Category Archives: SEO Coaching

Google versus Yahoo!

When it comes to internet search engines the top two are without a doubt Google and Yahoo!.

Although the two a fierce competitor they share more common bonds then some people might realize. Both were created by students at Stanford University. Yahoo! was created in January of 1994 by two Stanford graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo. The pair originally called Yahoo! “Jerry’s guide to the World Wide Web” but later changed the name to Yahoo!, commemorating the word the Jonathan Swift defined in his classic novel Gulliver’s Travels. In the book Swift stated that the word was “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Four years after Yang and Filo had created Yahoo! and introduced it to the world (at this time it was a internet mogul) two different Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, created their own search engine, Google, as a research project, the date was September seventh 1998. Google started out as the search engine used on Stanford University’s website before it went public on August 19, 2004. When 2006 ended Google was the leading internet search engine, it enjoyed over 50.8% of the market.

By the time it was a year-old Yahoo! had had over a million hits, the sheer number of people who had found and were using Yahoo! prompted it creators to incorporated their creation in May of 1995. Yahoo! went public on April 12 1996 were it earned a total of 2.6 million dollars.

Google’s progress was a little slower then Yahoo!s. Shortly after creating Google, Page and Brin registered it as the domain on September 17, 1997 on Stanford University’s website. Approximately one year after registering Google on Stanford University’s website the pair decided to incorporate their research project. Finally, on August 19, 2004, Google had its very first public offering. Google is currently the favorite internet search engine.

After its meteoritic climb to glory Yahoo!’s creators and shareholders were confident that they were holding onto a gold mine. They did not predict the burst of the bubble in the early two thousand. Yahoo! survived the crisis, but the value of Yahoo! stocks dropped to $8.11, an all-time low.

Yahoo! uses a combination of web crawler compiled and indexed results to rank the websites and webpage are registered on their search engine. In addition to rankings compiled by the web crawler, webmasters can, for a fee, purchase a submission to Yahoo!’s human compiled directory. The annual yearly fee is about three hundred dollars. The theory is that the listing humans provide will influence web crawlers into giving the website a higher ranking.

Google credits its success and popularity to the program it uses to search and rank webpage’s, a program it calls PageRank. Because Google is worried about webmasters using abusive techniques to garner higher rankings for their search engines Google carefully keeps the hows and whys of PageRank a closely guarded secret. Google does confess that PageRank runs on a link analysis algorithm. PageRank was different from all the rest of the search engine optimization techniques because it graded each page based on the number of and quality of the links that pointed to it.

Yahoo! quickly grew fond of offering the webmasters that subscribed to its search engine the opportunity to purchase something called paid inclusion. In exchange for a fee, Yahoo! guaranteed that the webpage’s would be ranked. What Yahoo! didn’t guarantee was what type of ranking the webpage’s would receive; they refused to promise that the webpage’s would appear in the first two pages of a search.

Google uses a pay-per-click method to charge advertisers. Each time an advertisers link is clicked Google charges the account fifty cents.

Google and PageRank-Search Engine Optimization’s Dream Team

On September 7 1998, two Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founded Google, a company they started as part of a research project in January 1996. On August 19, 2004 Google had its first public offering, the one point six-seven billion dollars it raised gave it a net worth of twenty-tree billion dollars. As of December 31, 2006, the Mountain View, California based internet search and online advertising company Google Inc. had over ten thousand full time employees. With a 50.8% market share, Google was the most used internet search engine at the end of 2006.

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin began creating Google it was based on the hypothesis that a search engine that could analyze the relationships between the different websites could get better results then the techniques that already existed. In the beginning the system used back links to estimate a websites importance causing its creators to name it Backrub.

Pleased with the results the search engine had on the Stanford University’s website the two students registered the domain on September 14, 1997. A year after registering the domain name Google Inc was incorporated.

Google began to sell advertisements associated with keyword searches in 2000. By using text-based advertisements Google was able to maintain an uncluttered page design that encouraged maximum page loading speed. Google sold the keywords based on a combination of clickthrough’s and price bids. Bidding on the keywords started at five cents a click. 

Google’s simple design quickly attracted a large population of loyal internet users.

Google’s success has allowed it the freedom to create tools and services such as Web applications, business solutions, and advertising networks for the general public and its expanding business environment. 

In 2000 Google launched its advertising creation, AdWords. For a monthly fee Google would both set up and then manage a company’s advertising campaign. Google relies on AdWords for the bulk of its revenue. AdWords offers its clients pay-per-click advertising. AdWords provides adverting for local, national, and international distribution. AdWords is able to define several important  factors in keywords when and ad is first created to determine how much a client will pay-per-click, if the ad is eligible for ad auction, and how the ad ranks in the auction if it is eligible.

By following a set of guidelines provided by Google, webmasters can ensure that Google’s web crawlers are able to find, index, and rank their websites.

Google offers a variety of webmaster tools that help provide information about add sites, updates, and sitemaps. Google’s webmaster tools will provide statistics and error information about a site. The Google sitemaps will help webmasters know what mages are present on the website.

The major factor behind Google’s success is its web search services. Google uses Page Rank for its search engine optimization program. Page rank is a link analysis algorithm that assigns a numerical weight to every single element of a hyperlinked set of documents, like the World Wide Web. Its purpose is to measure the relative importance within the set. PageRank is a registered trademark of Google. Stanford University owns PageRank’s patent.

A Brief History of Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is the art and science of making web pages attractive to internet search engines. Some interne t businesses consider search engine optimization to be the subset of search engine marketing.

In the middle of the 1990s webmasters and search engine content providers started optimizing websites. At the time, all the webmasters had to do was provide a URL to a search engine and a web crawler would be sent from the search engine. The web crawler would extract link from the webpage and use the information to index the page by downloading the page and then storing it on the search engines server. Once the page was stored on the search engines server a second program, called an indexer, extracted additional information from the webpage, and determines the weight of specific words. When this was complete the page was ranked.

It didn’t take very long for people to understand the importance of being highly ranked.

In the beginning search engines used search algorithms that webmasters provided about the web pages. It didn’t take webmasters very long to start abusing the system requiring search engines to develop a more sophisticated form of search engine optimization. The search engines developed a system that considered several factors; domain name, text within the title, URL directories, term frequency, HTML tags, on page key word proximity, Alt attributes for images, on page keyword adjacency, text within NOFRAMES tags, web content development, sitemaps, and on page keyword sequence.

Google developed a new concept of evaluating internet web pages called PageRank. PageRank weighs a web page’s quantity and quality based on the pages incoming links. This method of search engine optimization was so successful that Google quickly began to enjoy successful word of mouth and consistent praise.

To help discourage abuse by webmasters, several internet search engines, such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and, will not disclose the algorithms they use when ranking web pages. The signals used today in search engine optimization typically are; keywords in the title, link popularity, keywords in links pointing to the page, PageRank (Google), Keywords that appear in the visible text, links from on page to the inner pages, and placing punch line at the top of the page.

For the most part registering a webpage/website on a search engine is a simple task. All Google requires is a link from a site already indexed and the web crawlers will visit the site and begin to spider its contents. Normally a few days after registering on the search engine the main search engine spiders will begin to index the website.

Some search engines will guarantee spidering and indexing for a small fee. These search engines do not guarantee specific ranking. Webmaster’s who do not want web crawlers to index certain files and directories use a standard robots.txt file. This file is located in the root directory. Occasionally a web crawler will still crawl a page even if the webmaster has indicated he does not wish the page indexed.

YouTube CEO To Creators: We’re Going To Be Better About Demonetization

YouTube, in its efforts to protect brands from being associated with violent, extreme, or otherwise inappropriate content, has spent the better of 2017 demonetizing a huge number of videos, in what has become known as the “adpocalypse.”

While the video site’s aggressive action has allayed some of the fears of brand partners, it has also angered creators, who feel their videos are being stripped of revenue in an overzealous manner. Some videomakers, such as h3h3productions, have begun to spend more time on other platforms as a result. Others have documented the volume of lost ad revenue they are enduring.

In order to cut down on the number of videos it flags for demonetization, YouTube is taking action. In a blog post, CEO Susan Wojcicki has promised to use both human and technological means to reduce the number of yellow icons that appear in Video Manager suites across the site. Such a policy shift would logically result in more monetization for rule-abiding creators.

“We are planning to apply stricter criteria and conduct more manual curation, while also significantly ramping up our team of ad reviewers to ensure ads are only running where they should,” Wojcicki wrote. The blog post did not offer specific details on how exactly YouTube will tighten its demonetization criteria. The video site has been criticized for applying the inconsistent application of its rules. An October incident involving the demonetization of a Casey Neistatcharity video drew particular ire.

The additions to the ad reviewer team will, in theory, allow YouTube to better police the automated systems that flag videos as inappropriate for advertisers. While creators are able to appeal demonetization decisions they believe to be false positives, that process is time-consuming.

Demonetization is not the only ad-related area where YouTube is marshaling more manpower. The video site has also announced a force of 10,000 humans who will work to purge inappropriate videos.

Wojcicki hopes to incorporate YouTube’s creative community into the introduction of these new policies. “We will be talking to creators over the next few weeks to hone this new approach,” she wrote in her blog post.


The 7 Simple SEO Mistakes That Are Killing Your Content Marketing Strategy

High-quality, informative content is one of the most important success factors in B2B marketing.

In fact, research shows that 89% of B2B marketers are using content as a main channel in their marketing strategy. With that said, just 19% rate their organization’s efforts as successful and only 41% are clear on what an effective or successful content marketing strategy even looks like.

Though there is indeed an impressive growth in the use of content as an essential tool in their marketing strategy, B2B companies and marketers are still making SEO mistakes that are simply killing their content quality and marketing efforts. This post will teach you the core SEO mistakes that are killing your content strategy.

Although they are usually treated separately, content marketing and SEO goes together like cereals and milk. SEO is all about keywords, backlinks and great onsite optimization.

The best way to get backlinks is by publishing killer content, and letting the masses link back to it.

Now that we’ve established the connection between B2B content marketing and SEO, we can start laying down the SEO mistakes that are killing your content marketing strategy:

  1. Creating short content: Google loves long, in depth, informative content that satisfies the searchers needs. Generally, the more in-depth the content is, the more likely it solves the searcher’s intent or question. As opposed to that, what Google hates the most is when searchers click a link on a SERP, sees that it’s not what they were looking for, and immediately bounces off by hitting the back button – this is called Pogo Sticking.


