3 Fixes For Improving Your Website’s User Experience

3 Fixes For Improving Your Website’s User Experience

The attention span of an average internet user is 8 seconds, shorter than that of a goldfish. You know what this means? More work for you! It’s time to focus on what’s important for your site and forget about those fancy tweaks on BuzzFeed.

If your visitors feel good when they’re on your page, it’s easy to know. You’d be getting more comments, shares and faster growth.

Are your email unsubscribe numbers on the rise? Lots of negative comments? Reduced engagement on social media?

It’s clear you’re doing something wrong. You’re beginning to annoy those loving followers.

But you can fix it. Wanna know how?

Here they are, the 3 fixes for improving your site’s user experience.

1. Speed Up Your Website

The average site load time is 2 seconds, but you should do better than that. It’s so easy to see why. Apart from serving your visitors with content at a rate faster than that of your competitors, it’s something Google considers a ranking factor.

But if you don’t know it’s broken, it’s difficult fixing, right?

Here’s how to check your site load time

Go to, and enter your site details for a complete analysis

And here’s what the report looks like



If you have a bad grade, meaning a slow site, here’s what you can do.

> Enable Browser Caching

Anytime a visitor lands on your site, their browser sends a request to your server, so they’d have to download the HTML document, CSS stylesheets and images before it’s live on their browser.

The time in which all this is done is what’s called the page load time.

If browser caching is enabled, visitors won’t have to “re-download” that page when next they come visiting.

You can enable caching in WordPress by using plugins like WP Super Cache and W3 Total Cache.

> Optimize Your Images

It’s important to include images in your content. It makes your post digestible. But if all your pictures are 5MB+, your visitors may not even get to see the post before leaving in disgust over your awful site load time.

Here are some ways to optimize your images:

# Good Ol’ Photoshop

Open your image files in Photoshop and go to File>Save>Save For Web

And don’t forget to reduce the image to 65-80%


# Online Tools

A simple Google search for “online image optimizer” and you’d get the results you need.


# WordPress Plugins

I’m not a big fan of having a WordPress plugin for everything but some of these plugins do get your pics ready for the web.

2. Make Your Content Readable

Whether you’re running an e-commerce site or a “how-to” niche blog, you need something that draws visitors from around the word. You need stellar, jaw-dropping content.

It doesn’t matter whether you believe content is king or not, your posts and pages must have very clear directions.

Here’s how to get it done:

> Add a Table of Contents

If you’ve been using the internet for some time, I guess you’ve stumbled on Wikipedia. You’d normally see something like this at the top of any entry


That’s a table of contents. And a clickable one at that. It gives your audience a bird’s eye view of what your post is about.

Long form contents are all the rage in the blogosphere. A visitor may need to jump right into an important section and these tables do the job.

You should check out this guide to see how it’s done.

> Use Images

It’s hard to describe how an app or a tool works without providing screenshots to support your point. You can even get your reader confused if you don’t. And that’s not a great impression.

If you want more search engine love, you need Alt Tags in your images that improve traffic to your site.

And almost nobody shares a “no-image” post on social media. It’s just not lively.

You can get free images on Flickr (read up the licenses first) and the other sites also.

Or you can create yours with Canva.

Just get something that doesn’t make your posts feel like a giant block of text.

> And Don’t Ignore Videos

A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? A video should be around ten thousand. There’s just no way you’re doing a DIY review post on how your new paint sprayer saved you a lot of time without inserting a video.

You can use services like YouTube, Wistia and Vimeo to host your videos.

> Check Your Grammar

No, you don’t need to write like it’s a college essay or anything like that. You’re writing for the web so there’s nothing wrong including conversational asides in your posts.

You can use tools like Grammarly and the Hemmingway App.

Bottom line: Not knowing that “you’re” is actually short for “you are” makes you look like an amateur.

3. Infuse A Little Common Sense

There are internet marketing rules you need to throw out right now. And there are others to live by if you want to boost your user experience. You’ve got to abide by these rules.

Here are some of them:

> Forget The Long Signup Forms

To get people on your email list, the most important thing you need is their email address. Then maybe you can ask for a name. And it doesn’t need to be their full name.



Their Twitter handles, Facebook profiles and websites are really not important. You need tons of followers, don’t piss anyone off by making your Signup form look like an application.

> Add Social Sharing Buttons


Nobody spends time creating customized intros on Facebook for an “unsocial” site.

So get those buttons, it doesn’t take more than 30 minutes.

If you have an infographic, add an embed code to the page so it’s easy to share.

