Most golf course owners would agree that there’s nothing like fully booked tee times. But it’s hard to book tee times if you don’t have golfers calling or landing on your website.[Read more…] about 22+ Golf Course Marketing Ideas To Get More Golfers
Better SEO & Content Strategy
While I love all aspects of digital marketing, I'm an SEO specialist by trade. I especially love the content & keyword research aspect of SEO. This archive has my recent posts on SEO & content strategy. Enjoy!
Most apartment & rental unit owners would agree that there’s nothing like finding a good tenant. But it’s hard to find a good tenant if you don’t have lease applications coming in.[Read more…] about 22+ Property Management & Apartment Marketing Ideas To Get More Leases
So you have a rapidly growing local business, and you are looking to expand. You have the brand, the capital, and the processes to open a second or even third location.
You’re in a growing metro area with lots of opportunity and open real estate.
And yet, you know that every real estate agent and business analyst will tell you that long-term success depends on “location, location, location.”
Now, if you were a national retail chain or a franchise owner, you could hire a location consultant to comb through census data and expensive proprietary business intelligence.
But you aren’t sure it’s truly worth the price. After all, your local real estate agent knows most of the metro market. And you generally know what the Census data says…even though the Census data is almost 10 years old.
So what can you use to gather hard data about what locations are most likely to succeed?[Read more…] about How To Choose a New Local Business Location with Digital Marketing Data [Case Study]
Creating content for your website requires a ton of time, money & resources to do well. But when it doesn’t generate visitors or sales – it’s a huge waste.
There are a lot of reasons why a piece of content might not perform well, but you can dramatically increase your odds of success by prequalifying your content idea.
In the offline world, companies use focus groups or sampling to prequalify the market. They use resumes and cover letters to prequalify candidates before committing to an interview (or much less a hire).
And the incredible beauty of the Internet is that you can prequalify your content ideas as well with the right tools and a bit of research.
Here’s how to use a range of tactics from keyword research to mining platforms to exploring past successes to find, inform & guide your content marketing ideas.
*Note – if you are interested in finding trending topics for social-optimized posts, also check out my Trending Topics guide here.[Read more…] about How To Use 11+ Free Tools To Find Prequalified Content Ideas for SEO
Anyone who owns a website and recognizes the opportunity to get visitors from Google organic search suspects the importance of keywords.
If you can appear in those results when someone types in a certain keyword – that’s not only a visitor…but a highly qualified, free visitor.
But how do you use those keywords on your website to actually get traffic?
Put them in the meta=”keywords”? Use them over and over on your site?
Note: nothing against Bing, but I’ll be using “search engine” and “Google” interchangeably in this post
It’s been more than 15 years since simply using keywords on your website was the only way for search engines to understand the relevance of your website. It’s no longer about just stuffing keywords all over your site. Search engines have gotten much smarter.
Google and Bing use hundreds of signals to try to decipher and rank the relevance of your website. They factor in what other people say about your site; they try to place your content in a graph of topics and entities, and perform all sorts of semantic analysis.
But keywords are still part of the foundation of how search engines understand your website.
Using keywords effectively on your website will help you tell a better story to both your visitors and search engines, and it will help communicate what searches your website is relevant for…so that you can get more visitors from search engines.
Here’s how to use keywords on your website with what is known in the SEO industry as a “keyword map.”[Read more…] about Keyword Mapping for SEO: How To Use Keywords On Your Website
Wikipedia is the 800 lb gorilla in the Google search results. It ranks for almost half of all searches. It is the online resource. Google has even built large portions of its Knowledge Graph off the back of Wikipedia.
- Wikipedia is human knowledge. It uses language the way humans use it, because it’s written by humans. It connects topics and keywords in ways that only humans can.
- Wikipedia is the online resource. People trust it, use it, and reference it.
So whether you are just starting out planning your website’s keyword strategy, looking for new content ideas, or looking for ways to build trust for your website, here’s how to use Wikipedia for SEO and content marketing.[Read more…] about How To Use Wikipedia for SEO & Content Marketing
Quora is the largest question and answer website on the internet. It has been around since 2009.
While Quora never achieved the cultural prominence that it was hyped up to be in the mid-2000s, it has become a staple of the internet.
Quora allows you to get answers from real experts or at least people in relevant industries. Unlike Google, Facebook or Twitter, it allows you to get more nuanced answers.
