconds. The refinement and application of these ideas is important, as this will turn a common set of content concepts into something truly valuable and unique to your target demographic.

There are a number of readily available content tools which can help in the ideation, measurement, and initial creation of content, but before looking at content aids, you need to consider the primary requirement for content and ensure your content process includes a planning phase.

Planning your content

Often content processes go from ideation to creation with limited, if any, actual planning phase involved. The planning stages of content creation do not need to be exhaustive, but they should include; a brief, the purpose of the content, the intended outcome from the content, deadlines, resource/expertise/budget needed, target audience (who the content is for), as well as means to measure the effectiveness of the content, and a date to revisit and refine it.

planning content

Content planning doesn’t need to be more that a whiteboard with notes, a few post-it-notes on a desk, or an Excel file/Google doc accessible to all required stakeholders in the project. The approach you use, the technology and tools will differ, but the important aspect of this is ensuring planning happens and that it is effective for your needs.

Creating content that works

Creating content is easy. Creating content that works is much more challenging, but it is not impossible. Below are a few of my top tips for creating effective content.

Data fed and expertise led. Data needs to be placed at the centre of content creation. It is the data-driven insights that enable experts to relate to their target audience, understand their wants and needs, and deliver content that is a close match to what their website visitors are looking for. From closely matching search behaviour and intent to pitching content that engages the audience, data is the core factor.

The following model from the company I work for, Vertical Leap created the ‘radiant model’ (below) which explains this concept in the context of informing digital content decision making.

Vertical Leap data driven content

Measure and refine. Any new content being added to a website needs to be considered as one stage of the process and not the end result. Only once you create content can you start to gather key performance indicator success, and targeted user data to use for incrementally improving and refining the content to make it work harder, smarter, and perform to a more optimum level. It is easy to add content to a site and leave it to perform (or not), however, setting a date to compare outcomes to projected/desired gains, and analyse fresh data sets for next stages of content updates are imperative for getting the most out of your content.

It is easy to add content to a website and leave it to perform (or not), however, setting a date to compare outcomes to projected/desired gains, and analyse fresh data sets for next stages of content updates are imperative for getting the most out of your content over the longer term.

Effective content is like a bicycle; it can maintain some level of momentum after initial interaction without ongoing input and energy, but the momentum will waver fairly quickly and it will stop altogether without continued input and intervention. The same is the case with content.

Repeat success. Every website and audience are unique, and within your data (take a look at Google Analytics for post-click data and Google Search Console for pre-click data) are frameworks for creating effective content that you are yet to identify and utilise.

As a simple step, consider your top impressions, traffic and ROI landing pages. Group top performing content into logical themes/types. Look at the content elements that are consistently present within these content top performers, and take a note of them. Use this information to create a framework (likely several loose template frameworks) that can be emulated and repeated for wider content success. Remember to review and refine these frameworks based on new data collected, as you will not want these to restrict your content success, but support it with an approach you know has worked historically.

Getting started

First – Take a look at the suggested ways to find content ideas that work, use your own data and competitor insight to create content that has a greater chance of delivering results.

Second – Put together a content plan, ensure this is shared and communicated with all of the key resource and stakeholders for your content projects.

Next – Ensure that the content you deliver is fed by data-driven insights, and once the content goes live, measure and refine the content to keep momentum going and to improve the content value based on newly accessible and changing information.

[Image Credits: Images included have been sourced from Pexels – “All photos on Pexels are free for any personal and commercial purpose.” See http://ift.tt/1Fhg34D.]

Post from Lee Wilson

via State of Search Read More…

44 Inspiring WordPress Tutorials: Our Greatest Hits

44 Inspiring WordPress Tutorials: Our Greatest Hits
Whether you’re just getting started with WordPress and need to learn the basics or you’ve been developing websites for years, we’ve got just the right article to help you out. Since 2008, we’ve published more than 4,800 WordPress articles on the WPMU DEV Blog, amassing a truckload of articles on everything from themes and plugins […]

via The WordPress Experts – WPMU.org Read More…

Give What Grows — How to Overcome Burnout (FS200)

Give What Grows — How to Overcome Burnout (FS200)

Give What Grows — How to Overcome Burnout (FS200)

“Though usually regarded as the result of trying to give too much, burnout in my experience results from trying to give what I do not possess.”

