6 Unique Processes to Spy on Your Competitors
No matter what type of business you have, there is always going to be competition. Even if you’re a leader in your domain or you’re just a start-up, you should always keep a close eye on the competitors. Easy to say, hard to do, right? In the online world, some may argue that […]
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Essential Guide for Conversion Rate Optimization in Ecommerce – 7 Step Guide Which Will Skyrocket your Shop Sales
We mean by conversion a desired action the visitor takes upon visiting a website.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO – industry accepted acronym) represents the process of optimizing a website for the desired action we want the visitor to take.
Conversion Rate is calculated depending on the case scenario of our website. For example if the desired action is to complete a form we divide the number of people that successfully … Keep Reading »Learn More
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L A T E S T P O S T S
6 Unique Processes to Spy on Your Competitors
Essential Guide for Conversion Rate Optimization in Ecommerce – 7 Step Guide Which Will Skyrocket your Shop Sales
How to Write More
Is Dwell Time a Ranking Factor or Not? Everything You Need to Know About Dwell Time
Telling 5-Year-Old Kids They’re a Failure is Bullshit
Revealed: These Tactics Will Help You Win at Guest Posting
New Strategies to Get You More Blog Comments
5 Tips on How to Correctly Assess Backlink Quality
Cracking Facebook SEO – Optimization Tips That Win Higher Page Rankings
The Danger of False Heroes
Essential Guide for Conversion Rate Optimization in Ecommerce – 7 Step Guide Which Will Skyrocket your Shop Sales
We mean by conversion a desired action the visitor takes upon visiting a website.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO – industry accepted acronym) represents the process of optimizing a website for the desired action we want the visitor to take.
Conversion Rate is calculated depending on the case scenario of our website. For example if the desired action is to complete a form we divide the number of people that successfully registered the form by the number of unique visitors that page had.
Usually the term refers to ad clicks and it’s calculated by dividing the total number of conversions by the total number of ad clicks that were tracked.
For example, if you had 50 conversions from 1,000 clicks, your conversion rate would be 5%, since 50 ÷ 1,000 = 5%.
Conversion Rate Calculation for Ecommerce:
- CRO procedures have impact on Ecommerce KPI’s
- Ecommerce KPI’s have impact on net turnover
- Final impact of CRO is seen in company’s profits
- CRO done BAD sees no positive change in profits (profits stays the same or you see a drop)
Conversion Rate Optimization Guide Check:
Who Are Your Customers? Define your audience
Having a beautifully crafted website, good prices with carefully picked products is not enough. In order for sales to reach maximum efficiency you need to know what your customers are searching for and what do they expect as buying options.
A better understanding of your customers can be acquired through customer surveys as a post-sale service and direct chat interactions.
Home Page Optimization
Showcase your products like a merchant master
Be sure you are presenting the best-selling products and the trend-setting items for your niche on the homepage that can ensure a quick visitor engagement when landing on your store’s homepage. This decision will have a direct impact on lowering the Bounce Rate, considerably reducing it. Also make sure that the best-selling products have an information-rich product description and the product picture quality is best.
Offer more that one payment option
Always make sure to offer more than a single payment option, you can integrate payment with Paypal, Cash on Delivery, payment by Credit Card, Checks, Western Union, Money Gram, Escrow etc.
Reinforce your USP (Unique Selling Point)
Be sure you write down a text snippet with a short description on you homepage that will also reinforce your USP – include reasons why should a customer buy from your shop, your short storyline and other interesting details you could offer your customers about your business value.
If you have a fantastic product to sell be sure to reinforce your USP with a great product video or video review of that product.
Localize your store to specific countries
If you acquire international traffic and you can ship products worldwide, a notification pop-up based on visitor’s IP geo-location would be advised in order to notify that customer that you are currently shipping to his country of residence.
Product page optimization
This is where you grab people’s attention for clicking on the CTA. This page is mainly important because the first conversion step begins here and continues on the cart and checkout pages.
High Quality Product Images – Watch out for Image SEO
Get high quality product images (minimum 800px resolution) and remember to optimize them for the “alt” and “title” attributes. Also consider choosing descriptive filenames for the product images. These would be the basics of a good on-page SEO for images.
A well optimized product image example would be:
<img title="”raspberry" src="http://domainexample.com/uploads/photos/raspberry-pi-3.jpg" alt="”raspberry" />
Remember to use keywords in filename, alt tag and title tag of the product images.
Based on the fact that the search algorithm for Google Images is less complicated and works within primary on-page SEO ranking factors and less on backlink signals, this could be a great opportunity to increase your organic traffic with less effort.
Take in consideration the search relevance of the page where the image is shown, Google’s algorithm scans for keywords in the text surrounding the image. Also, the image caption is a great opportunity to describe what is shown in the image, taking in consideration keyword inclusion.
Quick SEO checks for Images:
- Img filename – be sure to include keywords
- Img alt attribute – be sure to include descriptive keywords of what its shown in the image
- Image title – works exactly like a page title, has to be representative for what is shown in the image
- Image size – should not affect page loading times
- Image surrounding text – the image ranking algorithm scanes for img’s sorrounding text
- Image caption
- Basic On-Page Seo for the page where the image is shown
Pay attention to your product’s description
Your product page represents a great SEO opportunity. Writing a useful, detailed-rich and keyword oriented description could mean a lot of search engine organic traffic entering your website for your product pages. Avoid using scrapped product descriptions from other sources on the internet or importing through data feeds short supplier generated product descriptions.
Also here you can link out helpful information like product size charts, return policy or shipping information.
Product videos or 360 product photography
Product images carry a lot of importance especially in some retail niches, like fashion, where an eye for details is essential. Also a high-zoom function is useful for those type of customers picky on details.
Larger e-shops use services like webrotate360.com that offers interactive 3D CAD & 360° Angle Product Photography for products.
Also this functionality can be acquired through plugins depending on your Content Management Systems. There are a few plug-in-s for WordPress that do a great job integrating with Woocommerce (ex: https://woocommerce.com/products/woocommerce-360-image/)
You can find a bigger list of plugins for various Ecommerce CMS’s ( Magento, Woocommerce) here: http://bit.ly/2pCWmh4
Product page functionalities – size charts, size calculators, color eyedrop picker, smart product suggestions.
Also, some fashion retailers use suggested related products in order for the customer to buy the whole look.
So for example if you are selling shoes and t-shirts you could filter the product related suggestions to output products for the same brand. If the customer is loyal to that brand it’s a better chance of converting him to buy more than 1 product.
Product’s delivery time
In most cases customers are keen to know the exact delivery date of their products. Since it’s hard to predict an exact delivery date, big e-shops like Amazon use delivery time ranges of 1-2 days.
This should be shown exactly on the product page after the customer has pressed the add to cart button. (in case you don’t redirect him automatically to the cart page – in this case you can show it in the checkout process)
Enable Out Of Stock Notification
If a product isn’t available anymore or there is a stock limitation on product acquisition, don’t delete the product page (avoiding 404 pages), rather set an “out of stock notification” clearly stated on page.
If you have some information regarding the product restocking date it would be nice for the customer to know when it’ll be restocked. Also you can prompt an e-mail form, guiding the visitor to enter his e-mail so that he can be notified when the product will re-enter stock.
The add to cart button needs to differentiate itself from the other navigational buttons on the website and it needs an eye-spotting color.
A good color guide for the CTA buttons was written on Optinmonster’s blog and can be found here. Colors are directly linked to the psychological state of the visitor so please be advised to use A/B testing when implementing changes.
Usage of breadcrumbs (navigational links)
Most e-commerce CMS’s come with this predefined functionality, helping the user for an easier navigation through category, subcategory and product pages. These links also helps the search engine spider to a better understanding of the internal link architecture of the website.
Well structured Product Pages
When your adding or removing information blocks from your product or category pages pay attention to the overall structure to have a logical reading flow, also try including keyword as higher as possible on the HTML page.
For example on the category pages you can add a short keyword rich description for that specific category.
The information should be structured in orderly blocks that fit together as a whole (try avoiding blank spaces on product pages).
Try reducing the number of categories or subcategories as much as possible. Use buying intent keywords for category names. Order categories properly.
For example if you are selling handbags, belts, scarves and wallets don’t create 4 different main categories. Instead, create a single main category named “Bags & Accessories” and try to include the subset in sub-categories for “Bags & Accessories”. Take in consideration that the less click options you give the visitor on categories, the bigger the chance for him to find what he’s looking for.
Category names should be picked as close as possible to the user’s natural search intent language (check with website internal product searches – to see what are the customers searching for on your shop). The category order should be matched with product type popularity for your niche.
Tagline & Logo
There isn’t much to say about the SEO-perspective of the logo, but the tagline (small text under the logo – in most cases) should be short, descriptive for your business and include main project keywords.
Also, keep in mind that you can use this tagline to reinforce your Unique Selling Preposition (USP) here.
Internal Product Search
Your search bar can represent the first step the visitor takes upon starting his conversion journey. This box is so special you have to do A/B testing on form color, sizes, shape in order to see what works best on your niche.
Functionalities nice to have:
- Autosuggest (Autocomplete)
- Covering misspellings and plurals
- Be sure the search box hashes through categories and other taxonomy your CMS has
- Handles long tail semantic searches with no issues
- Avoid returning “no result pages” – if a query doesn’t return the expected output be sure to offer related product recommendations.
Checkout Page Optimization
In most cases optimizing this page should be the incipient of the CRO process because it’s the final step in the conversion funnel. Optimizing this page should require less programmatic effort and maximum efficiency in ROI.
Proper field markup & automatic prefill where possible
Your checkout page’s fields should be clearly stated as being optional or mandatory. Also for a easier and a faster completion time you should use automatic prefill where possible (zip code, city). User errors in form completion (must be outputted next to the error field – not down the page) shouldn’t be a breaking step in the checkout process, you should let the user know where he’s made a mistake and allow him to continue down the checkout funnel (let users forceproceed on checkout process).
Also make sure you have the options of guest checkout or checkout with Facebook Connect available for the page. The account registration should be set on optional and by default the customer should checkout with Guest Checkout. (try avoiding as much as possible the requests for data input on the checkout page ). If the customers choses to create a new account be sure to make the Newsletter opt-in automatically.
The password selection for the create account button shouldn’t place limitations like the use of special characters or capitalizing first letter, it’s good for security but it slows down the checkout process.
Also make sure you have clear CTA’s on this page (“Continue to next step” button or “Place order” button). Also keep in mind that the “Place Order” button is the most important CTA on this page so make sure it stands out on the page. The process steps should be treated as navigational links on the checkout process.
The form field for card data input would be nice to have a separator for the 12 digit card account number and a limit of 12 chars input in order to guide the customers for a faster credit card data input.
Let customers choose preferred delivery times
If the your webshop works with its own stock or you can give specific information regarding the delivery times, you can allow the visitor to pick and choose on a calender selector located on the checkout page the exact delivery time of its order.
Picture above is a snippet of Delivery Time Picker for Shipping for Woocommerce which can be found on Codecanyon with 29$.
10 key points on a holistic approach for CRO for Ecommerce
- Clear shipping policies, clear return policy, complete details on contact page (company info, phone number, e-mail address, live chat support, business address map, company legal details etc)
- Offer free shipping above a certain order value (be sure to properly display this sales opportunity text on the homepage)
- Check the e-mail templates (registration e-mails, autoresponder e-mails, user password reset e-mails, order shipped e-mails, confirmation e-mails)
- Enable Open Graph data and show social media signals (Facebook Page, Twitter Followers, Instagram widgets etc)
- After the order is placed, show an information rich thank you page that contains contact data or details about delivery times and special offers you currently have running.