  • This doesn’t mean you should be writing long for the sake of long (it also doesn’t grant you permission to be boring or paste large batches of text that are unscannable and tiring, but more on that later on). Do however make sure your content is comprehensive enough to answer searchers’ questions. A good strategy would be to determine the main keyword phrase and google it, to see how long the content in the 3 top SERPs is and make sure yours is longer, more concise and more in-depth. Make sure to add something to that content that others didn’t to make it more valuable to the readers (and the search engines).


  • Using too long paragraphs: Without refuting the above, a good way to lose your reader’s attention, is using long paragraphs. Most people SCAN, not read. Short paragraphs encourage reading by being easier on the eyes and are easier to understand


  • Not making content breaks: In the age of smartphones, the average reader’s attention span became even shorter than that of a goldfish. The importance of recapturing the reader’s attention continuously throughout an article became even bigger. Breaking up the text, using subheads, lists and images,


  1. Misspellings in content: According to Google’s Matt Cutts, while misspellings are not used as a direct signal in Google’s (over 200 different) rating factors, “reputable sites does tend to spell better than sites with low page rank”. While probably not hurting your ranking, misspellings sure can hurt your credibility in the eyes of the readers and chances of getting linked to.


  1. Not doing optimization: Your content is part of your website. Like the latter, every single piece of content should be optimized both for search engines and readers. You can, and should, optimize your content’s meta information like you do for your site. Write unique meta titles and descriptions for each of your content. Same goes for optimizing images and using CTAs. This will increase visibility on SERP and shareability on social networks.



  1. Not creating outbound links: The most unfortunate misconception in the SEO industry, is that a page/site will lose Authority/Page Rank/Trust if directing users to external sites with outbound links, this is utter BS. If your content is only “me talking” and does not link to other content, why would readers and search engines find it credible and authoritative enough to link to you (and rank you higher)? Content that is more well-researched usually cite sources by linking to it. Google also recognizes this as a signal for that site/page credibility and users will more likely trust and share (and link to) this content.


  1. Not promoting your content: Your content being better than anyone else’s doesn’t mean it will instantly go viral and reach No. 1 ranking on SERPs. Though it’s a more cost-effective way of promoting your content, a great (white hat) SEO strategy takes time. Today, marketers can’t afford to neglect any type of owned, paid or earned media in their strategy. Combining the three will help you attract, convert, nurture and close leads. Find what mix works for you by focusing on your overall marketing goals. Each goal will require a different combination of media, finding the right mix and constantly evaluating and measuring it against set KPIs will help you reach your marketing goals.


Ensure your content marketing success by applying these SEO techniques in its implementation. Implementing these techniques properly will lower your marketing costs and help boost the results of your content marketing efforts.

If you found this useful, it might interest you to learn how to leverage your marketing efforts by implementing and inbound marketing strategy. Download our How to create an effective inbound marketing strategy guide and learn all about it.


4 easy ways for real estate agents to boost their business with Google AdWords

With today’s online-first consumer marketplace, real estate agents must be as savvy with technology and marketing as ever to rise above their competition. Especially with the influx of millennials entering the real estate market, creating and maintaining a captivating online presence is a must.

Advertising through Google AdWords makes it possible for any agent to harness the undeniable power of online marketing, while staying cost-effective. The tool from Google allows you to select your desired audience and choose which search terms your ad will appear next to in the Google search results that relate to those keywords.

Putting the power in the hands of the advertiser, AdWords gives real estate agents creative and executional control. As a cherry on top, you only have to pay for your ad when the internet searcher clicks on it.

For real estate agents who are interested in opening a Google AdWords campaign, here are a few questions to consider from a user’s standpoint:

  1. Where will your ads take me? The last thing we want to see is for you to draw up a huge, elaborate Google AdWords campaign without thinking about what the internet searcher will land on. Before you put a campaign in motion, ensure your website is well-presented and well-written. If your site cannot easily handle all the leads pouring in it as a result of the advertising campaign, you’ve wasted your money.


  1. What do you want me to do? Make your call-to-action one of the first things the user sees when clicking through your ad. People online have notoriously short attention spans. Considering this, make sure they know what you want from them — their contact information, newsletter signup, or buying or listing a home with you.


  1. How can I work with you? Google AdWords allows you to easily list your business’ information and connect with the leads you’ve worked hard to garner. By having your address and contact information appear as part of your ad campaign, users will not have to frantically try to track you down and lose interest in the process. The most important thing for capturing a lead is making sure you are easy to get a hold of.


  1. Can you work in my area? The beauty of Google AdWords campaigns can be found within its customizability. Ads can be tweaked for variables like ZIP codes or specific neighborhoods so they can pertain to each unique user. Since real estate is such a community-based and location-specific industry, you can get extremely targeted with your advertising campaign to personally reach every lead.


Real estate agents are now able to take control of their own digital marketing. In an online-first marketplace, this becomes increasingly important. Google AdWords gives you the power to customize your campaign to connect with the right leads for your business. Keep these considerations in mind before putting together a cohesive AdWords plan, and users who land on your site will appreciate the personal touch.


Social Media Marketing Evolves

As social media platforms evolve, adding new tools, mobile offerings, and enhanced personalization, indie authors are evolving with them. Facebook, Twitter, and the other major platforms are more crowded than ever, requiring authors to find more creative ways to be heard above the noise. Compounding this challenge is that these platforms have been adjusting their algorithms to filter posts for perceived relevance. (For example, this summer Instagram introduced a new way of ordering posts “so you’ll see the moments you care about first,” as the company described it in a statement.) This results in promotional messages being pushed lower on users’ feeds or filtered out altogether, putting added pressure on authors who are seeking ways to attract followers and gain attention.

One way around this is for authors to put greater effort into tailoring their social media messaging. “It’s important for authors to interact in an organic way—don’t set up your Facebook page and just say, ‘buy my book,’ ” says Carol Palomba, social media manager for the author submission service Writer’s Relief and its Self-Publishing Relief and Web Design Relief divisions. She has taken to advising the indie authors she consults with to avoid promotional language in their posts and, instead, to “talk about yourself, where you’re getting inspiration from, and share what would be of interest to readers and followers.”

Another way to stand out in a crowded social media landscape is to pay for ads outright. That has been the experience of Mark Dawson, an author of 25 self-published novels who has found significant success promoting his books through paid Facebook ads. He currently spends almost a quarter of a million dollars a year on Facebook ads alone, and has expanded from using them to sell his own books to teaching other self-published authors how to do it for themselves through his Self Publishing Formula service.

Since 2013, Dawson has experimented with a variety of online and social media platforms. He has found that Twitter offers “cheap, targeted clicks” that work well when he is going after a preexisting audience. For example, his spy/action novels share elements with the books of James Patterson, so he has created ads that explicitly say: “Do you like this book? Then you’ll like my book.”

“By looking at the whole thing holistically, you can put together an ad that is compelling,” Dawson says. “Then users click over to the store or sign on to my mailing list.”

Dawson has set up Lead Generation Cards on his Twitter account so that people who follow him receive a mention tweet back (not seen by others) that encourages them to sign up for his mailing list in order to receive a pair of free books. He emphasizes that building a mailing list is one of the most important ways to use social media, calling it “one of the most valuable assets authors can have these days. I can launch a new book into the top 100 on Amazon with the right email campaign.” And, thanks to the evolution of ad technology, it is getting easier for authors to use their promotions to directly sell books. The expanding availability and use of buy buttons on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere allows for direct calls to action to be embedded into ads or profiles, decreasing the number of steps a potential customer must go through from seeing a promotion to making a purchase.

Dawson says that, though Google Ads have worked for him, their high cost makes them less appealing. He has been doing some experimenting on Pinterest and LinkedIn as well. But it’s Facebook that has proved by far the most valuable for Dawson.

That’s not to say that it’s simple to succeed on Facebook, especially as its popularity has grown. When Dawson began using Facebook ads two years ago, “there was no one doing it,” and he was getting a substantial return on investment for his advertising dollars. This has tapered off as more authors and other marketers have embraced the service, and clicks have gotten more expensive and the audience less receptive.

But the number of potential readers on Facebook and the service’s tools to target them appeal to Dawson. “I can say, ‘Find more people like the people on my mailing list,’ and if you have enough points of accurate comparison, you can get a lookalike audience to send your ads to,” he says. While his mailing list is approaching 70,000 addresses, by delivering ads to a lookalike audience, the potential audience rises to millions, rather than tens of thousands.

Value in Video

An increasingly popular social media tool is livestreaming, which allows authors to directly interact with viewers, fans, and prospective customers, whether answering questions during a q&a or tracking their live reactions during a cover reveal. The recently launched Facebook Live has seen steady growth in number of livestreaming accounts and views. For authors struggling to stand out in a crowded newsfeed, the platform is ideal, as Facebook has been working to promote the service and those who stream on it. At least at the moment, if an author goes live, his or her friends receive a notification.

“You will get attention from folks who haven’t been watching what you’re doing,” says Julie Broad, speaker, indie author, and founder of Rev N You Training Inc., which specializes in tips for investing in real estate. Broad has used video to promote her books and events for years, but she believes that now is a particularly good time to get into livestreaming. “Next time you’re in a cool spot that will make for a great background or you have something really exciting to share around your book, go live,” she says.

YouTube Live is also a tool that she has found useful. Using that, Broad livestreamed a fund-raising event she held to promote her 2016 personal-improvement book The New Brand You. She did three burpees (a full-body strength-training exercise) for every person who bought three books at the event, called Burpees for Books. Proceeds from the sales went to the Canadian Red Cross and Believe in Youth.

In addition to offering real estate tips, Broad advises people on how to build their personal brands. She has found some of her greatest success with YouTube videos, which allow for longer messages and tips, and which she has used since releasing her first book, in 2013. While she continues to use YouTube, she has updated her approach to the service in intervening years. “YouTube now favors videos with higher quality when they show recommended videos—for example, HD- and 4K-shot videos are more likely to show above lesser-quality videos with similar content,” Broad says. She adds that she also has found that “good content is not enough to get attention.” As with so much in indie publishing, even if it’s self-produced, it doesn’t have to look it: good lighting, professional editing, and sleek use of sound effects and titles are all important.

