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Blog Optimization Checklist: 10 Clear-Cut Ways to Boost SEO

When you’ve poured time and energy into a great blog post, you want it to reach as much of your audience as possible. Small changes matter when it comes to boosting blog SEO. Take a run through this blog optimization checklist before you post — it won’t take long, and it’ll help your blog get seen by the right people.

Blog Checklist

1. Keywords

Keywords are words or short phrases that encompass what the blog post is about (see our blog: What Are Keywords and Why Do They Matter?). When you use them well, keywords can help the post rank for search queries that include those words.

Why Blog Keywords Matter for SEO

Search engine algorithms use repeated words and phrases as clues to what a webpage is about. Placing relevant, natural-sounding keywords in the blog content, title, meta description, and URL can contribute to a blog post’s search engine ranking.

How to Optimize for Keywords

Incorporate your chosen keywords into the blog:

  • Title
  • Headings (one or more)
  • First paragraph
  • Meta description
  • URL

2. Length

There’s no perfect word count for SEO, but the length of a blog can factor into its ranking.

Why Blog Length Matters for SEO

Search engine algorithms often deem pages with less than 300 words inadequate to rank in the search engine results. However, longer isn’t necessarily better; a 3,000-word post stuffed with irrelevant content will fare just as poorly as a short one.

Optimizing Length for SEO

Aim to write at least 500 words per blog post. Beyond that, the ideal blog length will depend on your audience. Pay attention to how your blogs perform and look for trends related to page length.

3. Readability

It’s in the writer’s interest to make a blog post as easy to read as possible. Spacing, formatting, and writing style all weigh on a blog’s readability.

Why Readability Matters for SEO

Making your content easy to digest will increase the time people spend reading it and encourage them to share it with others. It can also increase the likelihood the content will rank in Featured Snippets, which is a huge boost to blog SEO.

How to Optimize Blog Readability

  • Add informative headings and subheadings to make the post easier to skim.
  • Format lists or step-by-step instructions as numbered or bulleted lists.
  • Break large paragraphs into shorter chunks. Single-sentence paragraphs are common in the blog world.

4. Title

The title is your chance to convince the reader to click in 50-60 characters or less. A good title:

  1. Is short (search engines cut off titles longer than 60 characters);
  2. Is compelling (but not clickbait); and
  3. Promises readers something of value if they click.

Why Blog Titles Matter for SEO

A great title will drive more traffic to the blog, which significantly impacts its rankings. As mentioned above, the title should also include relevant keywords.

How to Optimize Blog Titles

Craft your title around keywords and the value readers receive from the blog. Shorten it 50 characters or less and add compelling adjectives to make it pop.

5. Call to Action

The title succeeds in persuading readers to click on your blog post. What do you want them to do once they’re there? Whatever the goal, readers are more likely to do it if you guide them in the right direction with a clear call to action.

Why a Call to Action Matters for SEO

An effective call to action keeps people on your site and discourages them from bouncing back to the search engine results page (see our blog: Understanding Bounce Rate, Long Clicks and Pogo-Sticking).

How to Optimize Call to Action

Place the call to action prominently on the blog post (the best spot will vary audience-to-audience, so consider testing different placements). It should be relevant to the subject matter of the article and the user’s pain points.

6. Internal and External Links

Internal links are links to content that is within the same domain as your content: other blog posts, product pages, contact pages, and so on. External links are the opposite: they point to other websites.

Why Internal and External Linking Matters for SEO

Interlinking helps search engine algorithms to understand the website’s structure. Links to credible, authoritative external sources help build your site’s credibility within the eyes of the all-seeing search algorithm. Both are an important part of boosting blog SEO.

How to Optimize Links

Be picky about the links you include! Credible external sites will bolster your blog’s credibility, but poor sites will do the opposite. Insert internal links should in a logical way that benefits the reader.

7. Anchor Text

Anchor text refers to the clickable text of an internal or external link. On most sites, anchor text is underlined and highlighted in blue.

Why Anchor Text Matters for SEO

Search engine algorithms use anchor text another clue to what a web page is about, both regarding your blog and the page you’re linking to.

How to Optimize Anchor Text

Good anchor text is succinct, informative, and relevant to the target page. Incorporate keywords where it sounds natural to do so.

8. Images

Images are a necessity in any blog post, no matter the length or the topic. Along with their visual appeal, original images can help boost your blog’s SEO.

