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Nabil

Nabil is an SEO specialist who works directly with clients and also collaborates with a handful of multi-million dollar SEO brands. With over half a decade of experience, he has narrowed down the entire process of SEO to a few steps that deliver consistent, long-term results for all of his clients.

Digital Marketing Basics Every Business Owner Needs to Know

Digital marketing. It was the early 2000’s when this term started to become popular. It was the buzzword of that time. People were not sure what to make of it. Neither were they sure about whether or not they would be able to get a positive ROI from this new-age marketing method.

But if you look back a little bit more, you’ll realize that the term “digital marketing” has been around way longer than you previously thought. In fact, it’s been around for over 100 years.

Yes. Don’t believe me?

Check out this picture below:

 

 

That’s Guglielmo Marconi. The dude who invented the radio and demonstrated that it is possible to publicly transmit wireless signals. And no, that wasn’t the first WiFi.

Soon after his demonstration in England, morse signals were being transmitted across open waters. It was still only used by the navy and the military, and it would take another decade for the radio to reach the general public. And when it reached the general public, the first thing creators realized is that they could sell stuff through this little thing.

To try it out, the first live broadcast was made from an opera performance at the Met. This was their way of testing the waters and finding out whether people would actually buy stuff.

And guess what? People bought the show tickets!

And that’s how digital marketing was born.

At the root of it, digital marketing is basically an umbrella term for all types of marketing strategies. Whether it be search advertising through Google or offline advertising. It can be done through both.

 

Why Is Digital Marketing So Important?

Gone were the days when billboards were still one of the best ways of advertising. Not anymore. It’s dead.

Here’s a picture that perfectly sums up the reason why billboards and other types of offline advertising methods are dead.

 

 

 Not a single passenger will spend their time looking at the road. Instead, they are looking at their Instagram feed, reading emails, chatting with friends, or just watching movies on Netflix.

And I’m not joking.

To top that off, even 9% of the drivers are looking on their phone while driving. So how do you think billboards can survive when almost everyone chooses to look at their phone.

New research suggests that on average, Americans spend more than 11 hours on their electronic devices every single day. And here’s the kicker, there aren’t many hours left in the day after that if you’re sleeping 8 hours every night.

So yes, online marketing will get you the best results because you are literally advertising where everyone is spending their time these days. But there is a place for offline marketing, and we will talk about that in a later blog post. In this post, I want to cover the basics of online marketing that every business owner should know.

Remember, there’s nothing worse than not knowing how to verify the results to determine whether you had a successful campaign or not. So arm yourself with this information.

Always follow this rule: Trust, but verify.

 

What Are the Basics of Digital Marketing?

These are all the basic things about digital marketing you ought to know before you jump in the game with both feet.

 

  • Website Design
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media advertising
  • Social media management
  • Pay-Per-Click advertising

 

Before we dive into each one of those topics, you should know that if you engage with any one of the above components you WILL see your business and your online presence grow. There’s no doubt about that. However, you will need to be a bit patient with some of the components because they don’t get you instant results.

 

Website Design

To be taken seriously, you need to have a website. This will be the face of your business. There are no faceless corporations on the internet. So it’s important that you care for your website like it’s your baby.

Make sure that it looks good, has a beautiful design, great content and helps your audience improve their lives in a significant way. This will help improve the perceived value of your brand.

 

Optimize Your Website

There’s nothing worse than having a great website that is not optimized for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). We will go over what it is about later in this post, but you need to make sure that your website is SEO optimized.

 

Website Should Be Easy to Navigate

This is very important because most people create a very beautiful website. I mean stunning design, but then they mess it up by not making it easier to reach certain areas of their website. Make sure that you don’t make that mistake.

Make sure that every page on your website is tagged and labeled so that users can find what they need.

 

Content Marketing

When its all said and done, content marketing is still the king of digital marketing. It has been the single constant throughout the years while every other component in this list has changed.

Content marketing is a unique marketing approach in which you focus on providing valuable and relevant information on a consistent basis so you can develop an audience that trusts you and values your opinion. Once you develop that, then you can make sure of strategic call-to-actions to drive sales.

You can provide content through several different methods: video, audio, blog posts, newsletters, white papers, case studies, research papers/reports, infographics, webinars, e-books, etc.

It all depends on how comfortable you are with which method.

So why is content marketing so important?

Well, it’s simple. People like to be more informative now. They like to make educated decisions and they take the time to research before deciding on whether or not to purchase something. This means that they are asking questions about a particular product.

Now this is where your brand comes in.

When a lead asks a question, who’s there to answer them?

Are you there or your competitor is there? Because you can forget the sale if your competitor is there to answer all of their questions.

Remember, it’s all about being visible and being able to grab the attention of your customers. If you are able to do that, you can then move on building brand loyalty and providing them with impeccable customer support.

So where do you start with your content marketing strategy?

Ideally, you’d want to have high-value content for all the different parts of the purchasing cycle. This means all the way from the research phase, down to the after-sales questions a buyer might have, you need to make sure that you have all of them covered.

Think about it, why do you think we spend hours on researching topics and then hours on writing up informative blog posts like these?

It’s because we want to make sure that you have all the information you need to make the right decision, which is becoming our client 🙂

 

Email Marketing

Email marketing is the holy grail of digital marketing. This is one component that has the potential to generate instant cash if you are able to build trust and rapport with your subscribers. It is one of the most popular methods of marketing.

In fact, 82% of B2B and B2C businesses use email marketing today.

But Nabil, if everyone’s using it, doesn’t that mean that people won’t be able to read my emails?

That’s true, but only if your emails are dull and boring.

You need to understand that people have a very finite amount of attention span. If you are able to grab their attention, then it’s your job to make it worth their while. This means that you will have to make your emails stand out.

You can use a ton of techniques to do that. But like everything in digital marketing, you will need to test it out yourself and see what works for your audience and your niche.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

So you followed what I said in the Website Design section, and you made sure that your website is SEO optimized. You even made sure that it is mobile optimized because every single user is important to you.

Great!

Now all you need is let the target audience find you. This is where the exciting stuff happens.

Because almost every person searches about the product before purchasing it. Now, the intent of their search differs depending on which part of the purchasing cycle they are in.

But before we move on, let’s first talk about what search engine optimization really means.

So the process of SEO optimizing your website means inserting several keywords, structuring content and overall making the website in such a manner that ensures that your website will appear within the top results whenever someone enters your target keyword(s) in the search bar.

This image perfectly sums up what I’m saying.

 

 

 

So how do you go about SEO-ing your website?

Find the Right Keywords.

This is the first step. You need to research your industry, get your hands dirty and find out what people are searching for. Then check out what keywords are your competitors already ranking for. And make sure that you’re choosing the right keywords because this is the step that will determine whether your SEO campaign will be successful or not.

 

Use the Keywords in Your Website’s Domain Name OR URL.

One of the best ways to make sure that Google recognizes your website and what it’s about is by incorporating your keywords into your domain name or your URL.

Search engines have bots that go through each and every line of text in your website. They are essentially reading your website, trying to figure out what it’s about. And by optimizing your website, you are giving them pointers that help them determine exactly what your website is about and whether or not you should be ranking highly for that particular keyword.

 

Use Keywords in Title Tags & Header Tags.

This is another method of giving pointers to the search engine bots that tells them what your website is all about.

Take our website for instance. When you search for our domain name in Google, you will see this:

 

 

 

The text you’re seeing on the top of the listing is the Title tag.

If you want to increase the relevance of your website for a particular keyword, incorporate them in your title tags.

 

Header tags are the HTML tags (H1, H2, H3, H4,… H6). These tags are used to structure the content of a particular page. Header tags are also ranked by importance. The higher the number of header tag is, the lower its importance is. So the importance of an H6 tag is lower than the importance of an H1 tag.

Again, if you want to increase the relevance of your website to a particular keyword, incorporate that keyword into your header tags as well.

 

Social Media Advertising

As the name suggests, it means using social media platforms to promote and sell your products/services.

If you’re just trying out digital marketing and want to learn the basics, this is a great way to quickly go through the learning curve. The biggest advantage of social media advertising is that you can select your audience and create ads that are laser targeted to them. Let’s say that you wanted to advertise your SEO services to dentists in San Jose, California.

You can do that.

Not only that you will also get instant feedback about whether your ads are performing well or not. This gives you the ability to tweak and optimize your ad almost immediately.

You can use different social media platforms to target the same audience as well. This also helps you gain the mindshare of your audience because if they see you almost everywhere (not in an annoying way), your brand will always be on top of their mind.

 

Social Media Management

I know social media advertising and social media management sound the same, but they’re not.

With social media management, you are managing all of your social accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.) on a single platform. Companies like Hootsuite make this possible and easier for business owners like you so you don’t have to open 6 different tabs in your browser to share the same content.

You can do that from a single platform and even schedule posts so that your profile keeps getting updated regularly.

 

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

PPC is a form of advertising in which you only pay when a user clicks on your ad. There are several different platforms that offer PPC advertising. The most popular ones are Google Ads and Facebook Advertising.

You might be asking, “Why do advertisers use PPC when they have social media advertising?”

That’s a good question.