- Don’t leave the 404 page template by default – try to enhance it
- Signup with Google Merchant Center /Google Trusted Stores
- Educate the visitors about the purchase
- Create an impressive about page
- Optimize e-shop for fast loading and high security
- Leverage browser caching
- Optimize images
- Serve scaled images
- Combine images into CSS sprites
- Minimize redirects
- Enable compression
- Minimize request size
- Use Virtual DNS
Although mobile traffic retains a growing slice of total website traffic – 32% in overall traffic, the revenue that comes from mobile is just 16% while desktop traffic represents 59% of traffic and generates 75% of the total website revenue.
Poor Conversion Rate on Mobile – Why does this happen ?
38% ~ of US consumers rate small screen as the biggest common frustration for the lack of conversion on mobile,
35% ~ say that ads deter the conversion
32% say that the “pinch and zoom” functionality is annoying
- Other factor that lead to mobile poor conversion rate are the slow performance or poor navigation
Ecommerce KPI’s to watch for , but vast majority ignores:
Benchmark your metrics against the retail industry/your niche to understand your results with a nice slice of context.
Above the fold vs below the fold – debunked myth
Higher conversion rates have nothing to do with whether the button is above the fold, and everything to do with whether the button is below the right amount of good copy.
Users will scroll down if what they see above the fold interests them enough to keep them reading.
Back in the glory days of newspapers, the fold played a crucial role in grabbing the attention of viewers in order to encourage them to purchase the paper. Bold headlines and eye catching images bombarded readers to pique their interest. This concept transitioned into web design, where designers make sure to place important information and imagery above the fold.
Case scenarios for above the fold content:
- Presold prospects who already want what you’re offering when they arrive. A code redeemer, a form register for health insurance, resume data form etc
- Uncertain prospects Most cases scenario, average product/service pages
- Uncertain prospects + an offering that requires some explanation to see the value of Long sales pages that present a lot of text, videos and consumer testimonials in order to convince you to buy something or subscribe to a service)
I remember setting up my first WordPress blog and then sitting back and thinking nervously to myself: this is going to be a lot of work.
It’s quite interesting to note that, while many new bloggers have trouble with technical aspects like plugins, getting a blog host, optimizing for Google, and so on, it’s actually the practical aspects like finding time to write blog posts that can cause the most stress.
And while I confess to being a big lazy procrastinator, I have managed to find a few little strategies that help me be a more efficient blogger. Actually, maybe the laziness is why I went looking for them!
In today’s post I’m going to try and help you figure out how to write more, and discuss why you’d even want to do that in the first place.
I hope it’s useful!
More is… more
Usually people tell you that less is more.
But when it comes to blogging it’s fascinating to note that there are some scenarios where it’s pretty true to say that more is more. More words, more posts, more links, etc.
And while there is no point in posting more if the content is ordinary, it’s good to learn how to write more if it means you can create longer blog posts that solve more problems, rank well on Google, and form a solid basis for your blog’s long term success.
So, let’s take a look.
How to write more
Here are a few strategies, ideas, and tools that have helped me write more over the years. We’ll begin with the more theoretically tips and then get on to some practical methods.
1. Have a solid set of goals with a timeline
It is really hard to sit down to research and write super-long articles if you don’t have a reason to do it. Knowing your short and long term goals and setting them to a timeline makes an enormous difference.
I made this error for years and years and it wasn’t until my older sister asked me over dinner what my goals were for the year. I ummmed and aahhhhed for so long and went away feeling embarrassed enough that I decided to sit down and figure out exactly what I wanted to do that year.
The result was extremely motivating; when you set a timeline for an outcome you start to work backwards and see all the small steps that you are going to need to get that. And, for us bloggers, that usually means writing more content in order to help more people.
2. Know exactly why you are doing it
This is closely related to the first point but is different enough that it needs its own mention because it has really helped a lot of bloggers I know.
I have personally found it crucial to have a reason to get out of bed each morning. For some people it is because they want to get better at a skill, for others it might be making more money to support your family or perhaps even a charity. Whatever your motivation, it can help a lot if you isolate it, make it clear, and then recall it regularly.
Not only does this keep your writing focused and careful, it also helps to support you emotionally when you are having down days where the writing doesn’t flow or you feel like progress isn’t happening fast enough. If you can recall to mind the stakeholders of your progress then it puts a fire under your butt.
3. Read, read, read, read, read
If you talk to almost any writer, author, journalist, or blogger about what helps them be good at what they do I can guarantee that a large portion of them will tell you to read more.
A lot of fantastic things happen when you read – especially when you go outside your comfort zone and look at various sources. First of all, your mind opens up to new ideas. Secondly, you start to discover new ways to express those ideas with your writing. Thirdly, your writing happens with less difficulty because the tones and styles of those authors start to absorb into you.
If you are having a period of writer’s block then one of the best things you can do is take a few hours to read. Look around at the best blogs in your niche, but then go further to excellent long form sources like the New Yorker, WIRED, Mother Jones, etc. and see if something sparks.
4. Find a place to write and go there… even if you can’t
Finding somewhere to write is extremely important. It doesn’t need to be National Library of the Czech Republic inspiring but it should be enough that it allows you to concentrate in the zone.
The most important thing, however, is that you actually go there and write. This is really easy for me to say – I don’t have kids or a “real” job to go to. And I imagine that if you’re a stay-at-home parent or someone trying to blog while raising a family then it could be extremely tricky. But it is also extremely important.
Try finding a cafe nearby or even a place in your house that is just for sitting and writing. Let your family know that for the time that you’re in there (it might only be 30 minutes a day) that you’re not to be disturbed. You can get a lot done in a short amount of time when it’s just one thing.
5. Start with an extraordinary headline and keep coming back to it
For me, it’s really important to have an excellent headline sorted before I start doing any of the actual content writing. This helps me to stay focused.
Actually, this was a tip I got from a lecturer in University who said that you should write your essay topic at the top of your screen and always have it in sight. Refer back to it again and again and it will help you stay on topic in every paragraph, sentence, etc. I found it useful and so applied it to blog writing.
There are so many tactics for writing a good headline or blog post title but here’s a little summary that should be enough for this article:
You can also look at the cheat-sheet made by Jon Morrow for some wonderful tips on how to write good headlines. It’s well worth the email submit.
The thing to remember here is that once you figure out the perfect headline/title for your blog post you often find that the content writing flows a lot easier. You know what question your are trying to answer, problem you are trying to solve, etc. and as such everything feels very consistent.
Try working a little longer on your headlines, even if you have to re-write them 50 times, and then see whether you find that the rest of the article comes out a lot quicker.
6. Develop an article structure that you can use as a base
Another little trick that has worked quite well for me is to come up with a post structure that I use for every article that has all the elements that I’ll use laid out in front of me. Here’s a rough look at what most posts on Blog Tyrant will look like:
The reason I think this helps us to write more is because it gets you in to a pattern that you can repeat over and over again. As opposed to sitting down and trying to figure out the content, structure, layout, etc. you just sit down and start filling in the familiar format that you’re used to.
This takes a little bit of time and will be different depending on the theme you use, the niche you’re in, etc. so it’s a good idea to do a few tests and see what the majority of your traffic seems to like.
7. Get better at typing and editing
Another important consideration is the physical act of writing. For more of us, that means learning how to type faster and edit more efficiently.
The above is a screen shot of my best result for a typing speed test – I cheated and had a few goes! I am not very fast at typing when compared to people who have trained properly, but I have definitely improved a little bit over the years.
Quick interruption: I’d absolutely love to see your results! Click the link above to take the test and then post your score in the comments below.
These websites can also teach you how to type more efficiently by giving your courses, tools and information on the best keys to use, etc. I would put too much time in to this, but it’s good to see if you’re making any huge errors.
When it comes to editing, the best thing you can do is get some help so that you’re not left doing it all yourself. This is one of those areas that can take up a lot of valuable time that would be better spent working on the income-earning activities on your blog, or just writing more words, practicing.
If you don’t want to pay anyone to help you edit, you can use tools like the Proofread Bot above that is actually really excellent at making suggestions for how you can improve your writing from a grammar, spelling, and readability point of view.
8. Use the Pomodoro technique for efficiency
The Pomodoro technique is one of many similar styles that can help you become more efficient by breaking your work routine up into small segments that are supposedly supposed to give you the right amount of work and the right amount of breaks.
Glen over at ViperChill wrote a massive post about this and I couldn’t say anything better, so all I will do is encourage you to look at it a bit deeper and see if it works for you.
If it’s not Pomodoro, see if you can find a similar efficiency technique that will help you write more by keeping you focused on task and balanced between working and fatigue and inspiration.
9. Remove distractions
We’ve touched on this in the point about finding an inspiring place to go and write more, but this one is a little more hard-core. We’re going to actually try to remove distractions.
For example, the now-famous app, Flipd, is outstanding if you want to do things like hiding distracting programs, locking your phone for a certain amount of time, and so on. There’s another app called Forest that helps you stay focused and actually plants trees to reward you.
This is a really good idea if you’re perhaps working from home for the first time and are still adjusting to the freedom. It’s a really good way to help you move from one schedule into another.
What helped you to write more?
I’d really love to know if you think anything is missing from this article. Have you ever set out to try and find more time to write and had some luck making it happen? Have you ever increased your writing output and productivity over time? Please leave a comment below and let me know.
Top image: © Danomyte.
It seems like the digital marketing community started to rave about “dwell time”. There is a lot of controversy on forums, blogs and social media of whether it is or not one of the search engines’ ranking signals. Should you care about it? We have to admit that nowadays it is becoming increasingly important to understand your users. This is what makes Search Engine Optimization so interesting. You have to adapt, you have to continually change. But “dwell time” seems to cause a bit of confusion even amongst SEO specialists. There seem to be divided opinions about whether it is, indeed, important for ranking. Some say it is critical and it shouldn’t be overlooked, but not everybody shares this belief. If it is a ranking factor, it means that everybody should rush to optimize it for getting the most out of it. Let’s see what it really is and what the search engines’ representatives have to say about it as well.
There is a lot of turbulence around the exact dwell time meaning. What we tried to do is bring some light into the subject and clarify once and for all everything you need to know about the dwell time data and its impact on your business.
- What is Dwell Time?
- Can You Measure Dwell Time in Google Analytics ?
- Is Dwell Time a Google Ranking Factor?
- Is Dwell Time a Bing Ranking Factor?
- Is Dwell Time a Yahoo Ranking Factor?
- Should You Measure Dwell Time?
- Steps to Improve Dwell Time
What Is Dwell Time?
Putting it simply, dwell time is the amount of time that elapses between a user clicks on a search result and returns back to the SERPs.
More generally talking, dwell time is the time spent in the same position, area, or stage of a process. However, if we are looking for a dwell time definition in the English dictionary, we are immediately redirected to the marketing industry.
What we are interested in is trying to define dwell time in the context of the digital marketing niche. Therefore, what is dwell time in the context of SEO?
Dwell time is a user-based metric that combines the user’s engagement, session duration, and SERP click through rate.
Although we might tend to say that dwell time is similar with session duration, bounce rate or pogo sticking, it seems that dwell time is slightly different. Is more of an amalgam of bounce rate and time-on-site metrics as Dr. Peter J. Meyers claims . As dwell time is a data point that is not publicly available (but might still affecting a site’s rankings), we can only speculate around the concept or on its impact on the rankings. However, what we do know for sure is that dwell time does impact one’s website.