Beyond the Big Guys

While Facebook and Twitter are the biggest platforms for authors seeking to interact with their readers, more-niche services appeal to authors who are especially looking to stand out. “There are more platforms than ever before, so that means there is more opportunity than ever before to connect with readers through social media,” says Keith Ogorek, senior v-p of marketing at Author Solutions. “The key is to really understand where your potential readers are gathered and use that platform to reach them.”

Ogorek says authors have found success with BookGrabbr. The service allows authors to share extended previews of their books with readers who post about the books on social media sites, with BookGrabbr then tracking analytics and impacts on sales. Though it’s a paid service, Ogorek has found that “it can really help a book get discovered and shared through your social network.”

The key, Ogorek says, is to focus on the particular platforms or services where readers are most likely to be. Romance authors will find a ready audience with highly visual posts on Instagram and Tumblr. Offering quick tips in Facebook Live or YouTube videos works well for self-help. Authors will find success by zeroing in on certain platforms, and on specific services within those platforms, and learning the nuances of what works and what doesn’t.

To help make sense of all of this, analytics have gotten better for authors. Rather than just looking at how many followers they have, authors can assess how engaged they are, how influential they may be, or how to reach others who are similar.

Ogorek urges indie authors to use these questions to guide their investments in social media and go beyond simply working to increase their numbers of friends or followers. “You are better off having 100 people follow you who have 1,000 followers who they can reach than having 1,000 who have 10 followers,” he says.

It is also key for authors to commit to platforms for long enough to see results. Those expecting instant success will likely be disappointed. But authors who embrace the process, gathering data from the analytics and using that to shape their decisions, are far more likely to learn from each step of their social media marketing efforts.

“There’s time involved,” stresses Palomba, of Writer’s Relief. “I’ve had people who run a Facebook ad and feel disappointed because it didn’t result in a lot of sales.”

Self Publishing Formula’s Dawson expresses a similar sentiment. “I’ve heard people say, ‘I spent $50 on Facebook ads and they aren’t working,’ but this takes time,” he emphasizes. “Some hit on the right combination early; others have to test a bit to get there. You need the data, need to test it and continually figure it out before you start to see a return.”


SEO How-to, Part 7: Mapping Keywords to Content

When optimizing a large site for search engines, you need a plan of attack. Keyword mapping is the process by which you determine which keywords of the thousands identified in your keyword research will be assigned to each page for optimization. It’s also an excellent way to determine which pages to prioritize for optimization.

This is the seventh installment in my “SEO How-to” series. Previous installments are:

  • “Part 1: Why Do You Need It?”;
  • “Part 2: Understanding Search Engines”;
  • “Part 3: Staffing and Planning for SEO”;
  • “Part 4: Keyword Research Concepts”;
  • “Part 5: Keyword Research in Action”;
  • “Part 6: Optimizing On-page Elements.”

Think of your website as an army of pages fighting the competition for rankings in natural search. You wouldn’t have every fighter in an army attack the same target in the same way. Each would have a different target or way of approaching the target. Doubling up would leave some of the competitors’ targets free to win rankings without a fight, while other targets would have so many fighters trying to accomplish the same goal that they’d get in each other’s’ way. In both cases, you’re not using your army to its full potential.

The same is true of optimizing content. The keyword map is nothing more than a tool to ensure that you’re deploying your valuable keyword research data to your army of pages optimally. Assign a unique keyword target for each page on your site to ensure that all the valuable targets are covered and none of the pages are fighting with each other for rankings.

Start by outlining the pages on your site in a spreadsheet.

List every page you plan to optimize and its corresponding URL on the left. If this sounds tedious, consider that most people start by optimizing the major category pages. Those categories are probably listed in the header navigation on every page of your site. Try viewing the source of a web page and copying-pasting the header navigation into a document. Then you can remove the extraneous HTML coding around the page names and URLs, and you’ll be left with a list that you can paste into your spreadsheet.

Crawling your site with a tool that mimics search-engine-crawler behavior is another method of collecting page information. For a free option, try Link Sleuth. It’s older and now unsupported but has a useful basic feature set. Screaming Frog is a more complete crawler available as a free limited trial, or with a minimal annual subscription.

With the pages captured, turn to your analytics and layer-in the visits and revenue data for each page. Then add in the average ranking from the Google Search Console “Top Pages” report. If you’re not already familiar with the VLOOKUP formula in Excel, this is an excellent time to learn. It can automatically pull in the data for each page name or URL from an export of your data, saving you from having to match them up manually.

And lastly, assign keywords to pages based on the keyword research you’ve already done. For every page, choose the single, most highly searched and relevant keyword to list in the “Primary Keyword” field. Then use your VLOOKUP formula to pull in the searches per month for that keyword. Choose a closely related secondary keyword as well, and include columns for additional keywords if your research is deep enough.

Make sure that the keywords are closely related when you’re assigning keywords to support the primary keyword. Just like each keyword needs one page to target it to maximize your ranking potential, each page should have only one keyword theme. That one-to-one ratio is very important.

It’s also important to choose a primary keyword that represents the totality of the content on the page. For example, in the image above, the last page shown contains “Body Scrub” products. In this case, “sugar scrub” is nearly twice as frequently searched in Google in the U.S. as “body scrub.” I’ve assigned the lower-valued “body scrub” as the primary keyword, though, because all the products on the page are body scrubs but not all are sugar scrubs. Sugar scrubs are a popular type of scrub, in addition to foot scrubs, foaming scrubs, and spa scrubs.

When the keyword map is completed, you’ll also be able to use it to prioritize where to start content optimization. The “searches per month,” “visits,” and “Google ranking” columns provide the data needed to choose pages to optimize that will improve your natural search performance. Pages that improve the most are ones that rank on the bottom of page one or the top of page two in search results, and that represent a higher number of untapped searches per month. On top of the search data, layer in your knowledge of the areas of your business that have the highest priority and the highest profit.

Enterprise search platforms, such as BrightEdge and Searchmetrics, do some of these calculations for you in predicting which pages to focus attention on. However, if you can’t pull all the data needed into your search platform, or if you can’t afford a search platform, the keyword map can be a good, manual method for prioritizing content optimization, as well.


How to Adopt an Authorpreneur Attitude

What do you think of when you think about investing in yourself? If you’re an entrepreneur, it probably brings up good feelings. Businesspeople know a thing or two about investing in their dreams. It’s a truism that you have to spend money to make money. You have to pay to play. Businesspeople talk about the money they put into their businesses—and by extension themselves—with pride. It’s part of the terrain. It’s expected. In fact, it’s admirable.


So why are the arts so different? There’s actually a sliding scale of stigma in the arts around self-investment, with book publishing at the very bottom of that heap. Film and music are slightly more evolved. Filmmakers and musicians are largely celebrated for their indie status. Fine artists have it worse off than filmmakers and musicians, but still better than independent authors. Getting a gallery show at an exclusive site is on par with being chosen by one of the Big Five for publication—and just as in publishing, it’s not always the best artists that are selected. Personality, popularity, and brand, as well as the curators’ tastes, play a big role.


The arts are subjective. Not everybody likes the same thing. But unlike in business, where consumers choose what they like based a founder or CEO’s vision or product, in the arts there are gatekeepers who hand-pick what rises to the top, and with measures that are increasingly connected to people’s already-attained popularity and success. In other words, it’s those who’ve already made it in some way who are getting the deals.

Perhaps this is the way things have always been, but there’s been a marked shift in recent years, and increasing divisiveness in the publishing industry, especially between traditionally published and self-published authors—and that divisiveness is upheld by the industry.


After all, the industry has a vested interest in the politics of exclusivity. And while I’d love to head up a coup to demand equal recognition, indie authors mostly need to keep at it, and to follow the best practices where it comes to editing, production, and design. And one more thing: adopt an authorpreneur attitude. This involves shedding the shame associated with investing in yourself and adopting the mentality of successful business titans. Even in politics campaigns are largely self-financed. People at the top of their game are celebrated for having the guts to believe in their work. As artists, we need to cultivate that same pride.


It’s true that this is no easy task if your work has been rejected or criticized. It’s true that writers must hone their craft and only put out their best work. It’s important to know that your work is good, that it’s ready to share with the public, with consumers, with an audience. But it’s not true that any gatekeeper—whether we’re talking about agents, editors publishers, or even university liberal arts programs—have the best taste, or that their “no” should equal the end of your aspirations.


If you’re an indie author, shifting your mindset starts with commending yourself for your bravery. It’s brave to risk. It’s courageous to believe in your work and to put your money where your mouth is. After the mindset shift, once you fully believe in what you’re doing, so much so that you’re ready to go to the mat with those who would make you feel less-than, you’re ready for the good fight. The kind of fighting I’m talking about starts with education and is supported by excellent results. Your job is to excel at your craft, and to do your best work. Beyond that, it’s to support other indie authors, and to be a champion for the indie cause.


For those with a mission to change the landscape, the true leveling of the playing field comes from changing hearts and minds. Consider that film has independent film festivals that specifically honor independent filmmakers, whereas book publishing has self-publishing-specific review sections and awards that seek to separate self-published authors out, not so much to honor but to segregate. Indie authors with an eye toward changing the future can and should start to demand change.


Write to associations, awards programs, and review outlets that exclude you, and let them know that you expect equal consideration. Ask them to judge the book based on its merit and not how it got published. Celebrate the efforts of those organizations that operate from a place of inclusivity rather than exclusivity. Never lose sight of the truth that there is enough space for all artists to thrive and succeed, and that the measure of an artist’s success has little to do with the method by which they rise to the top, but the continued persistence and resolve they exhibit on the journey.



Email: Still the Best Social Network Marketing Tool

While many businesses are guilty of chasing the latest digital marketing craze, good old email marketing is still the killer app to beat when it comes to return-on-investment for businesses.

“Email marketing allows us to send targeted messages,” says Jeffery Riggs, commissioning manager, Greyhawk, a program, project and construction management firm based in Mount Laurel, NJ. “We believe that participation on multiple platforms ensures we interact with others where they are most comfortable,” Riggs says.

Indeed, a 2016 study released by marketing consulting firm clutch found that email marketing still has the highest ROI of any marketing channel.

Eighty three percent of the companies Clutch surveyed said they were using e-newsletters to make new sales. And more than 70% were using stand-alone emails and follow-up emails to nurture nibbles of interest from customers

Moreover, Campaign Monitor, an email marketing firm, released a similar study last year.  It found businesses can look forward to a $38 return for every dollar they invest in email marketing.
And Henry Hyder-Smith, CEO, Adestra — an email marketing service provider and consultancy — confirmed the trend yet again in a study his company conducted with Econsultancy

Those researchers found that 73 percent of 1,100+ marketers interviewed said email was their number one marketing channel in terms of ROI.

