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The rules of ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) have changed. It’s no longer possible to easily buy your way to a top spot in Google’s organic search engine results pages, and the only way to excel in the modern world of internet marketing and SEO is through great content marketing and shareability.
The most recent updates to Google’s ranking algorithms, Penguin and Panda, have been the basis for a great deal of speculation and discussion about these types of changes to SEO in the last 12 months. However, all high level marketers now agree that great content marketing through blogging or another means is at the heart of SEO success.
If you’re on the fence, here are four reasons your company should’ve started blogging yesterday, and ways to think of content creation as much more than just a few blog posts per year:
1. Blogging & content marketing are not necessarily what you think they are
It’s time to put your business first and rid yourself of any preconceived notions about the frivolous nature and poor quality of blogging from the early days of the web. Today, content marketing actually involves producing a variety of formats based on desired effects and prospective audiences. For example, events like Felix Baumgartner’s daredevil free fall from the edge of space–released on YouTube for the launch of Red Bull’s Stratos line of energy drinks–are a modern example of very expensive content marketing. The video of his fall simultaneously broke many only viewing records, including 8 million live concurrent viewers from around the world at once, while also producing an amazing amount of buzz and marketing for Red Bull.
While most businesses don’t have the budget for this kind of stunt, you can be rest assured that developing content strategy and ideas for your business’ blog or other publications has the potential to be much simpler. Past academic thesis can work perfectly in serialized formats. Or consider the 100 case studies sitting somewhere on your company’s intranet for only a few potential clients to see each month! This type of high end content can bring new life, better search rankings, and more revenue to your business.
2. The only way to gather inbound links and excel on Google is through great content
Unless you’ve literally invented the greatest product since sliced bread, the number one factor in sending visitors to your website thanks to SEO or referral traffic is through inbound links. And what’s the best way to gather inbound links? Through fascinating, high quality content production and distribution on a blog or similar piece of technology. (Check out our Introduction to Link Building post for a quick primer.) Google’s latest updates indicate that its web crawlers will be more interested in conversations that are constantly evolving and adding value to the web, rather than online “brochures” thanks to a constant flow of content. It’s clear by now that static websites will and have become the “billboards” of the web that fade into the background, even with the best design and animation.
While these facts has proved to be true for many years in SEO, the Google Penguin and Panda updates of the last 12 months have truly sealed the deadly fate of these brochure-style sites.
3. Content marketing is the best way to build authority and gather new opportunities and customers
Great content marketing has less to do with an occasional blog post, and more to do with how marketers formulate strategy distribution. It involves finding where your target audience is already residing on the web, and involving them in industry conversations with fascinating, high quality information that sets your business as a clear leader in your industry.
All too often managers and owners of small businesses tend to believe that “blogging” is not for them. This has proved to be especially true in the law, industrial, medical science, and the financial industries. While social media and blogs may be considered too “soft and fuzzy” in these spheres, professionals in these fields really should really frame their potential marketing work in terms of producing and distributing valuable white papers, industry reports, studies and much more instead, and whether they’re in a million dollar business or not.
4. Facebook search will factor in content and recommendations
Conversations and content will also be the basis of high rankings in social search, such as the upcoming Facebook graph search. The web has become the 21st century equivalent of the medieval market or the Middle Eastern bazaar. Blogs and social media networks have become more than a place to buy things and be entertained, as they’re now a place to confide, gather advice, and discover new things. This buzz will be essential to listings in the new Facebook search, because just like Google’s, Facebook’s algorithms will factor in conversations, content, and more. One of the easiest ways to fuel positive feedback for your listing is by taking an active role to ask customers to join in the conversation, either through blogging or social media outreach and community management. Excellent content marketing is just what your Facebook followers need to seal the deal and leave a positive review.
One of the best examples of a company that went from a small neighborhood shop to an international craze through content strategy–thanks to the hit American shows Sex in the City and SNL–is Magnolia Bakery, who kicked off the cupcake craze of the late 1990s and now maintains an active blog and social community continually fostering their popularity.
Great content marketing strategy’s next big challenge will be to reinvigorate the spheres of law, finance, industrial services, professional services, and medicine. The content is there, just waiting to come to life. All that’s needed is some great strategy and a beautiful platform.
Need some help to boost your content marketing strategy? Give us a shout and our experts will begin their work asap.
3 Keys to Beginner’s Conversion Optimization for Small Business Websites (& the Money You’re Losing Without Them!)
Tuesday, January 1, 2013by The BWD Team in Marketing
While the art of the sale is ages old, digital tools have done quite a bit to innovate the entire process from start to finish. One of the most fundamental updates for marketing through these tools has been website conversion optimization and the resulting metric called “conversion rate“ used to denote those individuals who actually following through with a goal achievement–such as a sale–over the number of total browsers, or those just looking around.
As you can imagine, there are many many people simply “looking around” on any given website, and what a company like ours specializes in is getting those looky-loos to follow through with a positive outcome or goal achievement. All of the SEO, external advertising, or link-building in the world can send tons of traffic to a page, but how can you best ensure a sale once they arrive? This is the art of conversion optimization.
