How Should You Position Your Web Content?

We were approached by Tracy at UKWebhostreview.com and asked if we would like to feature an infographic on how to position web content on a site to get the very best effect. This has always been an important topic, BUT, after the Google Fred Update, anything that improves the User Experience is something that deserves serious consideration. So, we were more than happy to host this post and hope that you find it as useful as we have.

Guest Post from UKHostReview on Positioning Web Content

If you’re asking this question then you are already thinking a lot more deeply about your online marketing than a large population of website owners. People can often get caught up in getting a website set up quickly or concentrating on which web host to go for and other aspects involved in website building.

Infographic by UKwebhostreview

Infographic on how to place web content supplied by UKwebhostreview

When this happens, some of the other important considerations like content positioning can be neglected, which will result in a website that isn’t as effective as it should be. When we talk about website effectiveness, the key measure that most people will be interested in is driving increased customer sales. If you are setting up a business website then one of your main priorities should be to get the positioning right on your website. This can seriously be the determining factor in how many sales your business is making, so should be treated as a top priority for you.

If you’re not an expert in developing content or positioning content for maximum effect, then you will probably find this infographic from James at UKwebhostreview.com of great use. It lists the 25 features that every online business must have in 2017, so as you can probably tell from the title it is a very comprehensive list. It shows you exactly where to add your key features like call to action button or logo with tagline. You can also use the list of features to check that you have remembered to include every essential item of content that a good website requires.

Whatever stage of website set up you are at, whether you are only just beginning or you have had your website set up for some time, you should use these 25 features as a guideline for how to structure your website content to drive the best results.

Smart Scientific SEO Strategies for 2017

It’s been a fair few weeks since we managed to post anything on our blog and frankly I’m amazed at how fast the year has gone so far, and at the rate at which things seem to be changing, not to mention a lot of really useful software that has become available.

The post we’ve highlighted today (see below) comes from a series published by a well respected Web Design and SEO company called AimInternet. It is certainly a useful piece and highlights the fact that the information in Google’s Webmaster Tools (now called Google Search Console) is very very useful. The main reason I say this is that Google (for reasons of privacy they say…) stopped reporting the keyword phrases used by any visitor to a site in Analytics. You can tell they come from Google, but not what search words they used. All very annoying when trying to work out what words are converting and what are resulting in a high bounce rate.

Google Search Console fills this gap, to a degree in that it gives you a good idea of the phrases being used, the number of times a phrase has resulted in someone seeing a Google listing for the site, the Click Through Rate (very useful this, as it gives you an idea if your Title and Meta Description are well tuned to get clicks) as well as the average position in Google. But, it does not tell you what page they land on or whether they stay or ‘bounce’.

You can start extrapolating the data to make some intelligent guesses about what is going on (there is software that will do this for you) but they are only guesses (you could always run an Adwords campaign to check, but that is another story).

But to get back to what the article is about.

Scientific Organic Search Strategy

In the article AimInternet mention that they had increased the ‘number of keywords present’, by which I think they mean the number of different search phrases (or ‘Queries’ in Google Search Console speak) that were associated with a site. They made a big difference (something that we too pride ourselves on being able to achieve), increasing the number of associated phrases from 300 to 800. What this really means is that the ‘footprint’ of the site on Google has more than doubled, hence it is more likely to be seen and thus get a click ! All very good.

The process by which they reached this point is covered in earlier posts and no doubt they follow the same ‘Scientific’ path as we do. If they do they will first carry out research to find the words being used by people searching for their customers services and products. Then they will weave these into the site and construct content that supports the drive for rankings for the chosen target phrases.

What they ‘might’ not do is to check on the sites that currently have the best positions for these target phrases and then ‘Reverse Engineer’ them. By following that path you ‘know’ the words that Google likes to see and can thus use them in the content. This system also gives you a list of all the similar words and phrases that should be used, which avoids keyword stuffing and gets the ‘message’ across to Google in the way that we know it likes.

Add some links (that themselves have to be intelligently added – there is software that helps with that now too) and the site WILL, like Eagle, be associated with more query phrases, get better rankings and thus more traffic.

But the trick is in carrying out each of these phases in a controlled scientific manner…

One very interesting point that Aim made is that once you have a list of the phrases that Google associate with a site, that you should build on this and write content (about these phrases) that will make the site that bit more interesting and helpful. This will not only cement your position with Google but will no doubt improve the rankings for the site and, more importantly, give your readers more reasons to come back for more, and even, hopefully, buy from you.

They also make the point that visitors don’t always come in through the front door (the home page) so you should make your interior pages interesting too. This is not really new though, in that most of the pages on a site should be doing their best to engage with viewers by providing useful content, each page targeting a different set of keyphrases.

So a very interesting article.

To read the whole post on A Smart Organic Search Strategy please click the link

How We Use A Smart Organic Search Strategy To Get Our Clients On The First Page Of Google

This week we expand on looking at how to get your website on the first page of Google by using a smart organic search strategy.