Here are some ways that I use Quora for SEO, content development and link building.[Read more…] about How To Use Quora For SEO & Content Marketing
LinkedIn has been one of the continually growing social networks on the Internet for years. But like Pinterest and Reddit, it has such a deep internal culture focused on recruiting & jobs that it gets written off by small & large content marketers alike.[Read more…] about How to Use LinkedIn for SEO & Content Marketing
SlideShare is an unsung staple of the Internet. It’s the place that’s all too familiar to conference goers, trade show attendees, and corporate pitch decks.
SlideShare is simply a website where anyone can upload and share a presentation. It’s owned by LinkedIn and it’s free and open to all, and promises to help you “share what you know and love through presentations, infographics, documents and more.”
Here’s how to use SlideShare for keyword research, content development, and link building.[Read more…] about How To Use Slideshare For SEO & Content Marketing
Google Keyword Planner is a fundamental tool for planning SEO and content marketing campaigns. It’s the only place to get search data such as keyword ideas, trends and search volume directly from Google.
And for most non-professional SEOs, it’s the beginning and end of keyword research efforts. There are plenty of beginner guides for Keyword Planner, but this post will focus on ways to use Keyword Planner more effectively with advanced techniques.
Since Keyword Planner replaced the old Keyword Tool in 2013, well-known SEOs have criticized it for hiding keywords and having a laundry list of “dirty secrets.” The general sentiment is that it’s flawed, but it’s the best we have right now.
Some of the criticism is justified, but like criticism of Search Console, it covers up some useful functionality that is much better than Keyword Tool ever could have been.
Before looking at specific ways to use Keyword Planner better, keep in mind two principles –
1. Keyword Planner is not meant for SEOs and Content Marketers. It is meant for PPC professionals looking to spend money on search & display ads. You have to be able to correct that bias with complementary tools, techniques and filters.
2. Keyword Planner is a tool – not a consultant. It’s only as good as how you use it. You have to coach and coax it to provide the information you need based on your objectives.
With that in mind – here are a few ways to make Keyword Planner work for you. [Read more…] about 13+ More Effective Ways To Use Keyword Planner for SEO
I get a lot of hyper-specific eCommerce marketing questions, e.g. “should I advertise on Reddit?” or “how do I hire someone to do link building?” or “I just chose my eCommerce store platform and want to try OutBrain or maybe Snapchat or Instagram to get started.” They are great in a way – I’m a huge fan of experimentation and improvement.
But most online store owners haven’t developed an effective inbound* marketing strategy at all. It’s all ad hoc and “shooting from the hip”. They miss the forest (how everything works) for the trees (tactics), so to speak.
*Inbound = the industry jargon for marketing that focuses on being where your customers are so that they buy from you “naturally.” Inbound marketing contrasts with outbound marketing, which focuses on finding, interrupting, and cold-pitching potential customers.
Here’s the exact inbound marketing strategy for eCommerce that I recommend to every reader and client I’ve ever worked with. The specific details vary, but it’s a pretty tried and true path for nearly every online store. I’m focusing on eCommerce but 80% of this applies to every business. [Read more…] about How To Plan An Inbound Marketing Strategy For Ecommerce
And yet, Keyword Planner is a fundamental tool for all SEOs. Keyword Planner provides a wealth of data directly from Google that you cannot get anywhere else. In a way SEOs love Keyword Planner as much as PPCers.
But what about Display Planner – the other research tool in Google Ads?
If you are building an organic / SEO campaign – you probably think of Display Planner like it’s a desolate, uninteresting land of PPC terms like “viewable CPM, “impressions” and “IAB ad sizes” – all meant for PPCers who run those awful banner ads.
In fact, it’s so focused on PPC campaigns, that you can no longer access it directly. You have to launch a “campaign” to access the data.
That’s all true. But like Keyword Planner, Display Planner has a ton of useful data when you hack it for SEO & content campaigns. Here’s how.[Read more…] about Hacking Google Display Planner for SEO & Content Marketing
What makes Pinterest very interesting to me is that, like YouTube, it has this hybrid role.
Pinterest is known as a social network, but it’s increasingly also a search engine and bookmarking service.
This 3 play opens up many unique opportunities for a creative content marketer.
It has a lot of potential to benefit your marketing efforts – here are the lessons I’ve learned helping clients use Pinterest for SEO and content marketing efforts. [Read more…] about How To Use Pinterest for SEO & Content Marketing
Amazon is the world’s largest online store. They sell more than the next 12 largest online stores…combined.