Prefer to outsource this to the experts? Send us an email and we’ll get started on your project right away.
Defining “conversion optimization” for small businesses
As you might expect, a “conversion” can involve a lot of different things for many different businesses. The one consistent factor is a goal achievement or positive outcome, small or large, for every successful conversion. While large goal achievements like a newly closed sale or a purchase of any kind online or off are best, smaller conversions such as a new email subscriber or social follower can be highly valuable as well. Sometimes these smaller conversions can lead to larger conversions later on, all acting as part of a “conversion funnel” throughout the digital sales process. At a minimum, it’s essential that your website enables some form of initial connection between the visitor and your brand.
While there are many robust solutions that control and segment the entire customer relationship after first contact known as CRM or customer relationship management systems for salesmen to continue following up with clients (our favorites are our favorites Infusionsoft or Streak), what we’re discussing today is more specific to the initial exposure a visitor has with your brand through your digital properties and the immediate outcome. What we want to do with great conversion optimization is not only get your visitors in the front door, but to the metaphorical cash register line–such as a contact form submission or e-commerce sale–as well.
Key #1: The importance of solid analytics in conversion optimization
What makes conversion optimization both fun and fascinating is the fact that statistics and analytics play such a major role throughout the entire process. While Google Analytics is–somewhat–free, we feel there are a host of other, higher quality systems out there at great value as well. While every business’ needs are different, we really love KISSMetrics right now starting at $49/month for our clients. It offers the most user friendly setup and customization we’ve seen yet, plus their API lets engineers (like ours!) create tracking for almost any kind of digital event–such as a click on a button, or a view on a contact form or shopping page–very easily.
Thursday, December 12, 2011by The BWD Team in Content Creation
Last month, Hubspot Blog observed that unfortunately, great content does not always lead to success. There are many factors you must consider before writing your new blog post. To ensure that your content positively influences your blog, consider the following suggestions.
Six Content Tips
- Target Audience Appropriate Topic – The central topic or idea behind your blog is the most important aspect to consider when writing for the web. You must make sure that your topic is appropriately targeted towards your blog’s audience. In order to do this, take the extra time to understand and analyze your audience, then review your idea, and make any necessary changes.
- Attention-Grabbing Title – Your reader’s first impression is almost always established with the title of your article or new blog post. Without a compelling and eye-catching title, your content remains hidden. A great heading should be short, concise, clear, and most of all interesting to your target audience.
- Detail Check – Details such as spelling and grammar count … a lot! Think back to an instance when you were reading a great novel or blog, and you found a typo. Did it cause a disruption in your reading? In order to avoid such errors, have a friend or colleague proofread and edit your work.
- Blog Promotion – Promote, promote, promote! This can’t be stressed enough. Besides, you’ve worked hard on your blog and you want others to read it and enjoy it. Share your latest blog post via social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter and work with companies like BW?D to pursue other forms of promotion.
- Sharing Tools – You don’t have to be the only one who promotes your work. Encourage your blog’s readers and fans to do the same by incorporating social media sharing buttons (Facebook and Twitter), on your blog. Last month, Hubspot Blog stated that including a twitter share button on your blog leads to at least seven times more blog mentions. What are you waiting for?
- SEO – Effective search engine optimization (SEO) will help your content receive the exposure it deserves. Identify keywords that are appropriate for your business, and use these throughout your blog in titles, tags, and blog posts. BW?D offers a number of SEO services to guarantee the placement of your blog in search engine result pages as well. Click here to learn more about SEO and link building for blogs.
These tips serve as a guide to proper content optimization. Remember, great content does not mean successful content. Think before you write.
Thinking of switching your Blogger account to a self-hosted version of WordPress? Need to transfer a large amount of content from one blog to another? Here are some great tips, which will ensure the effective transfer of your blog, while keeping your SEO and data intact.
Transfer Tips for Bloggers
- Compare and Contrast - Before beginning your blog transfer, prepare a list that will allow you to compare and contrast your old blog to your new blog. What kind of layout would you like for your new blog? What elements would you like to keep, and which ones would you like to change? Remember, a transfer gives you the chance to spice up the current layout if you choose to by working with an excellent team of designers and developers.
- URL Check and 301 Permanent Redirects - Be sure to compare and contrast the structure of your old URLs versus your new URLs as well. You will most likely need to setup a 301 redirect in order to retain the SEO “juice” your old pages have accumulated. These redirects will ensure that if a user ever visits an old URL, they’ll be sent to the same exact page on your new website. Blog What? Design provides an excellent, automatic script to take care of such a transition for any Blogger to WordPress transfer.
- Navigation Optimization, Page Titles, and Meta Data - If your new blog has been redesigned, make sure that your new primary navigation section includes the same links as the old design. The same goes for page titles, and meta data descriptions. Blog What? Design also provides for the seamless, and super fast transfer of these files no matter how large your databases may be.