In our last blog, we looked at the importance of getting on the first page of Google. And, we examined how our methods of using local marketing tools are driving traffic to the homepage – and producing fantastic results – for a client of ours. This week, we’ll expand on part of that methodology – using an organic search strategy to drive traffic to particular product pages or blog pages which then link through to specific product pages. We also do this via Adwords, although this is something we’ll look at in more detail in following blogs.

What Is An Organic Search Strategy?

In brief, an organic search strategy consists of finely keyworded product pages or blogs, which get picked up by Google each time one is published on a website. At this point, you might be thinking “I’ve already got all the information about the products or services I offer on one page of my site so I’ve nailed it, right?” or “I make rubber plugs, why the heck do I need a blog about those, who is going to read it?!”.

OK, so you might not be totally wrong about the last point (but hey, you never know, there might just be a rubber plug enthusiast out there who would LOVE to read your blog about them!).

Getting back to business…

Creating separate product pages on your site and posting blogs is all part of your organic search strategy. Simply, doing so creates more pages on your website containing the relevant keywords that you want your website to be found for, which Google can then index. The more relevant and unique pages and content you have on your site, the more shots on target you have at being shown on the first page of Google.

The important things to note here are relevant and unique. Google is smart and will penalise your site if you post up a load of duplicate pages and content. The same goes if you keyword stuff (make your content unintelligible by jamming in too many keyword phrases) your posts and pages.

We won’t go into it here but recommend that you take some time to familiarise yourself with good content practice. That includes following referencing protocols if you are using content from another site. For example, you might choose to do a blog post which rounds up the “5 best things about rubber plugs” and which uses information from other websites. That’s absolutely fine, but just remember to acknowledge and reference your sources correctly.

Why Do This?

How many pages are currently on your website? Probably not that many? So, if you currently have one page that discusses your 10 different products, by separating them out into individual pages you just added 10 extra pages to your site virtually overnight. You’ll be able to expand the content around each product, and so the mentions of the relevant keyword, too. So, whereas on the original page, you may have only listed the type of products you sell, you can now go into more detail about each one on their own page. This naturally allows for an articulate way of including more of your desired keywords on your site – avoiding the extreme no-no practice of keyword stuffing.

Google likes new and relevant content. Each page becomes a new way for traffic to come to your site. Of course, once the core pages of your site are done it’s likely that you won’t be updating those that often. Which is why, as part of any organic search strategy, we advise our clients to do regular blogging. And, in the case of blogging, the more regular you post the better.

Employing an organic search strategy such as this might mean that traffic enters your website not via the traditional route of arriving at the homepage. Instead it might enter on a product page or a blog post page written around a specific topic, which then links to a product page. Typically, we notice that customers will land on one of the product pages of our client’s websites, because of the organic search that we’ve set up for the client.

If you’re in the pressed parts trade you might do a search in Google for “copper plating”. Google will take into account your location (it gets this information from your settings) and present to you the most relevant results. Let’s say you’re Midlands based, as is EC Williams.

As a result of this search, people enter EC Williams’ site on the Copper Plating product page. Once on the page, you are presented with all of the information you need about “copper plating” along with some important trust points about the company. Our analysis shows us that from landing on this entry point people also then navigate to other pages on the site. From this example in particular, we can see that “zinc plating” is the next most popular page. Once on their website, this alternative page is now easily found in the navigation bar above, under “Plating Services”. From our research, most people stay on the “zinc plating” page, as they’ve found what they want. But, if they want more depth they’ll go onto “zinc nickel plating”.

The point of this is that once on the EC Williams’ website, the customer is presented with everything they need to make a purchasing decision. And, if you were that person looking for a company who were experts in the field of coating pressed-parts, then, bingo – you just found them.

Straight away, serious buying customers get what a snapshot of relevant information once they are on the site. Because of the trade they’re in (pressed parts), they become interested in making an enquiry straight away. We’ve measured this extensively on EC Williams’ site plus many others’, and know that it works. You need to make it easy for your customers to find information on your site and this method works by doing just that. Everything has be there for the user so that they’re not having to look for things too much.

How Organic Search Strategy Works

Most people will find you through a long-tail keyword search. These are keywords that tend to be more specific. Your website content should be driven by the keywords that your SEO advisor gives you. They need to advise your outsourced content providers of these keywords so that they can write content around them.

Take a look at www.eagleplastics.co.uk. They are another client of ours. Again, you can see that similar to www.ecwilliams.co.uk, everything a customer requires is there easy to find on the homepage, above the fold.

From an SEO perspective, when we started working with Eagle Plastics, the number of keywords we had to work with was much less than it is now. The site was receiving much less traffic that it does today which meant that there were nowhere near as many clicks or impressions being recorded. This impacted on the number of keywords being presented to us by Google. At the time we were only getting about 300 keywords presented, yet a year or so on, Google is now presenting 800 keywords.

