In the world of blogging Google is absolute authority, king, queen and knight. But, the "word of Google" isn't as gospel as you might think. It pays to test!
That is why I am so excited to have James from Names.Of.London guest posting with us again. He has recently tested some of Google's comments around domain names, and how much of a ranking factor they really are.
Over to James!
That's right - despite numerous comments from Google that the domain name does not make much difference to a site's rankings, we managed to get a brand new dot-CLUB domain, with no relevant content, ranked top-10 in the UK (ranked No.5) and the US (ranked No.7) within 24 hours of purchase.
The fact that Google even knew the site existed is pretty impressive – but to get top-10 ranking that quickly is almost unheard of.
Clearly, in our example, we've hit a relatively rare search term, giving less competition, but there is further anecdotal evidence that new-GTLDs can boost your search ranking.
Maybe they're both right and here's a possible explanation.
When you see a hyperlink on a page, it comes in two parts. The linking text you see and the URL, you will be taken to, that you don't see. Google was the first search provider to fully exploit the concept that the text that you see, the link-text, contains important clues about the content of the site you will be taken to.
So let's look at the HTML code of a typical link – here is some HTML that might be emended in the code of a web page ...
Now lets consider the domain names cars.for.sale – on many social media platforms, like Twitter, this domain name will be recognised as no different than more traditional domain names like www.barryautos.com and so cars.for.sale will be converted into a hyper-link. Effectively cars.for.sale will be converted into the HTML code.
And Twitter is not the only site that will do this – many other social media sites and message apps will do the same. On Facebook, you would be required to enter the full URL to get it to be hyper-linked. In this example you would need to enter http://cars.for.sale/ - so you would end up with HTML code that looks like this.
So, when coffee.club went live, which was widely reported, every time it was mentioned it was also probably hyper-linked. So instead of just reporting the website as the plain text “coffee.club” people made it clickable by using the full hyper-link, like this.
On Twitter, you normally have no control over the link-text. Twitter simply uses the URL, or domain name, as the link-text. Therefore the only way you can control your link-text on Twitter is by using a descriptive domain name. This is common to many social media platforms.
Research by bit.ly shows that attractive links on social media achieve a 34% higher click-through rate. So the link “cars.for.sale” will almost certainly get more click-throughs than either barryautos.com or some URL shortener - as well as giving the site an SEO boost on the search term "cars for sale".
A further boost can be gained from type-in traffic. Domain names, usually new-GTLD names, that exactly match common search terms will get type-in traffic. We see about 10,500 users a week entering a search term that matches one of our new-GTLD domain names.
This may be because they have accidentally typed in a dot instead of a space, or it could be that, as these are mostly young users (55% 18-to-34) on phones (88% on mobile), they simply expect domain names like gifts.for.men or puppies.for.sale to work.
Google knows that direct type-in traffic is a valuable recognition of the user's familiarity with the website. For sites we do not often visit, we usually start with a search. But for sites we often visit, we either type the name directly into our browser, or we have the site bookmarked. If the site has Google Analytics installed, Google will see all this Direct traffic and this implied familiarity can provide an additional boost to the site's ranking.
If you buy a domain name, probably a new-GTLD domain name, that exactly, or very closely, matches the search term that you are trying to optimise for, it will almost certainly give you an SEO boost on two fronts - as well as coming with a bunch of free, targeted, visitors - but the boost is not from the way Google deals with the domain name itself, but the way people interact with it and the way other sites handle it.
Its probably the cheapest boost, to your online business, that money can buy. So if you want to rank high on nikes.for.sale or gifts.for.mom, maybe you need to consider buying the corresponding domain name - but the boost does not come for free, you will still have to work for it.
In some ways, it seems obvious. The search term you are trying to optimise for is the phrase you most want to associate with your site. So if your target phrase is "tours of london" owning the domain tours.of.london has to be an advantage.
But, remember, the old rules also still apply – if you don't have relevant content the visitors will just click-away so any gained traffic will be valueless.
If you have multiple domain names pointing to the same site, to get the best ranking, you should host the site on only one of the domain names, then use a permanent redirect (HTTP 301 redirect) at the other domain names, sending all the traffic to the primary location. That way Google knows all the domain names are effectively synonymous, and aggregates your ranking.
This is a republished post, the original came be found here.
I’m so excited to introduce you to this lady! I stumbled across her blog Kate Sammon not too long ago and just fell in love with her writing. So, I invited her to guest post so she can share her tips for adding personality into our writing.
If there was a choice between a perfectly crafted, spelling free, grammatically perfect piece of writing, and a piece of writing written with soul, passion and a ton of personality, I’d pick the later every single time.
There are so many tools out there now which are apparently helping us to improve our writing. But unfortunately, I fear that they are turning the written word into some kind of robotically produced product. Less tools, more connection + creativity. So, I’ll shut up now, introduce Kate and then let's get into the core of the post.
Kate Sammon is from the Northwest Suburbs of Chicago. She is a sometimes writer, sometimes performer, and constant cubicle dweller. She currently lives in Seattle where she is basking in the Pacific Northwest’s natural wonders.
She writes because she thinks storytelling is a crucial unifying mechanism for humanity. Kate writes a regular advice column on her blog, along with other timely and/or random posts. She is also writing this post in the third person right now.
7 Ways To Add Personality Into Your Writing
No one wants to read canned content. If you’re looking to make your content accessible and relatable, put some personality in it. Preferably your personality. It makes the experience of reading AND writing more enjoyable. From word choice to self-awareness, there are multiple ways to go about bringing authenticity and color to your work.
In the list below, I map out how to do just that.
1) Write How You Speak
Years ago, back when AOL Instant Messenger was the most exciting and liberating way for teens to communicate, I spent way too much of my time on there chatting with cute boys and friends.
One night, after a long conversation with my friend Joe, he said, “Sammon, I like talking to you on here because your messages sound the same as when you’re talking to me in person.” I was flattered. No one had ever complimented my instant messaging skills before (or since, for that matter). Back then, it came naturally, as a way to clearly communicate; now I make sure to write that way. When I don’t do that, when I try to jazz it up too much or try to sound like someone else, my stuff falls flat. Every. Time.
