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How to Recover Your Facebook Shares after Moving from HTTP to HTTPS

Google is pushing for a shift from http to https, there is no secret in this. This strategy would probably be effective anyway, but with Google behind, the shift starts to resemble a done deal. The question is no longer whether sites will follow, but when. After all, who in their right minds would give up geolocation, encrypted media extensions or application cache?

 

But aside from the technical complications of this move, there are other considerations as well. One such unforeseen side effect is that switching from http to https would cause the loss of the social share counts on Facebook and Google+ pages. To be fair, this disadvantage is not specifically linked to the https switch, but to any URL change in general (which might be why Google has not put forward an official fix for this, so far).

 

How_to_Recover_Your_Facebook_Shares_after_Moving_from_HTTP_to_HTTPS

 

We ourselves faced share counts loss when we migrated our site from http to https. It was a punch in the stomach for us; yet, we had no other chance than finding an efficient method to recover the social shares after moving from http to https. Finding the right solution of getting the Facebook shares back wasn’t an easy ride. But a solution was needed and we are really happy that we found it. As we are your number one fans, we couldn’t keep the fix of getting your shares back for ourselves. Below you will find the exact steps that you need to take if you experience a similar problem and you want your hard-worked social shares displayed on your web pages.  

 

With the cognitive’s reunited superpowers we came across a solution to recover the social shares after moving from HTTP to HTTPS.

 

Tested Steps to Maintain Your Social Shares after a Site Migration from HTTP to HTTPS

 

The truth is that moving from HTTP to HTTPS doesn’t come up easily. It can be a real pain, not to mention that if you’re not 100% vigilant, you can suddenly lose your ranks. We’ve written a blog post not long ago on how not to lose your ranks when doing a website redesign. Moving from HTTP to HTTPS is not a walk in the park. Maintaining your shares while doing so can be even harder.  And we know that from our own experience.

 

Long story short, when moving from HTTP to HTTPS you lose all your hard worked social share counts from Facebook and Google+. It is not a pleasant situation at all, especially when you’ve worked so hard for each and every social share. It’s a vanity metric some may say, and that’s true. Yet, it’s a highly important social proof that can give you tons of insight about your overall social media strategy. 

 

For Facebook and Google+ there are two different methods to get your social share counts back when moving from http to https. Along with those, there are a couple of generic changes you need to perform. Below, I am going to list you the generic updates which are common for recovering the social shares for both Facebook and Google + and afterwards some specific actions that you need to take for each social network separately. 

 

cognitiveSEO example facebook shares after moving to https

 

Generic Changes to Get Your Social Share Counts Back

 

1. Create a 301 redirect from HTTP to HTTPS

 

This is probably the first and the most important step you need to make when migrating your site. What the 301 permanent redirects do is to redirect any visitor, including search engines, to your new version of the site, the one with https. Along with the direct traffic, the age, authority and reputation of your old website in search engines is transferred to the new web address. If you don’t implement 301 redirects correctly, not only will your social shares be forever lost, but also your ranks and traffic. 

 

You can find more details on how to perform 301 redirects on Google’s support page. Also, the world of internet is pretty generous when it comes to giving pieces of advice on how to move your site to https.  Putting it simply, with only a few lines of code you can transfer all the organic search traffic from one domain to another.

 

2. Add  <link rel=”canonical”> to the new HTTPs page

 

The rel=canonical is an HTML element that helps you prevent duplicate content issues. Basically, what it does is to tell the search engines which one is the preferred version of your web page. When you switch to https, what will happen is that you will have two websites with identical content: your http and your https version. In order to avoid duplicate content and all the related problems, you need to let search engines know which version they should show up in their results. 

 

To make sure that your current URL  (the one with https) shows up in search results,  you need to add <link rel=”canonical”> on your new HTTPS version of your site.  As through exemplification is the easiest way of understanding things, let me show you how this works by using a URL of our own. As I want this blog post , the https version,  to be the one that will show up when people will be looking for ways of repurposing content, this is how the URL should look like: 

 

<link rel="canonical" href="https://cognitiveseo.com/blog/11813/ways-of-repurposing-content/" />

 

3. Change <meta property=”og:url”> 

 

To begin with, you need to know that the purpose of “og:url” is to set the preferred URL for the page you are sharing. If you are thinking for a second that this isn’t so important, let me know tell you that through “og:url” you define the page that all your shares will go to.  Therefore it’s highly – decidedly – deeply – eminently to set the <meta property=”og:url”> to point to your newly HTTPS version.  Therefore, here is how a URL should look like:

 

<meta property="og:url" content="https://cognitiveseo.com/blog/11813/ways-of-repurposing-content" />

 

 

How to Get Your Social Shares Back on Facebook after Moving from HTTP to HTTPS

 

We all create a lot of content. We try to make it the best, the most documented; that kind of content that goes straight to your inbox and makes you read it. Content is king; but what is a king without followers? Along with being a social proof instrument,  the social medium is a fantastic traffic driver and it can even influence your ranks (we’ve previously written a blog post on this).  Therefore, losing your Facebook social  shares is a tremendous problem. And, unfortunately, it happens when you switch to https. We encountered the same situation ourselves when we migrated our site and after long researches we figured out a way on how to move to https without losing Facebook shares.  Below we are going to show you a workaround, tested and implemented by ourselves. 

 

It’s important to know that these changes should be done only for pages that already existed on your site when you made the switch. For newer pages these modifications should not be applied.

 

1. Find out how many Facebook shares you have for a URL

 

To see how many social shares Facebook has for a URL, you need to use Facebook’s developer debug interface. You need to get to a page similar with the one from the screenshot below. You have the possibility of entering any URL to see how many shares it has. You will add here the http pages you are interested in getting your shares back for. Of course, you can use this interface for other issues as well, yet, from the present purpose you need to use the Sharing Debugger category.

 

Facebook Debug Interface

 

2. Set both your HTTP and HTTPs social shares to zero

 

After adding the URLs you are interested in Facebook’s debug interface, you will have the possibility to “Scrape Again” (you will have a button with this exact message). Once you do this, all your Facebook shares will be zero, for both HTTP and HTTPS. Don’t panic, as the next step will fix this situation. 

 

3. Update rel=”canonical”

 

The previous step left you with all your shares to zero. By now you might be thinking how these steps are really helping you in getting your shares back. Bear with me as you are closer and closer to getting your social shares count. 

 

The next step in solving the social share loss situation is to alter the content you are showing to Facebook’s crawler. What you need to do, for Facebook only, is to make sure that the rel= canonical tag is placed, but not the way you would think of. It’s exactly the other way around: you need to make the http version the preferred one, just like in the example below: 

 

<link rel="canonical" href="https://cognitiveseo.com/blog/11813/ways-of-repurposing-content/" />

 

has to be

 

<link rel="canonical" href="http://cognitiveseo.com/blog/11813/ways-of-repurposing-content/" />

 

4. Identify Facebook’s Crawler

 

If you think that the problem is already solved and your share counts are already updated, I must ask you to have a little more patience, as you are just one step closer already. 

 

We’ve previously told you that you need to alter your content’s page for Facebook’s crawlers. Yes, this is very similar to cloaking, an old school search engine optimization technique in which the content presented to the search engine spider is different from that presented to the user’s browser. However, this situation is different than the one in which you want to grossly manipulate Google’s ranks. Using this will not impact your ranks and will not affect your site negatively. What you are going to do is not altering the exact content of the page, but only the protocol and with the sole purpose of keeping or getting back the social shares. 

 

An important step is correctly identifying Facebook’s crawler. You can do this identification by user agent or IP.

 

The Facebook’ guys are straightforward when it comes to this matter and they explain you how to identify their crawler

 

In the screenshot below you can see how things should look like in the Facebook debug interface after altering the content for the crawler. As you can see, the fetched URL is the one with https while the canonical URL is with http. Remember that this should be apply for the old pages that you had on http. 

 

sharing debugger cognitiveseo example http

 

For the new pages, the one that you’ve created on https already, things should look like in the screenshot below. HTTPS for both fetched and canonical URL.  In the screenshot below there is a blog post that we’ve created after the https migration. As mentioned before, for newer pages the modifications presented in this chapter should not be applied.

 

sharing debugger cognitiveseo example new https

 

You can get inspired from the code examples below, for three different instances, for PHP, forNginx and for Apache. 

 

PHP Code Example for Identifying Facebook’s Crawler

 

if(preg_match('/facebookexternalhit/i',$_SERVER['HTTP_USER_AGENT'])) { echo '<link rel="canonical" href="http://______YOUR_URL_WITH _HTTP__">';
} else { echo '<link rel="canonical" href="https://______YOUR_URL_WITH _HTTPS__">';
}

 

Nginx Code Example for Identifying Facebook’s Crawler

 

if ($HTTP_USER_AGENT ~ "^((?!facebookexternalhit).)*$") { return 301 https://cognitiveseo.com$request_uri;
}

 

Apache Code for Identifying Facebook’s Crawler

 

For Apache, you can create a code similar to the one above, depending on the web Apache server syntax. 

 

Bonus: How to Get Your Social Shares Back on Google+ after Moving from HTTP to HTTPS

 

As in the previous case, you need to know that the following changes need to be done only for pages that already existed on your site when you made the switch to https. For newer pages these modifications should not be applied.

 

Wen it comes to getting your social shares back from Google Plus, things are a bit easier than in the case of Facebook. No crawler identification or content alteration is needed. The only thing you need to modify are the Google+ sharing buttons so that you will share the URL on http and not on https.  To do so, for your old pages you can get inspired from the code example below: 

 

<!-- Place this tag in your head or just before your close body tag. -->
<script src="https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js" async defer></script>
<!-- Place this tag where you want the +1 button to render. -->
<div class="g-plusone" data-size="tall" data-href="http://______YOUR_OLD_URL______"></div>

 

You need to keep in mind that, for the new pages, the code will contain the https version, just like in the code below: 

 

<!-- Place this tag in your head or just before your close body tag. -->
<script src="https://apis.google.com/js/platform.js" async defer></script>
<!-- Place this tag where you want the +1 button to render. -->
<div class="g-plusone" data-size="tall" data-href="https://______YOUR_NEW_PAGE______"></div>

 

As you can see, when it comes to Google Plus only the social share button suffers changes; no content fixer or https URL alterations. You can switch to SSL and still keep your shares just with a workaround on the sharing button.  

 

The Struggle of Getting Your Facebook Shares Back 

 

Facebook likes are linked to the URL, meaning that even a single character change (like the extra “s” that gets added when you switch from “http” to “https”) will cause you to lose your likes.

 

As Facebook itself explains on the social plugins part of their FAQs, “you can’t move the likes, shares or comments directly to the new URL but you can use the old URL as the canonical source for the number of likes or shares at the new URL”. 

 

However, the feedback on the effectiveness of this solution and others is mixed, at best, with some users suggesting that even fixes like those proposed by Facebook are incomplete or ineffective.

 

Other solutions suggest to manually put the old share count into the custom fields of a plugin but those share counts will not increase until the new share count for that link equals the share count you pasted into the custom field. Therefore, not quite a solution if you really need your old shares back; not to mention that if you have lots of pages with different share counts it’s very unlikely that you know those numbers by heart. 

 

It’s true that the social media networks might suffer from manipulation if they blindly moved social signals across redirects.

 

You could, for instance, buy an old domain and transfer all the social signals to another landing page that interests you. But what webmasters usually want is to get their shares back, the social shares that they already have with no other deceiving intent. 

 

You don’t want your site to be considered as having insecure content but you also want your http and https urls to have their social count recoveries as fast as possible. The problem comes when Google considers that the SSL certificate is a must but not Facebook likes not so much. Any webmaster would probably think different, that both are important and both are a part of your overall digital marketing strategy. Along with the changes required in Google Analytics when you make the switch from https to https, you should consider the workarounds presented above in order to maintain your Facebook likes safe and sound. 

The post How to Recover Your Facebook Shares after Moving from HTTP to HTTPS appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

12 Unique Content Amplification Techniques That Earn 327% More Links

We all had that moment when we gave our soul into a post and made it so shiny, with thorough research, relevant visuals but nobody read it. And then you start wondering what went wrong. What in the name of God happened? Or why did it happen to you? And the questions could go on. But there is something that you missed. And that “something” could be content amplification. 

 

Content amplification is a powerful method to reach a wider audience and multiply your links by hundreds.  Or so it should be, if used effectively. Amplifying your content should be mandatory if you want people to know about it and increase your website traffic. You can look at the amplification process as a way of strengthening the signals of your post.

 

Content Amplification to Win Links cognitiveSEO

The journey shouldn’t stop when the article goes live. On the contrary, you should carry on with the process of boosting your content. You need to understand that content amplification isn’t a single technique or a one-time thing. It incorporates an umbrella of multiple unique techniques you need to follow in order to amplify content and get better results. And since it is a long process that needs a lot of attention and passion, we’ve built a highly documented list with 12 unique content amplification techniques that will help you earn links.  

 

  1. Work Out the Art of Link Giving to Generate Authoritative Backlinks
  2. Reach New Audiences Through Native Advertising
  3. Get More Likes, Shares and Follows with Smart Social Buttons
  4. Give Shoutouts to Amplify Your Content
  5. Outperform Your Content Through Paid Social Amplification
  6. Use Storytelling to Receive a Social Boost
  7. Try Email Outreach to Build a Solid Community Within Your Brand
  8. Use Content Syndication on Medium to Build Your Blog Audience
  9. Collaborate with Influencers to Earn Links
  10. Post on StumbleUpon and Absorb Targeted Traffic
  11. Develop Advocates Through GaggleAMP
  12. Integrate Promotion Messages or Buttons in Your Website
 

1. Work Out the Art of Link Giving to Generate Authoritative Backlinks

Link giving is the next big thing! Described as a way of requesting a link from authority websites in return for a more powerful link to their website, link giving is a smart way of amplifying your content and building links without violating Google’s guidelines. Let’s see how it works. Imagine you would like to write about bad habits that kill your creativity. You should apply as a contributor on an authority website such as Forbes, Business Insider, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, Boomerang or something similar and you have the possibility to write your article and link to a blog you’d like to collaborate with. After you attain authority on that website, you can reach out to them for a quote to let them know that their names appear on a website with thousands of visitors. Your post must be a linkable asset. The next step you should do is to ask for a citation of another piece of content (for example your blog) where they are cited. That’s basically how the link giving technique works.

 

It is a long process, but if it is planned carefully, you have a higher chance of success. You need to be a remarkable writer to become a valuable member of the contributors’ community and give to the visitors that “AHA” moment when they read your content.

 

Another solution would be to start working for a contributor as a ghost writer. It means to write in other people’s name. If you decide to do that, you’ll skip the phase when you have to make a name for yourself as a contributor.

 

 

2. Reach New Audiences Through Native Advertising

Native advertising is a unique technique to amplify your content and get featured on a network of publishers. The nice part about this type of advertising is that it is not so easily ignored compared to a banner ad. The native ad takes form into an interesting blog post or infographic.

Native ad vs banner ad

Source: sharethrough.com

The advantage of native advertising is that it can absorb new audiences and gain a higher number of impressions than a banner ad. Outbrain, Taboola, Zemanta, are just a few examples that can help you create native advertising.

 

IPG Media Lab and Sharethrough conducted a study on 4,770 participants to study behaviors and perceptions towards native ads using both eye tracking technology and surveys and saw that consumers looked at native ads 52% more frequently than banner ads. 

Native advertisements saw an average of 10% higher purchase intent and brand affinity than traditional display ads.

 

3. Get More Likes, Shares and Follows with Smart Social Buttons

Having social buttons on your website shows how many likes, shares on each social media channel you have for a post. It’s a social proof. It’s a vanity metric, offering validation that your piece of content is valuable. We are not talking about paid tweets or facebook ads but about the real time owned media. The effects of social buttons show an increase of the credibility for your brand. These buttons will help the visitors amplify your content.

 

Yotpo conducted a study showing that sharing a review for a brand will boost traffic, engagement, and conversions.

Social share numbers

Source: www.yotpo.com

 

Having smart social buttons isn’t the recipe for success. If your content is vapid and doesn’t express any feeling, it’s unlikely someone will share it even though you have the most interesting social buttons. To have shareable content means much more than that. You need to have engaging content to be spread like fire in the online media and bring those “tasty” links.

 

4. Give Shoutouts to Amplify Your Content

When you’re writing an article, and you’re citing well-known experts in the industry, would you like them to know? That’s why shoutouts exist. You need to append “featuring @nickname” before launching your article on the social media platforms to amplify your post. It is a good chance to hook a few to read it. And although the influencer outreach is not new under the sky,  shoutouts are a good way to connect your brand with relevant and important names.

 

On top of that, it is an easy and useful way to thank people for their brainpower and even build a relationship. You can use it on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. This is just an example:

Twitter shoutouts

 

5. Outperform Your Content Through Paid Social Amplification

Amplify your content with paid social amplification. Easy to say, hard to do, you might say. Well, not really. Paid social amplification could be an easy way to promote your post on multiple channels. Almost all social media platforms have paid content amplification options. The traditional paid social amplification methods include Twitter ads, Google + post ads, Facebook ads. To change the traditional course a little bit, you can import your email list into Facebook’s Audience to market people who are interested in your brand, install the remarketing pixel, create dynamic display ads on Adwords.

Using paid social amplification is like building a social media megaphone.

Adam Root, a founding partner at Tricent Capital, says that the social platforms should be used based on the purpose.

“Use Twitter to gain new users, Facebook to build a community and LinkedIn to generate leads for the sales team” – Adam Root.

He argues that Twitter is a good social media platform to determine your audience to take action, Facebook is social networking website where you can engage your readers and create relationships on the long-term and Linkedin is a business network that connects high-profile agencies and professionals you’d want as clients.  

 

In every situation, you should have the message associated with the visual. Creating a synergy is important. Humor has worked wonder since forever. Along the years a lot of studies have been conducted to see the results of an ad that uses humorous messages. Advertising books say that humor is more likely to capture and hold audience attention. Take for example the next display ad:

Funny-display-ad

Source: www.wordstream.com

It sticks to your mind, doesn’t it?

 

6. Use Storytelling to Receive a Social Boost

Stories sell. That’s a demonstrated fact. Not all of us grew up listening to stories but I don’t think there is a single person in this world who didn’t tell a story. We tell stories around the campfire, in the class, at a beach party, at our job, we take photographs, we tweet and so on.  But there is a difference between a good story and a great one. You need to put a personal touch in everything you write to connect with your readers.

 

The people from Pixar movies say that every story should connect to people on an emotional level. 

 

 

Using storytelling to receive social boost is a beneficial amplification strategy. Storify lets you create timeless stories using various forms of multimedia that you can share online afterward. It is a unique combination of writing, video, audio and visual content put in a timeline order to engage the readers and let them see a chronological progress about a topic. If used properly, the story can go viral.

 

The Denver Post’s Storify page won a Pulitzer Award in 2013 for its coverage of the Aurora theater shooting from Colorado. The Storify page became viral, and the site received more links than usual. We cannot put our money on it, but we think the Storify page is one of the reasons why this happened. You can see a screenshot below with the growth of the site’s link profile:  

 

Growth of a site's link profile

www.denverpost.com

 

A great feature of this tool is the notify area where you can select this option and send a notification on Twitter to the people mentioned in the story.

 

7. Try Email Outreach to Build a Solid Community Within Your Brand

Email outreach is a white hat search engine optimization technique you should master. Besides its many beneficial purposes, one of the most valuable is increasing content amplification.

 

A successful experience using email outreach to amplify content comes from a case study by Brian Dean, founder of Backlinko. The subject of this case study is Emil Shour, content manager at SnackNation. He used the skyscraper technique for email outreach to generate 41,992 pageviews.

Google-analytics-pageviews

Source: backlinko.com

The strategy started with finding an excellent keyword after a thorough research, then looking at the competition for that keyword. That meant taking a look at the content Google shows on the results page, the type of content found there, understanding the trends, seeing the lack of information and taking advantage of that. Make a list/structure with the facts you want to debate in your post. Don’t leave out any savory details! Enrich your content with spicy pictures. Now is when the idea of email outreach comes in. You can ask experts to contribute with ideas to rank number one and overflow of links and traffic.

 

Before you publish your piece, you can email influencers to get the word out and ask them whether they would be interested to read (without asking for a link) a piece of paper relevant to their niche. Emil Shour sent a pre-outreach email looking something like this:

pre-outreach-email

Source: backlinko.com

Then, after he received an answer from them, he sent an email with the link to the published article. In the end, the outcome was very good, receiving contextual links, traffic, revenue. Proceeding this way, you have a better rate of success.

 

8. Use Content Syndication on Medium to Build Your Blog Audience

An excellent way to maximize the effectiveness of your content amplification is through content syndication. It is important to include this strategy in your content marketing plan. 

 

It can help you reach other niches and promote your content on different media and websites. Basically, it means pushing your content on third party websites to a full article, snippet, link, or thumbnail. There is not a one-size-fits-all way for content syndication, but rather multiple approaches. Search Engine Journal and Search Engine Watch are a good example to get featured among experts and offer news and trends.

Content syndication

 

Medium is another way to promote your content and provide audience. On the site, you can publish the whole post or just a snippet. You can create an account for free and then import your article. After you finish, you’ll see the next message at the end of your story:

 

Content syndication on medium

 

 

9. Collaborate with Influencers to Earn Links

Your influencer marketing campaign should focus on building advocacy around your brand and amplifying your content to earn links, not shares and mentions. Tweets and shares get lost amongst other tweets and shares, but links enrich your backlink profile and help you rank higher.   

 

A benefit from collaborating with influencers is the fact that they send relevancy signals to the content, showing it offers valuable information.

 

Influencers are picky, and they choose to work with you if they see it is relevant, content worthy and they have a benefit from it.

 

Make sure you’ve thought of everything before you launch your collaboration project.  

 

You can ask influencers to answer some of your questions to get them featured on your blog, or you could ask them to get your brand featured on their blog. For example, we asked 13 link building experts a few questions about the Penguin update and the results followed. Social or content amplification is the process where you need to go that extra mile. Yet, it’s all worth it. 

 

Link building experts interview

 

10. Post on StumbleUpon and Absorb Targeted Traffic

StumbleUpon is really an interesting platform to use to spread your site on the web. It is easy to see how the platform works. You need to create an account if you don’t have one yet and wait 24 hours before you submit your first page. To submit your link, you need to fill in a form similar with the one below:

Stumbleupon add link

It is important to set the interest for the link to get featured in the right category and target the right users.  

 

There are a few things that need to be taken into consideration. You can’t submit commercial webpage on StumbleUpon, only a few links from the same domain are accepted, and if your account is used for promotional activity, you’ll risk getting your account suspended or terminated.  

 

To get the full experience you could use StumbleUpon and Paid discovery feature together. For example, Kim Roach from Buzzblogger got 201,126 visitors using those two. She wrote an article about Top 30 inspirational picture quotes to rock your day; to make her content visible she started with an investment of $100, which brought her 1,000 visitors. Then she let her piece of content become viral, and that’s how she received almost 200,000 organic visitors.

 

11. Develop Advocates Through GaggleAMP

GaggleAMP is a tool that helps you reach amplification and social media engagement. It has the power to strengthen the distribution of your content through different networks, to align your employees in the digital engagement strategy, build actionable reports to show trends and measure performance. The platform has the power to create, implement content driven marketing campaigns by tapping into employee, partner and customer advocates.

 

Gaggle refers to employees, potential customers or current customers, and partners or other stakeholders who receive a notification when a new piece of content is published and they are encouraged to share it. The people included in the gaggle group can choose which content to share.

 

Start with a smaller group of people who are active on social media and already share your content.

 

Then you will adapt to the way before you grow it. Begin by engaging your advocates, talk with them, acknowledge their effort by sharing information about your brand and content. Keep them up-to-date with the changes from every social media platform. Encourage them by offering them support. You can think of a reward and recognition campaign for sharing the message.

 

It is an effective platform to create advocates and amplify content.

 

12 . Integrate Promotion Messages or Buttons in Your Website

A free pass for link earning through amplifying your content is having a promotion message or button on your site. So make sure you’ve integrated it into your website. A promotion message can take the form of a website pop-up showing a clear incentive with a strong CTA, a slider for a juicy offer or a headline bar with clever headline matching your content. A promotion message can increase the traffic and amplify your content by choosing the proper type. AddThis offers different tools for its users by implementing simple ways to share and promote their content. No matter what you decide to do, it is highly important to have social buttons. So make sure you include them on your site regardless of any digital marketing strategy you choose to implement.

 

If you your pop-up message is creative enough, you could be mentioned on other sites and therefore earn a link. For example, Justuno wrote a post on their blog about 10 Inspiring Examples of Email Pop Up Designs and Why They Work, and a few brands got mentioned. Below you can see a screenshot from their blog:

Earn link from creative pop up message

The Wee Squeak received a link mention due to a smart pop-up message.

 

There are a few things you need to remember in order to nail your pop up message:

  • have a strong CTA;
  • show personality;
  • use qualitative images that match your message;
  • offer a valuable benefit to the user to make him take action;
  • fit the design of the pop up with your brand colors and website style;
  • don’t be intrusive
 

Conclusion

Getting more and more people to read your piece of content remains a high priority for many marketers. It is still a long debated subject. Marketers love media monitoring. We all know it. We are always asking after publishing a blog post “how many people saw it?”. Are there any conversion rates generated? And if yes, how many out of paid media and how many out of organic traffic? On top of the social media marketing strategy come links. You need to think of the long term. If your content is an outstanding piece, people will link to it, but you need to give it a push just to get it rolling on the ground. There are many content amplification services and tools out there that can help you out with this. But no matter what content amplifier you are using, your content needs to be exceptional.

 

There is no content amplification definition or formula, be it lead generation or sponsored content, that will make you automatically win links. It is effective content, content distribution, media monitoring, content strategy and earned media that will take you there.  No matter what you do, keep in mind your main purpose, target and aim: the user. 

 

Get the help of content amplification tools mentioned above, but most importantly follow the previous 12 techniques to amplify your content, earn links and improve your online marketing. There are inbound marketers and niche communities who say that quality content is enough. And indeed, if you put great content in front of your marketing strategy, it can be driving traffic and users. Yet, it might not be enough.  Content writing is great but you need to amplify it in order for it to be effective.  You can start earning links using the actionable content amplification strategies listed above in the article. 

 

As mentioned earlier, there is no guaranteed content marketing strategy that will take you on the edge of success. But the previous 12 unique techniques for content amplification are a damn good starting point. 

The post 12 Unique Content Amplification Techniques That Earn 327% More Links appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Is the New Google “Fred” Update Rolling Out Now? Massive Ranking Fluctuations

Google has, time and time again avoided – or even flat out refused – to give any indication of when it rolled out an update. Their way of doing this has been always to assert that they make updates to their algorithms on a continuous basis, rather than having distinct launch dates for particular releases. It’s not difficult to see why that’s probably a good idea. It keeps everyone guessing and acting on a desire to actually improve their SEO techniques rather than a temptation to eschew the latest changes. It’s the equivalent of saying that Santa Claus exists and watches you all the time and any time you’re naughty you might get the stick instead of the high rating. Except you don’t know when Christmas is and it might happen every other day or so.

 

Assumptions on a fresh Google update were immediate. And, like it previously happened, the alleged new algorithm has already a name and a face. Google Fred seems to be the name and, preserving the tradition where cute animal figures represent Google’s updates, this time a fish seems to have won the mascot contest. Much uproar stirred up lately with lots of webmasters and SEO pros noticing massive ranking drops. And as “coincidence” doesn’t seem plausible at all when we are looking at Google algorithm changes, the Google Fred Update seems to be responsible for the dropped ranks and organic traffic.  

 

Google Fred Update cognitiveSEO

 

 

Once Is Happenstance. Twice Is Coincidence. Three Times Is Google Fred Update?

 

Whenever someone thinks they’ve discovered a new algorithm update, it always feels a bit like you’re in an X-Files episode. You’ve stumbled upon something that really doesn’t seem right, but If you suggest it’s the hand of the “powers that be,” people might look at you funny. All the while Google slyly smiles and reaffirms its uneventful day-to-day existence. But as the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you. And so it turns out that there may (or may not) be a new update and if there is, its name is Fred. In fact, all future updates might be called Fred from now on if we were to look after Gary Illlyes’ affirmation. So we might need to say goodbye to the Pandas and the Penguins of the world because algorithm updates have gotten even just a little bit less cute (no offense to the Freds of this world).

It’s a cat and mouse game where both Google and its paying customers are trying to get ahead of each other.

 

Gary Illyes Google Fred Update

 

How do you identify a potentially significant algorithm update?

 

There’s no single metric that will tell you it happened, but if you gather enough significant indicators, you might just be onto something (if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck… it might be a Fred).

 

Barry Schwartz, of Search Engine Roundtable, may have just stumbled on some quacks. While his interaction with Google’s Gary Illyes (and john Mueller) on social media has yielded business as usual in terms of confirming suspicions (with a traditional “Yes, we make changes almost every day”), his data analysis seems to suggest there could be something significant at work. The most significant signals come from different measurements of search engine ranking position (SERP) fluctuations.