This is as a result of the organic search strategy we have implemented, like that we discussed earlier. Traffic gets signposted to the Eagle Plastics website all based around these 800 keywords. And, now we have more of those, we can start creating content based on different keywords and keyword phrases.

Through testing the blogs, we are able to determine which keyword phrases are the most successful by analysing which ones have the best impressions.

On Eagle Plastics, “High Impact Polystyrene” is a key term for them. We know that this keyword phrase works well for them so we use it regularly in their blog headlines, in the h2 sub-headers and throughout the blog text. Of course though, we ensure we use it professionally and never keyword stuff.

As a result of this organic search strategy, we are providing more content to Google. This is recognised by them and results in Google starting to suggest more keywords which are relevant. We then create content based around these suggested keywords and their variations. As we post regular content which uses those keywords, Google views this as quality content and so provides us with even more relevant keywords. We then use these to continue to push the search and content strategy. The result is more traffic. But more than that, in getting more traffic, Google rewards you for quality content. And so it continues…

As little as five years ago, most searches were conducted using use two keywords. Today people use an average of five words per keyword search term. What was once a keyword search for “plugs” is now a more unique phrase of “the best luxury rubber plugs”. As you can see, the one word keyword has become a keyword phrase made up of multiple words. Searches are now more unique and these long-tail keyword phrases more specific.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that every keyword search represents an intent by someone to find some information out. Long-tail keywords help you to better address that user intent by creating unique tailored content.

Statistics show that of 3 billion searches a day, 20% of every search is unique. That’s a heck of a lot of unique searches – and to get displayed on the first page of Google, you need a successful organic search strategy to be found amongst all of that noise.

WHAT IS SCIENTIFIC SEO?

First a bit of history about Search Engine Optimisation

SEO can trace its history way back to 1994 when the early pioneers discovered that they could use the Internet to drive traffic to their sites and hence sell their goods. As this idea became more accepted, people started competing with each other for traffic and that meant that they had to ‘convince’ the Search Engine of the day to list their site for appropriate terms.

The Search Engine of the Day has changed over the years, Alta Vista, Ask Jeaves and Yahoo all being the top dog at some time. However, today, the big player is Google and thus that is the engine everyone wants to get listings on, and that of course means you have to understand the rules.

 

The Rules of The Old SEO

The rules that the Search Engines use have altered drastically over the years, as they have become more and more sophisticated. At the start, it was easy to ‘trick’ the Engines, all you needed to do was to stuff the pages with your keywords and get some links to the site (Google’s first stab at SEO was based on something called PageRank which basically is all about the number of links to  a site – and not much else).

These ‘old’ rules however had one big problem, in that the SEO professionals of the day kept finding ways around them and thus the Engines had to keep taking steps to close these ‘holes’ in their rule sets.

This process escalated over the years, especially since 2010, and basically Google decided that enough was enough and decided on a whole new approach, one that could not be
tricked and relied on one thing, perceived quality.

 

The New SEO and Perceived Quality

Today, with the advent of something called ‘SEMANTIC SEO’ (the meaning of a site, what it is really all about), things are a lot different, it being all about the quality of the content of a site.

But Why use the term Perceived Quality?

I use this term as I believe that there are limits to what Google can do, in that its computer algorithms cannot ‘really’ decide on what is real ‘quality’ content and what is not. Also, as mentioned above, links had, and still have a vital role to play in how Google decides what site to list for what.  But it cannot always tell if these links are ‘real’ or have been created, thus in all cases Google looks at a page/site and decides (using it’s rule sets) if it is quality or not.

This is why I say it is the quality that Google perceives in a site that is important. So how can you convince Google that your content is good enough to get a top ranking??

The Rules of the NEW SEO in Detail

Despite all the changes that have taken place in the world of SEO since 1994, but all of them are based on four things, one of these only recently coming to the fore.

The Four Things SEO is and was Based Upon

 Site Construction

The way a site is built is important as if it is constructed in the wrong way then Google cannot (or may just not want to be bothered to) find all the pages in a site. Also if the site is built in such a way that it is very slow, or is not mobile friendly, then too Google will downgrade the site in various ways.

One thing that does not cause so much of a problem today is that of the ‘Code to Text’ ratio (the amount of code that is used to build a site versus the number of words visible to the visitor). In the old days, too much ‘construction code’ was an issue, but today, with the advent of WordPress and the like, Google has been ‘forced’ to ignore this area, virtually all sites being very code heavy.

You MUST however ensure that the site can easily be navigated, a failure in that department being very serious indeed. Plus you should also use a fair number of internal links (not just the navigation) to highlight to Google what each page is about.

Words, Pictures and Videos

This is the area most affected by the new SEMANTIC SEO, it being vitally important to use all the ‘right’ words in a page. Gone are the days of just stuffing a page with the words you want to be found for. Today you need to understand what words Google wants to see and then make sure you include them in the copy, also making sure that you include pictures and where possible audio and video content on the page.

