As SEOs we know outreach for backlinks has to be done in order to give the websites we are working on the backlink authority it needs. With backlinks being one of the top three ranking factors (depending on which study you’re reading) there is definite value in doing outreach.
Although this is made a lot harder thanks to the mysterious world of black hat SEO. Webmasters out there are savvier to the tactics of sending a generic feeling email, and on our part, it’s a lot of work for usually not much return.
This is why I’ve collated a list of some of the ninja backlink outreach tactics I’ve found which work great for most sites. At the heart of most of these techniques is some good exciting content to make your website stand out, as backlinks and content work hand in hand.
So let’s get going and earn our black belt in building backlinks. (Apologies, there will be a few more bad ninja related jokes in this post.)
Six of the best ways to build backlinks
1. Sponsoring a college or university team
Ok so before we get into this first one it does involve a bit of money on yours or your clients part to get the backlink. Although this would usually cost a few hundred pounds to sponsor the team and all you’re asking in return is a backlink from their team page which hopefully if you’ve done the research right will be on a .ac.uk or .edu domain which will naturally have high authority.
2. Skyscraper technique
This one is borrowed from Brian Dean from Backlinko, and you can get more details from him on this here. In essence, this approach involves finding the top piece of ranking linkable content you can find for a search term you’re trying to rank for. Then you build on that idea to make a better version of the piece and reach out to the right people to gain the right exposure.
If someone has created content on the “best top 10 ways to be a ninja” you can go and make a post of the “top 11 ways to be a ninja”. It is key to this technique to make sure that you find the right area and do the correct research, so if you’re working on behalf of a client get their input then do your own research to back up their knowledge.
3. Interview with someone on your website
Yes, this is a way to get backlinks by doing the bulk of the work on your own website. Find an influential person in your industry and convince them to give you an interview for your website. Unless you’re running a website all about celebs, most people within any industry will be flattered that you would want to interview them.
The only stipulation to this is that they will need to have some type of following on social media. This is as it will be as much in their interest to share the content as yours. So once you have the interview share it with your PR and social team, and allow them to share the piece as much as they can, hopefully, you will get some valuable industry related backlinks from this.
4. Create a free tool
Free tools are a great way to gain backlinks, all you have to do is look at the SEO industry for this and find “top free SEO tools” posts to see a list of free tools, some of which have only been created to build authoritative backlinks naturally. These do not need to be anything fancy only something that serves the user. For examples, a mortgage broker creating a mortgage calculator is a simple solution to get targeted traffic on their site and gain backlinks from sites related to mortgages.
5. Create your own data
There is a lot to be said about the impact of data and how this can be used to gain backlinks. Although, what if you have no interesting data you can share to get out into the news? Well, there are ways you can create your own data. There are great sites like Google Surveys where you can ask a set questions to a specified number of people and get back true related data based on your own parameters.
Although — it is what you do with data that counts in gaining backlinks for this technique, once you have completed the post on your website with a snappy clickbait headline. Head over to Reddit and find the most relevant subreddits you can and post your content anonymously to see if it gets picked up. In case it fails to get picked up by any sites, get on Twitter and start contacting local and industry press journalists. Soon enough someone will pick it up.
6. Video transcripts
So this final technique takes its inspiration from Moz’s whiteboard Fridays we all know and love. On every video, it is accompanied by a transcript of the video. As Moz knows, Google finds it very difficult to understand the context of videos, so they provide HTML text that gives a much clearer indicator to Google. This makes their life much easier.
How can you use this to your advantage exactly? Well, all you have to do is find some recent video content from an expert or influencer in your field. Check their site to see if the content is accompanied with a transcript of the video, if not then jackpot! From there create a transcript for the video which is on your own or client’s website.
The last steps involve a quick buttering up of the influencer on Twitter. It could be something along the lines of “Loved the last video, you’re amazing. I have created a transcript for the video if it is useful for anyone, the link is here.” Hopefully, they’ll give a retweet and with the shares of their content comes some shares and backlinks for you.
Hope the whole ninja theme wasn’t too cringy. The main point is that, yes link building is much harder than it used to be a few years ago. And everyone is so tuned out to an email asking for a backlink that they’re just going to ignore them. Still, backlink building can be done. Just think outside the box, be a bit sneaky like a ninja, get creative, and make the best quality content you can for your users.
Mark Osborne is the SEO Manager at Blue Array, with a passion for keeping up to date on the latest goings-on in the SEO world. He can be found on Twitter @MarkSEOsborne.
For more on backlinks, read:
The post Doing backlink building like a ninja: Six best techniques appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Back in September 2018, Google launched its Dataset Search tool, an engine which focuses on delivering results of hard data sources (research, reports, graphs, tables, and others) in a more efficient manner than the one which is currently offered by Google Search.
The service promises to enable easy access to the internet’s treasure trove of data. As Google’s Natasha Noy says,
For SEOs, it certainly has potential as a new research tool for creating our own informative, trustworthy, and useful content. But what of its prospects as a place to be visible, or as a ranking signal itself?
Google Dataset Search: As a research tool
As a writer who has been using Google to search for data since about a decade, I’d agree that finding hard statistics on search engines is not always massively straightforward.
Often, data which isn’t the most recent ranks better than newer research. This makes sense in an SEO sense, that which was published months or years prior has had a long time to earn authority and traffic. But usually I need the freshest stats, and even search results pointing to data on a page that has been published recently doesn’t necessarily mean that the data contained in that page is from that date.
Additionally, big publications (think news sites like the BBC) frequently rank better than the domain where the data was originally published. Again, this is unsurprising in the context of search engines. The BBC et al. have far more traffic, authority, inbound links, and changing content than most research websites, even .gov sites. But that doesn’t mean to say that the user looking for hard data wants to see BBC’s representation of that data.
Another key issue we find when researching hard data on Google concerns access to content. All too regularly, after a bit of browsing in the SERPs I find myself clicking through only to find that the report with the data I need is behind a paywall. How annoying.
On the surface, Google Dataset Search sets out to solve these issues.
A quick search for “daily weather” (Google seems keen to use this kind of .gov data to exemplify the usefulness of the tool) shows how the service differs from a typical search at Google.com.
