Tag Archives: Content marketing

Traffic – 6 Recommendations (Improve Your Website, Part 3) … Plus Some Jokes

 

website design ideas

Your site has it all, so what do you get for the site that has it all? One-word answer: more. Let’s figure out how to improve your site beyond your wildest dreams, so that your new “wildest dreams” for the web can be, well, incredibly, unimaginably wild.

In this series, we are working on your site so that it is optimized from three different angles: design (Part 1), functionality or UX (Part 2), and traffic (today’s lesson, Part 3). Once we’ve done that, let’s all buy a yacht and forget where we live (or just start saying, “I live in the world – I can’t be confined to a state of mind, let alone a physical address”).

Today is traffic, so let’s talk about that, beyond the obvious importance of getting your users to respond to green lights, merge signs, and detour notices. Etsy and Quick Sprout provide expert commentary from a couple different sources, a crafts marketplace and a general Internet marketing informational site, the latter of which I’ve referenced previously in Superb’s blog (and check out owner Neil Patel’s contact infographic).

Both of these sources discuss SEO and content marketing heavily, so I will point out quickly that those are areas of expertise of ours at Superb as well. Also note that though we do still sell snow cones out the side window, we are no longer offering the tropical punch, because we have been unable to keep up with the insatiable demand for that flavor (although we swear it does not contain the world’s most sought-after, limited-edition, above-the-top-shelf rum).

Etsy focuses specifically on SEO, with especially strong points on the following subjects:

  • killer content
  • chain-linking the web
  • just a little patience.

Quick Sprout zones in on social media rather than SEO, so the two sources should pair well to drive in traffic from those two key spheres. Here are the most helpful tips to increase your “social significance”:

  • ask for it
  • court influence
  • brand toward sociability.

These seven tips will help your site from two completely different angles, one obtuse and one acute (or are they both right?). Note that optimizing for social and SEO can be performed simultaneously via Google Author, while optimizing for solitude and dejection can be accomplished via taking your shirt off at a family gathering and aggressively challenging your sister-in-law to a game of bloody knuckles.

We have much to discuss. However, it’s also absolutely necessary that we understand how web conversions have changed the world as we know it. That’s why we’re looking at the subject from a holistic perspective that respects it as the art-form that it is (continued from our discussion throughout this series). Another fun fact follows:

Fun Fact About Website Conversions #7: Did you know … that the easiest way to convert a visitor to your site is to shout at them through a bullhorn? Make sure when you use the bullhorn that you are in the immediate environment of the user, standing right next to them. Bullhorns don’t work nearly as well through the web. Get hands-on.

SEO Traffic & You, Lady

Per the Etsy commentary, SEO is not always easy to understand, and quality SEO is not as simple to implement as we would like. However, three primary points of focus can help us get our sites higher in the rankings:

  1. Killer content – You want all of the content on your site to be as search-friendly as possible. The most solid approach is to think at all times about the quality of what you have to say. Fill out your site with great informational articles. Also, make sure anything you present is specific rather than general, gearing toward long-tail keywords.
  2. Chain-linking the web – Link to others, and do whatever you can to get them to link to you. Link from all your social media to your website of course, but also find whatever sites might be interested in what you have your offer, your site’s area of expertise, or even your locale. Link within your site to other pages (internal linking), and submit guest posts to other sites.
  3. Just a little patience – Your site’s prominence will likely rise and fall over time, but don’t give up hope. SEO takes time. Try to keep the content on your pages solid rather than constantly reworking. Add new blog pages instead.

Fun Fact About Website Conversions #8: Did you know … that full website conversion can best be achieved by wearing a traditional, 28-pointed, misshapen, fully-interactive techno-helmet while stroking a long, flowing beard?

Social Traffic & You, Fella

OK, so what about the other side of the web, social media? Let’s look at three basic techniques from Quick Sprout that you can use to take advantage of social sharing and presence:

  1. Ask for it – As Neil mentions, in a study conducted by Dan Zarella, asking people to “please RT” on Twitter created 4 times the tweets. Make sure you ask, because people are much more likely to respond. Start the ball rolling on your site’s content by sharing it yourself and asking your friends to do the same.
  2. Court influence – Build relationships with the powerful. A few ways you can get the attention of these people include posting “best of” lists (of the greatest content you’ve seen during a certain time period or on a set topic) interviewing them, and repeatedly linking to their sites.
  3. Brand toward sociability – Make sure whatever you put on your site is of the highest possible caliber, according to the needs of your visitors. Be both informational and entertaining. Grow one social media piece at a time.