The study, “points out that companies investing at least a fifth of their marketing budgets on email are eight times more likely to see sales attributable to it in excess of 50 percent,” says Hyder-Smith.
The reason behind email’s potency?  Despite all the buzz over social media, 58 percent of Internet users say the first thing they check on their computerized device each morning is email, according to a study by Exact Target

“Here’s the truth:  When you have someone’s email, you’re allowed to communicate with them when you want, how you want,” says Derek Halpern, owner, Social Triggers, an online marketing consultancy.

Halpern says he conducted his own informal test recently, pitting email against Twitter.  He sent out a post on Twitter with a link he wanted prospective customers to click-on. Then he sent out the same post and link via email.

The result: 50 of his Twitter followers clicked on the link, while 1,200 of his email subscribers clicked on the same link.  “Yes, my email list might be twice as large as my social media following, but it generated about 24 times more clicks,” Halpern says. “That’s the power of email.”

Also helping email’s cause has been all the work IT departments have been doing to block spam from getting to company email boxes.  

Overall, those safeguards have significantly decreased the amount of spam businesses users get as compared to just a few years ago.  

Consequently, email open rates are looking healthy. On average, 17.6 percent of emails are now being opened by recipients, according to IBM’s 2016 Email Marketing Metrics Benchmark study.

Of course, getting email marketing right for your contracting business involves more than simply knowing it works. Here are the 10 most popular best practices for email marketing, based on insights from the Econsultancy/Adestra survey:

Engage in Basic Segmentation  
Seventy-eight percent of companies said they’re doing basic segmentation with their email marketing.  Essentially, that means they’re creating slightly different versions of the same email marketing message to cater to different segments of a company’s customer base.  Some of your HVACR customers in the Southeast, for example, might get a slightly different message than customers in the Northwest.

Optimize for Mobile
Sixty-four percent of companies said they’re ensuring their emails are optimized for mobile.  In practice, this translates into using single column email designs that allow for easier resizing, using responsive design that automatically resizes an email based on screen size, and eliminating content in mobile emails that is ordinarily displayed on full-sized computers.

“More people view emails on-the-go and we want to make our information as accessible as possible,” says Greyhawk’s Riggs.  “We monitor our marketing email statistics and see a consistent 50-60 percent of opens on mobile devices. There’s really no logical argument against optimization.”

Adds Tom Templeton, owner, Coaching for Contractors says, “If you are depending on email as one of your sources of social media marketing,” optimizing for mobile is essential.”

Clean Your List Regularly
54% of companies surveyed said their email marketing success also hinged on ensuring they cleaned their mailing list regularly of emails that were bouncing back as no longer valid.  They also are quickly removing email addresses from the list when customers request it.

Encourage Sharing of Your Email on Social Networks
Forty-seven percent of customers surveyed said they got more mileage from their marketing emails after asking their customers to share those emails on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media networks.

Use Your Transaction Emails for Marketing
43% of companies said they had a standard practice of inserting marketing messages into transaction emails. In practice, an HVACR contractor might pitch another job or upgrade when confirming a deal by email.  

Include Video Content
Forty-two percent of companies said adding video content to their email was critical to the potency of those marketing messages.  Given that YouTube, the online video sharing service, is the number two most popular site of the Web, the move sounds like a no-brainer for contractors, who could easily post a video of one of their recent projects.

Practice Re-Marketing  
Forty-one percent of companies surveyed said they regularly use emails to remarket to customers.  A Web visitor who fails to confirm their new subscription to a contractor’s e-newsletter, for example, might be prodded again by email to confirm that sign-up.

Personalize Your Email
Thirty-seven percent of companies surveyed said personalization of emails was also key to their marketing success.  The personalization of emails went beyond simply addressing a person by first name.  Instead, other personalized data was included in the email, such as the person’s birthday, acknowledgement of previous goods and services purchased by the recipient and similar qualifiers indicating the company truly knew who they were emailing when they put together the message.

Use Emails for Lead Nurturing  
Thirty-five percent of companies said once they received a nibble on an offer by email, they regularly followed-up with additional emails to try and close the deal.

Combine Email, Multichannel Triggers
  Thirty-one percent of companies said once contact was made by email, they followed-up — as Greyhawk does ­­— by reaching out to the customer via other channels, including Facebook, Twitter, telephone, and old-fashioned snail mail. 


Why you need to get back to SEO basics

Do a quick search on Google for “SEO tips” and you’ll get over 14 million results. That’s a lot of tips to wade through when trying to figure out the focus of your SEO strategy. What’s more overwhelming is that’s just one search.

Each year there are new posts of list of the “hottest” tips and tricks that are “guaranteed” to work. While many of these tips are great, to really see results, you need to have a good foundation. In this post, I want to talk about getting back to the basics of SEO and why they are essential to long-term success.

When it comes to optimizing your site for search, the basics are some of the most important, yet often overlooked, aspects of SEO. The recent push of “content is king” has also caused many to forget the essentials and just focus on content distribution.

Here’s the deal: you can post all the content you want, but if your site isn’t optimized, you’re not going to get the rankings you want. So here are few basics you should cover before ever diving into the more complex elements of search.

Crawler access

If search engine crawlers have a hard time crawling your site, they’ll have a hard time indexing and ranking your pages, too. As a site owner or SEO, your first and most important job is to make sure that your site is crawlable. Using the robots.txt file, you can help direct and assist the web crawlers that are crawling your site.

There are certain pages on your site that you probably don’t want the crawlers to index, such as login pages or private directories. You can block files, pages and/or directories by specifying them as “disallowed,” like so:

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin/
Disallow: /folder
Disallow: /private.html

You can also block certain crawlers from accessing your site using the following (replace “BadBot” with the actual bot name you’re trying to block):

User-agent: BadBot
Disallow: /

Just be careful when blocking crawlers from your entire site; in fact, don’t do it unless you know for a fact that a particular bot is causing you trouble. Otherwise, you may end up blocking crawlers that should have access to your website, which could interfere with indexing.

If you are using WordPress, there are a number of plugins that can help you do this. If you are not using WordPress, you can also easily set up a robots.txt file on your server. Learn more about robots.txt here.

After you’ve created your robots.txt, it’s important to make sure Google can crawl your site. To do so, you’ll first need to create a site map. This can be done manually or with third-party tools. (If you have a WordPress site, there are many plugins available to create site maps for you.)

Once you’ve created your site map, log in to Google Search Console. (If you haven’t set your site up on Search Console, check this out.) You’ll want to upload your site map by going to “Crawl,” then “Sitemaps” in the left-hand navigation, ten clicking on the “Add/Test Sitemap” button in the upper right-hand corner. From there, you can test the site map and submit it to Google for indexation. (Note that it will take some time for Google to crawl and index your site.)

If you have already submitted a site map and just want to test/submit an individual page on your site, you can use the “Fetch as Google” feature, which is also under “Crawl” in the left-hand navigation.

  1. Once logged in, click “Crawl” in the left-hand navigation.
  2. Then select “Fetch as Google.”
  3. From there, enter the URL path of the page you want to test and click “Fetch.” (Leave this blank if you want to test the home page.)
  4. Check status. It should have a green check and say “Complete.”
  5. Click “Request Indexing” if available.

Making sure that Google can crawl your site is essential to getting indexed. Without having your site indexed, you will not rank no matter what you do.

Site structure

In today’s mobile-first, user-obsessed web culture, we sometimes overlook the simple and practical. While I am all for a good user experience and a huge believer in being mobile-first, I also believe we can’t forget the search engines. Having a solid site structure will add to your user experience and will help you rank better.

While this seems like a simple idea, building a good site structure takes time and planning. Not only does it impact your navigation and site links, it also helps the crawlers better understand your content and context. Site structure is all about putting your content together in a logical fashion. Don’t make your users or the search engines dig to find what they came to your site for. Learn how to create a great site structure here.

Titles and meta descriptions

Titles and meta descriptions are some of the most basic elements of SEO. While “titles” are considered in the ranking algorithm and descriptions are not, they both are still very important. Google may not use descriptions as a ranking signal, but that doesn’t mean they ignore them. The crawlers still read the descriptions — and any chance you have to tell the crawlers about your page, you should take it.

The title and the description are often the first things your potential visitors come in contact with in the SERPs. Here are a few tips for creating better titles and descriptions.


  1. Optimize your title tag around the core focus of your page.
  2. Don’t “keyword stuff.”
  3. Stay within 50 to 60 characters.
  4. Make it relevant to your users.
  5. Don’t have duplicates.


  1. Make it action-oriented.
  2. Add your primary keyword.
  3. Make copy easy to understand.
  4. Stay within 135 to 160 characters.
  5. Don’t have duplicates.

Having better titles and descriptions can lead to higher click-through rates and increase the visibility of your site in search. It’s important to note that if Google thinks your provided meta data doesn’t meet the users’ intent, they will alter it.

Before jumping into the latest and greatest SEO tactic, make sure you do the basics first. It’s amazing what a few simple tweaks and adjustments can do for your site and overall online marketing strategy. Make sure your site is crawlable, create a structure that is both user0 and search engine-friendly, and take the time to create better titles and descriptions. Doing the basics will help you build a strong foundation for long-term success.


3 Simple Ways to Build a Winning SEO Strategy on a Shoestring Budget

Search engine optimization can be overwhelming to many small businesses and startups. This aspect of online marketing can be even more intimidating if you have a small marketing budget and can’t throw money at your marketing strategy like your largest competitors can.

Fear not! I am here today to let you know that you can build a robust SEO strategy even if you work on a shoestring budget.

However, while you can grow your business on a budget SEO plan, I don’t want to give you the illusion that you can compete with the mega-corporations in your market right away. This is because many corporate competitors have spent millions of dollars and have decades of content on their side.

Those companies have a substantial head start that will dilute your SEO strategy if not done the right way. However, there are proven methods that your business can use to build a powerful online presence without needing to break the bank!

