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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!

Art Affiliate Program Website Rescue & Profit Project

On July 15th, 2018, WebsiteRescue bought an abandoned, yet valuable domain that was tied to the art industry.  The website was bought at auction with the plan of becoming profitable within 6-9 months as well as having a long term plan to be sold (flipped) within three to four years.

Here are the current stats after putting up 50 page of content (without any angling towards making money whatsoever.)

Art Themed Website Rescue Project – July 2018

Here is our “before picture.”  As you can see here, there is virtually no traffic going to the site, and there hasn’t been any substantial activity since late 2012.  We have our work cut out for us!

Art Affiliate Program
As you can see by the chart, this website has not had traffic since late 2012!

Please stay tuned to see the project plan, the earnings, and the end result!

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.

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.

Google’s Process of Recognizing and Rewarding High Quality Content

Let’s be honest, we all want to rank higher in search engines and get visitors for relevant queries as well. And what better way of doing that than by ranking on Google, the biggest search engine in the world.

And unlike the people you find on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, these people are actually interested in what they are searching for. Their intent is to find more information about the subject, and that is the reason why they use a particular set of keywords. And when it comes to how much you can benefit from that, you are only limited by your own imagination.

But let’s just consider for a moment that you are creating the highest quality content that you can ever create. And you are also sharing it on all the major social networking websites, and visitors are coming in and enjoying all that amazing content.

How does Google recognizes that and rewards you for it?

Well, since you asked, here’s how they do it.

 

How Google Rewards High-Quality Content

Do keep in mind that Google wants people to create high-quality content. That way, they can present the visitors with the highest quality content they can, thus improving their user experience.

So the better your content is, the higher your chances will be of ranking higher in the search engines.

Which brings me to the first way Google rewards high-quality content:

 

  1. Increased Organic Traffic

The obvious way Google would reward high-quality traffic is by increasing the organic traffic that website gets. And to be honest, they are right in doing so. Because most companies would only need enough traffic to get off the ground or increase their quarterly revenue.

And if you do not currently have high search rankings for the products/services you are offering, you should continue writing high-quality content and check out my link building article.

Remember, you want to cover all your bases: have high-quality content, good link building strategies and better on-page optimization than your competitors.

 

  1. Improved Brand Image

Imagine that you are on top of the 1st page for your target keyword

Would that improve your brand image?

Definitely. Because people will know that you are the best source for the thing that they were searching for. And Google has always said that their primary focus is on improving user experience at all times. Whether that means they are designing a new browser or updating the algorithm.

User experience is the primary reason why they do it.

And quite honestly, it makes things simpler for you as well. Once you know exactly what they are looking for, you can align with those goals and reap the benefits.

And now that you know that Google is always looking to improving the user experience, you should also focus on the same thing on your website. Improve the design, make it easier for them to read content and check out other areas of your website.

You will be surprised by how far it can take you.

 

Those are the 2 ways Google rewards high-quality content. But now you might be thinking: how do I know that I’m creating high-quality content? Are there any pointers that would help me recognize?

Yes, there are always pointers that would help you recognize that you are on the right path.

And for that, you will need to start thinking like Google. Especially when they openly started updating the algorithm and focusing on improving the user experience.

The pointers are content curation, guest blogging and Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI).

Don’t worry, I will be going through each one of them in detail explaining what they mean and how you should do it.

 

What is Content Curation?

I’m sure you have heard of content marketing. But you have never heard of content curation.

Content curation means that you are gathering high-quality information from authoritative websites and then presenting that information to your audience in a coherent fashion. This way, it makes it easier for your audience to consume the content and connect the necessary dots in order to achieve their goals.

This is very similar to what a museum curator or a music website does. They categorize all the information in an orderly fashion that makes it easier for everyone to consume the information.

Do note that content curation is not stealing content from other websites. Is a general rule that if you are curating content, you ought to give credit to the original source in the form of hyperlinks. This tells Google that not only are you an ethical internet user, but you also have useful information on your website.

Content curation is a great tool to have in your arsenal. Just ask any content marketing specialist and they will tell you that churning out high-quality content on a consistent basis is no easy task. It takes a ton of research and time. Time that could be spent in gathering and organizing the high-quality information that is already out there.

A side benefit of content curation is that you can consistently update your website with fresh information. Sending even more signals to Google that your website only offers very high-quality content to its audience. And other industry influencers would find your website and may link to you as well as a trusted source, which will further help your website rank higher in search engines.

 

What are Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords

In the old days, the only way search engines would recognize a high-quality website was through the number of backlinks it was receiving, and by the density of keywords that were relevant to the web page.

To give you a perspective on how things were, let’s say that you have a blog post about the movie icon Robert Downey Jr. And you see that the #1 result on Google for the term uses the keyword “Robert Downey Jr” 25 times in their content. And you decide to use that keyword 30 times in your content.