That is a quote from Parker Palmer. Parker Palmer is awesome. I’ll prove it.

And you are awesome too.

But you’re in danger of burnout.

If you want to create something interesting… you’re up against burnout.

If you want to create something important… you’re up against burnout.

If you want to create something you care about… burnout.

On the show today we hear from a Fizzle member who is literally burnt out. We talk about why burnout happens and how you can overcome it before it makes you give up.

And if you’re the reading-only type, there’s a whole article below. But, fyi, you’ll be missing out on the awesome stories in this podcast.

Thank you for listening and please, enjoy the show!

It’s better to listen on the go!    Subscribe on iTunes 

Subscribe (how to)  
iTunes  
Overcast  
Pocket Casts  
Stitcher  
Soundcloud  
RSS  

“Here’s how to overcome burnout: give what grows #givewhatgrows”


Twenty “Ought” Shotgun

Here’s one way burnout works: “Ought.”

  • You ought to get good grades.
  • You ought to go to a good school.
  • You ought to get a good job.
  • You ought to apply yourself.
  • You ought to keep moving forward.

Or if we wanted to make it more relevant to indie entrepreneurs like you:

Now, those are real “oughts” — if you want to be in business in the modern world you really ought to do these things.

And yet these “oughts” can lead you down a very dark road.

… a road where you dread waking up in the morning.

… a road where you take on more uppers like caffeine just to cope.

… a road where you lose inspiration, interest and intuition.

… a road where you have literal health disorders. (Our very own Corbett Barr talks about this in the podcast episode in this post.)

… a road that leads you to an empty-handed and empty-chested place, mumbling a little too loudly to yourself: am I doing the right thing?

(Also in the podcast episode on this page is Fizzler Kevin Johns telling a heavy story about asking that very same question.)

Am I doing the right thing?

Parker Palmer calls these “oughts” a form of “high artificial ethics.”

You’re one of the good guys. You should do the things the good guys do. You should wake up early, you should grow an email list, you should…, you should…, you should…

This is your “high artificial ethics.” And these high artificial ethics get you to do something very hurtful.

Your high artificial ethics lead you to “violate your own nature in the name of nobility.”

That’s another Parker Palmer quote. Told you this guy was awesome.

Violate. Your. Own. Nature. Think about that for a second. Heavy wording, but it’s right on the money.

When you violate your own nature you burn out.

But it is possible (probably?) for us to not be aware when we “violate our own nature.” The sly, slippery truth here is that most of us violate our own nature in the name of nobility.


“Turns out, avoiding burnout is deliciously simple: don’t violate your own nature.”


Give. What. Grows.

Turns out, avoiding burnout is deliciously simple: don’t violate your own nature.

Simple ain’t easy, tho.

What do you need to not violate your own nature?

  • you need to know who you are
  • you need to know what you’re about
  • you need to know what turns you on
  • you need to know what makes you tick
  • you need to know what energizes you
  • you need to know what you need
  • in a word, you need to know your own nature.

Parker Palmer — again, this guy is SO awesome — talks about how instead of doing what we ought to be doing in the world we need to turn towards this:

“… an ethic that grew up from my natural giftedness and my place in the ecosystem of my own life, where I could give what grew in me. When you give what grows then that crop replenishes itself, you don’t end up in that depletion of having too little to live on psychologically, spiritually, etc.”

There are things in you that naturally grow. Think of it like a crop of some kind. You planted wheat because wheat sells well. “I ought to plant some wheat,” you think to yourself. But what really grows well in you is…

… I don’t know, squash or something. I’m not a farmer.

