3 Non-Content Things Content Marketing Focuses On

focus-content-marketing Content marketing is all about different types of content… but what about when it’s not? Dig a little deeper and you’ll see that content marketing focuses on much more, especially the three things we are going to discuss today.

The Business Story

Before you push different types of content out, what is it that your business has to say? Are you devoted to serving the community? Solving a difficult problem? Righting wrongs of other businesses in the industry? A brand message sets a business apart from competitors and sets the mood and tone for your content marketing campaign. Depending on what that message is, it may be wise to use certain mediums over another. For example, videos may help in “boring” industries where the field is already flooded with written content.

The Audience

Secondly, WHO is it that this story is suppose to appeal to? Without knowing your core audience, the message may be lost amongst a sea of uninterested consumers. It not only helps to target who you want as customers but what phase of the buying circle they are currently in. Are they just browsing and price shopping? Or are they ready to pull the trigger and make the purchase? The difference between identifying an influencer and decision maker is a crucial one.

Technical SEO

Behind-the-scenes of content marketing, technical SEO factors come into play. This refers to properly optimizing the content and tracking its success. The tracking part is how you can tell what is successful or not. Consider Analytics your new best friend. For example, using the right Analytics, you can easily tell which blog posts get the most organic or social traffic. Add Goal tracking, and you can also tell which posts get the most conversions. Feel free to try these other tools.

Contact Emarketed today for help with your content marketing campaign and tracking – (888) 347-7757.

The Ideal Conversion Rate Is Like a Unicorn…

unicorn-conversionConversion rate optimization – three words never sounded so intimidating. A major obstacle in the way of perfecting the art of conversion is that there are many myths and false information floating around out there. It’s hard to know what the norm is for your industry and what it truly means to improve conversions.

In a way, the ideal conversion rate is like the unicorn… of the search marketing world. It’s magical, rare, and some doubt their existence! Feel free to ask our SEO specialists about conversions but be sure not to fall for these widely used & generalized myths:

1) Website changes have to be drastic to make a difference: The idea that you have to “Go big or go home” is overrated. Sometimes, the smallest changes can make a tangible difference. Some changes include: improving the call to action copy in your meta description, reducing the amount of fields on a contact form, or adding a more prominent phone number on your website. These small changes are easier to change, track and may yield better results (and save you resources) than an unnecessary website redesign.

2) The Three Click Rule ALWAYS applies: It’s long been touted that if a user can’t find what they’re looking for within 3 clicks on a website… poof – they’re gone. Although this is a great rule of thumb, it’s too general to apply across the board. It definitely depends on your industry and the type of customer your business caters to. For example, if you sell rare collectibles, you can bet on visitors digging around and clicking to their heart’s content until they find what they’re looking for. This doesn’t mean that you should make it hard(er) for them to find what they’re looking for… but don’t make things more complicated than they have to be.

3) No one reads anymore and long copy is bad: Short and long copy serves their purpose in different places. Instead of basing conversions on how long content is, focus on the purpose of the content and whether you’ve answered everything that needs to be addressed. Maximize the effectiveness of this long content by adding space, images, headings, videos, and making everything easy to find.

Read a case story here: http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/seomoz-case-study/ about short vs long copy.

4) Figuring out conversion problems requires asking complex questions: The funny thing with conversion optimization is that it often involves “dumbing” things down. Websites with conversion problems may be too complicated or sophisticated for the target user. Instead of spending time and worrying about figuring out more complicated questions to ask, take a step back. Ask simple questions to get to the root of the problem instead over-complicating the analysis portion.

5) Conversion is the only factor that matters: As easy it is to focus on the numbers, it’s just as important to understand HOW your process leads to those conversions. If your website receives a lot of conversions, that’s great! But can you really pinpoint the steps you took to get there? There is a science to good conversions and you will want to know exactly what was done so that you can replicate the process.

Don’t like the process of conversion rate optimization scare you. Emarketed can help you “capture” your “unicorn” today!