 

As we took a look at some specialized tools, we can see some fluctuations in the last days, variations that can or not be correlated with a new Google update. 

 

algoroo tool

Screenshot taken from algoroo.com

accuranker tool

Screenshot taken from accuranker.com

 

Although none of the measurements are significant on their own, when taken together they make a worthwhile argument that a new Fred is on the loose. 

 

WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World were among the ones who noticed some weird activity in the last week or so as well. And although Google is always dancing around, it seems that dramatic shifting has happened in the past couple of days. Or at least this is what people from forums and on Twitter keep on debating. 

 

Possible Google Fred Update “Victims”

 

It becomes easy to forget that looking up something on Google is not just a search, but a search performed on a particular type of search engine, according to particular algorithms and with particular implications in terms of customer experience and data privacy. And because Google as a search engine is ultimately a product which interacts with other products, other companies try to continuously adapt to Google’s way of working so that they profit from its popularity. In order for Google to retain that popularity, it must ensure that other companies don’t profit too much of its product, so that it remains trustworthy to its consumers (and a popular synonym for “search online” in the same time).

 

As hopefully, you have already noticed, we, at cognitiveSEO like to research a lot. And this is because at the end of the day research is creating new knowledge. Cutting-edge is our main core, and we want to stick to it. In the last hours, we’ve overworked our databases and the coffee machine in the quest of investigating the possible newest Google Fred Update.

 

As much as we’ve searched, we didn’t find a direct correlation between the dropped ranks and a possible algorithm change.

 

The SERP’s volatility is, as you know, as high as it gets and it would be tough and unrealistic to put our finger on a Google Update. We’ve found some examples of ranking drops which we are going to paste it below. Keep in mind that, for the moment, we cannot make a strong correlation between a possible Google Fred and the current situation of the ranks.

 

possible google fred update drop

 

As we take a look at the image above, it seems that a major drop has occurred on dankstop.com lately. The site is an online head shop based in the US that has a quite big number of links reported to the total of referring domain. Not to mention that most of their links are low or no authority.

 

Screenshot taken for: dankstop.com

Screenshot taken for: dankstop.com

 

 They seem to have gathered a lot of new links in the period 26 February – 5th of March. You can check out its analysis here.  Even taking all of these into consideration, we cannot yet correlate this drop with a possible Google algorithm update. 

 

possible google fred update drop example

 

futuresofpalmbeach.com, is an addiction treatment center from Florida which seems to have experienced a major drop as well lately. Except a bit of unusual Link Velocity, it seems that the site has nothing unusual in their link profile. 

 

Is It Really a New Google Update? 

 

When a product or a service becomes really popular, the company usually sets the sight for market leadership, a magical place of self-fulfilling (and self-replenishing) power. But there is an even more mythical place beyond that, where the product’s name becomes so ubiquitous and easily-identifiable with the product class itself, that a name for a product replaces the name for the product category. In many countries, for instance, the word “xerox” has become a verb which stands for the process of photocopying a document. In some countries “adidas” is the same as sport shoes, while in others “kleenex” is the same as tissue. But perhaps the most ubiquitous nowadays is the use of the word “google” as a verb, to mean “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.” That’s the Merriam-Webster definition, but in everyday use, there’s an even simpler definition: to google means, quite simply, to search online. 

 

Therefore, with Google becoming more than a search engine, it’s almost natural that a lot of ranking updates to appear on a regulate basis. We are already familiar with Google Updates, call it the Panda, Penguin or Fred update, and we tend to associate these algorithm changes with link quality or content’s value.

 

For the moment we cannot be sure that Google Fred Update even exists, let alone to correlate it to a link or content issue.

 

Ups and downs happen on a daily basis on Google’s SERP. Sometimes they are related to an algorithm change and sometimes they just happen as a part of Google’s volatility. As mentioned before, using our tracking tools we’ve made a serious, in-depth research in the past 24 hours, trying to find out any correlation between an alleged Google update and rankings’drop. We found some irregularities, yet, nothing out of the ordinary or nothing that can be correlated directly to a new update or algorithm change.

The post Is the New Google “Fred” Update Rolling Out Now? Massive Ranking Fluctuations appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

16 Causes Why Your Organic Traffic has Dropped … It’s Not Google’s Fault!

The SEO landscape has changed enormously in the last years. Organic traffic comes and go, the websites’ performance seems to be as volatile as it gets and at the end of the day, you might ask yourself: why did my organic traffic drop? Did Google change its algorithm again? Was a sort of SEO attack on my site or was it something that I did? And while you keep on searching for the reasons your hard-worked ranks and traffic went down the drain, your frustration gets bigger as the solution to your problem seems increasingly far.

 

We are in the SEO industry for a while now, wearing many hats: digital marketers, tool developers, advisers, researchers, copywriters, etc. But first of all, we are, just like you, site owners. And we’ve been through ups and downs regarding organic traffic, and we were in the situation of trying to understand why the Google traffic dropped dramatically at some point as well. Having all these in mind, we’ve thought of easing your work, and we’ve put together a list with the top 16 reasons that can cause sudden traffic drop, unrelated to Google algorithm changes or penalties.

 

16 Causes Why Your Organic Traffic has Dropped ... It's Not Google's Fault!

 

With no further introduction, below you can find the top 16 causes that can lead to massive organic traffic drop: 

 

  1. Changing Your Domain Name and Not Telling Google
  2. Indexing Everything Without Pruning Your Content
  3. Getting Your Pages De-indexed by Google Through robots.txt
  4. Redesigning Your Website & Not Doing 301 Redirects to Old Pages
  5. Moving From a Subdirectory to a Subdomain
  6. Giving Up Creating Great Content or Creating Content at All
  7. Counting Your Links and Not Your Referring Domains
  8. Ignoring Mobile First Indexing
  9. Moving Your Site to a Slow Host
  10. Ignoring Your Broken Pages and Links
  11. Hiring a SEO Company That Will Guarantee You Instant Traffic
  12. Dropping Lots of Shady Links on Other Sites
  13. Not Using Alt and Title Tags
  14. Duplicating Your Content – Internally & Externally
  15. Ignoring Canonical Tags
  16. Using the Same Commercial Anchor Text

Conclusion

 

 

 

 

1. Changing Your Domain Name and Not Telling Google

 

You might remember “Face Off” , a movie from ‘97 where Nicolas Cage is a terrorist and John Travolta is an FBI agent. And, as it happens in movies, they became obsessed with one another. Travolta needs information from Cage’s brother, so he undergoes an operation in which he gets Cage’s face; a few plot twists later and Cage has Travolta’s. They continue to pursue each other with new identities, the bad guy the good guy, the good guy the bad guy and so on and (almost) no one knew who is who. Dizzy yet?

 

Well, the situation is similar if you decide to change your domain name and not tell anyone about it, especially the search engines. Just with less drama and action scenes.

 

Whatever reasons you might have for changing your domain name, if you want to be sure that your organic traffic drops, do not tell anyone about the change. Especially Google.

 

Not even a word. This way, you’ll make sure that your new name, as well as your search engine traffic, will be like they don’t even exist in the digital world.

 

Yet, if you do want to keep your organic search traffic and ranks, once you make a domain name change, let Google now by using a specially designed tool in your Search Console.

 

change of address tool Google

 

2. Indexing Everything Without Pruning Your Content

 

One good way of causing a drop in your organic search traffic, just as the title of the chapter says, is to index each and every single page from your website and not prune your content. 

 

Google makes constant efforts to improve the search algorithm and detect quality content and that is why it rolled out the Google Panda 4.0 update.  What is this update really doing? It deranks low quality content and boosts the high quality one, according to Google’s idea of valuable content. In the screenshot below you can see what kind of content you shouldn’t be looking into if you are really determined in making a mess out of your organic traffic. 

 

quality content guidelines

 

Every site has its evergreen content, which attracts organic traffic, and some pages that are deadwood.

 

If you don’t want your search traffic dropped, in the Google Index you should only have pages that you’re interested in ranking.

 

Otherwise you might end up polluting your website’s traffic. The pages filled with obsolete or low quality content aren’t useful or interesting to the visitor. Thus, they should be pruned for the sake of your website’s health. Low quality pages may affect the performance of the whole site. Even if the website itself plays by the rules, low-quality indexed content may ruin the organic traffic of the whole batch.

 

If you don’t want your Google traffic dropped dramatically due to indexing and content pruning, we are going to list below the steps you need to take in order to successfully prune your own content. We’ve developed this subject in a previous blog post.  Yet, before doing so, we want to stress on the fact that it’s not easy to take the decision of removing indexed pages from the Google Index and, if handled improperly, it may go very wrong. Yet, at the end of the day,  you should keep the Google Index fresh with info that is worthwhile to be ranked and which helps your users. 

 

Step 1. Identify Your Site’s Google Indexed Pages

 

There are various methods to identify your indexed pages. You can find several methods here, and choose the one which is most suitable for your website. 

 

One way to do this is through your Search Console account, just like in the screenshot below. There you’ll find the total number of your indexed pages along with a graphic display of its evolution in the Index Status.

 

search console google index

 

In order to get the whole bundle of internal links for your website, in the same Search Console, you need to go to the Search Traffic > Internal Links category. This way you’ll have a list with all the pages from your website (indexed or not) and also the number of links pointing to each. This can be a great incentive for discovering which pages should be subject to content pruning.

 

search index on google example

 

Step 2. Identify Your Site’s Low Traffic and Underperforming Pages

 

Of course all your pages matter but some matter more than others. That is why, in the pruning process it’s highly important to identify data regarding the number of impressions, clicks, click-through-rate and average position.

 

Google Analytics example

 

 

Step 3. No-Index the Underperforming Pages

 

Once you know the pages that pull you down, as painful as it might be sometimes,  you need to start to no-index those pages.  As hard as it was to create them, and make them well seen by Google, when it comes to getting them off the search engine’s radar, things are a bit less complicated. Below you can find two ways to 

 

  • Disallow those pages in the robots.txt file to tell Google not to crawl that part of your website. Remember that you need to do the stuff right as you do not want to hurt your search rankings
  • Apply the meta no-index tag to the underperforming pages. Add the <META NAME=”ROBOTS” CONTENT=”NOINDEX, FOLLOW”> tag. That will tell Google not to index the page but at the same time to crawl other pages that are linked from it.

 

 

3. Getting Your Pages De-indexed by Google Through robots.txt

 

A great way to break your web traffic without even noticing is through robots.txt. Indeed, the robots.txt file has long been debated among webmasters and it can be a strong tool when it is well written. Yet, the same robots.txt can really be a tool you can shoot yourself in the foot with. We’ve written an in-depth article on the critical mistakes that can ruin your traffic in another post

 

massive-ranking-drop-robots-txt

 

Before developing this subject further, indulge me to remind you that according to Google a robots.txt file is a file at the root of your site that indicates those parts of your site you don’t want accessed by search engine crawlers. And although there is plenty of documentation on this subject, there are still many ways you can suffer an organic search traffic drop. Below we are going to list two common yet critical mistakes when it comes to robots.txt. 

 

1. Blocking CSS or Image Files from Google Crawling

 

Google’s algorithm gets better and better and is now able to read your website’s CSS and JS code and draw conclusions about how useful the content is for the user. As Google itself stated, disallowing CSS, Javascript and even images counts towards your website’s overall search traffic.

 

allow google to crawl images and javascript

 

2.Wrong Use of Wildcards

 

A wildcard is a symbol used to replace or represent one or more characters. Wildcards are typically either an asterisk (*), which represents one or more characters or question mark (?), which represents a single character.

By now, you must be asking yourself how can an * can cause a sudden drop in organic traffic. 

Well, when it comes to robots.txt, it can.

 

Let’s say you wish to block all URLs that have the PDF. extension. If you write in your robots.txt a line that looks like this: User-agent: googlebot Disallow: /*.pdf$. The sign “$” from the end basically tells bots that only URLs ending in PDF should’t be crawled while any other URL containing “PDF” should be. I know it might sound complicated, yet the moral of this story is that a simple misused symbol can break your marketing strategy along with your organic traffic. Below you can find a list with the correct robotx.txt wildcard matches and, as long as you keep count of it, you should be on the safe side of website’s traffic.

 

correct-wildcard-matches-robotstxt

 

4. Redesigning Your Website & Not Doing 301 Redirects to Old Pages

 

When migrating your website from one domain to another, if you want to make sure you instantly lose any traffic to your website that you are  currently enjoying and all your new visitors will be greeted with a 404 page, do not implement proper redirects.

 

Any good organic search traffic you experience at the moment can be just a memory if you fail to do 301 redirects.

 

Let’s say you just did a rebranding of your business and among others, you’ve changed your site’s address. Will your Google traffic drop dramatically ? Only if you choose to do so.

 

With only a few lines of code you can transfer all the organic search traffic from one domain to another.

 

What the 301 permanent redirects do is to redirect any visitor, including search engines, to your new site. Along with the direct traffic, the age, authority and reputation of your old website in Google is transferred to the new web address.

How long should you keep your 301s? Like most of the love songs lyrics say, forever and ever.

 

Will it help you get rid of a Google Penalty? Well, this is debatable but we have a previous interesting blog post written on this matter. 
You can find more info on how to implement redirects correctly, directly from the Google representatives themselves.

 

SEO Visibility Increase due to 301 redirects

 

5. Moving from a Subdirectory to a Subdomain

In case you think that you can move a part of your website from a subdirectory to a subdomain without having your search traffic dropped, think again.

Let’s say that you want to move your blog from a subdirectory URL (yourwebsiterulz.com/blog) to a subdomain (blog.yourwebsiterulz.com). Altghough Matt Cutts, former Google engineer, said that “they are roughly equivalent and you should basically go with whichever one is easier for you in terms of configuration, your CMSs, all that sort of stuff”, it seems that things are a bit more complicated than that. 

 

There are some interesting case studies on this issue solely that show exactly the opposite. Below you can see a screenshot from the iwantmyname.com case of switching between subdirectory and subdomain. After a while of traffic dropping, they decided to revert the changes. 

rank drop due to switching to subdomain from subfolder

Screenshot taken from iwantmyname.com

Yet, what is the problem, actually?

 

Is not Google clever enough to know that the newly created subdomain is part of the same domain? 

Well, Google has made strides in this direction and got much better at identifying and associating content that’s on a subdomain with the main domain. The problem is they’re not good enough to rely on that factor yet and major organic traffic drop can come from this direction.

 

With the hope that this SEO technicality will change in time, the recommendation for the moment is to keep your content on one single sub and root domain, preferably in subfolders.

 

 

6. Giving Up Creating Great Content or Creating Content at All

 

The best movies don’t always win the best prizes. A similar thing happens in the digital marketing world.

 

The best content doesn’t always have the best organic search traffic, yet search engines are really trying to rank sites in accordance to their content.

 

Just by looking at the latest Google updates we can tell that the search engine is constantly refining and improving its algorithm that automatically  scores pages based on content quality. There are even quality rating guidelines  and Google penalties content based.

 

Other metrics and factors count as well but content is among those top ranking factors; and you should not let your content get dusty unless you are decided to leave the digital world for good.

 

Going back to the analogy with the movies, having a great script is not enough; you need great acting, awesome music, good directing, etc. in order to win the prize for the best picture.

 

You should not keep count of content only if you are planning to have a sudden drop in organic traffic. And if you are already having a good web traffic, do not count on it very much. The SERP is volatile, tons of content is being written as you are reading this and you need to keep up.

 

Let’s take a look at the screenshot below. We’ve analyzed two websites, livescience.com and emedicinehealth.com.

 

Site Explorer example on number of links

 

And although livescience.com has way more links than its competitor, it seems that emedicinehealth.com is performing better for a lot of important keywords. Why, you might wonder. Well, the answer is simple: content. And although they are both offering good content, livescience.com is a site offering general information about a lot of things while emedicinehealth.com offers articles highly related to the topics, leaving the impression that this site really offers reliable content. We are not saying that the 5 mil links livescience.com has do not matter, yet it seems that in some cases content weighs more.

 

7. Counting Your Links and Not Your Referring Domains

Do you know the saying: don’t count the days but make the days count? Well, this somehow applies in the SEO world as well.

Or, at least, in the link building industry. Just by looking at the number of links and having an ongoing concern of multiplying the links won’t take you to first page on Google. On the contrary; it will probably make you disappear for SERP.

 

I invite you to take a look at the screenshot below.

cognitiveSEO site explorer example on number of links

 

If we are looking at the number of links and that number only, things look great: 3 mil links. That’s quite something; great performance. Yet, when looking at the number of referring domain, all your appreciation disappears, right? Only 30 referring domains that generated 3 million links.

 

What would you prefer: 30 journalists writing about you in 3 mil articles or 100 journalists writing about you in 1.000 articles ?

 

In which situation do you think you’ll gain more credibility and authority? (Really hoping you’ll chose the second case). 

 

8. Ignoring Mobile First Indexing

 

It might not be news to you that Google looks primarily at mobile content, rather than desktop, when deciding how to rank results.

 

A “my business is concentrated on desktop, I don’t care about mobile” attitude might lead you straight to the end of page 99 in Google.

 

It’s called mobile first indexing and, as Google stated,  it means that algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to score pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.

 

Ignore mobile first indexing if you want Google to ignore your website.

 

9. Moving Your Site to a Slow Host

 

Are you familiar with the saying: it doesn’t matter how slow you move as long as you don’t stop? Great one, right? Well, forget about it when it comes to your website performance.

 

Things look quite different when it comes to hosting. 

 

A good hosting isn’t going to guarantee you a spot at the top. But a slow host will surely lead to a drop in organic search traffic. 

 

Google kept on saying how page speed is affecting the websites’ performance. They even created a tool for this.  There are several website speed performance tools out there that come in handy when trying to figure out the performance of your website. 

Web performance tool example

Screenshot taken from tools.pingdom.com

 

Cheap hosting might sound tempting and we cannot blame you for this. Yet, in terms of costs-benefits, it might “cost” you the traffic of your website, the revenue of your business.
Shared servers are a common solution and they do work well for most of the sites.

 

Sometimes sharing is scaring.

 

If you are on a shared server, as convenient as it might be for you, one resource-hungry neighbour can kill your site’s speed and therefore your organic search traffic. Better solutions when it comes to servers can be VPS (virtual private servers) or dedicated servers. They are indeed more expensive but they pay off.

 

 

10. Ignoring Your Broken Pages and Links

 

Ignorance is a bliss…sometimes. But never when it comes to digital marketing. Unless you want to experience some really nasty traffic dropped dramatically. 

It might happen to have some lost links from now and then or a broken page due to some crawling issue or something similar. Yet, when your broken pages and links form up a figure just as big as your phone number, then you might be facing a problem; in terms of site user experience and organic traffic as well. Your bounce rate will increase, your overall usability, you will be loosing links and therefore you will be start asking yourself “why did my organic traffic drop”?

Take a look at the image below. The number of broken pages is enormous, not to mention the link juice lost. Does traffic suffer due to this issue? You bet it does. Is there a fix for this? The answer is again yes. 

 

broken pages example on Site Explorer

 

The irony is that along with all the issues broken pages bring, there are some forseen opportunities as well. If you are interested in getting back your lost traffic and that link juice from your broken pages, two easy workouts can be done:

 

  • 301 redirects – this way, the link juice will pass to the redirected page.
  • “Repair” those pages – you can create a landing page with dedicated content.

 

A similar thing happens when it comes to lost links. As mentioned before, having a couple of lost links is not such a big problem. Yet, when you are losing hundreds of links on a daily basis, that should be an alarm signal for you.  

 

daily lost links chart

 

As we are your organic search traffic number one fan, below we’ve listed two steps that can help you out in the event you are experiencing a massive lost link drop:

  • Find those lost links. There are SEO tools that can help you here. We recommend you to use the Site Explorer as it gives you instant results and it’s easy to use.
  • Contact the webmaster who has the broken link. Indeed, a bit of outreaching and networking is involved here but your traffic and keywords’ranking are worth all the effort.
 

11. Hiring an SEO Company That Will Guarantee You Instant Traffic

 

Having lots of traffic is an entirely desirable outcome and there’s nothing wrong in keeping that goal in mind whatever strategy you chose to implement.

 

Keep your head in the clouds but your feet on the ground.

 

But what happens when your desire goes beyond any realistic expectation? You hire a SEO company that will guarantee you the first position on the most competitive keywords ever. 

Indeed, the first thing you should ask any digital marketing company is:

 

Will my site rank #1? But if the answer is yes, start looking for somebody else, don’t hire them!

 

SEO company rank #1

This, of course if you do care about your organic traffic and your overall inbound marketing strategy and you don’t want to make a mess out of them. The truth is that Google has so many rules and algorithms for scoring a website and that the SERP is so volatile that it’s nearly impossible to predict which site will have the best organic traffic and from what exact reasons.

 

If you want to drop from your hard worked #14 position to #79, you can start looking for companies that advertise themselves like the one in the image below. We don’t even know what to believe when it comes to companies that promise guaranteed instant traffic : that they are folly (in which case you don’t need them) or charlatans (in which case you don’t want them). If you want to find out more about SEO agencies and how they can ruin your website’s traffic, we wrote a previous blog post on this. 

 

 

12. Dropping Lots of Shady Links on Other Sites

 

You might know by now that unnatural links can get you into trouble and can cause sudden drop in organic traffic.  Google has developed a whole series of algorithm changes and penalties named after cute animals that make unnatural links the persona non grata of the internet. 

 

Yet, if you are really determined in screwing up your Google organic traffic, having a lot of unnatural links might not be enough.

 

Having lots of unnatural links connected to one page only, well that is true dedicated work for losing massive traffic. 

 

Just take a look at the screenshot below. Indeed, there is an unnatural link issue there; but more than that, the majority of unnatural links lead to just one page. 

 

link to one unnatural page example

 

If you are in a situation similar to the one presented in the screenshot below, we recommend you to fix it because if it hasn’t affected you until now, it will for sure on the long term. The easiest way to do identify your unnatural links and get rid of them is by using specialized tools.

 

 

13. Not Using Alt and Title Tags

The best way to predict the future is to invent it. This seems to be Google’s motto. Because yes, Google can “read” your image and this can be a ranking factor. We documented this in a previous article. With this already happening, the use of alt and title tags is commonplace.  Therefore, no alt tags and title tags = no traffic. 

Google places a relatively high value on alt texts to determine what is on the image but also to determine the topic of surrounding text.

alt text example

First things first, you should use alt text not just for SEO purposes but also because blind and visually impaired people won’t know what the image is about.  Second, yes, the title and alt tags influence your traffic as mentioned by the search engine themselves. 

If you want to keep your organic traffic safe and sound, include subject in the title tag and in the image alt text. 

We’re not saying you should spam with your focus keywords into every alt tag or title. But you need a good, related image for your posts in which it makes sense to have the keywords you are interested in there. 

 

14. Duplicating Your Content – Internally & Externally

Putting it simple, duplicate content is content that appears on the world wide web in more than one place. Is this such a big problem for the readers? Maybe not. But it is a very big problem for you if you are having duplicate content (internally or externally) as the search engines don’t know which version of the content is the original one and which one they should be ranking.

 

Can duplicate content get your website into trouble? The answer is yes. 

 

Although it is stated that there is no such thing as duplicate content penalty, the fact you have no unique content will prevent you from getting organic search traffic from Google.  The truth is that search engines reward uniqueness and added value and filter duplicate content; be it externally or internally.

Having duplicate content will not necessarily penalize your website but they will not help with your traffic at all. 

 

 

15. Ignoring Canonical Tags

The time might have come when you want to secure your website and switch from http to https. Easier said than done. A lot of issues might appear along the way that can screw up your hard-worked organic traffic. However, there is one thing that can really mess up things for your website while moving your site to https; and that is the canonical tag. 

 

The truth is that a major problem for search engines is to determine the original source for content that is available on multiple URLs. Therefore, if you are having the same content on http as well as https you will “confuse” the search engine which will punish you and you will suffer a traffic loss. This is why it’s highly important to use rel=canonical tags. What exactly is this?

A canonical link is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the “canonical” or “preferred” version of a web page

Just to be sure you are doing things in a search engine friendly way,  on the Google support page you can find more info on this matter

cannonical URL correct use example

If  you indulge me an analogy, if  you’re moving from one place to another, you would like the postman to send all the love letters to your new address and you wouldn’t want them lost in an old mailbox that no one uses, right? (I am guessing you would want the bills to be sent to the old address instead). A similar thing happens when it comes to moving your site’s address.

If you don’t want your organic traffic dropped for good, you need to use the re=canonical tags. 

 

16. Using the Same Commercial Anchor Text

 

The days of keyword stuffing are gone; or at least this is what we want to believe. Yet, when it comes to anchor texts, not only using them too much can break your traffic but also using the same anchor text for most of your links can be an issue. 

 

Let’s say that you are selling dog food. And most likely you will want the best traffic possible on the keyword “dog food”. Creating/building/earning all of your links with the same anchor text will get you in trouble. If you are having 600 links from which 400 use the anchor “dog food”, you might be facing a problem; it will surely raise a red flag to the search engines. And we all know what search engines do when they are getting these kinds of alarms: they begin applying penalties and move your websites so far from reach of the user that you will not be even listed in top 100. 

 

anchor text bad usage example

 

A variety of anchor texts, branded and commercial keywords all together, is a sign of naturalness and health of your link profile. 

 

 

Conclusion

Instead of the conclusion, indulge me for a couple of minutes to share a story with you.

 

Once upon a time, there was an old farmer. One day his horse ran away. When hearing this news, his neighbors came to visit. “Such bad luck,” they said, but the farmer replied: “We’ll see.”

The next morning the horse returned to the farmer, also bringing with it two other horses.

“Just great” the neighbors exclaimed! Again, the farmer answered: “We’ll see.”

The following day, his son broke his leg and therefore we could not help his father with his farming. “That’s terrible,” the neighbor said. “We’ll see,” replied the old farmer.

A couple of days later, the army came to the village to draft new recruits. As the farmer’s son had a broken leg, they did not recruit him. Everyone said, “What a fortunate situation.”

The farmer smiled again – and said: “We’ll see.”

 

The moral of this story is that everything is contextual. And this applies to everyday happenings and to your online marketing, traffic sources, and conversion rates as well. It happens that what looks like an opportunity to be actually a setback and vice-versa. We all make changes within our sites with the purpose of having tons of traffic. We are in a continuous race for inbound links, domain authority, technical SEO, diagnosing traffic drops, search volume, keyword research and we forget to take a few steps back and see how all of these influence our overall site’s performance. We’ve documented the ranking drop issue in an earlier post as well and you can take a look at it as well to better understand this phenomena.

 

Being dropped in rankings is not anyone’s desire, but it happens to be a reality. And as much as we’d like to put the blame on algorithmic penalties, manual actions or any other common reasons, sometimes we just need to take a closer look at the actions done by ourselves. 

The post 16 Causes Why Your Organic Traffic has Dropped … It’s Not Google’s Fault! appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Link Earning – A Tale of 21 Unique Strategies to Creatively Build Links

Link earning is highly connected with trustworthy content and creative digital marketing strategies. It’s all about that type of content that has so much value that bloggers, publishers or specialists in the field can’t stop but link to it.  Your piece of content must be not only newsworthy, but also connected to your brand so it can tell a story and, therefore, earn links.

 

Link Earning - a Tale of 21 Unique Strategies to Creatively Build Links

 

Link acquiring tactics doesn’t mean writing great pieces of content and then crossing your fingers hoping people will come to your site. It doesn’t work like that. Also, it doesn’t imply the death of link building. And although there are many articles written on the theme of link earning vs. link building, I think that the two of them should be managed together and not torn apart. 

 

We’ve thought of some unique strategies to build or get links and help you along the process in a creative way. We do not guarantee that if you follow the strategies developed below your ranks will reach the skies. However, you will be learning how getting links tactics work, how you can “revive” your linking strategies and even how to go from link building to link acquiring. And, by having some great strategies at your disposal, you will earn links, great online presence and why not better traffic and ranks.