A simple search on Google about dwell time might lead you to some sophisticated concepts, such as dwell time radar, dwell time ignition or dwell time mass spectrometry. However, even if, due to the complexity of the concept we cannot offer you the exact definition of dwell time, what you need to know is that dwell time combines but is not equal to time on your site, session duration, SERP, CTR, bounce rate, exit click.
Can You Measure Dwell Time in Google Analytics ?
Dwell time has stirred the waters among the SEO community and has been in the headlines of industry news and lots of blog posts. As it is still a concept which much confusion around it, we cannot say for sure what the ideal dwell time is. No big data research has been written on this matter yet, not even a beginner’s guide that would tell you what the average dwell time that would influence one site’s rankings is. On the Search Console (Google Webmaster Tools) there is no specific data available for dwell time (yet).
What we can do is to track the user’s engagement with Google Analytics.
In order to fully understand the concept, you first have to know that the user experience which starts from clicking on one link on SERP might involve more than a single page. This is especially true for online stores, for example. A customer usually goes from a landing page to other inner pages before making a decision or returning to SERP. There are a few concepts that we have to comprehend first, such as Time on Page, Exit Rate, and Bounce Rate. According to Google, to understand the difference between Exit Rate and Bounce Rate for a particular page, keep the following points in mind:
- For all pageviews to the page, Exit Rate is the percentage that were the last in the session.
- For all sessions that start with the page, Bounce Rate is the percentage that were the only one of the session.
- Bounce Rate for a page is based only on sessions that start with that page.
As mentioned before, dwell time is not the same as time on site or bounce rate, as link building is not the same with link earning. However measuring these metrics in Analytics can give you an idea of your users’ engagement.
Time on Site
The Time on page or session duration is the average amount of time all visitors spend on a particular page. It essentially shows you whether visitors actually spend time reading and/or interacting with your content. As Neil Patel mentioned, dwell time is a metric that calculates user engagement, time on page, and Click-through rate (CTR) on the search engine results page (SERP). Therefore, being aware of the sessions’ duration on your site might be of a big help.
Another source of confusion is “bounce rate”, which is a different number, too. Dwell time could combine these two — time duration and bounce rate. Other people consider pogo sticking to be the same with dwell time. Let’s put it like this: according to Internet Marketing Ninjas, a bounce can be good or bad. If a visitor clicks on a search result and then quickly returns to Google, that’s a very bad bounce. That’s what we call pogo-sticking. Others consider that CTR does not influence it and we can impact “Dwell Time” only by increasing “Page on Time” and decreasing “Exit Rate”. Long story short, knowing your bounce rates can only help you in your quest of figuring out more about dwell time.
Is Dwell Time a Google Ranking Factor?
What is mandatory to know out of all this is that Google wants searchers to be satisfied with the first search result they click on (ideally, the No. 1 result). The best search experience is one that immediately lands the searcher on a page that has all the information they are looking for, so that they don’t hit the back button to return to the SERP and look for other alternatives. During a live stream Q and A on the 23rd of March 2016, Andrey Lipattsev, a Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google, revealed that the No. 1 and 2 Ranking factors were links and content. But let’s take a look back at what Matt Cutts said when he was working for Google:
As we get better at understanding who wrote something and what the real meaning of that content is, inevitably over time, there will be little less emphasis on links.
That is right. It seems that as Google’s search engine will comprehend the natural language better, links will play a less and less important role.
But what is the future of SEO, if it is not links? It will be the users’ engagement.
And how can we measure user experience? By measuring dwell time, of course. We are not saying that links are not of paramount importance. They trully are. Yet, without any doubt, user experience plays a major role amongst Google’s ranking factors, as their represantives mentioned themselves.
To better understand if Google takes into consideration dwell time or not when ranking factors, let’s take an example detailed by Brian Dean, regarding an article from his blog . The article was meant to rank as good as possible for the keyword “high quality backlinks.” And it did, straight to Google’s first position. Nothing weird so far.
However, the mentioned article ranked not only for “high quality backlinks” but also for the keyword “how to get high.” As interesting and as comic the situation was, we believe that the author didn’t intend to compete for this keyword; yet, there it was ranking amongst strange recommendation of getting high, with or without drugs.
What happened next? Is that page still ranking for the keyword “how to get high”? The answer is no, and the key in this question might be dwell time. As you can see in the screenshot below the average session duration for the article, we are talking about is very low compared to other similar pages. And why is that? Because we are pretty sure that people searching for methods to get high were not that interested in quality backlinks. This led to a high bounce rate and a very low time spent on the page. What did Google do? It dramatically de-ranked this page for the “high to get high” keyword. Did dwell time had something to do here? We believe that yes.
When asked if it is true that Google considers the pogo stick effect as well as CTR when ranking results, Gary Illyes, Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst said:
Clicks in general are a very noisy signal. I worked on trying to make observations from click data. It’s like a Gordian knot. Because there are tons of people who are scraping the results and trying to fetch ranking data, and for whatever reason, they also decide to click on things automatically. Links. It’s just a huge mess. When we have controlled experiments, then obviously we have to look at click data. Before we launch a ranking change, typically what we do is to isolate 1% of the users and give them modified search results, modified by the new ranking algorithm or a piece of the algorithm and see how they like the new results. And in these instances, we do look for long clicks, short clicks, and so on. But in general, as I said, it’s a huge mess. When it comes to personalisation, we like to use click data because it’s clearer.
Because we wanted to find out more about dwell time, we had to take a look at some of Google’s patents. We easily discovered that there is some effort put into using the duration of user visits as a ranking factor. Some patents are about ranking certain pages for certain search queries and also patents that take into account the click length when the engine determines a domain score. This means that dwell time is capable of influencing the ranking of a website or of specific pages as well. There is a patent that we have found particularly interesting, Scoring site quality, that describes the process of obtaining duration of user visits and we can presume that it refers to the dwell time.
A measurement of the duration of time that elapsed between the time that the user clicked on the search result and the time that the user navigated back to the search results web page.
Is Dwell Time a Bing Ranking Factor?
Duane Forrester, who was a Senior Project Manager for Bing, is responsible for first mentioning “Dwell time” in a 2011 post on the Bing webmaster blog:
[Dwell time is] the time between when a user clicks on our search result and when they come back from your website tells a potential story. […] A minute or two is good as it can easily indicate the visitor consumed your content. Less than a couple of seconds can be viewed as a poor result.
Building quality content is more important than only building content. He further adds that there are two main measures for good content: first is the user and second is the search engines themselves. The users have to feel the content made by you as being of high quality. You have to make sure that they engage with the content and be certain that you are not missing telltale signs of the quality being not quite what you think. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, quality is in the eye of the visitor. If your visitors are staying on your website for only a few seconds and you have short page dwell time, it can indicate the content fails to capture their interest.
Regarding the search engines, the crawlers will, in most cases, consume all the content they can find. The engines can be used to give hints to the quality of your content.
Have you done everything you can to get pages indexed and still the engines won’t take them?
That’s an indication the quality of the pages may be low, as Duane Forrester adds. You can have a page where everything looks great and offers all kinds of interactivity, but the content itself isn’t good enough. Think of highly dynamic websites that use content from other sources, such as online stores that use common product descriptions. The lack of unique content signals low quality. When you are designing your website or posting content think of it like this:
Your goal should be that when a visitor lands on your page, the content answers all of their needs, encouraging their next action to remain with you. If your content does not encourage them to remain with you, they will leave.
Is Dwell Time a Yahoo Ranking Factor?
This is a really good question. It seems like Yahoo believes as well that clicks can be a flawed metric for user engagement and interest. There is actually a full research made by Yahoo scientists about dwell time and it can be accessed here. They seem to believe that this is a better indicator of what people enjoy online. According to Marketing Land, the clicks on a page don’t mean as much as the time spent there. This is because people can be tricked by click-bait headlines or because they can randomly click to a page before immediately taking off. The research that Yahoo made claimed that dwell time is “a proxy to user satisfaction for recommended content, and complements or even replaces click-based signals.”
More discoveries that Yahoo scientists Xing Yi, Liangjie Hong, Erheng Zhong, Nathan Nan Liu and Suju Rajan made include:
- Users have less dwell time per article on mobile or tablet devices than on desktops.
- Users spend less time on slideshows than on articles.
- Users dwell more on longer articles, up to 1,000 words. Beyond that limit, there is very little correlation to article length.
- Users dwell the most on articles in the topics of politics or science and the least on articles on food or entertainment.
Even more, when the experts tailored Yahoo recommendation algorithms to optimize for dwell time rather than clicks, they saw improvements in performance, for dwell time and CTR as well. The research made by the Personalization Science team at Yahoo Labs demonstrates that content recommendation models perform better when using dwell based metrics. Whether these metrics, in turn, drive long-term user engagement such as the number of days a user returns to our site, is another interesting research question.
One plausible reason is that when optimizing towards dwell-based signals rather than high CTR, users may like the content recommended better, come back to the site and click some more.
Should You Measure Dwell Time ?
The distance between a click and an exit; the length of time people spend on a website; a bounce rate surrogate, entrance click. Call it as you want, the question remains: should you measure dwell time even if you don’t have a direct statistic to help you do this? We don’t want to say a straight yes or no, yet, we are going to give you some reasons why dwell time should be a part of your website audit.
1. Possibly Replace Bounce Rate
Yes, there is the possibility for dwell time to replace the actual bounce rate. We are not the only ones who believe this. It all comes down to the fact that bounce rate does not offer a true insight of your visitor’s experience on your website. Visitors can bounce for a lot of different reasons and it is hard to tell whether they had a good or a bad experience from this metric alone. Google Analytics does not make any difference between a good and a bad bounce. According to Blue Corona, a bad bounce happens when a user lands on your page and suddenly decides that it was not what they were looking for and returns to the search engine results page. A good bounce happens when a user reaches your page, decides to stay a while to consume your content, finds what they were looking for, and then leaves.
2. Good Indicator of Relevance and User Intent
The dwell time metric is really good because it allows you to better understand the relevance of your content and your users’ intent, as well. It can give you insight and tell you if your visitors perceive your website’s content as being high-quality or not. Let’s see a clearer picture by looking at a few examples that Joshua Hardwick from Ahrefs gives and see what we can get out of them:
- 2 second “dwell time”: The user probably didn’t find what they wanted/expected from your site (more on this later) and went back to the SERPs pretty sharpish looking for better content.
- 2 minute “dwell time”: The user found your content pretty useful and stuck around a couple of minutes to read it.
- 15 minute “dwell time”: The user found your content super-useful and was heavily invested in what you had to say.
3. It Doesn’t Work Well for Simple Question Queries
As Ahrefs also claim, dwell time might not work that well for simple question queries. Let’s say we’ve seen all the NBC’s Hannibal seasons and we want to look for the release date of the next season. We take a simple search query like “when will Hannibal season 4 air?” and see what Google search result we get.
Unlike the lucky Game of Thrones fans, this will not bring up a knowledge graph result. This forces us to go through multiple results in order to find an answer. If we click on the first result, we might read the first sentence and find out what we were looking for. Thanks to this we might already want to return to the SERP page in an instant and this fact might lead to a low dwell time. This will have nothing to do with a bad user experience because we already found out what we were looking for. Even though, in this case, dwell time was pretty low and that can become a problem, we definitely found out what we wanted from the first link on SERP. Eric Enge, Founder of Stone Temple Consulting, says that:
There are many scenarios where SHORTER dwell time is an indication of quality. For example, anytime someone is looking for a quick piece of reference information, such as a zip code or phone number for a business. For informational searches like these, you want to design your pages so users find what they want pretty much immediately.