Results rank down the left-hand side of the page with the rest of the SERP real estate given over to more information about whichever result you have highlighted (position one is default). This description portion of the page includes:
By comparison, a search for the same keyphrase on Google in incognito mode prioritizes results for weather forecasts from Accuweather, the BBC, and the Met Office. So to have a search engine which focuses on pure, recorded data, is immediately useful.
Most results (though not all) make it clear to the user as to when the data is from and what the original source is. And by virtue of the source being included in the Dataset Search SERPs, we can be quite sure that a click through to the site will provide us access to the data we need.
Google Dataset Search: As a place to increase your visibility
As detailed on Google’s launch post for the service, Dataset Search is dependent on webmasters marking up their datasets with the Schema.org vocabulary.
Broadly speaking, Schema.org is a standardized way for developers to make information on their websites easy to crawl and understandable by search engines. SEOs might be familiar with the vocabulary if they have marked up their video content or other non-text objects on their sites. For example, whether they have sought to optimize their business for local search.
There are ample guidelines and sources to assist you with dataset markup (Schema.org homepage, Schema.org dataset markup list, Google’s reference on dataset markup, and Google’s webmaster forum are all very useful). I would argue that if you are lucky enough to produce original data, it is absolutely worth considering making it crawlable and accessible for Google.
If you are thinking about it, I’d also argue that it is important to start ranking in Google Dataset Search now. Traffic to the service might not be massive currently, but the competition to start ranking well is only going to get more difficult. The more webmasters and developers see potential in the service, the more it will be used.
Additionally, dataset markup will not only benefit your ranking in Dataset Search it will also increase your visibility for relevant data-centric queries in Google too. An important point as we see tables and stats incorporated more frequently and more intuitively in elements of the SERPs such as the Knowledge Graph.
Google Dataset Search: As a ranking signal
There is a good reason to believe that being indexed in Dataset Search will be a ranking signal in its own right.
Google Scholar, which indexes scholarly literature such as journals and books has been noted by Google to provide a valuable signal about the importance and prominence of a dataset.
With that in mind, it makes sense to think a dataset that is well-optimized with clear markup and is appearing in Dataset Search would send a strong signal to Google. This would signal that the respective site is a trusted authority as a source of that type of data.
Thoughts for the future
It is early days for Google Dataset Search. But for SEO, the service is already certainly showing its potential.
As a research tool, its usefulness really depends on the community of research houses who are marking up their data for the benefit of the ecosystem. I expect the number of contributors to the service will grow quickly making for a diverse and comprehensive data tool.
I also expect that the SERPs may change considerably. They certainly work better for these kinds of queries than Google’s normal search pages. But I had some bugbears. For example, which URL am I expected to click on if a search result has more than one? Can’t all results have publication dates and the time period the data covers? Could we see images of graphs/tables in the SERPs?
But when it comes to potential as a place for visibility and a ranking signal, if you are a business that collects data and research (or you are thinking about producing this type of content), now is the time to ensure your datasets are marked up with Schema.org to beat your competitors in ranking on Google Dataset Search. This dataset best practice will also stand you in good stead as Google’s main search engine gets increasingly savvy with how it presents the world’s data.
Luke Richards is a writer for Search Engine Watch and ClickZ. You can follow Luke on Twitter at @myyada.
Hubspot found that 80% of marketing professionals lean on visual content in their social media marketing.
It makes enormous good sense to assert that social media marketing is moving towards a direction where image and video content shall play pivotal roles.
Traditionally, content marketing has performed three roles:
There are statistics that provide mounting evidence to the vitality of leveraging a visual content marketing strategy.
Key insights on the changing face of visual content marketing
How do images and video content create value for brands on social media?
Prima facie, visual content augments value creation on social media in the following ways:
Challenge of leveraging visual content successfully for social media marketing
Accenture Interactive had conducted a survey on a sample of more than 1000 consumers that sought to objectively assess their tastes and preferences, habits, likes and dislikes of content consumption, and thus, identify patterns and insights on visual content marketing and consumption. The findings submitted as part of the Accenture Interactive research stated that visual content and especially video is still considered invasive by a large chunk of people.
The findings stated on page six of the report published clearly asserts that 35% of users find the use of video content for advertising inconvenient and invasive as opposed to 26% users that stated they prefer to see video advertisements.
Features of an awesome visual content design tool for social media marketing
Given the importance of visual content in the context of social media marketing and the abundance of design tools for creating visual content for the aforesaid purpose, it is worthwhile to explore the features, functionality, and performance parameters that make for a great design tool.
Other important aspects like ease of use, pricing, integration with other social media apps, and the spectrum of content prototypes that can be created using these design tools including but not limited to infographics, graphs, pie charts, bar charts, and scatter diagrams.
Some of the major parameters in assessing the merit of a great design tool for creating visual content are as follows:
The best visual content design tools for social media marketing
With the knowledge of the parameters that you got to be focusing on, from the perspective of visual content creation for social media marketing, it is easy to identify a list of the best such design tools that are available and in demand for the said job. Have a look.
Making it to the list of the top design tools for image content creation is Bannersnack. Immensely popular with social media marketing professionals and graphic designers, the online banner maker offers the following features:
Second on our list of online banner makers is Venngage. Offering hundreds of charts, maps, and icons to create infographics for perfect data visualization, this online banner maker is highly used for making infographics. Venngage offers the following features listed below:
Third on the list of the best visual content creation tools is the online banner maker from Visme. The online banner maker is highly popular among graphic designers and marketing professionals. It offers a host of features, functionalities, and end user benefits as listed below:
Fourth on our list of the top visual content creation tools for use in social media campaigns is Fotor. With probably one of the most diverse and widest arrays of templates for creating image content, Fotor offers great multi-purpose functionality that embraces both the online and onsite business ecosystems. Fotor offers the following features to users:
5. My Banner Maker
Fifth in our list of the best visual content creation tools is My Banner Maker. An easy to use online banner maker, My Banner Maker stands out in the list for its professional turnkey assistance and professional collaboration in addition to the technology suite that it offers. Some of the major features that My Banner Maker offers are as follows:
In the final diagnosis, it is only humble to take cognizance of the ever-increasing influence of visual content in the context of social media campaigns and the opportunities that brands can look forward to leveraging. While this list is by no means exhaustive and exclusive, the above mentioned visual content creation tools make it to our list on parameters of user experience, custom design abilities, and pluralism of deployment across digital platforms. Here is wishing your brand all the luck to reinvent the future of social media marketing by creating some stunning visuals this year.