 

In order to generate traffic and earn links you need to think in multiple directions: organic search, quality content, emailing, algorithm updates, local SEO,  social media, influencers, content syndication, time and money and so on. But remember that strategies come first. Follow the next 21 unique strategies and earn links on the go:

 

  1. Write Data-Backed, Long-Form Resources and Get Better Ranks
  2. Create Engagement Within the Community Through Contests and Giveaways
  3. Ask Experts Questions Through an Interview to Stand Out and to Win Links
  4. Drive Growth and Strong Online Presence Through Personalized Web Experiences
  5. Establish Your Awesome Content as the Go-To Resource
  6. Give for Free Resources to Get Loyal Followers Who Will Link to Your Site
  7. Use Data Visualization to Improve Readability
  8. Get Inspired from Other Industries to Display Quality Content in a Unique Format
  9. Create How-To Guides with Creative & Amazing Content
  10. Conduct Case Studies About Well Known Brands
  11. Get Influencers Involved to Drive Awareness and to Obtain Links
  12. Create Tools and Give Them for Free
  13. Debate a Long Time Controversial Topic
  14. Outreach for Reviews and Early Looks
  15. Build Social Amplification for Building and Link Earning
  16. Newsjack a Story to Create Buzz & Links to Your Website
  17. Reward Loyalty & Make Your Devoted Customers Talk About You
  18. Engage Your Audiences with Real Time Information Through Live Blogging
  19. Get Quoted by a Journalist or an Editor to Build Authority
  20. Build a Recognizable Personal Brand & Use It as a Link Building Technique
  21. Provide Insights for Your Industry and Win Organic Links

Conclusion

 

1. Write Data-Backed, Long-Form Resources to Have Better Ranks

A couple of months ago we conducted a study on 300k randomly chosen pieces of content to see which type of content length ranks better. After we analyzed the results we saw that, as a rule, long-form content is more often associated with better ranks. We all know that content is king, yet, long-form content is not for everyone. For some businesses it might not work. In the end, everything you write should be useful content not to mention that each piece of content should match your audience’s needs and interests.

 

Yet, how can long-form content be a link earning tactic? Awesome content also brings awesome traffic and ranks. A longer piece of content might better target audiences, will rank better for many keywords and, if highly documented, it will surely be seen as an authoritative work.  Therefore, people will be more tempted to link to it.  Let’s take for example the article 53 untapped ways to boost your email open rates, written on our blog. It is a long piece of content (over 10.000 words), it is ranking for many keywords and has great traffic in comparison with other pieces of content written on the same theme but with fewer words. The content needs to be exceptional as well and the length of an article will not replace its quality; yet, it’s important to know that long form resources can help you earn valuable links. 

 

long article graphic

 

 

2. Create Engagement Within the Community Through Contests and Giveaways

A unique link earning strategy is to create contests and giveaways. Create a contest plan and then implement it. Publish it on your site and then promote it online on social channels or social networking sites to reach your audience. Staying in touch with your community and cherishing their interest can offer you a great advantage in front of your competition. You can ask them to share the information with your targeted audience and it’s a matter of time until it boosts your online presence. 

 

You can ask other websites that host contests to share yours as part of their online marketing strategy. It’s a good strategy to boost your contest and reach other audiences to gain engagement and reach a larger market.

 

It is important to have a reason for every contest or giveaway you start. Here are some examples you could follow:

  • a limited edition product;
  • a product/collection launch;
  • gift cards;
  • store opening or website launch;
  • travel offers;
  • a once in a lifetime opportunity.

A great example of a contest, named the DNA journey, was designed by Momondo, a free global travel search site with the help of AncestryDNA. You could participate by ordering a DNA kit. After you received it, you had to take a saliva test and then mail it back to the laboratory. Once you saw your results, you had to shoot a short video, which was the ticket to winning a journey. The results allowed you to compare your DNA against populations from different cultures and backgrounds to see which part of the world is the closest match to your DNA. The winner of the contest was taken on a journey based on his DNA. Below, you can see a presentation video:

 

 

The project had such a strong impact on people. Two of them who took part in the video discovered they were cousins and didn’t even know about it. It got a lot of publicity and good press around it. The news was taken by a lot of sites such as Today.com, Tnooz, Aplus.com, The Copenhagen Post, NYCTalking and many more.

 

The idea behind the contest was to show to the world that each person is a part of many stories. The DNA tells the truth behind ourselves and let us know that we might be a part of other cultures more than we think.  

 

3. Ask Experts Questions Through an Interview to Stand Out and to Win Links

Having interviews with experts is a good strategy to earn links. You can create an impactful interview by choosing pertinent questions and talking with specialists. Besides that, it is an easy way to build relationships and do networking. An open question can help you lead the discussion and find interesting facts. For an interview to be effective, you must have open questions that will allow the interviewer respond in a more elaborate way rather than a simple yes & no.

 

Here is an example of an interview of this kind.

 

4. Drive Growth and Strong Online Presence Through Personalized Web Experiences

Another unique strategy to earn links in a creative way is to create personalized content. Studies showed that personalized content drives results.  For instance, Forbes conducted a study of 380 chief marketing officers and discovered that marketers who deliver personalized web experiences see a 100% return in marketing performance and response. Sharing personalized examples of success or failure can bring you closer to your audience. See an example of a blog post about a personal experience below where one of our users shared his experience on a highly controversy subject, Google Penguin Penalties. This case study stirred the spirits but also received a lot of attention from our readers.

 

Personal example

Through personalized web experiences you can show the strengths of your product or service, success stories about your customers and other important features. In the end, you get mentions on other websites. And with mentions come organic links as well.

 

Sometimes it’s hard to define organic links or manual link building strategies that will do you more good that harm.  The truth is that when it comes to inbound links and sites’ ranks, we are facing the (re)birth of link earning. And we are saying “rebirth” as SEO industry faced so many deaths by now.  

 

5. Establish Your Awesome Content as the Go-To Resource

Writing in-depth blog posts is an excellent way to be defined as the go-to resource because your website has all the information in one place and the reader doesn’t feel the need to go and look somewhere else. You can capture attention for a longer period of time and entice the visitor to read other posts and maybe, turn him into a customer.

 

Having the best information in one place makes it far easier for people to cite your website and earn a link. That piece of content can cover more on a subject and gather more traffic. And you should always use the most valuable resource  (such content vs links, link earning vs link building) to stick to it for the long run.

 

An example of a go-to resource is Moz, that has created an exclusive page about Google Algorithm updates since 2000. It is the most comprehensive list of Google’s algorithmic update.  See a screenshot below:

Moz go to resource

 

 

6. Give for Free Resources to Get Loyal Followers WhoWill Link to Your Site

Giving for free resources will offer users a taste of what to expect when they’ll work with you. A free sample can show to people that you value them. You need to have something that will attract them. Specialists say a free resource is a lead magnet. As the name says it, the lead magnet is a lead generation idea and could take form into an ebook, course, checklist or something similar.

 

A free resource is also a statement, and it can offer you authority in the domain if it’s well documented and has a clean design. If visitors see you have content overflowing with valuable information, they will consider you an expert. Here is a list of resources categorized on the domain of interest.

 

7. Use Data Visualization to Improve Readability

Using data visualization to make a scientific topic be easily understood is a way to improve readability. Visuals are a great way to create links bait for a piece of content that is hard to grasp. For example, take a look at Xkcd’s Radiation Dose Chart below:

Xkcd's Radiation Dose Chart

Source: https://xkcd.com/radiation/

Through this visual presentation, it is easier to understand and to visualize how much radiation a person can absorb from different sources. The chart uses units for absorbed dose named “sieverts” and measures the effect of the radiation on the cells of our body. The targeted audience might be tempted to share this kind of info. 

Information is beautiful. You just got to know how to present it.

 

Another example of visual data you can see on the site Vision of Humanity by Institute for Economics and Peace.

Vision of humanity

For each index (Global Peace Index, Terrorism Index) and each factor, you will see an interactive map. You can click on the country you want to see the facts for, and there will appear a new window on the left side of the screen with the info you need.

 

Always make sure you adapt your content to your readers. If you have content for designers, make sure you use visual data and real examples/photos from the tool. Take for example the next photo:

Annotated Screenshot

Source: https://designschool.canva.com

Don’t you think the second picture is clearer and more concise? Besides that, it is easier to share it and to link to it. With a little effort, you can earn links.

 

You must create content that people will read, content that is not easy to quit. Having this type of visual data on your site will increase readability, and it will be easy to share and to earn a link if it’s catchy.

 

8. Get Inspired from Other Industries to Display Quality Content in a Unique Format

Getting inspired from other industries to display content in a unique format is another great link earning strategy. I’m not talking about infographics, although it might be a good way to write the content. It is an overused topic. Of course, there are exceptions. Look at the following infographic for example:

A tale of two cows

Source: http://i.imgur.com/uAf5Dhp.jpg

This infographic is an example of visual storytelling you could get inspired from. It is easy to understand the explanations, and it illustrates a joke from the 1940s.

 

You can use the periodic table for other domains such as content writing, SEO, marketing signals, web design process, typefaces. For example, see the picture below:

The Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors

Source: http://searchengineland.com

For plans or a content structure, you can use MindMeister. Below you can see an example of a structure for the content marketing process.

Content Marketing Process

Find the whole mapping idea here.

 

9. Create How-To Guides with Creative & Amazing Content

When you decide to write something, you shouldn’t always play by the rules. Be creative, try new ideas, formats, but always test them before launch. A new idea could come in the shape of flow charts for how-to guides. Hubspot created a flow chart based on a question that has been debated for a long time.

Should-I-Gate-Content-Flowchart-HubSpot

Source: https://blog.hubspot.com

The flow chart can be displayed in a portrait format, as well. Check the next screenshot about The No Hype, Buzzword-Free Guide To Creating Good Content For Your Business:

Flow chart

Source: http://www.bitrebels.com

Presenting the info in a user friendly way can make all the difference; not to mention the links you might be earning. 

 

10. Conduct Case Studies About Well Known Brands

Case studies are a valuable asset, but finding the best examples with well known brands is hard. Through case studies, you can establish proof that you offer value. Chose well-known brands so you could have a great effect. On the other hand, you could be more personal and chose impactful examples from brands that aren’t so popular. People react to familiarity. You should have a dedicated case studies page (see the next picture).

 

Case Studies Well Known Brands

 

Get inspired by Google. Below you can see a screenshot from a very well structured case study from Think with Google.

Think with google case study

 

11. Get Influencers Involved to Drive Awareness and to Obtain Links

Influencers control niches. They are the best friend of link bait. If you involve influencers in the process of promoting your content, you will see a lift in your article’s traffic, ranking and bring you quality, organic links. Most of the times, using influencers is a success.

 

You don’t need special talent to convince an influencer to do an interview, but you require an extra effort to make them notice your request. There are various ways to talk with an influencer. Send an email, contact them through different events, on social media, on webinars or podcasts and so on.

 

12. Create Tools and Give Them for Free

A freemium tool is a great idea to create something valuable and earn links. A free tool has a lot of potential, and you can get a lot of attention with it. It’s also a great opportunity for you to appear among the first in the search results. Not only that,  it will be a good start to make a tool you can monetize, afterward. Keyword Tool, a keyword research tool or the free alternative to Google keyword planner as they marketize themselves,  is an example of a powerful free tool. Not only that, but they have around 555,821 links coming from 6,348 referring domains. Great tool, great marketing and great link earning strategy. 

Keyword Tool example

 

13. Debate a Long Time Controversial Topic

If you want to make a statement, you need to come up with a new approach. A controversial or uncommon topic is a unique link earning tactic. If you want to break the noise, you need to think differently and raise your head up from the crowd. Make people wonder. If you succeed, you’ll see them talk on your blog, share reactions (hopefully they are the ones you desired) and then earn links.

 

Jonah Berger and Zoey Chen debated the controversy topic in the research When, Why, and How Controversy Causes Conversation, and they discovered that:

[Data] shows that controversy increases likelihood of discussion at low levels, but beyond a moderate level of controversy, additional controversy actually decreases likelihood of discussion.

More controversial topics are more interesting to talk about. Remarkable things are named uncommon or unusual. Here comes the Toilet Paper Strategy. See the next picture and stick it in your mind.

The toilet paper strategy

Which is the right way? This is a hotly debated topic on the globe. There’s even a post on Wikipedia about the “toilet paper orientation”. It worked so well because everyone can relate to the topic. For a thing to be controversial it doesn’t have to be silly, but rather to present facts in comparison or to include other share-worthy elements such as geographic angles, timeliness, shocking insights.

 

14. Outreach for Reviews and Early Looks

Putting a little effort and starting contacting people to talk with them and build relationships is priceless. Not to mention that outreach for reviews and early looks is an effective link earning strategy.

 

Online you can find outreach management software to help you establish relationships that allow you to manage and grow a large volume of campaigns. Buzzstream is an example of such tool. Besides that, through these types of tools, you could give influencers an early look, a preview of new features. This strategy works very well to engage with experts and build links creatively. Not to mention that is always important to have an opinion from a user, to know if you need to make improvements or if your product delivers the results you wanted. Afterward, good reviews will follow, and this will bring you popularity in your industry.

 

However, although the “fight” for link earning and link building it’s tough, whenever you create a new piece of content or an inbound link, you should ask yourself how you would feel if you knew that Google’s former head of web spam team, Matt Cutts was looking at your site. If you’re feeling totally relaxed about it, then you have nothing to worry about. If you’re having second thoughts then you should reconsider your link building or link earning strategies. 

 

15. Build Social Amplification for Building and Link Earning

Creating social amplification is a great strategy that leads to on-going returns. In the online world, there is a concept of creating media storm based on a highly captivating marketing idea. It is named social link bait. We know that link bait is not a recommended technique, but that is not the case here. In this case, we are talking about viral and social amplification. This strategy will bring social shares, mentions and links will follow, building a natural link profile.

 

You must think ahead and promote those pages that will catch the eye of the public. An excellent example will be to involve the audience in taking part in your campaign to drive awareness and get more exposure. Social amplification, by its definition, refers to the viewer’s behavior of taking a positive action towards a post and sharing it far wide. The #icebucketchallenge is an example of a successful social amplification idea.

sheryl-sandberg-ice-bucket-challenge

Source: http://everythingdifferent.co.uk

There is also the option of paid social media amplification, which means creating sponsored stories/posts on Facebook, promoted tweets and trends, Google Plus post ads and many other. See the next screenshot from the infographic from Gryffin with the complete list:

Paid Social Amplification

Source: http://crimsonmarketing.com/cm-new/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Paid_Social_Amplification.jpg

 

16. Newsjack a Story to Create Buzz & Links to Your Website

If you want to newsjack the right way, you need to know the lifecycle of a news story, before you start. If you start at the right point, you’ll generate buzz. Then let the links come to you.

newsjacking-lifecycle

Source: https://www.impactbnd.com

On top of that, you need to track relevant news by:

  • monitoring Google Trends;
  • tracking keywords and mentions through Brandmentions;
  • following journalists and specialists in your industry;
  • follow trending hashtags on Twitter.

 

As the internet is continuously developing, we change the way we consume news. You can create a special section on your blog with news. The blog posts can be short. Make sure you express the whole idea to became newsworthy. Search Engine Land offers this type of content.  

 

After you newsjack a story and you publish it on the blog there are a few things you need to do:

  • tweet the blog post and use trending hashtags;
  • share on other social media platforms;
  • contact a journalist or help a reporter out;
  • hold short live videos;
  • hold a webinar to talk about big changes and big news;
 

17. Reward Loyalty & Make Your Devoted Customers Talk About You

Brand loyalty is something that every business owner wants. It is a strong feeling to incite. Loyalty comes naturally and as long as you preserve this powerful feeling you’ll have a long-term relationship with your customers. The hard part is maintaining your loyal customers. Rewarding loyalty and making your devoted customers talk about you is one of the successful link earning strategies.

 

MailChimp nailed this through their Christmas gift. They rewarded their users, giving each a pair of red socks and a Christmas card.

Mailchimp socks reward loyalty

Source: http://www.elysiummg.com

 This reward system got them mentions, social shares, and links, earned links. Below you can see a screenshot from a blog with a link to Mailchimp about the reward.

Mailchimp link earning

 

18. Engage Your Audiences with Real Time Information Through Live Blogging

Grab the attention by engaging your audience with real-time information through live blogging. Participate in live talks to build your business and personal brand. Offering live content gives you a significant advantage because it offers you the possibility to interact in real time with followers. To make things interesting, you can respond in real time to questions from participants and get massive coverage if your topic is long debated. Afterward, you can and get links and mentions. There is an option to build a blog post around the live video.

 

When your brand is “on air” your followers will know where you are. Your brand will be associated with relevancy, and they will see you as a reliable source of information.

 

19. Get Quoted by a Journalist or an Editor to Build Authority

It is a strategy proved to have success and earn links, as Caleb McElveen, inbound marketer and SEO Manager for Listing Power Tools, says in one of his articles. If you don’t have a HARO account, you should. Help a Reporter Out is an online service to help add value and deliver quality information to a publisher. The service was created for journalists to connect with people that have the expertise to provide relevant information. If you help, you might be surprised by the powerful force of the internet. You’ll get the chance to get quoted, and this means you’ll earn links.

 

20. Build a Recognizable Personal Brand & Use It as a Link Building Technique

Make a name for yourself. You’ll thank me later. A personal brand creates buzz, in case you’ve done your job right. A personal brand means that people know who you are, you have authority in your industry. A personal brand will help you grow your business and enhance your reputation.

 

Be original, always look to offer quality and relevant content. For example, Kevin Lee is named “the godfather of SEM” as spot on Search Engine People, ShayCarl is pioneer of “vlog videos”. Take a look at people who will always be associated with a brand, like Steve Jobs. When you hear his name, you think Apple. Or when you hear Mark Zuckerberg you think Facebook, for Larry Kim is WordStream and so on. It will be easy for people to connect your name with your brand, and earn links on the long run.

 

Another important aspect to keep in mind is to have a mantra. Like a brand mantra, it is something that defines you, is a descriptive modifier. Like glasses, John Lennon had a unique type of round glasses, different from those that Elton John wears. Audrey Hepburn has another type of glasses. Take a look at the next picture:

Famous iconic glasses

Source: www.federicomauro.com/

If we talk about mustaches, the iconic Charlie Chaplin has a toothbrush mustache, Salvador Dali has his unique mustache. Rand Fishkin has an Italian mustache, as you can see in the picture below:

Rand-mustache

Source: https://moz.com

People tend to remember visual elements better and associate them with a name. Having something that sets you apart is important nowadays, to stick it in people’s minds.

 

21. Provide Insights for Your Industry and Win Organic Links

Highlight competitors and capture the attention. Offer insights and secrets in your industry to become a leader and increase trust. Followers will come because they’ll know your content embodies value. Providing insights is not only an effective link building strategy but also an organic traffic generator. 

 

Think laterally, which practically means to think of a way to resolve problems through a creative approach. This means to let your imagination look at a problem in an unusual light.

You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it. – Albert Einstein

A content of this kind might bring you numerous social shares, mentions on sites within your industry, other blogs, and news publications.

 

 

Conclusion

Creating ah-mazing content isn’t everything if you don’t nurture the relationship with your readers, so they share your quality content and make them return to your website. Respect is earned, right? Well, just like respect you need to do something good in order to earn links. The strategies we’ve pointed in the list discussed above can help you with this. Of course, there is not a single “pure” strategy; link earning strategies can combine social media marketing, SEO link strategies, the proper use of anchor texts, guest posts, content strategies, and much more. Regardless if it’s you how’s doing all the work or you let some SEO companies do this for you, you need to keep in mind that the SEO industry can be ruthless when it comes to SEO link building or link earning. 

 

To wrap out you should stop looking for gimmicks. You should look for the outcome and not catch “tricks” to build links through link schemes or low quality content ideas that don’t keep count of the Google algorithm update. Look for value in everything you do. Follow the advice from SEO experts and go for the best in class content. And remember that a good content strategy (like evergreen content or qualitative guest blogging) is always a solution.

 

This is not a beginners guide, yet anyone can start getting links by taking into consideration these link earning tactics. We totally agree that a single strategy won’t increases traffic overnight; yet, combined and creatively used, even with the help of some SEO tools or a small but dedicated SEO team, might help you start getting links.

 

Let us know what you think about these linking strategies and tactics. 

 

 

The post Link Earning – A Tale of 21 Unique Strategies to Creatively Build Links appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

How to Get Google to Send You 119,717 Visitors Every Month

google visitors

Last Updated February 23rd, 2017

Are you wondering how to get more traffic from Google? This post might be able to help.

I’ll never forget the first time I got 100,000 visitors from Google in one month. I still feel extremely lucky. Today I’m going to show you how I think I did it in the hope that something will be new for you.

When you first think about starting a blog you kind of don’t imagine you’ll ever get more than a trickle of traffic.

And then you have your first 100-visitor day.

Then your first 1,000-visitor day.

After a while you might even have a 10,000 or 20,000 visitor a day and you still can’t believe it’s happening.

What I want to do today is show you as much of what I did as possible to see whether it helps your blog get more traffic. Let’s look at all the ins and outs of how to get over 100,000 visitors a month from natural organic Google search.

Things are so much nicer when you have a plan.

Why is Google traffic still the best?

If you’ve been reading Blog Tyrant for a while you’ll know that I occasionally warn against relying on Google too much.

And I stand by that.

Organic traffic from Google search is still the most valuable traffic you can get because it grows, it’s free (sort of), and people who are using search engines are usually in a buy-ready frame of mind.

Google traffic
A screen shot of my Clicky Analytics account showing one of my first 28 day periods where I had 100,000+ unique visitors hitting my blog from Google searches.

However, if your begin to rely solely on that traffic you run the risk of getting yourself into a bit of trouble in the longterm. Every time Google updates its algorithm there is a chance your blog is going to be less relevant.

And that means your traffic vanishes.

My own little story with this issue

I’ve told this story before but when I first got into blogging I had a few fitness blogs which made money pretty exclusively through Google Adsense. One day I woke up and all my traffic (and revenue!) had gone – I’d received a pretty significant Google penalty for some unknown reason.

Lucky for me, the traffic came back.

But it was a very scary experience and it taught me that I need to ensure that I have diversified traffic sources that act as a back up in case one of them gets accidentally or deliberately turned off.

How long does it take to get 100,000 visitors a month from Google?

Something I want to stress in this post is that my approach to Google traffic is one that is very clean, natural and safe.

And “safe” isn’t always a word that sits well with entrepreneurs.

Because it usually means slow.

If you’re after some short term SEO tricks to help you get an inferior website ranked in two weeks then this isn’t the post for you. This is all about a high-value approach to blogging that you can use on a site that you love and don’t want to take unnecessary risks with.

But saying it will take 6 months or a year is kind of irresponsible of me because every blog and niche is different. It will depend a lot on how prolific you can be, and how willing you are to learn a new approach.

How to get 100,000 visitors a month from Google

Okay, now we can get into the real tofu and potatoes of the post.

And, as always, if you get to the end and think I’ve missed something important or have any questions please leave a comment and let me know.

1. Choose a topic, keywords and target market that has the depth

The very first thing you need to do if you want to have a good SEO strategy is know what keywords you are going after and what target market you are trying to tap into.

Too often I see blogs that have a very generalised topic which leads to a lot of fragmented content, an unresponsive mailing list and not a lot of success.

When researching your topic, please make sure you know what you want to talk about and how your blog is going to be different to all the others out there. It is very important that you think about deliberate ways that your topic is going to stand out.

When researching keywords, it’s a good idea to know who your competition is and how saturated the market is. There are some niches that are very, very hard to compete in. The main worry, however, is a niche with not enough traffic.

google traffic estimator

One simple place to start is by logging into Google Adwords and using their suite of Tools. One of them will estimate search volume and show you the Adwords bidding competition. This will give you a pretty good idea about whether your market is worth the effort.

Make sure you try a lot of variations of your keywords here. Even small changes like plurals or alternative words that seem similar can have a massive effect on traffic numbers.

At this stage you’ll also want to look at your competition using a service like Majestic to see what keywords are going around, who is working on what, etc. You can then go and spend some time manually searching and clicking through to websites to see if there is anything that you can do better than what is already out there.

At this point I’d like to just mention that passion really is the most important thing here. It’s something I’ve heard successful bloggers like Glen from ViperChill say again and again. Even if you find a profitable niche to work in, you’ll soon lose interest at all the hard (and boring tasks) if you don’t love it and sincerely want to help your readership.

That is very important.

2. Get your own domain name and self-hosted WordPress setup

How many times have you seen a free blog like Tumblr or Blogger in the first position on Google? Not often is the answer.

Google gives a much higher weighting to websites and blogs that have their own domain name and host because it is a pretty basic signal that that website is going to be taking itself more seriously – hence better quality. Here’s a quick video explaining my preferred setup.

So how do you choose a good domain name? Well, there are several options:

  • Exact match keywords
    A few years ago if you could get an exact match phrase you’d be more likely to rank at the top. Now this isn’t so popular and can look a bit spammy. However, for local search, things like ArchitectMelbourne.com.au still rank extremely well if you can get them.
  • Keyword + noun
    Another popular method is to take the keyword that you are targeting and add a noun or adjective to it. Blog Tyrant could be an example of this approach if I was targeting the keyword “blog”.
  • Distinctive domains
    This is actually now the best option given that all the good keyword domains are taken. Being distinctive is important. Look at a site like ViperChill where the domain name has nothing to do with anything but you’ll never forget it.

Once you’ve decided on your domain name you can register it and do all your WordPress set up through BlueHost. This is a good idea because then everything is in the one place. Here is a tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog and bit more about blog hosting in general if you’re interested.

3. Change your general WordPress settings for better SEO performance

For the most part, WordPress is a pretty SEO-friendly platform. That being said, there are a few little default things that we want to change from the get go.

The first is your default permalinks structure which is often set to some combo of the date and name. I like to set this to just post name as we will want the keywords that we are targeting to show up in the post. Just go Settings > Permalinks > Post Name.

postname

Remember, if you already have your blog up and running you don’t want to change any existing permalinks as that will result in any links pointing to that old structure to throw an error. We only want it for future things.

The next thing you want to make sure is that your post titles are set to h1 tags and not anything else. Often you find that WordPress themes have the site name as the first header and then the post title is h2 which is a mistake. You can change this by going Appearance > Editor > Single Post and then changing your post title to the right tag.

The last basic WordPress thing we want to change is your sidebar. Get rid of everything in there except for an email subscriber opt-in form and maybe some links to your most popular posts. You don’t need all that Meta stuff in there, and you especially don’t want any blogroll links.

4. Install an SEO-specific plugin like WordPress SEO by Yoast

Now you’ll want to get a little more advanced and install a plugin that has been specifically designed for improving your WordPress blog’s search engine performance. The most popular and well respected is WordPress SEO by Yoast.

This plugin is actually quite intimidating for beginner/intermediate level bloggers. There are a lot of settings and options and you will be introduced to a whole new lexicon of SEO-related words.

Don’t panic.

Firstly, Yoast has written a really comprehensive guide on how to get yourself properly setup. Secondly, it’s not the kind of thing you need to get totally correct before you do anything else – you can tweak as you go. I would earmark half a day of your time to add the plugin and go through the above article making changes and then just leave it for a while.

wordpress-seo-plugin

The great thing about this plugin, as you can see above, is that it will tell you if you are making any large mistakes or errors as you go along. Combine this with the installation guide and you will find yourself learning a lot about SEO best practices for a WordPress blog setup.

5. Carefully tweak and improve your user experience ranking factors

The above plugin and settings mostly tweak your site to make it look better in the eyes of Google bots. But what we want to do now is make sure it looks good in the eyes of your human readers.

The interesting thing about this is that improving a blog’s user experience also leads to a better ranking performance because Google only wants to refer its customers to highly useful sites.

Start by making sure you have a mobile responsive WordPress theme. This is especially important since the Google mobile update that happened a few weeks ago.

If you’re not sure whether your site looks good to Google then use their mobile testing tool. Here’s what it says about Blog Tyrant:

mobile friendly

The next most important user experience ranking factor is speed. Google only wants to send visitors to website that load extremely quickly because they know that people are impatient. If your site is taking longer than about 2-3 seconds to load then it is too slow.

blog load speed

The above is a screenshot of a speed test I did on Blog Tyrant using Pingdom Tools where the results are very positive. Of course, this speed varies depending on the location of the user, how many people are on the website, etc. but overall my site is loading pretty well.

Some of the basic things you can do to ensure your blog is loading quickly include:

  • Shrinking images
    I’m always surprised at how often bloggers upload images that are > 2MB. It’s too large. Ideally you want to shrink your images down to around < 50KB or smush them.
  • Talking to your server technicians
    If you are on a good web host you will usually find that your server technicians will offer you some free advice on how to best optimise your blog. Open up a support ticket and tell them you need to make some site speed improvements and see what tips they give. They can do things like enabling GZIP which is a server-side speed improvement.
  • Using a caching plugin
    Caching is another big topic that takes a while to get your head around. A lot of it can be done on the server side of things, but there are also several good WordPress plugins like W3 Total Cache which you can install and get good results with.

Now that you’ve taken some steps to speed up your blog, you’ll want to start looking at the layout of your theme and ensuring that you have the design setup in a way that will encourage visitors to take an action.

For example, it’s a very good idea to ensure that you important stuff is above the fold. This is the area of your blog that people see before they have to scroll. Any opt-in forms, calls to action, etc. really need to be in this area, or at least catered to in a design that encourages scrolling.

You’ll also want to look at things like your typography and replace any slow self-hosted fonts with either web safe versions or a Google Font version which always seem to be quicker and you can test out text to see what looks nice.

typography

Make sure you use a large, easy to read font size that fits with your branding. The general wisdom is that fonts like Arial, Verdana and Georgia are good choices because people are used to reading them and thus it feels familiar. Here’s some interesting recommendations from Apple on the topic.