The reason why they use PPC, especially from Google Ads is that they want to get pre-qualified traffic.

What do I mean by pre-qualified?

It means that the lead is already interested in your product, they are ready to buy but they just need a little nudge to get over the fence. Obviously, I’m simplifying this, but that’s what it essentially means.

And the best way to get pre-qualified traffic is through Google Ads because you can target specific keywords for which when the user searches, your ads will show up. This is very similar to SEO, but you’re paying for every click you receive.

 

Conclusion

Now that you know the basics of digital/online marketing, you can start searching for different strategies that you can use, or you can even come up with your own. For every component, I’ve provided you a big picture. There’s a heap of information and strategies that you can learn for each of those components. And no single person can be the expert for all the components. It very hard to be.

Either way, the main benefit of knowing the basics of each of these components is that you now have the overall idea of how each of them work and now you can decide which component to choose and go with.

A Detailed Guide on Becoming an Authority in Any Niche

It goes without saying that building authority is one of the most important things you can do for your business. If you want people to choose you over your competition, you need to provide them with insane value. And here’s the news, you cannot build authority overnight. It can take months and sometimes even years to build it.

And in this guide, we are going into detail on how you can position yourself to make sure that you’re doing the right things when it comes to becoming an authority in your niche.

But before we jump into it, there’s something you need to understand. Building authority is no easy task. It takes determination, perseverance, and planning to reach your end goal. You might not see results in the first couple of months. And that’s when most people give up. They think that it is an unattainable goal.

But ask those who have been at it for over a year or two, and they can confidently say that they never thought that they would come this far. So, if you have the patience and the determination to become the authority, keep reading.

 

  1. Knowing Your Niche

This is not a lottery ticket. You need to choose your niche. Here are some things you should keep in mind when doing that:

  • Choose a niche that is not too broad. A very broad niche would make it impossible to define what your business is about.
  • The niche shouldn’t be too narrow either. This would result in you running out of topics to talk about.
  • Pick a niche that you know very well about. This shouldn’t be something that you’re still learning. If you want to be an authority, you need already be an expert.

Once you pick a niche, you will also need to define your target audience. This will help you understand which topics they would be interested in and how they would respond. This is especially important because it will help you determine what type of call-to-action to use to get those sales and newsletter subscribers.

 

  1. Create Trust

This is the internet. People are being scammed all the time. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t need the SPAM box in our emails.

So, you want to make sure that you are building rapport and trust with your audience. So much so that they return to you when they need some information about the topics you talk about. And hopefully, eventually, they convert into customers.

This all sounds fine and dandy until you start to work on it. It is hard to build trust online. But there are several ways you can do that.

 

Use Titles.

If you have some qualifications in your niche, for example, a degree, or a course you’ve taken, show that off. People trust titles and it can set you apart from everyone else. For example, a certified massage therapist can easily create more trust by just uploading an image of his degree compared to someone who is not a certified/licensed massage therapist.

The same thing goes for doctors and physicians.

Once you do that, you can then keep riding the momentum by providing great content and value upfront so people trust you more.

 

Showing Relevant Results.

Take us for example. There is no professional degree one can take to become an SEO expert or a digital marketing specialist. So in order to build trust, we provide relevant results in our niche.

On the homepage you see several websites benefitting from our services. That’s how we build trust.

You know that we can deliver results, and we show them off.

And we aren’t stopping there. As I mentioned earlier, we walk the walk. We are riding the momentum by providing great value upfront. So if you’re someone who is looking to educate themselves with different digital marketing techniques, this is the website you should come to.

Great results and valuable content, there’s nothing more one would need to trust you.

 

Over Deliver. Every. Single. Time

This is probably the easiest way to build trust because it only requires you to take that extra step and that’s it. Let’s say that you promise someone that their website would rank on page 1 of Google for the keywords they are targeting. But it’ll take you 6 months.

Great!

The client knows how long it will take. But let’s say that you’ve been working hard and you can deliver the results in 5 months.

Should you wait another month?

Hell, no!

Deliver the results in 5 months and your client will be amazed by you. Not to mention, they will come to you if they need any help with SEO in the future.

Always over deliver because that’s the easiest way to build trust.

 

  1. Know What Your Audience Needs & Deliver

 

 

Don’t deliver like Jim Carrey in the gif above. But if you want to be viewed as an authority, make sure that you know exactly what your audience needs.

I see people ignore this all the time. They are not willing to dig a little deeper and find out the pain and the problems their audience is facing.

Usually, this means going into forums, and QnA websites like Quora and seeing what people are talking about. What questions they are asking. If you can provide the answers there, great!

If you can’t answer them without writing a 1000 word blog post, then it’s probably best to write up the blog post and refer them to it. Believe me, people will be pleased. And if you are consistent with this, there’s nothing stopping you from becoming an authority within that forum and people spreading the valuable information you’re providing.

Not only is this type of audience research useful for building authority, it is also useful if you’re looking to create products. It makes the entire process easier. You know exactly what they need. All you need to do is to package your information and provide it to them at a reasonable price.

This is very similar to dating. The person who knows exactly what the women is looking for, and can provide that, he will always be the one who wins. So, once you know what your audience needs inside out, you will win regardless of how many competitors you have.

 

What Comes First, Google Rankings or Authority?

I’ve seen people talk about this a lot. And it is an interesting question because most people believe that in order to build authority, you first need to rank your website on page 1 of Google.

But if you think about it for a second, that’s the opposite of what actually happens on Google. Google on places authoritative websites on page 1.

This means that there’s someplace else where this authority is being built, and Google takes note of that and decides to rank that website on page 1. And if you’ve been in the SEO world for a while, you’d also know that the more authoritative the website is, the more it can get away with when it comes to having a risky backlink profile and other behaviors.

Here’s what Google looks at to determine whether or not you should be considered a trusted authority:

 

  1. Who Else Trusts You

This is a common theme when it comes to SEO. Almost every search engine will look at what other authorities and trusted websites link out to you.

If the influencers in your niche and other trusted bloggers are linking out to you, you will see your website rank higher. On top of that, if you are also an authority in the offline world and you give speeches, talks, etc. then it is common to see schools (.edu), organizations (.org), and government (.gov) websites link out to you as well.

An ideal scenario would be to provide valuable content while getting in touch with the influencers in your niche/industry and building relationships with them. And eventually collaborating with them that ends up with a backlink exchange.

But yes, that’s the overall strategy that you need to be following in order to be viewed as an authority to Google.

 

  1. Low-Quality Links

Here’s the other side of the coin where people don’t really do much research before starting a website and they start providing valuable content. And while that is a good thing, they also make a lot of bad decisions.

One of the worst decisions more beginners make is that they end up buying a package of backlinks. Most of these packages do not provide high-quality links. In fact, I’ve seen that they predictably bring down your rankings in Google.

And if you’re one of the beginners who did that, you should disavow all the low-quality links you’ve received. However, it will probably take weeks or even months for that disavow to go into effect. But in the meantime, you should start to follow the above strategy so you are not stranded.

Remember, if it was as easy as just buying a cheap backlinks package, then everyone would be an authority. And everyone would rank on page 1. Then it would be a competition about who’s got deeper pockets.

Instead, things are different. It doesn’t matter whether you have a million dollar marketing budget, or if you can only spend $500 per month on marketing. It all comes down to whether people like you, and whether or not they trust you enough.

Once people start trusting you, there’s nothing that can stop you from dominating your entire niche.

Don’t Make This Grave Mistake. Importance of Call-to-Action (CTA) & It’s Benefits

If you have a website, and you want people to buy something from you, how will your audience know when to buy it? That is a valid question because every single day, they are inundated with a barrage of videos, images and sales pages that promise them that they need to solve every problem in their life, is by paying a very small amount on that page.

What’s the result of this constant marketing messages they receive? They are fatigued with the decisions they have to make. They decide to put that decision off till a later date when they have more free time.

Then guess what?

They forget about it because they never have free time. Let’s be real. Everyone has priorities. Some have kids, others love to play snooker. They would rather do that than decide which marketing program to buy.

So does this mean that you are doomed to fail before you even make an attempt?

Hell no.

Having a crystal clear call-to-action (CTA) is the solution.

 

The Importance of Having a Call-to-Action

Having a simple statement that tells your prospective client what to do next is a huge relief for them. Remember, you are creating this product to make their lives better. So there’s no shame in providing value upfront and asking them to pay if they want the whole thing.

I know people feel shame when they’re marketing. But if there’s an exchange of value, there is no need to feel shame. The client is paying for something that is important to them. Now as long as you deliver on the promises you’ve made, you’re good.

Having an effective call-to-action means that your visitors won’t have any decision fatigue. They won’t need to put it off until a later date. Your CTA tells them exactly what they need to do to proceed from here.

 

But Nabil, how do I decide what people should do when they reach a certain point? It’s not like I’d know every person that visits my website.

Great question, website visitor I’ve never met before. And here’s the answer:

 

Direct Your Visitor’s Attention Based on What You Want Them to Do

When you’re thinking about creating a CTA, you are the one who decides what they should do next. You are the one in control here. So you want to make sure that you are guiding the visitors in the smoothest way possible.

