Tag Archives: Search engine optimization

Brainstorm to Blogging Success (Part 2 of 2)

What is your motivation for writing blog posts? To produce content which will drive traffic back to you website rather than relying purely on search engine optimisation? To be ahead of the game with your business’ Social Media and build new connections or solidify your existing relationships? Or perhaps you simply find blogging an incredibly rewarding activity especially when you start to see followers, likes, shares and comments? Whilst your objective for writing blog posts may be subjective and individual, your goals should not be.

In Part 1 of Brainstorm to Blogging Success we shared three of our most recommended Tips:  What Does Your Target Readership Need and Want, Reader Engagement & Social Proof.

In Part 2 of this blog post, we talk about Commenting on Other Blog Posts, Key Influencers and how Content is King.

#4. Comment On Other Blogs Yourself 

Whilst a very effective way of promoting your blog is to visit other blogs and websites and comment on them, what I don’t mean by this is to simply leave backlinks to your own blog or website. Followers will quickly cotton on to this tactic and frankly, in most cases, be turned off by the blatant self-promotion.

So how do I drive traffic to my own blog then, I hear you ask? Well, the act of commenting itself will provide a link back to your blog or website – all a reader or follower needs to do is click on your name if they want to read more about you or what you have written and, hopefully, follow you as a result. However, this only tends to happen if you have written a knowledgeable, articulate and well-thought out comment and your own blog is highly relevant to what’s been written.

#5. Key Influencers

Become a key Influencer

Klout is probably the daddy of this with the largest consumer base of any influence marketing platform. When you share something via Social Media and people engage with that content, either by Liking, following, sharing or commenting, you will be seen by Klout to have influenced them. And what is influence? The ability to drive action. So, the more influential you are, the higher your Klout score. 

Follow key Influencers

This works in reverse however. Within Klout you can also check who your key influencers are. What is the benefit of doing this? Well, it enables you to identify and engage with millions of top influencers so that you can drive awareness of your brand or business online.

#6. Content is King!

Content is KingSince the introduction of Google’s Pandas and Penguins, gone are the days when you could simply place keywords and backlinks (links to other blogs, websites or pages within your own site) throughout your blog posts and web pages.

Pandas and Penguins are essentially algorithms Google has developed to mark down the search engine rankings of websites which violate their Webmaster Guidelines. Whilst the earlier Pandas sought to mark down website which provided ‘poor user experience’ and operated on the premise that ‘quality raters’ will determine the quality of a blog or website’s content, Penguins mark down sites which use manipulative techniques to achieve high rankings.

It’s all about the content! In other words, the higher quality your written content on your blog or website page(s) is, the higher your brand or business will appear in the search engine results. When writing your content, make sure that you include synonyms of your keywords and use long-tail keywords, i.e. phrases and links as calls to action such as ‘take a look at some of the other services we offer’ or ‘visit http://www.example.co.uk for further information’ rather than just individual keywords.

voe2

Whatever your motivation for blogging, keep the end-user in mind the entire time. Whilst it is imperative that you are interested in the content you write in order to develop an enthusiastic and influential voice online, it’s not about you!  Followers of you blog need to also feel enthused, interested by and more knowledgeable as a result of reading your posts. Blogging, as with all other Social Media channels is all about valuable exchanges and reciprocity – they’ll make the effort if you do.

Click here if you missed Brainstorm to Blogging Success: Part 1

Brainstorm to Blogging Success: (Part 1 of 2)

What is your motivation for writing blog posts? To produce content which will drive traffic back to you website rather than relying purely on search engine optimisation? To be ahead of the game with your business’ Social Media and build new connections or solidify your existing relationships?

Or perhaps you simply find blogging an incredibly rewarding activity especially when you start to see followers, likes, shares and comments? Whilst your objective for writing blog posts may be subjective and individual, your goals should not be.

In Part 1 of Brainstorm to Blogging Success we share three of our most recommended Tips:  What Does Your Target Readership Need & Want, Reader Engagement & Social Proof.