Why Images Are Good for SEO

Images make the blog easier to read, increasing the chance people will share it and explore the rest of your site. Keywords in image titles and file names can help give the algorithm context on your blog’s topic. Images also allow the site to rank in image searches.

Optimizing Images for SEO

Upload high-quality images with keyword-rich titles and file names. Avoid adding overly-large images, as they can bog down your site’s loading speed (see our blog: Why Page Speed Matters.

9. Meta Description

The meta description is a 160-character summary of the blog that can display below the headline on the search engine results page.

Why Meta Descriptions Matter for SEO

The meta description can be a huge factor in a reader’s decision to click through to your blog from the search engine results page. Like blog titles, meta descriptions are a chance to pique the reader’s curiosity and promise something worth clicking for.

How to Optimize Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions that exceed 160 words will be cut off, so be sure to include the good stuff in the first 160.

10. Proofreading

Spelling and grammar checkers have come a long way, but they’re still not perfect! Take time to proofread your blog before posting it.

Why Spelling and Grammar Matters for SEO

Poor spelling and grammar will stop some readers in their tracks. Few people will share an error-ridden blog with their friends, let alone peruse the rest of the site. Proofreading keeps readers on the page and preserves your credibility.First, give the blog a once-over yourself. Then, pass it to a colleague for a second look. If no one’s available to help, a free proofreading tool like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor beats no proofreading at all.

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7 Universal Content Strategies to Increase Audience Engagement

Content is a contest. Whether you’re writing blog posts or cutting videos, there’s always someone else out there who wants to win over your audience as bad as you do. These content strategies can help increase audience engagement across a variety of mediums to help get your message out there.

Content Strategy

1. Gauge the Competition

Who’s winning the race for your important keywords?

Finding ways to outrank those competitors will help bolster your share of the audience.

One important step in increasing engagement is finding (and fixing) gaps in your current keyword strategy.

You could be falling behind in areas where your competitors already have plenty of content. There could also be high-volume keywords the competition hasn’t covered yet, leaving an opportunity for your site to fill in the gap.

Conducting a keyword gap analysis requires a strong grasp of your site’s current standing and where you want to improve: how people are finding your site now, which keywords are most valuable to you now, and what your competitors are doing better.

Tools like SEMRush’s Keyword Gap Analysis can help, but it’s only useful if you understand what keywords are and which keywords matter to your business.

2. Optimize Metadata

To most people, metadata is an afterthought.

For anyone with a website, it shouldn’t be.

Metadata refers to two types of information: basic descriptions of digital files (file author, date crated, file size, etc.) and descriptions of webpage content. Both types of metadata play a role in your content’s search engine visibility.

Search algorithms use metadata to help determine what a webpage is about. When metadata contains relevant keywords, it gives the page a better shot of ranking for those search queries.

Optimized metadata may not increase audience engagement alone, but it can help give well-crafted content the boost it needs.

3. Increase Page Speed

Slow loading speed is one of the biggest barriers to audience engagement.

Nearly half of all internet users will not wait longer than three seconds for a page to load. It doesn’t matter how great a blog or video is if it’s dragged down by a slow-loading site.

If you’re not sure of your site’s speed (or can’t figure out why it’s slow), Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can give answers. Beyond that, there are lots of big and small fixes to increase page speed.

4. Boost Presentation

Looks matter, at least when it comes to boosting audience engagement.

The nicer the page presentation, the more likely people are to view the content, share it with others, and link back to it — all important ingredients of attracting and engaging an audience

Overall site design plays a big part in this (which is one reason to redesign your site periodically). But there are also many smaller steps you can take to make your content easier and more enjoyable to consume.

  • Break blog posts into short paragraphs with a logical flow, adding bullet points and lists where applicable.
  • Add relevant images. Blog posts with images get an average of 94% more views than those without.
  • Embed a video. Video increases the average time people spend on a site by 105%.

If you do add supplementary videos and images, be sure to optimize them with keyword-rich metadata.

Speaking of different mediums…

5. Use a Variety of Content Mediums

Radio didn’t bring an end to libraries. Film wasn’t the death knell for radio.  And the Internet hasn’t dampened the popularity of video (only changed how we see it).

Why? Because different people like to consume information in different ways.

Some of your audience will always prefer a long-form blog post or whitepaper to a video; others won’t give text the time of day when there’s a visual alternative.