> Clear Navigation

Let your site give direction. One of our clients, Dairyland Insurance, does a great job of quickly getting the consumer to the content most applicable to them via the homepage:

Dairyland Insurance Navigation

Going for a responsive theme makes this easier.

> Give Feedback

People are going to come to your contact page with questions. Have a feedback mechanism that shows you’d be responding to their queries shortly.

You can use an autoresponder service that does that or get a contact form that has this feature.



You just can’t ignore your visitors. They’re the reason you’re in business. And you should listen to them. Non-verbal cues like a huge drop in traffic and increasing unsubscribe rates mean you need to get to work.

Get that audience to love you again. Make them feel good on your site. These tips should give you lots of ideas.

Keyword Competition Analysis: One Metric That Matters To All SEOs

Keyword Competition Analysis: One Metric That Matters To All SEOs

So you’ve gotten your website all set up. It’s time to get those visitors, right? The thing is, getting them all depends on your keywords. Good luck getting on page one of Google with the Fortune 500 companies all targeting your keywords. To win on page one, you’d need to compete, using the right metric. So, what’s this metric?

Page Authority (PA)

A page’s authority is the value a search engine assigns to that particular web page. It determines how well a page would rank in search for a keyword or a set of keywords. PA was actually developed by Moz and does a good job scoring tons of pages on the web.

So let’s say you start an affiliate niche site and go for the buyer long tail keyword, “best handheld cordless vacuum.”

SEM Rush Keyword

SEM Rush Keyword Overview

That’s a keyword with 390 monthly searches. But what do the PA stats say?

Head over here and get MozBar.


Sign up for Moz Toolbar

Sign up for Moz Toolbar

When next you do that search, you should see this:


Mozbar Search Results

Mozbar Search Results

PA is influenced largely by the quality of backlinks a page has. So you can see that the highest ranking page has a PA of 43 with 435 links. 435 links!!! Why isn’t PA 97? Remember, I said quality and not number of links. The average PA for the top three pages is 42. With a 193 link average, that keyword would be too difficult to rank for.

If you modify that and try targeting “best cordless handheld vacuum for pet hair,” with just 50 monthly searches, there’s a different result.

SEM Rush Keyword Overview

SEM Rush Keyword Overview

Let’s look at the PA stats:

Mozbar Results

Mozbar Results

The average PA for the top three ranking pages sits at 23. The links also are nothing to go “oh shit” over.

Now that’s a golden keyword. You can actually compete and have an easy win on this keyword than you would on the first.

And that’s not all there is to this tactic. Even without the guide, (cause you won’t see the MozBar on a mobile device) you can determine keywords with low average PAs by looking out for SERPs with user generated content. That’s content from  Yahoo, HubPages, Quora and forums. Content from these sites are usually not of high-quality and hardly go viral so they only appear on the SERPs when search engines are starved for content at that level. Translation? There’s an opening, go feed those bots!

The MozBar also displays DA, short for Domain Authority. It’s the value assigned by a search engine to a domain or a website. But PA is King on SERPs. That’s because if search engines placed DA over PA, newer sites with top-quality content would find it difficult to rank. Search engines want to serve users the best “pages,” not the best domains or websites.

Content is served on your web pages. If you’re going to win at analyzing the competition of a keyword, look at the ranking pages for a keyword on the SERPs and see how they stack up.

The Hidden Marketing Power In Blog Posts You Aren’t Using

The Hidden Marketing Power In Blog Posts You Aren’t Using

Posting links to your latest blog posts on social media is a great way to promote your posts. But that’s where most bloggers stop. Some may go the extra mile and duplicate the post a few weeks later, trying to squeeze a little more promotional juice from the post. But there is a far more effective way to continually promote your latest blog post.

It’s All In How You Word It

Creating a colorful post that’s filled with engaging wording, great looking images and follows SEO best practices should be your baseline. Meaning, this should be the least every post has. To get the most out of your posts when it comes time to promote, make sure you have memorable wording sprinkled throughout. For example:

  • A great related quote
  • Valuable reference with a link to the source
  • Pithy statement that sums up an important topic

Once you’re ready, it’s fine to post the blog title along with its link to your social media accounts. This gets the promotion ball rolling.

Using the structure above, you now have literally several more unique social media posts for the same blog post. For each, just switch out the title for any of the memorable group of words and add the link. You can probably create a social media post for every other day until the end of the month.