- External Links - Change links that affect your new blog. Don’t assume any of these links will automatically change themselves. Go as far as contacting bloggers who have placed the link to your blog on their site, and ask them to update it to your new URL. Otherwise, 301 redirects will take over the job.
- Google Webmaster – Submit an updated site map to Google Webmaster Tools. Utilize the change of address function if you are migrating to a completely new domain.
- Technical Issues – Towards the end of your transfer, do a once-over and check for technical issues such as duplicate content caused by URL structures. You want to make certain that all your content and page templates can be seen by search engines, and duplicate content can heart your overall SEO.
These transfer suggestions will help you to determine an effective strategy for your blogs content and URL changes, with intact SEO. You don’t want to lose your blog’s rankings or traffic due to a poorly executed blog transfer. Make sure to carefully consider each step, to ensure a smooth transfer, and contact Blog What? Design to take care of the transfer from start to finish, today.
There are many SEO myths currently circling around the web. As a blogger, it is important to know the difference between web analytics myths and truths.
Five SEO Myths Dispelled for Bloggers
- Using old SEO will improve your blog – This is false. Technology is constantly changing. As a blogger, it is important to keep up with the current technological trends. Instead of hanging on to old SEO tactics, use your time and money to invest in other concerns such as working on your content, fixing technical issues on your website, or building links.
- Paying for links is bad and can get you banned – This isn’t necessarily true. On one hand, you may generate links to your blog or website by paying for products and services such as advertisements, press releases, sponsorships, etc. On the other hand, when paying for these products or services, you are always taking a chance. The good news – experts say that Google is unlikely to ban anyone for strategically placing paid links.
- Bad links won’t hurt your website – This is partially true. A few bad links won’t harm the reputation of your website, but an overwhelming amount just might, especially if you don’t take action. Make sure to protect yourself against unwanted SPAM by moderating the comments on your blog and keeping your address out of bogus websites through bad link building.
- Using meta tags has an impact – This is false. A meta tags is HTML markup that is inserted into a header or a web page after the title tag. Meta keywords haven’t been used for several years, and won’t impact the success of your website unless Google chooses to utilize them in the search results.
- Keyword density isn’t important – This is 100% false! Keyword density is the percentage of times a keyword phrase appears on a web page, compared to the total number of words on the page. Search engines use algorithms to determine how relevant the content is on a page, in which keyword density is a huge determining factor. But be sure not to over-stuff your post! Google can also pick up on the fact that their system is being abused, as well. Between five or eight iterations of your keyword is a good rule of thumb, and be sure they’re spread out from the beginning to the end of your post.
As a blog owner, there are times when it seems the code behind some of your posts, known as HTML, is especially convoluted and confusing. With <div> this and <span> that, how can one be expected to achieve even a basic mastery of what should be the Internet’s simplest language?
Did you know that HTML has not received a proper upgrade since 1997?
When considering the future development of your blog, HTML5 should be a defining factor. Whether you’re working solo or with a blog development company, it is important that your code be semantically written with a set of best practices or standards in mind. With the use of HTML5, this couldn’t be simpler! And an added bonus? When each page of your website is written this way, you’ll notice marked gains in your search engine placement.
Wednesday, August 8, 2011by The BWD Team in SEO
The Google PageRank metric was named after co-founder Larry Page and was initially developed by the search engine to assign a numerical weight to each element of a hyperlinked set of documents to determine relative importance within the set. He had envisioned the “perfect search engine” as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want,” and PageRank was initially a major part of that vision.
Today, however, Google uses more than 200 signals alongside PageRank to order websites, and these algorithims are updated on a weekly basis. These signals may include a variety of impact factors including the ways in which you feature key words, be it in header tags, within the body, their proximity, and more, or your page’s social proximity to a user based on their past interactions with the website and other social networks linked to it.
In fact, in the past Google has updated PageRank across the Internet only a few times per year. Sometimes, it’s even been as long as 11 months between updates. Although initially updated every month, these updates have been very sporadic in recent memory. Although PageRank updates have very recently been found on June 27, July 18, and now August 4, 2011, it is important to continue considering PageRank amongst many hundreds of additional factors as the two authorities below and many hundreds of others have further explained.
SEO. It’s a term often thrown about very loosely by companies that make guarantees about astronomical boosts in your rankings for certain search terms that seem too good to be true.
And they are.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a complex technique that encompasses a great number of disciplines, practices, and strategies. In fact, many parts of your website may contribute to your search engine optimization (or lack thereof), including the time it takes for pages to load, the way your posts are constructed, and the positioning of key words within your titles and content.
In this brand new series, Blog What? Design Inc. will identify various ways to ensure that your website makes its way towards the top of search engine results without you falling victim to the SEO gimmicks and fluff clogging up the Internet and general blogosphere these days. SEO may sound like an intimidating mythical beast you can’t quite figure out how to defeat, so here, we’ll explain some fairly clear formulas that will help you improve your website’s search engine placement and identify techniques that might hurt it.
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