If you want to tell me how good the pizza you ate last night tasted, tell me as if I’m sitting across the room from you. Don’t tell me it made your taste buds dance if you’d never say that in person. If you’d tell me that the crust was the perfect combo of crunch and chew, then write that! If it made for a great hangover breakfast the next morning, write that too. Make like you’re having a conversation with me. When we write like that, we sound more relatable and we get our point across more effectively.
2) Don’t Try Too Hard
Growing up, when I’d come home and complain about a teacher’s pet or a manipulative queen bee at school, my mom would always say, “Oh, she’s just a Try Too Hard!” My fiancé and I have adopted this in our own conversations, but we’ve shortened it to ‘TTH’.
Don’t be a TTH, and especially don’t be a TTH in your writing. Don’t go into a piece sure of the tone you’re going to have. Let the tone evolve as the piece gets rolling. This is a mistake I’ve made plenty of times; I’ll go into a piece trying to sound like a foul-mouthed brassy broad when in reality, my point is more effectively made with subtle humor and sarcasm.
Let the tone find you and then nurture it from that point on.
3) Do Your Research
This might seem like the most obvious advice I could give, but it’s always worth repeating. A real, secure knowledge about your topic is a gift to your process.
Once you have all the facts straight, you’re free - free to write on top the foundation of facts, free to write like yourself.
4) The Thesaurus is Your Best Friend
I know I said you need to write like you talk, but every so often you need the *perfect* word, and sometimes it’s not at the top of your mind. That’s when the thesaurus comes in.
Before I go any further, I need to make something clear: do NOT be a TTH with the thesaurus. Don’t use it for every other word. Use this tool when you’re really trying to come in with a gut punch, or trying to eloquently express where you’re coming from.
A varied vocabulary is something every writer needs in their tool box, and it also serves to set your work apart. Play around with different words, find the ones that serve the sentence the best and make the most sense. That’s where the art of writing lives.
5) Brain Dump
A few years back, I took a writing workshop in which instructor told us about ‘brain dumping’. (That’s a nice visual, huh?) It’s essentially free-writing, but I liked the idea of dumping all your thoughts about a given topic onto a page.
That’s how I like to start a lot of my pieces. I find that while there’s a lot of unnecessary stuff there when I’m done, there’s also some good, meaty stuff that doesn’t come out when I do stop-and-go writing. We’re more honest when we spent five to ten minutes writing without stopping.
Dump it out and see what kind of gems you find. They’re in there.
6) Get an Accountability Buddy
Find someone to read your stuff who really a) knows you AND b) knows good content. I’m lucky enough to live with a writer, but another one of my good friends has had editing experience in the past. I run all my stuff by both of them.
Just recently, I spent too little time on a piece about the importance of living in a city. It had the trappings of click bait and as soon as my ‘editor’ read it, he called me out on it: “This sounds like something that would be on a sign sold at Target.” And you know, he was right. It was crap. I felt it when I was writing it. When you have someone who knows you and your voice well, it’s hard to get inauthentic stuff past them.
7) Be Yourself
I’m going to end this by channeling that poster that hung on the wall in your 6th-grade classroom. You know, the one that said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken!” You can’t accurately convey personality in your writing if you’re being a fake.
I don’t know how to appropriately guide you towards a greater sense of self-awareness in this blog post, but I can say that if you are self-aware enough to know yourself, that should come through in your content.
There are a lot of trends with online content right now, certain types of generic voices. Avoid them at all costs.
The more genuine and original your content seems, the more credible it is.
As an SEO who has brought many a domain name in the past, the .com shortage has me somewhat concerned about the future of small businesses on the web. If Google can’t even buy the domain of it’s parent company, Alphabet.com, because BMW owns it then what hope is left for the rest of us?
But maybe we are looking at this all wrong? Maybe the shortage opens up an opportunity in the space of semantic domain names.
Today we have a guest post from James Stevens CEO of Names.Of.London who will shed some light on this topic for small business owners.
7 Things You Need to Know about Semantic Domain Names
1 ...What are they?
They are referred to by various terms including “spanning the dot”, “semantic domain names”, “readable domain names” or “spoken domain names” - but whatever you call them, they have one thing in common, they are domain names made of natural language, and they look poised to become big earners for the new-GTLD registry operators.
These new style of domain names are made possible by the fact that a large number of the new top-level-domains are real words, like dot-CLUB, dot-MARKET or dot-SALE. This is one of their major unique selling points. Where old top-level-domains all look like geeky computer code, many of the new ones have a much more familiar and human characteristic.
Recently Rightside issued a list of its top premium domain sales, and there was one noticeable thing a lot had in common. Taking together the two words, either side of the dot, made a natural language phrase.
So it was hardly surprising that Rightside’s No.1 price went to video.games – not only is this clearly a great name, but also such a common and ubiquitous phrase.
2 ... People like them
How do we know people like them? ... because people are already using them - despite the fact few have even been told they exist.
A pioneer in this field, UK start-up Names.of.London, sell human readable phrases that work in any browser, under the brand phrases.for.sale. This includes ones such as kings.of.football, pride.of.london and all.for.one - primarily to be used for redirecting people to specific product content. Names.of.London record around 11,000 uses a week of their phrases, despite the fact most are yet to receive any kind of promotion.
As we can see from the Google Analytics, most of the use is coming from mobile devices.
The most obvious explanation for their popularity is because they reflect real human language - they are familiar. This means website names can reflect the sort of words & phrases people actually use in everyday speech.
With the exception of Kim Dotcom, who changed his last name to “Dotcom” in homage to the stock market bubble that made him a millionaire, most people do not use the phrase “dot-COM” in everyday language (apart from when discussing domain names).
With the emphasis on dot-COM endings, and short prefixes, the range of reasonable choices for website names seems to be shrinking to the point it can be hard to work out how to pronounce some of them. Yopa, Emoov & Tepilo is a selection of the leading online real-estate agents in the UK.