There Are Plenty Of Pros Who Can Help With Marketing

Want to get even more out of your post and have big names help out? Go to some of the most popular posts of influencer bloggers in your niche. Grab a group of memorable words from their post and quote it in yours. Somewhere in the quote, link back to the influencer’s post. The stage is now set for a supercharged promotion campaign. Let’s say you have

The stage is now set for a supercharged promotion campaign. Let’s say you have wording from three different influencers. You can post that exact wording into your social media post and tag the influencer’s social media handle so they know. Now sit back and wait for the influencer to

Now sit back and wait for the influencer to repost to their social media accounts. It might not happen every time but you’ll certainly have better chances than not using this tactic at all.

…And The Benefits Keep Coming

Posting snippets from influencer blog posts can start building relationships for you. Don’t stop with only posting their content to social media. It’s always about going the extra mile.

In addition to posting influencer snippets to social media, comment on their blog posts so they will see your name there also. Feel free to even email them if you have something valuable to say about their content or to share.

All Of This From One Little Blog Post

That’s right. All of this started from the right structuring of one blog post. Now that you know how to do it for future posts, you can go back and rewrite some of your older posts. You don’t have to worry about a complete rewrite. Where you can, add in valuable snippets of wording and links to other bloggers.

Hope that helps in getting your name out there more. You can see there isn’t really any magic to it. Just a little elbow grease and imagination.

Out of Blog Post Ideas? Try These 4 Unusual Hacks

Out of Blog Post Ideas? Try These 4 Unusual Hacks

It’s no secret that great blog content is a lynchpin of inbound marketing, and today, almost every business has a blog that they update regularly.

But when you’re putting out epic content on a regular basis for a long period of time, you can run into a problem: you’ve already used up all of your best ideas.

Between keyword research and your own real world experience, you started off with tons of fruitful blog post ideas. But eventually, you’ll find yourself running through the cream of the crop.

This is more of a problem in some industries than others. It’s something you run into with a lot of “unsexy” service industries, like moving companies or HVAC repair services. When you’ve already covered the obvious topics with engaging, SEO friendly blog posts that cover things in detail, you can hit a bit of a dead end.

If you’re hard up for new content ideas, these simple “hacks” can help you refuel your creativity and spark a “lightbulb moment” that gets the ball rolling again.

1. Check out what comes up on BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo is an online service that shows you the top performing content for various search queries. It gives you a peek at what kind of content your competitors are putting out, and at what kind of content gets the most engagement and social shares.

You can search for either a topic or a particular domain. As a simple example, here’s what comes up for “digital marketing strategy.”

This shows you what kind of content is doing well in that particular niche. From topics, to target audiences, to headline structure, there’s a lot of information you can glean from BuzzSumo.


This is just a limited selection of what BuzzSumo can offer. Although they have a free 30-day trial, and you can see a few top results for free any time, it is a paid service. However, something like this could be worth the investment.

2. Use a longtail keyword tool like UberSuggest.

There are a handful of great online keyword research tools that are designed to help you find unique, interesting longtail keywords. These are search queries that consist of several words, and that don’t get a super-high search volume. These can be easy to target, without nearly as much competition as broader “head” keywords.

Tools like Ubersuggest are useful for SEO, but they’re also a great way to find new content ideas. There are several tools like this out there, but we’re spotlighting Ubersuggest because it’s one of the best.

Plus, it generates a nifty word cloud for each search, which shows which words tend to occur in the same queries as your main keyword. This can help you pinpoint related ideas and concepts, sparking new ideas for content that your audience would like.

Here’s what comes up for “digital marketing strategy” on Ubersuggest.


This is just the top of the list. UberSuggest found 192 total keywords. But even this tiny snippet from their search results provides some interesting information.

You can see that people search for things like “digital marketing strategy template,” “digital marketing strategy implementation and practice,” and “digital marketing strategy framework.” This suggests that people are looking for actual techniques and substantial, actionable advice that they can implement themselves.

You can also see that people are looking specifically for “digital marketing strategy pdf.” They’re looking for Powerpoint presentations (“ppt”) as well. You could create a whitepaper or ebook about strategy that’s available in PDF format, or create a powerpoint slideshow about it.

We mentioned that Ubersuggest also generates a word cloud. These are actually pretty massive, but here’s a screencap of part of it.

Ubersuggest Wordcloud

Pretty cool to look at, right? And if you look closely, you can find valuable information. You can see words like “newspapers,” “hospitals,” “government,” “schools,” and “hotel.” This implies that people are looking for digital marketing strategies specifically tailored for certain industries.

As an example, you could create a comprehensive longform blog post about digital marketing strategies that work specifically for hotels.

Ubersuggest’s meaty longtail keyword results are full of blog post ideas, based on things your audience is actively searching for. This can be a great way to help yourself brainstorm when your well of creativity starts to run dry.