By smooth I mean everything should work exactly as they expect it to.

Let’s say that you want them to subscribe to your newsletter. So at the end of a juicy blog post, your CTA would be something like, “subscribe to my email newsletter to get these types of blog posts 7 days before I post them on my website. And you can talk to me directly!”

Boom! That’s your CTA.

And now, you embed a form below your blog post so people can enter their name and email address to subscribe to your newsletter.

Now, your visitors expect that once they enter their name and email address in the form, the form will tell them that their submission was successful and the next step they need to take to make sure that they are officially on the list. Usually this means clicking on a confirmation link they receive on the email address they entered in the form.

You need to make sure that all those things work perfectly.

 

Increase Your Sales With Just 2 Words

That’s true. I see so many websites that fail to mention that people need to submit their payment to get access to the product. And I know that they are losing sales because of that. By just adding two words, “Submit Payment” you can increase your sales.

And if you don’t have any products to sell, you can ask people to follow you on Instagram, or whatever social media platform you like the most. It really is up to you what you want them to do. Adding a line that just says, “Follow me on Instagram” will urge people to follow you on Instagram.

I know it sounds so simple and obvious, but people forget that it’s these little things that add up.

 

Now that we have the importance of having a CTA out of the way, let’s talk about the best placement for a CTA.

 

The Best CTA Placement

These are the three basics rules you should absolutely follow when it comes to CTA placement:

 

Have Multiple CTAs

People think that they are bothering their visitors when they place multiple CTAs on a single page. Multiple CTAs make sure that at any point on the page, the visitor has the chance to convert.

It is possible that they might forget about your CTA while reading the amazing blog post you’ve posted.

With multiple CTAs, you will definitely see a boost in your conversions.

But make sure that your CTAs are not competing with each other. Don’t try to confuse the visitors with too many options. Keep them similar, concise and to the point. Don’t make the same mistake other people make on their websites.

 

CTAs on Every Page

Every page gives you the opportunity to convert a visitor. So why not take that opportunity?

Even if a visitor is reading multiple blog posts on your website, it is possible that they might want to read more before they decide to convert. So give them that chance.

 

Make Your CTAs Prominent

There’s a strategy when it comes to placing your CTAs.

You want to make sure that they receive the maximum attention. They should stand out from the rest of the page. Research has shown that many website users scan pages in an F shape.

They start in the upper-left corner. Then they make two glances across the page horizontally and then look vertically down the left. This means that you should place your CTAs in the headers, side-panels, once in the middle of the article and once at the end.

But you should always test things out on your website to find out which placement works best for you.

 

Your CTAs Should Be Well Defined

What do I mean by this?

I mean that your CTAs should be set off the main body of the text. Again, this is very important because if the visitor is not able to differentiate your CTA from the rest of the body of text, they won’t recognize it as a CTA.

You need to make sure that it is so obvious that they cannot ignore it.

This doesn’t mean that you should have a thousand pop-ups on your website because people hate those. This means that you should include the CTA in your blog post and make it stand out by using contrasting colors around it.

Be creative.

 

They Should Be Appealing

Nobody wants to fill out a boring old form that was made in the 90s by some 40-year-old in the basement of his parents. It’s not fun.

Make sure that your CTAs look good. I know you’re not supposed to say that looks matter, but they do. There’s no going around the facts.

A good looking CTA is more likely to convert better than a CTA that looks bad. Of course it depends on what niche you’re in and what your audience likes. But in general, professional & good looking CTAs perform better.

One of the most well-known design tips for creating a compelling CTA is having an image of a person looking back at the viewer, or an image of a person pointing to the form that needs to be filled out.

The person pointing to the form image works well because humans are designed to look toward things that someone is pointing to. And since you’re pointing toward a form, where do you think your visitors would be looking?

Here’s an example to get your creative juices flowing:

 

The Copy Still Matters

I know, we live in 2019. It’s the post-modern era where the dreams of people who lived in the 80s have come true. But we still haven’t found a way to make hover cars. And we are yet to colonize Mars.

Similarly, text copy is still one of the most important things when it comes to conversions. Yes, we have photos and videos, but people won’t watch them unless you tell them to.

And how do you tell them?

Through text.

Your CTA must ask the visitor for a sale, or a newsletter subscriber, you name it.

Your CTA must always be concise, clear and tell the user exactly what they need to do. After all, it is a call-to-action. This is the push you’re giving to the user to convert and jump over the fence and come to the other side.

 

Conclusion

Think of CTA as concentrating all the power of your website to a single point. This is the point where the user will either take an action or not. And once you understand the basics and the importance, it is just a matter of testing and figuring out what works best for you.

Remember, the end goal of a CTA is to have one that works consistently. It is an art. But it depends on your imagination and the amount of testing you’re willing to put in.

You won’t get immediate results, but the end goal will be worth the wait.

The best time to start creating CTAs was yesterday but now is the second best time. Get started!

SEO or PPC – Which One Is Better For Your Business?

Every business that decides to venture into the digital marketing space, eventually ends up asking the question, “Which is better? SEO or PPC?”

And it is a very important question because depending on which method you choose, would eventually decide whether your business is successful online or not.

Some might say that search engine optimization (SEO) is better because when it is done right, it will eventually provide you with more traffic and leads at a lower cost compared to PPC. And that is true. But most businesses want to see results quickly and not wait 6-8 months.

So you see why deciding which digital marketing method to choose is so important?

This all comes down to the types of customers that you’re targeting. How they use the internet to find your products (or your competitor’s products) would give you a better idea of which method to choose.

A combination of both types of advertising would be the best approach. That way, you can get the best of both worlds and might even end up doubling your results in the process. In this post, we are going to go into detail about the pros and cons of SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) so you can know what you’d be getting yourself into.

 

SEO: Better for Organic Traffic

SEO is best for businesses that rely heavily on organic search traffic. Or businesses that would like to establish their dominance and credibility in a niche.

Let’s start with the pros of SEO:

 

Credibility & Trust.

Having your website rank #1 for organic results can definitely exert influence upon an audience that is looking for a particular product or service. Many users skip ads and only look at organic results because they trust them more. And being the first brand they see in the organic results can mean good things for your business.

Return on Investment (ROI).

SEO can provide you with a better ROI than the traditional form of advertising and PPC advertising. This is because unlike paid advertising, your campaigns do not stop when you stop spending money. If you do things right, you can keep getting consistent returns with spending a minimal amount of money once your ranking on page 1.

Cost.

I’ll be the first one to say that SEO is neither cheap nor easy. However, there’s a silver lining between SEO and other marketing tactics. If you’re looking for a better ROI on every dollar you spend, SEO is still the best way to go. But you will have to be patient. And I mean having Zen-like patience because it will be months before you see any tangible results.

Scope.

This is the biggest advantage of SEO. Every single day new queries are being used to search for things. And this means that you would have more and more keywords to target and potentially get leads from. Not only that, you also won’t need to pay for every single click that you receive from those keywords.

Strategic Advantage.

This is another huge advantage you can get if you choose to go the SEO route.
You see, SEO is not easy, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. The good thing is that once you have established yourself in the organic results, your competitors cannot just buyout your spot. This is huge because in other types of marketing, businesses can usually pay more to get a better advertising spot than you.

The bad thing about SEO is again, the slow results. If you are not the patient kind, you will have a very hard time getting results from this method. But if you can slowly get on page 1, it will be worth the time and money you spend.

You will also have to develop content assets to achieve a strong and consistent organic visibility. This cannot be achieved over a weekend. This means that you will have to consistently interact with your audience, provide them with value and share information that will improve their lives.

And that is just one aspect of SEO. You will also have to focus on other tactics such as safe and sustainable link building campaigns which requires its own in-depth strategy. This is where most businesses will require expert support because if they get this wrong, their website would get penalized and the entire campaign would be delayed for another 3-6 months to get back from that penalty.

 

PPC: Scale Faster, Laser-Targeted Visibility

By now you might be wondering why would anyone choose to go for PPC. Because with SEO, people trust the organic results and it also gets a better ROI. You’re right, but here are the reasons why businesses choose PPC:

 

Total Control Over Ads.

It’s true, PPC is just ads. But that’s a huge thing because you now have granular control over every aspect of your ad. You can choose everything, from choosing to provide links to different pages on your website, to providing the audience a tap to call button right in the ad. This is not something you can choose with SEO.

Visual Product Ads.

If you have an e-commerce store, Google provides you with an option to have your product images show up as shopping ads. This will help a user see what they will be clicking on. Again, this is not something you get with SEO.

Visibility to the Right People.

With paid advertisements, you can control who sees your ad. This ensures that only the right people are seeing your ad. And even if they don’t end up buying from you, or subscribing to your newsletter, they would at least go back and do a brand search to find out more about your brand before clicking on your website. This will end up paying dividends to your marketing in the long run.

Budget.

This is a big one. With PPC you can have tight control of your budget. You can decide whether you want to pay $50 per day or a $100 per day on a campaign. This is not something you can do with SEO. With SEO there is no fixed limit. You basically spend what you have to in order to make sure that your website ends up ranking on page 1.

Speed.