At times it feels like we’ve been dragged back to the 1980s and the terrible days of MS-DOS where filenames could only be up to 8 characters, uppercase letters and numbers only. We were all so relieved when Windows came along and we could name our files pretty much anything we wanted – and then actually find them again.
3 ... They are easier for people
Through their use of natural language they are easier to read, remember and tell your friends about – and possibly most important, to say into your phone.
With voice search, and voice input, rising as the communication of choice for a new generation of mobile users, the need to have website names that can be easily spoken into a phone becomes increasingly important.
Even if you are not using voice input, with predicted typing and dictionary assisted keyboards, website names made of real words are always going to be easier to enter.
4 ... They act as a call-to-action
Short familiar phrases, that link directly to the relevant content, have the effect of acting like a call-to-action button on a poster, TV ad, Radio ad, billboard or leaflet.
The vital importance of a call-to-action in online content is well known and widely documented, but all too often the same care is not taken with a call-to-action in offline advertising.
Posters that simply quote the company’s main website can leave users struggling to find information on the product or event that sparked their interest, and ones that quote a phone number, that leaves people on hold for hours, are hardly going to give a good return on their investment.
5 ... They (may/can/do) boost SEO
When you match a domain name to a search term, there is an SEO boost.
How great that boost is can be open to discussion, but there have been a number of studies that have demonstrated a clear boost. Even if that boost is only 1%, if it’s what puts you ahead of your competition, or if it’s what moves your search entry from the second screen to the first, the value could not be over estimated.
coffee.club is one of the biggest success cases so far for a new TLD. The website was able to climb to the front page of Google US for searches of “ coffee club”, which is very uncommon for a new website.
Names.of.London have seen domain names go top-10 on Google in both the US & UK within 24 hours of registration, well before there is any relevant content – but where the search term and the domain name are an exact match.
While “hacienda pony club” is almost certainly one of the web’s more marginal searches, to reach top-10 ranking within 24 hours, with zero relevant content, is a considerable achievement.
6 ... They can match your existing branding
With such a wide choice of new top-level-domains, it can be possible to find a familiar natural language phrase that matches your existing company name, slogan or strapline - meaning you can now have a simple familiar phrase people can type into their phones or browsers that will take them directly to your content-rich online experience.
If you can’t find one to match your existing branding, the wide choices available means finding one that will match your requirements shouldn’t hard.
Imaginative, creative or amusing phrases, that people can enter directly into their phone or browser, can really engage your audience and help boost your advertising ROI.
7 ... They are directly clickable on social media
Being completely valid domain names, just like any other dot-COM or country domain name, social media platform, like Twitter, automatically recognises them and make them clickable through to your site.
This means they can not only take people out of the Twitter ecosystem and onto your site, but they can also be used as a natural part of what you have to say.
Hashtags a great for starting, or joining in with, a conversation, but they can easily be hijacked by those with ulterior motives and they trap users in Twitter.
If your aim is to stimulate sales, you need to get people out to where they can buy - which usually means onto your site.
This a republished post, the original is here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/7-things-you-need-know-spoken-readable-semantic-domain-james-stevens
Obviously, Guest Posting + PR is an important part of our strategy at Ginger Marketing, being one of our primary services. Slowly but surely we are starting to increase the amount of time spent marketing our business, but it's tough to carve out the time! Even we have difficulties - and we have everything set up and in place to execute!
Recently I've been trying one tactic which has worked pretty well. It is SUPER simple and takes only a few minutes every day. That is if you follow the basic rules about how to execute the tactic effectively.
And today I'm going to explain what this tactic is AND the basic rules you need to follow in order to execute it effectively.
Please, please, please, read down to the end of the post. Don't just read the tactic and go "Right - that’s it!" and launch into execution without at least trying to understand the nuances.
Very likely you will already know this, you will probably have read every piece of advice I am about to give.
BUT, until you have actually implemented it correctly, to land your company a premium PR placement like we did for The Telegraph, maybe there is something you are missing. I am pretty sure if you are pitching and pitching, and pitching and pitching, and not getting anywhere then I know what the reason is.
And I'm going to explain exactly what is going wrong and how you need to start changing your behaviour to get results.
The reason I am pretty sure I know the reason is because I see people doing it all the time.
In fact, very recently I found an ‘hourlie’ on People Per Hour where someone was selling a pitch template - and even their pitch template had this error. It had been sold hundreds of times, with this error.
Another fact, last week I made the error myself and had to adjust, correct and send the pitch out again.
So, if there is a voice saying - "I know this", "boring", "I don't have time", kindly tell it: “Thanks for popping by and sharing, this is only going to take a few minutes, let’s pay attention and see if we can get this and land our business an epic mention on a premium site.”
P.S. Before I go further, we do not currently offer premium mentions or premium PR (I keep getting enquiries). We offer a mid-level, niche guest posting service which is extremely valuable for your SEO strategy, growing community and brand presence in your niche.
So let's get going.
The tactic I used to land a mention on the Telegraph was answering a #journorequest on twitter.
If you don't follow it already then there is a great hashtag on Twitter called #journorequest where journalists, and also bloggers, tweet out for comments on features they are writing.
There is also a free tool you can sign up to called; Journorequests which collates all of these requests into a handy email so you can just scan through and reply.
Pretty simple right?
You are probably thinking “It can't be that easy?”.
Which is exactly what I thought when I tested it out. I figured, I'll sign up, for the next 2 weeks I'll answer requests and I'll see if we get anywhere. As a rule, I tend to test lots of new tactics and then shelve or keep, depending on results.
#journorequest is a keeper.
So, hopefully, by now, I've convinced you to sign up for the tool or follow the hashtag.
Let's get into how you are going to make it work for your business.
1. Get your sales head on
itching is like selling. You are selling your story to the journalist. When you are selling something to a client what is the first thing you think about? I'll bet you think “What does this person want that I can help them with?”. Or at least that is what you should be thinking.
The trick to selling is aligning what you have with what they want.