Birbahadur Singh Kathayat is an Entrepreneur, internet marketer and Co-founder of Lbswebsoft. He can be found on Twitter @bskathayat.
The post Visual content creation tools for stunning social media campaigns appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
When you ask any question in Google or search with any keyword, a special block of information may appear, which is known as a featured snippet.
This block will contain an extracted summary of the answer from a webpage, a link to that page, and most of the time, a related image. Google extracts the summary programmatically. If you can place in any particular keyword for the featured snippet, you will get special attention of the person searching about that topic. The result? More clicks, more traffic.
Here is one example of a featured snippet, from our main site weDevs.com. The competition of that long tail keyword is relatively low, and there were not many resourceful articles about this topic on the internet. So achieving this Google snippet was easy for us.
You can opt out from featured snippets (using <meta name=”googlebot” content=”nosnippet”> tag on your page). But according to Google, there is no way to mark your page with a featured snippet. It is a fully programmatic process.
In my research about Google featured snippets, I have found some interesting things about this special block of information. In this post, I will cover them. Using these insights you can get success in your featured snippet SEO.
First of all, let’s see a featured snippet.
My search query “who was Alexander the great?”
There is an image of Alexander the great in this snippet. If you click in that image you will see the image is taken from the same webpage of biography.com.
But this is not the case for every featured snippet. Sometimes the Google bot takes the picture from one site and text from another site. Look at these images below, where I have searched for two other historical figures.
If your image has related text of the search query, it may appear in the featured snippet. I have found some of these kinds of featured snippet images, one is for the keyword SEO.
The featured snippet image can come from YouTube videos, too.
Sometimes a table of facts can appear in the special information block. Here is one example of the search phrase “Ibn Khaldun quotes”.
The webpage of this snippet has a table of quick facts about historian Ibn Khaldun in an article. Googlebot grabs the information box from there.
How to get a place in the featured snippet for a particular keyword?
1. Structure your post better than your competitors for that particular keyword. You can use snippet bait for this. Snippet bait is a 40 to 60 words block of information designed to be featured on FS. This short block of information should clearly answer the question you are targeting.
2. Optimize your content for mobile search. If your site is not mobile friendly, it will be hard for you to get a place in the featured snippet.
3. Use lots of H2 and H3 tags. These will help Google bots to identify your information fast.
4. Use a table of facts for quick summarization. Summary and table of facts also useful for readers to get a quick picture of the content.
5. List a bullet point summary with 40 to 60 words. As a reader, I find it very helpful. An example from a blog post.
6. Find competitors’ featured snippets using SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs. And then in your content, write a better snippet bait.
7. Get connected with more high authority sites by linking to them. And hopefully getting links in return.
8. From all types of the snippet (paragraph, table, and list), a paragraph snippet performs better. So, spend more time to optimize your contents with little information boxes.
9. To rank for a list snippet, a step by step guide content is most suitable. Use H2/H3 subheading tags for every step name.
10. If you want to rank for table snippet, use tables in your content with quick facts. Table structure should be simple, well formatted so that the Google bot can easily pull data from it.
12. Adopt HTTPS and secure your URL.
A case study of featured snippets: Your site’s ranking doesn’t matter much
It is not about your site’s SEO ranking or how many backlinks you have.
Mostly a featured snippet depends on the quality of the content and structure of your content. If you search by “how much muscle can you gain in a week?” you will see a featured snippet from a site named aworkoutroutine.com. This bodybuilding site is defeating bodybuilding.com in featured snippets while in the actual search result, it is in the number two position.
The content of aworkoutroutine.com is well structured, very suitable for skim reading. Also it has useful information in boxes.
Besides the content of the bodybuilding.com is just a typical structured one. We can see the SEO position of these two sites from MOZ’s link explorer tool.
Another David and Goliath story, where the underdog is defeating the stronger. So, the basic point is, well-structured content can defeat a high ranking page in Google featured snippets.
Share your thoughts in the comments.
Muradul Islam is a Business Analyst at WeDevs.
January saw the announcement of Bing Ads exclusively taking over management for Yahoo and AOL search ads starting in March.
Oath had been renamed Verizon Media and Yahoo Gemini had switched to the name “Oath Ad Manager” only recently but Verizon (who agreed to the acquisition of Yahoo Inc. in 2016) are clearly trying to consolidate and stabilize the decade-long crumbling of the Yahoo empire. Regardless of the ultimate life expectancy of much of the Yahoo portfolio, the status quo was always on borrowed time.
The key question for agencies and advertisers is, what will it mean in the management of your search advertising?
The whole handover from Yahoo to Bing Ads is going to be far shorter than version 1.0 of this arrangement, which was implemented around 11 years ago. Only two weeks were allotted from the first blush to full transition, which is now, at the end of March.
The biggest impact here will be in the advertiser workflow. Obviously, you have one less platform but you also have a far better platform set as Bing and Google are very similar now. Bing will, thanks to its increase in traffic data, be able to introduce smart, query-level bidding solutions approximate to Google in a shorter timeframe than before. This will be great news for those seeking efficiency and less time spent on the Bing platform.
From an account management point of view, your year-on-year reviews are going to be more complicated. But you’re also going to have one less budget to forecast. So you win some, you lose some.
Bing Ads will account for around 35% of search traffic in the US. In international markets where Yahoo is a bigger search engine than Bing, there will be a huge jump.
Since responsive ads (native ads by another name) are in Bing Ads just as they are in Oath/Gemini, your creative will continue to deliver on websites but at a higher volume in a single account.
Search will be easier to control since Oath/Gemini had a different set of options and features, and had very different ad types.
The transition checklist
A big takeaway from the last year or so is that Bing is heavily on a growth trajectory. Here are a few data points:
Be prepared to work harder on optimizing your Bing accounts and you should see more traffic and sales than ever (especially if you never before waded into the murky Yahoo Gemini waters).
Steve Plimmer is the Head of Account Management US at ESV Digital. He can be found on Twitter @SPlimmer_ESV.
The post Bing takes over Yahoo ad delivery: Five things to prepare appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Bounce rate is the percentage of site visitors that land on your website and leave before viewing a second page. You can easily determine your website’s bounce rate by setting up Google Analytics.
