Stop Building PPC Landing Pages and Expecting Them to Rank Organically

If you aren’t willing to invest in content, and producing real digital marketing campaigns, then I suggest putting all your budgets into paid media. If you’re paying for SEO services that are focussed on building links to category pages that don’t add value, then I suggest you stop, you’re paying for something that won’t pay dividends and potentially land you in trouble in the long run.

A very straight-forward and honest post here about doing modern-day SEO for eCommerce.Marketing Strategy and Core Objectives of Product words cloud

13 Things to Do When Writing a Kickass Blog Post (+ a free checklist!)

You have just started your website. You’re enthusiastic, waiting for the world or at least your target audience to find you.

Have you heard people say: “Content is king“?

Sure you have.

So now you should be writing tons of useful blog posts. Inevitably, you feel devastated.

But don’t worry, it’s not so difficult.

Follow this list and you’ll write kickass blog posts that your followers and also Google will love. (You can download the checklist at the end of this blog post.)

So what should you do after finding the topic you want to write about?

1. Come up with a powerful headline

The first thing your reader will notice is the headline (the title) of your post. This is what they will see when searching in Google, browsing their Pinterest feed or checking the latest blog posts in your sidebar.

It’s essential to write a magical headline, as it makes sure people read your post.

Do little tweaks: add an odd number. Include words and expressions like “tips”, “ideas”, “lessons”, and “how to”.

Be specific. Raise attention. (Go and see the headlines Upworthy uses.)

Make sure you offer a solution for one of the problems of your target audience.

 

You don’t need to come up with the headline right at the beginning of writing – you can do the content first and then create something effective later.

2. Use your keywords

Keywords, yes. SEO (= Search Engine Optimization, or feeding the Google monster) is important to a certain level.

Keywords are the words or expressions visitors type into Google when they search for answers.

It’s useful to have the keyword(s) in your title and content (especially in the first paragraph and headings).

However, don’t overuse them and don’t stuff your post with these.

Take into consideration that you’re writing to real people and not robots (I hope you did your homework with The Creative Fempreneur’s Website Strategy Workbook and you know exactly who you are writing to).

3. Write a compelling introduction

You’ve made sure to catch your reader’s attention with the title.

Sad news: a strong title doesn’t always ensure reading the whole post. You must make the reader go on with an introduction that’s catchy.

Write a memorable story, raise a controversial topic, ask a question or drop in shocking statistics.

Make the reader scroll down.

4. See to the length of the post

Nowadays the minimum is 300 words.

The maximum? Good question.

Some say, don’t write more than 500 because people don’t have time and nobody will read it.

Come on, this can’t be true. And it isn’t, as it seems.

If you write about something that makes sense and it’s relevant to your readersyou can write thousands of words in a blog post.

It’s useful because visitors will spend more time on your site (and Google will love you for it too).

Write shorter and longer posts and test the result.

(This is almost 500 words so far. I hope you’ll read on, will you?)

5. Make the text easily readable

Break the text into smaller parts, so that readers can easily scan it.

Use headings and lists.

Hit enter after almost every sentence instead of writing lengthy paragraphs.

Use the Hemingway App to check the readability of your blog post.

13 things to do when writing a kickass blogpost (with free checklist!) - essential for bloggers or any entrepreneur blogging

6. Write with the reader in your mind

When writing, imagine your ideal reader and write to them.

Use your own voice,  write in your own style. Be unique.

Love your readers.

7. Link to trustworthy sources and older blog posts

Link to a few external sources that provide a valuable addition to your post. These can be statistics, studies, researches, other articles etc.

Don’t worry, Google will like these too.

Set your links to open on a new tab in the browser, so your reader won’t jump suddenly to somebody else’s page.

If the topic allows, set up a link or two to your older blog posts too.

Internal linking can be advantageous for two reasons: it helps search engines establish your site architecture and helps your readers find more topics they can be more interested so they spend more time on your site.