This is where PPC shines. With SEO, it can take months for you to see results. But not with PPC. You can start seeing results within a 24 hour period and you can scale those results by 10x within a weeks time. Not only that, but you can also get quick feedback about how your ads are performing so you can make appropriate changes to further optimize them.

A/B Testing.

This is a big one. Split testing or A/B testing basically means that you test different versions of your landing pages, call-to-actions, etc. to see which one delivers the best results. And with the speed of PPC ads, you can determine that within 15 days and be on your way to scaling up the campaigns as much as you can.

 

SEO or PPC?

Now that you know a little bit more about both types of marketing, you can see why it is not possible to provide a generalized answer to you. It ultimately depends on the type of business you’re running, where your prospects hang out and the marketing budget you’re working with.

If you are a local business with very low competition and only need a couple of leads per week, you could get the best results from SEO.

But if you are a new e-commerce store that is competing with the likes of Amazon, Walmart, eBay, etc. then you’re going to struggle in organic searches for a long time.

But, if you want leads now and you already have your website authority set up. You might want to go the PPC route.

You also want to make sure that you are looking at the long game. Because at the end of the day, you’re doing this to make sure that your business isn’t overtaken by your competitors. You want to make sure that the marketing you do today will help you lay the foundation for the authority and credibility you build over the years.

So what’s the best way of coming up with a long-term strategy? Decide on a 5-year goal and start working backward. That will not only help you develop a long-term strategy, it will also help you develop a solid short-term strategy that will give you pointers on what you should do next.

Most businesses would be better off with an integrated search strategy that utilizes both, SEO and PPC. This will provide them with the immediate results they are looking for, while also working on a long-time 5-year plan on establishing their credibility in the organic results. Again, it is possible that this strategy might not be best for your particular business.

But if you are looking for a strategy that would provide high growth, aggressive marketing, you will want to look at both channels of marketing and use them together rather than isolating each one.

Why Business Owners Should Focus on Building Trust – Not Attention

Gone are the days when you had to sit through TV commercials just so you can see the cliffhanger of an episode. Today, you have the choice to ignore those ads/marketing campaigns. You can pay a monthly fee [Netflix] to get unlimited ad-free content. This is the reason why 95% of the businesses out there that are marketing themselves online, are focusing on getting as much attention as they can.

What they don’t realize, is that gaining attention is only half the battle. In order to build a successful business, they need to build trust by providing value up-front and building a successful customer-brand relationship.

You can become the next the Tai Lopez of your industry, but if you fail to build trust with your audience, you will end up being no one.

 

Without Trust, Digital Marketing Breaks Apart

Let’s be honest for a second. I know it is hard just to get attention. You literally have seconds to get it, and if you do not manage to do everything right, you will lose it faster than you captured it. Your business would end up becoming a meme that will be used to poke fun at you and will be forgotten within 2 weeks (that’s true. The average lifetime of a meme is 14 days, or whenever PewDiePie covers it in his Meme Review videos. That’s when the memes die.)

So what should you be seeking to get with your advertising campaigns? If it’s not attention, what is it?
Trust should be the #1 thing you should be looking to get. Even if that means you end up spending a bit more than you expected on your ad campaigns. At least you know that the people that entered your funnel, trust you and would give you a second chance if something goes wrong.

Remember, attention is not personal. People are already browsing Facebook/Instagram , etc. They just want to have fun and pass their time. They don’t care what kind of ads show up. And if you manage to get a couple seconds of attention during that time, it’s not a big deal. Everyone in their timeline is getting that attention as they keep scrolling.

But if your ad manages to make them stop scrolling for a while, makes them want to watch your entire video, or if it manages to make them want to watch more videos on your Facebook page or your YouTube channel, then that’s a great sign.

That means that you have managed to get more than just their attention, they now have shown that they trust you at least 1% to check out your other videos. 1% is better than nothing.
And that’s where you start taking advantage of your position. You know that they trust you enough to watch your free content. So why not be consistent, be strategic and provide them with immense value upfront.

Here’s a thought experiment I do to make sure that I’m doing the right thing. I try to think about all the absolute worse ways of achieving the goals I have. Let’s imagine that I was in your shoes. You just started a business but you’re unsure about what you should be doing to attract more people to your website and to start building trust around your brand.

 

What would my goals be?

1. Make the website easy to navigate
2. Make sure that people on Facebook & Instagram trust me
3. Make sure that my website is ranking on page 1 for the keywords that the customers would be searching for

Let’s skip the 1st goal because that’s about website development. Let’s talk about building trust on Facebook & Instagram.
What would be the absolute worst way of doing that?

 

Let’s think about it.

1. Not having video ads so people wouldn’t know my personality. They also wouldn’t be able to associate a face to a brand.
2. Use a sub-optimal image that is very grainy and is just not good to look at.
3. Do not post any content on my Facebook Business page or on my Instagram profile besides the ad.
4. Even if I post something more, I’m not consistent with it.
5. Not focus at all on on-page/off-page optimization of my website (this is the SEO aspect of the goal).

 

Now that we know the absolute worst things to go about achieving our goals, we can do the opposite of them. We can:

1. Create video ads that are customized to the audience we are targeting. And it also has social proof about how other people are already benefiting from your brand (it is very easy to create social proof).
2. Create or pay a graphic designer to create top-notch images that you can consistently post on Instagram and Facebook.
3. Regularly go live on both Facebook & Instagram to make sure that your followers are getting immense value.
4. Hire an SEO agency to handle everything related to SEO to make sure that your website is well optimized and ready to beat your competition sitting on page 1.

That’s how easy it is to come up with a rock-solid strategy to build trust.

I see a ton of marketers brag about the number of likes, their engagement rates, etc. in groups and forums. All they see are numbers and they fail to realize that there are real people behind those numbers. That is the reason why you’ll rarely see any marketer create a multi-million dollar marketing agency.

It’s just not possible to do it if you remove the human aspect out of marketing. Because at the end of the day, you are delivering value to a customer and getting paid in return. It’s an exchange of value.

But that exchange is only possible if the customers trust you that the value you’re providing will improve some aspect of their life. And if you’re not doing that, then you really should get back to the drawing board and start remaking your products/services from scratch.

 

Conclusion

So, if you’re a local business, or even if you’re a giant with multiple franchises, you need to make sure that you are building trust. That’s the only way you can make sure that your business will survive any recession, lawsuit or disaster. You can be a marketing genius, but if you don’t have the trust and loyalty of your customers, your brand won’t have anything.
So, don’t make gaining more attention your goal, building trust should be the biggest goal.

What is Anchor Text? Why Is It So Important?

In the recent years, SEO has changed drastically. Especially after the Penguin and the Panda update. Back in the day, it was all about having backlinks that have anchor texts with your target keyword. But now it is something very different. Now you have to be very strategic about your anchor texts. This includes using LSI anchor texts because Google loves that.

But you might be asking, “That sounds good. But what the heck is Anchor text?”

If you don’t know what anchor text is, how would you create backlinks without getting your website penalized?

And that is what we will be covering in this blog post. I will also be covering about different types of anchor texts and what looks natural and unnatural.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started.

 

What is Anchor Text?

Anchor text is a clickable text that can take you to a different page on the same website, or it can also take you to another website, aka, a hyperlink. Usually, these anchor texts should be something related to the topic of your website.

If you are a regular visitor to Website Rescue, you know that I frequently link back to my old content using anchor text.

So what about the links that have no anchor text? They just have the clickable URL of the website.

That is called a naked URL, or URL anchor text. These types of anchor texts happen commonly on the internet.

So How Does Anchor Text Helps Your Website Rank Higher in Search Engines?

The basic idea is that anchor text is one of the things that helps search engines determine what a particular is about.

And if you’ve been doing some SEO research, you already know that keyword research is incredibly important. And so is on-page optimization. They both go hand in hand.

So when you are trying to rank for a particular keyword, you want to write blog posts that would include that keyword in it.

One of the biggest mistakes that I see a ton of bloggers make, is that they simply use anchor texts like “read here” or “click here,” etc. These types of anchor texts do not give a lot of information about what people are going to see on the other side of that link. A better way to link your content would be to use relevant anchor text that includes words that would at least give an overall idea of what your audience is going to see when they click on it.

The same thing applies to inbound links from other websites. If you are writing a guest post, or even creating a backlink from a social profile, you want to make sure that those links contain anchor texts.

But you have to be careful about using an anchor text too much. If the Google algorithm sees that you are using the same anchor text on a ton of websites, that’s when the Penguin update kicks in. Because you will essentially be over-optimizing your website for that particular keyword.

A better strategy is to have a good ratio of anchor texts containing your target keywords and the anchor texts that are either synonyms or brand related.

So for example, if my target keyword is “law firm SEO” and my brand name is “Website Rescue,” SEO experts would suggest that I use the keyword “law firm SEO” a lot more and in different forms to start ranking higher for that keyword.

And that would lead to my website getting penalized.

A better strategy is to mix your anchor text with your brand name and the keywords that you are targeting.

Here’s how I’m creating the inbound links.

I use keywords + my brand name like “Website Rescue Law firm SEO”, “law firm SEO”, “SEO services for law firms by Website Rescue”, “Website Rescue”, etc. Do note that I’m using these anchor texts to create links to the homepage of my website. Not only will this increase the domain authority of my homepage, it will also make it easier for my internal pages rank for their target keywords.