Now, if you’re thinking this isn’t such a big deal and that as long as they visit your website, irrespective of how long they spend on it or how many pages they view, they at least know your business exists, that’s not good enough. The longer visitors stay on your site, the more time you have to turn them into subscribers and customers. But how can you convince users to stick around longer and visit more pages?
Luckily, there are a number of easy and free ways to improve your website’s bounce rate and grow your business.
Here are five ways to improve your website’s bounce rate
1. Create content consistently
Creating content consistently is one of the best ways to keep users around longer and get them to view multiple pages. Useful, engaging content will drive traffic to your website. Once that traffic is there, they’ll stick around, keep reading, and eventually become a subscriber or customer if you have a wide array of informative blog posts for them to read. In fact, according to HubSpot, companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published zero to four monthly posts.
So, create a content plan that’s consistent and offers something for everyone. Not everyone prefers written content, so include a mixture of formats such as written, video, infographics, audio recordings, and more.
Another important tip for your content: Practice effective internal linking. Relevant and useful internal links sprinkled throughout your content can guide users to more of your awesome content and keep them reading.
2. Add images and videos
Speaking of a mixture of formats, to improve your website’s bounce rate, be sure you add eye-catching images and videos to your website. Many users won’t spend a lot of time reading your website content, so you need to grab their attention with images and videos.
Add a large high-quality image or video to your homepage to grab the attention of viewers as soon as they see your site. Most websites do this while keeping everything else on the page simple, like the Panera website for example.
If you don’t have the means to hire a photographer, you can find a ton of stunning, free stock images on a site like Unsplash.
3. Speed up your site
You may not have realized it before but your website speed is important for improving your website’s bounce rate. In fact, according to Google, 53 percent of mobile site visitors leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And for every extra second that your page takes to load, the probability of users bouncing dramatically increases. So, don’t make your website visitors wait.
You can use a site like GTmetrix to test the speed of your site. Not only will it tell you what your site speed is, but it’ll also give you advice for improving it. If you’re running your website on WordPress, it would also be wise to download and install some free plugins like WP Smush and W3 Total Cache to help boost the speediness of your site.
4. A/B test
As you’re attempting to improve your website’s bounce rate, don’t leave it up to chance. You should be A/B testing everything in order to determine what’s working and what’s not. You might be surprised by the small things that can cause users to abandon your website. It might even be something as simple as the color of your call-to-action button.
So, perform A/B tests, or split tests, of every aspect of your website. Does your bounce rate improve with a popup on your homepage or does it get a bigger boost on another page? Does one font convert more visitors over another? Does showing or hiding a progress bar help or hurt your bounce rate? When we say A/B test everything, we mean everything.
5. Target abandoning visitors
Did you know that over 70% of people who leave your website will never return? If you don’t start to improve your bounce rate now, that’s a lot of potential leads and customers your business is missing out on. One effective way to stop those users in their tracks and get them to stay on your website longer, and eventually convert them into subscribers or customers is by utilizing exit-intent popups.
Exit-intent popups are able to track when a user is about to leave your website and send them a targeted message at exactly the right time. Your popup can encourage website visitors to subscribe to your email list, download your lead magnet, or even offer a discount if they purchase. So, not only can exit-intent popups improve your bounce rate, but they can also boost your sales in an instant.
Got more points to share on improving bounce rates? Share them in the comments.
Syed Balkhi is an entrepreneur, marketer, and CEO of Awesome Motive. He’s also the founder of WPBeginner, OptinMonster, WPForms, and MonsterInsights. Syed can be found on Twitter @syedbalkhi.
The post Five ways to improve your website’s bounce rate (and why you should) appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Almost anyone running a B2B or B2C business knows that Google and other search engines like quality links, and could consider them as one of the top ranking factors.
So, if you want your website to rank higher than your competition on search engines, a proper link building strategy is not debatable.
However, if you’re going to implement link building in your 2019 digital marketing strategy, you have to do it the right way.
Search engines shroud their algorithms in secrecy, so the SEO and link building industry is flooded with many myths that will never get you results but can get you into a lot of trouble.
To avoid investing resources into wasted link building efforts, pay attention to these nine link building myths that won’t get you anywhere in 2019.
1. Guest posting is dead
This myth started to get really popular in 2014 when Google’s Matt Cutt said,
Because of how direct and stern this warning by Cutt was, it’s understandable that many people believe that guest blogging is genuinely dead.
However, Cutt later clarified this statement by saying that what he meant was spammy blog posts for the sake of SEO purposes was dead.
This means that publishing relevant and resourceful blog posts on authoritative sites for building links, exposure, branding, increased reach, and building a community is still very relevant in 2019.
2. Links not relevant to your niche are low-quality links
This is a prevalent myth that contradicts the fundamental idea of link building in 2019. To rank high, you need to get top authority sites to link back to your site. To get these sites to feature your link, you need to provide relevant content for them. Moreover, whether or not that content is related to your niche or not, it still improves your ranking.
So, when your site receives a non-relevant backlink from a non-relevant niche, Google will not frown upon these links.
3. Building tons of links to a single piece of content is spammy
Many people still think that building tons of links to a single piece of content could negatively impact their keyword rank. Again, this link building myth contradicts itself because it goes against the idea of organic link building.
If search engines do not penalize highly original and valuable webpage that other websites link to because of how helpful and informative their content is, why would they consider a piece of content with tonnes of backlinks spammy?
However, if your links are low quality (from spammy content networks and directories), you could be slapped with a manual penalty or significant link profile devaluation.
4. Link building is irrelevant if you already rank high in search queries
It’s sad, but many marketers still believe this. Link building, like other digital marketing strategies for social media marketing, blogging, and others should be consistent. Not only because it helps you maintain your position above your competition in search queries, but also because it helps you with the following:
Link building is not just about increasing the volume of links to your site; it also exposes your business to new customers.
5. Google will always prioritize sites with higher backlinks over others in search queries
Google’s ranking factors are very dynamic. According to Google Webmaster John Mueller, the search engine focuses on a particular query intent to select its ranking factors.
So, while link building is a valuable ranking factor, Google algorithms find a balance between its 200 ranking factors before displaying results to a search query.