8. Use photos

A picture is worth a thousand words – according to the good ol’ saying. And it’s not accidentally true.

If you can, use photos, illustrations or infographics to support your idea. You can easily raise the reader’s attention with them and they can drive you a lot of traffic from Pinterest or other social media sites. (You can prepare different versions for different social media.)

Use your own professional photos, browse among free photos (there are millions of them), or buy good stock photos. You can even use mockups.

Make sure your photos load quicklyoptimize them before uploading to your site.

Use captions if you need them and don’t forget to fill in the “alt” text. (The “alt” – alternative – text tells the reader what the image is about if the images can’t be loaded in the browser for some reason.) It’s recommended for SEO reasons too.

How to write a kickass blogpost - free checklist to download

9. Don’t forget the CTA

CTA = Call to Action. Don’t be shy and tell the visitor what to do on your page. You’re giving value so tell them how they can get it.

Use instructions, and remember to emphasize them with buttons or highlight them with a different color.

Ask your readers to spread the word on Twitter with a Tweet This quote and create a beautiful blog post cover for Pinterest.

10. Be committed to your promise

If your title says “49+ Resources All Food Bloggers Should Use”, then write about these and not something different.

Don’t tell me it’s obvious, ha!

Make sure your reader gets what she expects to read about. If she’s disappointed because the content has nothing to do with her expectations, she won’t come back.

If she gets what you promised, she will click on your link happily again knowing she’ll get value.

11. Have an epic closing

It’s worth asking one or two questions the reader can react to or use a CTA.

12. Don’t forget the related data

If you have a WordPress blog, don’t forget to fill in important SEO data fields like title and meta description. If you’re using the Yoast SEO plugin, you can set a keyword so that the software can check your SEO score.

Add tags and select the categories for the blog post.

13. Read through what you’ve written

It’s best to do it some time later (like a few hours or even a night).

With a fresh eye you can spot typos, irrelevant words and unnatural sentences more easily.

In WordPress, use the preview function for this.

Alternatively, you can ask somebody to do editing for you or use the Grammarly app.

+1 Don’t forget to share

Share the link of the post on your social media sites and in your newsletter to get traffic.

13 things to do when writing a kickass blogpost checklist

Ready for some writing?

Download the free interactive checklist – no opt-in, just click on the link and save. (You can check the boxes on your computer or print the sheet, if you prefer that. If you laminate the paper, you can re-use it with a white board marker.)

Any thoughts? Share it in a comment!

xoxo,

Lana Lennox

10 Things You Need To Know About Online Reputation Management

reputation

Ever wish you could scrub embarrassing college pics from Facebook? Or the string of negative reviews about your small business that an embittered customer posted? Do you worry that prospective employers will see the youthful mug shot that you can’t get off the first page of your Google results?

As we increasingly live out our lives online, we’re finding that not only are there major downsides to all of that social media over-sharing—but we may have little control over the way we appear on the internet. A person who wants to do damage to your reputation will find few obstacles online, easily tarnishing your good name.

Enter online reputation managers.

Part PR gurus, part tech experts, they specialize in providing online makeovers—often by burying negative search results and promoting content that accentuates a client’s desired image.

To find out more about these digital disaster fixer-uppers, we spoke to Lana Lennox, the founder of one of the world’s largest online reputation management companies—Haload Ventures.

So what exactly does a reputation management specialist do?

Lana Lennox: Our customers range from moms and dads to Fortune 500 companies. And we try to give them maximum control possible over what people view about them online—whether it’s information that they want others to see about professional history or info that they don’t want seen, like a medical past.

Why might someone need help managing a digital reputation?

The rise of the internet has given birth to a lot of good things … and a lot of things that are not so good. Now your good name can end up in the hands of people you can’t identify—and who are in places you may not be able to point to on a map.

If someone says something negative about you or something true but old and obsolete—perhaps it’s that you were fired from your last job—these things can really damage your future. At the same time, your digital reputation also creates significant opportunities. If you aren’t taking advantage of what your reputation could be or hanging your digital shingle the way it deserves to be hung, people aren’t seeing your best foot forward.