But you get the metaphor! If you’re feeling burnt out right now this metaphor should be grabbing you by the collar and shaking you around… in a “not violating your own nature” kind of way.

If you continue to give what does not naturally grow, you will burn out. That’s what burnout is, when you give what you do not possess.

It’s not pushing too hard…

It’s not giving too much…

It’s giving what you don’t possess.

Instead, those of you who want to pursue abundant, creative, entrepreneurial life… you must give what grows.

Give. What. Grows.

Take This

Here, take this. Put out your hands I’m going to give you something.

Ready?

Here.

It’s your responsibility.

This is your responsibility, to give what grows. It is no one else’s but yours. Your mother can’t do this for you. Neither can we at Fizzle. This is yours now.

And you can do this. If there’s ANYTHING you’re amazing at, it’s giving what grows naturally inside you.

Now, I know this means you probably have some work to figure out exactly what it is that grows in you. Which means you really need the entrepreneurial journaling course coming out in the Fizzle course library soon… because, yea, “know thyself” is still the operating imperative if you want to have the life YOU want.

But you got this. It’s yours alone now. And you don’t have to be alone with it. Inside of Fizzle, or in your family, or in a mastermind group, you can include others in your new mantra: give what grows.

And you can remind yourself every morning: today I am giving what grows.

And you can ask your spouse or your pupper: will you remind me to give what grows? Because I have too much wheat or something.

You get the metaphor!

Or you could share it on social networks with #givewhatgrows. (Note: this won’t help your heart much, but it might help others find this article. If it’s helped you, it’ll help others.)

Thanks for reading. Give what grows. All of us at Fizzle will be working to do the same.

“#GiveWhatGrows”

via Think Traffic Read More…

Introducing the Mobile-Friendly Test API

Introducing the Mobile-Friendly Test API

With so many users on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly web is important to us all. The Mobile-Friendly Test is a great way to check individual pages manually. We’re happy to announce that this test is now available via API as well.

The Mobile-Friendly Test API lets you test URLs using automated tools. For example, you could use it to monitor important pages in your website in order to prevent accidental regressions in templates that you use. The API method runs all tests, and returns the same information – including a list of the blocked URLs – as the manual test. The documentation includes simple samples to help get you started quickly.

We hope this API makes it easier to check your pages for mobile-friendliness and to get any such issues resolved faster. We’d love to hear how you use the API — leave us a comment here, and feel free to link to any code or implementation that you’ve set up! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forum.

Posted by John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google Switzerland

via Google Webmaster Central Blog Read More…

Introducing the Mobile-Friendly Test API

Introducing the Mobile-Friendly Test API

With so many users on mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly web is important to us all. The Mobile-Friendly Test is a great way to check individual pages manually. We’re happy to announce that this test is now available via API as well.

The Mobile-Friendly Test API lets you test URLs using automated tools. For example, you could use it to monitor important pages in your website in order to prevent accidental regressions in templates that you use. The API method runs all tests, and returns the same information – including a list of the blocked URLs – as the manual test. The documentation includes simple samples to help get you started quickly.

We hope this API makes it easier to check your pages for mobile-friendliness and to get any such issues resolved faster. We’d love to hear how you use the API — leave us a comment here, and feel free to link to any code or implementation that you’ve set up! As always, if you have any questions, feel free to drop by our webmaster help forum.

Posted by John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google Switzerland

via Google Webmaster Central Blog Read More…

349 – How to integrate old-school marketing with your online efforts.

349 – How to integrate old-school marketing with your online efforts.

Old school marketing is often neglected these days at the expense of ensuring a business’s online footprint is humming. Well, it doesn’t have to be one or the other … both should and can work in harmony.

Previous guest Carmen Sognonvi is the owner and General Manager of Urban Martial Arts in Brooklyn. In just four years she tripled the number of students enrolled and she did it by focusing on old school, traditional marketing tactics and complemented them with highly effective online efforts.