6. All pages/posts/links on your site have an equal ranking value
When people talk about this myth, they usually mean either of these two things:
Both statements are wrong. In the first instance, a post that has been linked back to by high authority sites will rank higher than others which have not. There are tools like website auditor which can be used to check the individual ranking value of your site’s posts.
As for the second statement, Google’s John Muller confirmed that their search algorithms take into account the position of a link on a webpage it appears.
So take advantage of link positioning. SEO experts like Bill Slawski and Rand Fishkin recommend positioning your links higher on the page because the higher a link is placed on the page, the more it weighs, and the more value it passes to the pages it links to.
7. Internal links don’t help you rank higher
While high-quality external links are one of the most important ranking factors, internal links also play a huge roll in helping you rank higher. This is because linking from higher to lower ranking pages can give a massive boost to weak pages. Interlinking related content on your website also creates what search engine experts call a “topic cluster”.
In 2019, topic clusters are significant because when a search query is made for a particular topic and search engines find relevant topic clusters on your website, your site will be considered an authority in this field and will automatically rank higher than other sites with relevant single pages.
8. Stuffing your image alt texts with relevant keywords helps you rank higher
Image links are not bad for SEO. However, too much of anything is never a good idea. And this applies to image link building. While there are no penalties for using image links, stuffing your image alt tags with keywords to manipulate rankings is against Google’s guidelines.
Before Google started using AI and machine learning to understand images, people had to stuff their alt tags with text to ensure the pictures appeared in relevant search queries. However, in 2019, both text and image are translated into the same language in coding.
9. Wikipedia and Wiki-like pages are the Gods of domain authority building
Many people are convinced that getting a link back from pages like Wikipedia will automatically give them a higher ranking authority because of the exceptionally high domain authority Wikipedia has. But sadly, digital marketing has as many facts as it does fallacies.
Information directly from Google’s Garry Illyes tells us that Google ranks Wikipedia just like any other website.
Don’t allow the fear of spamming keep you from harnessing the many fantastic benefits of implementing a link building strategy.
Segun Onibalusi is the Founder and CEO at SEO POW, an organic link building agency. He can be found on Twitter @iamsegun_oni.
The post Debunked: Nine link building myths you should ignore in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Among all social channels, Facebook is the one that has the most monthly active users, 2.23 billion.
This means more than 20% of the world’s population is active on Facebook every month.
Can you guess how many Facebook pages exist? 50 million? 60? 70?
As of May 2018, there were more than 80 million Facebook business pages.
And we as marketers have to try to be more unique than the other 79,999,999 marketers. Yeah, probably that sounds something impossible. Well, instead of being different, let’s try to give the best value we can to our audience.
Eight effective tips to help you as a marketer to get the most from your Facebook business page for 2019
1. Get rid of promotional content and make more educational, fun content
When people start complaining that their page posts are not getting enough engagement, I just take my phone, search their business name on Facebook and start analyzing their latest posts.
Post number 1: Promotional
Post number 2: Promotional
Post number 3: Promotional
And I’m like, well, you really think, that the people who’ve liked your page are interested in seeing only promotional and sales oriented posts from your page? And they’re like, “Hmm, what else should we post, if we just want to get new sales for our business by using Facebook?”
In such cases, I start explaining to people that users really don’t like seeing such kinds of posts because their feed is already filled with so many ads, that advertisers put on Facebook for promoting their products or services.
Promotional content isn’t something, that will engage your customers and make them hit the “Like” or “Share” buttons. It’s something, that will make them scroll down through their news feed or even browse your page and unlike it.
And the reason why so many pages on Facebook fail, is the fact, that we want to get value from someone without giving it. Not fair, is it?
Promotional/sales oriented content isn’t valuable in most cases. The good thing is you can promote your product or service and at the same time provide valuable content for your audience.
They love to hear your company story more than what you are trying to sell to them. So, get rid of the promotional material from your page. Instead, start educating them with valuable and entertaining content.
Renderforest reports, that 86% of marketers are satisfied with their video marketing results and consider them successful. This means that you can use lots of videos in your content marketing strategy and have success in it. What about starting to produce videos right away?
2. Only use Facebook ads for selling your product or service
You read it correctly.
We’ve already talked on the first point, that you shouldn’t put any promotional content in your organic posts. People hate that.
Instead of it, you can run engaging ads on Facebook and get new users/sales for your product or service.
Of course, I agree that lots of small businesses might not have budgets for Facebook. But well, if you’ve started a company, then you should have at least $100 for testing Facebook ads.
And you may want to read carefully as I’m going to tell you an easy trick on the next line for not wasting that $100 on Facebook ads.
Let’s split the $100 into two $50. What’s your business about? Do a little research or analyze what ads your competitors currently run, if you can’t come up with an idea.
Think of that content and create content for two ad campaigns. Once you’re finished, start running the promotion at least for a week for each campaign.
Seems easy, right? Wait, you’re not done. Instead of sitting and smoking a cigar, while your ads run, start analyzing how they perform.
After your ad has been in the process of running for several hours, you may start optimizing it. By optimizing and measuring your ads every 24 hours, you can at least get your invested money back after the campaign ends. You can do this several times while you find out which ad type works the best for your product or service.
And this whole idea means that you don’t have to invest thousands of dollars to start Facebook ads. All you need to kick off is $100.
3. Conduct webinars and provide valuable information to your audience
Webinars can help you to:
– Stay connected with your current customers
– Make announcements about your products or services
– Talk about niche related topics
– Connect with a wider/new audience and tell them about your services
Webinars are a little bit underrated among Facebook marketing, but they can become a huge weapon for increasing your engagement and driving more sales.
And here comes a question. How to start conducting webinars? Well, the first step is to choose a topic, that can bring value to your audience.
Let me tell you some interesting webinars topics that might be interesting for any audience:
These are really basic ideas that you can start with, and then you can make your webinars a big part of your digital marketing strategies.
After deciding what topic to choose, you have to think about the environment and the time you are going to shoot it. Be sure to make everything in high quality: Setup lights, camera, and voice.
There are lots of tools, which will help you stream your webinar in a professional way on your Facebook page.
After setting all these things up, it’s time to go and create an event for your webinar. Write an engaging description, pick an eye-catching title, create a beautiful cover pic or cover video for your event. Don’t forget to choose the right time. You have to understand your audiences’ timezone and pick a time that will be convenient for them to participate in your webinar.