Reverse Engineering is the Key

This is where reverse engineering can help, the idea being that if you know what words are being used on the top pages (for a given term) then by including them (using correct grammar of course, as this is also checked) you must be getting closer to the perfect page.

Links

In the early days of SEO Links were vitally important, in fact they could, all by themselves get a page listed. However, today things have changed a lot. Links are still important counting for some 40% of the reason for a site getting a rank, but they are not as all powerful as they used to be.

Google is Watching You

Besides not being as important as they used to be, the links to a site are now carefully checked by Google. Their aim?, to make sure that the links to a site are ‘natural’ and not all built by an SEO company (although they know of course that the practice goes on all the time).

This checking is carried out by Google, the process being labelled as ‘Penguin’. Basically this checks a sites linking structure to see if it complies with the ‘rules’ and is hence seen to be natural. Here the number of links using the domain or URL of the site as the anchor text (the bit we humans click on) are checked, as are the number of links using ‘money words’ (the terms that a site wants to be found for) and those ‘noise’ links, like ‘see this site’, or ‘click here’. If the balance is not right, or they seem to have been created too fast, then a site can be heavily penalised.

This means that a site’s links have to be built very carefully over time and not all in a rush.

Social Media

This is very new in SEO terms and the amount of ‘power’ that social media chit chat, comments on Facebook and Twitter provide is not fully understood. In my view, the importance of Social Media is more to do with other marketing channels, but nevertheless, obtaining links via things like ‘Social Bookmarks’ can be useful.

Putting it All Together – Scientific SEO

So, what does all this mean?? Basically, it means that you must

 

  1. Find the words you want your site to be found for – KEYWORD RESEARCH
  2. Find the words you need to include in the copy of the page(s) using Reverse Engineering – CONTENT RESEARCH
  3. Build the links to the site, CAREFULLY
  4. If you can get some Social Media comments going (more important for sites selling direct to the public than B2B sites)
  5. Monitor the progress and make changes to improve matters further

 

 

I hope this helps you understand how the matter of SEO has to be approached today.

What is Unique Content and Why Is It Important?

When it comes to getting better rankings you will hear all SEO’s saying, “you need Good Unique Content as that is what Google wants now“. But what does this really mean?

Many have taken this to mean that all sites have to do is to create copy which is not duplicated somewhere else on the web and is also a good read, using proper English throughout.

Can Google Really Tell What is Good?

When you think of it, that should (and maybe is) enough for Google in that their systems however powerful, cannot really deduce what is ‘good’ and ‘useful’ content, that is still really a job only a human can do.

So, the first step is to write some good copy, that is not itself used anywhere else and make it is over 1,000 words long (that seems to be lowest level that Google seems to ‘like’). If you can then include some images and if possible video on the page and link out to a high power site (one in the same niche / market area), one that provides some ‘back up’ to the page, i.e. a page that provides the facts and figures referred to, being the best.

You will then need some links in to the page, but before we come to that, we need to work out why links are needed?

When Considering SEO You Have to Think Like a Computer

Here you have to start thinking like a computer, looking at things logically and asking yourself the question, “If I was a computer what would I look for if I was trying to decide if this page was any good or not?”

We have seen above that Google checks the words on the page, but that does not give it any idea about the real value of the content, only humans can do that, and as far as Google is concerned, this is signified by a page having been shared, liked, linked to or otherwise mentioned by others on the Web.

Finally, it seems that Google then, being a lot cleverer than it used to be, now also checks to see how many visits a page / site gets, this for the simple reason that a site/page cannot get lots of links or mentions if it has not been visited in the first place. Whilst this is not strictly true ( a site can get a lot of links from a Press Release without a single visitor going to a page) it is an indication that all is how it should be and that the site/page has not been subject to (too much) manipulation in SEO terms.

As you can see, there is a lot more than first comes to mind when considering what you should add to your website…

To read more on the subject of what makes unique content please click the link.

Modern criteria for content

So let’s start by talking about our modern criteria for content, and I have a slide that I like to show a lot that kind of displays this, and many other folks in the field have as well. So if I’m going to be producing content, I need to meet these five criteria.

One of a kind

One of a kind is basically what we meant when we said old unique content, meaning that the engines have never seen those words and phrases and numbers and visuals and whatever in that order on a page on the web previously. It’s been written for the first time, produced and published for the first time. Therefore, it is one of a kind, doesn’t appear elsewhere.

Relevant

Relevant meaning it contains content that both searchers and engines interpret as on topic to that searcher’s query or their intent. Sometimes you can be on topic to the query, meaning you’ve used the words and the phrases that the searcher used, and not be on topic to their intent. What did they actually want to get out of the search? What question are they trying to answer? What information are you trying to get?

Helpful

This one’s pretty obvious. You should resolve the searcher’s query in a useful, efficient manner. That should be a page that does the job that they’re hoping that that content is going to do.