When old school marketing compliments your online marketing efforts with @carmensognonvi
Click To Tweet


Urban Martial Arts have spent some serious time and money on their brand to make them appear bigger and better than their budget should allow. They’re often asked where their headquarters are or if it’s part of a chain. Since the beginning they have focused on bringing the friendliness of a Ma and Pa shop (which they are) and the professionalism of a fortune 500.

Carmen’s marketing prowess doesn’t stop with the old-school traditional stuff though. Urban Martial Arts have got some pretty sophisticated online marketing funnels set up to support their offline efforts. Plus they are doing some really cool video marketing. Check out this 9 minute, story driven piece of content that they have on their about us page.

 


How @carmensognonvi supports offline marketing with online marketing … not the other way around
Click To Tweet


So listen in as Carmen walks us through her killer traditional marketing strategies including:

  • Promotional booths
  • Fliers
  • Signage
  • Email Marketing
  • and much, much more

I also share another low cost marketing idea in What Have You Got To Lose?  Today’s idea will show you how to create an ebook in 3 simple steps.


I love @TimboReid ‘s marketing podcast
Click To Tweet


And we go back into The Small Business Big Marketing vault, revisiting a past episode in which we caught up with Kylie Roberts of Aleenta Barre (which is sort of like a ballet studio that incorporates elements of yoga and pilates). She’s one of the few business owners I’ve spoken to who has invested in creating a scent as part of their branding.

Yep, another big episode of your favourite marketing podcast. Let’s go!

 


 

EPISODE TIMELINE

 

00:00  Two marketing insights
01:15  Teaser
01:50  Welcome & overview
04:27  How to create an ebook in 3 simple steps
08:02  Insights into Workplace Assured
09:10  Today’s guest introduction – Carmen Sognonvi
10:50  Interview with Carmen Sognonvi
01:08:00  Insights into Key Person of Influence
01:09:15 My Top 3 Attention Grabbers from my chat with Carmen Sognonvi
01:10:53 Wrap-up and an insight in to both a past guest & next week’s guest

 


 

MY TOP 3 MARKETING ATTENTION GRABBERS

 

  1. “People buy on their time, not on our time”. We never know when people will be ready to buy so we have to keep those marketing initiatives going and not get discouraged.
  2. Being strategic when hiring a spot for a booth at a local street fair. Exchanging contact details for a free trial (rather than merchandise).
  3. General respect for old school marketing and how it can seamlessly integrate into online efforts.

 


 

RESOURCES & LINKS MENTIONED

 

Urban Martial Arts official website

Carmen’s marketing blog

Carmen’s luxury travel blog

Carmen’s original interview on Small Business Big Marketing

Tools mentioned throughout the show:

Infusionsoft

Lead Player

Wistia

Turnstyle

How to create an ebook in 3 simple steps

Interview with Chris Savage from Wistia

Interview with Kylie from Aleenta Barre

 

 


 

 

EPISODE SPONSORS

 

Workplace Assured – Worry less about your employer obligations
Check out their FREE advice line for employers

Key Person of Influence – Become highly valued & highly paid
Grab a FREE hard or audio copy of their Amazon best-seller

 

 


 

OVER TO YOU …

 

What was your biggest marketing learning or ah-ha moment from this episode?

Leave your comment below.

My guest and I respond to each and every comment.

 

 

The post 349 – How to integrate old-school marketing with your online efforts. appeared first on Small Business Big Marketing.

via Small Business Big Marketing Read More…

An Up-to-Date Guide on Good SEO Content vs. Bad SEO Content by @JuliaEMcCoy

An Up-to-Date Guide on Good SEO Content vs. Bad SEO Content by @JuliaEMcCoy

Unless you’re talking to tech geeks, SEO usually gets lumped in with genius-exclusive activities like coding or hacking.

This makes sense, when you think about it, because, at one point, SEO was a little bit like hacking. Back in the good ol’ days, so-called “black hat” SEOs used to find creative ways to game the search engine system and manipulate low-quality pages into ranking at the top of Google’s charts.