If you run an online store, it’s senseless to view Amazon as a competitor (even though they are).
Instead, it is more productive to use Amazon as a platform to make your store as profitable as it can be.
Listing your products on Amazon is the most straightforward method. You can even use Amazon’s PPC platform to make these listing successful.
But if you are going to invest in your own store, you can (and should) use Amazon…but not for what you’d expect.
Amazon is the largest source of eCommerce data on the Internet.
And a lot of that data is public-facing. You can gather it via Amazon’s API, via simple scraping or via manually browsing their store.
You can use this data to inform your SEO & content efforts to get customers before they even start their search.
Here’s a few ideas on using Amazon as a data gold mine for your SEO & content marketing efforts.[Read more…] about How To Use Amazon for SEO & Content Marketing
Writing an effective title tag for SEO & branding should be the first on-page SEO website improvement you make after you map your site’s keywords.
The humble title tag is still the primary element on your site that search engines use to understand the content of a page. The title tag is also the element from your website that actually shows up in search results & your customers’ bookmarks & social posts by default. It’s what your potential visitors click on to navigate to your site.
And yet, writing a custom title tag for SEO is all too often ignored, skipped over, or not given enough time.
There’s no formula to writing a title tag for SEO – but there are plenty of parameters and best practices. Here’s how you can craft an effective title tag to explain your relevance to the Googlebot while still enticing clicks from potential customers. [Read more…] about How To Write A Title Tag For SEO
Keyword research is possibly the most important part of search engine optimization. How you decide to use & target keywords helps guide how your content is written, how you approach your audience, and how you approach your content strategy.
Many non-specialists in search engine optimization are just familiar enough with keyword research to be dangerous. In other words, they know enough to start or stumble into either total success or total failure).
That’s a good thing though – SEO keyword research for beginners should not be such a complicated process that DIYers view it as a magical black box.
Keyword research for SEO is finding the specific words and phrases that people use to search for information. Then figuring out relative search volume and competition among your target keywords so that you can rank for a theme of keywords.
Doing keyword research isn’t so much a single step or action as it is a process where each step informs the previous and the next step in the process.
Here’s an overview of my SEO keyword research process for total beginners, which itself is part of the process of keyword mapping.[Read more…] about How To Decide Which Keywords To Use: Keyword Research for Beginners
Imagine a friend has picked out 2 books that might interest you. They both have the same cover. They both have basically the same title. But Book A has a blurb about the book on the back cover while Book B has a random grouping of words.
Which one would you choose to read? Probably the one with a blurb on the back of the book. After all, you know for sure what is going to be inside, and what kind of tone and content to really expect. It’s not that Book B would be any less relevant, it’s just that you’re sure about Book A.
Meta descriptions are the lowly, ignored marketing tool that make a difference, but all too often gets ignored. And even though they are not a direct ranking factor in any search engine, here’s how to use meta descriptions for search engine optimization (SEO) to increase qualified visitors coming from search engines. [Read more…] about How To Write A Meta Description For SEO & More Visitors
I get a lot of hyper-specific local marketing questions, e.g. “Should I get more links?” “How do I rank #1 on Google in my area?” or “I just launched website and want to try Twitter ads.” They are great in a way – I’m a huge fan of experimentation.
But most local store owners haven’t developed an effective inbound* marketing strategy at all. They miss the forest (how everything works together) for the trees (specific tactics) so to speak.
*Inbound = the industry jargon for marketing that focuses on being where your customers are so that they buy from you “naturally.” Inbound contrasts with outbound marketing, which focuses on finding, interrupting and cold pitching potential customers.
The exciting opportunity about local marketing is that even in major metros – few businesses have a consistent idea about what they are doing.
And unfortunately, the local agencies they hire either have no idea what they are doing either…or they remain focused on a single (billable) tactic.
So – if you are a local business owner and can take the time to develop a single comprehensive marketing strategy (don’t worry – it’s not as complicated as it sounds), you can take all in a winner-take-all-world of digital marketing for not that much money.
I’m going to outline the the exact inbound marketing strategy for local business that I recommend to every reader and client I’ve ever worked with (example case study). I’m focusing on local but 80% of this applies to every business (I even wrote a similar post for eCommerce here).
This post is 4400 words. It’s meant for reference as you tackle each part. The 5 step short version of the strategy is –
- Decide exactly who you are selling to (e.g., “hotel managers in the Charlotte metro region” or “high-income women in Buckhead, Atlanta” or “people stranded in a grocery store parking lot around Los Angeles”).