#1. What Does Your Target Readership Need and Want?

Understanding the needs and motivations of not only the people who read your blog but also the potential followers who comment on it is the lynchpin of successful blogging. And, this presents a real opportunity to be regarded as an authority in your industry. Instead of competing with others, don’t be afraid to be yourself – this will ensure that you are being original and an authentic voice which is ultimately what will make your voice heard. By being somebody who people feel they want to get to know, your business or services will become of interest to them also.

Real Time Search   Social MentionWhilst the comment that you write will what helps this process along, a little online alchemy goes a long way.  Check out Social Mention, a highly recommended search and analysis tool which monitors and measures what people are saying (user-generated content) about your company, industry etc. across 100+ Social Media channels including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Google+. Social Mention will then aggregate that content into one stream of information and also send you daily social media alerts allowing you to keep track of all activity in real-time and respond if appropriate.

#2. Reader Engagement

Never underestimate the importance of this. Reader engagement is a litmus test for how valuable your content is considered and rated by its readers and followers.  If nobody is interacting with it, most likely it won’t be doing your business or your Website any favours. And if they are, then you are on your way to becoming a key influencer and industry which Google will certainly also reward you for (see Social Proof).

Social Media is about solving people’s problems, in other words providing answers to questions they might have, empathising with and helping to resolve bug bears and issues they might have ultimately understanding their online habits and likely end-user activity. Are they looking to purchase a product and service, looking for answers to burning question which if you resolve, will compel them to recommend your business and become a brand ambassador or simply to engage with them and listen to what they have to say. Spend time considering what type of relationship you would like to develop with your followers to ensure that your content delivers the most effective and targeted messages. 

#3. Social Proof 

Whilst your blog will gradually (or rapidly if you’re doing really well!) attract new followers, unless they are engaging with that content, i.e. via Comments, ReTweets, Likes, Google +!’s and so on, this will not influence your website traffic or search engine ranking.

The main reason for this is that readers engaging with your content by commenting and sharing to their own Social Media channels enables the search engines to measure your social proof, in other words it demonstrated that your content has some kudos and you are considered an authority in your industry in terms of content writing.  The benefit of this?

Ultimately Google, Bing and the like will rank your blog and website higher in online searches.

You can also produce custom reports in Google Analytics to track which posts are resonating the most with people and which are way off the mark and tweak your activity accordingly. Facebook Pages and LinkedIn Company Pages to name a few also have their own inbuilt analytics which enable you to do the same and continuously evolving as user-friendly and easy to understand tools for monitoring the influence of your content.

Whatever your motivation for blogging, keep the end-user in mind the entire time. Whilst it is imperative that you are interested in the content you write in order to develop an enthusiastic and influential voice online, it’s not about you!  Followers of you blog need to also feel enthused, interested by and more knowledgeable as a result of reading your posts. Blogging, as with all other Social Media channels is all about valuable exchanges and reciprocity – they’ll make the effort if you do.

Soci@lite’s Miniclass: What is Guest Blogging?

Guest blogging involves either writing blog posts to be published on other bloggers’ blogs, or another person writing a blog post to appear on your blog. Guest blogging is used by many bloggers because it is a really effective method to drive traffic to your website and as well as enabling you to network with other bloggers from your industry. Guest blogging also helps with branding and getting your name or company in the spotlight, building your social media presence and gaining more industry experience.

How 

  • Research your topic and write the post before you pitch it to a submission site
  • Find a blog that is accepting guest posts or contact a website that might be willing to accept a guest post
  • Introduce yourself and tell them what you would like to write about
  • Apply any suggestions or feedback from the host site concerning your content
  • Include an optimised backlink to your website in the byline
  • Vary where you post
  • Respond to comments left on your post
  • Include an author bio and introduce yourself to your readers
  • Read other articles on the host website
  • Promote your guest post to social media websites