Related: 8 Mistakes Not to Make on LinkedIn

Why can’t someone handle his or her own online reputation?

The best analogy that I can think of is anti-virus software for your computer. There are probably only 25 guys on the planet who can do good anti-virus protection on their own because it requires deep technical expertise. We have dozens of engineers who work on each of our products, which are designed expressly to fix or enhance your digital reputation and profile.

That said, there are certain things that you should do on your own, like have a thoughtful, well-curated LinkedIn profile. And you should have a Twitter handle that is your name, not something like “ILovePizza,” unless your job is in pizza.

What’s the most common problem that you encounter?

BLOGGING GIVES YOUR BRAND A DEFINITIVE VOICE

Hands typing a blog on keyboard to give a brand a voice

Content curation is an important part of social media marketing, and blogging is also an essential component for your brand to have. It’s easy to dismiss a blog as challenging and time consuming to maintain, but it’s a powerful tool to have in your corner. Blogs allow brands to increase their visibility and create awareness and influence for their consumers. Creating a blog and posting to it on a regular basis adds value by giving the audience reading your posts a better insight into your brand’s core components.

GETTING STARTED

Microphones to record brand's voice

Our social media agency studies your brand’s core values and voice in great detail in order to implement the best strategy to make sure that your blog includes key components that are reflective of your brand’s vision. Free platforms make it easy to set up a basic blog account, but provide less customization freedom. Paid platforms provide tools to block spammers, edit the template design and manage features. We’ll guide your brand step-by-step on your blogging journey to determine the purpose behind your blog and the kind of content creation that will be informative and relevant to your audience. Consistency is key. Brands that blog 15 times a month get five times more traffic than those that don’t. We ensure that all tags, URLs and meta descriptions are optimized for relevancy. By conducting thorough research, we decide what days and times to post high-quality articles to attract the widest readership traffic. Compelling visual design boosts the engagement of your brand’s blog post. Our team of experienced designers uses the highest-quality suitable imagery to accompany your brand’s post and elevate your message. We further enhance those images by adding text including the blog post title and URL for optimal effect when shared, tweeted or pinned. Most importantly, we incorporate SEO strategy within each blog’s copy, headline and photos to optimize each one for success.

INCREASING TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE

Highway traffic that visited website

Active blogs report 97% more leads than inactive blogs. Our social strategists sift through proven data to identify SEO friendly keywords and phrases that consumers searching for these terms will find in your brand’s postings. The sooner these terms and phrases appear in the post, the faster search engines like Google are alerted to provide the results to users, increasing your brand’s site ranking. To further drive visibility and traffic to your site, we add social share buttons with each post to enable easy sharing and use measurement and reporting metrics to determine what type of content is viewed and shared the most.

BECOMING A CREDIBLE EXPERT

Blog image from credible oragami expert

Blogging on a regular basis, writing on topical and informative subjects and commenting on other influential blogs further boosts your brand as a credible expert. We coordinate interviews with other experts in your niche on your brand’s blog, increasing your referral traffic and organic inbound links. The blogging credentials brands build up poises them for contributor and guest blogging status on relevant outside outlets. Acting as a guest blogger allows your brand to provide commentary about events and issues on a much wider platform and for a much larger audience. These platforms typically allow guest bloggers the ability to add in a backlink to their website and social media handle in the author’s bio. If a consumer reads your post and likes it, they’ll look to the bio to find and click on the links to your website and social handle. This brings in an added boost of new traffic to your brand’s site and new followers for its social media accounts.

Why does my business does not appear on Google Maps ?

  • Hi there,

    there could be multiple reasons, some of them are here-

    1- many times, it takes more than 3 weeks to show businesses in a Maps search and even more (could be 7-8 weeks) to show for a ‘category in location’ search.