That’s it. You would now rank higher than the other person.

It was the wild west during those times. And there were a ton of websites outranking other websites with high-quality information. And it wasn’t fair.

Obviously, if you did the same thing now, you would get penalized by Google in just a matter of days because it does not offer a better user experience. No one wants to see a page filled with keywords and do not get the information they were searching for.

As soon as Google started penalizing websites that were stuffing keywords on their pages, LSI keywords were born.

Latent Semantic Indexing is just a fancy of saying synonyms. You would use synonyms that are related to your target keyword in order to NOT appear as someone trying to stuff keywords.

This became extremely important because, with the help of LSI keywords, people could rank their websites for a lot more keywords than they previously could.

Let’s take an example from one my clients who is a chiropractor. Instead of including the keyword “best chiropractor” throughout the website, I found out a couple of LSI keywords that I could use like best chiropractor near me, chiropractic adjustment, chiropractor for back pain, etc.

It is incredibly important to use these keywords because not only do they sound natural when someone is reading the content, it also leads to a better user experience and eventually leading to increased search engine rankings.

And if you are doing content curation the right way, by default you would include LSI keywords.

How is that possible?

Well, the process that you will go through in gathering and curating content from authoritative and trustworthy sources will naturally end up with you using LSI keywords in your copy.

This is the reason why content curation combined with LSI is so powerful. There are tons of websites that do just this and sit on top of page one.

 

Guest Blogging for High-Quality Backlinks

Guest blogging is very different than LSI and content curation. The above 2 methods that I covered above are primarily focused on on-page optimization. Guest blogging is more about off-page optimization, link building to be precise.

It is true that if given enough time to curate content from trustworthy sources, you will eventually start getting backlinks from other high-quality websites. But guest blogging still remains the best way to rank a website higher in search engines through external links.

The meaning of guest blogging by definition is that you send a high-quality blog post to an external website (a website that you do not own) in the hopes that it would get featured on their website.

You will find a ton of websites that offer guest posting opportunities and they have created sort of a checklist that you have to follow to get your posts accepted. Things like the word count, topics, linking, etc.

My suggestion would be to write up an amazing blog post that adheres to their policies and then include a backlink to an inner page of your website instead of the homepage. This will let search engines know that you have a very relevant page on your website as well.

Let’s say that I was guest posting an article about back pain for my chiropractor client on a health website. I would include an inner link on my clients’ website that talks more about back pain. And as is always the case with LSI keywords, you should always go for variety over repetition. Backlinks with different anchor texts look a lot more natural to Google.

And it makes sense because it is statistically not probable for a website to receive 50 links with the same anchor text.

Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s Webspam and Quality Control Team had stated that guest blogging for backlinks is definitely a great way to get backlinks and rank higher on Google as long as everyone adheres to two important things.

First, the content should be unique, engaging to the reader and should be of high quality. If it’s not high-quality content, then there’s no use for guest posting that article. And this also means that article spinning or article rewriting should be avoided.

Second, the posted content should be more than the minimum 300 words. This makes sense because it is very hard to write a high-quality blog post in just 300 words. Some people just use 300 words just as an introduction to the article.

Keeping those two things in mind, you should see guest blogging as an opportunity for you to show the world and to Google that you are an expert in your niche.

There are a ton of people who try to fool Google by buying links and posting low-quality articles. And there is a good reason why you cannot find those websites on page 1.

In conclusion, if you just focus on content curation combined with LSI keywords and sprinkling in guest blogging with backlinks, you will be all set to cover all the bases of your website. And before you know it, you will be sitting on top of page one.

Is Having HTTPS Good For SEO?

So you have been noticing that a lot of your competition is using HTTPs on their websites. And so you wanted to know if that has an effect on your SEO.

Maybe you are planning to get into a particular niche and wanted to scope out the competition. But you keep seeing that most of them have the same things. And they are ranking on page 1 for their target keywords.

I’m glad you asked that question. And that is exactly what I’m going to answer in this blog post.

We will go into detail about how having HTTPs on your website affects SEO and also some additional reasons why you should spend some extra bucks and get it.

 

What Is HTTPs?

Every website has what’s called “HTTP.” And when you install an SSL certificate on your server, that changes to HTTPS (Hypertext Transport Protocol Security). This means that the URL that has https is more secure than the URL that only has HTTP.

The SSL 2048-bit key protects the website connection with authentication and encryption.

Typically most internet users were not aware of this until the recent large-scale cyber attacks that led to huge amounts of data being stolen from different companies.

With the SSL certificate, the visitors can be assured that their activity on the website cannot be tracked by any outside parties, nor any of their information will be stolen.

 

So How Does HTTPS Affect SEO?

Back in 2014, Google rolled out an algorithm update and included website security as one of the ranking factors. And the algorithm was in favor of websites that had SSL certificates installed on them, aka, HTTPS websites.