6. Create strategic content based around keywords, value and point of difference

Ever since I first sold a blog in college I’ve preferred to approach blogging, SEO and online business with a “quality first” attitude where my stuff hopefully helps people.

And one of the mantras you hear a lot in the blogging world is the idea that content is king.

Well, I actually think that is a pretty ordinary phrase.

Quality content alone is not enough. It needs a strategy. – Tweet this.

If you really pay attention to what is appearing at the top of Google these days you’ll notice that there is a mix of local stuff, videos, long form content, aged content, fresh content, photos, etc. Have a look at a few results for the term “email marketing”.

email marketing

It is quite varied.

So instead of just attempting to write something “quality”, what we need to do is really dig deep into the niche and figure out what we can create that is not only useful, but different. How can I make something that will get attention?

That is very important.

But that content that we create also has to form part of an overall blogging strategy otherwise it is all a complete waste of time. There is absolutely no point in getting over 100,000 visitors to your blog each month if they aren’t taking some type of action towards your goals.

Here’s some more reading on why a blog is not enough in and of itself.

Let’s look at WPMU DEV as an example of someone who does strategic content very well. If you do a Google search for “most beautiful responsive WordPress themes” you’ll see they have this article ranking near the top.

Then at the top of that article they have this in-house promotion:

responsive design

This is a really clever way to build traffic using organic methods in order to sell a product that you own and control. A lot of their tutorials and articles are very closely related to the plugins and WordPress themes that they develop. This has the dual effect of benefiting their existing customers as well as finding new ones through Google.

Oh yeah – they have over 370,000 customers paying minimum $24 a month.

7. Leverage other sites’ authority and build links by providing value around the web

There is something quite intangible about this point but I want to write about it anyway because I feel like it has been really important for my own Google rankings.

Over the last few years I’ve noticed something interesting.

If you can write something really good about a topic everyone knows but have a new angle to it, and then get yourself in front of influencers regularly, you will find that they start to link to your articles quite naturally.

In the last few weeks alone I’ve had links from Neil Patel, Moz and Search Engine Watch all for things I’ve done on my About page or my article about About pages!

Another example would be the link I got on Boost Blog Traffic for an article about controversial titles where they featured a controversial title that I wrote.

Simple stuff.

This is another example of the fact that you don’t have to be first in your niche, you just have to try to find a way to stand out and be noticed. Sometimes you can do that with something as basic as your own personal story.

One of the other ways I do this is to make sure I link to all my favorite bloggers regularly when I write something that I think is pretty good. Bloggers really love getting links, and if you’ve included them on some awesome new resource that you’ve made you might just find that they link back to another one of your posts when they’re writing something new.

If you’re doing a guest post on someone else’s blog then this is the absolute best time to mention someone that you’d like to get in front of.

8. Update old stuff (including titles and descriptions)

These days Google is giving a lot of weight to fresh content.

What that means is that some of the brilliant articles that you wrote five years ago, even though they may be the best thing on the web, might not be appearing as high as they should be because some new whipper snapper is stealing your thunder.

One way to combat this is to go back and figure out which posts might need a bit of a fresh coat of paint and add things like new information, graphics, photos, videos, etc. and really make it feel modern again.

One of the good things about the WordPress SEO plugin mentioned above is that it lets you re-write your titles for search engines. One of the main reasons you might want to do this is to show that it has been updated.

For example, in 2014 I wrote a post about the things to know before starting a blog in that year. The content is still perfectly relevant today in 2015 so I updated the description to reflect that fact.

starting a blog

If it still had the old 2014 information in there I might see a lot fewer people clicking through from Google. I don’t recommend you go and do this for every post in your archive either – just try and keep the posts that need to be updated updated.

9. Reinvest part of your earnings to increase exposure

I know a lot of you might be getting sick of me talking about this but it’s so important so I’m going to keep saying it.

Advertising on Facebook Ads and Google Adwords is actually a really big part of good SEO.

Expert SEOs are going to laugh at me for saying that but I don’t care, hear me out.

When you have a really good piece of content that you’ve invested countless hours into researching, writing and editing, you want to make sure it does well. Now, even if you main goal is to get that article to rank on Google you’ll want to make sure you spend money on social advertising.

And the reason is simple.

The wider reach your article has the more likely it is to get seen by someone who’ll eventually link to it.

Think about it.

You can go onto Facebook and in five minutes create an advert that will target only people interested in XYZ niche. That might include other bloggers in the XYZ niche – hopefully even some influencers. If your article is any good it’ll be on their radar next time they are writing about that topic.

This type of promotion works extremely well for long form content and types of content that people can download and use as an everlasting resource. I reckon I’ve probably link to Jon Morrow’s headline PDF at least five times.

10. Listen to Google but don’t be afraid of Google

One of the things that I’ve learned from ViperChill that I’m very grateful for is the idea that you should listen to Google but not always be afraid that you are doing something terribly wrong.

Glen takes a lot of risks with his SEO approach, something that I’m not willing to do here, but he’s also kind of helped me loosen up about trying out new things without fear of a Google penalty.

I wrote about one example in my post on why guest posts still work.

When Matt Cutts told everyone that guest posts were a dangerous way to build backlinks everyone just kind of stopped doing guest posts.

That’s silly.

Guest posting is still a fantastic way to get traffic to your site and find a whole new readership, many of whom will link to your content, promote it on social media and share it with their own audiences. So guest posting for SEO is still very much alive, it’s just smarter now.

Make sure you know what Google wants and doesn’t want, but don’t be so scared of the rules that you stop making content that people want to consume.

One practical task you can do right now

I want to end this post by giving you one practical task that you can start today that will get you closer towards your first 100,000 visitors from Google in a single month.

Start by reading this post (I’m assuming you have if you’re this far) and taking into account all the ideas on keyword research, strategic content, etc. your task is:

Write one brilliant post of at least 3,500 words (include links to big bloggers in your niche, graphics, photos, etc.) based around one strategic keyword set and a point of difference. Find another blog to give it away to as a guest post.

This is something that I notice a lot of bloggers still really struggle to do. When it comes to getting traffic from Google a lot of it really starts with getting your name out there and building links by building up your brand awareness. And that can be done really simple with some good guest posting.

How much traffic do you get from Google?

If you have any questions about how to get more Google traffic I’d be more than happy to try and answer them in the comments below. I’d also be really interested to know how much traffic you get from Google searches and whether you think you could be doing better.

This post took quite a while to put together so if you enjoyed it please consider giving it a share using one of the buttons below. I’d really appreciate it.

Top image © Alexoakenman | Dreamstime.com.

SEO Website Redesign – A Guaranteed Checklist on How to Not Lose Your Rankings

An SEO website redesign is not a walk in the park, and it could easily become an SEO disaster if you don’t do it right. Any change you make to your website’s redesign can cause traffic loss and make your current site not so very “search engine ranking” friendly.

 

Maybe you want to switch to https, you want to go international, or maybe you just want to start a rebranding strategy. Whatever you do, you want your link juice, rankings and traffic to remain the same. And, when you’ve put a lot of SEO effort into your site, you wouldn’t want all that hard work to be in vain, would you?

 

And because we know how much our beloved cognitivies treasure their work, we came up with a list of the exact steps you should follow for a successful SEO website redesign. To get the full SEO website redesign checklist, click on the button below. You will get a Step-by-Step Checklist Spreadsheet you can fill up for successful rankings and traffic and why not, for great SEO strategies.

 

website redesign SEO

 

You might be tempted to say: “Do I really need to worry that much about my site redesign? Will it really affect my rankings and traffic? As long as I have great web developers, awesome onpage optimization, I did lots of SEO audits and I have a shipshape content marketing; what can go wrong within a simple website relaunch?”

 

If this kind of thoughts crosses your mind, I invite you to take a look at the screenshots below, documented by Glenn Gabes in a related post.

 

website redesign traffic

 

Makes you wonder, right? We don’t want to scare you and make you run away from any form of online marketing; we just want to make you aware of the attention you need to treat the website redesign SEO process. Below you can find the full list of steps you need to take for a successful redesign or migration.

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

 

PRE-LAUNCH

  1. Have a Temporary Dev URL
  2. Create a New Robots.txt File
  3. Benchmark Current Search Engine Metrics
  4. Check If Your Server Supports the New Design
  5. Crawl the Old Site and Audit It
  6. Make a List of Your Backlinks
  7. Check for Blank / Doorway Pages
  8. Check for Remaining Template Pages
  9. Avoid Deleting Old Content
  10. Keyword Mapping/Remapping
  11. One Topic/Keyword per Page
  12. Proofread Your Content
  13. Search Engine Friendly URLs
  14. Verify Previously Owned Domain
  15. 301 URL Mapping (Prepare a Redirect List)
  16. Add/Update All HTML Annotations
  17. Check External/Internal Linking
  18. Prepare an Old and a New Sitemap
  19. Check Mobile Compatibility
  20. Check Pagespeed Insights
  21. Check Image Size
  22. Consider AMP and Instant Articles
  23. Check Microdata Implementation (or Consider Adding It)
  24. Check Cookie Law
  25. Check Legal Compliance Pages
  26. Check Contact and About Pages
  27. Check the 404 Page
  28. Remove Meta Keywords
  29. Share Buttons
  30. Subscribe Buttons

LAUNCH

  1. Visually Inspect (Test) Your New Site
  2. Get a Warning Message Ready
  3. Set Up a Monitoring Plan
  4. Tracking Codes Placement/Remplacement
  5. Set Analytics Goals
  6. The Time You Launch
  7. Post the New Version
  8. Remove Password
  9. Check Robots.txt
  10. Set Up the 301 Redirects (Without Domain Change)
  11. Set Up the 301 Redirects (with Domain Change)
  12. Review Search Console Settings
  13. Disavow Files
  14. Reindex Site from Search Console
  15. Annotate the Site Launch in Google Analytics

POST LAUNCH

  1. Check Search Console Errors
  2. Crawl the New Site and Audit It
  3. Compare the Results
  4. Check Your Server Logs
  5. Update Social Media Website URL
  6. Match Social Media Designs with the Website
  7. Monitor Your Website Thoroughly
  8. Check Number of Pages Indexed
  9. Make Sure All Wanted Pages Are Indexable
  10. Monitor the Cache Date of Indexed URLs
  11. Clean Up New Domain
  12. Update Backlinks
  13. Check and Compare Search Traffic
  14. Compare Your SEO Visibility

Conclusion

PRE LAUNCH

1. Have a Temporary Dev URL

First thing on the SEO redesign checklist is to create a temporary development URL. A temporary development URL can save you in the pre-launch phase. If you don’t want to risk getting your site indexed, you should develop a site on a different URL, like a subdomain. Make sure you protect it by using a password. If your site already got indexed, there’s no reason to block it anymore. When it’s ready, change the domain to the “real” URL and go live.

Temporary development URL

You can set a subdomain to work on. In the cPanel of your Web Host Manager find Subdomains, and add a subdomain. A new folder will be created, and you will be able to upload your work via FTP or the cPanel built in File Manager. To password protect it, find the option Password Protect Directories, select your Subdomain folder and add a password. When trying to access the URL, a login popup will show up in your browser.

2. Create a New Robots.txt File

Secondly on the pre-launch SEO checklist, you need to create a new robots.txt file.

 

A robots.txt file is essential in the pre-launch phase because it gives instructions to web robots about your site. You have to place this code in the top-level directory of your web server to block the robots from getting information: User-agent: * Disallow: / The “User-agent: *” means it is applied to all robots and “Disallow: /” means they cannot visit any pages on the site. There are cases when the robots can ignore the robots.txt file. They could scan your website for security vulnerabilities. So don’t try to hide information. Other examples for creating your robots.txt file based on how much access you offer:

  • Allow all robots complete access:

User-agent: * Disallow:

  • Exclude all robots from a part of the server:

User-agent: * Disallow: /cgi-bin/ Disallow: /tmp/ Disallow: /junk/

  • Exclude a single robot:

User-agent: SingleBot Disallow: /

  • Allow a single robot

User-agent: Google Disallow: User-agent: * Disallow: /

  • Exclude all files except one

User-agent: * Disallow: /~john/folder/

  • Or disallow all disallowed pages:

User-agent: * Disallow: /~john/cars.html Disallow: /~john/bicycles.htm 

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

3. Benchmark Current Search Engine Metrics

A lot of SEO specialists make website audits before any major change. It is recommended to benchmark your current performance process in order not to lose SEO efforts. You can compare your engine metrics with the data before and after you launch your site. Google Analytics gives you the possibility to compare your data with the industry best performance. If you can’t see your benchmark data, you should enable this feature. First, you need to Sign into your account, then select Admin tab, click account settings (under Account), select Benchmarking checkbox and then save. After you follow all the steps, you can see a Benchmarking Dashboard similar to the next screenshot:

Analytics Bechmarking

You can extract and visualize the following metrics from Google:

 

  • Analytics in the Benchmarking section:
  • Sessions (i.e. number of sessions);
  • % New Sessions;
  • New Sessions (i.e. number of sessions from new users);
  • Pages / Session;
  • Avg. Session Duration;
  • Bounce Rate.

4. Check If Your Server Supports the New Design

Checking if your server supports the news design implies a functionality testing in software and hardware. A software testing is used to check whether the application performs or not according to the design specifications. A hardware testing involves the verification of the composition of the actual hardware components of the server.

Functionality testing in software certifies that the core applications are fully functional after localization.

In the process of website redesign, when you change your website from a server to another one with different specifications you should keep your website in testing mode until you see the tasks work properly without any errors: the core applications respond to requests, the shop orders and sending/receiving emails run without a problem. For example, most redesigns include new plugins like Woocommerce (for WordPress) which requires more PHP memory. Make sure your server can handle it.

5. Crawl the Old Site and Audit It

In the pre-launch phase, you should start an audit of your old site architecture to get the full picture of how your site’s structure looks like. You can make a website audit using lots of tools. A few examples you can find here. Before making a redesign or a migration, you need to crawl your site to gather all the metadata and URLs to identify the required adjustments. Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a website crawler that can analyze, audit and review your website from an SEO perspective. A free option is combining Screaming Frog with Xenu Link Sleuth. Xenu only checks for broken links, but you can upload the list of links to Screaming Frog, which offers unlimited crawling when a list of URLs is provided. To finish this step – Crawling and Making a website audit – you should take the next actions:

  • Fix broken links: You need to check your broken internal and external inbound links and then fix them all.
  • Check important SEO elements: Check to see if you have missing title tags, meta descriptions, image alt descriptions
  • Use unique titles: All your meta descriptions, headings and title tags must be unique, so verify them and fix those which are duplicated.

6. Make a List of Your Backlinks

Your inbound links are valuable; they bring visitors to your site and help you to rank better in SERP. Creating a list with these links would act as a backup. It will be very useful because you can keep a record of your backlinks. If you change your domain, you will see only the backlinks you receive after the launching phase. Make an account on CognitiveSEO tool to see your links. Below you have a screenshot from the tool with the backlinks for a site.

Backlinks list CognitiveSEO

You can see the table in the InBound Link Analysis dashboard. Besides the head columns you can see in the picture (links status, link anchor text, link influence, web page type), you can choose from a large list which other features and metrics to analyze. At the bottom of the list, you have the Export to CSV option. Click it to download the list of your current backlinks.

7. Check for Blank / Doorway Pages

You can use crawling software to see if you have blank pages. Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool is a great example. It is not OK to have blank pages, but sometimes this happens, especially when you create a URL structure in CMS, such as WordPress. The doorway pages are a black hat SEO technique (that can destroy your current SEO efforts), but there are cases when that happens without your consent. For example, if you have a site that offers services to a worldwide market and you have a Service page with the same content for each city you risk falling into a trap. The pages that have similar content and the only element that’s different is the name of the city (such as “/services/new-york”, “/services/chicago”, “/services/miami”) should be changed, preferably compiled into a single page where users can select their city from a drop-down.

8. Check for Remaining Template Pages

There are lots of situations when the owner of a site saw a template on the web and wanted exactly that one. All those preset templates have their unique structure, with elements you could use and elements you could not. If, by mistake, you used a template of this kind and had other templates left they could easily mix and pass unnoticed along other pages. If you don’t want that to happen to you, please check your website for remaining template pages. Even though you didn’t notice them, the search engines will.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

9. Avoid Deleting Old Content

Old content shouldn’t be deleted. Everybody wrote content at some point that could use a little improvement in the present. Online, you can find lots of blog posts that are out the date. Instead of deleting old content, the best thing you could do now is to improve it. You can even find ways to repurpose your content. Content is a core element for SEO, and if you delete pieces of your content, you could end up with a blog that has content from one or two years ago. It’s like you would delete all the history you gathered. Not to mention that the backlinks you have received for that content will lead to broken links. And as top content can be a great link building strategy and could do great to organic search, you wouldn’t want to loose all of it, do you?

Old blog posts or articles should stay where they are.

Make use of your old content. It is easier to improve the content you already have than to write completely new content, find a proper keyword to rank for and optimize it.

10. Keyword Mapping/Remapping

A keyword mapping is a way of organizing your keywords. You can create a keyword map by yourself. Take a look at the picture below to see an example of a keyword map:

Keyword Map

Source: http://www.practicalecommerce.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/KeywordMap.jpg

First, make a list with of 100 high ranking pages and place them in a spreadsheet. After that, write the core keyword for each article and the monthly searches volume (you will find that in Keyword Planner). Then you need to make a research for possible keywords for each page. Write the monthly searches volume for each keyword. It will be a starting point if you want to make improvements, assign keywords to pages and make historical optimization in the future. It is recommended to do that to verify your keyword strategy. You should check the keywords in high ranking articles for better search visibility and also you should take into consideration local search as well. 

11. One Topic/Keyword per Page

For increasing your ranking in SERP, you need to optimize each article for a keyword. Your ranking depends on its authority and relevancy. The authority gives strengths to the article, and the relevancy is based on the pages you optimized for one keyword. If your landing page, site content, and links correspond to your keyword, then that page is relevant. Check every page to see if you’ve defined a core keyword for each piece of content. Make sure you focus your content on a single keyword and its variation to do semantic content optimization. Make sure your pages don’t address more than one topic/keyword per page, otherwise the authority for the respective keyword will be diluted.

12. Proofread Your Content

If you want to do things in a professional way you should always proofread your content. Proofreading might be an exhausting job but it is better to spend a few extra hours to make sure you haven’t written something that could quickly turn into a fiasco. Along the way, you can use tools to make the process easier. Grammarly is a tool you can use to check grammar errors or any other writing flaws. It has a plagiarism detector, too.

Words are a powerful tool if you know to combine them in a smart way.

13. Search Engine Friendly URLs

You need to check your URLs to verify if you’ve included query parameters in the URL structure. This is an example of a URL with dynamic queries:

URL-structure-query-parameter

Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-4ZilHEohMHE/Vpot9PAXBvI/AAAAAAAADE8/_31afn0kcRU/s1600/url-structure-query-parameter-2.jpg

It is hard for the Googlebot to understand what the URL is about. It might be difficult for the visitors to save it or use it as a source. On top of all that, it is not aesthetic. Take the next tips to improve your URL structure and make it more search engine friendly:

  • use dashes (-) instead or underscores (_);
  • make it shorter;
  • use the keyword.

14. Verify Previously Owned Domain

Another important step on the prelaunch website redesign SEO checklist is to do a thorough check up if you have purchased an expired domain or simply a previously owned domain. There are some important additional steps you should take.

 

First, you should transfer Search Console ownership. You need to log in the Search Console with a Gmail address and then add a website property. Then you will need to follow the same instructions as you did when you verified your first site ownership. After that, you’ll receive all the data. The second thing you need to do is to check the backlink profile of the previous domain. As I mention before, you can use the cognitiveSEO inBound Link Analysis tool to verify the backlink profile of the new domain. In the tool, you can see the natural and unnatural links. Do a thorough check of the unnatural links to see if they are relevant to the site or not. Then delete the ones that are harmful. In case the domain is entirely new, it is not necessary to verify your backlink profile. If it’s an expired domain previously owned by someone else, it is recommended to verify your backlink profile. Check the next screenshot from the tool to see where you can find the unnatural link detection:

Unnatural Link Detection

The third thing you should do is to take action against a spammy backlink profile. You shouldn’t close the tool just yet. Enter the Unnatural Links Navigator, filter the links to see only the ones with unnatural and suspect label. Check the next screenshot from the tool to see how the unnatural detector displays information for each link:

Suspect links example

If you received this message: “This site has a highly unnatural link profile, and it’s likely to be already penalized by Google. You should use the Link Navigator to mark the unnatural links for Disavow or removal” you have found a highly unnatural link profile. Then you can prepare a disavow file right from the tool to submit it to Google. You can choose to keep some links that are marked as unnatural if you know they are natural. Make sure you reclassify them as natural. You can also start manually trying to remove the spam links by outreaching to the linking websites and asking them to remove the link. This is a time-consuming process, and it will be reminded in the Post-launch section. If this is the case, we strongly recommend choosing another domain. The last action you need to take is to clear any previous URL removals. In case the site you’ve purchased had a previous owner you need to check if there aren’t any URL removals left. Everyone has an “about me” or a “contact us” page. You should pay attention to those pages, in particular. Log in the Search Console and go to the URL Removal tool. You can see in the below picture an example of a URL removal.

Remove URL in Search Console

Source: http://www.seoofblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/paste-your-url.png

15. 301 URL Mapping (Prepare a Redirect List)

This is by far the most important step of the redesign. If your pages suffered URL structure changes, i.e. from .html to non .html or if you removed “_”, write them down in a spreadsheet. You can see an example of a spreadsheet of this kind in the next picture:

URL mapping

Source: https://disqus-cloudfront.s3.amazonaws.com/docs/spreadsheet-example.png

One column should contain the old URL, and the next one should contain the new, updated URL. An example of a tool that can help you with this is textmechanic.co to assist you in rewriting and sorting the URLs. You can do it in the .htaccess file, but there are also plugins for CMS such as WordPress. Don’t mix up 301 with canonical tags, as they are different things. Another example of a tool where you can do URL mapping is the one offered by Hubspot. To finish this step you need to follow the next actions:

  • Write the 301 redirects: In case some of the URLs have changed, write the 301 redirect, from the old to the new version. If your website has a new domain, you have to note your redirects. Be careful to the chain redirects.
  • Prioritize the URLs: Start with your most valuable URLs. The most important ones are those with the higher traffic. Enter Google Analytics into the Behaviour section, and then you will see All pages. There is a list of the most accessed pages. You can order the list by Pageviews, Unique Pageviews, and other metrics.
  • Use a CMS if possible: CMS stands for content management system. WordPress, Joomla or Blogger are just a few examples of CMS. It is easier to write and to make changes. Also, a CMS provides an easy way to to get a listing of all URLs that host site content. If you have WordPress, you can install Simple 301 Redirects plugin to make the process easier.
  • Check URLs in server log: Check your server logs for URLs that were visited at least once recently.
  • Include static content URLs: The URLs need to be redirected in the same way as all the other content on the site. Make sure you redirect all the content you have on the old site, whether it is about the pictures, video, pdf or JS files. All your static content must be redirected.
  • Don’t forget deleted pages: If you’ve deleted irrelevant pages from the old website, you should redirect them to the most relevant content on the new website, so you won’t lose the backlinks and the traffic you gain from that page. In case you don’t find a relevant correspondent, go for the home page. Don’t redirect them to irrelevant locations. You risk losing traffic if the visitors don’t see something similar to the original content. If you have grouped up 3 old pages into a single more complex piece of content, then you should redirect all 3 old URLs to the new one.
  • Update internal URLs: for your files and images. Change the old URLs for all the files you had on the old site with new URLs. Make use of the URL mapping generated earlier to help you to find and update the links.

16. Add/Update All HTML Annotations

HTML annotations or HTML tags are used as a special form of syntactic metadata in the source code. Java annotations are used for classes, methods, variables, parameters and packages. Updating your HTML annotations is an important aspect in the pre-launch phase or your new website because you help Google to understand your site better. Update all HTML annotations in the URLs or Sitemaps, for every page. To complete this step, you need to:

  • Add/update rel=”canonical” tag: Each URL should have a self-referencing canonical tag, maybe except for the Homepage. Also, if you have more pages that target the same keywords, you should tell the search engines which one of them you prefer to be shown in the SERPs using rel=”canonical”. For example, you have a product page for T-shirts of different colors, and the page has statically generated content. For each color, you will have a web page with the same product and the same content. You should use the “rel=canonical” tag to tell Google which one to show in the SERPs.
  • Add/update rel=”alternate”: You should use the rel=”alternate” hreflang=”xyz” tag to show you the right language or regional URL in the search results. Add/update the language annotations if your website contains multilingual or multinational pages.

There are three examples of situations when you should use the tag. If you have a user-generated content, you can keep the main content in a single language and translate the template (navigation and footer area). You can use the tag in case your content has a few regional variations. For example, you have your content in the English-language and target the US, GB, and Ireland. Also, you can use the language annotation when your site is fully translated.

  • Add/update mobile annotation: If you don’t have a responsive website design, but a mobile version on a separate subdomain (m.example.com) instead, you should use the link rel=”alternate” media=”handheld” tag. Add the link rel=”alternate” tag on the desktop page to point to the corresponding mobile URL to help Google identify the location of your site’s mobile pages. Facebook uses this tag; m.facebook.com is the URL for mobile.
  • Add/update rel=”prev/next”: You can use the rel=”prev/next” link tag to show the relationship between component URLs in a paginated series. For example, if you want to show Google you have related pages it’s best to use this tool. Let’s say you write three articles, on 10th of November, 1st of December and 20th of December 2016. The tag tells Google that the blog post you wrote on 1st of December has the previous post on 10th of November and the next one on 20th of December 2016.

17. Check External/Internal Linking

Matt Cutts, Google’s former head of the web spam, quoted in the Google guidelines that a page shouldn’t have more that 100 links. Though the 100-link limit has never been a penalty situation, it is recommended you keep the number of the links on a page under 100. It is a good practice example, it doesn’t mean to avoid SEO. The pages with more than 100 links won’t be penalized or de-indexed. Instead, Google starts to ignore links after a certain point, and the links that pass the 100-barrier won’t pass domain authority. Does the Homepage have more than 100 outgoing links? Consider cutting down. Also, take note that pages with more internal links pointing to them are considered to be more valuable in a website by search engines. Try linking to the important ones more often, but keep it relevant.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

18. Prepare an Old and a New Sitemap

If you completely changed domains, it’s recommended to submit both the old sitemap and an updated one to the Search Console immediately after you redesign your website, so that Google can easily identify the redirects. You will help search engines to crawl and index your website faster.

19. Check Mobile Compatibility

A website that is mobile compatible means that it is an HTML based website that does not contain Flash content, and it adjusts the width of its elements to the width of the screen it is displayed on. If your site looks exactly the same on mobile as it does on a desktop, and you have to scroll left and right to view parts of the page, then it’s most probably not optimized for mobile devices. Use the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google to see if your site meets the requirement. If you see a result similar with the one from the next picture, you are safe.

Page is mobile-friendly

If not, you need to make your website mobile compatible.

20. Check PageSpeed Insights

The PageSpeed Insights is a tool created by Google to help webmasters to improve their website performance. The tool offers suggestions to make pages faster, by analyzing the content from the web page. You should use the PageSpeed Insights by Google to identify and fix as many errors as possible. Below you can example of the results for an analyzed website:

Speed Test Example

The tool gives a score out of 100 after it analyzes the content of a web page. Another tool that offers insights about the page load speed is WooRank.

21. Check Image Size

In many cases, redesigns include bigger, nicer images, which usually take a lot of space. If most of your images exceed 100kb, it will make your website load a lot more slowly. Also, it will take up your available hosting plan monthly traffic much more quickly. Remember that all images should contain a descriptive alt tag. There are numerous ways to compress your images. You can use online tools to compress the pictures before you upload them to your site. Or you can install a plugin on your website if you’re using a CMS platform, such as WordPress or Blogger. The beautiful part of the plugin is that you have the possibility to compress the pictures individually or in bulk.

22. Consider AMP and Instant Articles

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is an elegant and a simple way to create a second version of your page, without all the extra stuff found on the desktop version. The AMP is recommended for web pages that don’t use custom JavaScript, and it’s mostly static. You can better optimize your website for mobile browsers and apps. On top of all, the web pages created using AMP will render fast. Instant articles is a mobile publishing format that enables news publishers to deliver interactive content. Facebook instant articles will preload the websites in the background on the Facebook app, so when users click a link, the site appears to be loading instantly. It will give you a peak advantage over your competitors on mobile browsers and the Facebook app. This is a bigger step, and it requires a larger amount of time to implement.