Top Beginner SEO Mistakes

seo-do-over Make no mistake, “beginner” SEO mistakes can and will happen to SEOs of experience … if you don’t pay attention. Whether you’re taking over an older website or starting from scratch, it’s crucial not to forget about the little things.

Taking Shortcuts for Immediate Results

When starting an SEO campaign, it’s realistic to expect that it will take time to achieve solid rankings and results. A n00b SEO misconception is that a brand new site will change everything & immediately. When these goals aren’t met in a short period time, it may be tempting to try alternative methods to boost results. Check on this article on SEO blunders even the biggest companies (like BMW and Toys R Us) have made.

Weird Issues with Meta Elements

Title and meta elements can be overlooked during a redesign… whether it’s having completely duplicate elements or none at all! Depending on the tools or methods used, titles and meta can even get switched so that they are no longer relevant to the actual on-page content!

To get into best practices, make sure that everything is unique as possible – title tags are 60 – 65 characters in length; meta descriptions are natural, unique and are between 150-160 characters in length. These elements can be crucial in conversion and click through optimization.

Neglecting Links & Under-Optimization

These past years have had SEOs shaking in their boots over fear of the next big Google update. SEOs have been so afraid of staying out of Google’s bad side by avoiding any type of optimization at all. This leads to a new type of problem – under optimization, out of fear that a website may seem spammy or keyword stuffed. Some SEOs may also fail to link pages internally or provide any type of navigation so that related pages can be found.

Remember that there is a balance between properly optimizing a website and going overboard. Read Google’s updated SEO starter guide here.

Contact Emarketed Today

If you need an extra set of eyes for an SEO audit or site evaluation, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

How to Personalize Your Scholarship Link Building Efforts

Despite the decline in “traditional” link building tactics, .edu, .gov, and .org links are still highly sought after. Recently, there has been an SEO trend concerning students and schools – businesses are offering scholarships in an attempt to get links from these prestigious sites. Sounds like a win-win situation, right? WRONG. In fact, many believe that in the near future, Google may be quick to jump on these and deem them “unnatural”. Read more: http://searchenginewatch.com/sew/how-to/2379527/are-scholarship-links-considered-unnatural-by-google.

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If you’re still interested in following through with a link building campaign based on scholarships, proceed with caution and remember some things:

What?

Here’s how it works: A business will offer a scholarship to high school students, grad students, or there are even some “scholarships” for non-students, who meet a certain criteria (age, goals, grades, school of choice, etc.)! The guidelines can be as narrow or general as you would like. The amount for the scholarship will vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Bottom line, a business offers a certain amount of money to a certain extraordinary individual who is worthy of receiving the scholarship money.

Why?

There are many goals to carrying out a scholarship campaign:
1) Generate positive buzz for your business
2) Support your alma mater, local school, or just help others in need
3) Be part of the community
4) Get strong social signals from promoting the scholarship
5) Link juice from schools or websites that link to your scholarship page

How?

The process described above can be time consuming and tedious. That’s why it helps if you have an internet marketing team to do all the heavy lifting for you. This is especially helpful if you plan to do the scholarship on an annual basis. Reaching out to get .edu websites to link to your scholarship is harder than it seems. It’s about contacting the right people and making your scholarship stand out.

Now What?

Scholarships are great, no matter what. But what makes your scholarship special? There are many scholarships that cater to students with good grades and although that’s great, it doesn’t really get your attention. Something like the Life Happens Scholarship Program, appeals to students who have suffered the loss of a parent. The American Fire Sprinkler Association offers a scholarship for the best essay about fire sprinklers. College Humor offers “The Average Student” Scholarship. The possibilities are endless.

Personalizing your scholarship will help your social sharing opportunities and make your cause (and business) more memorable… especially if you can get a clever tie in. It also shows that you care for a cause and aren’t just pushing a campaign for links. Remember, .edu links should only be part of your goals. Too many aren’t a good thing either. Diversity and being natural is still what matters in link building.

When to Give SEO the Cold Shoulder

SEO – All the time, 24/7. This mentality is exhausting and can actually end up hurting your website more than it is helping (see Google’s over optimization penalty).  In today’s world of search engine optimization, there are actually some instances where it is appropriate to “ignore” SEO. For the most part, it means focusing on the user first.