Using a variety of content broadens the appeal of your site to a wider audience. Blogs, eBooks, videos, case studies, infographics, and podcasts can all help to build different segment of an engaged following.

6. Be an Authority

Authority is one of the biggest factors in how search engine algorithms choose which sites make the front page. To increase audience engagement, you’ll have to show that you’re an authority in your industry.

Being an authority doesn’t mean you’re the be-all and end-all for your industry. Rather, it means you have a take on the topic that is more in-depth, more authentic, and more current than the competition.

For future content, focus on quality and relevance over quantity. As for older content that still performs well? Keep it current!

7. Send the Right Content to the Right Audience

Instead of blasting all your content to everyone at once, take a precision approach. Aim for where you know it’ll connect.

There are lots of ways to make sure your content reaches the right people and get them to engage with it:

  • Starting an email list is a great initiative for anyone looking to build an army of loyal followers.
  • A/B testing provides guidance when it comes to making the best possible first impression on visitors.
  • Retargeting visitors with content you know matches their interests brings wayward audiences back into your sights.

The point is, different content will resonate best at different points in the marketing funnel. Once you’ve figured out your funnel, you can begin to weave it into your content strategy.

 Getting Audiences to Engage with Your Content

No content creator can produce a viral masterpiece every time, but these steps will help put it on the screens of audiences that matter.

It all starts with strategy. We’d love to help you find yours.

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Blogging For SEO

Blogging may seem simple, but there’s a lot more to content SEO than just putting words to a page. Just because you’re able to write doesn’t mean your content will do well on the internet. Years ago all that mattered was what you said (i.e., keywords), but modern SEO needs you to pay close attention to how you say it.

If you want your content to rank, of course it needs to be optimized, but search engines are getting smarter every day. Google can tell when content is well-written, engaging, and informative by analyzing your content and monitoring how people interact with it. If you take nothing else away, remember this one key: content SEO relies on good writing.

Blogging for SEO

Long tail Keywords

Before getting started, you need to decide on the key words you want your content to rank for. The best way to think about this is to put yourself in the shoes of your ideal customer and think about what they would type into their search box.

Of course, some key words will be harder to rank for than others. If you sell t-shirts, you’ll never rank for the term “t-shirts,” but you might rank for longer keywords more relevant to your business. These are called “long-tail” keywords.

Instead of “t-shirts,” your long-tail keywords could be “custom designed t-shirts in Toronto.” The longer the search input, the more unique it is and the easier it is to rank for it.

Titling Your Blog Articles

There are two things that you need to think about when deciding on a title for your blog article:

  1. Making it catchy and attention grabbing
  2. Optimizing it for search engines

The best written blog is nothing if no one stops to click on its title. To grab your readers’ attention and make them want to click, figure out what would be appealing to somebody stumbling around on your site. Try to pique your readers’ curiosity with catchy words and a captivating concept.

Optimizing your title is relatively simple: just make sure your long-tail keyword is present. Search engines, not surprisingly, put more weight into a title when deciding where your content fits.

And don’t forget about subtitles. While not as important as the title, Google also uses the subtitles to decide what your article is about.

Writing a Blog Introduction

The introduction of your article is, arguably, the most important part. Unfortunately, it’s also often the weakest for new writers.

The introduction needs to set up your entire article, and be interesting and captivating enough to get someone to decide to continue reading. The best advice is to figure out why someone will stop to read your blog, and quickly tell them exactly what they want to hear. If you’re writing about how to clean a

carburetor but begin your article with a history or guide of all the engine components, you’re going to quickly lose your reader.

If there’s any part of your blog that you should focus on, it’s the introduction. Unless you can read it and picture a reader saying, “and then what?” or “oh wow, this is going to tell me exactly what I need,” you need to go back and rewrite.

In terms of SEO, Google also weighs the introduction of your blog heavier than any other paragraph in your article

Writing the Body

This is usually the easiest part for a writer. You already know what needs to be there, you just need to get it on the page in a way that’s easy to read and absorb.

Here are some quick tips for SEO writing:

  • Avoid being wordy. This is a sign of an inexperienced writer. Sentences that are too long or have unnecessary words are extra work for the reader. Be short and to the point.
  • Do NOT keyword stuff. Keyword stuffing is using the same key terms over and over again. This is not only bad SEO, it’s bad writing. Writers will always try to avoid using a word more than once. Why limit yourself when there are so many words in the English language? If you’re hyper-focusing on optimizing every word— don’t. Google and other search engines are smart enough to know that different words can have the same meaning. Your keywords should be in your blog organically. If they aren’t, your blog article has taken a wrong turn somewhere.
  • Use your subtitles as an outline. Without an outline, it’s easy for a blog post to go off the rails. Keep yourself on track by creating an outline and sticking to it.
  • Longer is not always better. Yes, longer content is better for Google, but not at the expense of readership. If you’re saying the same thing repeatedly, consider cutting out the fluff.