Small Budget SEO for Big ROI

Since you want to create an SEO strategy on a shoestring budget, you will need to use your time and resources efficiently. Instead of relying on a monthly budget of thousands of dollars, you will need to use your creativity and hyper-focus your efforts on an SEO strategy that will yield the greatest results.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the details and complexities of a large SEO strategy. Blogging, branding, backlinking, local SEO, etc. are all important aspects of a business plan, but they also take a lot of knowledge and experience to run efficiently.

Instead of getting lost in the forest of information, let’s focus on specific actions you can take to grow your online presence with a small SEO budget.

These tips will work for any business in any industry.

However, they will look different depending on your audience, goals, and the resources at your disposal. With that said, let’s take a look at how you can build a robust SEO strategy without investing a lot of money!

1. Focus on Long-tail Keywords

Your customers want answers to their questions, and they want to find the best deal without wasting time. This is why your business needs to focus on user intent when building your SEO strategy.

One aspect of this type of strategy for a business with a limited SEO budget is to use long-tail keywords instead of general keywords.

Long-tail keywords are key phrases that are very specific to the needs of your customers. These types of phrases are longer and more accurate than their more commonly searched variations.

Unlike standard keywords, long-tail keywords offer your SEO strategy several benefits, including:

  • Particular user-intent focus, content production, and publication.
  • Lower competition compared to general keyword variations.
  • Due to their specificity, long-tail keywords are highly focused and relevant to online searches.
  • Long-tail keywords drive higher conversions because they deliver highly qualified traffic and leads through online searches.

Even though long-tail keywords will have much lower traffic compared to generic keyword terms, if you are working on a small SEO budget then you need to focus on user intent and conversions.

It is far easier (and cheaper) to rank for specific keywords that are highly relevant to your audience than to rank for general terms that your large corporate competition is bidding on.

The reason that long-tail keywords work so well for budget-conscious businesses is that Google continues to advance their algorithm to favor content that is relevant to specific search queries.

Gone are the days of sprinkling generic keywords in your content and achieving great online rankings. Google’s business model depends on high-quality third-party data and relevant information for their users.

The first step of a great budget-conscious SEO strategy is to focus on the needs of your customers and produce content with long-tail keywords.

2. Publish Quality Guest Blog Posts

Guest blogging is a powerful way to strengthen your SEO strategy because it allows you to share your knowledge with a new audience and helps you generate backlinks.

There has been a lot of debate on whether guest blogging is still valuable. As long as you don’t spam garbage content on sites with low authority, then there is no reason to think that guest blogging is not a valuable SEO strategy for a business with a limited budget.

Guest blogging is an inexpensive method to build backlinks, establish great relationships, and share your knowledge with a new audience. While guest blogging is a proven strategy to build your online ranking on a budget, it will require a significant amount of time to perform necessary tasks, including:

  • Research your industry to find relevant sites that accept guest blog posts.
  • Produce amazing content tailored to the readers of that website.
  • Reach out to blog editors to build rapport and publish your excellent content.
  • Follow up and continue your relationship — most websites don’t let you do one-off blog posts.

You should approach guest blogging with the objective to provide value to your readers. When done correctly, your online ranking will increase because search engines will show that your business is an authority in your industry.

3. Local Optimization

So you want to rank nationally on the cheap, huh? Well, let me be the first to tell you that it takes a lot of time, money, and energy to rank nationally for competitive keywords.

Companies have been working for years and spent millions of dollars to achieve a high ranking for keywords. You won’t be able to reach high rankings for general, highly competitive keywords if you don’t have a lot of money to invest.

Instead of looking for widespread attention, you would be better off to focus your limited budget in your local or regional market. Dominating your domestic market will provide the highest ROI and quickest growth opportunity compared to spreading your attention across a larger geographic area.

Local SEO is the answer for your business if you are trying to build a strong online presence on a relatively small SEO budget. Here are three local SEO strategies you can use to dominate your local market and skyrocket your online rankings.

Set up Google My Business and Local SEO Accounts

If you don’t have a Google My Business account yet, stop what you are doing (after you read this article) and go set one up. Google My Business is the directory that Google uses to show local businesses based on the search done by an online user. Along with getting in front of your audience, Google My Business will also boost your local SEO efforts by:

  • Displaying your business on Google search results, Google Maps, and Google Plus.
  • Setting up multiple locations. If your business has different locations in a region then you can differentiate between the locations.
  • Upload videos and pictures. These are crucial if you want to overcome early objections and have a high-quality first impression.
  • Highlight reviews from past customers. This is a great way to drive sales with social proof.
  • Google My Business can help you build a loyal fan base and provides quick info about your business like directions, phone number, and hours of operation.

Those are just a few of the benefits your business will see with Google My Business. If nothing else, your business will drive conversions with a local SEO strategy with this great (and free) optimization tool.

Once you set up and optimize your Google My Business account, you will have premium exposure in Google search results, and this exposure provides your audience direct access to your business.

Even if your business does not have a brick-and-mortar store, you should still set up this service to gain all the benefits and qualified traffic.

To take your local SEO strategy one step further, you should also consider creating a business account with various local business directories. Some of the local directories I have seen great results from include:

Google My Business will position your company high in search results and local directories usually provide a no-follow backlink that can help your online ranking.

Generate Local Reviews

Customer reviews are the backbone of your local SEO strategy. Not only are these reviews essential for a low-budget SEO strategy, but they are also an easy way to improve your online presence.

Local reviews serve as a form of social proof, and they are quickly becoming the digital version of word-of-mouth marketing. Testimonials also help remove the nervousness of your potential customers from purchasing from you, especially if you offer a relatively unknown product or service because they:

  • Show that your business is trustworthy and community members use and love your services.
  • Help you build a positive reputation. This will help you build authority, especially if you are new to the market.
  • Increase exposure in online searches. Google Local uses reviews to understand your business and displays the reviews in local search results.

customer reviews local seo strategy

If you are operating on a limited SEO budget, then you should focus your marketing efforts and resources on your local community. You can run a simple campaign by asking your customers to provide a review on the spot, include an invitation on your receipts, and run marketing campaigns to get people to give testimonials on your website or online listings.

Get Involved With Local Networking & Meetups

Since a local SEO strategy is the best use of funds for a budget-conscious business (see above points), you should continue to build your authority in your local market by networking. If you are a new business, then you need to increase brand awareness, and you can accomplish this with local networking and building connections.

While this strategy takes a significant amount of time, you can also host a meetup or present at local events to reach new customers or build new partnerships in the community. Forming partnerships with other local businesses can help you generate great content and build a great backlink profile.

These elements will help your SEO strategy for almost no monetary investment. For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you can partner with a local wedding decor store to create a content series to talk about wedding-related issues.

This partnership means that your business gains access to the audience of other companies and this helps generate valuable content for your audience. You can also use these connections to form partnerships to improve your content marketing strategy, and help you build online connections to improve your backlink profile (see previous points).

Ballin’ on a Budget-friendly SEO Strategy

The great thing about SEO is that the best practices are constantly changing. This means you can build a robust SEO strategy even if you lack the big marketing budget of your competition. The only caveat is that you will need to invest time and creativity to improve how you rank online.

Just remember to focus your limited time, money, and resources on highly-focused content through long-tail keywords, optimize your business for local SEO, and publish excellent content through guest blogging to hit your business!



9 Business ideas you can start for less than $1000

Most people who have a full-time job don’t think about finding other sources that will make for them a passive income. However, there are people who have a small budget and don’t know how to invest that to make extra income. Fortunately, the internet gives a variety of opportunities which you can use to run a small business and get customers from all around the world. You may think it’s a great idea but will cost you more than you can spend. Here is the list of business ideas which you can run under 1000 dollars.

1. Business consulting

If you are a business consultant then you can offer your consulting services online. There are a variety of tools like Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber which you can use for video conferencing. These tools make it easy to reach customers from other countries. However, you should know that being a business consultant isn’t easy. You should have needed knowledge. For standing out in the crowded market it will be better if you offer a free consultation. In addition, if your customer gets valuable advice from you that helps him or her to solve the problem, then be sure that you will get paid for additional consultations with that business owner.

2. Digital marketing

During the last several years social media, blogs, and search engines change the way of marketing. They make easy for marketers to work for foreign companies. The internet is crowded with digital marketing agencies who work on an outsourcing basis. Like a business consulting for digital marketing, you can offer a free consultation as well. However, in this field, it may be a bit difficult to reach customers because the market is crowded with agencies who promise huge things but can’t provide a needed results. So people can’t trust any agency easily. If you are a marketer who doesn’t have enough experience, then this idea isn’t recommended. You will waste your time only.

3. Online tutorials

These days it becomes a popular to make online tutorials. No matter you are a programmer, designer, university tutor or fitness coach. You can make any video tutorial as well as live lessons through video conferencing. One of my friends is the IELTS tutor who has many students from other countries. She provides live lessons through Skype. So as you’ve noticed for teaching something there are 2 ways to do it, either making video tutorials and uploading it to your site or teaching with live video conferencing. If you already have chosen video tutorials then there are great sites where you can upload your courses e.g. SkillShare or Udemy.

4. Web design

Another source to make an extra income is web design. The only thing that you need is a powerful laptop with good wifi connection and being a professional designer. Not only you can get customers from freelancing sites like Upwork and Fiverr but also can attract people through your own site. It will be better if you have a portfolio. In addition, people like to see your previous jobs and if they like your work style then be sure they will hire you. 

5. Development services

The same approach mentioned above fits programmers too. No matter you are a web developer or app developer. It’s just enough to run a  small studio site where you offer your services and can show your previous jobs. Choose site name carefully. As you notice most people are likely working with the agency than with the individual.

6. Writing services

Most popular writers bloggers provide their services for anyone who needs a help in this industry. Running a blog is the great idea where you will write regularly. It’s like a portfolio for you. If someone will like your writing style then you may get an offer to write a book for them or write an article which they want to publish on the other site. Also, you can earn money from your own blog.

7. Travel expert

During the last months, I got many offers from travel experts and couple travelers who offer their advice, books, and blog posts. So how their business works? For getting involved in the travel industry you should travel a lot.  If you are a traveler and have an experience in this industry then your first step should be a running a simple site with a blog. Write about your experience regularly and share amazing pictures from those places where you have been. Yo may think that how do other travelers earn money through this approach?  So there are a variety of affiliate programs in traveling industry. You can choose some of those programs and offer cheap airline ticket, hotels as well as accommodations where other travelers can stay. Also, you can write a book and sell it to other travelers. You can offer consultations and advice, other people, where to go how to create their schedule and how to get the best experience on their budget. Another good solution to earn money is the becoming host on Airbnb and share your accommodation with travelers.