4. Use Facebook insights wisely and make decisions based on your data
Make the most of the data that Facebook Insights provides about your right audience for targeting and marketing. Here is a short list:
5. Use Facebook polls and get feedback from your audience
Conducting polls is a very interesting way of engaging your audience. Why?
Let me give you a quick example. People love playing games everywhere. And why not think about a game idea and give your customers something each week?
Why will it work?
Facebook gives you the opportunity to create polls with texts, photos or GIFs. You can publish them in your story or news feed. They’re a really cool way to increase your page engagement rate.
6. Build a Facebook group in your niche and discuss interesting topics there
Facebook groups are a little bit underrated nowadays. But I can’t really find the reason why.
WordStream reports that more than 100 million Facebook users belong to meaningful Facebook communities. Why not build another great community on Facebook who can ask questions, discuss some topics, and gather an active community around your brand name?
People love communities. They love to meet new people on social media and discuss their problems, ideas with others. And also they love to hear what other people talk about their minds.
And you can build that emotional relationship between them. And when your community will become a little bit bigger, you can do other cool things, including the following:
This list can last long. I just want to give you the idea of how you can use the community for making a stronger emotional connection with your brand. It will also help you to get your brand name more popular on Facebook.
7. Reply to any activity on your page positively
Whatever happens on your page you must react promptly before any other person․ Any activity should be under your control.
In the past, where bots or automatic answers weren’t available in Facebook, it was a little bit harder to react to all the activity happening on your Facebook page in a short time.
But now you can set chat-bots and automate the whole messaging process of your page.
We have to realize that people who live in the 21st century, don’t like to wait even a minute more. They want their issues to be solved ASAP. If you can’t give the best experience to your users, then the chances are high that you’ll lose your customers. Just be with your customer whenever they need you.
You can set an auto-reply for any recommendation you’ll get for your product. If it’s a positive recommendation and your customer is happy, thank him/her and tell them something awesome.
If the recommendation was negative, don’t mess up. You have to find out the reason why the customer is angry with you and left a negative review on your page. When getting negative feedback for your company, you must dig very deep for finding out the real reason why your customer isn’t satisfied. Maybe someone from your employees did something bad to him/her? You should know about it.
Even if it is the worst feedback about your company (in a professional way), don’t remove or ignore it. If someone else comes and sees bad and unanswered feedback from someone, that can hurt your business a lot. Also, you can’t remove negative feedback, so you have to answer as clear as possible, for not negatively impressing others.
8. Always analyze your competitors and keep an eye on them
Do you know what’s the ranking of your page among your Facebook competitors? There are several tools and ways that you can use to analyze your competitors for generating new ideas for your page.
If we start from the beginning, the first thing to analyze is the kind of posts your competitors making on their page.
You can use the Facebook “pages to watch” report and add your competitors there.
What about the ads they are running? You can see that information publicly by checking their ads and info section. By doing this, you’ll know where and how your competitors target their ads. And it can give you lots of ideas for your next marketing campaigns.
If you do this analysis twice per month, it will be complete enough for knowing everything about your competitors.
Facebook marketing tips haven’t changed a lot since the last year. Usually, marketers underrate some tools Facebook provides, such as groups and polls. If you understand how you can bring value to your audience by using these tools, they’ll be effective for you.
Roman Daneghyan is the Chief Marketing Officer at Renderforest. He can be found on Twitter @roman_daneghyan.
The post Eight tips to get the most from your Facebook business page in 2019 appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Does social media have an impact on your SEO? Do retweets, shares, and likes of a page actually boost that page in search engine results?
Studies like this one by HootSuite have suggested that there’s a correlation between social media shares and higher rankings. You might have noticed that yourself: content that ranks well on Google often also has a lot of shares, retweets, and likes.
Google+, which once included the promising Authorship markup, is soon going to be shut down.
So what’s going on? Why do posts that get shared a lot also tend to be posts that rank more highly?
Social media and SEO: Correlation, not causation
While social media shares might be correlated with better rankings, that doesn’t mean that the social media shares cause better rankings.
A piece of your content could get shared thousands of times on Twitter without necessarily budging at all in Google’s search engine results.
Instead, when social media appears to be causing a boost in ranking, this is what’s happening:
As AJ Kohn puts it, “It’s not the actual social activity that matters, but what happens as a result of that activity.”
And, back in 2017, Simon Ensor suggested here on Search Engine Watch:
In that post, Simon took a look at the impact of link earning, co-citation and co-occurrence and brand authority and CTR – it’s well worth a read if you want to dig deeper into why social media tends to have an impact on SEO.
Here, though, I want to focus on the practicalities: what can you do to harness the power of social media?
#1: Create content that’s worth linking to
If your site has very little content, or if the content is poorly written or uninteresting, why would anyone feel moved to link to it from their site?
A common culprit here is self-promotional content: standard web pages that advertise your services or products, or tell readers all about your company. These are important for your site – but they’re not likely to get much traction on social media.
Instead of producing more of the same on your blog, focus on creating content that’s more informational and less salesy. Maybe it’s a tutorial helping readers to do something, a collection of useful tips, a well-designed infographic, or something else that people will want to share with their audience.
You don’t need to invest a lot of time in this (though if you do have the time, it’s well worth mapping out a full content marketing strategy). Simply having a couple of really good in-depth blog posts, or some interesting and useful data, can give you the opportunities to get not only lots of shares but also links from influential websites.
#2: Don’t try to build links on social media
If you’re thinking about “building links” on social media for SEO, you’re thinking about it wrong.
Yes, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn themselves are authoritative – but links from personal accounts on those sites tend not to be.
Firstly, most links from personal accounts are “no-followed” which means that they don’t strictly pass search engine reputation.
And secondly, from a search engine perspective, even if they did pass reputation, it would likely be from the personal user and not the social media site (so it wouldn’t be worth a lot unless that user was very influential).
On top of that, links on social media tend to get buried deep into a news feed within minutes or hours – they don’t stay visible like links on websites.
Instead of approaching social media as a way to build links, then, you need to think about it as a way to build a following. That doesn’t necessarily mean going after as many people as possible, though.
#3: Build (the right) social media following
Having a huge social media following probably won’t hurt, but it may not help as much as you’d imagine, either.