Are you with me?
Spend at least one minute reading and thinking about what this person wants before you even think about what you can give them. In sales - the person you are selling to is more important than you. Get that trick right and you are golden.
The problem is, we have a major egocentric issue in our society. Most people are just waiting for everyone else to be quiet so they can speak, this won’t get you anywhere. Read, listen and really think about what this journalist wants and is asking for.
2. Get to the point quickly
There is a MASSIVE difference between writing an educational post like this one, and pitching/selling yourself. When you write a post like this you have to take your reader on a journey, hold them by the hand and lead them to a realisation or a knowing - that's the goal. It's a slower process, the message takes time to unfold because the goal is to educate.
BUT, when you are pitching to #journorequest all you have to do is prove in 140 characters you have what they need. Your goal is to sell. So, get to the fricking point! Just tell them plainly, this is what I can add to your feature. Don't dress it up, don't start talking about your gazillion awards, just tell them what you can offer.
3. Pack your pitch with juice
Just look at how succinct the pitches are with this hashtag and look at how much juice is being packed into the responses. The good thing about Twitter is you have a limited character count which gets rid of waste. The best pitchers give a large amount of information in a short number of words. This gives the journalist everything they need to understand if you are a fit for their piece. If you are a fit they will contact you to get more information, at which point you can start to expand and go into depth.
In summary, read what the journalist is asking for - think about it for at least a minute. Then think "How can I add value to this piece?”. Then sell the journalist that value in a short tweet which
Gets to the point
Packs a lot of juice
Practice makes perfect, so get out there and start pitching!
If you have any more tips we’d love it if you could share in the comments below. What has worked for you?
Patrick Foster, e-commerce writer & marketer
Ten years e-commerce experience under the belt, with a more than a fair helping of SEO know-how. Writing articles to help entrepreneurs and small businesses.
How to Set Up an SEO Campaign - Everything You Need to Know About Your First Steps into the World of SEO
For those who have never done any SEO work, it’s a subject area which can seem strange and daunting. But don’t worry, we’re here to take you by the hand and help you take those first steps into the world of SEO campaigns. You’ll find that it’s not so daunting, or as difficult, as you might have first expected...
SEO for Entrepreneurs
Are you an entrepreneur who’s doing everything yourself? If so, you can still get your SEO campaign going with some simple steps. And don’t worry - funds are obviously going to be tight in these early, tentative days, but there are actually quite a lot of things you can do without spending a thing!
Here’s an overview of some of the things you might like to do when you have the chance:
When you’re doing everything for yourself, SEO is probably going to be lower down on your list
of priorities, but you shouldn’t neglect it. If you can find the time, these three things are definitely worth doing — just remember to approach anything like this with a measured approach, as search engines are suspicious of sudden changes and new domains.
Small/Medium Sized Business SEO
If you’re a small business, then you may be in a position to hire somebody specifically to run your SEO campaign. With somebody dedicated to this full time (or even part time), you can get a little more ambitious with it.
Here’s what you could do with an SEO person on your team:
To hire an in-house SEO, you could expect to pay them a salary of around $43,000 - so this is probably not going to be an option for a lot of people. However, there are a lot of freelance SEO consultants around who would be able to offer you some sound guidance at a much cheaper price. Speaking to an SEO could actually help you get an idea of more things that you could be doing yourself as well. (Hiring a digital manager to do SEO, PPC, social media, content and everything else might seem like a good idea at first...but can anyone really be an expert at everything?)
If you really want to push forward with a strong SEO campaign, then your best bet is to hire the services of an SEO agency. Doing this, you are most likely to be dealing with professionals who really know their stuff and the risk of working with SEOs who aren’t well enough informed is much lower.
Here’s the sort of things you can expect from SEO agencies:
Pricing will range a lot on this. If you can only afford a little, then you might like to pay for a slightly smaller service from an agency. Then, of course, there’s also the fact that there are huge differences between individual agencies. If any of them seem too good to be true in terms of pricing, you might want to find out more about their methods: they might be unreliable and outdated.
So in conclusion, if you are going to start up an SEO campaign for your business, there are several different paths open to you. Of course, different options won’t be available to all businesses, but there are tips here for businesses of every size. SEO is extremely important and now that you know how to get started, it would be a good idea to invest as much time as possible into doing so.
SEO is a topic which many small business owners find a confusing part of Marketing their business. There is no doubt about it, it is a large area of Marketing which involves many different skill sets and disciplines.
We asked SEO experts if they could give us their number one SEO tactic for small business in 2017 - the answers are surprisingly varied, which has resulted in a fantastic SEO resource we hope you’ll enjoy.
Make Sure Your Site Is Mobile Friendly
For a small business to gain a competitive edge it is important this year more than any to have your mobile SEO strategy in place.
Later this year Google will most likely be rolling out its 'Mobile 1st' algorithm which means Google will be evaluating and ranking sites based on the quality of the mobile version rather than desktop, as it is now.
If you don't have a 'mobile friendly' website then this should be your main focus in 2017, ideally by creating a responsive/adaptive site that changes dimensions based upon device, or alternatively a specific m.domain.
When this is in place then all your On-Site SEO activity should be planned with mobile in mind.
Alex Maclennan SEO @ Appleyard London
Use Customer Insight To Create More Searchable Content
A good approach to doing SEO, especially in a competitive space, is by blogging and sharing information about topics your target audience would find interesting and are actively searching for. But don't just blog for the sake of blogging or because you heard the phrase ‘Content is King’. Instead, make a list of the questions you get asked frequently.
You could look through emails from customers or make a note after having a direct conversation over the phone or in person. These topics are gold, as you know they want the information. Now, not only can you save time by pointing them in the direction of your blog posts when you get asked the same question, but you also increase your ability to get found in Google when someone is searching for that question. There's a direct and indirect benefit and that's how I approach SEO.
Neil is SEO and Director of Your Brand Found
Image Optimisation Is Key!