Other longtail keyword research tools include,, and the humorously named KeywordS*****r.

3. Use “Answer the Public.”

Like Ubersuggest and similar online tools, Answer the Public is a free resource for finding longtail keywords. We’re discussing this separately because Answer the Public takes a unique approach that sets it apart.

This tool focuses on two types of queries: those in the form of a question, and those that contain a preposition. It’s for finding who questions, how questions, why questions, and more. It gives you a glimpse into what kind of questions your audience is asking, which is fertile ground for new post ideas.

Not only does Answer the Public provide a list of results, but it also generates two highly intuitive graphical representations.

One is for queries in the form of a question.

Answer The Public

The other is for queries that contain a preposition.

Answer the Public Tool

Pretty cool, right? These visualizations are easily digestible, showing you what types of questions are common for your query.

Each question can act as a writing prompt, seeding an entire blog post.

4. Check Reddit and Quora to see what kind of questions people are asking.

 Reddit is one of the world’s most widely used social media platforms, with a structure similar to old-school forums. There’s a subreddit for just about anything you can think of, and with a little Googling, you can find active communities relevant to your company’s product or service.

People use subreddits to ask questions and hold discussions. Reddit posts and comments can give you valuable insights into your audience, and you can find questions and concerns you might not have known about before.

Quora is another website that can provide this kind of information. It’s kind of like a higher quality version of Yahoo! Answers (which is still around, but less valuable than Quora or Reddit). People ask all kinds of questions here, and in many cases, they get answers from real experts.

Quora’s also a great opportunity for you to get yourself or your company out there by participating in the community and actively answering questions.

Ideas are out there. All you have to do is find them.

Eventually, we all hit a wall when it comes to good blog post ideas. Once you’ve covered the obvious, you have to get creative. These free resources can all help you spark the ideas you need to take your content marketing strategy to the next level.

How To Be A Better Digital Marketer Using Heatmaps

How To Be A Better Digital Marketer Using Heatmaps

As a digital marketer, the most valuable information on your website would be to know what areas your clients click on the most, and why. To know this, you would opt to conduct a survey and have your visitors directly tell you where they are clicking, and why.

But, surveys are not the most appropriate methods of gathering this information, especially because not all your visitors will respond to your questions, or even give accurate information. This is where visual analytics, especially heat maps, come in handy, for a digital marketer.

What Is A Heatmap?

A heat map is a graphical representation of data in a two-dimensional image. Usually, this data will be presented using different colors, which will show different levels of activity on a website.

For example, by observing heat map results, you will understand what parts of your website visitors spend the most time, hence using that information, to informatively decide on where to place your marketing campaigns or social media icons.

Types Of Heatmaps

There are different types of heat maps, each possessing its own visualization technique.

These are:

Eye-Tracking Heatmap

Eye-tracking heatmaps work by showing you exactly where your audience is looking at in your webpage.

To get this information, eye-tracking heatmaps use complex technology and expensive software, making them the most expensive type of heatmaps.

Let’s see in the image below, an eye-tracking heatmap results, for National Cancer Insitute:

Webpage Heatmaps

Mouse-Movement Heatmap (Also Known As Hover Map)

As the name alludes, this tool tells you how many visitors hover over a particular section of the page, showing how users read and navigate through your page. Consequently, this information helps you point out the most interesting and boring areas in your website.
Here is an example of how this feature looks like:

Mouse Movement Heatmap

Source: Staticflickr

The main idea behind hover maps is that people tend to hover where they look at, meaning that there is a strong correlation between mouse-movement heatmaps and eye-tracking heatmaps.

But, is this true?

The truth is, mouse movement heatmaps borrow their technique from eye tracking heatmaps but they are not as accurate. No wonder Peep Laja, calls this tool ‘a poor man’s eye tracking tool’.

Peep is supported by Guy Redwood at Simple Usability, who has a similar belief about mouse tracking as shown in the screenshot below:

Mouse Hover Heat Maps

Screenshot Source: Conversion XL

Now, where is the evidence?

Dr. Anne Aula, Senior User Experience Researcher at Google gave a presentation in 2010, talking about the disappointing facts about mouse tracking heatmaps.

According to her research, it was found out that:

  • Only 6% of people showed some vertical correlation between mouse movement and eye tracking
  • 19% of people showed some horizontal correlation between mouse movement and eye tracking
  • 10% hovered over a link and then continued to read around the page looking at other things.

Clearly, there is a very insignificant relationship between mouse tracking and eye tracking heatmaps.


Do not just rely on mouse-movement heatmaps. Instead, use a combination of heatmaps to get the most accurate data.