And if the internal pages face a lot of competition, they would take significantly fewer links to rank them because the homepage had a high domain authority and page authority. And that authority passes on to the internal links.

 

How Can I Check My Anchor Text Profile?

Great question.

There are several tools that you can use to find that out. Some of the most famous tools are Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Majestic. I personally use Majestic and Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is probably the best tool because it gives you everything you need to know in detail.

And the best part, all these tools also help you examine your competitor’s websites and see what they are doing. What they are doing to rank on page 1.

The best strategy here would be to try getting similar links as them. Because at the end of the day, it is the backlinks that power up a website and help it rank higher. So if you can have the same links as your competitors are having, then you can start adding more links to your website so that your website is stronger than theirs and eventually rank higher than them.

Anchor Text Variation

In order to make sure that your website is not getting penalised, it is better to know all the different ways anchor texts are built. This will help you build only the right types of anchor texts and not make the same mistakes that the other 90% of the people do.

 

Backlink From Another Website

As the name suggests, this is the backlink that you’ll be receiving from another website that you do not own. These are the backlinks that I was mentioning above. The anchor texts that these websites are using to link to your website helps Google determine what keywords that a page should rank for, and also other relevant keywords.

 

One-Way Backlinks with Anchor Text

In my opinion, these are the best type of links.

Here’s an example of this link:

Website A links to website B. And website B does not link back to website A. Then this becomes a one-way backlink with an anchor text.

The more backlinks of this type that you get, the higher your chances will be for ranking on page 1 for your target keywords.

 

Excessive Anchor Texts/Outbound links

This is very similar to keyword stuffing, but in this case, the website is linking out to other websites or even to the other pages of the same website. If the website is interlinking to a ton of pages with different anchor texts, this can lead to a Google penalty. And the same thing goes if it was linking out to other websites as well.

The reason why it triggers a Google penalty is that it’s considered a spammy practice and very user-unfriendly.

 

Spammy Anchor Text

A spammy anchor text is an anchor text that has nothing to do with the page that it is linking out to.

Let’s say that website A is an e-cigarette website and website B is an SEO services website. And the website A is linking out to website B with “best e-cigs” as the anchor text which is completely unrelated to what website B is about. This is what’s considered as a spammy anchor text.

In general, you want to avoid that because it is an obvious mistake. But you also want to make sure that your competitors aren’t doing this to your website. Because this can negatively affect your SEO.

 

The Difference Between Natural and Unnatural Anchor Text

When other websites are linking out to your website, it is inevitable that they will not be using the anchor texts that would benefit the SEO of your website. They could just use naked URLs or just random anchor texts. And that is completely natural. In fact, it is a good sign that you are getting those types of links. It helps your website have a natural looking backlink profile.

On the other hand, if your website only uses an excessive amount of anchor texts with similar keywords and does not have any backlinks that have naked URLs and other “natural looking anchor texts” that I just mentioned above, that could possibly lead to a penalty. Because that will look like you are manipulating the anchor text that other websites are using and that their user experience might get compromised because of that.

The best way to create great backlinks that help your website is to write amazing content and have an easy to read website. The backlinks will naturally start coming.

DoFollow & NoFollow Links: What They Are And Why They Are Important

 

Whenever you’re researching something related to search engine optimization, you often come across words like dofollow, nofollow, noindex, meta robots, etc. These are important words to know about because, in the world of SEO, they all have important meaning. In this post, I will be talking about NoFollow and DoFollow links. If you are a newbie, this is an important blog post for you because if you don’t know the difference between these two, you will have a very hard time ranking on page 1.

The first thing you must know is that not all backlinks were created equal. Some links provide more value while other links function more like a cherry on top.

 

What Is a DoFollow Link?

To really understand this concept, we need to know a bit more about how backlinks actually work in the world of SEO.

You see, when a website gets a backlink, which is basically a hyperlink pointing to another website on the internet, the page that is receiving that link gets a boost in the search engine rankings. You want to think of these links as a popularity contest. The more links you get, the more popular you are, and the higher you will rank.

It is similar to the Kim Kardashian effect.

And Google is looking at all the links you are receiving and it sees everything. It knows where you are receiving those links from and how often people are linking to your website. So, now that you are consistently receiving backlinks to your website, it seems that you are more popular than your competitors.

And Google thinks that if that many people are linking to your website, you must have some unique information on that page. And so it starts giving preference to your website over other pages. Because at the end of the day Google only wants to serve the best pages to its users.

But obviously, people started taking advantage of that. They started using software to create thousands of backlinks to their websites. And eventually, there came a time when websites literally had tens of thousands of inbound links. Google had to do something about that. Or else the internet would go crazy with these links.

They created what was called PageRank. It was also known as “link juice.”

What it means is that it will calculate the average of all the backlinks your website is receiving and then rate your website anywhere between 0-10. The higher your rating is, the more authoritative/powerful your website is.

So let’s say that HuffingtonPost has a PageRank (PR) of 8. And if it links to your website, let’s call it abc.com that has a PR of 1.

When you receive a backlink from a PR 8 website, your PR would go up as well. Because a very important website is linking to you. So a backlink from HuffingtonPost would be gold for you.

This works almost like it does in the real world.

If you were someone who is very close to the President of the United States, you too would be an important person. And you don’t need to be close to the leader of the free world to see this working in real life.

Even if you are close to the owner of your company, suddenly you would be a more important person among other employees.

So, what is a DoFollow link then?

All dofollow are links that can be counted as valid popularity points. These dofollow links push SEO juice to your website and help you rank higher in search engines.

 

What are NoFollow Links?

NoFollow links are the opposite of dofollow links.

NoFollow links are not counted as links that would benefit you or hurt you when it comes to your search engine rankings. NoFollow links are basically just links with no additional SEO value.

And that is the reason why you see that most people never really focus on nofollow links. Because there is literally no benefit in spending their time and resources building them up.

How do you find out if a backlink is dofollow or nofollow?

You will see that there is a little nofollow HTML tag in the backlink of a nofollow link. If you view the code of the website, that backlink would look something like this:

<a href=”http://www.abc.com/” rel=”nofollow”>link text</a>

You can also use an extension if you’re using Google Chrome or an addon if you’re using Firefox. This will save you a ton of time by just highlighting the nofollow backlinks on a page. So instead of digging into the source code of a website, you can just see if their outbound links are highlighted by these extensions/addons.

If they are, they are nofollow links.

Google NoFollow highlighter extension

Firefox NoFollow highlighter addon

Nofollow tags are a signal to search engines to let them know that they shouldn’t count these links.

Why would someone create a tag like that? I mean, that should be one hell of a mean person walking this planet, right?

Well, it turns out, it is not mean at all. In fact, this tag was created for the benefit of the internet.

 

Why Are NoFollow Links Important In This World?

As I said earlier, dofollow links make up the majority of the backlinks that are created these days. And Google only considers the dofollow links as valid popularity points to decide where your website should rank.

But the internet is filled with interesting people. And if you have been researching about SEO, you might have read in some forums that there are people who trick search engines and inflate their rankings through some black hat techniques.

And that is what they did when the world did not have nofollow links.

People would literally post comments filled with self-promotion instead of adding value to the articles. It was all about creating backlinks for SEO and nothing else.

Everyone on the internet was getting spammed by these self-promotion blog comments. And people hated it because a lot of these spammers were using software to post those comments. This would enable them to literally post comments on thousands of websites on a daily basis.

It was a joke.

And it wasn’t just blog comments that messed with people’s websites and livelihoods. Wikipedia had to face some of the spam as well. And it is more than messy when it comes to manipulating data on Wikipedia because people trust everything they read on that website.

People would add their own websites as references on hundreds if not thousands of pages on Wikipedia.

This is when Google decided that something had to be done to police this massive spamming of backlinks. And so in 2005, Matt Cutts, along with Jason Shellen introduced what was called the nofollow attribute.

And since then, the nofollow attribute has done a ton of good for the internet than you would realize. It’s like Batman. It works in the shadows and you don’t even know about it. But when you do, you realize how important of a role it has been playing in your life.

Now you’ll notice that WordPress automatically assigned the nofollow attribute to all the blog comments. And Wikipedia does the same to all the links in their references section.

You still have to option to disable the nofollow attribute on your website/blog if you want to reward people for adding content to your website. But that is entirely up to you.

Just know that while comment spam still happens, it does not affect the website as much as it used to in the past.

 

So Are You Saying That I Should Just Ignore NoFollow Backlinks?

No. On the contrary. Just because you are not getting any concrete SEO value from those nofollow links, you will still get some valuable referral traffic from them. Remember the HuffingtonPost example I used earlier? Imagine getting that link to your website in real life. How many visitors would you get from that link alone?

Even if it’s a nofollow backlink, you are still getting traffic from it. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of SEO as well?

I mean why are you doing SEO in the first place? So that you can rank #1 for your target keyword and brag about it to your friends?

Or do you want to get more traffic to your website so that you can make more sales and then save up enough money so you can go to Paris this year?