Where

  • The first and best place to start your research is the search enginesGoogle, Bing, Yahoo and the like. Compile a list of sites that you would like to contact for guest blogging
  • Consider maintaining a spreadsheet detailing the name of each site, title of the article you submitted, contact name, email address, page rank, anchor text and the date that you submitted your article
  • Try to seek out well-established blogs which feel offer you the best opportunity to attract like-minded readers as your own site
  • Contributing your knowledge or experiences on other websites will also create a line of communication and encourage new readers to visit your website
  • Find well-known websites or blog authors in your industry and contact them with a polite email enquiring as to whether or not they are willing to showcase one of your articles
  • There are also a number of blog submission websites which rely solely on the submissions of guest bloggers which can be extremely helpful as long as they target your audience

What

  • Submit to a website or blog where the content will be valuable or useful to its audience and ensure your content is unique and easy to read
  • Be honest, straightforward and demonstrate your knowledge

When

  • Wait until you have established a well-written blog and are confident in your blog and article writing abilities
  • It is most beneficial to guest post whenever you have important or link worthy content to share
  • Unique content is always the best way to target potential customers because it guides readers to your material

Guest blogging can be extremely mutually beneficial. The host site/author is provided with link worthy unique content and a link on your site and you as the guest blogger have the opportunity to not only direct traffic back to your website but content is king. Posting unique content will help your search engine ranking and hopefully search engine traffic no end. Guest blogging can also help you to gain backlinks, increase traffic, develop your company brand and acquire new customers.

Soci@lite Miniclass: Reciprocal Links & Anchor Text

anchor-tag-cloud

Anchor Text and Reciprocal Links work together to provide invaluable link value to your website and have the potential to significantly increase your website ranking.

Anchor Text is the hyperlink or clickable text found on a webpage. Using accurate Anchor Text is essential for good Search Engine Optimisation and when used appropriately it can drastically boost your rankings in the search engines. The Anchor Text provides descriptive and useful information for the page that it links with.

Anchor Text also enables websites to use cleaner looking text rather a distracting hyperlink, e.g. <a href=http://www.social-ite.info>Soci@lite</a> would appear as Soci@lite on the page.

A common mistake is “Click Here” Anchor Text, which apart from neglecting to describe your  content to page visitors and search engine crawl bots, means you will not benefit from SEO ranking. At one time, Google Bombing used large amounts of Anchor Text to influence the rank of a link that directed visitors to unrelated content. However in January, 2007, Google created a new algorithm which reduced the impact of Google bombs.

Where to use Anchor Text:

  1. External links (links from other sites)
  2. Internal links (links on your pages)
  3. Links on your main page
  4. Navigation maps

Top Tips for Appropriate Anchor Text: 

  • Branding: include the company or product name, e.g. Soci@lite Social Media Training & Consultancy
  • Context: provide a relevant description, such as Social Media Blog rather than just Blog
  • Keywords: include your targeted keywords to increase SEO benefits
  • Readable: it is crucial that your Anchor Text makes sense to human page visitors, not just search engines
    Succinct: try to keep your Anchor Text under 60 characters
  • Unique: each web page should have a unique Anchor Text to describe it – use variations and secondary keywords

Reciprocal Links are created when two websites agree to exchange links with each other. Anchor Text is crucial to this because you want your link partner to accurately describe your site and your site to also rank for the keywords that you are targeting. It is always good practice to use Anchor Text which is going to influence your SEO goals and positively portray your website. Search engines look at both the quantity and quality of sites that link to your site. A Reciprocal Link can bring more traffic and boost your website’s SEO ranking.