This is a very great feature especially when you want to track performance of important buttons such as the CTA button, since it shows you where site visitors are clicking, and presents this info as aggregated click data

Usually, colour intensity and what a shade of colour means, is dependent on the heat map provider.

Scroll Map

These show how far your audience scrolls down a webpage. This information is very important, because you get to know the desired length of content, and what part of the page (top, bottom or centre) you should put important CTA buttons.

In addition to Google guiding you on the length of content, you can use scroll maps to know how much your audience is reading. After which, you can re-strategize on your content length.

Way Forward

Struggling with content marketing or your social media campaigns are not picking up? Fret not, because by using different types of heatmaps, you can decipher why you are getting the desired ROI.  Get a heatmap tool today, and use all scroll maps, clickmaps, hover maps and eye-tracking heatmaps, to become a better digital marketer.

How to Write Effective Marketing Blog Posts

How to Write Effective Marketing Blog Posts

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of marketing blogs on the internet. So, how do you make yours one of the best? Creating quality content for a marketing blog might feel daunting at first, but once you whittle it down to a few necessary points, you’ll be writing popular posts in no time.

Why blogging?

Blogging has experienced an enormous surge in popularity over the past ten years and is an important part of content marketing. Blogging can increase popularity, encourage consumer interest and raise revenue growth. It helps bring traffic to your website, build a strong brand name and promote your product.

When used properly, blogging can be an extremely powerful marketing tool. In fact, according to HubSpot, 60% of marketers consider creating good blog content to be their top inbound marketing priority.

The difference between effective and fluffy content

Before you get too excited and run off to write your first blog post, first you must learn the difference between fluffy content and effective content. Fluffy content has no substance. It lacks depth, precision and fact. Fluffy writing sounds vague, and uses nonsense buzzwords to gain search engine results instead of real readers.

Effective content draws the reader in and gives them something to think about. It’s well-researched and supported by facts or figures. For content to be effective, it must focus on a point, and deliver that point clearly.

Writing effective content

How to Write Effective ContentThere are a few key things to consider when you’re planning a blog post.

Format: what is the best way to present your information to readers? An eye-catching title and subheadings are important. No one wants to read a slab of text, so break it up with some images.

Infographics have also become a popular way to display information. Tools like Slideshare and Canva can help even the most artistically-challenged create vibrant visuals.

Audience: think about who will be reading the finished result. Are they going to understand the words and tone you’re using? Avoid using any lingo or jargon.

What information is your audience after? What questions can you answer for them? There’s no point writing a killer blog post if it’s not relevant to your audience.

Research: do your research beforehand. This is one of the most important factors in writing a successful blog post. Research enables you to get a better understanding of your reader.

Without research, you won’t reach them.

Social Media Promotion

Promoting your post

Congratulations, you’ve written an awesome piece of content! Now, you need to get it noticed. This is where social media comes into it. Social media marketing can increase exposure and traffic, provide valuable insight into the marketplace, improve sales and search rankings.

Sharing blog posts through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn can help gain interest and successfully grow your audience, reaching even the farthest corners of the world. These days, using social media is easy thanks to tools like MeetEdgar, Shareist, Flare and Tweroid.

The Internet might seem like a fickle beast to a budding blogger, but anyone can achieve great success by using simple tips like these.

Ready, Set, Blog! Why Blogging Matters to SEO

Ready, Set, Blog! Why Blogging Matters to SEO

Blogging for SEO

Picture from Social Media Today

To blog, or not to blog? That is the question businesses and web marketers frequently ask themselves as they work to refine and strengthen their online strategy. Lately, however, it seems as if more and more people are arriving at the same conclusion: yes. Blogging matters.

Brand Marketing

Maintaining a blog is crucial to brand marketing because it is an essential part of building your actual brand. A strong brand (online) typically goes hand in hand with quality content. With Google’s continued algorithm updates that focus on quality content, you could say that a company’s brand has become important to its Google ranking.

Who blogs, and why? The truth is, blogging matters to everyone: whether you’re a freelance writer looking to increase visibility or an entrepreneur looking to broaden your small business’ reach. Even large corporations and media outlets blog to reinforce their brand and maintain a relationship with their audience.

Successful SEO

Keywords are no longer the defining method of effective Search Engine Optimization. While they definitely still matter, a well-developed content marketing strategy is just as important. As a way of adding relevant and timely content on a frequent basis, blogging comprises a large part of content marketing.

SEO as a whole is so integral to online marketing that Forbes named a lack of SEO knowledge one of seven reasons a business can fail. Successful SEO incorporates a range of tactics. Here are some reasons why blogging is such an important one of those SEO tactics.