I think you’re doing it for Paris.

So, even if you get a nofollow backlink from that blog comment, you are still adding value to the article. So why not post the comment?

This doesn’t mean that you should now go and start spamming blogs. You should only post comments on articles to which you can truly add value. Or else you should look to other ways of getting backlinks.

On the other hand, you might have already read on SEO blogs that search engines are now looking at a lot more factors than just backlinks. They are looking at social signals from Facebook and Twitter, to be precise.

Even though they are nofollow links, they still provide value and traffic.

The key here is to focus on building your brand. You still want to think about the links that you will be creating, but you want to focus more on how other people can benefit from the products and services you are offering.

Moreover, you want to first look at the struggles of your audience before even creating a product or service for them. That way, you will be working with them directly, instead of doing everything you can just so you can rank on page 1 of Google.

By focusing on your community and helping people, you will establish yourself as an authority in no time.

Remember, it is all about building trust. And people love doing business with the ones they trust. And the internet needs more trust, it already has a lot of backlinks 🙂

Another important thing I wanted to mention is that you should still try getting some Wikipedia links. This goes back to the traffic thing. Remember, Wikipedia receives millions of visitors every single day.

And a backlink, regardless of whether it is a nofollow or dofollow, will do you a ton of good.

However, I should let you know that they are quite picky when it comes to references links. So you might have to create content on your website that is very niche focused. But if you can get some links from Wikipedia, you’ll be thanking me in the comments section here.

You still want to make sure that you are getting enough dofollow links to rank higher in search engines. But that shouldn’t be something that you’re thinking about all day long. Look to create value and if you’re getting a backlink out of it, great, even if that link is a nofollow, you’d still have added value.

Check out this article that I just wrote that mentions the top 4 ways you can get more dofollow backlinks to your website.

It’s All About Balance

At the end of the day, you want to achieve a balance of dofollow and nofollow backlinks. That is what creates the best backlink profile.

I know that dofollow links will do more for you SEO-wise, but nofollow links should still be there in your digital marketing arsenal. Because you never know when you might want to use it.

What Is Domain Authority (DA)? An In-depth Guide for Beginners

The phrase Domain Authority (DA) has been around for years. It is not a newly buzzing metric in the SEO world that everyone is talking about.

In this post, you will learn everything you need to know about domain authority, its significance and how you can increase it so that it works to your advantage.

Do know that domain authority is one of the factors that search engines consider while ranking your website. So, needless to say, it is an important factor that you should be thinking about.

Up until 2013, PageRank dictated the authority of a website. But Google stopped considering it as a ranking factor for a ton of reasons. The biggest reason was that it was fairly easy to manipulate page rank.

When domain authority came into the picture, things became a lot harder to manipulate. And that makes sense from Google’s perspective. If things are harder to manipulate, the more important that ranking factor becomes.

And you see how it can be more rewarding compared to other things that you would focus your time and energy on?

This is the main reason why I wanted to write this blog post. I wanted you to differentiate between the many things you would focus on when it comes to SEO. And only focus on the most important things. Because usually, those things will get the job done.

So, without any further ado, let’s jump right into it.

What is Domain Authority (DA)?

Doman authority is a metric that was created by Moz. Moz is a SaaS company and is one of the first SaaS (Software As A Service) companies to create their own metrics to rate a website. Domain authority uses a rating on a scale of 1-100 in which 100 is the best and 1 being the worst.

Typically, the higher your domain authority is, the higher your website will rank in search engines.

They use their own proprietary algorithm to gauge the domain authority of a website. And they are pretty accurate in doing so.

My advice would be to think of domain authority as a metric that compares your website to your competitors. And the website with the highest domain authority will rank #1 for the keywords they are targeting. This is factually correct as well.

Just like domain authority, there is another metric that was created by Moz as well; Page Authority (PA).

So what’s the difference between them?

With domain authority, they measure the authority of the entire domain. They do this by aggregating up to 40 different ranking signals that include the number of links pointing your website and also the number of links that are linking to your root domains.

With page authority, they measure the authority of a single page on a domain. They do this by using the same methods as domain authority, but in this case, they consider the links pointing to that specific page.

 

How Do You Check Domain Authority?

There are a couple domain authority checkers that you can use to check your website’s DA. But the best way to find out your website’s DA is by going to the official page of Moz; Open Site Explorer and type in your domain or the URL of the page of which you’re trying to find out the page authority.

Another way to find that out is by using the Extension or Addon for Chrome or Firefox respectively.

This is handy if you are someone who constantly finds themselves checking the domain authority of many different websites. A ton of SEO experts use this extension on a daily basis because it saves them a ton of time.

Here’s the link to the MozBar extension.

 

 

So How Do You Increase Your Domain Authority?

Now we’re getting to the important and fun stuff.

It is important to increase your domain authority because by doing so, you increase your chances of ranking higher in the search engines. What it means is that if you want some of that sweet SEO traffic, you want to start focusing on your DA more than other metrics.

The very first thing you want to do before even creating a single backlink, is you want to find out the domain authority of your competitors. Because that will let you know what you’re up against.

Usually, if your competitor’s DA is higher, the harder it will be to outrank them.

Well, not harder because I will be giving you everything you’ll need in detail here. But it will take a lot more resources and time to outrank a competitor who has a very high DA.

To get in the right mindset while building links to your website, you want to make sure that you are focusing on these two things:

Increasing the domain authority of your website
Only getting links from websites/blogs that have a high DA

And if you want to stretch your dollar as much as you can, make sure that you follow my tips as closely as you can.

 

1. Extend the expiry of your domain

Although this is not a very strong factor, it is a factor. And it is a factor that you can easily change to work in your favor.
If your domain name is expiring in the next year or maybe this year, it is a factor that tells search engines that this website cannot be trusted because it will be gone very soon. The best way to build trust is to show search engines that you are going to be around for a very long time.

So if your domain is set to expire this year, you want to extend that by at least 3-4 years. I know it will cost you money, but you will be investing that money in the right place. And it will be very helpful for you in the long run.

 

2. Start getting more high-quality backlinks

 

Backlinks are still one of the most important ranking factors out there. And they certainly affect your DA the most. This is the factor that you should be focusing on the most.
You want to get as many backlinks as you can from a lot of websites with high domain authority.
Now I know what you’re thinking right now, “what if I just go ahead and buy backlinks from these high domain authority websites? Or what if I just get a software and create a ton of backlinks?”

That is a valid thought. And that it would’ve worked if this was 2007. But it is 2018, and things are a LOT different. Google doesn’t like seeing websites that have a ton of backlinks. It wants to see that your website has a low amount of backlinks that are highly relevant and are from very high DA websites that are also relevant to your niche.

So what are the best ways to get backlinks from some of the best websites on the internet?

I’m glad you asked.

Here I will mention 4 ways that you can use to get backlinks from a ton of high domain authority websites:

    • Guest Posting

Over the years a ton of things have changed, but guest posting has remained as one of the best ways people can get backlinks from very high authority websites.

Guest posting helps you write high-quality content for websites that are on the top of your niche and get a backlink from them. But the most important thing it does, is it lets you develop a professional relationship with them. And trust me, this goes a long way.

Once you have a strong relationship with the leaders in your niche, you will see that you start getting backlinks to your website even without any guest posting.

 

    • Social Networking Sites

This is probably one of the most natural ways to build backlinks.

Everyone is on social media these days. And it is natural for people to include a backlink to their website (if they have a website) in their profile. But a lot of people forget that these social networking websites have a very high DA, a lot of the time is above 90.

And they allow you to have a dofollow link to your website in your bio.

It is time you start taking advantage of that. Never underestimate the power of these links.

 

    • Press Releases

Press releases are one of the biggest reasons why these high authority websites like Quora, AngiesList, etc. Sit at the top of search engines.

Do you notice that whenever they do something new, or anything, they do a press release and then suddenly the news websites start mentioning them?

Well, that is because press releases do that. They supply a ton of content to smaller websites through which the bigger news websites pick their news. And then the circle keeps going.

With press releases, you want to make sure that you have a catchy title. This will help you grab the attention of the people and get them interested in what your press release has to say.

You also want to make sure that you have a backlink to your website in the content. Because you definitely do not want people to be plagiarising your content, or even spinning it and using it without giving you credit.

 

    • Document Sharing Websites

This is a very underutilized method of link building.

People think that they have to write an entire eBook if they want to get a backlink from these websites. But they are wrong.

You just need to convert your blog posts in a PDF format and upload it to these websites. And Viola! You have successfully gotten a backlink to your website from a document sharing website.

But you should make sure that you are using these websites in moderation because a lot of them are highly trusted by Google. And most of them allow do follow links.

If you exploit them, you could end up getting your website penalized.

 

3. Diversifying your backlink profile

I see a ton of people do the right thing when getting backlinks, but they forget to diversify it. And Google notices that and it raises red flags.
How unnatural would it look to get all of your backlinks just from social networking websites?

That would definitely look like you had hired an employee to create them for you. Well, Google thinks the same way, but it looks more closely than you.

And to avoid putting all that hard work in jeopardy, you want to make sure that you are getting backlinks from different sources, different countries, websites that have different domain extensions and also from websites that are outside of your niche.