 

Fun Fact About Website Conversions #9: Did you know … that you can successfully convert two web users at once, if they are both using the same computer, with two windows open, and are taking turns using the mouse and keyboard?

Conclusion

Well, it’s a sad day, folks. We’ve successfully completed this series. Now what are we going to do? I guess it’s back to staring at the wall and moaning softly until we fall asleep in our own filth. Oh well. As a parting comment on traffic, remember, it does require patience. Keep at it.

Regarding general site improvements, the same principle applies. It’s all a work in progress, after all, which is also a great way to refer to your write-offs if you get audited.

by Kent Roberts

SEO Basics, Part 3 of 3: 10 Tips to Understand Content Marketing … Plus Some Jokes

 

Google's Sam Sebastian Keynote at Content Mark...
Google's Sam Sebastian Keynote at Content Marketing World

This piece is the third and final installment in a series on search engine optimization (SEO). The first two parts of the series focused on optimizing toward specific geographical areas – local (Part 1) and international (Part 2). This final article will center on content marketing and why quality content is so important – because informative articles are much of what’s used these days to gain search engine prominence.

Our focus over the years has started to turn toward social media and its ability to aid “conversational marketing.” Content marketing and conversational marketing are in a sense one and the same. Quality content generates quality conversations. If people like the information and entertainment you are providing through your website and promoting through social media, they will be likely to share it with others and more likely to trust and engage with your company – resulting in higher sales.

Content is not just about conversation, though. It is also about getting the attention of search engines. The SEO packages we offer at Superb Internet (alongside web hosting, colocation, and other services) all include, as a core component, the production of quality content. This is because the search engines will give you higher prominence if you are adding strong, original copy to the Internet. “Content is king,” as they say, not just because it makes you more relevant on Facebook and Twitter, but also on Google, Yahoo!, Yandex, and other search engines.

Google Authorship will further integrate social and search by combining its search engine with author-specific tags tied to its social media arm, Google+. Essentially, the relevance of your content, the prominence of the writers or “authors” on your site, and the extent of the conversation your material generates through social media will form a trifecta that determines how high you rank various places online.

Marketing, like all aspects of interaction, is adapting to fit the new expectations of an audience that is increasingly surrounded by digital media and the ability to rapidly share ideas, information, and entertainment with friends and business associates. What has resulted is innovation, but also a sense of confusion about exactly how to meet the needs of new communication tools and sensibilities. Today, then, let’s explore what content marketing is all about and why so many businesses are implementing it.

Before I get into that, though (following up on the format I established in the first two parts of this series), I will present a couple more non-traditional approaches that can increase stickiness on your site. Below is the fifth such Attention Grabber to help you stand out online and give your site’s first-time visitors a great immediate impression.

Outside-the-Box Attention Grabber #5: Baby-Friendly Sounds & Swirling Colors

Have you considered making the landing pages to your website more baby-friendly? Babies now represent 28% of online traffic, and needless to say, they have difficulty understanding traditional sales pitches, preferring happy sounds and swirling colors. Be sure to incorporate these elements into baby-friendly pages:

  • A delicate balance between soft, cloudy pastels and bright, bold hues: babies are easily bored, so ensure visual diversity
  • Advisable sounds: laughter, rain, cat-purring, nonsensical doting grandmother noises; inadvisable sounds: screaming, cackling, explosions, and growling.
  • Always be closing: Make it clear in your terms and conditions on the landing pages that if the baby blinks twice and smiles, s/he owes you $39.95 per month, due in full when the baby turns 18 years old.

10 Tips to Understand Content Marketing

The following 10 tips can be helpful in your efforts to drive traffic to your site by generating quality content that gives you a lift on Google. My main objective here is to convey a broader understanding rather than a specific systematic approach.