8. Accountant

As an accountant, you can offer your accounting services online. The only thins that you need is accounting certification, laptop, and phone. If you are a professional accountant then you may quit your job after some period and forget about spending the whole time in the office.

9. Local services

If you are likely providing local services then you can run a site where you offer any type of service which fits you. There are many People who run an online site where they provide tech support, house cleaning, house repairing, air conditioning installation and many many other services. It greatly depends on your profession. You should choose the service which you can provide with a high-quality.


As you notice the internet has changed the rules of running a business. Now everyone can run a business and earn extra income with a small budget, So before making a final decision think about your goals and your skills then choose the best option that will fit you.


10 Tips to Help Shape Your SEO Strategy

Think back to Q4, 2016 – you and your team are sat around a conference table to review the emerging trends and technologies from the past year as you develop your 2017 strategy.

But even with your 2017 digital strategy in hand, it’s impossible to take into account how fast SEO trends and practices evolve. Things like customer usage and expectations – not to mention the roll out of Google’s master plan for the mobile web – are always changing, meaning agencies and companies must be agile and forward thinking in their 2017 approach to SEO.

With that in mind, I’ve put together a top ten list of tips to keep in mind throughout the year:

1. Embrace the evolution of SEO

The relationship between technical SEO, content marketing and link building is widely debated in terms of what strategies and how they should work together – or not. I’ve spoken about the future of SEO in the past, but to explain it simply, because SEO makes demands and content marketing fulfils those demands, a strategy that incorporates both makes for a perfect fit. The evolution of SEO doesn’t mean agencies aren’t doing traditional (or technical) SEO anymore, but that the ways in which we get links to our client’s site has changed.

A lot of what Content Marketing for SEO purposes involves is finding ways in which to get other websites to hyperlink to client’s websites. In theory, the more votes or links they have, the higher rankings they’ll get. This is still important because how Google ranks your SEO is based on the number of links you have and the quality of those links.

Many companies will hire an in-house team to look after the technical SEO, but often what those teams lack are resources to come up with ideas for content, someone who can design, write, build, implement these changes, and promote the content through PR. So, really, it’s all borne out of SEO – content for SEO purposes, link building for SEO purposes and PR for SEO purposes.

In short, your SEO campaign will fail unless you integrate content marketing and conversely, your content marketing campaign will fail unless you integrate SEO. At the moment, businesses are looking at SEO, but more forward thinking businesses are focusing on getting their content in front of the right audience for a very low cost. The link should just be an added value.

2. Focus more on building an API and less on your website

Especially this year and beyond, you need to focus on developing an API to serve your content across a multitude of screens and can provide the same experience across a number of devices, rather than focusing solely on your website.

To give you an idea of the power of APIs, MusixMatch, the world’s largest provider of lyrics, their app and website is all powered by the same API. Because the website talks to the API and the app talks to the same API to source all of its content, making updates across channels a streamlined process.

Because of this, brands are being advised to focus less on their website and more on developing an API. Unfortunately, many of companies aren’t doing this either because it’s just now known about or it’s perceived as too difficult an undertaking in the beginning. But the future of SEO isn’t your website, so investing the resources upfront to make this switch will put you in a much better position for the year ahead.


3. Embrace open data and what it can do for your technical SEO

This past summer, I wrote about the future of technical SEO, where I talk about how we’ll see a pivotal shift in technical SEO over the next few years from functioning as a performance auditor for websites to focusing their efforts on open data strategies. In other words, how brands can use their data to secure organic visibility across a wide range of apps, platforms and devices.

Because of this, companies should be working to ensure their apps are optimised as Google is pushing more traffic through open data. The future of this could mean optimising your apps via an API to allow a search engine to crawl your app or other platforms in the same way that Facebook gets its information from other websites or APIs. To utilise open data successfully, you’ll need to make sure to code your website or app in a way that simply points out to a search engine things like your business address, videos and reviews. Which leads me to my next point…

4. Find the beauty in simplicity

I’ve worked with many clients that have a fantastic website in terms of UX or they have thought a lot about their brand, but what they’ve forgotten is the common sense element of it. For example, they haven’t thought about how people actually describe what their product is and how they search for it online. Sometimes companies can get quite into their own specific language, but fundamentally a cup is a cup, at least when it comes to how people search online. While bespoke vocabulary can work for platforms like TV and print publications, you can’t call a cup an innovative circle solution on your website. It is what it says on the tin and sometimes companies that are very established, well respected brands, risk going too far with their own language.

Because while many brands spend quite a bit of creative resources and time creating a bespoke vocabulary for what they do and who they are, SEO is lay speak. It’s all about the average person who searches for your products service, so creating a simplified vocabulary on your mobile apps and website is imperative to ensure you’re optimising your SEO. For example, if an estate agent company that specialised in luxury property abroad uses their own vocabulary e.g. ‘investments beyond borders’ for what they do and who they are, while this may be good for branding purposes, if you were to cover the picture of properties on their website you would have no understanding of what they do, and neither will the search engines that you’re trying to rank higher on.

5. Accept that sometimes the sequel is better than the original

I could go into the history of HTTP/1 and how its successor HTTP/2 saved the day, but long story short HTTP/2 makes websites “naturally” faster which makes for much better user experience. Implementing HTTP/2 if you are building new site is a no brainer. If your site is already up and running, you should be checking whether any of your existing speed optimisation is not going to stand in the way. It’s quite a simple process to make the switch, but only about 11.5% of brands are adopting this protocol as of writing.

HTTP/2 can potentially up to double the speed of your websites loading time, along with being better suited to multitasking and efficiency. While there are no direct benefits to your SEO by using HTTP/2, increasing your loading speed will improve user experience, and through that improved user experience are an important signal for Google’s algorithm that your website means business. And as such Google might find it worthy of ranking boost.


6. Optimize your apps

There are newer elements of technical SEO which don’t involve your website, and it’s now possible to optimize an app like you would a website. App optimization includes the process of ranking highly in an app store’s search results and top charts rankings. Ranking higher in search results and top charts rankings will drive more downloads for an app. This ties in nicely with the capabilities of APIs, because by ensuring you’re optimizing your apps you’ll be able to more effectively utilize your API.

This is a very new, cutting edge process, but something that will definitely impact SEO strategies in the future due to the shift from website to mobile apps as user’s primary mode of researching, shopping and purchasing consumer goods.

7. Recruit Siri and Cortana for the job

No new news here, but still worth pointing out. Voice search queries have doubled from last year, and while the percentages may stay the same (20%) the volume is estimated to increase.

Our generation is the first one which openly prefers texting to calling. This can be seen as preference to deal with our problems and needs on our own, without the necessity to interact with other people: we prefer online shopping, order contractors and taxis through an app. We want to be saved the hassle of having to do the small talk, or negotiating with an actual human being. It saves time and makes our lives more comfortable.

The way in which users access information and content is changing, and you should be prepping your app for voice search. Check out Google’s has published guides on how to mark-up content of apps to help Google Assistant better understand and even execute purpose of your apps.

8. Understand your personas to help develop content strategically

This might seem like a no brainer, but a lot of what makes a successful SEO strategy is understanding your audience and how they consume information. Your company has worked hard to create a business proposition and you want to ensure you’re reaching the right audiences based on their online and mobile habits.

Building personas for the purposes of SEO helps companies understand who these people are and if they were going to buy their product, what would they search for online. From there you can develop a strategy of different keywords that those personas would search for and then you can look to see where gaps are on your website, and develop content that is specifically tailored to these personas.

9. Your personas may be different, but their attention span is not

According to a Nielsen Norman study, during an average website visit, readers only have time to read 28% of the content, skimming the rest and only focusing on paragraphs that target their search interests. While long pages liberally scattered with organic keywords might bump you up the search rankings, it’s no longer what the audience wants to read (outside of industry analysis data pieces).

If readers are spending such a minimal amount of time on your page, your job as an SEO specialist is done, since you’ve got them to the site. But your copywriting ability and your marketing skills are lacking – you’re not turning these readers into leads.

Embrace this minimalistic approach to your SEO by to improve user engagement. If you’re careful, you can ensure that all your most important points follow this design, to capture your “scanner’s” interest, and turn them into a reader. This requires good information architecture – ensuring your information is laid out in a readily accessible form. Good sub-titles go a long way, and leading your paragraphs with your most important point will catch the eye and drag the brain in.

10. Whatever your strategy, make sure it’s flexible

The shift from traditional commerce, communication and marketing to this digitally focused, more streamlined approach is a concern in the same way that people were concerned about the internet and people going to the store and shopping online. But these shifts in SEO are nothing more than a change in consumer behaviour that we as a business have to get used to. People prefer using mobile devices because they tend to be faster, easier to use, and provide a more consistent experience. Less and less people are going to be going on their website to figure out who they are and interact with their brands, and we need to accept that.

For the past 10 years, companies have seen the website as their home with everything pointing to the website. No one actually needs to go to the site (and no one really wants to). People will interact with a brand in different ways. Brands should think of themselves as entities that are visible across loads of different channels at once, rather than pushing everyone to one page. From a company’s point of view, it’s much more advantageous to get all of their customers to go to one place, because they can track it, they can build a community around it, but I think with websites becoming less and less relevant, 2017 will be more about diversifying how you communicate your business rather than focusing on one platform like a website.

If Content Is King, Then SEO Is the Crown

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “content is king”. It is the mantra of digital marketers and online businesses. Do you really know why content is king, though? How does it relate to your SEO strategy?

Let’s take a deeper dive into the reasons you need to make sure your content strategy is in sync with your SEO strategy.

Why Is Content King?

The reason content is king is that it acts as the foundation for all information about your company or products. This is how you showcase your brand and tell your unique story. Because people search for information about your products or services, you need to make sure your content is optimized for organic search. Make sure your SEO strategy shines like a crown jewel to get you noticed.

How Do You Make Your SEO Shine?

Making the text on your website keyword-rich is probably something you’re already doing. If not, then put this on the top of your SEO checklist. By writing copy using keywords and phrases that are frequently searched for on Google (GOOG) and other search engines, you will quickly boost your search results.

Do your homework to find the relevant keywords you need to use in your copy. Get into the mind of your target demographic and test the best terms to use. Spend a little time becoming familiar with tools like Google Analytics or SEMrush to help you select the best keywords.