23. Check Microdata Implementation (or Consider Adding It)

Microdata is more useful for an eCommerce or a recipes website, but it’s also useful to have it on all types of websites. There is currently no way of mass testing this as Google doesn’t provide any API key for the tool, but you can check the format, and make sure it’s the same pattern on every page. You could implement your microdata by following the markup HTML available at schema.org. You will ensure high-quality user experience for those who view your ads. The microdata enables two shopping features, according to the Google Merchant Center Help:

  • Automatic item updates;
  • Google Sheets Merchant Center add-on.

24. Check Cookie Law

The cookie law is a piece of privacy legislation that requires visitors’ consent to store information on their browser. A cookie will save login information for you and offer you personalized webpages based on your behavior on a site. Below you will see an example of a cookie warning message:

Cookie notification

Check if you have installed the cookie warning message. It should be clearly displayed at the top or bottom of the page, right as you enter the website.

25. Check Legal Compliance Pages

Internet laws are designed to protect the users. You don’t want to find yourself in breach of the regulations. The downside is you won’t be able to advertise if you don’t have legal pages. Google requires you to display legal pages for using its services such as Analytics’ software (as you can see in the picture below), Google AdSense, Google Adwords.

Policy requirements for Google Analytics

Terms of use, privacy policy, affiliate commissions disclosure are just a few examples of legal compliance pages.

26. Check Contact and About Pages

NAP citations (Name, Address, Phone Number) must be correctly displayed on your site. Besides the fact that having NAP citations on your website shows your business is legitimate, it will help you for local SEO optimization. You can also add microdata to the NAP format for an even greater impact. Make sure your contact forms are working, and the about page is present. You will, therefore, avoid any manual penalties. The lack of a contact page with an address, a functional contact form, and a phone number is a warning sign for manual reviewers.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

27. Check the 404 Page

Google recommends you to create a useful 404 page. If the visitors get lost sometimes or access links that are no longer available they will see a 404 error message. You should use that situation as an opportunity on your redirect strategy and redirect them to another page in your website. Otherwise, you risk losing them. A personalized 404 page can minimize the bounce rate. An example of a customized 404 page can be seen in the next picture:

error-404-james-bot-cognitive-seo

Create a good looking 404 page. There are many options. Funny, professional, or even lead capture 404 page.

28. Remove Meta Keywords

Google and Yahoo do not use meta keywords as a ranking factor anymore. Google has declared them obsolete for ranking purposes since 2009. Bing, on the other side, penalizes your website if you stuff meta keywords. You could lose your rankings because Bing sees it as a spam signal. You may use them on eCommerce websites for internal search purposes (Google Search Appliance), but otherwise, you can just remove them, as they won’t be of much use.

29. Share Buttons

Social share buttons are important for your social media strategy as they play an important role in driving traffic to the site. They could easily increase awareness and boost your posts. The good news is that they are extremely versatile and can be incorporated in different unique ways. You could place them on top of your article, on the left or right side or at the bottom of the post. It’s entirely your decision. You can choose where to place them depending on your website’s design (or your web designer’s preferences), but actual references show the placement is vital. Maybe the most effective social buttons are those which allow readers to pin images as they go. If they are placed at the bottom, some readers will never make it there and may never see the share buttons. You need to place them in a way that the user does not need to leave what he is reading.

social-sharing-buttons

Source: https://socialmediaweek.org/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/social-sharing-buttons.jpg

Make sure your content can be shared very easily on the social media platforms most suited for your niche. You can promote your content and reach your audience quickly.

30. Subscribe Buttons

Can users easily subscribe to your posts on your blog? How about your top pages or any other landing pages? Having subscribe buttons is a significant way to create leads. Make sure the buttons work. Otherwise, you will lose your subscribers, and there could be some that you can reach only by email. Check your subscribe buttons and make a test to be sure everything works smoothly.

LAUNCH

31. Visually Inspect (Test) Your New Site

When you design a website, you need to think about accessibility. Is your site accessible to a color blind person? Are all of your scripts cooperating? If you visually inspect your new site, you will spot mistakes such as wrong spacing, different fonts, wrong color, wrong image width and so on. Adobe Dreamweaver CC has a tool that you can use to test functionalities on your site and get a full report on any errors that it may find. Visually inspecting your new site is an essential step you’ve probably done it at least ten times already. Now do it again!

32. Get a Warning Message Ready

“Coming soon” messages are used for various types of sites and industries. When launching a site, there are lots of aspects you need to test and verify; getting a warning message ready is one them. You wouldn’t want to lose your visitors because they can’t access your site and don’t understand why, would you? Below you can see an example of a coming soon design with a counter:

Ticker-coming-soon

There are lots of ways to create beautiful “coming soon” messages on your landing page. Another example you can see below:

Cooming soon website Just in case something goes wrong and your website launch takes longer than expected, you should have a warning message ready to let your users know you’re redesigning the website for a better experience.

33. Set Up a Monitoring Plan

To see where you stand and to set up objectives you need to have a monitoring plan. Would you like to know which are the most visited pages? What are the best driving traffic sources? Set your metrics and keep tracking them in order to see the improvements you’re making. Use the cognitiveSEO tool to monitor the website’s rankings. Use Analytics to monitor and see if and where the traffic drops or increases, and what your bounce rates have to say. Use Facebook Insights or Twitter Analytics to see the performance you have on those social media platforms.

34. Tracking Codes Placement/Remplacement

To keep tracking metrics and statistical data, you need to connect your new site with different services such as Search Console, Tag Manager, Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools. You can install the Tag Assistant in your browser to see if you placed your codes correctly on your site. Insert the third party tracking software codes. Consider upgrading to Google Tag Manager and Universal Analytics. The most important tracking codes you need to place on your website are:

  • Search Console: Follow the guidelines you will find in the tool to place the code on your site to receive data in the tool.
  • Analytics/Tag Manager: Set up and verify Analytics. After you created the account, you need to wait up to 24 hours for data to appear in your reports. We recommend using Google Tag Manager and Universal Analytics instead.
  • Bing Webmaster Tools: There are three ways to install the code and fewer steps to register your site with Bing, as compared to Google.

35. Set Analytics Goals

You can see maximum 20 goals per reporting view. If you want to track more, you need to create another view for that property. You can’t delete a goal, but you can stop it from tracking. You can create a goal as a contact form, a request for an offer, a subscription for a product, a subscription to the newsletter, downloads, video plays and purchases. It’s a good thing to have goals because you can track your ROI. In the next picture you can see how to set up your goals:

Analytics Goals example

Set the new goals for the website, add to cart, purchase, etc. You need to do this now to ensure the tracking starts as soon as the site is live.

36. The Time You Launch

Before you take any decision, you need to think about your audience. When is your site getting the most traffic? Avoid launching the new web design at the peak hours. Preferably launch it after midnight, in the time zone where most of you traffic comes from. Also, launch it when you’re sure you’ve tested the elements on the website.

37. Post the New Version

You’ve made it so far. Take a deep breath. The site speed is good, you are in Google’s index and grace; you have everything set up from ALT text to redirects.  Yet, once you’ve used local installation, a subfolder, a subdomain or an entire domain for your test site, you need to start moving the site to the live version. Consider breaking it into smaller steps/sections if the website is very large.

38. Remove Password

Don’t forget to remove the password you’ve set for the development version of the website in the pre launch phase for a correct SEO website redesign. This will allow users and crawlers to access your new website.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

39. Check Robots.txt

Update and check the robots.txt file to make sure it blocks the parts you don’t want to be crawled and that it doesn’t block search engine spiders from crawling important pages on your website. You can test your robots.txt with the robots.txt Tester by Google. Choose a verified property from Search Console. Then you will be redirected to your account to see if there are errors or warnings. In case you don’t have errors, the dashboard will look similar to the one from the next picture:

robots.txt Tester

40. Set up the 301 Redirects (Without Domain Change)

You don’t want to lose all the traffic from the old domain, do you? Migrating site without using redirects is a big SEO mistake. Make sure you set up all the 301 redirects from the old URLs to the new ones. There are a few things you need to check before you finish this step:

  • Place the 301 redirect codes: Set the 301 redirect to each modified URL to point exactly to the new version of it. This way, any old URL that you forgot to update will be redirected.
  • Submit sitemap XML to Google: Submit the new Sitemap to the Search Console so that Google updates the pages. It will automatically identify the redirects. Any traffic you will be getting from Search Engines to the old link will be redirected as well. Google will probably identify the new URLs without the sitemap, but by submitting it, you will help to speed up the process.
  • Submit sitemap to Bing: Just as you submitted the sitemap to Google, you should submit it to Bing Webmaster Tools.
  • Check orphan pages 404: Deleted pages should return a 404 error message. Make sure orphaned URLs correctly return a 404 or a 410 error response code. If not, fix them. A good practice on this matter is to personalize a 404 page to be in harmony with the whole site/brand.
  • Check relevancy: When you have an entirely new domain, you should also verify the information from each redirected URL. The old unused URLs must be redirected to relevant locations. If you have pages on the new site that are similar to some of the old site, it is simpler to make the redirect. In case you don’t have something similar you should redirect the old URLs to homepage, instead of a 404 page. Never redirect to irrelevant locations.
  • Keep the redirects: Try to keep the redirects for as long as possible, and consider keeping them forever. You can’t be sure when Google’s Crawler finishes the job.

41. Set Up the 301 Redirects (with Domain Change)

If you completely changed your website and won’t be using the same domain, you should redirect the root domain, and each page accordingly. Check the next steps to be sure you’ve set up the 301 redirects correctly:

  • Set up the redirect codes: Set up server-side redirects (301-redirect directives) from your old URLs to the new ones. The change of address tool won’t function properly without this.
  • WWW or non-WWW: Verify the preferred version of your new domain (www vs. non-www). If you have checked http://example.com but instead want to use http://www.example.com, it will not appear in the list until you verify it.
  • Submit a change of address: Submit a Change of Address in the Search Console for the old website (in the old site Search Console, click the gear icon top right). The Change of Address Tool won’t work if you haven’t set the 301 redirects properly. You can see in the next picture what are the steps you need to follow to do this:

  Google-Search-Console-Change-address  

  • Submit sitemaps to Google: Submit both the old and the new Sitemaps previously prepared to the Search Console (on the destination/new site Search Console). In the tool, you will see all the submitted sitemaps and the sitemaps you’ve submitted (as displayed in the next screenshot)

 

Google Sitemaps-listing

Source: https://yoast-mercury.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/2015/02/gwt-sitemaps-listing-550×461.png

  • Submit sitemap to Bing: Submit the new sitemap to Bing Webmaster Tools. Look at the next screenshot to see where to submit the file in Bing Webmaster Tools:

  Bing Sitemaps-listing  

  • Check for broken links: Check for broken links (internal links, file attachments and images). Use Screaming Frog SEO spider for this. Download the software for free in the lite form.
  • Check for broken CSS/JS: Check for broken CSS and JS file URLs.
  • Keep the redirects: Try to keep the redirects for as long as possible, and consider keeping them forever. You will need ownership of the old domain as well. Selling it means compromising all the old backlinks, unless you manually reach to each and every webmaster, asking them to replace the old domain with the new domain.

42. Review Search Console Settings

Search Console is a great tool to use for your website. Set up or update all the new configurations in the Search Console. To finish this step, you should take the next actions:

  • Set URL Parameters: Use URL parameters to remove any unwanted duplicate links from the search engine created by search parameters such as “/?term=searchterm”. You should be able to find these parameters in the crawl. If you already blocked them from robots.txt or other PHP rules, then they won’t be crawled.

If you see this message in Search Console you are safe: “Currently GoogleBot is not experiencing problems with coverage of your site, so you don’t need to configure URL parameters.” Maile Ohye, a member of Google’s webmaster support team, explains in the next video how to configure URL Parameters in Google Webmaster Tools.

 

 

  • Set Geotargeting: Set up International Targeting so that you can target specific countries if you wish to do so. For that, you need to place the hreflang tags on your site. If you instead are doing the redesign and plan to target a global audience, select Unlisted in the drop-down list of the Site Settings page.

The hreflang tags are important, and they allow you to designate the language version for a particular market. In the next video, Bill Hunt, the President of Back Azimuth Consulting explains how to use hreflang correctly. For example, if you have a multilingual site, the tag tells the search engines which version of your website to display based on the country of the user.

 

 

  • Check crawl limits: Make sure there are no crawl limits so that Googlebot can freely crawl all your URLs. As you can see in the next picture, you have to check the “Let Google optimize for my site” instead of “limit Google’s maximum crawl rate”.

  Site-settings-search-console

43. Disavow Files

There are numerous situations when you need to upload the disavow file. In case you’ve uploaded a disavow file to the old site, you need to upload it to the new site. Also, if you have purchased a new domain and found out its link profile is spammy, upload the disavow file generated previously in the Pre launch section. With the CognitiveSEO you can send the file right from the tool and evaluate each link.

44. Reindex Site from Search Console

What you probably want now is to be indexed by Google and have all your organic traffic and SEO rankings in a safe place. And since you changed your domain you should reindex it. You can do that from your Search Console account. Go to Menu at Crawl > Fetch as Google, enter the domain and click fetch. After the site is found, click on Request Indexing. Check the captcha and click Go. Below you have a screenshot from the tool:

Webmaster Tools Fetch as Google

45. Annotate the Site Launch in Google Analytics

Use annotations in the Google Analytics to mark the website redesign launch. This way you can easily remember in the future when the redesign took place. In the next picture, you will see how to add annotation in Google Analytics on any report you’d like to display information based on the big change on your website.

Google Analytics Annotations

The example above is a site with a new design. Choose the date for when you launched your new website and started tracking the data.

POST-LAUNCH

46. Check Search Console Errors

Verify the messages from Search Console to see if you received something new. Check each section of the menu and see if everything is ok, if you have errors or any other warnings you need to take care of. It is recommended to make an overview after you launch your site because you might find errors that hadn’t appeared until then. Watch them and fix them as they come out.

47. Crawl the New Site and Audit It

A couple of months in, crawl the new site to see if you fixed all the issues. Just like in the pre-launch phase, you need to make an audit for your new site. Use tools like cognitiveSEO or, Moz, Woorank and even Google Search Console to generate substantial data. Good luck in the next steps in your SEO website redesign!

48. Compare the Results

After the website audit, you should compare the number of indexed links, and the results. The number of pages crawled should be identical to the old site, considering you haven’t deleted or added any content. Look for any unfixed errors such as missing titles, descriptions, alt tags, etc.

49. Check Your Server Logs

Check your server logs to identify broken pages. You can easily spot traffic that flows to 404 pages. To verify if you have server logs errors on your website you need to open your web browser and connect to your hosting account’s cPanel, then scroll down the page until you locate the “Logs” section. Check the “Error Log” icon and see the error messages.

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

50. Update Social Media Website URL

If you changed your domain, you should quickly update your website’s new link in the short description section about your business on social media. You can also try to redirect some of your most popular posts if they are still getting likes/shares/views.

51. Match Social Media Designs with the Website

Consider redesigning your social media covers and profile pictures, so they match the new website. If any of your followers accesses the internet site through your social media, they expect to see something similar. This might affect bounce rate. You can change the profile picture and top banner or custom welcome page (if you have something like that) to correspond to the new design of your website. This rule applies to the ads design and other images you use on social media, as well.

52. Monitor Your Website Thoroughly

For the next two months at least, monitor your website. Notice if you see improvements in the bounce rate, conversion rate, and time spent on the website. Test elements on your site, check links, check pages, the subscription form. If you have an e-commerce website, you need to see if the ordering and payment process work smoothly.

53. Check Number of Pages Indexed

You can type site:yourdomain.com in Google to see how many of your URLs have been indexed. Below you can see an example:

Number of Pages Indexed Google

The number of results you see in Google is pretty accurate.

54. Make Sure All Wanted Pages Are Indexable

Check to see if there are any particular noindex settings on important pages using the crawl you did. If you have the noindex tag on your pages, it will block search engine web crawlers from indexing a page on your site. The tag is placed in the section and it looks like this: Noindex code or Noindex code Google

55. Monitor the Cache Date of Indexed URLs

Use the cache:yourdomain.com operator to find this information. You will see a version of your site. If the cache data is frequently updated, it means that Googlebot likes your website. If the cache date is very old, there might be indexing problems. Make sure you did all the steps in the previous sections.

56. Clean Up New Domain

If you found in the pre-launch checklist that the new domain has unwanted backlinks from the previous owner, consider manually cleaning them. It is a process that will take you some time, but if you really want that domain, you must clean off all the unnatural links because they will harm your site. Sign in the cognitiveSEO tool to verify your backlink profile and spot the links.

57. Update Backlinks

If you went through URL changes or changed your domain, consider replacing some of the most important backlinks from pointing to the old URL/domain, to pointing to the new URL/domain. The 301 redirects will still pass the link value, but updating them will help you to monitor your backlinks more easily in the future. To do this, you can use the list generated by the cognitiveSEO Tool in the pre-launch checklist.

58. Check and Compare Search Traffic

How much search traffic do you have compared with the previous version of your site? Use your Analytics and Search Console data to compare the results. In case you changed the domain, it is mandatory to have the data exported in the pre-launch phase into a CVS file and compare it with the data you have now. In case you didn’t change your domain you can compare your data straight from Google Analytics. See the picture below to understand how:

Google analytics compare data example

Select a period before the launch and then select a period after the launch to see the differences. You can compare data in Search Console, too. See the next screenshot to understand where you can choose the option to compare data:

Search Console compare data

You can choose to compare the data for any period you’d like.

59. Compare Your SEO Visibility

Check your SEO Visibility for drops or gains. Use the cognitiveSEO tool to monitor your SEO Visibility evolution. Below you have a screenshot from the tool with the SEO visibility graph:

SEO Visibility

This metric helps you to easily identify market trends and digital marketing strategies, regardless if they are part of some marketing automation approach or any other. The SEO visibility is calculated based on millions of keywords that are tracked in Google, their importance and traffic volume and all the ups and downs can be easily correlated with Google’s algorithms updates. 

 

Conclusion

 

You need to bear in mind that redesigning your website is a big move and it is more than just changing a few colors. It implies a whole sort of technicalities, from domain names, duplicated content, xml sitemap, Google algorithms, redirects chains, thin content, speed and performance to most common seo mistakes like h1 tags or title and meta description.

 

You should always save the data before the big website redesign launch and after to compare and spot the eventual major SEO errors. And even if your website goes live and everything is a great SEO success, before drinking from the victory champagne, take another look to make sure that everything is OK and that your “newly” existing site doesn’t lose search engine rankings.

 

At the end of the day, we all know it’s not about just the search engine optimization, Google and Bing and their algorithms. A proper redesign or migration should be made for the  aspiration of all business: the users’satisfaction. At the end we all know it’s not about just the search engine optimization, Google and Bing and their algorithms. A proper redesign or migration should be made for the final aspiration of all business: the users’satisfaction. And to provide the best results for your users, we warmly recommend you downloading the complete website redesign checklist and, when it’s the case, use some SEO tools to help you out.  This website redesign checklist is not a beginner’s guide, yet, it can easily be used by people from the industry, from nubs to SEO pros or anyone who doesn’t want their SEO traffic dropped. The website redesign SEO checklist includes three major phases: before you launch the new site, the moments while you are updating your website and the monitoring steps afterwards.  

 

 

Download The Website Redesign SEO Checklist

The post SEO Website Redesign – A Guaranteed Checklist on How to Not Lose Your Rankings appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

Poor Marketing Data Costs Online Businesses $611 Billion Per Year

The data quality subject is often neglected, and poor quality business data constitutes a significant cost factor for many online companies. And, although there is much content that claims that the costs of poor data quality are significant, only very few articles are written on how to identify, categorize and measure such costs. In the following article we are going to present how poor quality data can affect your business, why is this happening and how can you prevent wasting time and money due to poor data.

 

It’s going to be an in-depth geeky research and we advise you to keep your pen and notebook nearby and load yourself with plenty of coffee.

 

Poor Marketing Data Costs Online Businesses $611 Billion Per Year

 

With no further introduction, allow us to present you the main subject we are going to tackle in the following lines:

 

  1. Is Poor Data Really Affecting Your Online Business?
  2. Drowning in Dirty Data? It’s Time to Sink or Swim
  3. Poor Understanding of the Digital Marketing Environment 
  4. Faulty Methodology Being Used to Collect Digital Marketing Data
  5. Data That Cannot Be Translated Into Conversion
  6. Conclusion

 

Is Poor Data Really Affecting Your Business?

 

The development of information technology during the last decades has enabled organizations to collect and store enormous amounts of data. However, as the data volumes increase, so does the complexity of managing them. Since larger and more complex information resources are being collected and managed in organizations today, this means that the risk of poor data quality increases, as the studies show.  Data management, data governance, data profiling and data warehouse could be the salvation for any business and not just snake oil. 

 

Poor quality data can imply a multitude of negative consequences in a company.

 

Below you can read just some of them:

 

  • negative economic and social impacts on an organization
  • less customer satisfaction
  • increased running costs associated
  • inefficient decision-making processes
  • lower performance (of the business overall but also lowered employee job satisfaction)
  • increased operational costs
  • difficulties in building trust in the company data
  • + many others

 

In the image below you can easily see that there are not only direct costs we are talking about but hidden costs as well. Therefore, when creating your digital marketing strategy, have in mind the chart below before overlooking the data quality you are working on.

 

poor seo data

Source: jiem.org

Drowning in Dirty Data? It’s Time to Sink or Swim

 

95% of new products introduced each year fail.

And yes, this statistic has much to do with the data accuracy; or with the poor marketing data quality. A McKinsey & Company study from a couple of years ago revealed that research is a crucial part of a company’s survival.

80% of top performers did their research, while only 40% of the bottom performers did. 

Still, that’s a lot of research done by the bottom performers. Of course, just because they do research doesn’t automatically mean they do good research.

Trying to do research is not enough if you’re not going to be thorough about it.

If you are still not convinced of the importance of having good accurate data, before running any sort of campaign, be it email marketing, SEO or mail automation, take a look at these researched stats below: 

 

  • $ 611 bn per year is lost in the US by poorly targeted digital marketing campaigns

 

  • Bad data is the number one cause of CRM system failure

 

  • Organisations typically overestimate the quality of their data and underestimate the cost of errors

 

  • Less than 50% of companies claim to be very confident in the quality of their data

 

  • 33% of projects often fail due to poor data

 

There are many ways in which research can lead to poor marketing data quality, but let’s look and go in-depth with just 3 particular instances. Taking a close look and understanding them will help us identify how to prevent losing resources (time, money, people). Each of the three instances will be exhaustively detailed below.

 

  1. Poor Understanding of The Digital Marketing Environment 

 

  1. Faulty Methodology Being Used to Collect Digital Marketing Data

 

  1. Data That Cannot Be Translated Into Action

1. Poor Understanding of the Digital Marketing Environment

 

Google Trends is a pocket of gold and you might already know this. Yet, even having this instrument at your disposal, the secret stands in how you use it.  Yes, you’ll find a lot of data to help you see what’s trending to stay on top of your competitors. It’s a real-time search data to gauge consumer search behaviors over time. But what happens when you don’t use it properly or when you don’t “read” the the data correctly? Let’s say we are interested in the image search for the digital marketing techniques vs tactics. As we take a look at the screenshot below, we might be inclined to say that the “digital marketing techniques” are of higher interest. 

 

Google Trends

 

Yet, as mentioned before, I was going for the image search; and even if the techniques seems to be of more interest on the general search, when it comes to image search, I should probably go with tactics. Conducting research is not enough but properly understanding the environment is the key. 

 

google trends image

 

On the following line we are going to offer you some nice case studies of poor understanding of the environment and customer needs, based on three dimensions: depth, context and match.

 

A) No Depth

 

Companies have certainly come a long way from assuming they know what’s best for the consumer to trying to find out what the consumer actually wants. But even when they feign interest, things can go wrong if it’s not genuine or thorough enough.

 

Some instances are downright hilarious, like McDonald’s 2005 campaign, where it tried to emulate the youth hip lingo only for it to backfire horribly. Knowing that a certain group (young people) like something (their own jargon) doesn’t mean that the group will like any version of it, especially if it doesn’t fit or sounds like your dad trying to be “cool” and “with it.”

 

McDonalds 2005 campaign

 

When McDonalds’ ad reads “Double Cheesburger? I’d hit it – I’m a dollar menu guy,” it becomes obviously painful they have no idea what they’re saying and they just try to sound knowledgeable (here you can find the “urban” definition of I’d hit it). And if there’s something worse than not fitting in, it has to be trying to fit in and failing. If you’re not with the cool kids, but you’re ok with that, you might still have a chance to earn respect.

If you’re not with the cool kids, but you’re desperate to get in, that’s when you’re doomed. Superficiality is definitely a mark of poor research.

Some similar misunderstanding of how youth works plagued McDonalds several years later. They tried to make something happen and “go viral” when they started sharing success stories using the “McDStories” hashtag. This turned out to be another failure – not only in consumer understanding, but also in technology understanding. The “McDStories” hashtag was soon reappropriated by random dissatisfied customers who decided to share their own stories. Only their recollections weren’t nearly as nice and flattering as the company’s. This particular example is extremely prescient to SEO, because it highlights the dangers of trying to manufacture goodwill. Something in the level of awareness of consumers and the technology tools they have at hand makes rebellion and irony very likely reactions to trend setting from the outside.

B) No Context

Market research matters. And poor data leads to poor business decisions. But you probably know that already. 

Even when you do research thoroughly, you can still wrong your customers by not asking the right questions.

 

The classic example here is that of New Coke.

 

It wasn’t that their research was poor in itself: they had evidence that strongly suggested the taste was the leading cause of their market decline. They also had 200,000 blind product taste tests where more than half of respondents preferred the taste of the New Coke over both the “classic” Coke and Pepsi. So all the science was rightfully pointing them towards introducing the New Coke. Which they eventually did, with disastrous results. There was public outcry and the company ended up giving up the new formula and reverting to the classic one.

 

So what went wrong? Was it the consequences of poor data? The same thing, really: they didn’t fully understand their customers (although in a slightly different way than McDonalds). Coke’s mistake was to treat their customers as living in a vaccum, as consumers of soda, as opposed to consumers of Coke, specifically.

Blind tests are a very good instrument to use in general – except when you don’t want your respondets to be blind to their options.

 

So try to think about things not just in terms of functionality, but also brand recognition and emotional attachment.

 

It might very well be that your website’s design is outdated or boring. And the research reveals that youngsters are usually attracted to shiny, slick things. But maybe your particular type of outdated and boring is what works for your users. Data governance and information management are highly important; yet, so is data profiling. 

Try to keep a certain perspective on things and make sure you ask the right questions about your consumers.

C) No Match

 

Other times, it could be more of a mismatch problem between companies and customers. Inadequate market research is a major reason why business strategies fail and the source of poor data. If you want to develop your brand, one of the most important things that you should establish is a reliable marketing research system. Customers will buy or not a product for a certain reason. And it is essential for the future of your company to understand what this reason is.

 

What drives your customers? What sends them away? What makes them continue with your services?

 

And the answer to all of these is just under your nose. Your sales and support team. They are a goldmine. Just think about it; what better way to find exactly what your users want if not from them directly, with no intermediates, no fancy feedbacks, just straightforward accurate data you can make use of. It depends, of course, on how you “master” data and how you make use of it. If, for instance, someone is asking you for a new feature you don’t have; yes, it’s frustrating as you might get dozens of similar mails. Yet, make use of them, exploit them and win customers (and therefore money). Take a look at the screenshot below and notice all the missed opportunities. 

 

Source: helpscout.net

Source: helpscout.net

 

Through all its efforts, a company/business/website is trying to find a way to best reach its audience. Some efforts are sort of an “indirect” contact with the public through online content but there are also some others which are in direct contact. A discussion with the sales and support team might be a great opportunity for you to better understand your audience’s needs or challenges and adapt your strategy accordingly. 

 

If you’ve never thought of your support team as a research tool, then you might be missing a lot.

 

Yet, let me present you what a mismatch between companies and customers can lead to through an interesting case study from the brand association area.  Only by looking at the screenshot below you can forsee the association issues between Tesco products and a fine wine production line. 

 

tesco and yalumba wine

 

Yalumba, an Australian wine company was selling well into the UK through Tesco and relying heavily on their association with that supermarket chain, confident of their success because of the successful association. However, they began to be squeezed on margins, so had a close look at what was happening with Tesco, and were astounded at what they found.

 

They discovered that their brand was being marketed by Tesco as a commodity – offered on promotion and regarded by consumers as a good wine, but nothing special because it was generally offered at a special price. Their market research discovered that their brand was not considered good enough for special occasions because it was a Tesco promotional wine. Great they did a market research after all yet, a bit too late. 

 

It was not the consumers’ wine of choice, and there was little connection between the consumer and the brand. This is a classic commodity trap, causing margin pressure, and not sustainable on the longer term. The company had created this problem of a commodity trap caused by poor research and a link between brand loyalty and promotions that led to an expectation of lower price and hence, ultimately, unsustainable low margins for Yalumba.