Proof Your Articles

It’s incredibly easy to write the last sentence of an article then sit back and think you’re done. Just read over a piece you’ve done this with after a few days or so and you’ll see the error of your ways. No writer has ever been happy with their first draft, and for good reason. A first draft of anything will always have errors, omissions, and poor wordings.

Editing and proofing is an absolute must. Not only will Google spot your errors, online readers are notoriously ruthless for jumping on any errors they find. Read over your writing out loud. It’s the best way to catch spots that don’t sound quite right or sections that seem to ramble on.

And if possible, get someone else to read it over. It’s not an easy task to catch all your own mistakes. That’s why even professional writers have editors.

Improve Your Writing with Practice

If you’ve finished high school, you’re probably confident in your ability to write. But even though we’ve all learned the nuts and bolts of writing, as with any other skill, you won’t just be good at something because you know how to do it. Do you think Tolstoy just decided to start writing one day and put together War and Peace?

Being a good writer takes practice, and becoming a great writer requires a lifetime of writing.

5 Reasons You Should Use An Agency For Your Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool, particularly when it comes to marketing your business. Social media marketing provides new and excellent opportunities to increase brand recognition, boosts your search engine rankings, alleviates some marketing costs, enriches the customer experience, and personalizes your brand, among many other benefits.

Why Should You Use An Agency For Your Social Media?

The major challenge for quite a few companies is to develop an effective social media strategy and work to implement it. There is, however, the option of hiring a social media marketing agency. Why should you do something like this?

On The Pulse

One of the top reasons to hire the services of an agency for your social media needs is the fact that agencies house social media experts who always have their fingers on the pulse of new trends and other developments in the realm of social media. Social media platforms are always changing and adding new features. In order to remain competitive, companies must also change with the times. An agency consumes all news related to social media, from small shifts to major changes and new trends.

Expert Knowledge

One of the biggest results of always having their finger on the pulse is the expert social media knowledge an agency possesses. This allows us to curate ideal content from around the Internet, effectively schedule this content to the optimum times, maximize audience engagement, and twist any tool or trend from social media to work best for you. This knowledge stems from years of experience and ability to adapt at the flip of a coin. Social media is an agency’s wheelhouse.

Dedication And Focus

Running a business requires you to perform a wide variety of different tasks. These tasks include dealing with finances, processing transactions, developing new products and services, training new employees, and more. Adding in-house social media can be just another item on an ever expanding to do list. The only thing an agency would have to worry about in relation to your business is your social media. This allows an agency to focus and go deeper into social media strategy and dedicate specialized resources—something that may not be possible with in-house social media, what with all the other responsibilities floating around.

Weighing The Cost

Doing social media in-house comes with a number of different costs, including base salary, employee benefits, turnover costs, and training expenses. With a social media agency, the price is simply the negotiated contract cost, based on the level of work you want them to perform as well as your desired budget. There are no hidden or indirect costs associated with working with a social media marketing agency, as there is with handling your company’s social media presence in-house.

Customer Service

Not only will you receive excellent service from a social media agency, but you will also be able to provide your customers with excellent customer service. In today’s society, the vast majority of people look for a company through social media networks like Facebook and Twitter for their questions, comments, and complaints. By having a dedicated agency—consider all the reasons previously discussed—you can be assured that the service response time will be fast as well as of a high quality. An agency will do everything necessary to ensure each individual interacting with your company receives the best service and response possible.

To wrap it up, using an agency for your social media requirement brings experts who have their finger on the pulse, are dedicated and focused, enhance the potential of customer service, and bring expert knowledge and specialized resources to the table—all for an affordable cost. Bring your social media presence to the next level today.

YouTube Optimization: How to Make Your Video Stand Out in a Sea of Content

YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet behind Google. If you are not utilizing this medium to share content about your brand, you are missing out on a massive marketing opportunity.