  1. How Content Brands Your Company: As Frank Strong of Copyblogger notes, we tend to think of a brand as the name of a product or service – but that isn’t really what it is. A brand is a perception of the product. The perception is, simply speaking, a combination of the image in statements made by the company (as developed by content marketing, TV and radio advertising, etc.) and user interaction (as developed by conversational marketing such as social media, user-generated content such as third-party blogs, reviews, word-of-mouth, etc.). Content marketing allows you to grow and change people’s perception.
  2. Contributing Value: In everything you do with content marketing, think about how the information might be useful and/or enjoyable to your audience. This article, for example, is intended to get across information while also occasionally being silly – so it aims for fun and functionality at the same time. Content marketing is, in a sense, one and the same as conversational marketing because you are attempting to strike a chord with your audience. That way, people want to discuss your business with their friends, and their experience is more memorable. “Content is currency – something we trade for our audience’s attention,” says Strong. Offer value to receive value.
  3. Non-Traditional Advertising: Reaching out to your audience through online content is an alternative to traditional advertising; according to Social Media Today, that’s a good thing. A 2012 Nielsen survey found that 92% of people trust recommendations from friends, and 70% trust online recommendations by strangers. Compare this to 47% trust in TV and magazine ads, and 46% trust in newspaper ads. Getting a conversation started online is a point of access where consumer trust is high.
  4. “Too Much Information”? Usage of smartphones has expanded rapidly, and this has made a major impact on how much users search for information. In 2010, about 1/3 of Internet users owned smartphones; at that time, the average person searched 5.3 online sources prior to buying a product. In 2012, that figure became more than 50%; the number of sources checked almost doubled to 10.4. Make sure you have plenty of content to meet that growing need. And always think in terms of customer needs, per Jay Baer’s concept of “Youtility” (you, not me) and how help wins out over hype online.
  5. Success with Consumers & Businesses: By the time a consumer gets to your website, s/he has made it about 70% of the way to a purchasing decision. Furthermore, per a survey by Roper Public Affairs, 80% of decision makers at businesses would rather read an article than view an advertisement to find out about a solution for their company.
  6. Bolstering of ROI: Content marketing does not disappear; rather, it is a business using the growth of its website to its advantage. Advertising campaigns – even online ones – are here again, gone tomorrow. Your own content, on the other hand, gradually builds and spreads your messages over time. You also get access to more people because of social media sharing. Additionally, per Social Media Today, a Kapost & ELOQUA study found that content marketing is three times more effective at lead-generation than is search engine marketing (SEM) such as Google AdWords, at 70% the cost of SEM.
  7. The Numbers Don’t Lie: Advertising Age conducted a survey of 600 marketing professionals. The results suggest that 12% of marketing dollars are now going to content marketing, with increases in those numbers during 2013. Perhaps part of the reason that number is not yet higher is because companies are confused about factors such as who should be in charge of content, exactly how to make it work, and how to measure its effectiveness.
  8. Difficult to Gauge Effectiveness: One thing to keep in mind about content marketing is that it is not always easy to figure out whether it is working. Of the marketers surveyed by Advertising Age, 8% said they were “very satisfied” with their understanding of the success (or lack thereof) of their content campaigns; 48% said they were “somewhat satisfied.” Keep in mind, that’s not as bad as it may at first appear: it just represents the general confusion as to how to measure whether content is working in a brand’s favor. The CMO of Target, Jeff Jones, says that the company’s webzine A Bull’s-Eye View is receiving over 100,000 unique visitors for each issue, which sounds great; however, “we don’t have a single metric yet, and we don’t have history to know its predictive nature.”
  9. Determining Who’s in Charge: One crucial component of quality content marketing is that it is consistent throughout the company. That means it’s necessary to have a single person who is responsible for the content as a whole. It’s also wise to have individuals, if possible, whose sole responsibility is to analyze possibilities, develop content, and determine whether campaigns are succeeding. Since best practices are still in their infancy throughout marketing as a whole, you need to create a strong infrastructure internally to ensure you are learning from your mistakes and getting better as you go.
  10. Strong Writing Backgrounds: Since the word “quality” is so vague, many folks don’t choose professionals to write articles for their companies. Larger companies are turning toward journalists in some cases – such as Coca-Cola, which according to Advertising Age has hired a former TV news reporter to assist with content creation for a stronger base in research and story-telling.

Outside-the-Box Attention Grabber #6: Middle of Nowhere WebCam

It’s always good to include a live feed from the middle of nowhere as a pop-up window on your website. New customers want to know that you are willing to go the extra mile to expose them to uninteresting as well as interesting content. Here are a few pointers:

  • Choose a location that is completely nondescript: no buildings, no plants, no human beings – just open space
  • Engage your visitors by popping up text – after 10 seconds – that asks, “Why have you not closed this window yet? There is nothing to see”
  • Pair the video with an audio track of yawning. This pairing has the power to make the visitor so bored and depressed that s/he is unable to leave your website.