Instead of focusing on the sheer quantity of people following you, think about the quality of your following.
Being followed by just 100 people can be better for SEO than 10,000 if it includes the top 5 influencers in your industry who publish content on a regular basis.
To get noticed by these people, it’s a good idea to:
If you want to harness the power of social media to – indirectly – help your SEO, try creating valuable and interesting content, building the right following on social media, and helping out your followers (without expecting anything immediately in return).
You’ll likely see that you naturally gain valuable backlinks – and that your content, and site as a whole, begin to rank better as a result.
Joe Williams is founder of Tribe SEO. He can be found on Twitter at @joetheseo.
You are now living in the midst of a tantalizing revolution as the great minds of user experience (UX) and search engine optimization (SEO) finally converge to produce beautiful on-page content designed to rank in search results AND engage or educate the user.
Gone are the days of plugging in keyword phrases into your blog posts to get the density just right and building landing page after landing page targeted at keyword variations like, “automobiles for sale”, “cars for sale” and “trucks for sale”.
Since the introduction of RankBrain, the machine-learning component of Google’s Core Algorithm, in late 2015, Google has moved farther away from a simple question and answer engine and has become a truly intelligent source of information matching the user’s intent — not just the user’s query.
Crafting compelling content is tough, especially in such a competitive landscape. How can you avoid vomiting up a 1,500-word blog post that will meet the deadline but fall very short of the user’s expectations? If you follow these 10 on-page essential elements, your brand will be on the right track to provide a rich content experience designed to resonate with your audience for months to come.
Always seen in the <head> block or the beginning of a web page’s source code, the title tag is text wrapped in the <title> HTML tag. Visible as the headline of the search listing on results pages, on the user’s browser tab, and sometimes in social media applications when an Open Graph Tag is not present, this text is intended to describe the overarching intent of the page and the type of content a user can expect to see when browsing.
What I mean by “intent” can be illustrated with the following example. Say my title tag for a product page was Beef for Dogs | Brand Name. As a user, I would not expect to find a product page, but rather, information about whether I can feed beef to my dogs.
A better title tag to accurately match my users’ intent would be Beef Jerky Dog Treats | Brand Name.
Query = “beef for dogs”
Query = “beef jerky dog treats”
How do I know what the title tag of my page is?
Identifying what has been set as the title tag or meta description of your pages can be done URL-by-URL or at scale for many URLs. There are distinct uses for each discovery method, and it is always important to remember that Google may choose to display another headline for your page in search results if it feels that its title is a better representation for the user. Here are a few great online tools to get you started:
Are there guidelines for crafting the perfect title tag?
Yes. The optimal title tag is designed to fit the width of the devices it’s displayed upon. In my experience, the sweet spot for most screens is between 50-60 characters. In addition, a page title should:
Though the text below the headline of your search result, also known as the meta description, does not influence the ranking of your business’ URL in search results, this text is still important for providing a summary of the webpage. The meta description is your chance to correctly set a potential user’s expectations and engage them to click-through to the website.
How do I build the perfect meta description?
Pay close attention to three things when crafting a great meta description for each of your website’s pages: branding, user-intent, and what’s working well in the vertical (competitive landscape). These 150-160 characters are a special opportunity for your page to stand out from the crowd.
Do your page descriptions look and sound like they are templated? Investing time in describing the page in a unique way that answers user’s questions before they get to the website can go a long way in delighting customers and improving search performance.
Take for example the following product page for the Outdoor Products Multi-Purpose Poncho. The top listing for this product page is via Amazon.com, with a very obviously templated meta description. The only information provided is the product name, aggregate rating, and an indication of free delivery.
While not the top listing, the following result from REI Co-op clearly includes the product name, breadcrumbs, aggregate rating, price, availability, and a unique non-templated meta description. The standout feature of this meta description is that it does not copy the manufacturer’s text, provides some product differentiators like “easy to pull out of your bag” and “great travel item” that speak to user questions about portability.
The meta description plays an important role in complementing other elements of a well defined rich result, and it is often overlooked when retail businesses are using rich results to improve the ecommerce search experience specifically. That said, the same considerations apply to information focused pages as well.
Section heading elements (H1-H6) were originally intended to resize text on a webpage, with the H1 being used to style the primary title of a document as the largest text on the page. With the advent of Cascading Styling Sheets (CSS) in the late 90’s, this element had has less effect. CSS started being used for much of this functionality, and HTML tags acted as more of a “table of contents” for a variety of user-agents (i.e. Googlebot) and users alike.
For this reason, the primary header (h1) and subheaders (h2-h6) can be important in helping search engines understand the organization of and context around a particular page of written content. Users do not want to read through a huge brick of text and neither do search engines. Organizing written words into smaller entities (sections) will help digestion and lead to better organic results, as seen in the example below:
In the example above, the primary topic (How to Teach a Child to Ride a Bike) is marked-up with an H1 tag, indicating that it is the primary topic of the information to follow. The next section “Getting Ready to Ride” is marked-up with an H2 tag, indicating that it’s a secondary topic. Subsequent sections are marked up with <h3> tags. As a result of carefully crafted headings, which organize the content in a digestible way and supporting written content (among other factors), this particular page boasts 1,400 search listings in the top 100 positions on Google — with only 1,400 words.
Over 92% of long-tail (greater than 3 words) keyword phrases get less than 10 searches per month, but they are more likely to convert users than their head term counterparts.
Focus on providing your potential users with answers to the search questions about a particular topic, rather than granular keyword phrases, will lead to a more authentic reading experience, more engaged readers, and more chances of capturing the plethora of long-tail phrases popping up by the minute.
Internal links are hyperlinks in your piece of content that point back to a page on your own website. What is important to note here is that one should not create a link in a piece simply to provide a link pathway for SEO success. This is an old practice, and it will lead to a poor user experience. Instead, focus on providing a link to a supplemental resource if it will genuinely help a user answer a question or learn more about a specific topic.
A great example of helpful internal linking can be found above. In this article about “How to Ride a Bike”, the author has linked the text “Braking” to an article about types of bicycle brakes and more specifically how to adjust each type for optimal performance.
If there is supplemental information on your own website to substantiate your claims or provide further education to the reader in the article at hand, link to this content. If this doesn’t exist or there’s a better source of information on a particular topic, link out to this external content. There’s no harm in linking out to 3rd parties and in many if not all cases, this will serve as a citation of sorts, making your content more legitimate and credible in the user’s eyes.