This was Google’s way of contributing to making the internet a safer place. And back then, it was a ranking factor that even if you ignored it, you would still end up on the first page without any issues.

But in 2015, Google stated that they will be increasing the weight of this ranking factor. Not only that, they also stated that HTTPS could serve as a tie-breaker between you and your competition.

Let’s say that your website and your competitor’s website is equal in terms of speed, on-page optimization, and off-page optimization, etc. but your competitor’s website has HTTPS and yours doesn’t. Then Google is more likely to rank their website ahead of yours.

So how do things look like today?

Well, the statistics show that only 1% of all the websites on the internet are safe today. But more than 40% of the websites ranking in the organic results on page 1 of Google have HTTPS. This means that a lot of website owners are taking this seriously and Google has been giving them a good reason to.

But do remember that the websites ranking on page 1 are also following a lot of Google’s best practices to be there. So just having an HTTPS website alone will not be enough. You will still need to do everything else to ensure that your website ends up on page 1 for good.

But according to the research done by Brian Dean, SEMRush, and Ahrefs, they were able to find a correlation between HTTPS and higher search rankings, but they were all combined with other ranking factors. And they also confirmed what Google had stated earlier that HTTPS would act as a tie breaker but it will not be a major ranking factor. At least not as major as link building.

But having an HTTPS website goes beyond than just adhering to a ranking factor. It also affects the conversions on your website.

 

How HTTPS Affects Conversions

Even if you just have an opt-in box on your website, visitors are more likely to give their email address if your website has an SSL certificate installed.

A recent survey done by GlobalSign showed that at 84% of the people would abandon a purchase if they found out that their information was sent over an insecure connection. And that is more than just a majority of the people. Imagine if 84% of the people did not make that purchase, or did not choose to subscribe to your newsletter just because your website didn’t have HTTPS.

Your business would end before it could get anywhere.

With and HTTPS website, you can ensure your visitors that they have nothing to worry about. And that their information will be safely handled.

 

Google Chrome Has Started Labelling Websites As Unsecured

Chrome is also going to start labeling websites that do not have HTTPS as unsecure.

So any website that only has HTTP will look like this:

Chrome HTTP Indicator for secure websites

 

 

That doesn’t look so bad, right?

Well, for now, it doesn’t. but very soon Chrome will start labeling all the non-HTTPS websites as non-secure with a red triangle.

And believe me, having a red triangle whenever someone visits your website is not a good sign.

If I’m on a website with that non-secure sign, I wouldn’t enter any of my information in there. And this is very crucial when it comes to eCommerce websites where customers will have to use their credit cards to make payments.

Now that you know how important it is to have HTTPS on your website, let’s find out the top 5 reasons why you absolutely need it.

 

5 Reasons Why Your Website Should Have HTTPS

Before we get into the reasons, I would like to address a small question that I get asked every now and then.

 

What is an SSL Certificate?

An SSL Certificate is a set of files that once you add to your server, you will have an encrypted connection between your browser and your server.

It is this certificate that gives you the green padlock sign on the top left corner of Chrome that lets you know that a particular website is safe.

 

So What is the Difference Between SSL and HTTPS?

There is no difference between them. It’s because when you installed the SSL certificate on your server, you get the HTTPS status in your browser. It is the result of installing that SSL certificate.

 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get into the top 5 reasons why you need to have an HTTPS website.

 

  1. Improved Website Security

Obviously, this is the biggest reason why you should want to have it. You do not want bad people stealing your customer’s information from your website. And with HTTPS, you can prevent that.

And this is the reason why Google announced this as a ranking factor in 2014, to make a better, safer user experience for people.

It makes total sense to keep things safer and secure for everyone.

 

  1. Higher Search Rankings in Google

With Google increasing the weight of this ranking factor in 2015 and also making it as a tiebreaker, you want to make sure that you are working on all the important ranking factors that could rank you on page 1 of Google.

 

  1. Updated Browser Labels

As I mentioned above, Chrome will be labeling websites that use HTTP as non-secure with a red triangle. And obviously, users will not trust your website if they see that. That trust is crucial especially if you have an eCommerce website.

With an HTTPS website, you will have a green padlock saying that your website is secure and trusted.

And if Chrome will be doing it, you can be sure that other browsers will also start doing it.

 

  1. Having Increased Conversions

No one needs to have an in-depth technical understanding to know what a red triangle means and what a green padlock means.

It means one is unsecure and the other one is secure.

And any website that asks for their personal information with an unsecure connection will have lower conversions compared to a website with a secure connection (a green padlock).

Heck, there’s already a test that was done between the conversion rates of HTTP and HTTPS websites. Check it out here.

 

  1. Increased Customer Confidence

Google has been making a lot of buzz on this topic. And they are right for that doing so because of all the cyber attacks that companies have been facing lately.