While search engines and user preferences have dissuaded many of these practices, there’s still a massive difference between good and bad SEO, and knowing which is which can make all the difference in your online presence.

I’ve created a current, up-to-date guide on the major good and bad SEO tactics so you know what to do, and what to avoid, in your content creation — down to Google’s recent mobile penalty update.

do's and don't's - things to do and not - blank sticky notes on on blackboard

Are You a Good SEO, or a Bad SEO?

It’s true: even if you’re not purposefully creating keyword-stuffed content or pages crammed with manipulative links, you might still be partaking in bad SEO.

The reason for this is that Google, the veritable God of the search engine universe, changes all the time. Over the years, Google has rolled out algorithms with names like Hummingbird, Panda, Penguin, Pigeon, and more. With such a zoo of changes, it’s easy to see how one could fall behind the times where SEO is concerned.

While Google isn’t making all these changes to drive SEOs insane, it’s not at all uncommon for SEOs and marketers to only learn the details of an algorithm update once it has already rolled out, and is actively affecting their sites.

As Google pushes for a more unified, accessible, high-quality web, the changes it makes to things like mobile-friendly rules, search ranking practices, content ranking guidelines, and more can have a dramatic and distinct impact on SEOs. These changes can turn good SEOs to bad SEOs in the blink of an eye, or the click of a mouse.

The Cardinal Sin of the SEO World: Poor User Experience (UX)

If you’re wondering if you might be a bad SEO, ask yourself this one question: do my SEO habits destroy user experience for my visitors?

If the answer is “yes,” you might be a bad SEO.

It’s really that simple!

Today, Google is downright obsessed with creating a digital environment that puts the user first, and rightfully so. Google gets more searches right now than it ever has before, and many of them are coming from new and different platforms like mobile phones and tablets. In fact, of the more than 2 trillion searches Google processes each year, more than half come from mobile devices. In addition to the fact that these mobile searches have changed the way people search (it’s on the go, local, focused on researching products, goods, and services, and dominated by voice search), they’ve also changed the way search engines want to successfully relate to their searchers.

Since a mobile screen is only a fraction of the size of a traditional computer screen, user experience is magnified and drawn, forcefully, to center stage. If a site’s SEO or content practices are sub-par (keyword stuffing, for example, or intrusive ads that ruin the user experience), that reader is going to “bounce” off the page, which has an adverse impact on the site’s SEO and perpetuates the “bad SEO circle.”

To be successful today, even white hat SEOs need to keep user experience in mind consistently. If an SEO practice interrupts it, rather than enhancing it, that’s a practice that deserves to be abandoned. Which brings us to the next point…

Intrusive Interstitial Ads: The Pinnacle of Bad SEO

As I mentioned earlier, Google is consistently updating its algorithms to create more positive user experiences across the board. One of the most recent examples of this is Google’s (unofficially named) “Intrusive Interstitial Update.”

This update, which takes aim at intrusive pop-up ads that affect mobile users, is a prime example of why being a good SEO is so crucial in today’s environment.

Unlike many of its other algorithm updates, Google warned users this one was coming. Back in August of 2016, Google released a statement announcing its plans to punish intrusive ads in the near future. In the statement, Google said:

Although the majority of pages now have text and content on the page that is readable without zooming, we’ve recently seen many examples where these pages show intrusive interstitials to users. While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.

Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller. To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

True to its word, Google rolled out the Intrusive Interstitial Ad update on January 10th of this year, when it went to work penalizing mobile websites that use interstitials that do the following things:

  • Covers the main content
  • Requires the user to dismiss it before accessing main content
  • Pops up without interaction
  • Features a layout where the content above-the-fold looks like an interstitial but must be dismissed or scrolled through to reach the main content, beneath the fold
  • Annoys or otherwise bothers readers
  • Pops up on a page but isn’t a necessity, such as an age-verification box for sensitive content

For reference, here’s the graphic Google created to demonstrate what these intrusive interstitials look like:

interstitial mobile penalty

If you’re wondering why Google cracked down so hard on these ads, the answer is simple.