Uniquely valuable

This is the one we’re going to be talking about today, and what we mean here is provides information that’s unavailable or hard to get elsewhere — I’m going to dive into that a little bit more —

Great user experience

This means it’s easy and pleasurable to consume anywhere on any device.

You meet these criteria with your content and you’ve really got something when it comes to a content marketing strategy or when it comes to content you’re producing for SEO. This is a pretty solid checklist that I think you can rely on.

Unique value and you (and your website)

The challenge is this one. Uniquely valuable has been a really hard concept for people to wrap their heads around, and so let’s dig in a little more on what we mean when we say “unique value.”

So these are kind of the three common criteria that we mean when we say “unique value,” and I’m actually going to show some examples as well.

1) Massive upgrade in aggregation, accessibility and design

The first one is a massive upgrade versus what’s already available on the web in aggregation, accessibility, and/or design. Meaning you should have someone who views that content say, “Wow. You know, I’ve seen this material presented before, but never presented so well, never so understandable and accessible. I really like this resource because of how well aggregated, how accessible, how well designed this resource is.”

Good examples, there’s a blog post from the website Wait But Why on the Fermi Paradox, which is sort of a scientific astrophysics, “why are we alone in the universe” paradox concept, and they do a brilliant job of visualizing and explaining the paradox and all of the potential scenarios behind it. It’s so much fun to read. It’s so enjoyable. I’ve read about the Fermi Paradox many times and never been as entranced as I was as when I read this piece from Wait But Why. It really was that experience that says, “Wow, I’ve seen this before, but never like this.”

Another great site that does pure aggregation, but they provide incredible value is actually a search engine, a visual search engine that I love called Niice.co. Not particularly easy to spell, but you do searches for things like letter press or for emotional ideas, like anger, and you just find phenomenal visual content. It’s an aggregation of a bunch of different websites that show design and visual content in a search interface that’s accessible, that shows all the images in there, and you can scroll through them and it’s very nicely collected. It’s aggregated in the best way I’ve ever seen that information aggregated, therefore, providing unique value. Unfortunately, since it’s a search engine, it’s not actually going to be indexed by Google, but still tremendously good content marketing.

2) Information that is available nowhere else

Number two is information that’s available nowhere else. When I say “information,” I don’t mean content. I don’t mean words and phrases. I don’t mean it’s one-of-a-kind in that if I were to go copy and paste a sentence fragment or a paragraph and plug it into Google, that I wouldn’t find that sentence or that paragraph elsewhere. I mean unique information, information that, even if it were written about thousands of different ways, I couldn’t find it anywhere else on the web. You want your visitor to have experience of, “Wow, without this site I never would have found the answers I sought.” It’s not that, “Oh, this sentence is unique to all the other sentences that have been written about this topic.” It’s, “Ah-ha this information was never available until now.”

Some of my favorite examples of that — Walk Score. Walk Score is a site that took data that was out there and they basically put it together into a scoring function. So they said, “Hey, in this ocean beach neighborhood in San Diego, there are this many bars and restaurants, grocery stores, banks, pharmacies. The walkability of that neighborhood, therefore, based on the businesses and on the sidewalks and on the traffic and all these other things, the Walk Score out of 100 is therefore 74.” I don’t know what it actually is. Then you can compare and contrast that to, say, the Hillcrest neighborhood in San Diego, where the Walk Score is 88 because it has a far greater density of all those things that people, who are looking for walkability of neighborhoods, are seeking. If you’re moving somewhere or you’re considering staying somewhere downtown, in area to visit for vacation, this is amazing. What an incredible resource, and because of that Walk Score has become hugely popular and is part of many, many real estate websites and visitor and tourism focused websites and all that kind of stuff.

Another good example, blog posts that provide information that was previously unavailable anywhere else. In our industry I actually really like this example from Conductor. Conductor, as you might know, is an enterprise SEO software company, and they put together a phenomenal blog post comparing which portions of direct traffic are almost certainly actually organic, and they collected a bunch of anonymized data from their platform and assembled that so that we could all see, “Oh, yeah, look at that. Sixty percent of what’s getting counted as direct in a lot of these websites, at least on average, is probably coming from organic search or dark social and those kinds of things, and that credit should go to the marketers who acquire that traffic.” Fascinating stuff. Unique information, couldn’t find that elsewhere.

3) Content presented with a massively differentiated voice or style

The third and final one that I’ll talk about is content that’s presented with a massively differentiated voice or style. So this is not necessarily you’ve aggregated information that was previously unavailable or you’ve made it more accessible or you’ve designed it in a way to make it remarkable. It’s not necessarily information available nowhere else. It’s really more about the writer or the artist behind the content creation, and content creators, the great ones, have some artistry to their work. You’re trying to create in your visitors this impression of like, “I’ve seen stuff about this before, but never in a way that emotionally resonated with me like this does.” Think about the experience that you have of reading a phenomenal book about a topic versus just reading the Wikipedia entry.

The information might be the same, but there are miles of difference in the artistry behind it and the emotional resonance it can create.