Linking to sources outside your own domain, also known as external linking, is often seen as one of the major ranking factors in organic search. External entities linking to your content are similar to calling someone you live next to a good neighbor, with a credibility effect similar to the citations you put in a term paper or an article on Wikipedia.
When writing a post or crafting a page for your own website, consider the following:
If you are crafting the best user experience, you will want to take special care in building an authentic, data-driven relationship with your past and present customers.
There are no magic rules or hacks in how you link to external sources. As the SEO industry evolves, you will realize professionals are simply “internet custodial engineers,” cleaning up the manipulations of the past (part of the reasons for Penguin, Panda, Hummingbird, and less notable algorithm changes by Google) and promoting the creation of expert-driven, authoritative, and accurate (E.A.T.) content on the web.
For more information on E.A.T., check out Google’s Official Quality Raters Guidelines.
Now more than ever, visual search as an alternative to text search is becoming a reality. In fact, even Pinterest’s CEO Silbermann said, “the future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords.” Seen below is data from Jumpshot compiled by Rand Fishkin at SparkToro that confirms Google Image Search now makes up more than 20% of web searches as of February 2018. As a result, including images in your content has some unique benefits as it relates to search engine optimization (SEO):
A great example of using varying types of content to break up a topic can be seen below. In the article titled, “How to Tie the Windsor Knot”, the author has provided an informative primary header (h1) based on the functional query and also included video content (in case the user prefers this method of consumption), origin information, a comparison of this knot to others, and an explanatory graphic to walk anyone through the entire process.
By providing an abundance of detail and multimedia, not only can your business realize the additional search opportunities in the form of video object structured data and alternate text on the images, but meet the E.A.T. standards that will delight your potential users and drive performance.
Open Graph Tags
Developed by Facebook in 2007, with inspiration from Microformats and RDFa, the Open Graph protocol is one element of your page that can be easily forgotten because it’s often built into popular content management systems. Forgetting to review how your shared content will display on popular social networks can kill productivity as you race to add an image, name, description post-publishing. A lack of “OG Tags” can also hurt the shareability of the piece, decreasing the chances for its promotion to be successful.
“OG Tags” as they are commonly referred to are similar to other forms of structured data but are specifically relevant to social media sharing. They can act as a failsafe when a page title is not available, as Google commonly looks to this field when it cannot find text between the <title> elements.
How can I construct and validate open graph tags on my website?
Unless your content management system automatically generates Open Graph tags for you, you will have to build a few snippets of code to populate this information for those sharing your posts. You can find a few tools to help you out below:
Code snippet generators:
Code snippet validation:
Meta Robots Tags
The content your team produces will never get the success it deserves in organic search if no one can find it. While a powerful tool for ensuring search results stay nice and tidy, the meta robots tag can also be a content marketers worst enemy. Similar to the robots.txt file, it is designed to provide crawlers information about how to treat a certain singular URL in the search engine results and following it’s contained links, a single line of code can make your page or post disappear.
Where can I find the meta robots instructions?
This specific tag (if your website contains one) is generally contained within the <head> section of the HTML document and may appear to look similar to the following:
<META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, NOFOLLOW”>
What instructions can I provide to crawlers via the meta robots tag?
At bare minimum, your URL will need to be eligible for indexing by Google or other search engines. This can be accomplished with an INDEX directive in the content field above.
Note: It is still up to the search engine’s discretion if your URL is worthy and high-quality enough to include in search results.
In addition to the INDEX directive, you can also pass the following instructions via the meta robots tag:
NOINDEX – Tells a search engine crawler to exclude this page from their index
NOFOLLOW – Instructs the crawler to ignore following any links on the given page
NOARCHIVE – Excludes the particular page from being cached in search results
NOSNIPPET – Prevents a description from displaying below the headline in search results
NOODP – Blocks the usage of the Open Directory Project description from search results.
NONE – Acts as a NOFOLLOW, NO INDEX tag.
If you are taking the time to produce a high-quality article, make sure the world can see it with ease! Competing against yourself with duplicate articles and/or pages can lead to index bloat, and your search performance will not live up to its true potential.
The canonicalization and the canonical tag can be a tricky subject, but it is one that should not be taken lightly. Duplicate content can be the root of many unforeseen problems with your business’ organic search efforts.
What does a canonical tag (rel=”canonical”) do?
In simple terms, utilizing a canonical tag is a way of indicating to search engines that the destination URL noted in this tag is the “master copy” or the “single point of truth” that is worthy of being included in the search index. When implemented correctly, this should prevent multiple URLs with the same information or identical wording from being indexed and competing against each other on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Can my canonical tag be self-referential?
Absolutely. If it’s the best version of a page, do not leave it up to a search engine to decide this. Wear the “single source of truth” badge with pride and potentially prevent the incorrect implementation of canonical tags on other pages that are identical or similar.
Page Speed Test
Last but not least, we can’t forget about page speed on individual pages of a business’ website. While the elements listed above are great for helping search engines and users better understand the context around a piece of content, page speed is important for ensuring the user gets a quality technical experience.
The entire premise of using a search engine is centered around getting a quick answer for a particular question or topic search. Delivering a slow page to a user will likely lead to them leaving your website all together. According to a study from Google across multiple verticals, increasing page load time from 1 to 5 seconds increases the probability of a bounce by 90%. That could be a huge loss in revenue for a business.
Source: Google/SOASTA Research, 2017.
Tools for testing page speed:
Page by page:
Crafting the perfect piece of content is more than simply understanding your audience and what they want to read about online. There are many technical elements outlined above that can make or break your success in organic search or many other marketing mediums. As you think about producing a blog, an informational guide, or even a product page, consider all of the information a user needs to take the desired next step.
(All screenshots were taken by the author for the purpose of this article.)
Cooper Hollmaier is Associate Program Manager, SEO at REI.
The post 10 on-page SEO essentials: Crafting the perfect piece of content appeared first on Search Engine Watch.
Pleasure to introduce my self i am Sean Webb i am 27 years old from Manchester, UK.I am doing affiliate marketing and have spend lots of time learning how to rank easy to medium competition keywords. I have recently started PPL and Video Marketing and learning more about it.