Make sure you name your images correctly with the keywords you want to be found for, if you're selling red running shoes, call the image name red-running-shoes.jpg and use the ALT tags as well. Don’t just leave it with the filename from the camera or manufacturer.
Jamie Gemmell from Search Jam
A Well Crafted Content Marketing Campaign Sets You Apart From Your Competitors
Publish valuable content such as guides, points of views, how-to's, reports or case studies for your target audience on your website and on relevant platforms such as YouTube and Facebook. Publish regularly on podcasts and on guest blogs to improve your presence and to develop yourself as an authority in your niche.
It will be easier to rank your site and generate the types of links that your competitors won't be able to acquire.
Essentially, it is a well-crafted content marketing campaign. When it works, it works extremely well.
David is a published author and Director of Business Growth Digital Marketing
Reverse Engineer Google Searches For Backlinks
Google search terms your content is targeting, to gather a list of popular blog posts or companies performing well in search results. Use backlink tools like Moz's Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs.com to see what websites are linking to these good performing pages. Then reverse engineer how to get listed on these websites. It could be with submission, partnership, paid sponsorship or many other options.
Joshua Uebergang Director of Shopify marketing agency Digital Darts
Use Images To Build Backlinks
Far too many people are focused on guest posts and sponsored posts for building links. Not only is this time-consuming, it's also not very interesting or varied, and if these are your main link building tactics then your backlink profile is going to be fairly plain and unvaried.
Most blogs and online publications are crying out for images that they can use, and if you have original imagery you can allow these publications to use it, provided that they link back to you.
Sam Williamson is the SEO Executive for Scotland Shop
Local Is Very Important For Small Business in 2017
Local SEO is even more important in 2017 so make sure your NAP (Name, Address & Phone number) is identical on every citation source. Your website details should be listed in the same format on Yelp, Google MyBusiness, Facebook, and any local directories. This helps Google understand that your business is legitimate and ‘permanent’.
Keith Lang SEO at Digital Consulting
An SSL Certificate Will Show Google You Mean Business
Google are upping the game with respect to ‘excellent sites’ vs ‘just another one of these’ and are actively penalising those which are insecure. A quick win to show Google you mean business is to ensure your site is secure with an SSL-certificate. If you've got a little green padlock in your address bar, you're good - if not, get one!
Alex SEO from Martingale Marketing
Use Video To Increase Time On Page
Use lots of video… but not just for better user experience. Video helps increase dwell time – the amount of time people spend on your page. Google pays attention to what happens AFTER the click as they want to ensure people are enjoying the search results that they are serving up. The longer the dwell time, the better.
Carrie Wood is Chief Marketing Officer for Lease Ref
Use 'People Also Ask' to Find Featured Snippet Opportunities
Perform a search in the form of a question and chances are you'll see Google's list of suggested questions people also ask about your topic. This is an easy way to find longtail queries to target and potentially steal featured snippets from competitors. If you expand the list, chances are you'll find some 'answers' that are out of date, not localised or incomplete. Answer the same question on your own site and you may just poach some prime real estate on the results page.
Lachlan Wells SEO from Optimising.com.au
Focus On Creating Content Around Longtail Keywords
Find phrases that are 3-5 words long. They might only get 10-100 searches/month according to Adwords. But you’ll get more traffic than you realise because:
1. There are tons of keywords you’ll rank for.
2. The keyword tool doesn’t give all information of the exact search.
Whichever route you pursue, once you've created the 10x content, reach out to get influencers to share their views. In doing so, not only will they often help promote the article, if you target the right influencers sometimes you can get a natural link from them when they blog about your topic.
Jason Quey Digital Storyteller from Storytellermarketer
Use Customer Reviews To Boost Your Rankings
Improve your visibility in Google and increase traffic to your site with online reviews. They're perhaps the most underutilised BUT easiest SEO tactic at the moment. Start asking your customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and other review sites (but not Yelp!). Make sure you publish reviews on your site and mark them up with Schema!
Quentin Aisbett Digital Marketeer from OnQ Marketing
Have A Content Promotion Strategy From The Start
Always have a promotion strategy when planning blog content. This means conducting your ideation around topics that can provide relevant long tail ranking opportunities, then source material from people that you can reach out to and let them know they are featured to encourage sharing, and maybe a backlink if it really speaks to them. Also, be sure to leverage this technique to grow your influencer network.
Nick, SEO from Web Profits
Optimise Your Key Meta Titles For Search
Nail the Title Tag with the right Keywords for each page on your site. That is the single most important SEO tip. If your pages are titled "home" and "about us" you will never be found!
Adam, SEO from Imwave.com
Infographics Are Still A Great Tactic For Gaining Links
In 2017, search engines have evolved to being intelligent enough to determine whether information which is organic is informative and adds to the user experience or not. A fundamental part of our SEO campaign are infographics which add value to the reader. Humans are very visual creatures and infographics are exceptionally linkable.
Rob Williams Director of Hawthorn
We hope you have enjoyed these tactics! A little note, we did not sway the experts in any way, they were simply asked to give their best tip. This is a great example and showcase of how vast the topic of SEO is and how each individual part of an SEO strategy works together to get those all-important rankings.
If you are an SEO or Digital Marketeer and would like use to add your top tip to this list, comment below or send us an email and we will include it.
If you are new to guest posting then the chances are you are a little bit worried about your pitch. Writing a good guest post pitch is something a lot of entrepreneurs have trouble with. But you don’t need to be concerned!
Writing a guest post pitch is actually super, super easy. And the most important bit you need to concentrate on is the first section of your pitch. Have you ever heard the saying that people make a decision about whether they like you within a few seconds of meeting you?
Well, this is the reason why your Guest Post pitch needs to start properly!
A poor few sentences and you will have lost your reader forever and you will never be able to win them back.
The only thing you need to remember when you write your guest post pitch is this:
It is not about YOU, it is about YOUR READER!
And this is the fundamental mistake that I see over and over and over and over (go on for infinity) times.
I’ve even seen professionals make this mistake.
So, you might think “Yes, yes I know that, of course I put the reader first”. But, is this an assumption on your part or are you leading with yourself?