YouTube Optimization- How to Make Your Video Stand Out in a Sea of Content

Video is an extremely rich medium that generates high user engagement. According to Hootsuite, 70% of marketers plan to use social videos in the next twelve months. Video makes up 60% of online content, and Google reserves space on the first page of results for video related to search queries.

The positives of the medium are endless. However, before you jump the gun on creating a new video, check out these optimization tips to make sure your hard work lands on the right eyes.

Content

As with all social marketing efforts, content is king. Previously, YouTube ranked the validity and quality of a video based on the number of views. Now, the length of time a user watches a video is what primarily determines its rank. The more captivating and quality your content, the better it ranks.

Aim to make your content engaging, entertaining, informative, and shareable. Staying on top of trends and focusing on valuable content will get viewers to watch longer.

There are few practical things that will encourage longer views. To start, give a summary or thesis of your video in the first few minutes. People stay longer when they know exactly what they are about to watch. Longer videos always rank better than shorter ones, so aim to make every video at least five minutes long.

The highest ranked videos on Google are How-To videos, reviews, tutorials, fitness or sports related videos, and funny videos. You can help your video succeed by capitalizing on these already high-ranking content styles.

Title

The title of your video has a big impact on SEO. Incorporating keywords into the title phrase will significantly increase its ranking.

Titles are max 100 characters, so be as descriptive and accurate as you can. Keywords should be at the very beginning of the phrase – the closer to the front, the better. Be as specific as possible and include niche keywords into your title.

For consistency and increased SEO, use the same keyword optimized phrase in the name of the video file itself. Be sure to separate each word in the file name with a hyphen

Description

YouTube cannot always read and comprehend the audio and visual content in a video. Instead, the algorithms make sense of the video using its description.

Don’t make the description a company plug. Write unique, descriptive and keyword-rich content that explains what your video is about. It can be up to 980 words long, so take advantage of this space – it is there for a reason!

Include the keyword you are trying to rank for in the first 25 words, and include it 3-4 more times throughout the description. This is an essential place to rank for long tail keywords.

The description is also an excellent place to add URLs that link to other content you have produced. Always add a link to your website, specifically to relevant content such as a blog or another video.  Add a call to action that encourages viewers to click-through. You should also include links to your social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. This will provide easy access for a viewer to look at your other content and networks.

Tags

Tags are what make your video discoverable on YouTube. To improve ranking, classify and associate your video with tags that are related to your target keywords. YouTube allows 500 characters in tags, and you should fill the space with anything that is relevant to the video. Don’t just describe the video with tags – describe the problem your video solves.

Don’t be afraid to create tags specific to your brand. Tagging your videos with that keyword will help promote them in the sidebar and view next card. Tags are the easiest way to categorize your videos. You should take full advantage of them!

Language and Closed Captioning

Adding closed captioning to your video is also a great way to increase optimization. Transcribing and uploading closed captions gives YouTube access to exactly what is in your video, providing information in multiple formats which can aid varying needs and preferences. YouTube also offers translating functions, which should be utilized if you are trying to reach a specific target audience.

Thumbnail

The thumbnail provides a small preview image of your video. This is a great way to catch a browser’s attention and drive them to view your content.

Thumbnails should be bright, captivating and interesting. Try using bright backgrounds, contrast and outlines, text, and a logo or brand. Strong emotions and close-ups of people making eye contact can also catch a viewer’s eye.

Call to Action Card

Although viewer retention is the biggest factor in YouTube’s ranking system, user engagement comes in close second. The ranking algorithm considers a video’s comments, the number of subscriptions directly after watching, shares, favourites, and likes.

The best way to achieve this kind of engagement is to directly ask viewers to engage, but a call to action card can also be effective. For the last 10 or 20 seconds of the video, insert a card that has links to social media channels, other videos, and the subscription button through the overlay function.

Check out YouTuber Grace Helbig’s call to action card below as an example.

300 hours of video are posted to YouTube every minute. Optimizing your video will help it stand out the hours of footage that are constantly uploaded. Video is a great medium to show your brand off, and utilizing the inherently captivating medium to your advantage will pay off in the long run.

Image: grinvalds / 123RF Stock Photo

 

On-Page and Off-Page SEO: A Quick Guide

You have a website for your company, but is it performing as well as it should? Putting up content related to your business and creating an aesthetically pleasing look is essential in the beginning stages, but there are many factors beyond information and design that determine how a website will perform. You must incorporate both On-Page and Off-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  to gain traffic and success for your website.