Writing copy is a creative endeavor, and writers often want their words to read well, be a compelling narrative, and convey specific ideas. The flip side to writing SEO-friendly copy is also knowing how to skillfully insert keywords and phrases without diminishing the impact of the message. No one likes to read text that’s so stuffed with keywords that it doesn’t make sense.

If you hire a copywriter, make sure they understand the fundamentals of SEO. Truly talented writers will also be able to do keyword research, optimize headers, and use tools like Google Trends to tap into hot topics.

Why SEO Experts Must Understand Good Content

A quality SEO expert knows that copy which is well-written is valuable for the reader. This means visitors will spend more time on the page, be more engaged, and are more likely to perform a conversion.

Good keyword optimization might bring readers in, but it is the well-written content which makes them stay. If you bring on an SEO strategist, make sure they also understand the importance of quality content so they don’t clash with your writer.

How Do You know if Your Content is Worthy of Wearing a SEO Crown?

Key performance indicators—KPIs—should be determined so you can measure the success of your content and SEO strategy. For example, your bounce rate measures how frequently visitors land on just one page of your website and then leave. Google and other search engines rewards websites with a low bounce rate.

Other KPIs to use when measuring your content and SEO strategy include: average session time and time spent on a page. The average session time evaluates how much time people spend on your entire site. If they are engaged by your content, they will explore and click around to other pages. Track this metric over time to see if it goes up as you step up your content and SEO game.

The time spent on page, especially pages that have been optimized compared to those that haven’t been, will give you a good idea if you are on the right track, too. They longer they are on a single page, the better that page’s content must be.

Content and SEO are not “one time” things that you do and then consider the task done. On the contrary, they are long-term strategies that should have goals. A good data analyst or marketer will be able to analyze your trajectory over time and determine strategies to use in the future. If done right, you will earn more and more organic traffic over time, and that means more conversions and customers.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


2016 was a coming-of-age year for Baidu SEO; why you should invest in 2017

Marketers have long considered organic search a lost cause on Baidu due to the abundance of ads, but new laws in China are changing the game. Contributor Hermes Ma discusses the state of Baidu SEO and provides recommendations for marketers looking to break into the market.

Recently, I attended Baidu’s annual search conference for agency partners in Beijing. One of the premier search events in China for SEO professionals, the conference was hosted by engineers from Baidu’s core search and Webmaster Tools teams.

The agenda covered Baidu’s eco-empowerment strategy, its Mobile Instant Page (MIP) project and a wrap-up of the 2016 algorithm updates. The event made it clear to me that 2016 was the year Baidu SEO came into its own. If you aren’t already investing in Baidu SEO, 2017 is your year to start.

The eco-empowerment

The concept of eco-empowerment was introduced by Dai Tan, Baidu’s Chief Architect of Search. With search, Baidu wants every practitioner in the internet ecosystem to have better efficiencies in production, execution and monetization. In order to fulfill eco-empowerment, Baidu needs to provide relevant technology and form a mechanism for the ecosystem, supported by two pillars: page load speed and HTTPS.

Every half-second delay in page loading will cost you 3 percent of user visits. This is why Baidu moved quickly to follow Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) feature with the MIP project (Chinese language). At the same time, security is a critical factor to an engine’s reputation in a market where site hijacks, spams and PII data leaks are rampant. In May 2015, Baidu launched Not Set, which is its own version of Not Provided.

The main accomplishment in the mechanism of Baidu Search is in the release of Spider 3.0 (Chinese language), which was launched in early 2016, dramatically increasing the speed of URL discovery and indexing. As a result, crawl speed has increased by 80 percent, and Baidu is now capable of indexing trillions of web pages in real time. The Divine Domain project planned for mid-2017 promises to further boost indexing speed.

The Baidu Mobile Instant Page (MIP) Project

Mobile Instant Page is a bold name. Even Google’s AMP only claims to be “accelerated.” The results speak for themselves. As reported in the Conference, more than 2,800 sites have implemented MIP, reducing load time by 30 to 80 percent and subsequently increasing landing page clicks from 5 to 30 percent.

The technology and structure of MIP are very similar to Google’s AMP; even the page code is virtually identical. And just as AMP has been a controversial idea in the SEO world since its launch, so is Baidu’s MIP within the Great Firewall of China. Convincing webmasters to adopt this new technology has been a challenge, given the sacrifice of page flexibility in favor of improved loading speed and ranking signals.

Baidu has been fighting its way through obstacles, having learned valuable lessons from AMP’s rollout. A channel has been added in Baidu Webmaster Tools for page submissions. An open-source project is now on GitHub. A tutorial provides quick training for programmers. An integrated development environment (IDE) and an online validator are published. Themes are available for popular content management system (CMS) platforms like WordPress. Most importantly, the “Flashy” icon is now attached to all MIP results on the Baidu mobile search engine results page (SERP).

By December 2016, three months after MIP’s release, Baidu had already indexed more than 900 million MIP pages.

You may see Baidu MIP as a copycat of Google AMP. But there are nuances. First, Baidu MIP is using scripts to maintain compatibility with mobile browsers other than Chrome or Safari in China. In addition, MIP pages put JavaScript before the ending </body> tag, while in AMP, you still put scripts between <head> and </head>. Both MIP and AMP only allow asynchronous scripts, but it doesn’t make a big difference, because neither approach will delay the page rendering.

Baidu’s localization and globalization

Since Google retreated from China in 2006, the only two G-products that remain functional in that market are Google Maps and Google Translate. Mobile internet users are unable to access the AMP in mainland China.

Many people believe that if Google hadn’t been expatriated, Baidu would not have its dominant power in the search market. However, even when Google search was still in China, its market share never exceeded Baidu’s. And Bing, which is still in China, isn’t challenging Baidu at all.

When it comes to other players like QQ and MSN Messenger,  only those engines that are customized for local markets (or work with the government) will have the chance to win the battle against Baidu.



5 Reasons You Really Need SEO

SEO is one of only two marketing methods a business can use to improve their chances of being found on the first page of Google, Bing, and other search engines. While PPC offers instant visibility for your keywords, coupling this strategy with SEO can improve your chances of driving users to your website and allows you to present users with a better experience overall.

SEO is earned by creating a website that offers high-quality, relevant information for both searchers and search engines and provides users with the best experience possible. Building a site that meets all these criteria doesn’t happen overnight, but the long-term investment is worth it when you think of all the benefits.


1. A Good SEO Strategy Can Improve PPC Quality Score

We all know how important Quality Score is for PPC campaigns. But, did you know that Quality Score and the content on your website go hand-in-hand? A good SEO strategy includes creating pages on your website for your products and services and using relevant keywords through your site. By aligning your text ad messages to the content on your website or driving PPC traffic to relevant landing pages (like a page for a specific product or service), you can improve your Quality Score, which can, in turn, reduce your cost per click and improve the performance of your PPC ads.

2. SEO Increases Market Access

The numbers don’t lie. Did you know that more than 70% of searches results in a click for one of the results on the first search engine results page (SERP)? If you’re not investing in an SEO strategy, you could be missing out on this traffic to your website.

3. SEO Can Boost the Effectiveness of Your Other Marketing Efforts

Because of an increased market share in SERPs with SEO, you can boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts like PPC and retargeting. For example, coupling SEO and search advertising can improve traffic by 50%. Coupling SEO and retargeting can increase brand awareness. You can also use the insights from your SEO strategy to fine-tune your PPC campaigns – if you have keywords that are performing well for your organic search, you can add those to your PPC campaigns and test whether or not performance improves.

4. SEO Can Improve Offline Conversions

Did you know that 50% of all mobile searches are conducted for local businesses looking to visit a store that day? If you’re adhering to a good local SEO strategy, you’ll have consistent listings and business information across the web that includes your business name, hours of operation, address, and phone number – all information that makes it easy for a searcher to visit your location and become a customer.

5. SEO Can Help You Stand Out from Your Competitors

On the first page of a SERP, there are up to six paid positions, three map listings, and 10 organic listings. If you can align your keyword strategy to appear in a paid listing, a map listing, and an organic listing.

3 Ways to Boost Your Mobile and Content SEO Strategies

SEO is a bit like a chameleon, changing its colors as the marketing landscape evolves — or better, as the latest algorithm from Google deems necessary. Things like the URL, meta data, H1, and alt tags are known to affect ranking, with some saying there are nearly 200 different ranking factors that affect where your page will appear in that next search.

Regardless of the number of factors, there is no denying that Google constantly tinkers with and introduces new algorithms to better assess the quality of content and experience a webpage offers. Since search’s infancy, the effort to serve up content relevant to a user’s question has been at the core of many algorithm updates.

Google’s primary objective is to make the world’s information universally accessible and increasingly useful at a faster and faster pace. So content quality isn’t a new or surprising concept. It’s even debatable whether this even represents a true shift in methodology, given Google’s countless efforts to eliminate easily hackable signals.

The focus on mobile experience, however, is new.

According to eMarketer’s “US Digital Users: The eMarketer Forecast for 2016” study, more than 80 percent of individuals in North America will use a mobile phone, meaning the organization and accessibility of that information affects usability. Each element demands a unique skill set yet must also complement the others.

Keywords, meta data, and backlinks are no longer enough. Google now scans sites and content for usability and user experience. Marketers must consider this paradigm shift when developing their SEO game plans.

The Keys to Good SEO

Experience is a critical aspect of successful SEO, but the basics don’t have to cost tons of money or manpower. A simple, mobile-responsive design serves your brand until you can upgrade. Google’s mobile searches surpassed desktop queries for the first time in 2015, and there’s likely no going back. As always, you have to serve customers on their terms — or, in this case, at the tips of their fingers.

Once the mobile component comes together, you must consider your content. From blogs and branded articles to social posts, it — along with your publishing and sharing strategies — should align with your target audience’s interests.

Know how people interact with your product, and let that information guide your content. In the all-important world of mobile experience, these metrics indicate whether you’re on the right track:

  • Mobile tests: Run these to determine where you’re hitting issues with search engines. Is your usability not up to par? Does your mobile site have coding or syntax errors? Find out what’s causing problems under the hood. Do some diagnostics to determine whether your site is mobile-friendly.