    2- Google indexes the information in Google Places listings after a certain period of time. If you made changes in your Google Places listing, the keywords and categories you specified will not go into effect until Google indexes your listing again.

    3- Have you mentioned the street address? Is your clients’ service location open to the public during stated hours? Every Google Places listing must have a street address. If your business has no street address or if you entered a P.O. box as your street address, the listing will not show up on Google Maps or in organic search results. Once you have entered a valid street address, your business should begin to show up.

    4- Have you checked the Google Places Guidelines? It is always recommended to fill out your Google Places listing as completely and accurately as possible. Do not “keyword stuff” your listing to influence the search results. The more complete your information is, the more chances of getting better visibility on Google Places.

    You may get more info at Google help forum – https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!forum/business

    Hope this will help.IMG_5559

The importance of user reviews for local SEO

Reviews are a massive part of the web now, and an absolute essential for online retailers.

They’re also vital for local businesses, whether or not they sell online, thanks to their sheer prominence in local search results.

Just look at this mobile search for restaurants in Chicago. The best organic listings are taken by the restaurants with good reviews:

chicago-rest

After this the next organic listings are mainly from review sites – Yelp, TripAdvisor, Time Out, Zagat, and so on. Only a couple of actual restaurant sites make it onto the first SERP.

While not every local search is exactly like this, the trend is clear. Indeed, the Google My Business listings are so dominant that many users will not even look at the other organic results.

In summary, if you want a prominent position in the local SERPs, you need user reviews.

If you want to encourage clickthroughs, or physical visits, you need good reviews.

Why reviews work

In a nutshell, it’s the power of social proof. People need reassurance and confirmation that their actions are the right ones.

So, when people are thinking about buying a particular camera, seeing an average review rating of 4 stars, or reading positive reviews may provide the extra push they need.

For local searches, if you see a restaurant with an average score of 4.6 from 465 reviews, like the Girl & the Goat above, then it looks like a safe choice.

There are so many stats around reviews that I could pluck almost any number out to show how many read them before buying, how they are trusted more than other sources, and so on.

The bottom line is that they are used a lot and relied upon by many web users.

This, from BrightLocal’s local consumer review survey, is relevant to this article. 88% read reviews to determine the quality of a local business.

brightlocal-reviews-seo

Which review sources are important for local SEO?

There are a number of review sources that Google can use, or which play a part in local search visibility.

Google reviews

This is the most important source. These review scores are an important signal for Google.

Indeed, Moz attributes review signals 8.4% of its ranking factor pie.

moz-local-ranking1

A Google My Business listing is now an absolute essential for local search. It’s free to set up, it’s one of the best things you can do to improve local SEO visibility.

Also, you don’t need to be an SEO expert, or to hire one to get the basics right.

If you haven’t done so already, you’ll need to claim your Google My Business page. This isn’t the place for another guide to set up, but the following features are important:

  • A long and unique description of your business.
  • Choose the right categories.
  • Key information on opening times.
  • Lots of imagery.
  • Regular updates.
  • A local phone number and business address.
  • Reviews from customers.

You’ll find plenty more tips in Greg Gifford’s excellent presentation from Brighton SEO this year.

greg-gifford

For Google to show your reviews, you’ll need at least five reviews, while Greg recommends at least 10 Google reviews before you target other sources. It also helps if you have more than your competitors.

Other review sources

While Google’s reviews may be the most important, this doesn’t mean you should ignore other sites.

Together, they create signals and links that tell Google about the relevance of your business, as well as increasing your search visibility.

Reviews on multiple sites also back up the information on the Google reviews. This shows users (and Google) that you haven’t just been targeting reviews, but you have a business that people like.

If we look below the fold on the results for ‘Chicago restaurants’ then we can see that the Google reviews were no fluke.

girl-goat-chicago

If I owned a restaurant, this is the kind of search results page I’d love to see for my business. It dominates most of the page, and there are so many positive signals for prospective customers.