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1) Content – No matter what type of content is being written (blogs, web pages, downloads, press releases), the goal is to appeal to the potential customer. They don’t care about exact match keywords and repetitive phrases. They want to read something engaging that flows naturally.

When writing, it pays to put people before search engines. Search engines receive positive/negative signals from visitors, so when you keep the reader happy, it really goes full circle. Keep your readers happy and search engines are happy with your website too. On the other hand,  if you keep SEO first before people and website may suffer.

2) Social media – Where in ‘social media’ do you see ‘SEO’? Nowhere! And your social strategy should keep it that way. Social media is used for branding, engagement, reputation management, and customer service. Although there are positive SEO benefits from an active and effective social media profile, it’s more of an afterthought than the main goal. Search engine optimization should not be the front runner of any social media marketing campaign.

3) Landing pages for PPC ads – A piece of content on your website where you can completely disregard SEO? Say it ain’t so! Fortunately, you can let your creativity flow and put SEO behind when optimizing a landing page for a paid ad campaign. But when we say “ignore SEO”, it means ignoring the old, traditional pillars of SEO. No keyword stuffing, boring titles meant only for search engines and excessive/unnecessary internal links. Less is more here and the message of your content should shine here, not anchor text and long-tail keywords… although they should be used where it makes sense and not just superfluously.

Have Questions?

If you have more questions about when and when not to focus on SEO, give us a call today at 800-WEB-5421 for a FREE consultation.

Fix Website Problems Now or Later?

Sooner or later, you’ll come across problems with your website. The question is what can be fixed now and what can be put off until later. Depending on your resources and budget, there are definitely some things that should be dealt with sooner rather than later.

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Fixing Problems Now

Although small, typos, wrong pricing and descriptions are things you should fix right away. With a custom content management system (CMS) or WordPress site, you can easily fix these problems as you find them… as opposed to sending them to your webmaster and waiting hours (or days) for simple changes to be made.

On the other end of the spectrum, you may find yourself tasked with choosing between a mobile or responsive website. You can’t answer this question without looking further into Analytics and your customers’ behaviors. If there is an increase in mobile users and yet a decrease in conversions and increase in bounce rate, it may be a sign that you should think about a responsive website design.  If a quick mobile website is feasible and you don’t have the budget for a responsive one, it may be a better option.

Nowadays, there’s no real reason to think about a new website look without also going responsive. Responsive design is a big investment that may cost more in the beginning, but getting started now will help your website tremendously in the future.

Fixing Problems Later

If your website is working & converting well but you don’t care for the design anymore, it might be something to think of down the road. In the mentality of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, a whole website redesign can wait if you need to spend a lot of resources all at once. It falls under the category of “want” rather than a “need”.

Then there are problems that may arise that you’ll want to deal with later. Website penalties are an urgent problem that should be addressed now but are often put off until later. Although no one wants to deal with a penalty (especially alone), it can’t always be pushed back. This is an example of how waiting (even in order to conserve resources) will not end up well.

Is It Time to do Both?

At Emarketed, we can help tackle your website problems now and as well as plan for things to fix later. We believe in thinking about short term, as well as long term goals for your website. Call us at 800-WEB-5421 for a FREE consultation and let’s see how we can help you.

Avoid Getting Burned Out When Optimizing For Different Locations

Marketing one website and location can be hard enough. Some businesses face the obstacle of optimizing and marketing multiple locations through one website. While franchisees have the benefit of branding and name recognition, small to medium sized businesses with multiple locations may have a much more difficult time when it comes to SEO and local search marketing.

burn-out

Follow Google Guidelines on Representing Your Business

First and foremost, make sure to read Google’s official guidelines here. Having a home address, PO box or virtual office listed as a business address is NOT best practice. So before you go through the time and trouble of optimizing for a certain location, make sure that that business address is, in fact, accepted by Google.