  • Engagement: The big challenge is whether users are taking the actions you desire. This might include subscribing to an email newsletter or downloading a free e-book. If people reach your landing page but navigate away without acting, figure out why.Track engagement rates across various platforms, and adjust your strategies accordingly. A clothing retailer’s audience might favor one type of content, but a surgical hair restoration company’s customers might want something else entirely.


  • Bounce rates: Programs such as Google Analytics and Lucky Orange generate heat maps to help you see exactly the types of content and site components people gravitate toward. If they’re not taking the desired actions, these maps might help you solve the mystery. Analyzing bounce rates helps identify gaps between your goals and actual customer experiences.


Maximize Mobile and Content

Marketers know mobile is mandatory, but content creates other challenges. Combining both in the service of SEO is new territory for most brands, and it can be difficult to know where to begin.

You’re no longer solely worried about search rankings; you must also consider what’s being said about your brand on social and offline. Here’s how to master mobile while conquering content:

1. Hire strategically. Seek candidates with strong technical backgrounds, as well as creatives who can elevate your content. If you have an excellent technical website, put more money toward the content. If your content is great, do the opposite.

Use your resources to build a well-balanced, complementary SEO force. Consultants and independent agencies can supplement your in-house team if you lack the tools to hire more full-time staff. The key is to optimize the mobile experience with content that matters.

2. Make quality key. Content generation costs time and money, but it’s critical to your success. Many companies struggle to develop in-house blog posts, articles, whitepapers, and other materials.

If that’s the case for your team, don’t ignore the problem. Search engines reward brands that provide value to users, something at which content excels. News items, images, video, and other content make up 85 percent of Google search results, so don’t leave content out of your strategy.

3. Monitor traffic and leads. To determine whether your SEO strategies are successful, look to your organic search gross profits. Track lead generation and conversion based on your SEO touchpoints.

Know which landing pages drive new leads and which content pieces directly link to conversions. Traffic plays a significant role in search rankings, so ensure you hit your goals.

The more traffic a site generates, the more relevant it appears to search algorithms. Don’t look solely at overall numbers, though. Identify which keywords, pages, and content drive the most traffic to your site.

Mobile user experience and content are distinct fields, but SEO depends on both. They’re increasingly intertwined as marketers learn the ever-changing rules of search algorithms, and companies must hire talent that can keep pace.

Brands that invest in SEO content and mobile experts — and know how to leverage both resources — are the ones that will have the most success moving forward.

SEO Strategy in 2017: What’s Most Important?

Everyone wants to get a high click-through rate and a good spot in Google’s search algorithm. But, when it is generally accepted in the industry that Google uses approximately 200 ranking factors to rank websites — and some of these are proven, some are controversial and some are purely nerd-based conjecture — it can be hard to know which factors to focus on when it comes to your search engine optimization (SEO). 

So, what is most important to Google?

“It is content,” said Google Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lipattsev. “And, it’s links pointing to your site.”

I’ve heard people foolishly suggest links aren’t important anymore. There’s a new way of doing SEO, without links. This is wrong, and it’s dangerous advice. Keep in mind what Andrey Lipattsev said.

We tend to almost always come back to links, as they feature largely and very importantly in the 200 or so ranking signals, such as:

  1. The volume of external links you have. The more, the better.
  2. The anchor text of the external links. Links with SEO-focused anchor text need to be relevant to the target page.
  3. The quality of external link sources. It’s better to get a link from a reputable news source or academic journal than an unknown blog.

Links have always been a valuable aspect of an SEO strategy, and many SEO agencies focus on building relevant links to get first page search results on Google. That’s because there is a strong correlation between great SEO results (specifically keyword ranks) and the quality and volume of links to a site. 

Keep in mind, however, that while links may lead the pack, content, Moz Authority and page authority have significant value and must be considered for any SEO strategy to be successful. 

Content marketing and SEO

SEO and content marketing are distinguished from one another in several critical areas, but you can’t separate the two entirely. SEO is generally narrower, and more technical, while content marketing is broader and more holistic — kind of like how a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not necessarily a square. Here’s how they converge:

  • You can apply SEO more broadly by channeling its specific technical endeavors into content marketing.
  • The only way to ensure the success of content marketing is to apply SEO techniques.

Another way to look at it is like this: SEO makes demands. Content marketing fulfills those demands. SEO states the requirements. Content marketing fulfills them.

2017 algorithm updates

In January, Google started rolling out a penalty to punish aggressive interstitials and pop-ups that might damage the mobile user experience. Google also provided a rare warning of this update five months in advance.

There will no doubt be many further algorithm updates throughout 2017, but the success of your SEO campaigns will largely be governed by how focused your SEO strategy is on links and content.  


Getting Your SEO Strategy Right

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process by which Google or any other search engine ranks your website or webpage for more visibility to the user. An effective SEO strategy essentially means that when a user “searches” for things related to your business, your webpage or product offering springs up on the first one or two pages of search engine ranks. A science and an art, digital marketers believe SEO to be the success mantra especially for online businesses such as e-commerce. However, few seem to get it right, especially so since the algorithms by which your webpage is ranked are dynamic and ever changing. 

Here are some of the common SEO misconceptions that digital companies fall for, and end up ruling out SEO as an effective element of marketing strategy. 

One can get by with mediocre content: This is one of the most popular beliefs—that the quality of content does not matter as much as the clicks. Many believe that website content should be built to attract customers/clicks alone. But this belies the importance of building SEO-friendly content, or content that adds value beyond just a click-through.  As a result, they may shy away from availing professional SEO services and end up ignoring the building of SEO skills and creating quality content that invites repeat visitors and results in conversions. 

Black SEO tactics are okay: Many businesses turn to unscrupulous means to get their links to be noticed in search engines. Measures such as link networks to undesirable sites, or paid links are easy tactics that may even throw up better SEO results in the short term. However, Google comes with its own ‘intelligence’, and has its means to block such unscrupulous content. Turning to spam to make SEO work is definitely ineffective in the long run. 

You need to be a 100% white-SEO geek: Most white-hat SEO people stick to a rigid view that white hatting (following the search engine’s policies) is the best and only way to get SEO scores. Most of these view questionable inter-linkages (keyword stuffing, page swapping and more) as a big no-no and steer clear of any such clever tactics. Yet, they must understand that certain content sectors have found success thanks to a fair degree of grey SEO instrumentation (methods such as click bait that work in areas ill-defined by policy). The idea is to understand the element of “greyness” and balance out the risk, so as to make the most of grey and white SEO strategy. 

Ignoring brand building: SEO in itself may not leave as strong an impact, as when created with a solid brand-building strategy. At the end of the day, it is direct searches that increase the probability of a customer purchase. Searching for “online fashion” is quite ineffective, as compared to searches for “Amazon”. Many deem this not to be a true SEO strategy, and rightly so. But SEO and brand building go very much hand-in-hand as both are directed towards the same outcome—customer leads. 

These are some of the core misconceptions that prevent brands from embracing SEO to increase sales leads. In fact, companies must look at SEO as fruitful opportunity, banking upon its wonderful ability to create a “pull” for the target audience. SEO actions such as adequate keyword usage, linkage to high-authority sites, reacting to sentiment analytics etc., go a long way in creating a visible and engaging online presence for your business.


A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing

Do you remember hearing that? It’s one of those legendary pieces of Internet history formed when the road was still being paved and we were foraging our way through the wilderness of what was the original World Wide Web.

Although times have changed and AOL no longer sends CD’s in the mail, we can still thank them for introducing us to email and our addiction to it.

These days, we’ve replaced that message with Tweets, likes, and status updates, but that doesn’t mean that our affinity for email is any less. In fact, because of the noise that is social media, one could argue that the inbox has become our virtual dojo, our place of solitude amongst the chaos.

This is why, as an entrepreneur, I believe that building successful email marketing campaigns has never been more important than it is now. But there’s a problem; most people don’t know how to do it right. So in the interest of furthering best practices and helping you succeed as a business owner, let’s get back to the basics and talk about how a great email campaign is built, from the ground up.

You’re in their house

People are inundated with interruption, pitches, and advertisements everywhere they look, and though you might think yours is special, there’s a high probability that to the reader, it looks the same as the rest. This is why it’s important to remember where you are, and use your good manners as a result.

Getting into someone’s inbox is like being invited to their home for dinner. If they ask you to take your shoes off, you respectfully do so. It’s the same with email marketing, so before we begin I’d simply like to remind you to be on your best behavior at all times and remember…you’re in their house.

Phase I: Getting Permission

Of course, no email campaign was ever built without getting permission to get started, so first we’ll need to focus on building a sizable email list.

There are many ways you can do this of course. Some prefer to give something away for free while others simply offer a newsletter or product updates.

I can’t tell you which is the right or wrong answer in this case, but I can tell you that it’s important to have a clear purpose when asking for an address. This is where a strong call to action comes into play, and copywriting is super important.

  • What do I get when I give you my email address?
  • Are you going to spam me?
  • How often will you email me?
  • Will I get discounts?
  • Will I get a first crack at your beta?
  • Will you send me relevant offers or more junk?

These are the kinds of things you’ll need to address if you want to be successful in phase 1. Simply posting “enter your email for updates” isn’t going to get anyone excited to do so. Instead, consider sharing specifics:

This is why the first follow-up email is so crucial to the success of your email marketing efforts. Almost all email service providers give you the option to create an autoresponder sequence, and it’s imperative that you take advantage of it.

The initial follow-up email should be sent immediately as a way to introduce yourself and detail what you plan on doing with your new subscriber’s email address. It’s better to be long-winded and detailed than it is to be quick and unobtrusive, but if you can pull off quick and concise then more power to you.

From here, it’s simply a matter of living up to their expectations.

Using the Autoresponder

As a marketer myself, one of the issues I run into most often is that I forget to talk to my list until I have something to sell. Obviously, this is not ideal.

This is where an autoresponder can save you, and why I recommend scheduling content to be delivered on a consistent basis over the course of several months.

For example, Copyblogger offers a newsletter titled “Internet Marketing for Smart People,” and it contains a dozen plus great pieces on how to market better as an online entrepreneur. I can’t remember when I signed up, but I do know that I’ve received an occasional email at least once per month over the past 6 months.

The benefit of that is when you do need to announce a new product or sale, you can count on the fact that you’ve already been in touch, having built a relationship over several weeks/months, and are much less likely to annoy your readers. Of course, it’s important to schedule your autoresponder sequence on specific days so that you know when you can afford to send an email. More than one per day and you’re probably mailing too much.