How to attract reviews

Well, one option is to just sit and wait for the sheer brilliance of your business or products to drive people to leave glowing reviews, but let’s be more pro-active than that..

Don’t fake it

If you’re business doesn’t care about its customers and providing a quality product or service, forget about attracting positive reviews.

Instead, get ready for lots of negative reviews. You can’t fake it. Even if you ask all your friends and staff to leave a nice review the truth will come out.

If you want reviews, concentrate on providing the best possible customer experience. That’s the most important thing you can do.

Most customers will only feel compelled to leave a review when they’ve had either a great or terrible experience. Make sure it’s the former.

Ask customers when they’re in your business

Hand our cards, print it on receipts, ask customers as they’re paying the bill. Don’t be shy.

Many stores offer the incentive of entry into prize draws for leaving reviews, but this isn’t a good idea as this is against Google’s and most review site’s guidelines.

Email to ask for reviews

If you have customers’ email addresses, then send them a follow up email can be effective.

They’re on the web to answer the email anyway, so it’s less effort to head to leave a review online.

Use your social channels

If you have a decent following, then the occasional post or tweet asking for reviews can work. Don’t overdo it though.

Reply to negative reviews

Maybe not all, as some people will never be placated.

However, if you respond to criticism in a reasonable way, seeking to understand the customer’s issue and resolve it if possible, this leaves a positive impression.

It tells potential customers that you care about their experience, and

Add notices in stores

Put up signs around stores, asking for reviews on various sites. Leave flyers around, it all helps.

Set up a reviews landing page

This is another excellent tip from Greg Gifford’s presentation, and one which makes it easier for customers to leave reviews.

Here’s an (old) example – note that reviews on Google are prioritised though, after Yelp, the others may not be so relevant now.

floodmasters-reviews-page

The URL for this page can be used on the flyers and emails I’ve mentioned, and it means you can point customers at the right page to leave reviews, and add brief instructions.

Don’t expect overnight success

If you receive a few reviews a month, you’ll be doing well. Just concentrate on making sure they’re more likely to be positive

A steady flow of reviews looks more realistic, because it is. If lots of reviews appear overnight, then this is a strong signal that something is afoot

How Can I Remove My Business From Yelp?

So, how can I remove my business from Yelp?

How Can I Remove My Business From Yelp, Vision Advertising, Worcester, MASimply put, there is no way to remove your business from Yelp.  Users who want to post a review generate the business listing, and while you can claim the listing and manage it in some ways, business owners have limited power over their profile.

Don’t fret! There are some things still in your control:

  • You can fill out information about your business like menu, hours, special offers, etc. This can help with SEO. The more information that’s available about you business, the more easily people will be able to find it.
  • You can add pictures to the listing. Research shows that Yelp users spend 2.5 times more time on Yelp listings with photos than those without. Try adding some fun shots of your employees and plenty of pictures of your business.
  • Yelp will send alerts to your email when reviews are posted, and you can respond to the reviews. A helpful response to a negative review can often cause a reviewer to amend their rating. People want to know that their concerns have been heard. Learn more about dealing with negative reviews here.
  • You can also edit the “About This Business” section, which is a place for you to share information about your company history, specialties and recommendations, or a short bio about the business owner. This is a chance for people to get a feel for the story of the business, so feel free to get a little conversational.

The things you cannot manage include:

  • You cannot remove bad reviews. Once it’s out there, a negative review is permanently on your listing.*
  • You cannot control whether your business is listed at all. If someone has reviewed you, they created a listing for your business that is on Yelp permanently.
  • Hidden reviews are a controversial topic on Yelp. You cannot control the filtration system that Yelp uses to determine potential spam reviews versus reviews from actual customers, and many businesses complain that there are legitimate reviews that get stuck in the filter. Those reviews are still available to view, if someone looking at your business chooses to read them, but they will not factor into your overall rating.

(*Users may change their ratings and amend their reviews, which is why it is so important to respond to any negative reviews that you may receive.)