Seo

The importance of SEO lies in the impact it has on your website’s appearance to Google. Google is constantly crawling websites to algorithmically rank their relevance, authority and usefulness, providing a status that will determine where your website shows up in the search engine.

At first glance, SEO can be complicated and technical, but as long as you follow a procedural and intentional approach, a few simple changes can significantly boost your ranking.

On-page and off-page SEO work together to improve both the user experience and the Google impression. One is not more important than the other, and both must be optimized to ensure the success of your page.

What is On-Page SEO?

On-Page SEO refers to improving and optimizing everything that a user can see on the web-page. This includes providing relevant and engaging content, properly coding HTML tags and meta-tags, optimizing system functions like page-load time and URL names, and editing CSS layout and tags.

All of these features will impact the user experience on your website and will encourage readers to either stay and explore your site, or cause them to leave. Think of the user experience on your website as an indicator of customer service for your brand. If a user experiences slow page loading or finds your content boring they are likely to be unsatisfied with their experience.

On-Page SEO is essential for user experience, which in the end will impact your ranking. The more people enjoy your content and are impressed by your website, the more likely it will be shared and engaged with, therefore increasing the visibility and social clout of your brand and website.

What is Off-Page SEO?

Off-Page SEO deals in the “behind-the-scenes” of a website. It can be summarized in one word: links. The more that your website is linked to, the higher the authority of your domain will be.  If you have a great deal of valuable links pointing to your site, search engines can assume that you are providing good content.

Getting other websites to link to your website increases traffic and signals to Google that the content you are offering on your website is useful and relevant, and therefore should have a higher ranking.

Off-Page SEO tells Google what others think of your site.

This concept is often referred to as “backlinks”, and the better your backlinks are rated, the better your website will rank. Without backlinks pointing to your website, it is almost impossible for Google to figure out the usefulness of your page. Natural links from authoritative and relevant websites act as votes of confidence that help search engines trust your website.

However, it is important to note: link quality is much more important than link quantity.

In the past, the number of links you had was extremely important but as Google algorithms have become more complex, they have shifted to value quality links higher. At this point, On-Page SEO becomes relevant. High quality, fresh, and relevant content and positive user-experience make you more shareable. With awesome content, lots of social media shares, and support from bloggers and influencers,  you will build backlinks to your website.

Tips on improving SEO

Typically on-page SEO is taken care of first, then off-page follows. You don’t want to share a page that isn’t ready for users.

Here are some tips to make sure that your web page is ready for sharing.

  • Organize your internal pages. Having a good flow and layout to the pages on your website ensures that the “SEO juice” will keep moving throughout your whole website. Make sure you create a homepage or landing page that has links to the other pages of your website through tools like drop-down menus. No internal page should stand alone, but rather be connected with seamless navigation.
  • Keyword Target thematically. Do some research on Google Keyword Planner (hyperlink)  to figure out the best keywords for your company to try to rank for.  Avoid popular keywords that massive corporations are ranking for because you will never be able to compete.Don’t be afraid to brand your keywords for ultimate specificity.  Pick a few that are thematically related and this will signify to Google what you do and are all about.
  • Place Keywords throughout your website.  Once you have your keywords, ensure they are present throughout your website, especially on the landing page. This will tell Google the most important and informative page of your site. Make sure your Keywords are in the title tag of your page. The closer the keywords are to the start of the title the better, as this has more weight with search engines.
  • Don’t Overload Keywords. While it is tempting to put keywords everywhere, have restraint when making content for your webpage. Google penalizes websites who try to overload keywords; Remember, quality over quantity. Use tools like LSIgraphic.com for ideas on variations of keywords.
  • For a list of 12 additional things you should do optimize on-page SEO click here. http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo.

So your website is ready to share, what now?

  • Fix broken links: When links on a website are broken they lead to a 404 error page. This is unappealing to the user. These problems pop up over time as the result of hosting expiration, pages upset during file transfer, typos or URL changes. Check that all the links on your website are functioning, and replace or get rid of those that are broken. This will improve the speed and function of your website.
  • Distribute Quality Content: Blogs, and other high-quality media like pictures, videos or infographics are great ways to engage users and are easy to share. Infographics tend to have a great deal of success online as they are visually appealing and can share a lot of information easily.
  • Share content with bloggers and influencers. Get your content out to as many people as possible. The more eyes the better! If you can be shared on a website that has a pre-existing high authority domain, it will significantly increase your ranking.