Beginning a guest post pitch with yourself sounds like this;
I am the founder of Jess Ads, we are an Award Winning Advertising Agency who focuses on getting our client's brands noticed. We have a very active and engaged community of fans and followers with over 20,000 monthly views.
We would love to offer you a guest post titled: XXXXX, for your audience.”
The chances are you’ve lost your reader before they even get past the first sentence.
No-one cares about your business, at least, no-one cares about your business before they care about their own.
Here is what a pitch looks like with the READER FIRST:
I’ve read your post about XXX and I’d love to offer a follow-up Guest Post on the topic; XXXXXX.
I really think your audience will get a kick out of hearing a deeper look into one of the points your post discussed. In fact, I even noticed a couple of your comments touched on this topic so I’m pretty sure they’d be interested.
I am the founder of Jess Ads, we are an Award Winning Advertising Agency who focuses on getting our client's brands noticed. We have a very active and engaged community of fans and followers with over 20,000 monthly views.”
Do you see the difference?
You still include details about your business. You should definitely still include social proof like your community numbers, awards (if you have any), etc.
You only include that information AFTER you have your reader interested in what you have to say.
Apply this to your next pitch, come back and let us know how you get on!
Or, cut out all the fuss and just hire us to do your Guest Blogging for you. We offer a full service from competitor and keyword research all the way through to landing you that key placement and ensuring it gets engagement!
Recent data has shown that 17% of brands create, publish and promote more than five pieces of content each week – and there’s no way to do that single-handedly, so here are our top 25 tools to help you create and promote better content for your business.
1. Pixabay offers copyright-free images, as well as the option to tip the image creators voluntarily. This is great for making blog posts really pop and for adding eye-catching images to your content, without spending loads on graphic design or subscription-based image sites.
2. Small SEO Tools – This site has loads of free and simple-to-use content tools, including a plagiarism checker, grammar checker, keyword positioning tools and more. Some of the tools are limited when using the free version, but with a 1,000-word limit on the plagiarism checker, it shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.
3. Grammarly – An instant grammar and spelling checker available as an extension for most web browsers, which offers spelling and grammar suggestions as you type text in any website, including social media platforms.
4. Blog Post Templates – HubSpot has five free blog post templates available to download to inspire your marketing activities and help you to craft engaging blog posts.
5. Hemingway App – This app analyses content for readability and offers ways to make content more
accessible and engaging. By making content simpler to read, you will see higher conversions and click-throughs.
6. Infogram – Create engaging infographics in minutes without any graphic design experience.
7. Google Keyword Planner is perhaps the most obvious tool for finding relevant keywords, suggesting long-tail keywords and providing data on the competition surrounding them.
8. BuzzSumo – A great tool allowing content creators to find top content for specific keywords and industries to see what everyone else is talking about, this allows you to see what information everyone else in your industry is peddling, then make it your own.
9. Ahref Content Explorer – Find the most shared content for keywords, subjects and topic across social media sites, then add your own spin on it and bring those readers to your website.
10. Quora – In-depth answers to questions, personal anecdotes and expert opinions in the form of a Q&A forum – easy to get lost in for hours, but essential for adding authority to your content.
11. Google Trends shows the latest stories, news and media being shared and read across the internet. This can be used as a general search tool, but also offers more specific results when keywords are entered.
12. The Blog Topic Generator by HubSpot takes three keywords of your choice and generates 5 blog titles using them – it can be a bit hit-and-miss when it comes to grammar and some of the results are hilarious to read, but it is great for giving you inspiration for blog post titles.
13. Forums, such as Reddit, which calls itself ‘the front page of the internet’ are great for finding the latest information and customer-led interests surrounding particular topics. The site is divided into ‘subreddits’ and there’s one for almost any subject you can think of.
14. Your own company’s feedback – if your customers and readers are always asking the same questions, maybe that’s the subject you need to address next. Even an FAQ can be a great piece of content if enough people are interested in the answers. Another use is a ‘behind-the-scenes’ piece offering insight into the company or processes.
15. ‘Now Trending’ sections on social media are often the first place popular topics can be seen. Scan the ‘trending’ sections on Facebook and Twitter to see what everyone is talking about, then add your own angle to the discussion.
Managing the Process
16. Social Oomph – This is a social media automation platform which allows you to schedule when your content is published and the tags used to identify your posts. This is great for companies with limited staff who want to save time but still have a social media presence.
17. Outbrain – Outbrain scans the web to find topics, stories and media related to your content, then displays links to your content alongside in a native way – this entices people who have already shown an interest in similar topics to view your content, automating your content promotion.
18. Word2cleanHTML – The ideal blogging tool, this site converts text written and formatted in Microsoft Word to a clean HTML script, saving you time when it comes to publishing and fixing those small formatting errors.
19. Hootsuite is another social media automation platform, which offers the ability to see all social media streams simultaneously and schedule times and dates for publishing content – another time saver.
20. Your company website’s content management system – if you have not yet installed content management, take a look at g2crowd’s recommended software.
21. Zapty is an online platform with tools to organise teams and individuals working on a project – this is great for keeping freelancers informed, updated and confident in their role within your company.
22. There are numerous sites offering experienced freelancers, content creators, copywriters and graphic designers, such as People Per Hour, UpWork and Content Gather.
23. Content writing agencies are another option, and a long-term relationship with either an individual freelancer or committed agency will lead to exceptional content with a deep understanding of your business as a foundation.
24. Content sharing and collaborating platforms including Google Docs and DropBox are free and offer the opportunity to work with creators, freelancers and agencies to create perfect content suited to your needs in one place – it’s also great for backing up content so that technology can’t lose it.
25. Stand Up Mail is a simple interface which sends an email to collaborators or freelancers each day to remind them of their tasks, it then offers them the opportunity to write a simple list of completed tasks which are sent back to the team leader – a super-simple progress management tool.
Did we miss your favourite tool? Let us know in the comments what platform has been the key ingredient in your content marketing strategy!