4. It Doesn’t Work Well When You’re Searching for a Specific Page
Ahrefs mention as well that dwell time might not work fine when searching for a specific page. Let’s say that I have read a really nice interview with the late Gary Moore a few months ago and I now want to find it again. I look for it and I do not seem to remember which one it was and I do not find the right page on the first try because I can’t recall whether it was a video or a written interview.
I click the first result and I start to recall that it was, in fact, a written interview and I go through a couple more pages. After a few minutes, I reach the page I was looking for. What happens? Well, the first few pages get a really low dwell time and this could have a bad effect on the pages that I went through. The first results might have been of excellent quality, but they were not what I wanted. Maybe other users simply want to listen or read a Gary Moore interview and their rankings might be affected in vain.
Steps to Improve Dwell Time
We believe that it is good to be proactive and make sure that your website has a good dwell time, whether the metric is already used by search engines or not. The next steps that we will mention help your site have a good session duration, a small bounce rate, and a better dwell time. That will help you be up to date and have your website good enough for this metric. A nice dwell time can indicate highly interested users. Because of this, you might also have more returning visitors.
1. Add High-Quality Content
Content creation is very important, as you already know. The key here is to always add high-quality content on your website. This will improve dwell time by keeping your visitors engaged. There will be nobody going through your links if everything is garbage. As Wordstream also mentions, you want your content to be:
- useful, actionable and even educational.
- entertaining, whether it is something hilarious, unusual or surprising
- accessible, well-designed and not too hard to comprehend.
Google also has quality guidelines and they can be accessed here. Some basic principles that the big G wants you to keep in mind are:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Don’t deceive your users.
- Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, “Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?”
- Think about what makes your website unique, valuable or engaging. Make your website stand out from others in your field.
If you are in doubt whether to use long or short form content or want to know more about content amplification techniques, we’ve talked about it before. All that will surely help you to create amazing content and further boost your ranks and also to increase dwell time by making visitors spend more time on your pages and reducing bounce rate.
2. Target the Right Keywords
As both Ahrefs and Search Engine Land have ranted about, you must use the right keywords for the right topics. For this reason, it is of utmost importance to understand your target and put the right keywords in title tags, meta descriptions and so on. This will help you, because it will add to the chances of visitors getting to the content that they were looking for. If you have targeted the right keywords, you might get a good dwell time.
Kissmetrics consider that effective keyword research is a critical skill for any digital marketer out there. Keyword research can also be used to discover new topics to write about and key phrases to help people find you easier. The point is that you must learn how to use keywords effectively. The basic things that you need to know for your keyword research is:
- Create a seed list of starting terms
- Expand your list using keyword research tools
- Refine your list with competitive research
3. Improve Page Load Time
Nowadays, it has become increasingly important to have really fast websites. More and more consumers start using their mobile phones for browsing and for purchases. That is why they expect the websites to be really fast. We recommend using a tool to make sure that you have a really good speed by using an online tool such as Pingdom.
If your website is taking more than 3 seconds to load, then you might be in danger.
Slow loading pages are usually abandoned by visitors. The patience that visitors have for the mobile websites is even shorter than the one they have for the desktop versions. A study made by Radware informs us that every one-second delay impacts bounce rate, conversion rate, cart size and page views. It seems like a one-second delay can make a difference.
4. Use Internal Linking
So, we’ve learned that dwell time might be a combination of the time between the moment a user reaches a page and returns to SERP.
By adding more actions that help to keep your visitors busy when they’ve consumed the content that you provide on one page, you will improve the session duration.
Both Ahrefs and Wordstream believe that internal linking will help you to create an easy to access structure and will guide your users through more of your pages. This can also increase the chances to add certain hooks or links to pages that people will further relate to. That, in turn, will create a better user experience and we should know that the final result is to have happy visitors. Internal linking is also fundamental for improving SEO. A well made internal linking strategy will help your site to rank better because it will help crawlers to better index your whole site.
5. Have a Good Website Design
Have you ever felt like you do not know what to do when you’ve reached a website? Have you ever felt overwhelmed because the website seemed to have too much information or the design felt crowded? You have to make sure that you have a good website design. This is mandatory because a simple layout will help your content feel easy to go through. If the critical elements are in the right places, your users will benefit just as much as you will.
Do not forget that your visitors can leave your website whenever they want. They can find other websites that maybe are easier to read or more attractive than yours.
As Neil Patel wrote in a Search Engine Journal article, one must use the right colors, fonts, large headlines, organized content, and plenty of white spaces. This will help by improving usability.
A good approach you can use in order to increase dwell time can be to introduce a pageless scrolling design, as Wordstream also mentions. Be careful if you choose to do this, because even if they can be of tremendous help regarding the user experience, they can hurt your SEO. This is why they have to be implemented really well. Crawlers are unable to replicate some user behavior like clicking or scrolling. You can still break your page into paginated sections. This will help crawlers to better index your content. Make sure that every section has a similar <title> tag, with rel=”next” and rel=”prev” values declared in the <head> tag.
6. Remove Some of Your Ads
From the beginning of 2017, Google started to penalize mobile sites that contain intrusive pop-up ads. Pages that have intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages that have instantly accessible content. It is even more than this. Let’s admit it, ads are sometimes annoying. This is why dwell time can benefit from removing some of them. Google does not want to direct people to more informative results. This is not enough. The key is in directing people to results that work better for them. As Bharati Ahuja, founder of WebPro Technologies India said:
Content is king but the user is the emperor.
Dwell time might already be on the top of your mind now, as a quality signal (or at least on some SEO word lists you check from time to time). It’s true that it might not be a concept that pops up on your social media weekly newsletter or among your local marketing strategy tips. You have the option to block all the data we offered you on this concept, or you have the possibility of having a closer look at the points debated above.
Whether dwell time is already a ranking signal or not, increasing the user’s engagement on your site can only be a good thing.
What Google wants is to provide the best experience for its users. This means that the engine must show the most effective results for every search. It is up to us to be proactive and make sure that we give our customers the attention and the content that they need. As Neil Patel claims on Search Engine Journal, dwell time is less of a science and more of an art.
Over on Facebook, I saw a post that shared a note that had been sent home to parents of kindergarten kids in the U.S.
The note referred to the reading program in place to learn district sight words. This is a program where kids can learn common words that they will then recognize instantly.
Words like and, of, is, to, and there, for example.
Our kids have a similar program here in Ontario, Canada, and it can help them learn new words and sentence structures.
However, what our kids don’t have is the kind of pressure attached to the note that went home to the parents.
As you can see, it’s a note from the teachers regarding the “results” of the test on how many sight words the kids had learned throughout the year.
Some things that stand out:
- There are 69 sight words. To get a “pass”, kids had to get at least 65 words right.
- For kids that got the minimum, they were “rewarded” with a trip to Chuck E. Cheese.
- The kids that “failed” will stay back at school and work on their apparently inadequate results.
Errr… stop the fucking train. These are five-year-old kids!!!
That note? That reward? That admonishment? That’s bullshit through and through.
This “these kids are awesome and you aren’t” approach is everything that’s wrong with our education system today.
The Pressure of Failure
Imagine you’re a five-year-old kid. If you currently have one that age (our daughter is five), imagine him or her in this situation.
You work your butt off all year to learn new things. Words. Places. Sounds. The little part of the world that you inhabit.
All of this learning is meant to be fun. Help you learn new skills. All while making new friends and finding out for the first time there’s a big new world outside your home, or the daycare where you’ve spent the first years of your life.
Now. Imagine if, despite all of this, you’re told it wasn’t good enough. That you failed, no matter how hard you tried to learn.
Because every kid is different, and learns differently, and reacts to teaching differently.
But that doesn’t matter – you had 69 words to learn, with 65 being the standard to reach, and you didn’t hit that number and you only learned 64.
Doesn’t matter if you learned 64 or 46 (or 33, as in the picture of the note sent home to the parents of this kindergarten class).
Not only that, but your best friend in the class passed, because he or she learn a little bit faster than you do. It’s not that they’re necessarily smarter – they just take things in differently.
What lessons does that teach the five-year-old kid? Here’s a tip – it teaches them that your effort isn’t valued. That you trying, even when something is hard for you, isn’t valued.
And are we forgetting that the kid came to the class with no concept of sight words, so any number is an actual improvement?
Now they’ll feel there’s no reason to work hard, try hard – because if your best isn’t good enough based on some shitty metric of X out of Y, then what’s the point in even giving your all?
Our Kids Deserve Better
The conversation on Facebook around this note is all angry parents disgusted at the pressure being put on kids at such a young age – and they’re right.
This is meant to be a time of wonderment, of discovery, of learning about yourself, and how you see the world around you and your place in it.
It’s not meant to be a labour camp for scholarly excellence. It’s not meant to be about feeling useless, or inadequate, or a lesser person than your friends.
And we, as adults, need to do better too.
How many times have you seen a parent grab the face of their child to make them eat food they’ve already balked at?
Imagine if you, as a grown person, were suddenly gripped by someone twice your size, and your mouth held open, to force food down you? You’d be claiming for assault.
Or how many times have you seen a kid ask a question born of genuine inquisitiveness, and they’ve been closed down with a “Shut up, I’m talking”?
If you were in your workplace trying to make a point, and your colleague, or boss, or someone from your client team turned to you and said, “Shut up, your opinion isn’t wanted” – how would you feel?
And yet we do that, and more, to kids all the time, because that’s just what parents and kids do.
Except, it shouldn’t be. It can’t be – not if we want to push back on the kind of bullshit pressure seen in that kindergarten note.
Because every time we make our children feel worthless, or like failures, by our words and actions, we’re doing the exact same damage to them the kindergarten class approach to success is doing.
Our kids deserve better. Otherwise, we’re ruining lives before they even have a chance to begin. And that benefits no-one.
Our kids deserve better.
Guest posts form an integral part of any blogging strategy. But can you still get them in today’s overcrowded environment?
Actually, the issue of guest posting is not an easy one to cover.
Some blogs that used to offer guest posts are now totally closed to the idea. Others that would never dream of accepting them are opening up to the idea of having multiple authors.
So how do you get a guest post in today’s blogging landscape? And do you even want to still try and get them?
Let’s take a look.
A quick overview of some guest posting tactics
Let’s start this article by taking a quick look at the overarching principles behind pitching for guest posting opportunities in today’s environment:
Now let’s get into the real details of this article. Hopefully by the end of it you’ll have some new ideas for your guest post pitches and approaches.
So, is guest posting still possible these days?
Shall we touch on a little bit of history first?
Go back in time 10 years and you would have seen a thriving guest posting industry in almost every blogging niche.
People were swapping articles on each others blogs and it was helping them get traffic and even boosting their Google rankings up and up.
Some bloggers were even making a lot of money by charging advertising to put links on their site in the form of a guest post because they knew how valuable that backlink was for the person doing the post.
Some bloggers wrote about how this was not exactly accurate but, for the most part, it had the effect of making it a lot harder for people to get a guest post on another blog because everyone started to get afraid of Google penalties.
Guest posting to increase exposure to your brand, tap into different audiences, etc. are still very important and valid reasons for wanting to write on a blog that isn’t your own.