- Build a website with Analytics enabled with pages that address problems & services your target market will need.
- Systematically claim & build out local profiles that your target market is likely to look at.
- Launch small ad campaigns on Google Ads and Facebook Ads to get data & feedback on your site.
- Systematically build out new content & new promotional channels based on what you are good at & your market wants.
Google has scanned more than 30 million titles for its Google Books project, and will scan more than 130+ million in coming years.
That is a ton of content. More importantly, that’s a ton of high quality, unique, expert content. For any other giant treasure trove of content (and links!) – SEOs and website owners are all over it. I know I’ve written guides to using content treasure troves like Wikipedia, Reddit, Quora, Display Planner, Pinterest, Slideshare, Amazon, YouTube, and others for SEO & content marketing before. Surely there has to be a way to use Google Books for SEO and content marketing, right?
The problem with books, though, is that they are…books. And before Google Books, books were hard to search through. And even with Google Books, they are still hard to scrape & search relative to HTML.
But Google has made it easy enough that, with a few tricks, Google Books can be an invaluable tool for your SEO and content marketing strategy. Here’s how to use Google Books for SEO (specifically link building & keyword research) and content marketing. [Read more…] about How To Use Google Books for SEO & Content Marketing
YouTube is well-known as one of the world’s largest social networks, the world’s 2nd largest search engine (by queries processed) and the world’s largest videos hosting platform.
However, most YouTube marketing advice is about optimizing for YouTube. There are plenty of guides to setting up your channel and optimizing your videos. There are podcast episodes and long-form guides to YouTube SEO and YouTube Analytics. But what about optimizing your YouTube presence to benefit your actual website?
Whenever you are marketing on a platform, you have to avoid the practice of “digital sharecropping” – where your active presence benefits the platform’s business more than your business.
Whether YouTube is a priority, a small side project, or you’re just using it to host videos right now, here’s how you can use YouTube to directly benefit your website’s marketing and SEO efforts. [Read more…] about 8+ Tips On Using YouTube For Your Website Marketing & SEO
Getting quality links to point to your site are a key part of ranking in organic search – and will be for the foreseeable future. But getting links for links sake will often do more harm than good.
Real, quality links that represent real people endorsing your website requires some legit marketing, hours invested in planning & outreach plus a bit of risk – something not a lot of businesses or agencies can afford.
Broken link building is a link building strategy that aims to at least reduce the risk of lost investment. The general idea is straightforward:
- Find links on a website to pages that no longer exist
- Point out the dead links to the website owner
- Have a similar or complementary page that can replace the broken URL
It’s a win all around. You get an editorially placed link, the website owner saves some time researching replacements, and the website’s users are no longer frustrated by 404 pages.
Broken link building reduces the risk of creating an unwanted content asset or page since you are replacing dead pages that already succeeded in getting links.
However, it can still be time-intensive to find the dead links & do smart, thoughtful, non-spammy outreach. Here’s how to prospect & do outreach much more efficiently & effectively. [Read more…] about Broken Link Building Guide: 6+ Tactics for Better Prospecting, Outreach & Links
One amazing, but underestimated, feature of WordPress are Category and Tag pages. Whenever you write a new post, you have the option to add that post to a category or tag the post.
When you add you post to the category/tag, WordPress creates an archive of all the posts in that category or with that tag. You can find them under Posts –> Tag or Posts –> Category on the WordPress Dashboard.
These category and tag pages are blank and are simply a list of posts by default. For people browsing your site, they can be useful if you’re consistent with your categorization & tagging…but for anyone not familiar with your site, they can be pretty useless.
In fact, if you have lots of random categories and tags – it can create a low quality/duplicate content issue & appear spammy to search engines. In my post on how to use Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin, I recommended NOINDEX, FOLLOW category & tag pages to prevent any SEO-related penalties (ie, that tells search engines to click through to your posts, but not to serve them in search results).
But category & tag pages can be so much more for both your readers & search engines. And really, they just need some unique content explaining the category or tag. Here’s why you should build out your category & tag pages – and exactly how to use WordPress category & tag pages for SEO…[Read more…] about How To Use WordPress Category & Tag Pages for SEO
Like I mentioned in How To Decide Which Keywords To Use: Keyword Research for Beginners – a key part of keyword research is judging keyword difficulty.