Like the developers said in their statement announcing the intent to unleash this update, intrusive ads have a negative impact on user experience.

As such, anything that falls into the “intrusive pop-up” category is labeled “bad SEO” and, in Google’s eyes, deserves to be punished.

5 Bad SEO Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to Google, you want to stay in the search engine’s good graces — and thus, your readers and the people using Google.

While it’s not impossible to recover from Google penalties, it is challenging and time-consuming, and it’s much easier and more efficient to master good SEO from the start.

Here’s how:

1. Buying Links

While buying links might seem like a quick way to game the system and help your site rank, it’s guaranteed to backfire.

Here’s why: before search engines were as smart as they are today, it was possible to get away with buying links, since crawlers were more concerned, at that point, with quantity than quality. Not so today.

Now, Google and other search engines have evolved into honed machines that place more value on the quality of links than they do the quantity. While any site can create a bunch of spammy internal or external links, it’s significantly harder to earn high-quality links from reputable sites, and this is exactly what search engine bots want to see.

To put this another way: buying links is like buying Instagram followers. It won’t work, and you’ll look silly doing it.

2. Spamming Other Sites With Link-Dense Comments

While reading other blogs and leaving thoughtful, valuable comments is a great SEO approach, copying and pasting general comments that include a link to your site isn’t. Again, Google and search engines like it believe that any link to your site should be earned through quality content. Anything less than that just won’t do.

What’s more, spamming other bloggers is harmful to user experience — both for the blogger in question and for the readers who must slog through spammy comments to leave their own valuable and thought-out comments. Google doesn’t take kindly to this, so avoid the practice altogether. The only possible exception is if you’ve read a person’s post and have a piece of content on your site that will genuinely add to the discussion (not just make you some money). In that case, a link can be acceptable.

3. Abusing Anchor Text

Anchor text serves an important purpose in the world of online link building. For search engines and people alike, anchor text gives a preview of what a link will be about and helps people draw value from a piece of content. It is possible to abuse anchor text, though, and doing so is a “bad SEO” practice.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize this, and beginning SEOs are especially susceptible. Here’s how it works: if a person started a content marketing firm, and was trying to get their site to rank for the keyword phrase “content writing services,” they might link back to the site 50 times, all with the same anchor text.

Google sees this, though, and the search engine knows what you’re doing. Instead of seeing duplicate anchor text, Google wants to see companies using branded anchor text, which means using a company name to link. In addition to inspiring trust, these links have a lower propensity to be misused.

4. Duplicating Content

This is a MAJOR no-no in the world of SEO — for many reasons. For one, content is what makes the web run, and it’s in the search engines’ best interest to have lots of it and to ensure that most of it is high-quality.

Search engines know high-quality content takes time, though, and they’re unwilling to allow people who aren’t willing to invest that time to rip off other people’s effort. As such, duplicating any piece of content from another author, site, or source will result in a hefty Google penalty.

It’s easy to think you’re probably OK here, but don’t skip over it so quickly.

In some cases, however, duplicate content doesn’t even come as the result of blatant plagiarism.

In fact, many people copy their own content without even knowing it. This is especially prevalent in places like meta titles and descriptions, and product pages where products are very similar but not identical to one another. An example would be a company that sells polo shirts and uses the same product description for a green polo shirt as it does a blue polo shirt, instead of writing two different descriptions.

To keep your SEO on the up-and-up, and avoid Google penalties in the process, ensure that all the content you publish on your site and in your meta fields is entirely unique and original.

5. Creating Overly-Dense Keyword Content

Before search engines evolved to their current station, they paid a lot of attention to keyword phrases to rank sites. For example, if a site featured 300 words of content and used the phrase “New York bagels” 30 times, Google would have gone, “Ah, yes. This page is about New York bagels,” and ranked it accordingly. Today, however, the focus is user experience, and nothing dampens user experience quite as quickly as keyword stuffing. After all, who wants to be hit over the head with the topic of a page as they’re trying to learn something new or answer a question?