Well, the good news is that, despite all of this, guest posting is still very possible and can have extremely positive results for everyone who takes part, as long as it is done cleverly.
How NOT to get a guest post these days
My intention here is not to embarrass anyone who sends out guest post pitches but rather to highlight a few issues that pop up in the hope that it helps in the future.
As someone who is fortunate enough to own a pretty big blog, I get approached by people looking to do guest posts every single day. Sadly, most of these pitches fall on deaf ears because the majority of them contain the same errors that get repeated again and again and, as the guy who sees the emails every day, they start to stand out a lot.
Here is one example from this week:
At first it looks like a pretty decent email pitch. Short, to the point, etc. But when you see these every day (and they all look the same) you start to notice some things.
- Nothing is personalized
The first thing that you notice is that they haven’t addressed me by my name or role. This automatically makes anyone in the internet marketing space think that it’s auto-generated.
- Incorrect link
Secondly, they have pointed to my blog archive at /blog/ and said that it was a post and that they liked what I wrote. This doesn’t bode well for someone hoping to write on a blogging site – either they don’t know what a post is or the email is incorrect.
- Generic details
The last paragraph has no details about their idea for a guest post, what they are suggesting for my site, how it will help my readers, etc. Again, it seems a lot like a mass generated email.
This is all a little bit frustrating when my contact page says at the very top that we do not accept any guest posts at this point in time, even if you are Seth Godin himself.
Interestingly, I’ve started replying to these pitches asking politely where they got the email address from and have never once heard back from any of them. I’m not sure what that means…
How to get a guest post in today’s landscape
If you are a new blogger that is looking to start guest posting then I applaud you – it’s a good strategy that still works.
One thing I’ve noticed is that the same tips that worked for me when I first got started still have a big effect now. Guest posting has changed, but a lot of the same things are still working.
Let’s have a look.
1. Build relationships before engaging
As we saw in the example above, it’s very unlikely that you are going to get a guest post by emailing a blogger randomly with a half-baked pitch. The reason is simple – your pitch is getting received with dozens of others and there is no way for it to stand out.
What this means is that it’s really important to build relationships with bloggers first. This helps to differentiate yourself from the masses and makes it more likely that you’ll get a leg up.
One example of this is my Internet-friend, Vishal, who you might have seen in the comments section of Blog Tyrant leaving massive essays that are filled with value (seriously, some of them are like 1,000 words long!).
After a while I began chatting to Vishal and he expressed that he’d like to learn more about my industry and that if I needed any small jobs done that he’d be interested in helping. I remember feeling instantly excited about this idea because I’d seen the quality and care of his comments and knew that he was a trustworthy person.
I ended up hiring him to do a few little research and writing tasks which will be published very soon, but the main point is that it was much easier for me as a site owner to take the step towards working together when I’d seen him around the blog creating value and sharing knowledge. When Blog Tyrant gets opened up for other authors I’d be delighted to ask him to participate.
Actually, it has always been like this. Back when I was fortunate enough to be asked to do some writing on ViperChill I had been friendly and communicated with Glen for a long time before. It absolutely wouldn’t have happened from a cold email.
2. Show legitimate value first
Closely related to the idea of building relationships is the fact that you’re much more likely to get noticed if you can show something interesting or valuable that you’ve done.
For example, at least half of the guest post pitches that I receive are from bloggers with no existing blog, or from those with a blog that is brand new.
While I appreciate that they are trying to get guest posts so they can build that new blog up, it’s also a little bit like going for a job interview for a manager’s position without having any experience in the entry-level positions first.
One of the most incredible things about starting a blog is that you can use it as a digital resume that shows people your skills, your brand, and what you are about. They can explore it on their own time, and you don’t have to explicitly describe anything, you just let your work do the talking.
So when you’re trying to land a guest post on a particular topic, it’s important that you already have some kind of successful content on that topic. This doesn’t mean you need viral posts with millions of views, but show that you can actually write a long-form piece that is well researched, helpful, etc.
3. Find a way to be different
As I showed in the example above, when you pitch is just like every other pitch it’s easy for the site owner to think that you’re just mass emailing with no real value to add to the blog.
One of the most important things you can do in any marketing exercise is find a way to be different and memorable so that you stand out in the mind’s of the people who encounter you and your brand.
One incredible example of this is a guest post that appeared on Copyblogger by a dinosaur robot called Fake Grimlock.
This entire post was written in a kind of broken English with the caps lock button turned on for the whole thing. I remember laughing out loud to myself when I saw it – it was such a contrast to the other perfectly formed grammar masterpieces that usually appeared on Copyblogger.
This is a really fascinating (if not extreme) example of how you can approach your pitch differently. It’s important to remember how many emails your target gets on a given day, and to try and find some way both in the email itself and leading up to its sending to set yourself out from the pack.
4. Link to the people you want to work with
This is something we have talked about before in posts about blogging strategies and the like, but it’s really important to remember when you are trying to get a guest post.
The idea here is that you want to “give before you receive” by linking to the sites that you want to work with in the future.
This is something that every website owner appreciates because links are such valuable currency in our industry. If someone gives you a link in a guest post that they’ve done you really take notice because the act of citing your blog in a guest post is extremely kind.
Kristi Hines was someone who did this extremely well by creating highly useful content around the web that always linked back to a copious amount of bloggers.
For example, this compilation post that she did on Unbounce was one of my top traffic referrers for a long time. It got almost 400 comments and thousands of social shares.
After seeing this post I linked to Kristi more often and I noticed that her profile kept growing and growing until she was guest blogging on some of the biggest sites in the world. I am convinced this style of blogging really helped to showcase her writing skills to the right people.
I really don’t want this all to sound too much like I’m encouraging you to link to Blog Tyrant, I’m just being honest about the things that stand out when you get dozens of pitches every week. When someone has a demonstrated history of knowing your blog and citing it in other articles it really does go a long way.
5. Don’t worry if it doesn’t work right away
Guest posting is a hard gig and it’s important to remember that it can take a long time for the results to start showing up. I had an interesting chat about this topic on Twitter the other day and Brendan Hufford shared a very on-point insight:
@BlogTyrant Yeah. I measure results with long-term relationships and playing the long game. I also don't do it like a total d-bag (I hope?)
— ☕️Brendan Hufford (@BrendanHufford) May 13, 2017
Sure, there are bulk/mass/automated ways to do all of these things and sometimes the work. But often when they work they usually only do so for the short term and then you are left scrambling to find the next thing that cuts through.
Try to keep track of the things that work for you and then try to replicate them for different campaigns, sites, etc. And if you ever stumble across something that is done well, consider popping it in a “Inspiration” folder in your bookmarks so you can refer back to it later and try to learn from it.
So many small wins in blogging come from just looking at what is working well for others and then trying to replicate or improve on that for your own blogs.
Have you had any luck guest posting?
As we’ve talked about throughout this article, guest posting is a lot harder than it used to be. I’d really love to know if you’ve had any luck and if you’d recommend anything to new bloggers who are hoping to get started and chalk up some early wins. Please leave a comment and let us know.
Getting more comments on your blog can be a very hard task, but there are some new strategies to try that might make things easier.
One of my favorite parts of running a blog is the friends that get made in the comments section.
The conversations that have been had on this site over the years, for example, have been a truly wonderful experience and something I’m so grateful for.
As I’ve often said – and I mean it – the comments are usually more valuable than the articles I write.
But not everyone seems to get a lot of interaction on their blog. Today we’re going to try and fix that once and for all.
Let’s take a look.
Are these basic issues discouraging comments?
Before we get into some of the strategies that can help you get more comments, we want to take a look and see whether there are any basic errors that could be getting in the way.
- Is your site mobile responsive?
If your site is (still!) not mobile responsive then there is a good chance you are making it too hard for a good portion of your visitors to interact and leave comments. Remember, upwards of 50% of your traffic could now be coming from mobile devices.
- How is the load time on assets?
We know that your blog’s loading speed is important, but you also have to make sure that certain assets are also loading fast. For example, if you use a comment plugin like Disqus you need to make sure that it isn’t slow.
- Are the questions answered?
Some article are so complete that there isn’t much room left for discussion. It’s worth going back to see whether your headers, content, and conclusions leave anything left to chat about. Every good blog post should be extensive but perhaps not totally solved.
- Is your design too complicated?
Sometimes bloggers, in a genuine attempt to be on top of trends, add way too many things to their design which leaves less experiences web users confused about what action to take. How many options do you have available on your blog? Any more than two or three and you’ll be losing people.
Now that we’ve got some of the negative things out of the way, let’s take a look at some new things bloggers and marketers are doing to get more comments.
New strategies that lead to more comments
I should mention at the top that not all of these things are take from blogging examples but we can take lessons from each one and apply it to our own blogs.
1. Asking for mentions or tags
There is a new trend going around on social media at the moment that mixes humor an the innate power of social networking sites to get people to embarrass their friends.
The above example is a screenshot from a local football Facebook page that asks their fans to tag a mate who is losing his hair. It has over 45,000 comments…
Now, this isn’t exactly the best example to give, and a lot of these meme-based ones are sexist or stupid, but they do give a good insight into what people will respond to when asked. It’s important to note that it is totally okay to ask your readers to perform an action.
At the end of almost every blog post I like to devote a whole paragraph and closing statement to encouraging people to leave comments, and to expand on all the things that I’ve missed in the post.
In this post on starting a blog for the first time, for example, I really noticed that by asking people to comment on their own experiences or the factors that were omitted from the article that I was likely to get more comments.
2. Taking a popular event/theme and applying it to your niche
One tactic that has been working really well lately is to create marketing material out of the latest news events or themes in the world and apply them to your niche.
Steve Kamb from Nerd Fitness does this really well, and one of his latest articles called You Are Flawed. And So Are Your Superheroes. is a fantastic combination of brilliant long form content and a twist on a modern topic that every one is talking about or seeing in the movies.
One niche where we see this more and more is on late night TV where hosts like Stephen Colbert are raking in tens of thousands of comments, links, shares, etc. by commentating, night after night, on the current political climate. Just a few years ago, it would be interviews with celebrities that got the main attention, but now it is commentators like John Oliver making sense of news and politics that is getting talked about.
One way you can make the most out of this while still helping people is to create content that touches on these subjects but guides people through a difficulty. For example, if you were parent who ran a blog that talked about family, schooling, politics, etc. you could do an article about how to talk to your kids about [insert law] that Trump passed.
Another example of this can be seen on sites like The Oatmeal who go into incredible detail to study a different angle about something everyone is talking about. Their latest comic is all about how hard it is for people to change their minds and is extremely relevant for the current political climate.
It has had almost 100k shares and thousands of comments, a lot of which are really touching stories and experiences that people are sharing.
Remember, the point is not to be controversial for the sake of it, but rather to add something useful and truthful to the noise that is out there at the moment that often seems like it is trying to do the opposite.
3. Asking a popular question and making it the headline
Making headlines a question is not a new tactic, but it has definitely been getting more effective as social networking sites allow you to share that question in different formats.
Last week in the article on whether WordPress is still best we had some incredible discussions and I really learned a lot about the different options that were out there, the problems people had with WordPress, etc. All of this meant that the comment count got pretty high.
I don’t share this one to brag (the comments were often showing flaws in the post!) but rather to show you how powerful it can be to make your article about one evergreen question that lots of people have experience with. It can lead to some really wonderful conversations.
The same occurred in posts like Is Blogging Finally Dead? and Will Your Blog Ever be Profitable Enough to Support Your Family – both questions that touched a lot of people and something that was easy enough for everyone to weigh in on.