If you are creating a page to generate organic traffic – there is no point in fighting a losing battle by targeting keywords that you have no chance in ranking for.
Let’s face it, everyone has limited resources. You should spend your limited resources creating content/pages that can “win” (aka are “prequalified”).
In fact, the most common beginner SEO mistake I see is not choosing which keywords to target – that’s usually fairly straightforward.
Instead, it’s choosing which keywords / content topics to avoid.
Many SEOs over-simplify judging keyword difficulty to –
- How difficult would it be to rank for this keyword?
- How strong are the pages that already rank on the front page of Google?
Those questions are redundant and not helpful.
Instead, let’s break down some of the nuances of keyword difficulty, so that you can rely less on guess-work and automated tools – and more on professional judgement & process.
It’s professional judgement & good process that will put you ahead of the competition rather than simply copying tactics that anyone can use.
*Note – all images in this post should be clickable so that you can see the full-size image.
Search Performance (formerly ‘Search Analytics’) is one of the most useful tools in Google Search Console’s suite of tools. It provides a lot of data about how your website is performing in Google’s organic search results.
But like any data source – it is useless…unless you know how to put the data into action. Even though the best ways to use Search Console are specific to your website, there is a myriad of ways to put the data into action.
As of 2019, Google moved an all-new Google Search Console out of Beta. You can get access at search.google.com. It is different on multiple levels from the old Webmaster Tools / Search Console. I’ve reworked all the screenshots below to reflect the current Search Console (which also renamed the Search Analytics Report to the ‘Performance’ tab.
Either way, here are 15+ ways that I like to use Search Console to solve SEO problems. Hopefully, you’ll be find something to use or build on to put your own data into action. [Read more…] about 15+ Ideas for Using Search Performance More Effectively
Search engine optimization is a process of making your website as relevant (ie, detailed and descriptive website content) & trustworthy (links from relevant and trustworthy websites) as possible so that search engines rank your site when people are searching for relevant keywords.
Hiring someone to help with marketing – specifically an SEO marketing campaign – can, unfortunately, be tough & confusing. But here are the Do’s & Don’ts along with processes I recommend when hiring an SEO consultant or agency:[Read more…] about How To Hire an SEO Consultant or Agency: Dos, Don’ts & Processes
A colleague once told me that they “just wanted an easy way to get more SEO / organic traffic” for a client.
“So, do you really want more organic traffic or do you want more sales?” I asked.
“Right now, I just want more organic traffic. We need a good month for SEO.” he replied.
I said, “Well if you really want more raw organic traffic, there are three topic areas we can cover right now that will bring in thousands and thousands of new visits within the month.”
I continued saying that – “First, you need several content pieces about Xbox games – preferably with cheat codes. Second, you should write about TV show characters. Third, if you are truly desperate for raw traffic, just write quality articles about sex problems, pornography and/or religious issues.”
Of course, the point of this conversation wasn’t to actually come up specific articles covering those topics.
The point is that raw traffic is useless if you can’t turn it into sales.*
*Aside – I’m assuming that your primary goal is profit, not spreading of ideas. I’m also assuming that you’re not running some spammy ad arbitrage scheme.
Now there are plenty of ways to turn organic traffic into sales – even if your visitors don’t buy on the first click.
But what if you need to find & target keywords that will actually lead directly to sales?
That route is tough because when someone does a search, they don’t necessarily intend to buy at that moment.
There are plenty of excellent posts from SEOs on categorizing keywords according to the traditional marketing funnel (ie, research → consideration → purchase).
For example, “running shoes” might be a research keyword while “New Balance Vazee review” might be a consideration and “buy New Balance Vazee Size 11” might be a purchase keyword.
That framework is useful, but also quite rigid. It can create false positives and misses. And ever since Google took away keyword level data from Google Analytics, there’s also no way to make a direct, proven connection.
Instead, I like to use flexible rules to sift & sort potential keywords. If a keyword passes all 3 rules, then I can expand it to a theme of keywords to target with an existing or new page.
Here are the 3 rules that I use with clients when we’re selecting the highest-impact keyword themes that have the shortest route to a sale. [Read more…] about 3 Rules For Finding Useful Keywords That Lead To Sales
Whether you are trying to increase referral traffic or organic traffic, links from other websites matter. But it’s also hard to generate links from lots of good websites passively or “at scale.”