2. Faulty Methodology Being Used to Collect Digital Marketing Data 

 

On this chapter we are going to tackle the loaded choices and questions issues but until then we are going to talk a bit about how a faulty methodology can lead you to a wrong track. And it doesn’t have to be on a large scale but even on a minimal research that you are doing. Let’s say that we are interested in the “restaurants” niche in Brasil. And we want to see everything that is out there on the web written on “restaurants” in the South American country. I use Brand Mentions for that and as you can see in the image below. 

 

BM restaurants

 

That’s indeed an impressive number of mentions. Yet, the initial search was done using the word I was targeting in english, “restaurants”. Will the search of the same word but in Portugese would make a difference? It sure does. A lot of difference. Therefore, even when doing a simple search you should always keep in mind the methodology if you want accurate data. 

 

BM restaurants portugese

 

Below you will find some very interesting case studies based on some common faulty methodology. 

 

A) Loaded Questions

 

How you phrase the questions and how much (or how little) information you decide to provide your respondents can make all the difference.

 

For instance, in the image below, which line is longer? If you bear with us until the end of the chapter you will find out the answer if you don’t know it already. 

 

muller-lyer

 

Giving them too little information can obviously skew their ability to give a useful answer. But it turns out that giving too much information can have the same effect. In his post on market research failures, Philip Graves provides two excellent examples of this phenomenon at work:

 

1. One is of a bank-related survey, where people are first asked if they have changed their bank lately and second if they are happy with their bank. While this line of questioning doesn’t necessarily provide unwanted information, it does create it implicitly in the mind of the respondent.

 

Just imagine: if you’ve answered “No” to the question about changing banks, once you get the second question, your brain is tempted to give an answer that is coherent with the answer to the first question. You can’t answer “No” to the second question, or else your answer to the first question would seem weird in retrospect. Have you changed your bank lately? No! Are you happy with your bank? The “Yes” comes automatically almost. Why would you not change your bank if you’re unhappy?

 

But of course, that’s not something you can do on the spot. What you can do on the spot, however, is find an answer that is consistent with the previous one, which, in this case, is “Yes.” You haven’t changed your bank because your are happy with it. There doesn’t need to be a causal link between the two, but the two answers are easier to accept if there is. We like order, symmetry and harmony.

 

When conducting a research, make sure the questions are consistent, logical and easy to understand. 

 

2. The other example in Graves’ article is more glaring. In a survey that asked “As the world’s highest paid cabin staff, should BA cabin crew go on strike?” 97% of respondents said “No.” To nobody’s surprise, we should add. This a classic example of a loaded question. The way it is worded makes it very unlikely that someone might say “Yes,” since we’re talking about the world’s highest paid cabin staff. In fact, the mechanism at work here is very similar to the previous one – it’s just more explicit. Our brains find it hard to hold two opposing views, so we try to adjust one of them to fit the other.

 

It’s like asking: being the best tool in the digital marketing with 80% success rate, do you think that the pros should choose us?

 

In this case, the two implicit views at work are “people who are well-paid should be happy with their work” and “people who are happy with their work shouldn’t go on strikes.” Or, to further reduce them to equation-like mantras, “money = satisfaction” and “satisfaction ⇏ manifesting dissatisfaction.”

 

think fast think slow

 

This kind of thinking – of which we are often not aware – is something that Nobel laureate Daniel Kaheman talks about at length in his “Thinking, Fast and Slow” book. It’s easier and faster to think in terms of simple equations and binary relationships between things, so we usually do. We are also prone to take the path of least resistance, so depending on how the question is phrased, we are more likely to give the answer that requires the least mental effort.

 

Just like in the case of the lines from the image above; even if you know, at a cognitive level that the lines are equal, you still have the tendency to consider the first one as being longer. 

 

Phrasing questions in a survey is such hard work.

B) Loaded Choices

 

Loaded questions are just one example of asking the right questions in the wrong way.

 

An inherent bias in the language you use can also have a significant effect on the answers you get.

 

For instance, there is a huge difference between asking people “How satisfied are you?” and “How dissatisfied are you?” even when the answer options are exactly the same (for instance: “Very safisfied,” “Satisfied,” “Rather satisfied,” “Rather dissatisfied,” “Dissatisfied,” “Very dissatisfied”). Priming can have a very strong effect even if people don’t realize they are susceptible to it and even when they downright deny it.

 

dissatisfaction

 

But getting the question right isn’t enough – you have to also get the choices right. Have open-ended questions and you might get answers that aren’t comparable and end up not being useful.

 

Have closed-ended questions and you might end up not including some very relevant answers, which in turn will force respondents to provide answers that do not represent them.

 

Even if you go for a mixed approach, you can still mess up by not making the choices comparable or symmetrical at both ends.

 

Let’s say that you are asked about your assessment of a mailing automation service and the options were: “Excellent,” “Very good,” “Good,” Very poor,” “Disastrous.” If you were just mildly dissatisfied with the service you received, you’re not likely to signal that because unless you’re up in arms about it, there’s no answer that fits your level of dissatisfaction. And even if you were seriously dissatisfied, you’d more likely go for “Very poor” than for anything else, because “disastrous” is generally a very rare occurrence. Moreover, the fact that there are 3 positive options and only 2 negative ones makes the least positive option (which is still quite positive) appear as more of a middle-ground than it should. So, if you’re just slightly dissatisfied, you are more likely to keep it to yourself and choose “Good” rather than choose “Very poor.” This is, obviously, an exaggerated example, but there are plenty, more subtle – but equally problematic – research design flaws out there.

3. Data That Cannot Be Translated Into Conversion

 

Here we are talking about useless data actually. Not quality issues, inaccurate data, business process, data managements, cost associated or process quality issues like we’ve discussed so far.  We’ve concluded by now that the quality of online data is a major concern—not only for the market research industry but also for business leaders who rely on accurate data to make decisions. 

 

Sometimes companies are so focused on the mousetrap they tend to lose touch with the emotions and needs of the people they actually work for: consumers.

 

Let’s say for instance that you are planning on boosting your website through SEO. And one day you realize that you have around 3 million links. That’s amazing, right? A few more and you are catching Microsoft’s link profile. Yet, is there anything you can do with this info alone? The 3 million links? Not really. You need to correlate it with the number of referring domains (which in our case is incredibly low reported to the high amount of links), the link influence, their naturalness, etc. Otherwise, there is no much use in having just the number of links. You cannot set up a strategy based on it nor take a digital marketing decision. 

 

cognitiveSEO site explorer

 

Yet, these things happen to the big guys as well. Let’s take Google Glasses for instance.  Not even 2 years have passed from the great launch and the producers announced that they are discontinuing the product. Didn’t Google have the means to conduct a proper research? Of course they did. Then what happened? 

 

What did they overlook?  Everything, some would say. Well, not quite everything but it’s clear that they made use of the data they had but not in an efficient way (we can say that these are still consequences of poor data). After researches, the producer came up with one conclusion: if high tech can be shrunk to fit in the hand, as with smartphones and tablets, and have such a great success, then why not shrunk technology to be close to a part of the human body? And their market research sample seemed thrilled about the idea. This was the info they’ve provided to the company. The product is created, it gets launch and no glory at all. Even more, it unceremoniously fails within months.  So what happened? Was it the consequences of poor data? The producers made their potential customers’ dreams come true; why did they not sell?

 

Privacy and price concerns alienated much of the public—and the fact Google released early copies only to rich geeks in the west coast, thereby branding the product as elitist instead of the “affordable luxury” philosophy. Even if they had a lot of data, it was quite useless.  According to CNN, before launch, Google didn’t anticipate that few would want to pay (or could afford) $1,500 to parade in public with a device slung around their eyes that others might perceive as either a threat to others’ privacy or a pretentious geeky gadget.

“Google’s fast retreat exposes the most fundamental sin that companies make with the “build it and they will come” approach. It’s a process that tech companies rely on, referred to as public beta testing.”

 

There are blind spots in marketing research that are costly and variables that no market research studies can predict.

Conclusion

 

Bad data can lead to bad analysis, which can lead to bad business decisions, some really bad revenue and not only. The first step is made. If you are aware of poor data quality impact today, it will not affect your business tomorrow. One should always be aware that bad data has long time consequences not only on your overall data management but also on all your future business decisions. 

The post Poor Marketing Data Costs Online Businesses $611 Billion Per Year appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

40 Most Effective Digital Marketing Tactics and Techniques in 2017

Everybody wants to have the possibility of choice, but the paradox is that no one wants to be some random “one” in a crowd of a hundred. With this need of any digital marketer in mind, we’ve thought of giving you the opportunity of being just that marketer who stands out. The new year of H2H (human-to-human) approach is here and we should focusing our attention to build meaningful relationships with audiences in a creative way. After extensive research, we’ve put together a list with the top efficient digital marketing tactics and techniques, backed by some great case studies.

effective digital marketing strategies cognitiveSEO

 

Below you can find the most effective 40 digital marketing tactics and techniques for a kickass start in 2017:

I. Content Marketing

  1. Use First Person in Call to Actions & Get 90% Increase in Click Through Rate
  2. Boost traffic by 300% While Using Editorial Calendars
  3. Use Content Syndication & Get a Constant Traffic of 250,000 Unique Visitors
  4. Promote Your Business with SlideShare to Drive 20% More Organic Traffic
  5. Sales Growth with 185% by Offering Highly Qualitative Case Studies

II. Search Marketing

  1. Build a Network of Partner Websites to Get Influence on the SERP and Jump up to 30+ Positions
  2. Rank Higher on Review Sites to Have an Average 18% Uplift in Sales
  3. Be Part of the 90% of Marketers Who Saw a Significant Increase in ROI by Taking Advantage of Trends for Traffic Generation
  4. Gain a Higher Advantage in Front of Your Competitors with AMP Receiving 40% Organic Traffic from the Whole Site Traffic
  5. Write on Medium to Get Awarness Through 6.2 Million Pageviews

III. Social Media Marketing

  1. Develop a Facebook Customized Page Tab and Engage 40% of Fans
  2. Write Valuable Content on Linkedin Pulse and win up to 1,900 Social Shares in 30 Days
  3. Use Reddit to Grow Your Business & Generate $6,188 in 3 Months
  4. Target the Online Communities and Hit 10.000 Monthly Unique Visitors
  5. Get Social Influence to Receive Higher Rankings by 15%

IV. Email Marketing

  1. Design a Smart Automated Reactivation Campaign and Boost Sales by 164%
  2. Get Personalized Emails to See an Average 19% Increase in Sales
  3. Reduce Friction and Increase by 100% Your Email Sign-Up Rate
  4. Use Segmentation to Increase Deliverability & Experience 141% Increase in Revenue per Campaign
  5. Increase Your Email Open Rate by 33% with a Subject Line That Triggers Curiosity

V. PPC & Paid Advertising

  1. Collaborate with Influencers to Write About Your Product to Generate Over $300.000 in 3 Months
  2. Have an Integrated Approach about Paid Promotion on Social Media
  3. Increase CTR with 64% in PPC Ads with Site-Links Extentions
  4. Use Emotion Triggers in Headline Ads to Get 6x Above Average CTR
  5. See a 32% Return on Investment for a Promoted Twitter Account

VI. Marketing Automation

  1. Set up Automated Behavioral Triggered Emails to get 71% Higher Open Rates
  2. Collect Customer Data Through a Transparent and Unique System to Gain Trust of  44% of Customers
  3. Make use of retargeting & Experience a 400% Increase On ROI
  4. Develop a Lead Scoring System to Generate 50% More Sales at Half of Costs
  5. Get More Social Exposure Through the Social Media Automation

VII. Online PR

  1. Encourage Brand Lovers to Support You Against Trolls
  2. Built a Strong Customer Following & Get Free Endorsement
  3. Gain Free Media to Get Everyone Talk About You on News and Get 5 Million Views on YouTube
  4. Create Fascinating Video Content to Attract Native Customers & Increase the Conversion Rate by 80%
  5. Use Webinars to Gain 16,394 new leads

VIII. Affiliate Marketing

  1. Start Running an Affiliate Program to Monetize Your Website & Get Extra $4500 Monthly Profit
  2. Generate Product Order Increase by 9.8% Through Voucher and Reward Sites
  3. Map out the Affiliates’ Value to Increase the Long Haul Share by 19%
  4. Reach Over 60% Social Engagement and Advocacy for the Brand with Respected Influencers Through an Affiliate Program
  5. Implement a Publisher Strategy to See a Monthly Revenue Growth Rate of 177%

 

1. Use First Person in Call to Actions & Get 90% Increase in Click Through Rate

To have a persuasive call to action you must know your audience and what its triggers are. For example, millennials are very critical since they’ve grown up fast-forwarding through commercials and online advertising.

 

An effective digital tactic is to correlate the call to action with the visual component (if there is any), have a compelling verb (to entice you to take action), communicate value (what you are offering) and create a sense of urgency. You should use ”get your free e-book” instead of “download” or “get free quote” instead of “submit” and so on.

 

A call to action is a great way to make the user take action and persuade them into taking the action you want without letting them know that on a conscious level. You should have a call to action message on your landing page, newsletters, emails.

 

Below you can see an example of an effective and branded call to action button from a landing page:

call to action button

Michael Aagard from Unbounce made A/B test on the payment page. The results showed that changing the button text from the second person to the first person brought an increase in the number of prospects that clicked the button. As you can see in the next picture, there were two buttons, one saying “Start YOUR free 30-day trial” and the other “Start MY free 30-day trial”; for the second one, he saw a 90% increase in click through rate.

Call to action a b test

Source: http://unbounce.wpengine.netdna-cdn.com

On the same research, it was discovered that using the first person instead of the second person on a payment page brought 24.95% more payment.

2. Boost traffic by 300% While Using Editorial Calendars

New content appears daily. You must bring something fresh every time. Investing in social media, sales funnel, conversion rate optimization, customer relationships, marketing budgets, web analytics; they are all keywords that pops in your head all the time. Yet, which are the most effective tactics one should use?

Scheduling your blog posts is mandatory, especially if you work with multiples copywriters. Make sure your marketing plan includes an editorial calendar for improving your results. Creating an editorial calendar is easier than you think. There are lots of apps that can help you with that. Meistertask is a mind mapping app you could use to drag and drop tasks for each participant and create an editorial calendar easily. Below you can see a screenshot with an editorial calendar created in Meistertask:

 

Editorial Calendar

Source: https://www.meistertask.com

 

Trello gives us another digital marketing technique example you could use to create editorial campaigns. CoSchedule has a Content Marketing Calendar component. They used a process that helped them to increase traffic by 299%. Follow the next steps to achieve similar results:

 

  • have a broad goal behind your calendar;
  • set metrics to measure your goal;
  • find your baseline performance of an average month for that metric;
  • establish smart objectives for each blog post from your calendar;
  • find out how many blog posts you’ll need to meet your aspirational goal;

3. Use Content Syndication & Get a Constant Traffic of 250,000 Unique Visitors

Content syndication is the process of publishing your content on third party sites. You need to find authoritative publications. The idea behind is to drive more engagement for your content. Outbrain and Taboola power your content on their marketing channel. Once you republish your article on a big site like those two, you are exposed to a new audience and could reach a higher traffic.

 

James Clear used this digital marketing tactic and built an email list of more than 100,000 with a  constant traffic of 250,000 unique visitors per month on the blog. He republished a blog post on Lifehacker and got almost 99k views as you can see in the next photo. Quick tip: If you have an account on Google Analytics you can easily track your performance and see how many unique visitors you have.

 

Content Syndication

4. Promote Your Business with SlideShare to Drive 20% More Organic Traffic

Slideshare is the largest marketing platform for sharing presentations and it’s best suited for B2B companies. Didit Marketing, an advertising agency from New York, conducted a study showing that SlideShare gets 500% more traffic from business owners than Facebook, Twitter or Youtube.

Promote Your Business with SlideShare

An important fact you need to keep in mind is that SlideShare received billions of viewers every month and it’s a great way to connect with different specialists and find quality information in a friendly format.

 

Ana Hoffman, blogger at Traffic Generation Cafe, conducted a study showing how she received from 0 to 243,000 views in 30 days on Slideshare. The fun part is that you don’t need entirely new content to do a presentation, you can work through your old content displayed in a visual form to be easy to read.

 

20% of the SlideShare visitors come directly from Google. The rest come from social media and other SlideShare presentations. Always keep on eye on your metrics from Google Aalytics to see how are you performing in terms of organic traffic, paid traffic, visitors and so on.

5. Sales Growth with 185% by Offering Highly Qualitative Case Studies

Smart and effective digital tactics are a gold mine. Case studies as well. Not to mention the conversion optimization rates you can get with them.  Case studies have a huge potential to grow traffic, sales, and revenue if you offer quality results and show your product brings value. The Content Marketing Institute conducted a research where they saw that 63% of UK marketers believe that case studies are an effective digital marketing tactic. Case studies are the fifth most popular marketing tactic used out of 12, after social media, newsletters, blogs and blog posts.

 

Neil Patel, one of the top 10 marketers according to Forbes, conducted a study to see the influence of the use of case studies on his own site. He witnessed a growth in his revenue by 185%.  

6. Build a Network of Partner Websites to Get Influence on the SERP and Jump up to 30+ Positions

Brand mentions on well-known publications are important and hard to get. They could lift you up in ranking on the search engines for the right keyword phrases and you could improve your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. Usually, startups collaborate with content marketing specialists or firms because some of them don’t have the budget for a full-time person. Building a network of partner websites for a short period of time is an effective digital marketing technique to bring awareness and traffic to your site. The profile of the website could include publications, edu websites, web directory, blogs, forums, e-commerce and so on.

 

OutreachMama employed a study to see the results after their partnership with publisher Companies like Forbes and Huffington Post. In only 2 months they received 350 total backlinks from over 100 domains. Besides that, they saw a natural increase in their backlink profile.  

Link Visibility Outreachmama

www.outreachmama.com

 

In the second month of the partnership, they saw that they money keywords jumped up to 30 positions in the search engine result page.

7. Rank Higher on Review Sites to Have an Average 18% Uplift in Sales

9 out of 10 people look at online product reviews before they make a purchase decision. According to BrightLocal, 72% of Consumers say positive reviews make them trust a business more. Other 88% say they trust customer reviews as must as personal recommendations.

Trustworthyness from Customer Reviews

Source: http://searchengineland.com

 

Reevoo discovered through an in-house case study that online reviews bring an average 18% uplift in sales. In 2015, US  e-commerce sales were about $341.7 billion showing an increase of almost 15% over 2014.

U.S. e-commerce growth

Source: http://images.internetretailer.com

 

With a continuous growth in e-commerce sale, customer reviews (all reviews, not necessary the ones coming from some ideal customers) are a major factor, an efficient trigger and quite essential tools nowadays for e-commerce websites.

8. Be Part of the 90% of Marketers Who Saw a Significant Increase in ROI by Taking Advantage of Trends for Traffic Generation

Google Trends is a pocket of gold. You’ll find a lot of data to help you to generate content and see what’s trending to stay on top of your competitors. The particularity of this tool is that you’ll find real-time search data or help to gauge consumer search behaviors over time. Below you can see a screenshot from Google Trends with searches for 3 holidays: Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Google Trends

You need to keep your eyes open for the marketing trends that will come. The marketing trends that will dominate 2017 include the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, live streaming video, visual storytelling, native advertising, marketing automation, influencer marketing, mobile marketing.

 

In 2016, video content was very popular and still is. Fire Brand proved that following trends can bring growth. The results showed that 90% of marketers have noticed significant increase in Return on Investment (ROI) through video content.

9. Gain a Higher Advantage in Front of Your Competitors with AMP Receiving 40% Organic Traffic from the Whole Site Traffic

AMP is a simpler and easier way to built light-weight web pages with static content that loads faster on mobile devices, due to its technology. The project is based on AMP HTML, new open framework built of existing web technologies.

 

The pages with an AMP version see a 2% higher CTR, which translates to more clicks, as you can see in the next screenshot.

ctr-example2-amp-pages

Source: https://www.2dogsdesign.com

 

AMP version has 40% of all the traffic for a page. It is an utterly amazing improvement for many sites because the content renders faster. The project comes to the rescue for a  large number of publishers.

10. Write on Medium to Get Awareness Through 6.2 Million Pageviews

Medium is a network built out for people from people and offers a new kind of content – publishing, and social media synergy. Every day, there are newly published articles that could get you over 45,000 views.

 

Publishers can see 3 stats graphs on Medium for 30 days, minutes read, views and visitors. Ali Mese, startup marketer at GrowthSupply.com, created a report with the statistic for his best traffic-generator article. For an article of about 1,000-1,500 words, he received over 4 million pageviews and 144,920 followers on Medium as you can see in the next picture.

 

Views on Medium

Source: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com

 

For a global audience, it’s best to publish your piece of content on Sunday at 0:00 GMT, because people look forward to reading something new as the week starts. To give it a kick, you should use an A/B emailing test sent at different hours to see which hour has the best open rate.

11. Develop a Facebook Customized Page Tab to Engage 40% of Fans

Investing in social media is a must. Yet, don’t know if you knew that a customized page tab gives you the advantage to offer exclusive information to fans. A personalized page tab can be used to promote registration for upcoming events, to bring fans to your website, to promote an app or a contest, create a content library, feature customers reviews or case studies and so on.

 

 Socially Stacked demonstrated that a customized page for a discount can influence the engagement for that page. In the end, 42% fans liked the page to get a coupon or discount. On the same side, a case study by Wildfire Interactive showed that a Facebook coupon-based page tab  received the highest engagement rates beside giveaways, sweepstakes, trivia Contests, Sweepstakes, Contest essays, photo contest, coupons, and video contest as you can see in the next graph.

Wildfire Interactive graph

12. Write Valuable Content on Linkedin Pulse and win up to 1,900 Social Shares in 30 Days

LinkedIn Pulse is a professional self-publishing platform. At first, everyone could write and publish content without any approval. Currently, it is composed of 500 selected experts.  According to Kapko, LinkedIn Pulse “lies somewhere between blog and social network”. Authors add a number of 50,000 articles on the platform every week.

 

Brian Lang, blogger at Small Business Ideas, conducted quite an interesting study on 300 posts featured on LinkedIn Pulse. Most articles from Pulse were about careers (42%), then about business (15%) and self improvement (9.33%) and other (33.67%) which includes technology, sales & marketing, current events, and productivity.

 

On average, the articles from Pulse got 1,843 social shares, and only 10% had less than 500 social shares, which leaves almost 90% with more than 500 social shares. If you are featured on LinkedIn Pulse, it can bring you a good amount of social exposure. From now on, writing on Linkedin Plan should be a part of your marketing plan.

13. Use Reddit to Grow Your Business & Generate $6,188 in 3 Months

Reddit is a community that has been growing since 2005. Here you can meet people with similar interests. It’s a place where you could follow news in a thread categorized in “hot”, ”new”, ”rising”, ”controversial”, ”top”, ”gilded”, ”wiki” and “promoted”. The nice part is you could follow lots of subreddits depending on the industry you’re interested. There were numerous cases when different stories from Reddit became famous and gained many upvotes.

 

 If you choose to post a link instead of a text you can link to your business and bring visitors to your website. Scott Keyes is an example of best practice in this case. He is a reporter for Think Progress and founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights. He turned an obsession with cheap plane tickets into a $1 million business in under 2 years. In 3 months he managed to make $6,188 only by posting on Reddit. According to what he said, his posting got him 1,000 free subscribers and 250+ premium subscribers.

14. Target the Online Communities and Hit 10.000 Monthly Unique Visitors

Online communities are a great way to grow your online presence and to catch insights. Being apart of an online community has its perks. Being around by people with similar interests and exchanging knowledge is a good way to develop yourself and the company you are working at.

 

 The best online marketing communities you need to join are LinkedIn, Reddit, Quora, Slack, GrowthHackers and, Inbound.org, ordered in chronological order. A good example of using the last two comes from Grow and Convert. The company was born when Devesh Khanal and Benji Hyam met a few years ago. Since they launched their site, they were active in online marketing communities, Devesh Khanal on GrowthHackers, on the one side, and Benji Hyam on Inbound.org, on the other side.

 

They set up a goal of bringing 40,000 monthly unique visitors in 30 days. As you can see in the next picture it is not quite like that, but they were able to bring more visitors from online communities than from organic searches. That is a good start!

 

Online Communities website traffic

15. Get Social Influence to Receive Higher Rankings by 15%

There is a lot of fuss around the subject about the importance of social signals in rankings. We already know that investing in social media is an effective digital tactic that can help out with the conversion rate optimization. Moz study says that Google doesn’t use social share counts directly in its algorithm. Neil Patel, on the other hand, claims that there might be a connection between social shares and rankings as you can see in the next screenshot from a Quick Sprout gifographic.

Giphografic Social Signals

 

A huge lift of almost 15% in rankings was the result of an increase of 100 Google Plus followers for a business page. Facebook brought a 6,9% increase in ranking from 70 shares and 50 likes. Lastly, 50 Tweets lift rankings with only 2,88%.

16. Design a Smart Automated Reactivation Campaign and Boost Sales by 164%

Each business makes its own format for newsletters, but designing a segmentation for customers that interacted with the site is a guaranteed path to lift the reactivation of inactive subscribers.   

 

The email marketing platform PostUp created an in-house case study for one of their clients to convert inactive subscribers. They built up an automated reactivation campaign and succeeded in boosting email-related sales by 164%. This is a great example of improving the conversion optimization of your inactive subscribers. 

 

Eventful created a new approach to automated reactivation campaign where emails included recommended news based on the previous behavior of the users. Below, you can see an example of an email from them:

Recommended news

Source: https://assets.econsultancy.com

 

This campaign was a success. The recommendation performer alert produces 15% median open rate, 3% median click rate and the spike was a 400% increase in reactivation rates.

17. Get Personalized Emails to See an Average of a 19% Increase in Sales

Over the years there have been numerous studies showing that email marketing is the most effective digital marketing tactic for lead nurturing in your digital strategy. Personalized emails are more efficient than non-personalized emails and can bring relevant results. Personalized emails are based on a more in-depth research and understanding of customer behavior and marketing trends. Most important of all, it requires you to know your buyer persona to deliver relevant information.

 

You can see a comparison between segmentation and personalization below:

Segmentation vs personalization

Source: http://blog.revampcrm.com

Dropbox uses personalized emails. See an example of this kind below:

Address the Message with Just One Representative Person in Mind

 

According to a study from CMO.com, marketers who use personalized email see an average 19% increase in sale. Personalized emails have a 600% conversion rate, but the sad part is that only 30% of brands can use them.

18. Reduce Friction and Increase by 100% Your Email Sign-Up Rate

In marketing, friction means everything that slows down the process of a user to convert. The ideal marketing planning is not to have friction at all, but since that’s almost impossible, it’s best to have less friction so you could convert your leads easily.

 

The news company Quartz leads a research by reducing friction in email sign-ups. The changes they made to the sign-up process was to simplify it by using only an email address for subscription and moving to double opt-in (the user had to click on a link in the first email they received to activate subscription) to opt-out. When visitors want to subscribe, they go to a new landing page.

 

The results were quite satisfying; the daily subscriber rate has doubled. You can see a screenshot of their growth below:

 

Quartz subscriber growth

Source: https://cdn-images-1.medium.com

 

Besides that, Quartz increased the number of people who subscribed on the weekend, when the activity was very week.

19. Use Segmentation to Increase Deliverability & Experience 141% Increase in Revenue per Campaign

If you aren’t able to use segmentation to target your audience, you won’t succeed in writing relevant subject lines. You can use segmentation based on interests, location behavior consumption, mobile marketing, keyword phrases, lifestyle or other factors.

 

Lyrics discovered that 4 out of 10 marketers who used segmentation experienced a higher open rate, 3 out of 10 marketers saw a lower unsubscribe rate and 2 out of 10 experienced better deliverability and greater revenue. Below, you can see the graph with all the segmentation results from the research.

Email list segmentation results

Source: http://www.emailonacid.com

 

Another research worth mentioning is the Johnny Cupcakes emailing campaign. within their digital marketing technique they used a segmentation for gender, customers interests, brand preferences and media habits and for the first time ran a product launch campaign with different emails for men and women. See below a screenshot of the email sent to women:

Johnny Cupcakes segmentation campaign

Source: http://content.marketingsherpa.com

 

After they analyzed the results, they saw an increase of 42% in CTR, of 123% in conversion rate and 141% in revenue per campaign. These are quite some results for such small improvement.  

 

Make sure you use segmentation in your digital marketing strategy.

20. Increase Your Email Open Rate by 33% with a Subject Line That Triggers Curiosity

Your subject lines are everything when you’re thinking about the email open rates. Everything comes from there. The call to action from the subject line must be relevant to your audience. Before you send the message to your list, think you’re sending the message to one person, someone you know. Keep in mind that your message shouldn’t be cold, no matter the industry you’re in.

 

A study from Informz shows how important a subject line is. 33% of email recipients open email are based on the subject line alone.

 

Make sure you are concise, you don’t use buzzwords and test.