The most important things to consider when it comes to SEO are user experience, user intent, and valuable content.  Optimize for users and create content that will be relevant to them and you will be sure to increase your ranking.

Be consistent and methodical and you will grow in Google’s rank system.

Image: rawpixel / 123RF Stock Photo

4 Ways to Connect With Your Audience Using Visuals

Storytelling can take on many forms. A blog post, a social media announcement, a website, an email blast, a presentation or a book. Whether your purpose is to inform, educate or entertain, adding visual content is core to how you can connect with your audience. People respond more to what they see than any other form of stimulation.

The brain processes visual content

1. Break up text

In this age of “Big Data”, we are literally bombarded with information. Visual assets such as videos, photography, infographics and illustrations cut through all the noise and leave a powerful impact.

Are people just lazy readers?

Many readers will scan through large sections of text, picking out words, here and there, stopping at headlines, and maybe at an image or video that captures interest. It’s not that people are lazy readers or would not find your writing interesting. It’s just that there is such a large volume of available information, they have to move quickly to capture what is relevant to them. A reader will be more willing to read an article when colourful images are used.

Infographic People Retail information

2. Be more memorable

Blog posts with images and videos are more engaging to visitors.

  • Web pages with more visual content rank better
  • Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks and 150% more retweets

With 90% of information transmitted to the brain being visual, and a retention rate at 80%, it only makes sense to use visuals to their advantage.

Using visuals across all the major social platforms—Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, increases the:

  • Number of visitors,
  • Level of participation, and the
  • Reach of your post.

What makes an effective visual?

A good visual will reach out on an emotional level and leave a long-lasting impression. When you connect with your audience on an emotional level, they associate it with your brand and it nurtures a feeling of trust.

Effective visuals are relatable and sharable. The right infographic can transform a complex or large amount of data into a more manageable format.

3. Set a tone

Sketchy, trendy, artistic, dark or funny—the right image will set the tone or mood for your writing. Open the door and invite your reader in.

A brand’s values and unique personality can be defined by:

  • Logos
  • Use of colour
  • Typography
  • Use of icons and relatable imagery

4. Implement a visual content strategy

Keep in mind that competition for your audience’s attention is high. A strong visual content marketing strategy is key to attracting internet users and building brand credibility. Just as important as headlines, and calls to action, visual content deserves more than a second thought.

Remember to:

  • Show, don’t tell
  • Use testimonial videos
  • Share feedback
  • Show customer reviews as images
  • Drive content production with polls

Engage employees

  • Share behind-the-scenes activities
  • Encourage sharing of staff picks
  • Capture celebrations of your big moments

Increase reach and visibility

  • Use social media cover images
  • Design your call-to-action
  • Offer downloadable white papers, or e-books
  • Make your images sharable
  • Use a feature box on your blog

Optimize

  • Change your visual’s file name
  • Add a text transcript of your visuals
  • Optimize file size
  • Watch your embed code strategy </>

Six Reasons Why Content Marketing is Essential for Digital Growth

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action by changing or enhancing consumer behavior.” – Joe Pulizzi @joepulizzi

It is almost 2017, and if you are not incorporating digital marketing strategies into your traditional customer acquisition and marketing plans, you are falling behind. But why is including digital content so important and how do you get started? Find out why this method keeps you ahead of your competitors online.

Six Reason Why Content Marketing is Essential for Digital Growth

It is becoming difficult to find anyone who does not have some form of social media. To ignore this easily accessible market is to loose a great opportunity for direct contact and feedback from loyal customers and potential clients.

Plain and simple, content marketing just works. It increases sales, provides costs savings and develops quality customers who have brand loyalty. When you create relevant content that focuses on what an audience is interested you are rewarded with customer retention and loyalty.

Here are 6 reasons why content marketing is essential for digital growth:

Let Content Tell your Story

Content provides a convenient and creative means to tell the story of your brand. Whether you post a blog, video, photo, interview, or podcast, this content gives the customer a window into the details of your company, and the causes you care about! When a customer knows your story, they become warm to your business and are more likely to invest in your product or service. When people get to see the personal touches of your story they are more likely to be empathetic and compassionate to your brand.

Add Value at Every Step of the Sales Funnel

The purpose of content marketing is to add value beyond just your product or service. Creative digital content can target the needs and concerns, challenges and pain points that a customer would feel throughout every part of their purchasing process.