The caveat is having link-worthy images in the first place. Website owners read these tactics and think – “my business doesn’t have any images to use for link-building! That’s a ton of work!”
But here’s the thing – you don’t need to create separate marketing assets for a separate SEO campaign. The key is to take marketing assets that you already have and efficiently re-purpose them for SEO and referral links.
And here’s how to create & automate more image link opportunities using images your business is creating anyway for social media, internal use or offline use. [Read more…] about How To Create & Automate More Image Link Building Opportunities
Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) is Google’s suite of tools, data & diagnostics to “help you have a healthy, Google-friendly site.”
It’s the only place to get search engine optimization information about your website directly from Google.
Side note – Bing has a separate but similar tool suite at Bing Webmaster Tools.
Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) is free. Any website can use it. But, simply installing it will not improve your SEO, or your organic traffic. It’s a toolset – which means you have to understand how to use Google Search Console effectively to make any difference on your website.
In 2018, Google has launched an all-new Google Search Console. It’s out of Beta and open to the public. If you are used to the old Webmaster Tools, much of the data & structure might be familiar. Many pieces were removed, but overall your access to data is much improved. There is way more data that is way more accessible than the old Webmaster Tools.
That said, it is still bit daunting to understand. This tutorial will go through what each feature is, what you should be using it for, and some ideas on being creative with it. [Read more…] about How To Use Google Search Console (Webmaster Tools) Effectively
This post was originally published in 2012 – and the three trends that I said “killed” keyword rankings then have now been overshadowed by even larger trends. I’m going to update you on what has changed and what actually matters to you now.
In 2018, organic traffic & search engine optimization is a completely different world. Google’s Search Results Pages (SERPs) look different. Google Search has more features. More people are searching on mobile than desktop.
*Aside – throughout this piece, I will use “Google” in place of “search engine.” Bing, Yahoo! and other search engines matter, but Google has consistently driven the trends that I discuss – in addition to owning most of the marketshare.
And yet – “where does my website rank in Google” still feels like the right question to ask.
That’s because your keyword ranking does matter as a tool more than ever. But it matters less as a metric than it has since the late 2000s. [Read more…] about Why Your Keyword Rank Doesn’t Matter…and what actually does
Finding & reading the best posts around the Internet is the primary way to learn and stay up to date. But sometimes nothing there’s nothing like a great book to put things in context and fully explain a topic.[Read more…] about Best Books in Marketing, SEO & Content Strategy
Google might be the ultimate search engine. But it’s still a search engine. It’s only as good as the instructions you give it.
Did you know that Google has a plethora of search operators that make it easy for you to find exactly what they’re looking for?
Whether you’re doing research for a content strategy, trying to grow your personal brand, or even looking for linking opportunities for your business’ website, search operators are here to make your searches more effective. But first, you have to know how they work.
I’ve compiled a list of Google’s search operators, as well as examples of how to use them. Then, I dive into how to combine these operators to get the most out of your search. [Read more…] about How to Search On Google More Effectively
The biggest problem for website owners and marketers in 2018 and beyond isn’t the tools available. It’s figuring out how to use the tools they have.
What Is Ahrefs?
Ahrefs is one of the most powerful suites of social media & SEO tools that I’ve ever used. Most SEOs know it as a “backlink checker” that competes with Majestic and intelligence/analytics tools with smaller indices like Moz & SEMRush. But “backlink checker” grossly undersells Ahrefs as a marketing suite.
Ahrefs has so many features that you can get lost and resort to simply staring at your own links – maybe rank tracking a few keywords. Here’s the guide to how to use Ahrefs that I wish existed when I first signed up.
*Reader’s Note 1 – this guide was originally published in Oct. 2015. It’s been updated throughout for November 2018 to reflect Ahref’s new design.
*Reader’s Note 2 – all images are clickable if you want to see the full resolution.[Read more…] about Ahrefs Guide: How To Use Ahrefs for SEO, Content & Link Building
If you’ve done any research on how to grow your website online, you’ve likely run into articles about SEO talking about organic traffic, ranking, and a whole bunch of other marketing jargon.
Which leaves just one question… what the heck is SEO anyway, and why do you need it?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing your website’s technical setup & content, and your marketing so that search engines can properly crawl, index & judge the relevance of your website…so that your website’s page will appear more visibly and more often for search queries related to your website.
So, I’m going to break it way down. Here’s exactly what SEO is and why you need it.