If you are looking to hire a writer for your online content it can be a pretty confusing process to enter. One of the first decisions you will need to make is whether to hire a content writer or a copywriter for your project.
In this post, let’s go through the main difference between each discipline, we hope this can help you decide which type of writer is right for your project.
Let’s start first with copywriters, what do they specialise in, what are their core skills and why should you hire a copywriter?
What Do Copywriters Specialise In?
Copywriters are writing specifically to sell. It doesn’t really matter what the format is but their primary goal is to make a sale of a product or service.
For example, an Advertising Agency like Ogilvy will have a team of copywriters who will do the copy for their client’s TV ad campaigns and billboards.
A campaign at an Ad Agency for a large client will be themed around a central idea and then delivered to the public through a range of different formats. The best campaigns are delivered so that the target audience sees the campaign multiple times a day, in different places, for several weeks, resulting in a strong product recall and sales long into the future.
Brands like Apple, Coca-Cola and Vogue, which rely heavily on selling a concept and an idea to the consumer, spend vast amounts of money on these campaigns. They can do that because once someone starts identifying with a brand at their core being, they will be buying for a lifetime.
When it comes to online copy, copywriters will write landing pages and core sales pages, sometimes shopping cart pages too. Any touch point where the reader is close to purchasing something, a good copywriter can increase conversion rates and capture more sales.
What Core Skills Do Copywriters Have?
Copywriters need to be creative but also analytical and be able to create content around a central goal and track it. There are a ton of different goals one might have.
For example, Coca-Cola might come to an ad agency and say; “Our market research is showing that consumer behaviour is now preferring healthy drinks, smoothies and juices. How do we position Coca-Cola so that it is still a preferred soft drink and increase our sales by XX?”.
The campaign will be created to shift consumer behaviour and so the creative will be wrapped around this core goal.
Another goal could be that a business coach wants to increase the sales of her coaching program by X, by improving her sales page. How can she go about doing that whilst still remaining true to her voice and keeping the integrity of her brand?
Copywriters need to be able to take a brief and use market research to back up their concepts and the delivery of their creative.
Should You Hire A Copywriter?
A good copywriter is not cheap, the work they do is very advanced stuff requiring years and years of education and practice. Hire a copywriter for the really important sales touch points in your customer journey.
If your budget is small then your sales page is the first place to start. A good copywriter can cost anywhere between $1,500 - $2,000 and up for a single sales page. But the value you get in return from increased sales will be huge, so it is well worth it.
Of course, I love the written word, I find it one of the most powerful, everlasting and important forms of communication there is. My recommendation is to spend as much as you can on quality copy.
When hiring a copywriter, double check that is what they specialise in. Many online writers say they are copywriters when actually they are content writers using the term to add $$ to their pricing. Copywriting is a specialist skill so watch out for those who say they can do it all!
What Do Content Writers Specialise In?
Content writers specialise in writing online content which is produced to educate, entertain or inspire an audience into taking an action. More often than not, content writers are focused less on sales and more on lead generation.
Content writers will be writing the 90% of the web that comes through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, your favourite blogs and online magazines. These could be blog posts, guest posts and social media updates.
Content writers focus more on the top of the funnel, they are attracting the first eyeballs into the brand, copywriters will convert them. Content writers will tend to focus more on competitor research, keyword research and positioning the content in a way which will engage the reader and drive a subscription, provoke a social media share or a comment.
When it comes to guest posts, content writers will also be focused on link building and improving the SEO of the site they are writing for.
What Core Skills Do Content Writers Have?
Content writers also need to be creative and analytical, able to track what is and isn’t working. They need to be able to think quick on their feet and produce a high level of quality, engaging content at a quicker rate than copywriters.
Copywriters might write several landing pages a month, content writers might be writing 4 or 5 long form pieces per day. They need to have strong attention to detail and be able to think imaginatively and creatively. They also need SEO skills and they should understand the basics of content marketing on the web.
Should You Hire A Content Writer?
If your strategy is heavily focused on using content marketing to generate leads then you should consider hiring a content writer. They can produce your blog posts, guest posts and all of your social media updates. Many can even produce your email newsletter (though if you can afford it I would invest in a copywriter for your newsletter, especially if you are focusing on selling affiliate products or your own products through your newsletter).
Good content writers will also have an understanding of marketing on the web and how the content they produce for you fits into an overarching Digital Marketing Strategy. They can provide you with extra ideas and some advice about how to grow your leads and subscribers through Content Marketing. They should also be staying up to date with the rapid changes that happen in the online world. It is very handy to have a good content writer on your team!
Do We Focus On Copywriting Or Article Writing At Ginger Marketing?
We focus on Content Writing, this kind of writing lies at the core of producing quality blog and guest posts. However, we don’t just simply ignore copywriting. We spend one day a month learning about copywriting tools and techniques and then write down how we can start practically applying it to our article writing to improve client results.
For us, a key indicator of content success for clients is the engagement. We track how many social shares and comments each piece of content receives. Copywriting tactics can be subtly applied to blog and guest post writing to improve this engagement.
We don’t have time to go into specific examples here but sign up for our newsletter and you’ll be the first to get access to this content when it is up.
Have you ever hired a copywriter or a content writer? What was your experience?
Failing. Fail. Failure.
How do you feel about these words?
I’ll tell you how I feel - indifferent. But it didn’t used to be that way, so I totally understand if you’ve used these words before. Next time, don’t say you “failed”, say “you haven’t succeeded yet”, or “you have come up against a challenge”.
These words used to bring about a tightness in my chest, a sinking feeling in my stomach, low energy, dissatisfaction, fear and sometimes envy at everyone else who didn’t seem to be failing.
Thankfully, I don’t feel that way about the word anymore; it’s just the best word to describe something that didn’t work out.
I’m going to try not to get too deep and heavy. I’m writing this on a sunny day in Italy; it’s morning and I’m in my bright pink checked pyjamas and comfy hoodie. Not a time to get heavy.