Remember, that looks natural. Natural is what you should always be thinking about.

 

4. Have an internal linking structure

I know that link building can take up a majority of your time. But internal linking can be done very quickly. And if you’re using WordPress, that can make things easier and quicker.
I always follow the Wikipedia example.

Ever notice how Wikipedia internally links to their other pages? That is very powerful and it tells Google that you know what you’re doing.

So whenever you are publishing a new blog post on your website, make sure that you go back and see if you can find relevant blog posts and link to them from your new blog post.

But don’t stop there. Once you publish your new post, go back to those old blog posts and link from them as well. This will pass massive link juice to your new posts and give them the jump they need to perform even better.

Google sees internal linking as improving the user experience on your website. So the more internal links you have to relevant blog posts, the higher you will rank in search engines because they want to showcase websites that offer the best user experience.

 

5. Get rid of backlinks that are hurting your website

What do I mean by links that are hurting your website? More importantly, how do you find out that a link is hurting your website?
Well, it is simple and easy. If you see a backlink that is coming from a website that is either penalized, a directory, an article directory, or any website that massively links to other websites, you want to get rid of it.

For example, if you get a backlink from a Chinese website that has hundreds of backlinks to other websites on their homepage, you want to get rid of it.

And if your website is in English and you’re getting a backlink from a website that is in Chinese or Russian, you want to get rid of it.

The best way to make sure that Google doesn’t consider those backlinks is by using their Disavow tool. It will take a couple of weeks for them to negate those links in their system, but it is better than trying to contact the owners of these websites and requesting to remove your backlink.

 

6. Becoming an authority in your niche

This can be a tough one and it will definitely take some time, but it is doable.
Becoming an authority in your niche has more to do with the quality of the articles that you post and how much you are helping other people.

Let’s focus on the quality of your articles for now.

If you’re posting 10 average quality article, it will get you through and maybe even rank your website on page 1 for the keywords you’re targeting. But it will not help you become an authority because people want in-depth content about the topics they are searching.

So the best way to do that would be to write up an in-depth article about a topic and only post 2-3 blog posts like that. And even if you post 4 blog posts in a month, which is 1 blog post per week, you will be on the right track.

These in-depth articles will help your readers/audience build up the trust for your website. And every page they visit, every blog post that they read, they will trust that information. You want that. Because at the end of the day, you don’t just want to rank #1 for your target keyword just because you can. You want people to trust you and buy from you.

And people only do business with people they trust.

Now if you look from Google’s perspective, having high-quality in-depth content on your website means that you’re providing a better user experience. You are giving them everything they are searching for.

 

Conclusion

If you have never focused on building up the domain authority of your website, now is the time to do so. Because Moz’s DA only uses the most important ranking factors to find out the DA of your website. And if you too only focus on those ranking factors and build them up, you will eventually rank #1.

How to Optimize Photos on Your Website

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Yes. But it won’t be worth anything if people aren’t able to see those picture. What’s the use of a picture if it’s never seen by anyone else? It is incredibly important for your audience to view the pictures that you have on your website. Especially if you are in an industry like landscape design, kitchen design, etc.

These are the niches where people make final purchase decisions based on the pictures they see.

But even if you are not in such a niche, you still use images on your website. Maybe you have an informational blog, and you use images to make your content much more interesting and engaging. Maybe you are using an infographic to explain a topic in detail.

The average size of a web page was 600-700K just a few years ago. And now that size has jumped over to 2MB.

That is a huge jump.

The main reason for that jump is because people are now using multiple images on their web pages. And in most cases, these images are not fully optimized. This results in their pages being heavy that takes a lot of time to load.

But I don’t blame you if this hasn’t crossed your mind. Most of us focus on the fun aspects of a website, like writing that amazing new blog post, or networking with other people in our niche.

This thought has never crossed your mind especially if you live anywhere in the Western world with a high-speed internet connection.

But you have to remember, not all your visitors have a reliable, high-speed internet connection. And if your web page is heavy and takes a lot of time to load, chances are that you won’t rank very high on Google as well.

 

Why Should You Optimize Images?

Let’s be honest, I know that you put your heart and soul into creating amazing pieces of content on your website. And on top of the hours, you spend in the content creation, you spend another couple of hours promoting that blog post with other bloggers and on social media.

You want people to enjoy your content and the last thing you would want is for them to abandon your website because it was just taking too long to load.

There are a ton of studies that show that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you’ll lose more than 40% of your visitors.

I know 3 seconds doesn’t seem like a long time. But when you are browsing on your smartphone on a mobile internet connection, even a second can seem like a long time. I’m sure you have had the same feeling as well.

And since half of your visitors will be browsing your website on a slower internet connection, it makes sense to optimize your website for them and make sure that their user experience is top notch.

That optimization starts with optimizing your images because they take up the most space on your hosting account.

So how can you tell if your website is slow?

Well, we have a handy tool available right at our fingertips called the Google PageSpeed Insights.

 

How to Optimize Photos for the Web

These are some of the best practices that you should follow to optimize all of your images for the internet.

  1. Naming and describing your images

I know it doesn’t make sense to name and describe an image.

But if you want your images to show up on Google, you want to start renaming your images and improve your rankings.

And the first step toward doing that is having a file name that includes your target keywords and also describes the image. It is true that search engines cannot see the image, but they can read the file name of your image.

 

Let’s take this image for instance.

We could use the generic name that your camera might’ve assigned to the image. Something like DCI001089.jpg. But, it would be much better if the file name was something along the lines of Ford-Mustang-Red.jpg.

Here you are thinking about the keywords your customers are using to search for products on Google.

You can use Google’s Keyword Planner for this. Or you can also use your own website’s analytics data to see through which keywords your customers are visiting your website. Find out the most common keywords they use and start using them in your image file names.

If you do not have enough data to decide which keyword to use, a good rule of thumb is to just be relevant. Although I would highly recommend doing a little bit of keyword research because that’s always good.

 

  1. Optimizing the ALT attributes

Alt attributes is the text alternative to images when a browser cannot load/render an image. This alt attribute adds additional SEO value to your website.

When you are using relevant keywords in these attributes, they can help your website rank better in search engines. This is because they give the search engines a complete picture of what that particular web page is about.

And if you have an e-commerce website, this is probably the best way to make sure that your products show up in the Google image search.

Now that you are looking to add alt attributes on all the images on your website, here are a couple rules that you should follow:

  • Make sure that you are describing your image in plain language. Just like we did in the image file names.
  • If you sell products that have serial number or model numbers, make sure that you are using them in your alt attributes.
  • NEVER stuff the alt attributes with keywords.

 

Lastly, always double check the changes that you are making to ensure that the changes are actually happening. This will also let you know what you missed. So once you are done adding the alt attributes, view the source code of your web page to see if all the alt attributes are filled out exactly as you wanted them to.

 

  1. Choose appropriate image dimensions

It is common for people to upload multiple images with different angles of a product. And going back to our Mustang example, you wouldn’t just upload one photo of the car and try to sell it.

In order to have higher chances of getting a great deal, you would upload multiple images that showcase the interior, the rear, the rims, the engine, etc.

And again, you should take advantage of the alt attributes here as well. You can create unique attributes based on the angle of the image.

Some examples of the alt attributes for different angles would look like:

  • <img src=”Ford-Mustang-Red-Leather-Interior.jpg” alt=” Ford-Mustang-Red-Leather-Interior.jpg”>
  • <img src=”Ford-Mustang-Red-Rims.jpg” alt=” Ford-Mustang-Red-Rims.jpg”>

But always be careful when providing larger images.

Don’t get me wrong, it is always a good thing to provide a larger image if you think the customer would want it, but you do not want the entire page to slow down just because of that. That would be counterintuitive.

A better way of providing a larger image would be to make it a smaller image and then give an option to view a large image that would open up in a pop-up on a separate webpage.

 

  1. Reducing the file size of your images

As I mentioned above, more than 40% of the people abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. And the most important thing is that Google also uses the page load time as a ranking factor in their algorithm.

So even if you absolutely have to have multiple images on your webpage, you want to make sure that it is as snappy as possible.

To increase the page load speed, you want to reduce the file size of your images.

If you’re using Adobe Photoshop for your images, you can use the “Save for Web” option. This is a nifty option that will adjust the size of the image to the lowest size possible while maintaining the image quality.

You can also decide the lowest image quality that you would are willing to have.

 

Optimizing Images Without Photoshop

If you do not have Adobe Photoshop, no worries. There are a ton of tools online that you can use to edit your images. And if you only trust Adobe, there’s good news for you. They have a free image editing application for smartphones and tablets called Photoshop Express.

I’ll admit that this doesn’t do everything that the desktop version of Photoshop does, but if you are only looking to reduce the size of your images then Photoshop Express should be good enough.

But Adobe isn’t the only player on the block. There are other image editing tools that you can use as well.

Tools like PicMonkey, PIXLR, and Canva are some of the most loved image editing tools of the internet.

And finally, if you’re looking for an all out image editing software like Photoshop but you don’t want to spend any money, you can always use GIMP.