21. Collaborate with Influencers to Write About Your Product to Generate Over $300.000 in 3 Months

To create and maintain an online presence you must be one step ahead of the game and reach people.And influencer marketing can be of a real help in this situation. To create buzz in the online media, you should use influencers to help you to promote your business. A creative campaign with influencers was realized by Neil Patel, online marketing consultant. He spent $57,000 to models who posted a picture on Instagram with the message “Who is Neil Patel” and the hashtag #whoisneilpatel and earned $332,640 in three months.

 

This is just an example of a picture posted during the campaign:

Neil Patel Influencer campaign model

 

Another example of influencers comes from people from your field of interest, specialists and experts in your industry. Another example of influencer marketing would be to use specialists from your field of interest, and experts in your industry.

22. Have an Integrated Approach about Paid Promotion on Social Media

Even though paid promotion is a digital marketing tactic used by numerous businesses, not everyone knows how to do it right. Having a large promotional budget is not a guarantee of success. The key is to address the right audience and engage with it.

 

In the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report from Content Marketing Institute, you can see that 51% of B2B marketers say social ads are an effective paid advertising method.

Content Marketing Institute Social ads results

47% of B2B marketers consider that promoted posts are also effective, as you can see in the picture above. The results show that more and more marketers consider paid promotion on social media a must. You should focus your attention on your paid social campaigns since those efforts could see high returns, as expressed in the example above. To keep up, digital specialists should look for new ways of investing in social platforms to reach new audiences.

 

To get yourself ahead of the game you could start taking an interest in mobility marketing if you’re using mobile advertising. Mobility is a way of fulfilling customer’s needs to get tasks done on the move. Let’s take Facebook as an example. Has it ever happened to you to visit a new city and receive notifications in the app with recommendations of places to visit and restaurants where you could eat near you? Connecting with the user on the go through an mobile app is a great way to push them down the funnel.

23. Increase CTR with 64% in PPC Ads with Site-Links Extentions

Site-links extensions are a path to lead visitors to specific pages from your website directly from a PPC ad. They look something like this:

Adwords-extensions-sitelinks-nike

Source: https://lseo.com

 

PPC Hero did an experiment to see the results after they added site links to their paid search ad. They saw an improvement; their CTR grew up from 1.16% to 1.9%. Only by adding site links, the CTR experiences an increase of 64%. Below, you can see the results before adding the site links and after adding them.

Pre-vs-Post-Sitelinks Results

Source: http://www.ppchero.com

 

The case study also showed that there are situations where the site links have a lower CTR compared with the headline of the ad, but the CPA has a lower value. Even if the site links don’t get clicks near as much as the headlines, they do produce additional CTR and conversions.

24. Use Emotion Triggers in Headline Ads to Get 6x Above Average CTR

Either we are talking about a headline from a blog post, a newspaper, a book, a billboard, a PPC ad or a newsletter, headlines have a decisive impact whether the piece of content gets clicked or not.

 

Brainstorming for compelling headlines is mandatory. Copyblogger said that on average, 8 out of 10 people read the headline, and the rest 2 out of 10 read the rest.

 

Larry Kim, founder WordStream, saw that using negative emotional triggers in a PPC ad can score impressive results. By using the hero/villain persona to express anger/revenge, the next ad got 6x above average CTR.

This_ad_gets_6x_above_average_CTR

Source: http://blog.ezanga.com

If you use fear, you could see a 125% increase in appointments booked, and 170% increase in call volumes. See the paid search ad used for this experiment below:

The_new_ad_Breast_Cancer_Screening

Source: http://blog.ezanga.com

 

Wordstream offers a free version of the tool Adwords Performance Grader to see how your ads are performing. You can use it to make a test before the changes you make in Google AdWords and after, based on the recommendations you receive.

25. See a 32% Return on Investment for a Promoted Twitter Account

Nowadays, everyone knows about Twitter. If you want to run an advertising campaign on Twitter, there are three ways to do it: promoted trends, promoted accounts and promoted tweets.

 

 Hubspot, inbound marketing pioneer, wanted to find a more effective way to:

  • generate new leads;
  • engage existing followers;
  • grow the sales conversion rate;
  • improve ROI.

 

The solution was to use the promoted accounts advertising type from Twitter to target B2B decision-marketing users that are interested in marketing subjects. To deliver better results, the campaign included promoted tweets with a specific call to action such as webinar invitations, free e-books. After the campaign had ended, it resulted in 150% increase sales, 46% lower cost-per-read and 32% ROI.   

 

Reaching new customers with Twitter promoted accounts is an effective digital marketing technique indeed.

26. Set Up Automated Behavioral Triggered Emails to Get 71% Higher Open Rates

For an email to be effective, marketers knew that emails see a better open rate if they follow the behavior of the users on the website.

 

According to Unbounce, automated behavioral emails are triggered by multiple events:

  • a user abandoning the products from their cart;
  • a subscriber becoming inactive;
  • a subscriber purchasing a product that needs a replenishment.

 

See an example of this kind below:

Automated-Behavioral-Triggered-Emails

 

Emails that use automated behavioral triggers have 71% higher open rates and 102% higher clicks than non-triggered emails.

This technique delivers value because it’s sent in the moment of utmost relevance and needs to your prospect. 39% of marketers say “automatically sending emails based on triggers” is the most effective technique for having a higher email engagement.

27. Collect Customer Data Through a Transparent and Unique System to Gain Trust of 44% of Customers

Along the years, studies reported a decrease in the visitors’ level of trust in brands and companies. Edelman Trust Barometer showed that 44% of customers express trust in business, which is almost a half of the audience.

 

When you can demonstrate how the data you gather is kept secure, you’ll see improvements. State of the Data Nation showed that a clear privacy policy (43%) earns consumer trust.

 

Informatica surveyed 2,000 UK adults and found out that almost 6 out of 10 people are concerned about the use of the personal information they shared with brands. Another interesting result from Informatica shows 7 out of 9 people admitted they were cautious with the information they share with brands.

 

Thread, U.K. online personal styling service for men and women, has a unique and transparent system of collecting customer data. Now it is available only for men. After you enter the site you select menswear:

Thread website

They use this system to offer custom product to help your stylist find the best clothes for you, such as which trouser fits you like or how open are you to try more daring clothes or how much you usually spend on clothes and other specific questions.

Thread Collect Customer Data

 

In the end, you’ll be asked to leave your email address for further actions.

28. Make use of retargeting & Experience a 400% Increase On ROI

The retargeting method is used when you want to convert a user after entering the site. The process is quite easy; the user comes to your site, a cookie is set to their browsers. Afterward, you can track him to show him ads on the website he’s visiting. Based on the activity he had on your site you can deliver specific display ads. Below you can see the most effective types of retargeting:

7-types-of-effective-retargeting

Source: http://thumbnails-visually.netdna-ssl.com

 

Niche Hacks tried retargeting pixel to send visitors back to the email opt-in page. They converted 51,54% of all retargeted visitors into new subscribers, even though the ads were basic, landing page was basic, the stock images were simple. Basically, everything was average. In spite of all of this, they converted quite a large number of people.

 

American Apparel used Perfect Audience platform on Facebook retargeting and saw a 400% increase in ROI, converted new customers and increased the revenue.

29. Develop a Lead Scoring System to Generate 50% More Sales at Half of Costs

Lead Scoring is a system where every company can rank prospects according to a scale based on the value they represent for that company. Lead scoring can be implemented in numerous marketing automated platforms. For example, you can to assign a value to social media interactions or specific website behavior. Based on the results, you can see which lead must be pushed down the funnel or contacted directly by a sales representative. It the sales department wants to perform, it is recommended to use lead scoring. If not, it might lose significant leads, waste money, and other opportunities to convert them.

 

Studies revealed that companies with well-put lead nurturing system see 50% more sales at a 33% lower cost. Lead Generation Marketing Effectiveness Study showed that 68% of successful marketers say lead scoring is the most effective method to improve the revenue contribution from lead nurturing.

30. Get More Social Exposure Through the Social Media Automation

As the name says it, social media automation means using tools to automate the social marketing process by making your account stay active without manual posting and monitoring. On January 2016, We are Social said that 31% of world’s population (7.395 billion) were active social media users. With such a large audience you can’t stay up all night to make sure you post at the current local time when there is a peak of your audience. The automation appears at a time of need to make things easier.

 

A unique approach to the automation process on social media platforms happened in 2012 when Barack Obama’s social campaign used the Dashboard. It was an online registration platform where volunteers could make an account to support Obama’s candidacy. Everybody with an email address could register and see news, political and election events. Through that platform, Obama’s team collected data about the activity of the volunteers such as phone calls, donations, and tasks. Afterward, it was very easy for the team to target only the volunteers that were interested. The results of the automation process were remarkable not to mention that in the end, Obama became president. Great digital marketing technique, isn’t it?

31. Encourage Brand Lovers to Support You Against Trolls

Brand lovers are those who play the role of brand advocates and define the term evangelism marketing. They are highly satisfied customers and identify themselves with the brand. They are an asset because they promote the brand waiting for nothing in return. McKinsey and Company say 70% of purchase experiences are based on how the customer feels. It is bloody important to provide value and customer fulfillment.

 

Besides the fact that brand lovers will make sure to tell everyone your product is the best, they will support you against trolls. Nowadays, people on social platforms are very critical, and a single wrong comment or tweet can ruin you. Some haters and trolls can make your life a living hell on the social media. But, thank God for brand advocates!

 

OldNavy, an American retailer, got socially trolled. The company tweeted an upcoming sale with an interracial couple image, and then a group of racist people started posting negative tweets about the brand with hashtags #whitegenocide and #miscegenation. Before the team from Old Navy began to respond, some advocates of the brand started supporting the company by posting their own pictures with interracial couples they have in the family. In times of crisis, it is best to have your brand lovers that can make a powerful statement.

32. Built a Strong Customer Following & Get Free Endorsement

Millennials are a socially conscious generation. Embracing a cause might be just the answer you’re looking for if your brand addresses the Y generations. If they believe in a cause, they are willing to pay more and even a premium price. Knowing they give something for a better cause makes them feel valuable.

 

The shoe brand TOMS created a campaign based on a cause that brought endorsement from celebrities and famous people. They created a new concept ‘One Day without shoes’, meaning that for each purchased pair of shoes, another pair goes to a child in need. People from all over the Globe started a word of mouth campaign and even walk without shoes the whole day.

 

Charlize Theron became a strong supporter of the cause, alongside a lot of other celebrities, such as Lenny Kravitz, Chaske Spence and Julia Jones from Twilight, Dawn Olivieri from the Vampire Diaries, plus Cheryl Tiegs, Gillian Zinser, Jason Mraz, Tara Mercurio and Lacey Chabert, Thomas Jane, Matisyahu, Living Things and Tory Burch.

33. Gain Free Media to Get Everyone Talk About You on News and Get 5 Million Views on YouTube

Earned media or free media is a term that describes all the publicity that is not paid but rather gained through promotional efforts. Earned media happens when you make people talk about your brand no matter where it appears. Earned media happens after you make smart and creative ads or involved in successful real marketing actions, created impactful events and so on.    

 

Avon used a digital marketing tactic that generated massive amounts of earned media. “Choose Beautiful” reached over 5 million of views on YouTube and the term <Dove ‘choose beautiful’> received more than a million entries on Google. Hundreds of media outlets covered the video; numerous news websites claimed that “proves beauty is a choice”.

Dove-Choose-Beautiful

Source: http://delamanoconvenezuela.com

 

The ad received a lot of free media. Ad Age named it the best advertising campaign of the 21st century. People started to talk about it on Buzzfeed saying “Not everyone is beautiful and that is perfectly okay”. Some of them were encouraging the message “I find it odd that people disapprove of an ad whose whole purpose was to get women to all realize that they were beautiful”.

 

The psychologist Nancy Etcoff and self-esteem expert Dr. Tara Cousineau, together with Dove, created a toolkit named “Mindful Me” designed to help women manage thoughts and feelings in order to offer them the confidence to feel beautiful.

 

Send a powerful message to your audience and then expect to gain free media.

34. Create Fascinating Video Content to Attract Native Customers & Increase the Conversion Rate by 80%

Video content started to gain a lot of attention in the past few years. Almost 1 billion  unique monthly visitors are on YouTube, 130 million on Vimeo, 100 million on Dailymotion, 45 million on LiveLeak and 42 million on Vine. That is a lot of viewers! Let’s not forget the social video part, 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook, and 82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter. In 2013, Instagram introduced videos in addition to photos and more than 5 million videos were shared in the first 24 hours. Video consumption on Instagram has increased by 40% in 2016.

 

According to Hyperfine Media, 90% of users say that product videos are helping them in the decision process and almost 40% of online consumer trust video ads as you can see in next infographic.

video-marketing-statistics-infographic

Source: http://www.hyperfinemedia.co.uk

 

Most recent studies show that a video placed on the landing page can increase conversion rate by 80%. 96% of B2B companies use videos in their marketing campaign, and 73% say this improved their ROI.

35. Use Webinars to Gain 16,394 new leads

Organizing webinars can produce juicy content. They are great to deliver useful content to your readers and engage with them. Practically you can give a presentation to them and then discuss to see their main points. This is a great way to receive hot information, smart insights and see what topics you can debate on the blog in order to push the leads down the funnel.

 

Basically you need a microphone, a PC/laptop, and you’re set. Then use a service like AnyMeeting or GoToWebinar to connect with your viewers.

 

Webinars are such and effective digital marketing technique that could bring you 518,399 visitors and 16,394 leads from 77 webinars as KISSmetrics experienced. Neil Patel, founder at KISSmetrics, estimated that those webinars generated $1,638,000.

36. Start Running an Affiliate Program to Monetize Your Website & Get Extra $4500 Monthly Profit

There are upsides and downsides of an affiliate program in your digital strategy. The upside of this marketing technique is that it can generate high revenue and the downside is that it doesn’t work for all kinds of business.

 

For example, the popular web hosting service Bluehost gets new customers through its affiliates. Shopify uses an affiliate program that rewards its affiliates with $2,400 per sale.

 

A study from NichePie by Luqman Khan shows how you can generate a monthly profit of $4,500 in 4 months. See the statistics in the next screenshot.

Profit from an affiliate program

Source: http://nichepie.com

 

He posted 8 articles and 1 infographic and received 14,206 unique visitors in 4 months.

37. Generate Product Order Increase by 9.8% Through Voucher and Reward Sites

In 2015, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) released the Online Performance Marketing study showing that 57% of product orders were through voucher and reward sites. Thomas Cook, one of the world’s leading leisure travel, developed a campaign based on the use of voucher codes to encourage users to buy online tickets. They wanted to keep the cost-per-order (CPO) lower than £65. As a result, the orders increased by 9.8% while the CPO decreased, thus keeping it under £65.

38. Map out the Affiliates’ Value to Increase the Long Haul Share by 19%

Thomas Cook Airlines has a long activity in the affiliate marketing area, and this led the company to always improve their marketing strategy. They learned that knowing the values of their affiliates is highly important. One of their affiliate campaigns had the next objectives:

  • minimize the average cost-per-sale (CPS);
  • increase the number of long-haul bookings (meaning the bookings for travelers that last a long period of time);

 

A way to do that was to map out the affiliate’s value. For that, all the bookings from 2014 were analyzed to see the path to conversion for each affiliate. This helped the company to discover the CPS and the contribution brought by each affiliate. The results were quite impressive: they kept the average CPS below 2% of revenue and reduced the cost-per-click by 73% while increasing the long haul share by 19%. On top of that, they sold thousands of seats from routes that weren’t performing well at all.

39. Reach Over 60% Social Engagement and Advocacy for the Brand with Respected Influencers Through an Affiliate Program

The affiliate agency Schaaf-PartnerCentric conducted an in-house study based on REACH (Relations, Exposure, Advocacy, Connection, Hype) program that provides customized outreach and guarantees placement on influencer websites for a boutique fashion retailer. The client has proposed to increase the exposure and advocacy within a short period of time with the help of influencers.

 

The campaign raised 63% social engagement in the first week after the big launch. Instagram saw the highest engagement, with 92% of the social interactions. Pinterest increased up to 6% social interactions.

40. Implement a Publisher Strategy to See a Monthly Revenue Growth Rate of 177%

Cost Plus World Market is a furniture store that implemented a publisher campaign through an affiliate program. The online retailer has been in the furniture market for almost 30 years now and has had more than 100 brands and thousands of products. They implemented a publisher program with the help of Schaaf-PartnerCentric team. Only after 90 days, the company’s results were highly visible. The monthly traffic increased by 100.7%, the monthly sales increased by 257%, and the monthly revenue grew by 177%.

Conclusion

Creating engaging content with relevant data and juicy tips will always be effective. Let’s face it – we crave creativity. Creativity in all forms: for making your business better, for getting everyone to talk about you, for inspiring others, for earning free advertising, for becoming an asset in your industry. If you follow some of the digital marketing tactics and techniques from the list we’ve created, you should see improvements shortly.

 

Create a list of the most important digital marketing tactics for you. Chose those that are easy for you to implement, and then take action. Embrace the fact that you need to make changes to deliver higher CTR, higher open rate, revenue growth, higher conversion rate, more unique daily viewers, more leads and so on.

 

Good luck! Maybe you will be the next case study for an effective digital marketing technique.

The post 40 Most Effective Digital Marketing Tactics and Techniques in 2017 appeared first on SEO Blog | cognitiveSEO Blog on SEO Tactics & Strategies.

66 Copywriting Tips that Will Boost Your Conversion Rates by 327%

The famous American television and radio host Larry King, used to say to his audience a very witty story about his father. He says that his father, a Ukrainian jew, came to the US thinking that America is the greatest land of all, where even the streets are paved with gold. However, shortly after arriving, his father realized three things:

  1. The streets weren’t paved with gold.
  2. The streets weren’t paved at all.
  3. He was the one to pave the streets.

 
There is no secret for anyone that content marketing is a must. And the truth is that copywriting isn’t just about writing blog posts anymore; it’s about telling good stories well. How do you get to create those stories that will increase your conversion rates hundreds of times?

66 copywriting tips that will bosst your conversion

We do not claim to have discovered the magic formula that will boost your business guaranteed. However, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of copywriting tips that will surely revamp your content, and it will blow up your conversion rate.

 

  1. Write in Short Paragraphs
  2. Set Yourself a Word Count to Make Your Copy as Laser-Focused as Possible
  3. Don’t Use Terms that Might not be Widely Understood
  4. Forget Academic Writing
  5. Make Sure Your Copy is Well Structured, Clear and Logical
  6. Be Detailed when It’s the Case; Don’t Assume Your Readers Know Everything
  7. Know the Goal of Each Piece of Your Content
  8. Content Does not Necessarily Mean Just Words
  9. Use Plenty of Paragraph Breaks and Quotes to Make Your Copy More “Readable”
  10. Show Empathy with the Reader
  11. Don’t Forget about the Power of Storytelling
  12. Use Punctuation Carefully to Make Your Copy Impactful
  13. Use Sub-headings to Highlight Your Key Points
  14. Make Sure Your Copy Is Free of Spelling Mistakes
  15. As Much as Possible Be Authentic, Honest and Trustworthy
  16. Always Keep the Design in Mind when Creating the Text
  17. Create a Style Guide for All Your Copy
  18. Do Your Psychology Homework
  19. Your Copy Should Be Much More about Solving Problems than about Self-Expression
  20. Define Your Readers and Create Content for Them
  21. Always Do Your Homework. Research your topics
  22. Write List Posts
  23. Include the Important Numbers in the Headline
  24. Use Short, Well Structured Paragraphs
  25. Write Your Copy in a Conversational Way
  26. Take Advantage of Power Words
  27. Make Efforts to Become a Better Writer
  28. Make Efficient Use of Social Media
  29. Remember that All of Your Content Matters
  30. Use Synonyms and Help Google to Help You
  31. Stalk Forums for the Exact Words Your Readers Use
  32. Write Your Own Description Tag
  33. Focus on Long Tail Keywords
  34. Write Up to the High, Positive Expectation
  35. Be Crystal Clear and Give Quick Previews that Make Your Points of View Acceptable
  36. Deliver Something Valuable in an Intuitive Way
  37. Go with the Status Quo Over Newly Presented Facts
  38. Learn how to Measure the Success of Content Marketing
  39. Learn where Your Readers Get Their News and Information from
  40. Get Inspired by Your Community’s Interest
  41. Thoroughly Document on Your Niche to Find Content Inspiration
  42. Talk to the Sales and Support Team
  43. Create a Content Strategy Calendar
  44. Remember that Visual Information Makes Readers More Thorough
  45. Harmonize Your Online Content with the Offline One
  46. Always Keep the Attention Span Matter in Mind
  47. Learn from Your Most and Least Shared Content
  48. No Shares, No Likes, No Comments = No Traffic
  49. Originality Is a Must
  50. Existing Content Needs Love, Too
  51. Timing Is Everything
  52. Spot your competitor’s most engaging content
  53. Make Use of Content Curation to Boost Your Influence
  54. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
  55. Creativity Is Key!
  56. Fill Information Gaps – Become a Reference
  57. Targeting Longtail Keywords to Engage Your Audience
  58. Repurpose Your Content
  59. Make Use of Content Convergence
  60. Make It Interesting and Diverse, not Just Relevant
  61. Don’t Forget about the Content Monarchy
  62. Quality Is not a One Time Act, It Is a HABIT
  63. The Title of Your Content Will Influence Your Rankings
  64. Ask Rhetorical Questions to Engage Readers
  65. Choose the Fonts and Colors Carefully
  66. Use Positive Frames to Describe Information

 

1. Write in Short Paragraphs

There a few things more off-putting to a reader than a whole block of text with no spaces. You’ll do nothing but chase away your readers with such type of content. Writing in short paragraphs is an effective way to write on the web as it provides ‘eye relief’ throughout the page. Short paragraphs are easily digestible and can be skimmed over at a glance.

short paragraphs

2. Set Yourself a Word Count to Make Your Copy as Focused as Possible

 

Long content or short content? Which one is better? What is the case? The more, the merrier, or less is more? Well, if you are looking for a short answer to this question you need to know that there isn’t one, as it depends on rankings, conversions, followers, popularity, authority, engagement, keyword optimization, etc. Yet, it seems that shorter articles are better correlated with higher ranks. We’ve detailed this matter in a previous case study we invite you to take a look at.

The bottom line is that you have to be very savvy about the number of words you use, depending on what you want to achieve. Write according to your readers’ needs and remember that nowadays digital readers have a limited span attention.

 

Long or Short content – Which One Is the Winner in Terms of Rankings

 

 

3. Don’t Use Terms that Might not be Widely Understood

 

Big words don’t make you seem smarter.

Being able to explain complicated things in simple terms, however, truly is the sign of intelligence.

There are obviously times when you need to use technical terms or introduce complex concepts. But try not to get too comfortable using jargon and keep forcing yourself to remain accessible to as large an audience as possible. When not sure if you’ve met this, ask yourself: Would a newcomer to the field have an easy time following your text? Would an outsider grasp the importance of what you published?

terms not widely understood

 

 

4. Forget Academic Writing

When we talk about academic writing we don’t necessarily mean scientific articles. But there’s a certain rigor to that writing which might not appeal to the general audience. This is not to say you should dumb things down. Just try to use everyday language to engage with as wide an audience as possible. There’s a simple, two-step approach for making this happen:

Read what you’ve written out loud. If some parts don’t sound like something you’d say to a friend in real life, then change it.

Read what you’ve written out loud to someone else and ask them to tell you what the copy is about. If they can’t tell you easily, then change it.

 

 

 

5. Make Sure Your Copy is Well Structured, Clear and Logical

We’ve touched on this before but it’s worth repeating: clarity is key. You’ve probably got the best lesson in writing in primary school: everything needs to have an intro, a body and a conclusion. And all of these need to be clearly laid out. Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to touch on:
What is the point of your copy? You’re writing a new text because you have some claim to make, some wisdom you want to share.

If you were to write it in a single sentence, what would that sentence be?

How do you know what you claim is true? You need to present evidence (case studies, statistics, expert opinions) and explain why your evidence is relevant… Just because it happened in some instances, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be true for everyone.
Why does any of it matter? In public speaking, there’s the concept of “WIIFM” – “What’s In It For Me?”

The reader needs to know what they’re gaining by reading your article.

What’s the best thing they can do with the newfound wisdom?

wiifm

 

6. Be Detailed when It’s the Case; Don’t Assume Your Readers Know Everything

 

This is a delicate balance because explaining too much could make knowledgeable readers bored, while not explaining enough could make inexperienced readers feel left in the dark. But it’s always better to err on the side of caution and explain the background of something. Why is phone encryption suddenly a problem? What is the deal with fake news? Even if a lot of your readers might know a great deal about your topic, you can still provide details while also putting a new spin on it.

Source: http://coschedule.com

Source: http://coschedule.com

 

7. Know the Goal of Each Piece of Your Content

 

You don’t just write to amass content. Each piece you publish should have a goal in terms of the effect on the reader.

The best scenario is when the reader will actually take an action as a result of reading your piece.

For instance, if you publish a DIY instructable, you might get people who read or watched it try to do the same. That is, of course, quite ambitious and not all pieces need to elicit action from the readers for them to be successful. Yet, looking at the screenshot below, you can easily follow the steps presented, right?

 

You could also write an article where you explain a new concept or study something people knew certain things about (but didn’t know what to think of it). That means your main goal was to expand your readers’ knowledge. Or you could simply publish a piece on a subject that’s quite well-known and invite people to comment about it, thus facilitating an exchange of good practices between people who otherwise might not have interacted with each other. There’s more than one way to make a difference and you just need to set up realistic goals.

Source: ideas.evite.com

Source: ideas.evite.com

 

8. Content Does not Necessarily Mean Just Words

 

Don’t have enough time to write a long piece? Having a bit of a writer’s block?

There’s a lot of ways to publish content other than text: mix it up with images, create a video out of it, make a podcast, etc.

Sometimes the choice about how to reach your followers is pragmatic (it takes less time to record a podcast than to write the same content); other times it’s about strategy – maybe your followers are more easily swayed by videos or maybe it’s easier for them to follow content as podcast (while driving) than writing. When in doubt, just mix it up – it’s always best to cover more ground.

 

9. Use Plenty of Paragraph Breaks and Quotes to Make Your Copy More “Readable”

Writing good copy should be a bit like writing good journalism.

“One paragraph, one idea,” is a very useful motto when it comes to structuring your text.

Set out a claim, explain why it could be true, illustrate it with an example and then see what the implication of that claim might be. Then discuss that implication in the following paragraph. When you have a longer text, bring out some quotes or poignant phrases that might draw the readers’ attention, so that they can better focus and find the section they need more easily.

 

10. Show Empathy with the Reader

 

Answering the reader’s WIIFM (What’s in it for me) question is a great start, but if possible, you should try to go beyond that.

Try to understand your readers’ frame of mind: what are their expectations, what might they be worried about?

Sometimes it could be as simple as tapping into their shared history

Look, we’ve all been there: trying to meet the deadline even though…

Other times, you need to tap into something that drives your readers and what their expectations (positive or negative) could be (“You’re probably thinking that this is too hard for you to do – that’s a normal reaction, but…”). All in all, it’s about putting a face to your audience and making the writing more of a dialogue than a monologue.

Source: brettrelander.com

Source: brettrelander.com

 

 

11. Don’t Forget about the Power of Storytelling

 

Sometimes we can get too technical about things and assume our readers are information-parsing-robots. They’re not. They’re human beings and have a natural tendency to like stories and be attracted to the coherence and consistency of a well-told story. You can keep all the facts and all the logical analysis you wanted to pour into your copy, but if you really want to strike a chord, make sure to wrap it in some nice storytelling tropes:

Is there a hero to your story, trying to overcome difficulties?
Is there an antagonist trying to stop the hero from succeeding?
Does goodness get rewarded in the end, despite hurdles along the way? Etc.

Source: echostories.com

Source: echostories.com

 

12. Use Punctuation Carefully to Make Your Copy Impactful

 

Read this aloud: “He only told her he loved her.” Which word did you emphasize? There wasn’t a correct way of saying it, but how you chose to say it made a big difference. It might also have been influenced by your traits, beliefs, experience and social background. This is not just about using correct grammar (which, as the Internet warns us, can save someone’s life).

It’s also about using punctuation with purpose.

You want to convey a sense of urgency? Use short sentences and replace semicolons with full stops. You want to make a short detour in the middle of your sentence? Pick your weapon wisely: commas, dashes, parentheses…

You want people to pay attention?

The exclamation mark may have worked before, but it’s now been so overused on clickbait sites, that people just tend to ignore it and what it’s meant to signify.

These may seem like details at first, but once you understand how punctuation impacts not only the reading, but also the understanding of a text, you might decide to pay these details a lot more attention.

use punctuation correctly

 

13. Use Sub-headings to Highlight Your Key Points

 

We tend to like having a sense of completion. Especially with a work that’s quite sizeable, it’s nice to have smaller milestones. It’s encouraging to know that while the end is not necessarily near, we’re definitely heading in its direction.

Sub-headings help your readers stay motivated.