Although they don’t have a comments section, the New Yorker does this type of headline extremely well as you can see this week with Is the Gig Economy Working?. These are always in the most popular section and you regularly see them cited in other blogs and discussion threads which makes them extra valuable for building links.
Another example of this is BBC News who often post images and videos to instagram with a question over the top of the photo. This creates a lot of discussion as you can see in the post above on whether or not this is the best way to get a crying baby to go to sleep.
Making your headline/topic part of your marketing collateral on social networking sites or advertising campaigns is an extremely good way to increase organic reach because you get people discussing on and off-site.
4. Running a contest in your mail outs
Another strategy that I have found to be quite effective is to run a contest that asks people to leave a comment on a certain post in order to get entry to win some kind of giveaway.
This works especially well when you promote it to your mailing list first as they are more likely to be active in getting involved with something that takes a few more steps than usual.
As you can see in the example above, some physical businesses do extremely well by mixing a “tag a friend” promotion with a giveaway. This particular one is celebrating a cinema’s birthday with an iPhone giveaway and has over 55,000 comments so far.
It’s unclear how successful these things are – some niches will be more likely to get ongoing traction than others. This cinema, for example, probably did quite well because all of the comments would be from friends of people who already like the cinema and are in the same location.
Before running a contest, make sure you think carefully about the goals and outcomes, the prize you giveaway, and then any local laws that you need to abide by. Some countries/states have very strict things about who can run a contest and the language and prizes that can be offered.
5. Requiring a comment for a result
This is quite similar to the one above but is more like a request or registration that is a little more public or accessible as opposed to a straight email submit form.
For example, in this article Glen asked people to leave a comment if they wanted to get access to his private Facebook group as a way to protect members. It’s had over 1,000 comments and continues to grow.
I really like this idea as it creates a bit of discussion around the topic and gets people anticipating the result. It’s also a very clever way to keep the site looking alive and busy which can be very valuable social proof for new visitors who are encountering the content for the first time.
Some tricks to help with your comments
If you’re running a WordPress blog there are some really cool plugins that you can utilize to help make your comment areas more engaging and useful for both you and the readers.
- Redirect your comments
You can redirect first-time-commenters to a landing page that encourages them to sign up to your list, shows them new content, or just says thanks!
- Email when someone replies
A plugin like this one will automatically notify someone by email if their comment got a reply. This is essential for encouraging good ongoing discussion.
- Add extras features
A plugin like wpDiscuz allows you to add extra features like emojis, searchable comments, tagging commenters, replying directly from email, and much more. This can make the comments section feel more like a forum.
- Avatars next to your comment
If you’re new to WordPress you might want to head over to Gravatar to get your globally recognized avatar next to your comments whenever you use the same email to post a message in a comment thread.
- Display your most popular posts
If you have articles where ongoing comments is important then consider adding a widget somewhere on your blog that shows those most commented on articles so people know what is being talked about right now.
As always, make sure you test these things on your own blog and make a determination as to whether it is adding the right type of functionality to your blog and not detracting from important things like email sign ups or affiliate conversions.
Do you have any tricks for more comments?
I’d really love to know how your blog goes for comments. Do you find it hard to get them, or is it something that has happened quite easily for you? If you have any tips or tricks that you’d like to share please leave a message below as it might really help someone who is struggling.
You might have done a lot of spring cleaning by now but it’s time to do the same with your website as well. Periodically you should find out how to correctly assess backlink quality for your website. You can have backlinks from numerous sources, and it’s only right to analyze them from time to time because some of them might not be as natural as they were a few years ago. If your domain age is old, you’ve inevitably gathered links that are not quite qualitative. As Matt Cutts, the former head of the web spam team at Google said, “link building is sweat and creativity” and you need to make it as naturally as possible. The process of assessing your backlinks needs to be fully planned, so you won’t risk missing their value and quality. And this is mandatory.
As you might not believe me yet, let me give you a real example. A few days ago, a friend of mine imported a list of links in cognitiveSEO tool to do a backlink checker. The sad part was that many of those links had no anchor text. That happened because most of his links were behind images without alt description or blank spaces. The big problem was that most of them were placed on old websites, pages with 404 error messages, websites that no longer exist and other bad examples. At a closer look, we could see how most of those links lowered the quality of its link profile. Because of those spammy looking links, his website was under a Google penalty risk. And nobody wants that for his own website. If that doesn’t make a person assess his backlink quality, I don’t know what else would.
How To Do a Backlink Quality Assessment?
By now, you might be asking yourself how to create quality backlinks for my website? The truth is that there is no easy way of doing this although some great tips for link building might come in handy. Yet, the purpose of this article is trying to give you some tips on how to do a backlink quality assessment. You might already know what is a backlink profile and some of you might be even using one of the best backlink checkers out there. But what we are going to extend in the next lines are some great tips on how to do a backlink quality assessment:
- Identify as Many Referring Domains as Possible Using Various Backlinks Data Sources
- Check Domain Authority for Your Linking Root Domains
- Verify If You Have Optimized Anchor Texts
- Analyze the Naturalness of the Linking Page Through an In-Depth Backlink Analysis
- Detect the Social Share Magnitude of Your Backlinks
When To Do a Backlink Quality Assessment?
There’s no right time to do a backlink quality assessment but rather a necessity. It’s not a one-time thing, it’s a long process, and it’s up to you how you plan it.
The important thing is that you have to check the quality of the links after a period of time you did some changes or in real time. If you have a small website, is it easier to manually review the SEO data, but if you have a bigger site, it is harder to verify it. That’s why we’re saving you some time by showing the next 5 tips on how to correctly assess the backlink quality for your website.
1. Identify as Many Referring Domains as Possible Using Various Backlinks Data Sources
Having a large site means having numerous backlinks (in theory, at least). Let’s be positive and say that happens in reality, also. Identifying as many linking roots domains is a must, a tip you can’t avoid. Earning a few links from different referring domains will boost your ranking in search results more than earning many links from the same domain. Not to mention, the higher the number of backlinks (from more linking root domains), the higher the chance to improve your rankings.
You can use various backlink tools to get a more comprehensive link audit. Combining different search engine optimization tools can be the best choice if you have had a site for a long time and it has received a large number of backlinks over the time.
If you’re faithful to a single SEO backlink checker tool, make sure it provides you all the data you need, and that you can import all the data you already have from other sources.
For example, if you use the cognitiveSEO tool, you can see your analysis for your entire profile or only a specific number of backlinks.
For a natural profile with qualitative backlinks make sure you have unique backlinks from each referring domain. Keep a clean profile by removing (and getting the most out of) referring domains that send you a status code 404 (Not Found) or domains that don’t have indexed pages. You can also use this technique to verify your external links so you won’t associate your site with bad domains. Especially, if you did link exchanges and other similar spammy tactics. It is also a good practice to detect negative SEO attacks or other black hat SEO techniques against your website.
If you look for a free tool, use Site Explorer. It is easy to use and it can offer a few results using the free subscription. Below you can see a screenshot with a list of backlinks from the tool:
You can click on each to analyze it individually and see if it’s a quality backlink and/or a quality website.
If your business is registered with Google Search Console (Google Webmaster), you can use it to do a backlink audit. The sad part is you can’t see all the spicy details and information that cognitiveSEO tool gives to you. Below you can see a screenshot from the Webmaster panel where you can find the links to your website.
Another tool for checking backlinks you could use is Bing Webmaster tool. You can see your backlinks through a longer procedure. Log into your account and go to the Reports and Data tab and then to the Inbound Links. Below you can see a screenshot from the tool:
Click on the number of links, and then a new window with the backlinks will pop-up.
2. Check Domain Authority for Your Linking Root Domains
Doing a domain authority check is a must for a qualitative backlink profile.
The higher the domain authority (DA), the better it is because you are linked with such types of domains. If you have a large website, it is important to have a natural distribution of domains with high influence and no influence. That means it is OK to have a smaller number of domains that are highly authoritative than domains that have no influence because it is similar to what domains are on the internet: there are more domains with no influence than with a high influence. The situation can vary if you have a smaller website with a smaller number of backlinks. On the long run, both PA and DA are important; the page authority (PA) where the link is placed.
If you’re already a cognitiveSEO user, you can have a full picture of your domains authority by checking the Domain Influence chart. You can see an example below:
Besides that, you can also have a look at the Link Influence, which gives you an overall idea about the authority of a linking page. Although page authority is something you should check, the domain authority has a higher importance.
A light example is cognitiveSEO Site Explorer where you can run a short SEO analysis to check the influence of your backlinks. It is an easy to use and accurate backlinks quality checker.
3. Verify If You Have Optimized Anchor Texts
Another tip on how to correctly assess backlink quality for your website is to verify your anchor texts.
You should focus on two types of anchor text: commercial and brand.
For a better understanding of these anchors, let me give you an example: Nike (brand anchor text), running shoes (commercial anchor text).
The Site Explorer gives you the opportunity to check your anchor texts. For example, if you take a look at the screenshot below you can see that the brand names are “sweet cupcakes”, “www.sweetcupcakes.com”, “sweetcupcakes.com” and other similar variations. An example of commercial anchor text is “sweet bakery”. There are also some miscellaneous ones that don’t fall in one of the previous categories. For example, in the next picture “website”, “source”, “click here”, “credits” and so on are all miscellaneous.
Those that appear as N/A means they have no anchor text. For them, you need to make a further investigation for assessing the quality of those links and see how they appear on the page. A good way to start is using the cognitiveSEO tools that offers you the possibility to analyze each anchor text and mark each and every one of them as commercial, brand or miscellaneous.
This is an example of anchor texts that were classified:
There is another type of anchor text: the ones you shouldn’t have. To get a sense of what I’m talking about, take a look at the next example:
All the text from the dark square is a single anchor text. This is an example of bad anchor text “best plumber professionals over 50 years of plumbing services gives us the understanding and skills to get every job completed on time. free quotes. contact us today for a free quote on any plumbing project. we are here 24/7 for all of your needs. knowledgeable staff over the phone will help you understand your plumbing problem before we head over to fix it.”
If you follow the previous simple steps you are closer to having a better link profile with high-quality backlinks. To make this assessment process easier, you should focus your content marketing strategy into creating good, quality content. This way you could improve the method of obtaining anchor texts naturally. Regarding the internal links on your own website you can make improvements, so take in mind the idea of optimizing those links, too. The anchor text of an internal link is also important.
4. Analyze the Naturalness of the Linking Page Through an In-Depth Backlink Analysis
Another important aspect in the link quality assessment is to make an on-page analysis for each backlink. You need to review each page that is linking to your website using the next guidelines/metrics:
- how natural does that link appear on the page: OK, Suspect or Unnatural link;
- where is the position of a link: above the fold, body or footer;
- whether it is a text, image or redirect link;
- link status: live or lost;
- what type of page is it on: blog post, blog comment, blogroll, forum thread, author signature, video widget, forum signature, banner, article, copyright paragraph, short paragraph of text, group of links;
- link positioned in: content or group of links;
- whether it is a deep or a homepage link;
- the HTTPs status of the page;
It would be good to know that cognitiveSEO tool offers you information about all the metrics and guidelines I’ve mentioned above.
A bad backlink means it is placed on a list of links, the page is full of “viagra ads” or something similar and many other dizzy and popping messages/ads. These types of links have a high spam score and can harm your site’s rankings. If these type of bad links damaged your website you would see a ranking drop. Let’s hope that didn’t happen. That is why you need to check your backlinks and use the disavow tool to avoid harming your website.