A Blog is the Platform on Which You Build Your Brand

Your brand is your business or your product’s identity, and so much goes into building a brand that it is difficult to determine the single most important factor. Offline, traditional marketing tactics—word of mouth, physical advertisements—and your person-to-person interactions with clients, vendors, consumers, and others establish your brand. Online, your website reinforces your brand. It is the interface between you and an even wider pool of potential customers. It’s the medium through which you promote your products or services.

To provide your audience with a robust brand image, your website must be equally robust. The content you publish is the way to do this. Blogs are an excellent way to consistently feed your audience quality content. You can only have so much static content—that is, the pages that lives in fixed locations on your website—before people get lost in it all. Blogs are current, concise, and can be published on a rolling basis. In this way, you can build a vast and varied portfolio of content that really tells people who you are.

Become a Voice People Will Listen To

Static content on your site may, and should, speak directly to you or your business. The blog, however, gives you a chance to spread your wings. Always keep your blog in line with your brand’s messaging, but don’t be afraid to get creative. Speak to various issues to become an authority in your space.

A wealth of content helps you become a thought leader, and people trust someone who’s opinions are influential and valued by their peers. You can stay specific to your vertical and still provide a variety of information on a particular topic. If you are a car dealer, compare different models of cars, or offer useful consumer information. If you are a realtor, discuss the housing market and give your readers advice. Break news. Provide commentary. Review related products, or interview other thought leaders. It is always recommended to integrate various media—Infographics, videos, gifs—into your blog as well.

Content is the Basis for Web Marketing

Multiple facets of your online marketing strategy—from social media to SEO—depend on content. We’ll talk about quality content in a little bit, but essentially, content has become vital to the way you optimize your site for search engines. It must be well written, properly formatted, and must utilize targeted keywords. Your static pages give you only so much content to optimize, but blogs give you a continuously revolving repertoire. You can focus blogs on specific keywords to broaden the keywords you target, and also have a wider variety of pages to choose from for link building. Not to mention the amount of organic traffic that is driven to your site as you blog more consistently.

 Blogs are pivotal to your social media strategy as well. Effective engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and other social networks is not just about re-sharing other people’s content. Original content is not only more interesting, it also promotes your brand. Search Engine Journal writer Neil Patel says, “A blog allows you to build a fuller picture of who you are. Most people will meet you through other places…but if they like what they read on Twitter, then they’ll follow you back to your blog and find out more about who you are.”

The Evolution of SEO: From Keywords to Content

Part of Google’s renewed emphasis on content is the use of Authorship to determine the authority of a page. You can read more about Google Authorship here, but essentially, it entails integrating Google + into your site to attribute each post to the person who wrote it. This is Google’s way of making sure your content was written by someone who knows the subject and can speak to it reliably. Blogs give you more content to attribute to authors, and as Google sees more and more posts written by the same person, the credibility of both the writer and the posts increases. This can potentially lead to higher search rankings for a properly optimized blog.

If you have one person writing your blog, attribute all posts to them so that their author profile (linked to their Google +) is featured on each. If you have multiple writers, even better, just make sure posts are attributed appropriately, and whenever possible, have each person stick to a particular subject or category of blogs. This asserts their area of expertise, which Google takes into consideration when determining authority.

Was SEO Ever Dead?

A recent article by Alan Boyce from The Guardian, SEO Loopholes Are Out: Good Content is the Answer, attributes Google’s updates to the resurgence of SEO credibility. “Peak SEO”, as Boyce calls it, was that which relied on keyword stuffing and unsustainable link-building tactics. The series of updates that began with Panda and continued with Penguin and Hummingbird have all but eliminated those tactics by penalizing them for their unreliability.

Relevant and quality content therefore became key to ranking for search terms, and the renewed focus of SEO. Boyce says:

“These trends have led many commentators to claim that SEO is dead… far from being dead, SEO has evolved into something far more benign… The updates’ cumulative effect has been to rule practice after practice out of bounds, so that search results reflect whatever it is users really have in mind when they run a search… SEO today, then, is something like zen archery: to hit the target, ignore the target. Focus instead on the beauty of aligning with your audience’s intentions.”

The evolution of SEO, then, has been to focus on what the audience truly needs, and then reinforce that relevant content with the targeted keywords, meta data, and page formatting.

The aforementioned Search Engine Journal article (while still relevant) is from 2012, but even then, experts were acknowledging the importance of blogs to SEO. That was the beginning of a trend that continues to this day. If you don’t have the bandwidth or people to write your own blogs, consider hiring a freelancer. Source blogs however you can, always keeping quality and authority in mind. Content matters, and blogging is the fastest, most reliable way to consistently publish timely content.