The World of SEO Can Be Confusing

The World of Search Engine Optimisation is one that can, at times, be very confusing, and some recent reading has made the situation that bit more difficult to understand.

The document in question was published by BuzzSumo and was a detailed piece of research into the relationship between the number of links and shares that content on the web gained.

SEO - A Confusing World

The reason for my ‘confusion’ is the fact that in SEO circles, it is a well published ‘fact’ that web pages get good rankings because they are not only ‘good quality’ but also because of the links and the shares they gain. This seemed totally logical to me and I have always striven to create useful articles for our clients and to ensure that they get links and shares (some of which I will confess to be ‘created’, this being a part of  the well established SEO practice of ‘priming the pump’).

BuzzSumo Research Quote:-

What we found is that the majority of content published on the internet is simply ignored when it comes to shares and links. The data suggests most content is simply not worthy of sharing or linking. It also suggests that people are very poor at amplifying content. It may sound harsh but it seems most people are wasting their time either producing poor content or failing to amplify it.

However, the data in this article suggests that the majority of content published on the web is simply ignored, at least when it comes to shares and links. If this is true and I have no reason to doubt the statistics, it would mean that a huge percentage of pages (75% if the data is correct) have no links to them at all, and only 50% having any Facebook shares or likes. Thus if Google is using these factors to rank pages, for these pages (with no links and few shares) it has to do so without the benefit of any links or shares and the ‘this page is of value signal that they represent’.

This is important in my view as a computer algorithm must find it difficult to rate a page on the basis of ‘usefulness’ or being ‘good’. Sure it can check the grammar and the length of the page, plus check on any links that are going out from the page (it is always a good idea to link to any ‘authoritative’  site / data), but how can it truly work out what is good? After all, such a decision is to some degree subjective, so whatever Google decides may in essence be wrong…

You could read this of course as a reason to ensure that any content you create does have links and shares, as this must ‘help’ Google (we certainly do our best to help Google all the time) to rate the page in question higher (because so much of the competition have no links or shares), but it also to my mind at least makes me continue to question the way that Google is said to rate a page.

The data also came to the conclusion that it was no surprise that pages got more shares than links, shares being much easier to acquire. Content it seems has to work very hard to get links..

The Answer to the SEO Conundrum

There is an answer to this conundrum in my view though, as it is my belief that pages are not actually viewed in isolation at all. Their content is surely checked and rated (as mentioned above) but then, and this is the important point, the Domain Authority of the site (and the power of the Home page) is taken into account.

I have seen this in action countless times, many a page that I have seen on the first page of Google, in reality having no ‘right’ to be there at all. It is only when you check on the power of the domain and the links that it has do you see why a page (that has no or few links to itself) has that front page placement.
This in turn means that what you must do, as a site owner (or SEO Professional) is to make sure that a site gets as many high power, relevant links as you can manage. That way, as long as you only produce good quality content you are more likely to get those coveted front page listings.

What Content Is Best for SEO?

As to what sort of content you should create IF you want it get those shares and links (which is bound to help), well it seems that Videos and Quizzes get more of both. However it must be said that it many cases this is because the video is ‘funny and entertaining’ and that a video of your latest product is not likely to stir up as much interest as ones that feature bears stealing fish (remember that JohnWest advert?).

Quizzes will also fall into the same group, the quizzes that really get great amounts of interests again not being ones that are relevant to many businesses, certainly many of the Corporate sites we deal with would not allow one of these ‘popular’ quizzes on their sites.

There are however two forms of content that gains lots of shares and links that would look good on many sites, these being ‘Opinion’ and ‘List Posts’. Of course these opinion posts need some thought and research, so perhaps the ‘List Post’ is the best route to take.

These List Posts are very much like they sound, in that the posts feature a list of points on a subject, often to explain in an easy manner a topic or a how to do something (How To Posts are also quite good at getting shares and links).

I will we carrying out some more research into this area in the near future and I will publish my findings as soon as I can.

Succeeding At SEO With Content Marketing

You will be aware of how important content marketing is to your SEO strategy. Technology is evolving and more tools are available to help us make use of these advances. Content marketing has remained fairly static however, there are now more ways than ever to communicate your message and share your content. Posting blogs, using social media and guest articles are some of the ways in which you can share your expertise and information.

These days, the definition of content marketing is that the written pieces are published online so that they can be accessed by other people. The content must be interesting and have a value to those reading it so that they gain something from it. It is important to target your content to a specific audience who are interested in your niche, so it must be relevant in order to be noticed by the search engines. When people are interested in what you have written they will usually share it via social media this leads to an increase in online traffic. When the search engines are interested in all this activity, they will increase the ranking in the organic listings.

It is still important to optimise your content so that it is seen to be relevant and interesting to the search engines. Failing to do this means that they will ignore your site and as such, will not rank on the organic listings. So, do your keyword research before releasing your content so that you can ensure it has a good range of valid keywords and key phrases that appear in a natural fashion throughout the piece.