Give the Locals Some Love

Don’t get overwhelmed and burned out at the thought of writing the same content but saying it in a different way. Having city specific landing pages will give your business the opportunity to make local users feel special and like you are one of them. Use this space for user generated content (testimonials) and specific details about that location. For example, a restaurant near the beach can highlight fresh seafood specials while one closer to a sports stadium can promote happy hour deals. Don’t forget to use language, pictures and videos that paint the local landscape.

Unique, Geo-Centric Content

Whether you have 3 locations or 30, this will be difficult. Of course, the more locations, the more difficult the task at hand. It’s 2015. You simply can’t expect to rank for all locations by having the sample boiler text content while just switching out the name of the location/city. Other than having a real office in the targeted city, this is the next necessary step for your business to rank. Hey, no one said it would be fun! Check this article out for more information: How To Leverage The Best Local Content Source For Multi-Location Brands

Things You Shouldn’t Do…

DO NOT try to game the Google system with duplicate geocentric content, Map, local spam or worse. These tactics don’t work and if by some miracle they do, it will catch up sooner or later when all your listings are shut down. Setting up a long term plan takes more time, but it will be worth it in the end.

Set Realistic Expectations

It’s important to have realistic expectations, especially if you are located in a dense and/or competitive area. If your business is in Reno, you can’t expect to rank #1 organically for Las Vegas. The same goes for a business in Bakersfield attempting to land positions in Los Angeles. (PPC is definitely a different story…) Make sure that your office location, target audience, and content are aligned.

If you have any questions, feel free to call the Emarketed today at (323) 340-4010.

How Often Do You Monitor Your Website’s Links?

Website backlinks can be a tricky subject in SEO. Good, bad, toxic, follow/nofollow? It is possible to monitor all the incoming and outcoming links with a plan. Let’s take a look at the elements you need to keep track of:

link-monitor

Review Google Webmaster Tools Regularly for incoming links as well as links that are not Found, crawl, smartphone errors and more. This should be your first stop for all things link related. If your website is suffering from a drop in traffic or rankings, you’ll want to check the messages to make sure that your website doesn’t have a penalty,

This should be part of your monthly or quarterly SEO routine for maintenance, as you should address Not Found, crawl or server errors immediately. Too many of these may affect your rankings and if not that, your customers’ experience while on your site.

Analyze Growth/Decline of Backlinks Using a 3rd Party Tool like Majestic SEO, ahrefs, Screaming Frog etc. While it’s a good starting place to start with Google WMT, it’s even better to cross check (or triple, quadruple check) with different sources. All these tools will tell you different things and together, give you a better view of your backlink profile than what 1 can tell you alone. This step should also be part of your regular SEO routine as you can check for negative SEO, a drop off in important backlinks or new gains and mentions.

Check for Broken Links On Your Site, especially if you link to government, educational, social media or news sites, as these often change or die frequently. The frustrating part is that these sites often do not implement proper 301 redirects, which leaves you linking to a web page that does not exist. Not only is it frustrating but also bad for user experience. As part of a complete link plan for SEO, it’s important not to forget about the sites that you’re linking out to.

Develop a Natural Link Building Plan through social profiles/mentions, local citations, press releases (that are legitimate and warranted), comments, linkable assets (infographics, downloads, pictures, etc.), review sites, news and other sites related to your niche. Perhaps the most difficult part of orchestrating a natural linking plan is that it is supposed to appear with little/no effort and the links should not seem to be manipulated. This is why it’s crucial to link build slowly and consistently. It’s no longer effective or natural to build a surge of hundreds of links in a day or a week and suddenly stop without any further plans.

Need Help with Linking?

If you need assistance building a linking plan, an assessment of your current efforts or help fixing a manual link penalty, Emarketed is here to help. Click here: http://www.emarketed.com/google-penalty-removal/ to see exactly how we can help you. Remember, you will not be charged until your Google Penalty is lifted. Contact us today!

SEOs Beware: Pandas Don’t Hibernate!