Conclusion

Developing a strong content marketing campaign for your website is not a simple task. However, its effectiveness in building search engine rankings is obvious as Google, Yahoo!, and Bing gear their algorithms more and more to rewarding quality advice, information, and entertainment on sites. SEO is no longer just about link-building through directories. It’s about helping people find what they need online. If you make people’s lives a little easier, they will appreciate it and become more likely to want to do business with you.

That concludes my three-part series on search engine optimization (SEO). Check out Part 1 on local SEO and Part 2 on international SEO to get a better handle on the different ends of the spectrum for your business’s search efforts.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood

How to Aggregate Content for Your Website

Webmasters, where do you stay ahead of the curve with developing new content for your website? You may want to take a look at the resources I collected for you today. The first, by Scott Cowley is an invaluable resource of algorithm based websites that will find you the latest news, scoops and trends to fit your tastes or niche market.

Algorithm-based Content Aggregators | ScottCowley.com


A Little List of Algorithm-based Content Aggregator Websites - ScottCowley.com | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From www.scottcowley.com – Today, 8:25 PM

Excellent list of algorithm-based content aggregators, including hybrids with voting or editorial components. These are the best of the best tools for content marketing, curation and PR.

Facebook launch their own version of tools for the web, with a family of apps for android, similar to the native Google apps family. This aggregates all your Facebook news, email, VoIP and IM services onto the home page of your Android.

Facebook Home: More Disruptive Than You Think | Forbes


Facebook Home: More Disruptive Than You Think - Forbes | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From www.forbes.com – April 9, 1:03 AM

TIME Facebook Home: More Disruptive Than You Think Forbes Second, and arguably more important than an elegant design, Home has the potential to shake up relationships between carriers, mobile software providers, advertisers and consumers…

Forbes present an unbiased introduction to the family of Facebook apps called “Facebook Home” meant to aggregate all your mobile browsing into one place.

“Who, after all, wants their entire phone dedicated to Facebook all the time?… And who wants to have to click through Facebook’s interface before getting to other apps you use, such as Twitter or the web browser?” – wrote Jim Edwards, a deputy editor at Business Insider who is also a Facebook investor. Social Media sites are a great way of seeing what your friends and relevant market are talking about, however they are notorious for not carrying the original credit. Which is where the next piece comes in, by Andrew Schulkind on how to give due credit to your sources.

 

How To Share Others’ Content Fairly | Business 2 Community

Scraping vs. Aggregation: How To Share Others’ Content Fairly | Business 2 Community | How to Grow Your Business Online | Scoop.it

From www.business2community.comToday, 1:11 AM

For content marketers, the rules for what you can and cannot share are pretty murky, but there are some guidelines that should keep you out of trouble.

Juliana Payson‘s insight:

What is the difference between scraping and aggregating? Andrew Schulkind goes on to refine those differences, and this is something that would make the web a much cleaner place to be in terms of rehashed, re-spun content. Scraping is a method of gathering content from various sources, frequently without attribution, and building a web page around that rehashed content. The content is usually re-spun in low quality ways that don’t add value to the reader, and it’s objective is usually as a way to sell advertising.

Do you have favorite tools for discerning your content publishing rosta? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the post –  Juliana

 

SEO Trends for 2013

English: a chart to describe the search engine...
English: a chart to describe the search engine market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Search engine optimization is a constantly changing field. Looking at the trends that are developing in 2013 gives us a sense of how to reshape our efforts. This is becoming more important all the time, actually, because what’s on the horizon is a major shift in the way search engine rankings are calculated. (Actually all mathematical calculations are getting ready to change. 2012: 4 + 4 = 8. 2013: 4 + 4 = 11 & 6, both/either. 2014: 4 + 4 = 4. 2014: 0 + 1 = 4. The trend is toward all equations resulting in 4, but this year’s gonna be nuts.)

For this article, I drew on ideas presented, primarily, in Search Engine Watch, Website Magazine, SEO Advantage,  and Mint Twist. I also came up with some of my own ideas – shocking! – but much of the grist came from research on those three sites.

SEO & Content Marketing

Initially the Web – which we often forget is still in its youth – was based on text and linking between sites without a great deal of sophistication. Basically the questions were these: do you have certain keywords, and how many links do you have coming in from other websites? It was a much simpler calculation than what we see today, and much easier to game the system, for web developers with bad content to draw in traffic.