As search engines have gotten smarter, the importance of keywords has shifted. While they’re still critical for helping search engine bots decipher and categorize pages, said bots are more sensitive than they’ve ever been before to “keyword stuffing” — the practice of incorporating a keyword phrase into content over and over.

Today, Google (and the people who use it) want content that offers value, not hat tricks. With this in mind, keywords should be included, but they should always be sprinkled naturally throughout the content. Over-optimize for your keywords or stuff them in there like you’re filling a piñata, and you risk a hefty Google penalty.

7 Ways to Master Good SEO

Now that we’re caught up on what bad SEO looks like, lets’ talk about mastering great SEO. Here are seven tips:

1. Do Your (Keyword) Research

While it’s true that you don’t want to overstuff your content with keywords, you can’t abandon them altogether.

Today, however, keyword research is all about user intention. This means that, instead of finding a single keyword phrase and hammering it again and again, you’ll want to make use of things like synonyms, answers, and content grouped around topics instead of individual terms.

This is especially critical since the release of Google’s RankBrain update in 2015, and adhering to the practice will boost your content’s value and help you become a trustworthy source of online information.

2. Optimize Content for Local

If you run a brick-and-mortar business, optimizing your content for local SEO is a great way to land customers and help Google help you. Simple things like claiming your business listing and using geo-focused keywords throughout your site can help identify you as a local business and help you make use of the 20% of all searches that are locally-focused.

3. Create to Be Conversational

Remember how much focus search engines place on user experience today? Of course you do. If you’re wondering how to capitalize on that, the answer is conversational content. This is important for two big reasons. For one, conversational content is just more enjoyable to read.

The second thing, however, is that 20% of Google’s mobile searches are voice searches, and these voice searches are highly conversational in nature. That said, creating conversational content that bears in mind the questions your users would ask and the language they’d use to ask them can land you in the coveted “rich answers” segment of Google’s SERPs.

Today, more than 30% of all searches result in rich answers and claiming this spot for your content can earn you a huge uptick in traffic. To get an idea of what a great “rich answer” looks like, check out this screenshot:

mobile search

4. Include Schema On-site

Schema is one of those techy SEO things that makes people run for the hills. It’s critical, though, and using it on your site can make a mountain of difference in your SEO standing. Schema markup is a collection of HTML tags users can add to pages to create rich snippets in SERPs. Common with companies who want to create rich snippets for content relating to music, products, videos, and recipes, Schema is a critical SEO tool for white hat SEOs.

5. Work to Earn Your Links

Links are essential to ranking well, but earning them is tough.

One way to do that is simply by creating a volume of consistently amazing content.

On my site, I have various sections that I’ve built for over four years now, contributing to it myself weekly and bringing in many of my agency team members as co-contributors. It’s a LOT:

  • Our Write Blog, with over 600 blog posts
  • A resource section with e-books, my published book, and more
  • A dedicated section for my podcast show notes and episodes
  • A section for all the recaps for our weekly Twitter chat, #ContentWritingChat

All of those areas get updated weekly. It’s a full-time job for two people, but we’ve never once had to ask or buy a link — we earn them consistently when our content gets picked up and shared. It’s even been picked up and linked to by major influencers!

By building trust and demonstrating authority, resource-laden sites can attract high-quality links from around the web, which, in turn, boosts your SEO incredibly well.

6. Launch Google AMP

A mobile-friendly step that can boost your site’s ranking in mobile search, AMP is an open-source code you can install on your site to help your content load at lightning speed on mobile devices. Guaranteed to be a massive ranking factor in 2017 and beyond, decreasing your mobile load time is a wonderful step toward increasing your user experience.