I feel the time has come to share a little bit of my story from the last few years with you, because in a few more years I will have forgotten the early stages of building a business. The memories won’t be as strong and maybe the moment I am in now, and the thoughts I have on failure, can help a new business owner who has just left their 9 to 5.
The First Idea Will Set You Free... But Probably Not In The Way You Think
My story is the same as thousands of others; I didn’t like my corporate job so I left and set out to start my own business.
When I left my job, I had zero business experience, very little interpersonal skills, zero personal development skills, I had extremely poor emotional development and a complete lack of focus.
At the time, I thought I was going to change the world in a heartbeat.
Now, I am beginning to understand the only thing I needed to change was me.
I did have enough sense to realise this was kind of a big change; leaping out of a steady paycheck and career path into a blank space, to create a vision of my future from scratch. So I had money saved and booked-in several months to go and volunteer at a retreat centre in Spain.
It was here that my first business idea formed. Well, a name... a concept…
I wanted to help others who felt stressed out and overworked in the city to feel at ease in their own life and stay connected to themselves and each other.
Just with the details I’ve given so far, I hope you can now understand why I was not in a position to show anyone the path to embody any kind of peace or tranquillity in a city. I had just run away from one and was hiding out at a yoga retreat in Spain, decompressing and trying to come up with a plan.
City Calm failed.
Well, at least for now, it is permanently calm to the point of asleep.
BUT, moving into creating this ‘business’ helped me to start to piece together the skills I was lacking, and through contrast, I have developed a lot of clarity and direction I would never have found otherwise.
And that is why I say ‘The First Idea Will Set You Free... But Probably Not In The Way You Think’.
I have seen this pattern repeated soooo many times!!
People leave their job, then come up with an idea to help others in the area they really need help in.
A Health Coach Who Struggles With Her Own Health
A Motivational Coach Who Finds It Hard To Stay Motivated
A Mindfulness Teacher Who Gets Constantly Pulled Back Into Negative Thought
The last one is me!
Setting up and running City Calm was awesome. I taught basic Mindfulness classes in the park, I ran fun events like ‘A Sand Castle Competition’ or ‘Mindful Journaling’ and ‘Mindful Colouring’.
I ran a Mindfulness retreat with a highly experienced yogi and neuroscientist who I am still in touch with now; Paresh Mhaispurkar.
I passed around a beautiful bunch of flowers at a top Marketing Conference full of execs and spoke about universal energy and oneness (still makes me smile from ear to ear when I think of this!!!). The execs were so engaged and interested in learning about Mindfulness and even took it back to their teams; it was an absolute dream to teach that class.
It was fun, and I’ll be going back into running events and retreats in the future, that is GUARANTEEEED! And my practice will continue to grow and develop and I will, without doubt, start teaching again.
But the company failed.
Here are some key business lessons I learnt.
Planning Doesn’t Generate Revenue
We made very little - to pretty much NO MONEY.
There was no business model, in the first year I actually made: £0.00. I had to fill in my tax form and the tax office thought there was an error. NOPE, I just literally thought writing numbers in a spreadsheet would somehow magically create revenue.
Planning becomes more important as you start to generate revenue. Cash flow planning, in particular, is one I am getting my teeth stuck into right now. And project planning, resource planning, etc. But those only come ONCE you have revenue.
The ONLY reason you need to project future revenue is to make a strategic business decision. Projection planning isn’t there so you can know when you will become a millionaire.
Enjoy The Daily Process Of Improving Your Craft
In the first year, I practised a lot of yoga, mindfulness and meditation. I was addicted to learning as much as I could on the topic.
In the second year, I started to teach Mindfulness. I even put together an online course with Karen, a highly knowledgeable and practised Mindfulness teacher from London (if you are ever in London check out her classes and events, she is a lovely lady!).
The course was professionally filmed and edited by Leah, an intern who came to work for us for a while. It started to feel like we were making it. We were now modelling the website of a competitor who was raking it in; there was no way this plan couldn’t fail. There was a great team of people involved who believed in the vision and the future of City Calm. You should have seen my spreadsheet projections, we were all millionaires!
The course wasn’t bad - it was pretty well put together and I thank everyone who helped to make it a reality. But the fact is, "pretty good" isn’t good enough.
It was going to take a lot of time to get up to the level we needed to be and I didn’t enjoy the process of creating or selling online courses.
And that’s another reason why I think the first idea is likely to fail.
In order to succeed long term - to get up there with the likes of Kimra Luna, Kriss Carr or Marie Forleo, the entrepreneurs we see online and want to emulate - we have to be playing at the very, very top of our game. These guys have been at it for years!
To play at the top we have to put the work in. And you need to enjoy the work. You need to enjoy the daily process of improving whatever it is you are improving.
Otherwise, the standard of what you put out isn’t going to be high enough to create the abundant business you crave.
We need to be specific about the actions we do and don’t take, and they have to make YOU feel good.
Passion For A Subject Isn’t Enough
Having tried both the on and offline version of teaching mindfulness, I know 100% that offline teaching is what I prefer to do. I know I absolutely detest the process of creating courses and marketing them.
I don’t get Facebook Groups, and I don’t enjoy learning how to make them work.
I don’t enjoy testing sales sequences and sales funnels and I have zero desire to set up webinars or start videoing live streams on Facebook.
Going through the process of these activities just takes out all of the joy I had for the subject in the first place.
Slowly but surely, I am starting to figure out, mostly through contrast, which activities I enjoy and which activities I don’t.
So take note, be specific. Unless you have a high level of self-awareness already, it might take some time to unravel what you do and don’t enjoy.
Using Contrast Positively
This is the reason why failure is not something negative. It’s neutral.
You tried something, it didn’t work.
Why didn’t it work?
This is what I learnt:
*I realise these two are ridiculously obvious but hey!! Sometimes knowledge is only fully integrated through failure.
This is an amazing amount of learning and information which I can take forward and put into any new project or business.
I hope this has helped you to understand Why It’s Absolutely Okay To Fail. Why don’t we use the comments section as a little reflection centre today? Share with us something you have failed at and what it taught you - let’s learn from each other!