Google has announced that it will shut down Correlate on December 15th 2019 due to low usage. Be sure to get your data while you can! I’ll leave this post up because I think the approach is useful – even if you have to “hack” new tools (like Trends & Ahrefs) to get similar-ish data that Google Correlate provides.
Since it’s launch it has received some buzz and become a useful tool among academics, but it’s never become a part of the standard toolset among marketers the way Google Trends has.
There are a lot of reasons for that. Google hasn’t publicized Correlate the way it has the general Trends toolset. Correlate even has features that sporadically break. But I think the slow adoption is because marketers don’t realize the potential of Google Correlate – or even how it works.
According to Google, it is –
a tool on Google Trends which enables you to find queries with a similar pattern to a target data series. The target can either be a real-world trend that you provide (e.g., a data set of event counts over time) or a query that you enter.
In other words, the pattern generates the keywords rather than the keywords generating the pattern. So you do have to think in reverse.
Before we go into specific use cases for Google Correlate – a couple notes on caveats.
First, Google Correlate does not pull absolute search volume. Just like Trends, it is based on the share of total volume. All terms are relative to each other. You still need to use Keyword Planner or another keyword research tool to find search volume.
Second, correlation does not equal causation. Just because terms correlate with each other does not mean they share a causal relationship. There’s a lot of noise in the Correlate data, but plenty of hidden gems too. You’ll have to use your best judgment.
Here are five ways to use Google Correlate and integrate it into your marketing research toolset.[Read more…] about Google Correlate: How To Use It For Marketing, SEO & Content
You won’t get ahead in any industry if you simply copy your competitors. And this is especially true in SEO & content marketing.
Competitor research for SEO is really tough because…
- Nobody truly knows what they are doing.
- Confirmation bias is the default.
- Being different has a bigger payoff than being better.
- Your competitors are probably copying you.
- And a myriad other reasons.
But – you’re probably going to do it anyway so here’s a few things I do to make it a little more useful. [Read more…] about 7+ Ways To Do Better Competitor Research for SEO & Content Marketing
So you want to promote your website online…for free, preferably.
By now, you probably know from experience that the “build it and they will come” philosophy is flawed. You can have great content — in fact, you need at least “good” content — but unless you know how to promote it, your site is a ghost town. But you also don’t have the budget to go straight to advertising online.
You don’t need a grab bag of tips and tricks. You don’t need best practices to “go viral”. What you need is an actual process to follow consistently to create a “flywheel effect“.
Here is an exact, step-by-step strategy that I recommend to anyone who wants to promote their website online. The specific details vary, but it’s a pretty tried and true path for anyone who wants to promote their website.[Read more…] about How to Promote Your Website Online (for free!)
You’re looking for the best digital marketing and SEO podcasts on the Internet. You’re a huge or at least curious consumer of podcasts.
And you’ve probably figured by now that almost all marketing / SEO podcasts are terrible. They either –
- Provide zero information at best or wrong information at worst
- Are a straight up sales funnel tool for a scammy agency
- Quit after a few episodes – so they don’t have any back catalog
And to make matters worse – the search engines in your podcast app of choice are about as good as Altavista circa 1999. And – nearly every list like this online just copies the most popular in any given category. I want to fix that with this post.
With that in mind, here’s my list of best digital marketing & SEO podcasts – in no particular order – that are all worth listening to. [Read more…] about 12+ Best Digital Marketing & SEO Podcasts Worth Listening To
Here’s an open secret for anyone starting a website: Google loves SEO. It makes their job easier. They provide free Starter Guides To SEO. They provide a very deep and detailed guide to website best practices. And best of all – they provide free SEO tools that you can wield to improve your website. If you are starting out and looking for just beginner SEO tools – this is huge.
No need to buy expensive software. No need to get in-depth training courses for only $$$. There are plenty of amazing tools out there – but with a little know-how, you can start getting search traffic to your site with these free tools from Google. Here they are and how to use them… [Read more…] about 5 Free Beginner SEO Tools From Google & How to Use Them
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that uses content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, and to convince them to take some sort of profitable action (also called a conversion).
I’ll be explaining why you should explore investing in content marketing (as part of your general marketing strategy) and breaking down 3 ways you can do it to increase your site traffic and your sales.
Why Content Marketing?
People are over ads. Just think of your own online behavior. When is the last time you clicked on an ad on Google or saw a billboard that you thought was cool?
Enter content marketing. Content marketing isn’t exactly new… in fact, it’s positively ancient.