Content is Contagious: Is There a Secret to Viral Content?

Content is Contagious: Is There a Secret to Viral Content?

Viral Marketing - Word of MouthContent is King

This popular saying has always been understood to be one of the fundamental tenants of online marketing. For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the necessity to strengthen your brand through reliable, trustworthy, and engaging content, a solid marketing strategy seems to revolve around quality content. With static pages on your website, your content is quite literally your brand: the way you talk about yourself, your product, your services, and communicate the essentials of your company is done through content. Blog posts, infographics, Facebook shares, tweets, and other timely pieces of content are the ways your brand interacts with your audience and other thought leaders in your vertical. Google’s growing emphasis on authorship only proves that search engines, now more than ever, are caring about who writes your content because that gives insight into it’s authority.

Like any other king, content–in addition to being high quality–needs to have a wide reach. While not every piece of content needs to go viral in order to be effective, virality is certainly a fast and easy way to create visibility for your content and get people talking. Popular content that is widely shared by individuals on social media, picked up by large media sources, and reposted on other websites can be a huge boon to your site. From a link building perspective, it’s a goldmine. And from a brand perspective, viral content establishes you as a relevant and reputable participant in whatever conversation your content contributed to.

Viral Content

The question is: how do you make content go viral? Many experts have weighed in with their own opinions and techniques for creating and curating viral content. In February, HubSpot published How to Make Viral Content: 9 Tips from the Greatest Viral Content Genius on the Planet, an intriguing piece where Neetzan Zimmerman, a blogger for Gawker who created 9 of the site’s 10 top posts of 2013, shared his secrets. At The Guardian, Buzzfeed’s editorial director shared his three best strategies for viral content. Fox Business even shared their five tips. There have been countless posts on viral content, and they are all worth reading, if only to pick up on the common threads and patterns that people are talking about. The following five tips are those which most experts have agreed upon; commonly occurring suggestions that are generally accepted as ways to make your content go viral.

Please note: the following tips are not pulled solely from the three aforementioned examples, but from a variety of posts on the subject, demonstrating that they are widely agreed upon.

  1. Appeal to Human Emotions: One of the most widely espoused techniques for going viral is the need for people to connect with the content they share. In his presentation for Hubspot, Neetzan Zimmerman calls emotion the “bread and butter” of viral content, saying “stories that evoke primal emotions work best.” If you want people to share your content, they need to be moved by it. They need to feel something so that they are compelled to get others to feel the same way. Content that evokes positive emotions, such as a feel good or inspirational story, is more likely to go viral than content that evokes negative emotions like anger or sadness. However, any emotional content, positive or negative, is more likely to be shared than content that evokes no response whatsoever.

  1. Curate, Don’t Just Create: You don’t necessarily need to create every piece of content that you want to go viral. Upworthy has become one of the largest mediums for sharing viral stories entirely by finding videos, graphics, and other media they know will strike a chord with people. Depending on your goal (whether you’re looking to become a prominent voice in a conversation or if you’re trying to raise visibility for your own content), you can search for existing content that is relevant to your audience.

  1. Post as Much as You Can: Not everything you post will go viral. It’s often difficult to find the right piece of content that will blow up. You must stay timely and relevant, emotionally engaging, and visual (pictures, graphics, and videos are more likely to be shared than lengthy text) to catch your audience at the precise moment when they are looking for the kind of content you have to share with them. It requires time, effort, and patience, but posting often shows that you are actively engaging with your community, and increases your chances of something being a success. This is not to say, however, that you should post just anything. Don’t spam your readers. Make each post count and ensure  that you are only sharing quality content.

  1. Study the Data: Delve into the numbers of everything you post to figure out what works and what doesn’t. How many people did your content reach? Was there a significant increase in traffic? When? How many shares and likes did it receive? Examining the data ensures that you are learning from each post, and gaining insight into how your content is received will help you refine your strategy.

  1. Engage Influencers: There’s a reason almost everything Upworthy shares goes viral. Upworthy is a prominent voice in the online space, and people pay attention when they speak. Whether it is a post that was submitted to them or that they found, Upworthy is influential enough that the post will be noticed. Think about who your content is targeting, and figure out who the thought leaders are in that space. Is it a human rights piece? Is it an entertainment piece? Look at the kind of content notable sites and figures have shared historically, and refine your content to appeal to them. Getting your content shared by even a single influencer in a relevant vertical elevates it to a whole new level. It reaches a wider audience, and its credibility is strengthened by the fact that it’s being shared by an active thought leader. This will compel people in their audience to share it as well.