But they also serve a very practical purpose: they make particular content easy to find both for first-time readers and for recurrent ones.

 

14. Make Sure Your Copy Is Free of Spelling Mistakes

 

This should go without saying, but it’s important to understand why this is important. It’s not just that it can make readers annoyed because they have to do a double take on a sentence. It’s also not that even small typos can lead to inaccurate statements, in particular when they’re easy to miss (writing “you’re now allowed to…” instead of “you’re not allowed to…” changes the whole meaning, but is grammatically correct in both cases).

Spelling mistakes underscore lack of professionalism and lack of concern for the reader.

The message is pretty straightforward: “We didn’t care enough about the people reading this so as to spend just a little more time on making this copy look like a polished product. We think this is good enough.” And that’s not what you want them to think.

Source: liquidbubble.co.uk

Source: liquidbubble.co.uk

 

15. As Much as Possible Be Authentic, Honest and Trustworthy

 

There’s a lot of carefulness and consideration put into most writing. But when they’re not doubled by authenticity, when the text doesn’t seem to be coming from a real person, or to be addressed to one, that attention comes across as disingenuous and unnatural. So try to stay honest with your audience.

Be open about your intentions and about your experience and abilities.

Admit when you’re not up to speed on something. Don’t jump on bandwagons. Talk about what matters to you. It’s really hard to define what “authentic” is, because we should always try to get outside of our comfort zones. But I think authenticity comes from being able to admit, having tried something new or that everyone is raving about, that you didn’t like it that much and you want to do something else next time. That honesty is what keeps followers interested and engaged.

 

16. Always Keep the Design in Mind when Creating the Text

 

This goes beyond fonts and colors. It’s about page layout and how everything looks (and feels). In a way, it’s a bit like fashion – some types of content just go better with certain types of layouts. If your pieces are lengthy and complex, with pictures and charts and graphs, make sure you have a page layout that makes that kind of content attractive and easy to go through.

A more traditional style might help the reader keep focused on the text.

If you work in short bursts of content, be it text, photo, or video, create a layout where every other element points toward your content (rather than distracting from it). Once you’ve settled on a style, try to keep it in mind whenever you’re writing new content: where is this paragraph going to be on the page? Should you insert this picture to the left or to the right (or in a medallion)? How easy is it going to be to flip to the next page? Etc.

bad site example

 

17. Create a Style Guide for All Your Copy

 

Try to define your style. There’s obviously going to be a lot of adjustment as you grow and find out more about design, but you should document these changes as much as possible. Coherence and consistency in style are rewarded by readers, even though most of the time their influence is subconscious. So keep up and create a manual to document your decisions:
What font, size and color should article titles be? What about body text?

How big should the pictures, videos and other objects be? How much space should they take relative to other elements?

What colors do you use, aside from the colors already visible on your site? What colors and styles to highlight words, show hyperlinks or frame text boxes? Etc.

Of course, these things can be defined in various ways, so that you’re still left with enough flexibility.

 

18. Do Your Psychology Homework

 

We’ve referenced psychology quite a few times in this list already, when talking about what we want, expect or like. There’s a whole field out there about economic behavior and it’s still expanding. Turns out we’re not actually those rational individuals we believe ourselves to be (no, not even you, sorry to say). Most of us are actually pretty irrational when seen from an outside perspective, even though we abide by our own internal logic.

We don’t always make the best buys, the best choices or act in our best interests.

Why are so many of our behaviors counter-intuitive? There’s no easy answer (no single answer either, for that matter), but it will definitely help you to find out more about what the explanations might be. Writers like Ariely, Duhigg, Goleman, Kahneman or Taleb all featured extensively on the bookshelves in the past few years and with good reason.

Source: http://irrationalgames.com/

Source: http://irrationalgames.com/

 

19. Your Copy Should Be Much More about Solving Problems than about Self-Expression

 

A lot of content comes from wanting to share experience. You know something most other people – even those in your field – might not know. You are excited about that and want to make them aware of your new gained wisdom. The important thing to remember is that the focus should stay on sharing and not on you as the source of wisdom. That’s not to say your opinions have no place in your writing, on the contrary. But always ask yourself these 3 questions:

Will this info help my readers to better understand the subject?
Will this info help my readers to better apply this knowledge for doing something practical?
Will this info help me to look cool but not add anything valuable to this piece?

If the answer to the first two questions is a resounding “Yes”, then you should definitely include that piece of information in your copy. If the answer to these questions is “No” and the only “Yes” comes from the third question, well… you’ve got yourself a pretty good conversation opener for the next party.

 

20. Define Your Readers and Create Content for Them

 

As you gain more readers, start thinking about them as potential clients. Who are they? How can you split them into smaller groups based on age, gender, line of business, interests, income, etc.? You might not have all this information all the time, but you should at least try to find out as much as you can about them. Because if you are to have an ongoing dialogue with them, you need to try and understand what they’re like. Are they typical representatives of a certain generation (X, Y, millennials)? Do they even fit the definitions or are they a group with much more specific characteristics? It would help if you could listen to them – have a way to collect their feedback and allow them to voice out their opinions.

The better you get to know your readers, the more likely it is you will be able to write directly to them and keep them interested in your company.

 

21. Always Do Your Homework. Research your topics

With so much information at our fingertips, it’s easy to think we know a lot. In reality, we know very few things well. We know a bit more superficially. Most of the topics, we just have a very inaccurate understanding of. But what happens when we try to talk about something we know little or nothing about as if we knew and stumble upon someone with actual knowledge on the topic? The result, as you’ve guessed, is disastrous. Do your homework before publishing any new content. Do more than just a cursory overview of the information that’s been published lately. Go in depth:

Read books, not just articles;
Watch documentaries and videos of experts in that topic;
Try to get in touch with people who’ve actually experienced that topic first-hand.

You’re still not going to be an expert even after doing all these things, but at least whatever you write about that topic afterwards will be a valuable contribution to the ongoing dialogue. You can use tools such as BrandMentions to easily research topics that interest you an to get updated on the subject.

Brand Mentions research topic

 

22. Write List Posts

 

List posts can be really useful – just look at this one. Joke aside, there is actual value to list posts. Sure, you don’t get to go into a lot of detail, but the richness and variety of ideas will compensate for the lack of depth. Readers are aware of the fact that lists tend to gloss over details and they’re OK with it, mostly because what they’re looking for is variety of ideas.

Quality usually beats quantity, unless it’s exactly quantity that you’re after.

 

23. Include the Important Numbers in the Headline

 

Lead with your most important data. Don’t try to attract users with cheap, vague clickbait tactics like the one below:

You won’t believe how many copywriting tips we have in this list!

A lot of editors seem to have forgotten that what people really need is information, not mystery. And people will read your article for what you promise them in the title – and leave satisfied after getting what they wanted. Moreover, sometimes the numbers are impressive in themselves.

Here are couple of examples of numbers that make you think and want to find out more:
Wi-Fi and mobile-connected devices will generate 68% of all internet traffic by 2017.
In 2015, 64% of all in-store sales, or sales to the tune of $2.2 trillion, were influenced by the internet.
Only 44% of web traffic is from humans; a massive 56% of web traffic is from bots, impersonators, hacking tools, scrapers and spammers.
A single second delay in your website loading time can result in a 7% loss in conversion, and 40% of web users will abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.

 

Statistic headline

Source: hostingfacts.com

 

 

24. Use Short, Well Structured Paragraphs

 

Ever heard of the KISS rule for public speaking?

Keep It Short & Simple.

That’s exactly how you should think about your copy. We’ve already mentioned earlier in the list that you should think of your texts as an ongoing conversation. Most people talk in short bits during a conversation, to allow the other person to process what they’ve heard (and also leave plenty of opportunities for interventions). Admittedly, your readers can’t jump in while reading your text to alter its course, but they still need to process what they read. They’ll appreciate a clear and simple structure, where everything seems to flow naturally, rather than verbose paragraphs whose main purpose seems to be to obfuscate them.

Remember: one paragraph, one idea.

If you’ve changed ideas, it means you need to change paragraphs as well (or, at the very least, sentences).

 

 

25. Write Your Copy in a Conversational Way

 

Try to make your text read like a real conversation (with actual people). Obviously, that’s not 100% possible; you’re not writing plays, after all. But you get our gist.

People have conversations in their heads anyways.

You read a text and find yourself muttering out loud “true, true…”, “wow, that’s crazy!” or sometimes even “that can’t be right, can it?!…” You can even try to interact with the reader when you’re sure your text will elicit a certain reaction. Just said something counter-intuitive or shocking?

You could try to start your next sentence with something like “I know what you’re thinking: ‘surely that can’t be right.’ But it is entirely accurate.” It might not always work and you will have to even resist doing this sometimes, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this is a possibility.

Source: printwand.com

Source: printwand.com

 

 

26. Take Advantage of Power Words

 

Do you know anyone opposed to progress? What about anyone who rejoices at the sound of the word suffering?

Not all words are created equal and some words have more power than others.

It is usually because of a specific cultural background of that word, the way it has been used consistently by people to mean a certain thing; so much so, that a particular association is now the only one that comes to people’s minds. Richard Weaver, a 20th century rhetorician, introduced the concepts of “god terms” and “devil terms” to refer to words that have an almost universal positive, respectively negative, connotation. There is a thin line to balance here between being rhetorically savvy and being manipulative, but power words are definitely worth exploring if you want to create better texts.

In his incredible book “Predictably Irrational,” Dan Ariely dedicated a chapter to the power of words in the process of decision making. Long story short, to test the power of the word “free” concerning concrete value, Ariely asked a group of people to choose between a 1 cent Hershey Kiss or a 15 cent Lindt truffle. Most of the people opted for the second version. Nothing intriguing so far. Another random group of subjects were asked to make the same decision just this time both products were cheapened with 1 cent. The results? As you can see in the image below, the subjects seemingly flipped on their opinion of these two treats.

Do not underestimate the power of “free”.

Ariely free power study

 

27. Make Efforts to Become a Better Writer

 

Writing is a skill, not a trait you’re born with.

Sure, some people have more talent than others, but just like with a lot of artistic skills, hard work, passion and determination can overcome a talent “deficit.” On the other hand, natural talent withers if it’s not exercised regularly. Read viciously what your favorite copywriters publish. Read books about writing. Go to classes about writing. Listen to podcasts and watch videos about writing. And most importantly?

Write every single day. Always with intent, always trying to get better at something.

Look into style and try to emulate various writing styles. Take what is useful from each of them. Look into creative writing and push yourself to write about things you never cared before. Not everything will stick – in fact, most likely won’t. But being better at writing is something that happens slowly and in bits and pieces. It’s also something worth pursuing.

 

28. Make Efficient Use of Social Media

 

We’ve touched on this before in our posts and it’s as relevant now as it was then: social media can be a huge help, as long as you use it strategically. There are plenty of statistics out there about what works best: how many words to use in your posts, what time to post on each network, when to use tags and what to use them for. These statistics are a good starting point, but you’ll have to put in some work, too. They represent average findings of everyone online. You might discover different findings for your business or line of service, as long as you’re willing to put in some time for trial and error tests.
We’ve conducted a very in-depth study to figure out if social signals influence SEO and one of our findings was that a strong presence on social networks is correlated with better rankings, as you can see in the screenshot below.

social network influence on rankings

 

29. Remember that All of Your Content Matters

 

Write every time like that’s the most important thing to publish.

Don’t think of anything you write as a throwaway or filler.

You need to believe that what you write is important, otherwise there’s little chance the reader will think it.

 

30. Use Synonyms and Help Google to Help You

 

Synonyms have been managed automatically by Google for years now, yet what you may not know is their high influence not only on your copy but also on rankings. We all use Thesaurus  now and then to “beautify” our content.

You might not know that you can use synonyms for rankings as well.

Let’s say that you are in the “laptops” niche and you write content on this matter. It wouldn’t be bad if you used not only the exact match laptops, but also synonyms or words from the same area with this one : computers, notebooks, etc. And this is because Google is becoming increasingly smart and it returns results not based on the exact matching word but by the intent of the user, using sometimes synonyms of the words or their lexical family.

Use synonyms smartly on your website in order to rank higher not just because you’re obsessed with ranks, but because your website might be relevant to people who search using similar but not quite exactly the same words. More on how to take advantage of this technique can be found on a previous in-depth research we’ve done on how to exploit the synonym technique to increase your traffic.

seo-consultant-seo-expert-synonym

 

31. Stalk Forums for the Exact Words Your Readers Use

 

Most of the time we speak about things we think our readers want. But they may be interested in different things, or talk in different ways about those things. Think of a piece of software, for instance: how the developer might describe its functionalities (“Formatting text in XProduct”) is not how users might ask questions about it (“How do I make my text bold in XProduct?”). Therefore go ahead, check the forums and search for the exact word your readers use.

 

32. Write Your Own Description Tag

 

Copywriting doesn’t imply just blog writing and in-depth article research but also every piece of content written that is related to the business you are working for. Therefore, one of the things you make sure as a copywriter (and/or SEO professional) is that you write your own description tag for every important page on your site. Otherwise, Google will do that for you. And you might not want that.

Why is this useful for your copy?

Usually, when someone does a Google search they want answers really fast and very relevant.

This means that if they search for Copywriting Tips they would expect to see at a glance exactly what they searched for. And if, along with the title, in the description tag you show them the quick wins they will have, you get more clicks.

description tag

 

33. Focus on Long Tail Keywords

 

Long tail keywords are those three and four keyword phrases which are very, very specific to whatever you have to offer. Regardless of the fact that it might be easier for your content to rank higher when using long tail keywords, it is also a better way to connect with customers. We’ve written more on this subject in a previous post.

what-are-long-tail-keywords

 

34. Write Up to the High, Positive Expectation

 

It does hurt to say, but the more you read meaningless content on the web, the more you expect the next link you click on to give you hands on content.

If you’re unlucky enough to be the fourth or fifth and the reader is already bent out of shape, you clearly wouldn’t like to be in the position of disappointing him. It’s harder to work for content than it was for linkbait and clickbait years ago, because this time there’s no shortcut to get people’s attention. You’ve got to be fair and you’ve got to deliver. Let’s call this Attention Web.

Only promise what you can deliver!

 

35. Be Crystal Clear and Give Quick Previews that Make Your Points of View Acceptable

 

We all have belief biases – this means that when facing a logical argument, we’re more likely to believe it if the conclusion seems more plausible instead of analyzing the supporting evidence. Bold points of view are lifesaving. They raise eyebrows and tickle curiosity, while sending the impression of reliability. Which is why people will read the first sentence of your post – unfortunately, after this they realize you’re about to contradict their prior beliefs and leave. Just like that.

Admitting-Fault-Giuseppe-Fratoni

 

36. Deliver Something Valuable in an Intuitive Way

 

Suppose that you’re lucky enough to write about the topic someone’s recently been interested in – this only means they’ll notice your work, at best. From here to actually reading your content there is a lot of work paved with intermediary steps.

Digging too deep into a topic often implies taking a lot of extra risk.

We only read in-depth content analyses; we do our homework properly, we’re never out of touch and we can tell you what’s trending from sleep. And yet, there’s nothing easier than losing the interest of your readers.

Source: slate.com

Source: slate.com

 

 

37. Go with the Status Quo Over Newly Presented Facts

 

Status quo bias is an emotional bias; a preference for the current state of affairs.

The current baseline (or status quo) is taken as a reference point, and any change from that baseline is perceived as a loss. The truth is that we care more about maintaining our Status Quo (state of facts) than we do about truth; and if you’re saying otherwise, chances are your brain is playing some tricks on you.

Therefore, if it’s not imperative to change, innovation for the sake of novelty is the number one enemy of reader loyalty.

 

38. Learn how to Measure the Success of Content Marketing

 

Content we share doesn’t always equal content we’ve engaged with. It’s a lot easier to share content based on its title than it is to actually engage with it. Yet, it’s highly important to know how to measure the success of a piece of content. Metrics for on-page behavior, for SEO, bounce rates, average time spent on page, the number and quality of the comments or the metrics for social media performance are elements you should always keep an eye on.

It is not just the people who convert are important, but the pages they convert from.

Here you can find how to constantly monitor and learn from these metrics

Social-Media-Success-Android-vs.-iOS

 

39. Learn where Your Readers Get Their News and Information from

 

No, you won’t need night vision goggles or an invisibility cloak to monitor your community.

What you do need is to pay attention to your surroundings. Working inside of a system often makes us lose what’s most important in succeeding—the holistic view of the industry.

 

40. Get Inspired by Your Community’s Interest

 

There’s no place more insightful than your own community—you’ll find plenty of ideas there if you just take the time to look at it. Being part of an industry often takes a lot of time, especially in domains that seem to be so competitive, in a never-ending effort to become better. However, sometimes we should just stop. And see what it is that’s missing—there’s always a glitch—something that you haven’t discovered yet. Start from there. I know it might sound like a task hard to achieve but tools such as Brand Mentions  can really ease your job.

brand mention guitar tab

 

41. Thoroughly Document on Your Niche to Find Content Inspiration

 

Whether you are a content marketer who is interested in the content from a specific area or you are into more generic matters, first thing first, you need to check out what is going on in that niche and find some inspiration from those findings.

Correlating search trends with the most recent mentions on the web seems to be a great formula, regardless of the niche you are interested in.

 

42. Talk to the Sales and Support Team

 

Through all its efforts, a company/business/website is trying to find a way to best reach its audience. Some efforts are sort of an “indirect” contact with the public through online content but there are also some others who are in direct contact with the user. A discussion with the sales and support team might be a great opportunity for you to better understand your audience’s needs or challenges and adapt your copy accordingly.

Source: helpscout.net

Source: helpscout.net

 

 

43. Create a Content Strategy Calendar

 

After collecting a bunch of great article ideas you need to gather them together in a way that will be efficient and effective for your website or blog. And creating a content calendar is a method to get the best results out of your ideas. Although “Content Strategy Calendar” might sound a bit pretentious and you might get discouraged or think it is a very complicated task, the truth is that even a simple Google Doc Spreadsheet can help you out. What you need to keep in mind for each article you are going to write is that you have to take in consideration items such as:

What type of content is it? Where do you intend to publish it? What is the article’s audience? How and where are you going to promote it? How are you going to scale the result?

 

Source: meistertask.com

Source: meistertask.com

 

 

44. Remember that Visual Information Makes Readers More Thorough

 

The more we try to put information in pretty wrapping, the harder it will be to present it without visual support. Every attempt to make web content more interesting contributed to this borderline surrealistic change to the way we perceive content online. It seems that our brain really loves graphics more than you’d imagine:

  • visual information has increased by 9,000% since 2007
  • color visuals increase willingness to read by 80%
  • we receive 5 times more information than we did in 1986
  • we don’t read more than 28% of the words when visiting an online page

 

Source: contently.com

Source: contently.com

 

45. Harmonize Your Online Content with the Offline One

 

The online and the offline often find themselves in competition and it shouldn’t be like that. In reality, although the two environments should not be compared, it’s impossible not to weigh one against the other. Yet, regardless of the advantages and disadvantages each one brings, one thing should be clear: they need to be coherent altogether and they both need to tell the same stories, even if with different lines.

Source: blog.hubspot.com

Source: blog.hubspot.com

 

46. Always Keep the Attention Span Matter in Mind

 

Because technology today can store so much information, we can’t keep track of it anymore.

Writers in the 17th century claimed they had read everything written in their language throughout history.

Today, this statistic is unachievable even to those of us who try to keep themselves up-to-date in their fields of expertise.

Nowadays, our attention span is 8 seconds and falling. Approximately 66% of our attention is spent below the fold , especially when it comes to content, and we’re impatient to get over the (often) boring introductions directly to the heart of what interests us.

attention span

 

47. Learn from Your Most and Least Shared Content

 

Figuring out what works for your niche is crucial. Looking at the content that performs best in your niche might be intuitive. Even though you might think it’s redundant to look at the bottom of the list, there are insights to be learned from your weakest performing content, too.

You need to see which pages have attracted the least amount of visitors and what type of content is not of interest to your viewers.

Creating uninteresting content isn’t useful for anyone. It is not useful for your target audience, and it’s clearly not productive for your business.

content performance

 

48. No Shares, No Likes, No Comments = No Traffic

 

Content creation and shareability are parts of the content strategy concept and you can’t separate one from each other.

It would be a true shame to create great and useful content that does not receive any love from the community.

Just like us, you’ve probably seen a lot of bloggers create great articles that impressed you. But, they received little to no engagement. While creating content has its obvious benefits, maximizing shareability assures the success of your content strategy.

PR-News-Facebook-Conversation-Engagement

 

49. Originality Is a Must

You don’t have to re-invent the wheel on a daily basis.

You may also create content that has been done before as long as you augment it with a new spin.

As long as it’s a fresh and interesting approach to an idea, go ahead with it.

Remember that most of the times originality is nothing but judicious imitation.

The most original writers borrowed one from another.

 

50. Existing Content Needs Love, Too

 

When creating content, we tend to never look back and always think of the next idea.

You should always take your existing content and see what you can gain from it.

Maybe create a sequel, maybe an update, maybe there are some ideas in that piece of content that weren’t fully discussed. And even if it’s evergreen content we are talking about, remember that this kind of content is relevant for people now and it’s going to be relevant for them after a year, too. We’ve written a blog post on exactly this matter, where we put together some of the best ways to repurpose existing content.

 

51. Timing Is Everything

 

As the famous lines say, there is a time for everything : a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. And this applies in copywriting as well.

It’s obvious that writing the right article at the right moment is crucial.

There are times when important changes occur in the niche you are addressing and clearly you need to react on the spot and have a piece of copy ready for the moment. Yet, there are times when you need to know what new trick you need to unveil in order to capture your audience’s numb interest. Also, an important part of this matter is maximizing the shareability of your copy. Therefore you need to figure out when you’re going to get the most out of your content, at which moment of the day, the week or month you should share the content to receive the most traffic.

 

52. Spot Your Competitor’s Most Engaging Content

 

Content marketing – done correctly – can be a very effective way to attract and retain clients, but the problem is more and more companies produce more and more content. It’s highly important to understand how to produce content that will engage your target audience, but is also vital to know what your competitors’ most engaging content is. To figure this out you don’t have to spend ages collecting and analyzing all that content, you can do things way easier and efficiently if you use the proper tools.

competitor enganging content

 

 

53. Make Use of Content Curation to Boost Your Influence

 

Everyone has wrapped their brains around the idea of content creation and knows they should create amazing content to engage with their target audience. And that’s how content curation, the less known brother of content creation, gets left out in the cold.

A professional content curator picks and polishes the most amazing content and serves it up to the community and also gives credits to the owner.

It is definitely a power that can be harnessed, and remember that content curation is not content marketing.

 

54. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze

 

This applies before actually writing the piece of content but also after the copy has been unleashed to the world. Learn to monitor the places your content is published and analyze the traffic. Visitors who come and go are an invaluable resource of information regarding the content’s usage pattern. Watch out for data like keywords, bounce rate, and click patterns to learn more about their interests. Also, ask about the blogs and social networks where they spend their time online. You may find discussions that may shed a light on their needs and interests.

On the internet, in an age where everything is monitored, you are bound to find data about anything.

 

55. Creativity Is Key!

 

There is this common perception that creativity is a taboo subject or that is a “feature” that only the chosen ones are gifted with. As Steve Jobs once highlighted, most of the times creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.

 

However, copywriting and creativity go hand in hand. This is why while sticking to your business plan, you enter a comfort zone, which is the worst enemy for creativity. When you empty your mind of all past concepts, you’re going to fill it with creativity. You have to liberate yourself from the limitations of what you already know.

creativity-is-hard-to-measure

 

 

56. Fill Information Gaps – Become a Reference

 

An information gap is a construct, a theory or an idea that the audience believes should be informed on, but doesn’t seem to be explained quite extensively. Rather, the reader feels like the information comes in bits and pieces, like an underlying premise of any discussion that derives from the matter. Here is where your content jumps in. Yet, for the strategy to work, the information will have to be relevant and systematized, while offering an in-depth perspective on the topic. Become a reference and the results will follow.

Once you’ve proven yourself as a trusty, authentic go-to blog, your leads and email subscription rates can dramatically increase.

Create Best in Class Content

 

57. Targeting Longtail Keywords to Engage Your Audience

 

Micro-targeting paints a big picture. The more you invest in targeting the right long tail keywords, the bigger a shot you have at accessing a key audience interested in a specific topic. Choosing topics for content writing should always be the result of a targeting process. Once you do this, the chances to grow a solid audience with an increase intent in your business are sizable.

 

58. Repurpose Your Content

 

Running a blog with constant valuable and high quality content might sometimes be difficult as it is a resource-consuming process. Therefore, why not getting the best out of the content that you’ve already worked on? Repurpose the content you already have. Not only will you save resources, but you’ll also extend the reach of your blog and maybe find new ways to reach your audience. Here are some great ideas of how to repurpose your content:

27_Awesome_Ways_of_Repurposing_Content

 

59. Make Use of Content Convergence

 

Before asking yourself how this might help you, allow me to explain what this is about.

It refers to merging one boring, dull topic with a more exciting topic, whilst giving it a theme which gets attention.

If you are to write copy for, let’s say, plumbing supplies or for air conditioners, you might find it difficult sometimes to remain consistent, creative, original, etc. Here is where convergence might help you. Try giving the content a snappy title, make it more about the reader than about the website, As we’ve detailed in a previous blog post, by introducing a new element to the narrative you’ve made a boring item more interesting and opened up your website to getting links from places your competition would find hard to replicate.

boring-industries-seo-creative-approach

 

60. Make It Interesting and Diverse, not Just Relevant

 

Undoubtedly, relevancy is a must.

While being relevant, a diverse mix of content can be used in order to keep things interesting for your readers.

This might require videos, case studies, articles, e-Newsletters, webinars, blog posts, data visualization posts, competitions or photographs. This might require some market and consumer research skills in order to understand consumer expectations with regards to the kind of content they want to read. Yet, it’s totally worth it.

 

61. Don’t Forget about the Content Monarchy

 

Whether you agree or not, “Content is king” is one of the widest spread Internet memes. You will see the phrase referenced all over the place. And we tend to think that mostly Google is “the guilty” one for this matter. For a while now, Google has been promoting the importance of content and it has even shaped an algorithm on exactly this matter, ready to penalize sites that do not respect content quality guidelines.

The thing you need to remember is that you need to write good, relevant and qualitative content for the sake of your readers but also to avoid any Google Penalties.

 

62. Quality Is not a One Time Act, It Is a HABIT

 

As the saying goes, we are what we repeatedly do.

Excellence is not an act, but a habit.

You’ve written a blog post and you have thousands of shares and appreciations? That’s a great. Yet, that one time performance won’t keep you on the top for long. On the contrary, once you’ve set the bar high, you need to keep up with it.

This is similar to the one hit wonder music bands.

We all remember the musical hit, we sing it at birthdays parties for a period of time, yet we probably won’t buy the album just for that tune.

Same thing may happen to your content. If you want your readers to look at your blog/brand/name with respect and put you in the trustworthy content category, make a habit out of delivering quality.

 

63. The Title of Your Content Will Influence Your Rankings

 

Every site owner’s dream (and goal) is to rank as high as possible for their target audience. Every search engine’s dream (and goal) is to make sure that the most relevant websites rank the highest. Therefore, it’s a vicious cycle.

Yet, keywords used in the titles of your copy have a high ranking importance. We’ve conducted a study where it seems that keyword appearance in the title makes a clear difference between ranking 1st or 2nd.

When creating the title of your content you should really think things through, as the title must not be only relevant and attractive but also SERP friendly.

 

64. Ask Rhetorical Questions to Engage Readers

 

Do you ever use rhetorical questions in your writing? Like this one, for instance?

Rhetorical questions make your arguments more persuasive.

Also, your audience will become engaged. And if your arguments are strong and valid, readers will be more likely persuaded by them.

65. Choose the Fonts and Colors Carefully

Around here we put a lot of emphasis on content and go on and on about how it comes first. But that doesn’t mean we’re blind to aesthetic choices. If you have good, original, insightful, even life-changing content, but choose to display it in green Comic Sans over a pink background, you can count us out. And a few other readers, too.

Choice of font and color scheme can greatly influence the success of a piece by being a factor for accessibility.

Certain fonts make for easier reading when it comes to big blocks of text, while certain color schemes make it easier on the eye to spend long amounts of time on a particular page. Font and color also go a long way in terms of credibility: some combinations simply look slick and professional, while others give an “untrustworthy” vibe, despite potentially good writing.

jamilin

 

66. Use Positive Frames to Describe Information

 

Negative frames describe something that isn’t taking place. Positive frames, on the other hand, describe something tangible, something that is happening. Studies  show that we need more mental resources to process negative frames as they reduce comprehension and degrade the impact of your message. Therefore, positive frames should be the one you should look for.

NEGATIVE: Don’t be late.
POSITIVE: Arrive on time.

NEGATIVE: Don’t drink excessively.
POSITIVE: Drink responsibly.

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