GIMP is an open-source, free image editing software that can be run on all major operating systems like Windows, Mac, and Linux. It has all the functionalities that Adobe Photoshop has but it is a bit clunky.

But when you’re getting an amazing software for free, you can’t really complain.

 

So what should be the size of your image files?

You should follow the 70kb rule. Try to keep all of your images at or below 70kb. If you have larger images, it is okay to go above 70kb but they should still be under 180kb.

 

  1. Choosing the right image file type

There are 3 common file types that are used all over the internet for almost all the images: JPEG, GIF, and PNG.

JPEG or JPG images is a file type that is so old that it has become of the standard image formats on the internet. The main reason for that is because JPEG images can be compressed while being able to retain reasonable image quality.

GIF or.gif images usually are of the lower quality than JPEG images. GIF images are usually used for simple images such as icons and decorative images. And since they also support animation, they make a great way for people to share amazing memes.

When it comes to image optimization, GIFs are perfect for images that do not use a lot of colors.

PNG images are gaining popularity amongst heavy internet users. PNG is also a great alternative to GIFs because they can support a lot more colors and they also don’t degrade over time with re-saves, which is the case with JPEGs.

Although PNGs are starting to be used on a large scale, their file sizes are much larger than JPEG images. In some cases, its file size can be 3x larger than JPEGs.

So if you are confused which file type to use on your website, here are a couple rules that you can follow to make it easier:

  • If you have an ecommerce store, JPEGs are still your best bet. They will have the best quality at a lower file size.
  • Have large product images? NEVER use GIFs.
  • PNGs are great if you want to get onboard the internet evolution train. But only do that if you can get the photos in PNG format. If you don’t, make sure that you are using PNG-8.

That short list of rules should help you remember which images formats to use. And any image editing software can save images to any of the file formats I just mentioned above.

 

  1. Start using image sitemaps

If your website uses Javascript galleries, image pop-ups or anything else to improve the overall user experience, using image sitemaps with help those images get noticed by Google.

As I mentioned above in the alt attributes point, search engines cannot see images. They can read the text. And if you aren’t specifically mentioning your images in the source code of your webpage, then the search engine crawlers wouldn’t be able to crawl those images.

It is best to include the location of all of your images in the image sitemap.

If you truly want to take advantage of the image ranking section, make sure that you skim through Google’s image publishing guidelines.

I should mention that using image sitemaps alone won’t guarantee that all of your images will now start appearing on the top for their target keywords. But it certainly increases your chances towards that.

And before you start creating the image sitemap and submitting it in the Google Search Console, make sure that all the necessary information is already added on all the images. This includes all the tags, appropriate file names, etc.

 

  1. Use CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) with caution

I know it seems very convenient to host all of your images on content delivery networks and have an incredible page load speed, but that comes with a drawback.

And this might be the biggest drawback.

Backlinks.

As you might already know that backlinks are one of the major ranking factors. And so, the more high quality backlinks you have, the higher your website will rank in the search engines.

But since you will be hosting all of your images on a CDN, you will effectively be removing them from your website. This means that now all of the images are hosted on the CDNs domains. This means that whenever someone links to those images, they are essentially linking to the CDNs domain and not yours.

The best way to decide if a CDN would be the best option for you right now is this:

  • If your website is currently doing thousands of dollars in revenue every month, then having a CDN is probably a great idea. Because that will help you get through the bandwidth issues you might be facing.
  • If your website is only getting a couple thousand visitors every day, then it is best that you host all of your images on your server.

Also, never follow anything just because it is trendy. Run through the scenarios and see if it will be the best move for your business. And then make the decision.

 

Conclusion

Remember, at least half of your visitors will be browsing your website from mobile connections. And having a slow page load speed can drastically affect your rankings in search engines.

Developing a habit of always optimizing your images before uploading them will save you a ton of headache in the future of optimizing all the images at once.

Lastly, pay attention to the dimensions of your images and also whether or not it is absolutely necessary to include a large image. If you think your customer/audience can make do without a large image, then don’t upload it.

Does the Length of Your Blog Post Affect SEO?

I have been testing blog posts with different lengths just to see the difference in traffic. I have seen a difference between the blog posts that were on the longer side versus the ones that were shorter.

But remember, that’s just the preliminary results that I’m offering. I have done deeper research into this (like testing if the tone of the content affects how many visitors I get, the headlines, etc.).

So, what is up with all these SEO blogs talking about the reasons why you should have longer blog posts.

Do they really make your website look more authoritative in the eyes of Google?

Or are they just misleading you so that you are not able to update your website more often (Google loves websites that are updated with new content regularly)?

Let’s take a closer look and check it out.

 

The Length of Your Blog Post Used to Matter in the Past

Let’s time travel back to 2014 when keyword density was still a thing that SEOs used to focus on. And you kept finding blog posts on page 1 that literally exploited this by repeating a particular keyword over and over again.

So if a blog post that mentioned the keyword “cosmetic surgery” only once wouldn’t seem as relevant as a blog post that mentioned the same keyword 10 times. It wouldn’t matter if the quality of the information was better or worse than the other websites.

And if you had written a long blog post, then you had more chances to use your target keyword without going overboard with the keyword density. This would make your website look more authoritative and also have the perfect amount of keyword density to rank you on top of page 1.

Well, it was only a matter of time until Google realized that this resulted in a poor user experience because people were not able to find the information that they were looking for.

And so, with an update, they mentioned that any website that is stuffing keywords in their blog posts will likely be penalized or at least drop in rankings. And since then, people have been focusing on the next best thing – LSI keywords.

 

So, Does the Length of My Blog Post Still Make a Difference in the SERPs?

Well, ever since people started using LSI keywords, aka, synonyms of keywords or keyword variations, the length of their blog posts have increased. LSI means Latent Semantic Indexing. It is used by Google to identify the synonyms of different keywords and decide whether a particular page is relevant to a search query.

So for example, if you used the keyword “nose surgery” and “rhinoplasty surgery” in your blog posts, then Google would see your website as relevant for any person searching for either of those keywords.

This way, you won’t have to keep repeating “rhinoplasty surgery” 10 times in your blog posts and make people think that you are a madman. Instead, you can use LSI keywords and end up ranking for a lot more keywords than you were targeting.

So the question remains about the length of your content.

Does Google have a minimum word count that you should always be aiming to exceed? Or anything similar that will help you gauge?

Unfortunately, no. Google has not mentioned any minimum word count for getting a website indexed.

But, obviously, I wouldn’t leave you hanging in the middle of nowhere. I do have my own research that matches the research that was already done by reputed sources like Moz and Quick Sprout. They show that the pages that rank the highest in search engines, usually have more content.

 

Taking a Different Approach to the Correlation Between Blog Post Length and Rankings

After testing a couple different websites, I found out that content is much more important in the SEO/Internet Marketing industry compared to other industries. The highest ranking websites that I have for high traffic SEO keywords, on average had at least 2,100 words per page.

And the data from Quick Sprout also supports my findings.

They claim that for the top 10 results for any keyword on Google has at least 2,000 words of content. And it is not far-fetched. Although it might a bit lower for different industries but 1,600-2,100 words is the usual ballpark that you will find more websites in.

Alright, so now we know that the longer your blog posts are, the higher you will rank.

But the main reason why we are focusing on SEO is to get conversions, sales, etc.

So, do longer blog posts convert better than shorter ones?

 

Do Longer Blog Posts Convert Better Than Short Blog Posts?

Most companies that are blogging on a consistent basis, aren’t doing just because they feel a moral obligation to give back to the society. They are doing it to get more leads that result in sales from the internet.

And so, it makes sense to know beforehand that the time you will be spending writing that 2,000-word blog post will convert as good as you want it to.

But unfortunately, there is no concrete answer to that question. It varies depending on the industry.

You really have to test which one converts best for you. In some industries, a shorter copy would work like crazy and if you try out the same thing in a different industry, it is possible that you might not get any results at all.

You might see that longer blog posts might work like gangbusters for Neil Patel from Quick Sprout. But try to look behind the scenes and see what he is doing and why he is getting those results.

Neil says that his company first surveyed people about their biggest objections they had with the services. And then they wrote blog posts addressing those objections. And not only that, they also went ahead and sent AdWords traffic to the landing pages to test out different headlines and see which ones get the best response.

My personal tests were preliminary. I didn’t compare the conversions between different blog posts. I just compared the overall traffic they got.

But in the upcoming weeks, I will be looking closely at the conversions. This will be an interesting test.

 

Do Longer Blog Posts Get More Backlinks?

Yes. It is quite possible that the length of a blog post might determine how many backlinks it would receive. A longer blog post would receive more backlinks simply because it might cover more topics in-depth.

And despite all the shenanigans that you might be reading about the quality of backlinks (by the way, having low-quality backlinks is a great way to get your website penalized), they are still a major factor into where your website ranks.

So, it is very clear that you will need to test out what length of blog posts work best for your industry. And for that to happen, you will need to make sure that you are tracking everything and comparing everything.

That way, you would easily be able to tell which pages are performing well and which pages are flops. And based on that you can decide the average length of your future blog posts.

Remember, you want to make sure that you are ending up with higher conversion rates with blogging. You don’t want to keep blogging with no return.

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