Historically, during the holiday season, Google has announced that there would be no “major” Panda updates until the new year. This year, many SEOs speculate that this may also be the case, as there have been no Panda updates since late October. That’s a long time for Google to go without a major Panda update. There have been nearly 30 updates since the first Panda in early 2011.

seo-panda-hibernate

Preparation

This is a good time to review all the web pages on your site. Since Panda is about low-quality content, it’s crucial to look at your web pages from an objective point of view. If your site has fared well since the last Panda update, it’s not the time to breathe a sigh of relief, keep doing what you’re doing, and cross your fingers hoping that you’ll make it after the next update. Remember, Panda is serious business and tends to affect website rankings all across the board, not just for a single keyword or topic.

Prevention

Run through stats for organic traffic and sort via landing pages to see which pages have benefited or lost since the last Panda update. Review content for duplicate (with your own site and others) and overlapping topics. Templated or boilerplate content is a no-no. Inserting keywords and geographic locations into the same content is so 2005 and will catch up with you during the next Panda update.

Covering All Your Bases

Panda has no mercy and can take any victim by surprise. Some Panda issues might not seem so obvious. If you have a WordPress blog or site, you’ll know that there are tag and category pages. Depending on the amount you use, these can create an endless headache when it comes to red flags for thin or duplicate content. This can be taken care of by using noindex/nofollow tags but make sure to use this option carefully. You don’t want to accidentally noindex or nofollow main pages.

In addition to any content cleanup, it’s necessary to create quality, evergreen content whenever possible. This doesn’t apply to just web content itself but also blog posts and any other page on your website. If you have widgets, infographics, videos, downloads and other types of non-text content, make sure that the appropriate content accompanies it. Otherwise, it may be considered thin content.

Panda-Proof Your Site Today

Like its real life counterpart, the Panda bear, Google Panda doesn’t hibernate. It’s on a short hiatus at the moment, but expect to see it back in action at the beginning of 2015. Let us know if you need any help with Panda-proofing.

Misconceptions About Nofollow Links

Created in 2005, there has been much mystery and scrutiny surrounding the nofollow link. Let’s explore and bust some of these misconceptions about nofollow links:

1) Using a nofollow link will blacklist or deem a site untrustworthy
While it’s true that Google recommends nofollowing content that you may deem untrustworthy (such as author comment links),(See Google’s official take on it here ), it does not say that sites with the nofollow tag will be blacklisted by Google. This tag simply provides directions to search engines to not follow the site and pass Page Rank.

Many widely used, reputable sites like Pinterest, YouTube, and Avvo automatically nofollow links. Using this logic, all websites linked from these sites are seen as untrustworthy in Google’s eyes. NOT the case!

2) No follow links are bad for my website’s back link profile
A healthy website will have a diverse back link profile. This means having both do follow and nofollow links. Nofollow links are seen as natural and the only real problem should come when your profile contains a majority of nofollow links or a vast quantity of nofollow links containing keyword rich anchor text. Read more here.

3) Nofollow links are not counted by search engines at all
Adding the nofollow tag means that Google will follow that… most of the time. Take a look at what Google says:

How does Google handle nofollowed links?

In general, we don’t follow them. This means that Google does not transfer PageRank or anchor text across these links. Essentially, using nofollow causes us to drop the target links from our overall graph of the web. However, the target pages may still appear in our index if other sites link to them without using nofollow, or if the URLs are submitted to Google in a Sitemap. Also, it’s important to note that other search engines may handle nofollow in slightly different ways.

4) Nofollow links don’t matter, so I shouldn’t care about them
While nofollow links kill any link juice your website would have gained, you can still benefit from nofollow links through the form of: website traffic, business branding, professional connections, social mentions, and an increased target audience.

5) There is only one type of nofollow link
Nofollow = nofollow, right? Not so plain and simple. There are actually two ways to implement nofollow links, one at a page level and one at just the link level.
The robots meta tag can be implemented in the header of a website OR at the individual link level.

Related Blog Posts:

Think Nofollow Links are Useless? Think Again!
What’s Your Golden Rule for Link Building?
NoFollowing Links for Press Releases and Widgets