Ten Top Tips for obtaining Reciprocal Links:

  1. Find high-quality complementary sites not competitors, unless the advantages outweigh the disadvantages
  2. Initiate a link exchange by placing a link to a site on a relevant page of your own site
  3. Contact the site owner
  4. Inform the site owner of who you are, what your website is, why you’re interested in linking to their website, and how you both can benefit from the exchange
  5. Inform the site owner that you have already linked to their website and if they agree to exchange links you are happy to modify the Anchor Text to something of their choosing
  6. Provide them with the URL of the page where you’ve placed their link
  7. Request that they link back your site and suggest a page where the link may be appropriate
  8. Provide the HTML code that includes the hyperlink and the keyword Anchor Text so they use the correct Anchor Text for your link
  9. If you have not heard back within a couple of weeks then send a brief, polite reminder, but don’t push it as they may reconsider in the future
  10. Keep a detailed and organised list of sites that you have propositioned a link exchange with so you know who has provided you with a link and who you still need to contact

Although search engines such as Google assign more value to websites with the most relevant and superior links, it is of equal importance that the right Anchor Text is used in order for your keywords to be ranked and your traffic targeted. Try to diversify your link exchanges by not focusing on only high-value sites.

Finding high-quality link partners can be a difficult and time-consuming task however the eventual payoff is fantastic – good luck!

Related articles 

How to Achieve Backlink Building Success

link building imageOne of the most powerful methods of Search Engine Optimisation for your website is the accumulation of high quality backlinks. Backlinks, or inbound links, are incoming links to your web pages and are an integral part of any successful SEO strategy. Backlinks are important because they are a measure of the popularity of your website and will direct or drive in a high amount of new traffic. Google and other search engines will rank more highly a website that contains a higher number of good quality links. Good backlinks will come from sites with a similar theme or from within your industry and have a high Google PageRank. It is however possible to find ‘bad’ backlinks and these will usually come from sources such as link farms. To avoid this situation, it is highly recommended that you use a backlink builder to find suitable and reputable sites to link with and then approach the site’s Web Master.

Search engines determine the relevance of a website associated with a keyword by its backlinks and the anchor text used within those backlinks. Anchor text is as crucial as the backlink to you your site’s ranking because it denotes the subject of the page and helps target your specific audience. Guest Blogging is one of the ways in which you can acquire a backlink for your website.

MailChimp new keyword search filters Eric Ward Link Building SpecialistAccording to Link Building specialist Eric Ward, “if you regard links solely as an SEO function, link-building initiatives may end up creating an unnatural inbound link profile. Fix this by working toward more cooperation between the public relations, marketing, sales and SEO teams”.

Successful link-building isn’t limited to work by an SEO specialist adding links to directories, or adding anchor text to press releases. It requires the garnering of links to be a structured marketing activity built into all PR and marketing campaigns. I see many great campaigns which don’t harness their link-building potential.

Once you have built a network of high-quality sites which link back to your own website, Google and other search engines will view your site as a reputable online resource in your field.  However, without a structured, managed process integrated into all campaigns, your link building and Search Engine Optimisation efforts will fail. As Link Building Specialist Eric Ward has also stated, “link-building is nearly indistinguishable from public relations”.

So, if you’re serious about SEO and link-building, creating new content and information which adds value for visitors to your website, then you will need a strategy for how to apply the types of content that will attract links and resource it properly – Pages and Press Releases alone will not be sufficient. So why not start today by contacting some of the Webmasters of sites you would like to reciprocally link with and negotiate a mutually beneficial deal. The rewards will be worth it!

Simple Tips for a great online Bio

Katherine Hanson Socialite  Online MediaWhy are Bios so important? Everything you write should support your Personal Branding Statement or mission, which should be able to fit on a single line on your business card. You should also include in the header of your website and/or blog if possible. Mine, for example, is: Soci@lite helps businesses to navigate the world of online marketing and master the metrics.

A Personal Branding Statement is essential to promote the brand or image you’ve decided on and everything you do or say needs to underpin it. From this, you can produce a really effective and powerful Bio. Whether you write in first- or third-person include something about whom and what you are. People are looking for a personal connection when they read a Bio, so make sure you are giving them a feel for you as a person, not just a business.