Back links are still vital for success however, care needs to be taken with link building so that the links are appropriate and niche specific, not just randomly placed or mixed in with non-relevant subjects. Social media can be a very effective way of sharing links however, search engines don’t always pay a huge amount of attention to these links.

Seo continues to evolve and develop so do keep a look out for trends that are working well for others in your niche. Be innovative and try different things that might help promote your business however, steer clear of strategies that are known to attract the wrong kind of attention from the search engines or you might find that your site is de-indexed.

 

Want to succeed at SEO? Good practices start with avoiding bad habits of the past. Eliminate ineffective practices and replace them with strategic, content-focused tactics. Here are seven great ways to do that:

1. Approach keywords strategically

Without proper keyword research, any SEO campaign is doomed to failure. Keyword research sets the stage and lays the groundwork for an SEO campaign.

Take a vague keyword phrase like “dog food.” This might be used by people seeking information on dog food or news about it (such as recalls). But a specific keyword phrase such as “buy raw dog food” is more likely to be selected by someone who’s ready to buy a specific type of canine chow.

Keyword phrases should be as specific to your company as possible and have an easy, conversational sound not a marketing vibe. Just consider how you search for things online.

Perhaps more important than selecting specific phrasing, however, is not becoming paralyzed or slowed down by the temptation to achieve perfection in keyword optimization for every text-based piece of content you publish.

While keywords form the basis of an effective understanding of — and competition for — a target market, trying for a #1 search-engine ranking (or even for a top 10 spot) for your business niche’s top keyword is usually extremely difficult when you’re starting an SEO campaign in a field with competitors who have doing this for a while.

Instead, take a long-tail approach to keywords. Consistently publish as much amazing content as you can, which naturally will include keywords, and you’ll capture long-tail search traffic. This type of traffic tends to come from keywords you would probably never find during the research phase and that are often more targeted, resulting in better conversion rates.

2. Strictly adhere to an originality rule.

When it comes to SEO, originality refers to duplicate content or the same text existing at two different URLs — something that you should always avoid. Republishing articles from other sites is not only a potential copyright infringement, but it also creates duplicate content, which can ruin your site’s search rankings.

Check to see if your site has duplicate content by using tools like CopyScape, SiteLiner and Screaming Frog. Find more details about how to identify and remove duplicate content in this article I wrote.

3. Strategically adjust your site’s navigation and internal links.

The way your site’s navigation is structured plays a major role in how search engines determine the importance of each page. Simply put, the more often a page is linked to within your website, the more PageRank flow it has and the higher it will rank in search-engine results pages for relevant queries.

Most webmasters and business owners, however, have no idea how their internal link flow is structured and are often surprised to learn that unimportant pages or ones that never stand a chance rank high in search-engines results (like contact pages) are cannibalizing the majority of their site’s PageRank flow. This offers major opportunities for improvement with relatively minor effort. Read more here http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/237819

More information

SEO: why content isn’t always the answer

User-centred SEO: creating long term value

Improving Your Content Marketing

There is so much conflicting advice about SEO that it is not surprising people get confused. In one instance we are told ‘guest blogging is dead’ and in the next, ‘guest blogging is a valuable tool’. Trying to decipher what is correct and what is not can leave you feeling completely adrift. The one thing that is a fact, is that high quality content is never wrong providing it is placed within its niche. One other thing to note, is that whatever content you decide to release, it needs to be interesting to the reader and leave them wanting more. It could be that you choose to put out less in quantity but make your writing more thought provoking so that you engage your reader more. There are many different methods for attracting visitors and encouraging them to share your work through social media which in turn can lead to a larger following. So, with this in mind, take a look at the following article and see how you can improve your content marketing.

 

The only unchanging truth about SEO is that it’s always changing.

I almost didn’t write that line, because it sounds so cliche.

I don’t want to dish up half-baked cliches. Instead, I intend to deliver some stop-and-think advice. We’ve heard cliches before. Ad nauseum. Search marketing in 2014 demands more than cliches. We to need to take a hard look at where search marketing is now, and maybe why our marketing gimmicks and tricks are having diminishing efficacy.

It’s time to consider what’s changed in SEO, and what we need to do about it. There are four major changes that I’ve observed during the first part of 2014. These changes — some subtle, and some overt — are signs that we need to adapt.

1. Content marketing is king.

It’s popular to say “Content is King.”

Sheesh. Talk about cliches.

While it is true, I want to make a case for content marketing over against the rather anemic “content” alone. Content marketing has a robust connotative meaning, and brings to mind more than just optimized titles and 800 words of content on a home page.

Content marketing trumps SEO in the conventional sense. Here’s why.

Conventional SEO doesn’t make you rank better. It just keeps you from doing worse.

I’m a huge fan of what I’m calling “conventional SEO.” I, in fact, am a conventional SEO. I geek out about robots.txt with the rest of them. I even wrote a nerdy uberlong magnum opus on recovering from a manual penalty. I dig conventional SEO.

