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

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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

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

The SEO Gray Area Isn’t So Gray Anymore: What It Means for Your Strategy

1393616148-seo-gray-area-not-gray-anymore-what-means-strategy

SEO changed dramatically this past year, but many small businesses are still playing in what I like to call the gray area. We’ve always had black and white SEO tactics, but we’ve also had a few gray tactics that sometimes worked, but weren’t reliably effective.

Thanks to all of the announcements and changes we saw from Google in 2013, this gray period is over. Link-building and keyword research are still incredibly important, but marketers should start to diversify their SEO strategies if they want to successfully incorporate more white-hat practices that weren’t on their radars in the past.

SEO changes and announcements we saw in 2013

First, the Hummingbird update was all about revamping the algorithm to cater to how people search today — in more conversational terms. For example, if you’re discussing types of “cars,” search results are going to also include your article on a SERP if the user typed in something about “automobiles.” Related searches are also starting to pop up — such as car rental shops or car safety ratings — even if the user didn’t ask for those terms specifically.

Next, we saw Google+ become more important with authorship and with its integration into YouTube. In other words, the information Google is getting from Google+ is considered superior to the information that Google bots crawl based on keywords.

Finally, a recent announcement from Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, stated, “stick a fork in it, guest blogging is done.” Of course, he’s talking about guest blogging for SEO and link purposes, but it still proves that it is more beneficial to build links naturally by creating content that people want to link to and by forming relationships with authoritative websites.

Different SEO tactics looking ahead

Based on some of the points discussed above, it’s clear that Google believes that there are right and wrong ways to do SEO. No more directory sites, no more guest blogging for links only, and no more letting keyword research run your business. Nothing has actually changed — you’re just held more accountable than you may have been in the past. Here are some top tips:

1. Quality content with semantic understanding. Being able to write and optimize your content (and pages) without worrying too much about keywords is going to be huge. You have to think about your audience — so the way you write might change accordingly.

2. Creating valuable, sharable data. If you want to try and distinguish yourself from the masses so that Google sees your site as a trusted resource, an excellent way to do this is to create whitepapers and thorough databases. Might your audience, for instance, be interested in a buyer’s guide?

3. Authorship and relationship building. Authorship is nothing new and should definitely be a part of your strategy already, but the thought of relationship building is something that might not have been on your radar in the past. Conferences and networking are more important. Just working with someone to get one guest post on a website isn’t going to cut it.

4. Reviews, review, reviews. We saw a small movement last year as more and more companies started to realize the value of reviews — but this year, it might be even bigger. You need to set out a whole new strategy to earn reviews — by becoming involved with Yelp, using review extensions or even giving someone a new primary responsibility in your department.

What do you think about the SEO changes we saw last year? Have they affected your SEO strategy at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.