For example, does the links that appear in the next picture seem natural to you?
Bear in mind that the each link is placed under the Internet Explorer icon. That’s a bit shady in my opinion. Nothing natural there. That type of links could harm your site’s ranking.
cognitiveSEO has a unique Unnatural link Detection feature you can use to make an in-depth analysis for each backlink you have and verify if you have quality websites linking back to you. After you have made a backlinks audit, you can see all the unnatural links and find out the reasons, either if it has low influence, thin content, suspect anchor text or other unnatural link issues. You could also export your SEO data into reports and use it however you want.
A link can lose its link juice if it is placed in a list. The more links on a page, the smaller the chance a link gets clicked. A list of outbound links can lower the power of each individual link from that page.
Another thing you should check is the HTTP status code. If you have backlinks on broken pages, that can also diminish the link juice. cognitiveSEO Inbound Link Analysis tool can save you in this situation, too.
5. Detect the Social Share Magnitude of Your Backlinks
The social component can’t miss from the guideline on how to correctly assess backlink quality for your website.
Analyze the quality of your backlinks by following the path of social sharing backward. That is check if the page where you have backlinks has shares in social media, engagement and an overall image in the public area. Social share and the engagement rate are two of the most important social metrics. The users who appreciate and share that page could become viewers of your site and they represent valuable prospects. Those links are worth keeping.
Social shares mean driving traffic to your website. Social shares to pages where you have links represent qualitative traffic to your website and can increase the conversion rate.
According to Shareaholic, social media drives 31% of all referral traffic. This makes it the number 1 driver of all website referral traffic. If you take a look at the next graph, you can see that social has increased:
For a comprehensive backlink analysis i recommend you considering the SEO tips mentioned above: starting by identifying as many linking domains as possible using various backlinks data sources, checking domain authority, optimize your anchor texts, verify each page where you have backlinks to look natural, and follow the social share traces. You could also see how many dofollow links you have in the total amount of backlinks. It is good to have a bigger percentage of nofollow links than dofollow links because that is how a natural links profile looks like. Make sure to include this in your online marketing strategy.
Go big or go home. Never go for shortcuts using link schemes, or other shady link building techniques that will do more harm than good (even if there are a lot of link building tools that will offer you unremitting link building opportunities). Your link building strategy shouldn’t stop after your links go live, so you won’t risk getting your link removed and having lost links.
You’re not alone in this, you could use the SEO tools I mentioned: the cognitiveSEO, Site explorer, Google Search Console and Bing Webmaster tools to correctly assess the quality of your backlink profile and to receive useful information for further investigations. You can use these backlink analysis tools to assess your backlinks, but also to build backlinks by searching for opportunities in your competitors’ backlinks list. You can even access each competitor’s link profile and boost your own by using a Competitive Link Analysis.
The post 5 Tips on How to Correctly Assess Backlink Quality appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.
Social media marketing has, without any doubts, a huge potential to increase sales. What social media sites offer is increased brand recognition, improved brand loyalty, more opportunities to convert, higher conversion rates and better ranks in SERP. Keeping this in mind, one question pops out: what can Facebook SEO do for my business? With 51% of Facebook users being more likely to buy from brands they follow and 80% of US social networks connect to brands through Facebook, like it or not, you need to start optimizing your business’s Facebook.
Using social media in your SEO strategies helps you win higher page rankings? We believe that yes and this is why we’ve put together a list of tips that will help you get higher page ranks and improve your overall online marketing strategy.
- Get the Best Facebook Page Name
- Claim Your Vanity URL to Boost Facebook SEO
- Place Keywords in Strategic Locations
- Optimize Facebook Page Status Updates for SEO
- Include Address to Boost Your Local SEO
- Link to Your Facebook Business Page
- SEO for Facebook Notes
- Post Direct Links to Your Website on Your Facebook Page
- Reputation Management
- Create Engagement to Outrank Negative Reviews
According to some studies, 47 % of Americans believe that Facebook has a greater impact on their purchasing behavior than other social networks and 78% of a brand’s Facebook fans are current users of the company’s products and services. Will Facebook SEO help you with your overall ranks? To start with, links on social media are often considered higher-quality links because social sites have a high web authority. Even if your Facebook page is new, it’s likely to rank high thanks to Facebook’s overall high authority.
SEO Visor claims that Google indexed as much as 1.87 billion posts. Interestingly enough, this doesn’t seem to cover the entire breadth of Facebook posts! Remember: not all profiles are set to public. According to a study made by Searchmetrics, the correlation between social signals and ranking position is extremely high, and this is also true for the number of social signals per landing page. Facebook remains the social network with the highest level of user interactions. When we compare it with other social networks, it shows relatively high signals across the first search results page. We’ve detailed this matter in a previous study on social signals influence on rankings. To continue, we will go on a journey to see how you can optimize your social profiles. Are you tired of Google Analytics? Take a break. We will offer some SEO tips that do not imply using Facebook Ads but will help you with the rankings.
1. Get the Best Facebook Page Name
It will sound obvious, but your Facebook name is the first step for your online marketing strategies. Choosing a good name for your Facebook page is the first and (maybe) the most significant step. This depends, of course, on your company’s name and how much it can help you for search engine optimization as well. According to Rahul Dass, Business Development Executive at Creation Infoways, optimizing Facebook pages for search engines should be as simple as adding few key phrases that represent your business. We should use an example to better understand.
What happens if we have a site called TripReviews.com and we use a Facebook page name such as “Trip Reviews George Smith”? It is easy to understand that we want to brand ourselves as a travel blogger and people will expect us to give free travel tips. If we use a lot of keywords we might hurt our viral growth.
But what if some extra keywords might help people reach our page?
Having a long title such as “George’s Trip Reviews, Booking Tips, and Exciting Destinations” will not be appealing or memorable by any means. Some visitors might even believe that we are a bit spammy because we are desperate for attention. The articles or whatever we choose to provide must be high quality and they should satisfy people’s needs. This can bring followers that will really appreciate our work and fruitful engagement. Keep in mind that the first word of your Facebook page title is the most important one for Google, as Rahul Dass claims. It is also critical to avoid generic words and to choose the best keywords to represent your brand or personality.
John’s Travel Agency: London, Hawaii, Japan – Hotels, Flights, Car Rental & More – not a good name choice
Once you have chosen a page title, if it’s not absolutely necessary, do not change it. Think of it as a long-term choice, because you want to use your Facebook page for search engine optimization. People will reach it by looking for certain keywords and it can be pure suicide to change it when you have a lot of followers and visitors that got used to it. What you want to do is occupy a place in your consumers’ mind. Once you have gained it, all you have to do is strive to keep it. Not changing it will prove useful for your Facebook fan page SEO.
2. Claim Your Vanity URL to Boost Facebook SEO
As a search marketer or Facebook user you might already know that you have the freedom of choosing a vanity URL (“username”) for Facebook pages. This represents, of course, one of the greatest opportunities that this social media platform offers. After designating the username, the URL of your page will change into something like this “www.facebook.com/username”. To choose your username, access this page.
Choosing a Facebook username allows businesses to incorporate generic keywords for SEO purposes.
There is a blacklist of generic usernames that users are not able to register, but we are sure that there is enough freedom given to use generic usernames, or to mix up actual names with other generic keywords. We recommend you to be careful when you choose your username because it is intended to better represent your brand’s identity and personality. AdWeek believes that, in the future, Facebook might punish pages that use generic usernames by revoking status publishing rights.
If you want to stay clear of such risks and be proactive, it is smart to embrace what is original or specific for your brand. For example, if you have a luxury watch brand and want something unique, a more intimate approach to show your followers how you make watches, you can choose a vanity URL like www.facebook/insidevanitywatches.com. Research shows that people can remember meaningful words easier, so do not forget to do this to turn your web address into the link your fans will keep in mind.
Be aware that in order to be able to choose it, your page has to reach 25 “Likes”. Facebook offers a couple of guidelines that will help you create a custom username:
- You can only have one username for your Page or profile and you can’t claim a username someone else is already using.
- Usernames can only contain alphanumeric characters (A-Z, 0-9) or a period (“.”).
- Periods (“.”) and capitalization don’t count as part of a username. For example, johnsmith55, John.Smith55 and john.smith.55 are all considered the same username.
- Usernames must be at least 5 characters long and can’t contain generic terms or extensions (ex: .com, .net).
- You must be an admin to create or change the username for a Page.
- Your username must adhere to the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
- Keep in mind that new Pages may not immediately be able to create a username and that your Page’s username may be removed because of inactivity.
3. Place Keywords in Strategic Locations
We’ve written a previous blog post on some useful tips for Facebook SEO 2.0. By now, we might already know that it is of utmost importance to optimize your Facebook page by doing a keyword research if you want to use it as a marketing tool. This will help you have a good on-site SEO, as Rahul Dass claims. Facebook limits where Page owners can write large amounts of text and this is why it will be helpful to use those keywords in the “About” section to have a great company overview.
Google will choose what will appear on the SERP in the form of a meta description, immediately after the number of likes that you have collected, as you can see in the image bellow:
Also, whenever you choose to share the link to your web page, the short description that you provide will be there along with the avatar, the page name, and the vanity URL.
Now that you know this, try to think of it like this: optimizing your Facebook page starts like any other SEO process. You can look at the title of the Facebook page as the Meta Title Tag and you can consider the number of likes and the short description as being the Meta Description. Now that you know this, you should acknowledge that your description should be around 135 characters in order to show on Google SERP. Do not forget, wisely completing your “about” section is mandatory.
4. Optimize Facebook Page Status Updates for SEO
If you make a Facebook Page for your brand, some of the tasks that you will have to do include sharing captivating content. Every time you post an image, a video or you create events on your wall do not forget to take advantage of the descriptive fields to add keywords because even if it takes only one minute to fill in everything, it can make a difference in your ranking. Keep in mind that this text will become the SEO title of your Facebook post.
Without any doubt, by doing a keyword research and adding certain words in photo descriptions, status updates and while engaging with followers, you will further expand your SEO power. Take into account that Facebook makes the content on Facebook Fan Pages indexable by search engines. In this case, Google also places a higher value on the first word of the post, so be sure that it is relevant. Furthermore, the first 18 characters of a post can become a meta description for search engines. This is a post that we have recently used to send people to our SEO blog:
As you can see in the Google searches, the engine itself chooses what to use as meta data. Digital marketers will easily notice that our article’s meta description was used for the Facebook page as well when it was indexed by Google. This makes us believe that basic SEO is still a powerful tool.
5. Include Address to Boost Your Local SEO
We are all aware of the growth rate that local SEO has. This is important because using SEO on a national level is becoming more competitive each day. Local business owners might find it absurd to compete on such a scale, so they might think local for online marketing. Consumers are depending more on their smartphones and tablets to accomplish their searches. This is especially true for local searches. In order to get the online visibility, you have to make sure that you adopt the right strategy for your social channels. This is why an increasing number of businesses have adopted local strategies to enrich their SEO efforts, according to Audience Bloom. Social media presence is one of the most important factors for increasing visibility and domain authority on a local level.
Facebook will help you as soon as you start to create your page. This is the reason why it is very important to complete everything on your “info” tab, including the phone number and address. But why does it matter? Well, according to Ad Week, the address, city, country and zip code will help index your brand for local SEO. All the details that you add will make you feel trustworthy in the eyes of Facebook and your followers as well. It will also give you the chance of including more keywords as well and, as we all know, Google really cares for all the social media pages that offer specific information. This will help by driving relevant traffic to your site.