But this kind of SEO — the robots.txt. the rel=canonicals, the 301 redirects, the optimized H1s, and the sitemap.xmls — that’s not winning you links and generating conversions. That’s just keeping you from having a shoddy site. See? You’re not going to win rank by just complying with standards. Sure, you’ve got to comply, but then what?

The real wins come through content — powerful, eye-popping, mind-blowing, epic, killer, clickable, actionable, shareable, even edible content. (Huh? Edible? Yes, edible.)

So, for all its geeky awesomeness, conventional SEO just won’t win the game. Content marketing will.

Reason number two why content marketing needs to reign as king…. Click here to continue reading

Further reading

How to strengthen your social media content marketing strategy

3 unconventional content marketing strategies you should try

Busting the jargon of SEO

We are always being told that we must adhere to ‘white hat’ techniques when marketing our websites but what does this actually mean? There are so many terms and so much terminology that many ordinary business folk don’t really know what it all means. Take white hat, what it means is that you are using approved methods of site promotion, for instance, you are using high quality content with the right amount of keywords which have been carefully and naturally incorporated into the text. Your content is interesting for the human reader and is unique and attractive to the search engines. Black hat on the other hand is the murky underworld where the search engines and Google in particular takes a very dim view of such things as keyword stuffing, duplicate content and poor quality content. So, if you are a bit confused about some of the terminology used, see this guide to help clarify things for you.

I’ve been making a point in my journey as a writer for Econsultancy to investigate the many and varied terms in digital that I don’t understand.

As I am a relative newcomer to the digital marketing world, this is like a trial-by-fire.

In my first few weeks, terms like CRM, CRO, iBeacons, retargeting and PPC all felt like an alien language.

None more so than the phrases ‘black hat’ and ‘white hat’ in relation to search engine optimisation (SEO).

In this article I’ll be investigating what is meant by each of these terms by asking: What are the basic principles of each ‘hat’? What is considered best practice? and what should be avoided?

“Boy, have we got a vacation for you”

High noon

My basic assumption is that ‘white hat’ is all about being a goody-two-shoes and sticking to the rules. Abiding the law. Hiding under the table whenever trouble comes wandering into the saloon.

Whereas ‘black hat’ is all about being that trouble. A gun-slinging outlaw, working on the edge of society, disobeying the rules and generally being a bit dangerous and sexy. I assume you get a cooler costume too.

I guess the temptation to be that second guy is always strong.

However being that second guy, the one with the really good boots and slightly darker theme music, means that you won’t be long for this world. It’s only a matter of time before you’re either rounded-up by the lawmen or snuffed out and put in the ground with nothing but a lonely horse to mourn your passing.

By lawmen I of course mean Google, and Google can indeed be a merciless punisher of the transgressive. Click here to continue

Further information

Long term SEO: sustainable tactics, strategies and solutions

A complete glossary of essential SEO jargon

How to create quality content that is optimized

As we often say, only ever release high quality content to your blog or website but there is more to successful SEO than that. Write for a human audience not for search engine spiders, it is the people who are going to appreciate what you have written, they are going to share it with their friends and/or followers on social media and the search engines do take notice of this as well. It is important to intersperse keywords within the fabric of the text so that it reads well for the humans and that there is something for the spiders to latch onto. Be careful with your keywords, use as many variations as you can for instance, if you are talking about accountancy, you can use a variety of words and phrases that are pertinent to the subject so that it is interesting to read for both humans and spiders. There are several steps to creating great content which is also optimized. Take a look at the following article for some great advice.

 

The content explosion and the search engines’ shift toward meaning-based content in 2013 has led to a tipping of the scales in the opposite direction from where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was before Panda and Penguin.

Gone are the days of black hat practices like keyword stuffing and paid linking schemes that resulted in a bad user experience and little focus on content quality.

While the increased focus on quality has created a better user experience, now the challenge of the marketer is to integrate SEO best practices into the content creation process.

User-friendly content must also be easy to find, and that means including SEO in every step of the process.

Because investments in content are growing at a record pace, the pressure for online marketers to show increased returns are heightened. And with organic search as a leading source of traffic for many marketers, streamlining the content creation process while optimizing for search is a business necessity.

In other words, the content must be optimized for the user as well as the search engines before it is even published.

The Integrated Approach To SEO

The integration of search engine needs and user needs means that the SEO has to be involved at every step of the content creation process. Here’s how SEO-focused thinking can be applied to the primary steps of content creation:

1. Understand User Needs & Behavior

How do users search for the type of content you offer, and in what volume?

Keyword research early on in the process will help focus content creation efforts, preventing the wasted effort of creating content for low-volume keywords. Keyword research hits the sweet spot in your content creation efforts by finding the balance between users’ product-related needs, the product offerings, and how users actually search the web. Click here to read on

Further reading

Planning a content strategy with SEO in mind

Deep SEE diving for SEO bloggers