Consider this example. A company that makes baby bedding could make a post with ideas about what to put in their new child’s nursery. Though this post does pitch the product of the bedding company, it still addresses a great concern that a new mother might be having. When you post content that is about subjects that surround your brand, you can appeal to a broader group of people. Even though they may not have been looking to buy your product initially, when they are introduced, entertained or informed by your content they are more likely to consider your brand. Content like this can answer questions that people don’t even know how to articulate!

Content Creates Relationships with Consumers

One of the greatest features of digital content is that is provides an easy avenue for customer engagement. When you are posting valuable and relevant content that customers consistently engage with, you create a community of loyal followers. This relationship is beneficial for both parties. Customers return for material that appeals to their needs and desires and you are there to provide them with the critical information that informs their purchasing decisions.  This warm audience feels loyal to your brand and will come back time and again for your relevant content!

Own Your Material

In traditional advertising and marketing, the campaigns you wanted to show to your audience had to be presented through a third- party media such as TV or radio. With digital marketing, you are able to own and control the space that presents your message. Without interrupting or having to buy an audience, you can bring customers straight to your website. You are the one who creates the content, and you are the one who benefits from the direct contact your audience with your website. Content marketing is about attracting an audience to an experience that you own, build and optimize. In content marketing the brand owns the media!

Leverage Social Media

It may seem obvious, but every digital marketing campaign must include social media. Social media provides a built in pre-existing audience, and provides a way for brands to keep directly in contact with their audience. You can use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Google+ to amplify your creative content and reach massive amounts of potential customers. The more engagement you have with your most, the more successful your pages will be, so providing your followers with quality relevant content will only improve your brand. Social media is an excellent distributor for content and is vital to the success of your content marketing efforts.

Increase Your SEO Ranking

Great content that appeals to your audience contributes to a better ranking within Google. As Google continues to update their algorithms, it has become more and more clear that quality content means high rankings. When users interact and engage with your material, you build more social clout which increases your position. Social clout, quality back links and quantity of shares are all considered by Google when determining a website ranking. By incorporating relevant content that appeals to your audience, you will increase your overall rank on Google.

People are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages a day. If you provide quality content, customers feel refreshed by the break to their saturated email inboxes, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

People know when they are being sold to and have a greater appreciation and affinity to good creative, entertaining or informative content. In the long run, content marketing creates more loyal and quality customers who appreciate your content as much as you appreciate their purchases.

Think of it this way. What if your customers look forward to receiving your marketing? What if they are eager to share the advice with friends and spend time absorbing the content?

Copyright: ellagrin / 123RF Stock Photo

Top 5 reasons that SEO alone might not be right for you

Wait, what?

Yes, you heard correctly. We’re in the business of helping clients with their SEO, gaining organic website traffic, but the reality is that SEO is not always the right answer for every client in every situation. Let me explain.

 

1. Sometimes your SEO budget is not enough

This is usually the most common reason. SEO projects have a lot of variables to consider including the difficulty of ranking for search terms and other competitive issues.

For some clients, the work required to achieve their goals within a fixed time is simply not realistic inside a tight marketing budget. Unfortunately, some SEO companies will promise results using tactics outside Google’s guidelines, which ultimately causes more harm than good.

2. The timeframe for your objective is too short

The changing nature of SEO rules, as well as the moving marketing strategy of your competition, means that setting a precise timeframe to achieve results is nearly impossible. SEO success is inherently not an overnight strategy and if your objective is to get to page one from page three immediately, you would likely be better served to leverage other methods.

3. Ad competition is too stiff

Recent changes to the way Google displays ads is not making organic SEO any easier. There are now up to four ads displayed at the top of a page and the length of these ads are now even longer. The result? Even if you do rank on the first page it might be “below the fold” meaning users will have to scroll down to see it.

4. You have a new product or service

Sort of like “if a tree falls in the forest…”, you might be offering something totally new and awesome but no one is searching for it. You need to focus on an educational and awareness strategy that might be better served through ads and content.

5. You’re a new business

Similarly, if you are a new business, organic search can take some time to show results. As a result, if you’re looking for immediate results, you should consider a different tactic initially and use SEO to build organic traffic over time.

Summary

Today’s competitive marketplace demands patience and a variety of tactics. Marketers need to have realistic expectations about what can be achieved in a given time frame and within a given budget. An integrated marketing approach consisting of SEO, PPC, social media, and content marketing, is usually the best recipe for long-lasting results.