6. Link to Your Facebook Business Page
Did you already start to optimize for Facebook? Here is another good tip:
Backlinks are not useful only for your website, but for your Facebook profile as well.
Search Engine Land claims that we have to perceive links as recommendations. If we have a good friend that recommends eating at a specific restaurant, we take that into account. If several friends do this, we will be even more tempted to go for a fancy dinner there. Same thing when we talk about Facebook SEO and Google
The more important the pages that link to your page are, the more it will trust your page. If your website is highly popular, creating links from there to your page will bring you a nice advantage. This will add to the credibility and your page will have a good opportunity to climb easier in the search ranking. What you have to do is pretty easy, according to Hootsuite. Do not miss the opportunity of linking to your business or brand page. Use your website and the articles from your blog, if you have one, to include links. If other good ranking domains do the same and mention it, you will boost your ranking in no time. This will also help to tell people that you are active in the social channels and will further help to use your Facebook page for SEO.
7. SEO for Facebook Notes
You usually post Notes to inform or even create engagement with your fans. They are an easy way of informing fans of important news about your business or even updating customers on a current crisis. Even if you are aware of this or not, Google seems to search and index the Notes that come from Facebook fan pages.
This is true only for business pages and it does not apply to personal profiles. The Notes give you the chance to add keywords rich text and this can be used to increase your fan page’s ranking for Google or Bing. It is very wise to place keywords in the title and all over the Note as well. You can also add photos, which gives you further chances to add keywords in the caption.
If you choose to write a Note about a Google Penguin update, you might want to make sure that you include words such as “Google”, “Penguin”, “Google Update” and “SEO” in the title, body and in the photo captions. When adding them, simply think of what your customers will look for. If followers start to comment on your note, this will add value and it will have even more chances to rank well. If the comments also contain several keywords, it will add further weight. You can increase the visibility of the Note by tagging other Facebook friends. If you post content that creates engagement, your followers will more likely tag others in their comments. Here is an example of a Facebook note indexed on Google :
As you can see, the Facebook Note is indexed and it appears in the fifth position. If we further inspect the Note we can see that it uses the brand name as the first keyword in the title, which is a good idea in this scenario.
8. Post Direct Links to Your Website on Your Facebook Page
If you want to further boost the SEO of your website you shouldn’t ignore the power of social media. Facebook can help you get high-quality backlinks and increase the authority that your domain has. This can help you be on Google’s first page for certain keywords and you can benefit from more traffic. As we have talked about Notes before, think a bit of how much this can help your blog. If you write an article on your blog, you can create a Facebook Note and add a few quotes from your blog post that are keyword rich. Before posting it, make sure that you also suggest followers to visit your website in order to read the whole article: “for more about the Google Penguin update, check this article”. If you include a hyperlink here, you will already have a strong backlink to your domain. This will add to your website’s authority and will probably drive more traffic as well. You can see a quick example by looking at the ending of the Rackspace’s Note that we have mentioned before.
According to IT Business, other places that you can check for backlinks are:
- The “about” tab: a lot of users are as curious as cats and will most likely visit your profile to your website. This gives you a great chance to lead users to the great content that you have on your domain.
- It does not matter whether they come as images, videos or something else, the posts on your wall represent great opportunities for backlinks
- The profile and cover picture: without any doubt, these can be the most clicked on spaces of your page, especially if they stand out. You can use them to send users to your site and create more chances to drive traffic
- Group description: besides being a great option for conversation, the “about” section is a great place to insert a link to your website.
9. Reputation Management
We can look at Reputation Management as being both art and science at the same time. There are a couple of ways of bumping down highly ranked negative reviews or posts, but how can we use it for this purpose? From a Reputation Management point of view, the advantages of social media sites are that if you have a high ranking profile page you will appear higher in a search engine’s results page than other incorrect or negative information. There might be moments when you see information that you might want to be removed, but you are unable to do so. Some may refer to a negative business review posted on a blog, public law enforcement data or even a criminal database of minor offenses that does refer to you, but is no longer relevant or needs to be pushed down as far as possible in order to secure employment.
Facebook users have the ability to “Like” pages and send personal messages as well. In the About section of your business page, you can also find information about the brand, its corporate headquarters, retail locations, and so on. It is very important to include as much information as possible in your social media profile because you will use it to outrank other pages that refer to you or your company. If you do a Google search of “Starbucks” you will notice that its Facebook, Twitter and other social media site pages are ranked highly. This is the advantage of using social media for Reputation Management, according to Reputable and paying attention to it will help you in the long term.
If it is impossible to remove an undesirable post, what you can do is to use social media profile pages to outrank those pages that write negative reviews about you or are trying to flame you. A simple search for Pringles will make you realize how much their website and social media helps them out. The first results page is filled with results that come from their website, Wikipedia, Twitter and as much as three Facebook results. Whoever searches for this brand has to go through a couple of pages to find some negative reviews about it and this is a great advantage for the SEO world.
It is very important to have a good amount of followers, fans, friends and likes and to use the proper keywords to be able to outrank other pages in the search engine. Keep in mind that you will also receive reviews on your Facebook page as well, but here you will be able to respond to it. Think of the negative articles or reviews that high profile companies can receive. What really matters is to know how to successfully outrank them.
10. Create Engagement to Outrank Negative Reviews
Marketing consultants tell us all the time to engage with our clients and now you are also aware of how much social presence matters. If you want your Facebook page to help you win higher page rankings you should as well think of the best ways of creating engagement. If you have a large number of likes and followers, it will be easier for you to get returning visitors as well. A high number of likes and comments on your posts will let both Facebook and Google know that there is something good going on there. Remember that having quality content is elementary and along with the engagement it will also help you in Facebook’s internal searches. As it can also be found on Post Planner and Kissmetrics, we recommend you to take this into account to discover content marketer tips:
1. Do not be afraid to show your personality and use the weight of your brand name. Everything you post should portray your brand’s personality. Make your fans return to the page because they like your company’s voice and tone and you might have a viral growth rate. Express yourself through your posts, through your cover photos and make the other Facebook marketers jealous.
2. Ask questions and get to know your fans’ preferences. This is one easy but efficient way of driving engagement. It will get your fans talking in no time.
3. Take advantage of images. “A picture is worth a thousand words” is an English idiom, but what you have to know is that images are able to tell stories quickly and they have great exposure in the news feed. Take advantage of your brand’s visual identity because specific visual elements will let everybody know in an instant that the picture is coming from you. Customize your cover photos, your profile picture, and everything you can.
4. Let fans take an inside look at your company. Other than maintaining a certain transparency, this is a great marketing tool that lets you promote your brand. Post photos of happy employees, satisfied customers and so on. Transparency can be a powerful tool, so give your fans a quick company overview.
5. Use content provided by your fans. This will help by building relationships and by providing unique news to the followers.
6. Use call to actions and tell people to like, share and so on. What is great about them is that they instill psychological nudges that help marketers drive their audience to respond the way that they want to. It seems like audiences tend to respond better when they are given specifics as to what to respond to. Every time you post something ask yourself this: What do you want people to do? Do you want them to comment? Click the like button? Share something with their friends? A post like this in the news feed will catch their attention and will help your Facebook profile.
The Fast Food Franchise Subway got over 53,000 likes and 404 shares by posting a picture with the call to action text “Like this if you wish you could spend your Sunday by the beach”.
Getting your followers to comment and like content in your stream will help by strengthening intra-Facebook reciprocal linking. Consider that the users also have the option of sharing your posts and tagging friends as well. Another way of creating hype is using the Facebook Live videos feature. Beware, you shouldn’t use this feature if you do not understand it yet. The Live feature has great potential, but you have to think of how you can use it within your niche first. You have to learn how to advertise your upcoming posts in order to have the best impact.
Broadcasts must be promoted up to several weeks before they go live because in this case, you want to generate both awareness and excitement, as Best SEO Companies claims. Upload images or even short video teasers in order to let your followers know what to expect. You can talk about this event on your blog or other platforms in order to inform people about what is coming. Make sure you add a link to your Facebook page to let interested people know where this is going to take place. Once everything is done, make your presentation unique and do not forget to engage by responding to comments. When the live presentation is done, Facebook will archive it for future views and you will be able to check it in order to respond to comments that are posted after the event. You can use this as an opportunity to drive traffic to your website by posting relevant links in the Facebook Live Comments. This can be a great way of improving your organic link-building efforts.
You’ve certainly got an idea of how Facebook impacts SEO so far. You found out how to optimize your social profiles, and how to surprise your fans with engaging news stories to get direct traffic. Even though Google’s Matt Cutts said that Facebook and Twitter signals do not influence the search algorithm, the Facebook and Twitter pages do appear in the search results and this will continue to have a great influence. More about the social media ranking factor or social shares can be found here.
Matt Cutts also claimed that he does see Google crawling, indexing and understanding more about identities on the web in the long run.
Have you ever looked around you – really looked around you – and saw your place in the world?
It could be your place in your own particular world or your place in the bigger picture.
It doesn’t really matter – all that matters is you take that look around you and recognize your place in it.
We live in a society that changes quickly and moves even quicker. It’s easy to get lost, swept away or side-tracked. Things we meant to do yesterday we don’t have a chance to do tomorrow.
We live in a world where our families are second to our jobs because industries are so frail they could be gone by the time you finish reading this. We go where the work is, and not always together.
While some things can’t change, others can. So let’s try.
Heroes Can Be Dangerous
In times of need, we often look for heroes to guide us through, or to make sense of what we’re doing. Yet heroes come in many shapes and guises.
False heroes offer little except hope that isn’t there. We know deep inside that these heroes are false, and yet we still follow them in the vain hope that maybe it’s us that’s wrong.
It isn’t. And you don’t need false heroes to guide you – true heroes are all around you.
- They’re there in the eyes of the children you bear as they make their way from innocence to adulthood.
- They’re in the parents that raised you to be who you are today.
- They’re in the mirror, looking back at you every day.
That job you hold down to feed your family? These luxuries you give up to keep a roof over the heads of your loved ones? The sacrifices you make to put a smile on the faces of those you cherish?
You’re being a hero every day of your life. Realize that, and forget the false heroes – no-one makes a difference like you do.
Pay It Forward
The world is changing. The greedy are being found out for who and what they are and the society changers are coming to the fore. Be part of this.
Encourage people to greatness and show them they, and everyone else, have the ability to change the way we live – all of us.
The Pay It Forward Foundation started as a simple book idea – yet the simplest ideas offer the greatest scope for change.
Read the book; visit the website; digest the information. Encourage greatness in others and see the greatness in yourself.
Be a Showoff
Our world is connected like never before. Our parents could only dream of how we can reach others with the click of a button.
Our children will be the forebearers of the true social networks. Let’s use our connectivity now to set the standards for tomorrow.
- If you like someone’s train of thought, recommend them to your community.
- If you read a blog that inspires or makes you ask questions, share it with friends and colleagues and join the discussion.
- If you have something to say yourself that makes you think, say it – we’re all listening and we want to hear.
We have the opportunity to help the good and the great rise to the challenges ahead.
Our leaders can’t do everything themselves – we need to be leaders as well.
Show off the words and the work of those who inspire you, and in turn, you’ll inspire others to learn from you.
Ours is a small world in a vast landscape. It’s up to us – to you – how well it sits in that landscape.