Here are some important points to bear in mind:

  1. Your personal Bio should be no more than a single-page document about yourself
  2. State who you are and how you can help clients
  3. If you make a claim, make sure that you can support it
  4. Write from the you/your and WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) perspective. Remember, it’s about them, not you. People are only interested in how you can help them – leave your background/experience information for your About page (if you must include it) or a link to a Social Media Profile
  5. Call To Action – Tell them what to do next, for example, visit my website to find out how I can help you in your business, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a free eBook on…., etc.
  6. Create a very short version of your Bio for social networking sites
  7. If you write a Blog you will need two Bios: a short intro on your Blog’s landing page and a longer version for your About page
  8. Your longer one-page Bio will be invaluable if you regularly speak publicly, guest blog or offer your services elsewhere
  9. If you are talking about yourself, it’s more natural to write in first-person. But if the bio is going to be used by others, use third-person

BrandYourself-Logo-with-Tagline1BrandYourself “makes it as easy as possible to help anyone improve their own search results and online reputation”. BrandYourself started in 2009 after one of the co-founders couldn’t get an internship to college because he was being mistaken for a drug dealer in Google. BrandYourself aim to “put the power of SEO and online reputation in everybody’s hands, regardless of how tech savvy or wealthy they might be”.

Search engines such as Google are increasingly integral to your reputation, however unless you know how SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) works or have thousands to spend on an online reputation company, you have very little power over them.

BrandYourself’s Top 3 pet hates about Online Reputation companies:

  • They deliberately mystified the Search Engine Optimisation process, making their customers feel trapped
  • They often used quick, manipulative “black hat” tactics that only help search rankings in the short term instead of focusing on long term “white hat” techniques.
  • They overcharged customers for something they could easily do themselves if they simply had a platform that educated and empowered them to do so.

In 2012, BrandYourself conducted a national study in conjunction with Harris Interactive which explored the Googling habits of over 2,500 US adults.

Key Findings:

  • 86% used Google or another search engine to find more information about another person: 75% of adults searched their own name, yet 48% of that number said that most of the search results about them weren’t positive and 30% found nothing about themselves online at all
  • 45% found something that made them decide NOT to do business with a company, with 42% having searched someone before doing business with them

Click here to download a copy of the Harris Interactive study.

Related Articles:

Soci@lite Miniclass: What is Link Baiting?

Linkbaiting imageWhat is Link Baiting?

The quantity and quality of inbound links are two key metrics that a search engine will use to rank a website. Link Baiting aims to increase high-quality, relevant links and can be defined as the use of any content or feature within a website to specifically draw attention to or encourage others to link to that website. As the success of Link Baiting is dependent on quality content therefore making it viral by nature, it is an extremely powerful form of marketing. 

Why are people hooked by Link Baiting?

  • An existing relationship between the linker and the content creator
  • Incentives such as badges, web-based embeddable tools, affiliate income, etc. which benefit the linker
  • The linker was cited as a resource in the linkable content
  • They found the page/post content extremely compelling and voluntarily linked to it

Elements of a Link Bait 

  • A strong headline that is capable of capturing the readers’ attention is the first vital aspect of a highly linkable content.
  • A list of contacts who will be interested in sharing the Link Bait before actually launching it enhances the viral effect of the Link Bait once it goes live
  • Information – the research and conceptualization phase of the content, the quality of the information as well as the method of approach are all utilized to result to an exceptional finish product.
  • Unexpected hook – This is the section of the Link Bait that usually triggers readers to share or link to the content because of its unexpected approach, may be through its comprehensiveness, uniqueness or informative nature.
  • Webpage Design which mainly entices readers to delve in more into the content, whether through the images, layout of the content or infographic used within the page.

Traditional Link Building Hooks 

  • Other Websites (curated) – cites them as resources naturally attracts linkers and increases its virality as the linker will share it through their own site and social networks
  • Evil Hooks – Saying something unpopular or mean may also yield a lot of attention. Writing about something that is not appealing about a product or a popular blogger.
  • Humour
  • Infographics
  • Information
  • News
  • Tools
  • Unique content
  • Widgets

Social Media traffic can also generate a substantial amount of links to a single web page making it another powerful medium through which to put Link Baiting into practice.