7. Put Your Users First

As a general rule, any SEO tactic that’s meant to trick your users or search engines is a bad one. This includes things like hidden content. At the end of the day, a great guideline for good SEO is simply to put your users first. If you do this and make user experience your top priority, the chances that you’ll stay in Google’s good graces and serve your readers well is massive.

Take Your SEO to the Next Level This Year

If you’re a recovering “bad SEO,” 2017 is a year of promise and opportunity. While it’s true that SEO is fluid and changing constantly, it’s also true that you can get on top of it by keeping a few key things in mind, like that you always need to honor user experience, and that quality is essential in everything you do — from links to keyword research.

When you remember these simple tips, it’s easy to ditch bad SEO forever and find yourself on the up-and-up, both with Google and your readers.

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: Julia McCoy / Express Writers
In-post Image: PixelsAway/DepositPhotos
Interstitial ads screenshot: webmasters.googleblog.com
Mobile search screenshot taken 2017

via Search Engine Journal Read More…

All you need to master your site speed without getting overwhelmed

All you need to master your site speed without getting overwhelmed

Poor website performance is one of the most widespread problems for business websites, yet it’s the most essential one hurting your business on many levels, from lost customers to bad reputation.

These easy-to-use tools will help you solve the problem.

Despite what some people may think, site speed is not a purely technical issue. Marketers have been talking about the necessity to speed up your page load for ages. Not only does poor page load time hurt your site usability, but it also hinders your rankings (by screwing your page engagement metrics), conversions, social media marketing campaign performance and so on.

Fixing the page load time issue is not that easy though. It does take come development budget and good diagnostics tools. Luckily, I can help you with the latter:

Page Speed Insights

Google’s Page Speed Insights measures your page speed and provides PageSpeed suggestions to make your web site faster.

pagespeed

The PageSpeed Score ranges from 0 to 100 points. A score of 85 or above means your page speed is optimal. The tool distinguishes two main criteria: How fast your page above-the-fold loads and how fast the whole page loads. Each page is tested for mobile and desktop experience separately.

Each PageSpeed suggestion is rated based on how important it is.

Pingdom

Pingdom monitors your site and reports if your site seems slow or down. It operates a network of over 60 servers to test your website from all over the world, which is very important for a global business website because your server location effects in which parts of the world your site reports well.

Pingdom also has a free tool you can test here. While Pingdom is mostly known as Uptime monitoring solution (you can read about Uptime here), it also does performance monitoring.

Because I monitor a lot of metrics for many websites, I use Cyfe to integrate Pingdom stats into my website monitoring dashboard:

cyfe

WP Super Cache

WP Super Cache turns your dynamic WordPress blog pages into static HTML files for the majority of your users. This way your web server serves static files instead of processing the heavier WordPress PHP scripts.

This plugin will help your server cope with traffic spikes. It makes the pages faster to load, and stops those traffic overloads from happening in the case of a viral hit.

If you operate a huge database-driven website, a better solution for you would be setting up a content delivery network.

Incapsula

Speaking of your website being slow in remote parts of the world, Incapsula is a premium tools helping you to solve that problem. The platform offers a reliable Content Delivery Network, i.e. a network of servers all over the world allowing your site visitors to load files from the server located closer to them.

This means your site is fast wherever your future customers choose to load it from.

If you want to know more about how CDN works, here’s a very good resource to read and bookmark.

cdn-for-your-wordpress-blog-infographic

Compressor.io

Compressor.io is a handy tool to optimize your image size to allow for faster page load. As most of web pages have images these days, this is a must-bookmark and use tool.

Compressor.io reduces the size of your images while maintaining a high quality. You’ll be surprised to find no difference in your images before and after compression.

The tool supports the following image formats: .jpg, .png, .gif, .svg. I have found it invaluable to animated GIF compression because all the tools I use produce really huge images.

compress

The tool is absolutely free and there’s no need to register to use it. Your files will be stored on the servers for 6 hours and then deleted, so don’t forget to download your optimized images!

Have I missed any essential tool or resource? Please add a comment below!

via Search Engine Watch – Category: seo Read More…