A century ago, seed companies and farm suppliers like John Deere gave out almanacs to farmers. It was how they established relationships with their customers, found out their needs, and did long-term sales.
It’s 2016 and things haven’t really changed, except for the fact that content marketing is actually more suited to our digital age. The Internet is awash with attention grabbing headlines, which means no one even sees your ad unless they are looking for it (which is where Google AdWords comes in), or if it provides real value, which is what content marketing is all about.
Content marketing is also incredibly versatile. You can build an entire business around your content marketing efforts because it hits each stage of the funnel. It also integrates with nearly every type of advertising, from paid media to SEO, meaning you get more bang for your buck by creating great content to support your other marketing efforts.
So how can you put it to use? Here are three broad ways to approach content marketing:
Increase Reach & Awareness
One of the primary ways to use content marketing is to create content that gets you in front of new audiences. Basically, this boils down to creating unique and valuable content that’s broad enough to reach those who aren’t familiar with your brand.
Take this YouTube Channel by Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc. This content is broad enough that even someone who doesn’t know the brand can find it and even appreciate it. It fuels the “awareness stage” of the funnel (AKA, when someone learns about a brand).
When you’re using content marketing to increase reach and awareness, consider utilizing these three primary methods to achieve your goal:
By creating content that people are happy to share with friends on social media, you can expand your reach exponentially. Take the “This Girl Can” video from Sport England. This video went viral as thousands of people shared it across social media. Chances are, most of the people who came across the video had never heard of Sport England.
If you create content that ranks for broad topics that solve issues that correspond with your project, you’re reaching people that may not know you, but definitely have issues your business can solve. REI does a great job of this. They site provides resourceful content that addresses issues their target audience are trying to solve. So, when a hiker searches for “backpacking trips in the US” on Google, the top ranked content comes from REI – a brand.
By creating ads that are broad and applicable to a large audience, a brand can utilize advertising to expand their reach and audience scope. Think about Buzzfeed, which is funded solely with this business. They create epic content that goes viral on a regular basis, reaching a HUGE audience for their content and advertiser’s content, which exposes even more customers to brands (and Buzzfeed).
Increase Inbound Traffic
Content marketing it also useful for increasing inbound traffic. Inbound is just marketing jargon for being where your customers are. In terms of content marketing, it means putting content out there that brings people to your website, instead of throwing ads at them and interrupting whatever they’re doing (like YouTube video ads…). Let’s take a look at REI again and see how they do this through social, SEO, and advertising.
REI creates interesting and clickable stories that they share via their social media channels. This post about duct-tape hacks is a great example of interesting educational content that is applicable to REI’s outdoor enthusiast audience.
We’ve already seen how REI excels using SEO to find other audiences, but the brand has a host of useful educational content that can both be linked and that shows up in search engines. ￼
When it comes to advertising, REI uses content marketing exceptionally well. The brand was featured in AdWeek for sharing inspirational stories of dedicated campaigns as a new advertising campaign called “Every Trail Connects”.
The campaign highlights the strategic difference between inbound and outbound marketing: the inbound style here uses emotional content in order to connect with an audience, instead of making a cold sale to a potential customer through a paid media ad focusing on a big sale.
A third quick way to use content marketing is to create content that you can use to sell, reassure, or educate existing customers and visitors. This can come to life in three ways: through using retargeting, using on-site content, or using email.
When you retarget a customer, you’re reaching back out to someone who visited your site but did not convert. In terms of content marketing, this means using content to draw existing fans back. The content should be interesting and educational, and provide additional value that the customer didn’t originally find on your site. Perhaps you offer a special PDF download guide, or a webinar course that only few have access too. Whatever it is, make it valuable.
Getting customers to convert isn’t just something that happens outside of your site. You can actually use on-site content that educates or reassure high consideration visitors that they are making the right decision in doing business with you. This content can be customer testimonials, reviews, or third party references about your products and services.
Content marketing through email looks similar to retargeting in that you’re using it to serve content that brings customers back to your website. This email content can be anything — exclusive discounts for email list, advanced-access to a tool or educational video, or even a pre-sale announcement for a new product. The ultimate goal here is to get customers back on the site and to convert.
Whether your are a business owner or work for an agency, marketing in 2016 means that you understand the importance of content marketing.
To get started, decide which of the above approaches has the most immediate and significant impact on your business. Then, start building that by creating educational, entertaining, and thoughtful content that aligns with your end goal.