People used to get away with a lot – using a font in the same color as the background, for instance, and jamming as many keywords on the page as possible without feeling concerned that visitors to the page might find it annoying and impossible to read. What people have been able to get away with has been reducing all the time as Google has improved its policing of misbehavior.

Content writing became a whole field in the industry. This field emerged because website owners who were used to just throwing a bunch of words and links together now needed to have something real to legitimize linking – they needed information, opinions, and ideas. Content writing, then, was a major improvement over previous efforts because you can no longer get away with a bunch of meaningless words that just happen to relate to a subject.

Recent Google updates – Panda in 2011 and Penguin in 2012 – have majorly impacted the necessity of content that is unique. Plagiarism is no longer tolerated, and content now needs to be of a higher quality – more robust and more heavily reliant on credible sources.

It is no longer considered acceptable to simply find places to pay to link to your site or to write content on a blog network and link it to your site yourself – the idea is generally to get to a more user-friendly Internet composed of a network of high-quality links and information. At present, it is still somewhat of a jumble of high-quality and low-quality without as much demarcation as would be desired when looking for a solution to a problem or even just randomly surfing the web, to know what we’re reading is accurate.

(Sometimes I feel that Shaquille O’Neal is the only one we can trust. Is that guy still alive? I hope so, because I think he may be the only one out there who understands business ethics. He can read, right? I think I saw him with a book one time.)

Personality

Many website cover the same topics. This makes sense, because in the end, there are only so many different topics to cover that are relevant within a certain field. However, covering the same topics means covering a lot of the same language. Finding a different way to approach the same topic becomes a key issue.

What sites are looking for, then, is personality. It’s a differentiating factor so that you and your competitors are not overlapping each other with everything you write. Creativity becomes crucial, finding those niches in the Web that have not yet been filled.  Personality, then, makes us unique and creates content that’s different from the territory that everyone else is covering. In the process, we brand our businesses and separate ourselves from the pack. So, this is not all bad … provided we can partner with the right individuals to do it.

(My quilting group has an expression about this: “When you patch it all together, if it looks completely crazy, that’s because a demon was at the quilting bee, and you have to burn the quilt right away or everyone in the quilting bee will be in imminent danger of dying from the consumption.”)

Google Say, Monkey Do

I don’t care what anyone says. I like being a Google monkey. They train me so that I don’t throw feces at my neighbors. I’ve always felt kind of bad about that – even though it was fulfilling in a way when I made a direct hit, it also felt like I was being irresponsible. Google God did not smite me, and for that I am forever grateful. He just asked me to change.

Google is obviously far from perfect, but it’s too strong a force on the Internet to ignore if we want to succeed without constantly fighting uphill. Google+ and Google Author are two major factors for 2013, and they are linked at the hip. You want to be on Google+ yourself if you’re a writer or produce any content, and you want your business to be on there as well. Look into validation as an author.

Google Author will tie together SEO and social media to make it one system of quality definition. What easier way to define quality than by how engaged users are with the content? Well … the truth is the system will still not be perfect, because probably all we’ll be able to find on Google henceforth is TMZ, that’ll be it. Nonetheless, engagement on social media will be a helpful factor.

(In 2014, Google will start forcing all websites to convert into paparazzi video sharing sites. All other content will be dismissed by the search engine, and no one will be able to find any other search engines, because we will have watched enough paparazzi videos in 2013 that our minds will be a vast grey landscape of nothingness.)

Rich Snippets

What are rich snippets? Well, I’ll tell you one thing: they are certainly snippets. And I’ll tell you another thing: they are certainly not poor. Basically rich snippets are additional info that pulls into your SERP entry.

Though they don’t affect SEO rank, they do affect how often someone clicks through to your site. So then, it’s a factor that affects your SEO success although it does not relate to rank, since what the SEO is trying to achieve (obviously) is not just a certain ranking but the traffic coming into your site.

Examples of rich snippets are prices and reviews of your products and services. (Other examples of rich snippets are links to your sexting images library so that everyone can see what you and your friends’ junk looks like at your own personal treasure chest on JunkTrunk.xxx! Look at all these goodies in this trunk! Somebody call Brad. Brad would love what’s in here.)

Summary

So those are a few basics for SEO trends in 2013: Increasing quality of content, personality and uniqueness as a factor, the relevance of Google Author, and the usage of rich snippets to stand out on SERPs.

If you have any other ideas, please either comment below or contact me on my tin-can phone. As always, ring the bell in the tree house, and I’ll know to pick up my end of the line.

by Kent Roberts and Richard Norwood