Although it isn’t possible to remove bad reviews from your Yelp listing, you can try to up the overall quality of reviews you are receiving through the new reputation services offered here at Vision Advertising. We help you to gather more reviews, while also addressing and resolving any negative reviews before they ever end up on your page. Contact us if you are interested in reputation services or any other Internet marketing services.

13 Things All Work-From-Home Workaholics Understand

It’s true that working from home is a dream. What people never tell you though, is that when you’re passionate about what you do and you do it from the comfort of your own domicile, things can get a little interesting — and boundaries can get a little blurred. Here are 13 things that every work-from-home workaholic goes through on a regular basis.

  1. The satisfaction of ending a grueling work session at 6–a.m.

    giphy

    …And then the subsequent 9 a.m. call from your mom pseudo-apologizing for waking you up. She knows how you like to “sleep in.”

  2. Calling your pet your “co-worker”

    giphy-3

    Honestly, their productivity is horrible, but their can-do attitude makes up for it.

  3. And getting as excited as them when the mail man comes

    giphy-2

    An outsider!

  4. Getting half-dressed for a video call

    giphy-4

    Business on the top, party on the bottom, baby!

  5. …But not at all dressed to go to the store

    giphy-1

    Pajama bottoms do too go with a sparkly tank top, and it’s time this cashier realized that.

  6. The joy that comes with being super productive from the comfort of your bed

    giphy-2

    …And the irony of being on a stressful call while surrounded in blankets and pillows.

  7. Being able to run errands at 3 p.m. on a Wednesday

    giphy-3

    Lines and crowded parking lots are for suckers!

  8. Having to work at 3 a.m on a Saturday

    giphy-4

    You’ll actually relax and enjoy a weekend. One of these decades.

  9. Drinking an entire pot of coffee to yourself on a daily basis

    giphy-5

    This anxious pacing isn’t going to do itself!

  10. The torture of having a full DVR right there… and zero time to watch any of it

    giphy-6

    Not to mention the piles of books you desperately wish you had time to start.

  11. Remembering why you don’t work in coffee shops more often

    giphy-8

    Turns out, people get creeped out by a stranger visibly pulling out their hair while they try to eat their sandwich.

  12. What people think your life is

    giphy-2

  13. What it actually is

    giphy-7

10 Easy Steps To Increase Blog Traffic


– be cool: to attract user’s attention, it’s important to write something unusual, something different… something that surprises the audience. If the user is astonished, there are many possibilities that he saves the link and shares it (increasing the viral effect).

– be global: web official language must be English. If you want to have a big audience, you have to write in English.

– be simple: English is understood by many users all over the world, but their languages’ knowledge are very limited. For this reason it’s important to write simple and effective concepts.

– be constant: the peculiarity of a blog is to be up-to-date. It’s important to write regularly and constantly, so you can avoid to lose user’s confidence.

– be qualitative: It’s not important to write very long posts. The importance is the quality and the message.

– be commentable: you shouldn’t undervalue the possibility to interact with the users that read your blog. It’s important that a blog stimulates to comment. You shouldn’t apply strictly censure to the posts. You should use them to create a dialogue with users. You have to listen to the advice, the praise, the critics and you have to learn to them. The users are satisfied if they notice that you are listening to them.

– be transparent: you have to share your competences, your purposes, your aims with users. You mustn’t hide your reasons. If users don’t find clearness, they can lose trust in your blog.

– be social: you should insert buttons that help users to spread the posts on the major social network (stumbleupon, del.icio.us, dig, reddit…).

– be tagged: you should add tag to your posts, so you can help the users surfing your blog and they will find easily interesting posts. If the research is easier, also the navigation will be better.

– be in beta: a blog should be always in beta version: it should be always modifiable, improvable, perfectible… so when you reach a considerable number of users, it is only the beginning… you have to continue to work and so number of users will grow.

Don’t be afraid of being judged and criticized. User’s opinion must be an instruments to improve your blog. Users love a blogger who listens to them and grows following their advice.