In short, it doesn’t seem as if there are any surefire secrets to viral content. The experts each have their sets of best practices, and while there is often a lot of overlap, there are also a lot of differences in their strategies as well. A lot of the techniques for making your content go viral also vary depending on the specific nature of the content itself. You wouldn’t share an emotional video the same way you would share a humorous op-ed, nor would you target the same audiences to share or repost those pieces. The advice of these and other experts is valuable, and you should definitely read what they have to say. It’s just important to take from each the pieces that best suit your goals and create a viral strategy that works for your own particular content.

Google Authorship: Humanizing Your Content to Increase Rankings

Google Authorship: Humanizing Your Content to Increase Rankings

Though Google+ has grown rapidly since its launch in 2011–reaching 540 million active users this past October–Facebook remains the world’s largest social network (Google+ is the second). Nonetheless, the relevance of Google+ as an engaging social platform, and its importance to web marketers as a Google-owned property, cannot be debated. Described by Google itself as a “social layer”, the purpose of the tool is to act as an interlay, allowing users to interact socially with google-enhanced websites and services.

One way that Google is doing this is through Google Authorship, which Forbes is calling one of the Top 7 SEO Trends Dominating 2014. Google Authorship is an important factor in the Google algorithm that aims to surface quality content in search rankings based, in part, on who authored it. Content is no longer enough to help a website rank for search terms. Google’s algorithm is continually evolving to highlight websites with content that is authoritative, engaging, diverse, and, just as importantly, written by an expert in the field.

With more and more businesses implementing Google Authorship in their marketing strategy, it is important to know the basics so you can determine if it is relevant to your business. Chances are, it is.

What is Google Authorship?

Google+ and Google Authorship go hand-in-hand. The wide integration of Google+ profiles into Google’s other properties, including its search engine (and, consequently, search results), has essentially humanized, or socialized, the way we search. According to The Huffington Post, Google Authorship was created “with the goal of allowing writers to claim their content, as well as allowing search engine users to find more content written by the same writer.” This allows users to see the face behind the content they’re reading, and adds to the trustworthiness of the website. If a user can see that one person is writing on the same topic across different sites, it establishes that person’s reputation as an expert in the space.

Authorship does not only allow users to find content created by a reputable writer; it also allows Google to do the same. The concept was implemented to reduce spam and improve the quality of content, and, by extension, of search results. As the algorithm evolved to incorporate social media more actively into search results, Google+ became an important tool for sites to improve their rankings. That is exactly how Authorship works: by creating a solid Google+, writers can link their profiles to the content they create, allowing Google, and the user, to infer authority through their social presence.

With Google+ allowing authors to “claim their content”, how do businesses ensure that their content is written by an authority figure? While not every business is in the position to source expensive content externally from prominent figures in their space, Forbes suggests “designating a person within your organization to take ownership of contributing great content to leading online publications…to become your true thought leader.”

What Author Rank Means for Your Page Rank

Google Authorship implies that eventually Author Rank will become as much, if not more, relevant than page rank. As an author’s web presence becomes more prominent through the sheer amount of content they have authored, and the number of sites to which they contribute linked to on their Google+, they become an authority. Ultimately, their rank will factor into search results. It is even speculated that websites that have not implemented Google Authorship will eventually be phased out of search results entirely (though that is just speculation at this point).

An excellent infographic by Internet Marketing Inc. (included below) highlights the importance of Author Rank. Author Rank is directly impacted by the writer’s social activity on Google+ and other social media platforms. The amount of engagement on Google+, including frequency of posts, number of connections, the number of shares and +1’s their posts receive, and comments all factor in. And since Author Rank is tied directly to the writer’s content, not the site on which it is posted, Google’s continued emphasis on Authorship means that the value lies in the writer, not necessarily in the site. Your page rank will always matter, but you will benefit directly from the writer’s Author Rank.

Because the content matters as much as the page on which it is hosted, Internet Marketing Inc. recommends guest posting as a way to improve Author Rank, in addition to active social engagement. Linking a writer’s Google+ to their content means that a snippet of their profile, including their picture, is included in search results. It has been proven that Authorship can increase click-through rates by 30% to 150%, all by humanizing your content. A friendly face can do wonders for the trustworthiness of your site, and the frequency of clicks.

Check out The Huffington Post’s Complete Guide to Google Authorship for a thorough breakdown of how to effectively set up a Google+ profile, and scroll down for the full infographic from Internet Marketing Inc.

Facts Behind Google Author Rank & Authorship [Infographic]

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