All this buzz has people specifically looking for websites with secure connections. And any website that has that; customers feel more confident in providing their personal information.

14 Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

Just a couple years ago Instagram was this new photo sharing app that people were using.

Fast forward to 2018, and now you are seeing full-time “Instagram” models making top tier money through Instagram sponsorships. And not just that, thousands of brands are now considering Instagram as a serious content marketing, networking, and an insanely powerful audience building tool. I’m assuming that you are one of those brands. Or at least you like the idea of being a full-time Instagram model who gets to travel the world for free J

Why wouldn’t you want to be famous on Instagram? There are more than 200 million people active every day. They share more than 60 million images and drop over 1.6 billion likes per day.

You will probably get more engagement with your audience through Instagram than through any other social media network out there. According to Forrester Research, engagement rates on Instagram is a whopping 58 times higher than Facebook.

 

 

Even if you get a small piece of that pie, you will be able to reach heights that you have never dreamed of.

But here’s what I want you to set your eyes to – anything but average. Anyone can achieve an average level of followers on Instagram and get average engagement. You want to strive for the best. The unicorn that is seen once every millennia and blows everyone’s mind with what they can achieve.

I want you to be a unicorn that can outperform not just their competitors, but everyone by a magnitude.

And if you apply these 14 attention-grabbing techniques that I mention in this article, you will be on your way to do that.

These include everything, from getting the right pictures to post on Instagram to hashtags, captions, setting up your profile the right way, etc.

So without any further ado, let’s jump right into the Insta-famous elixir and get your share.

 

14 Ways to Get More Followers on Instagram

  1. Create a Dedicated Hashtag and Promote It

It’s great that you just created a dedicated hashtag for your company.

But how will people know they should use it when sharing content about you?

They don’t. So you have to tell them that you have a hashtag that they can use.

So, make sure that it is in your profile, on the back of your business card, on your receipts, print ads, etc.

Even better, add an incentive for people to post pictures with your product and have your hashtag in the caption. I recently went to Comic-Con and saw Mountain Dew giving out free drinks to people who could do 10 push-ups and would post a picture with their hashtag in.

Obviously, if you’re in a different niche you might want to just go for the posting the picture part with an incentive, but you get the idea.

 

  1. Get Creative With Your Hashtags

You know that hashtags allow your content to be found by people who don’t follow you. But when it comes to Instagram, you also want to make sure that you are not boring. Remember, the attention span of people on this social network is very low. You want to grab that attention not only with a great picture but also with exciting hashtags.

I’m sure that the first thing that comes to your mind would be those one-word hashtags. And you should definitely use them. But also dig in and see if you can use some ironic, funny or just mind-blowing hashtags that you can find.

I have seen people just talk about the hashtags a person used in the comments.

Use websites like Webstagram to find hashtags that are popular and relevant to what you are posting. While you want to use hashtags and often creative hashtags, you also don’t want to overdo this. People don’t like seeing a paragraph of hashtags below the pictures.

A good rule of thumb is to post a minimum of 3 hashtags and a maximum of 5.

 

  1. Take Part In Popular Conversations

You’re on social media my friend, time to get rid of shyness and start participating in conversations that everyone is talking about. But I’m not talking about the way you are thinking.

You want to participate through your posts, by adding in hashtags that are being used in popular conversations.

For instance, #ThanosDemandsYourSilence is a very popular hashtag right now because the movie Avengers: Infinity War is about to be released.

And if you are catching up on the movies from Marvel Studios, you could post a relevant picture with that hashtag and join in on the conversation that others are having about the movie.

Think of these hashtags as long-tail keywords. They make the pictures/conversations more personal. But you also want to include other universally trending hashtags like #OOTD, #instagood, etc. as well.

This way you will be able to get in front of more people in general, but you also would be able to engage in much more personal conversations.

 

  1. Take Advantage of Your Bio URL

Most people post the URL of their website in the bio and just forget about it. That could be the most boring thing ever.

Remember, you do not want to be boring on Instagram. And people really get tired very soon. So you need to keep things fresh and keep providing them with eye-catching photos and information.

My recommendation would be to change up your bio URL at least twice a week. You could link to your latest blog posts on your website. Or maybe just popular content that is evergreen and people love reading it.

You just want to make sure that you are rotating links and keeping things fresh.

 

  1. Describe Your Captions. Use Storytelling.

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. But that doesn’t mean you should skip the whole using the words thing. You would still need to describe a picture in order to have an engaged audience.

I have seen hundreds of traditional media companies get this wrong. And the result of getting captions wrong has ended up with them struggling to get viewership on their networks.

But that is not the case with NatGeo and NASA. They have successfully thrived through the digital transformation. But by amassing millions of followers, they have more than just thrived on Instagram.

 

I’m sure that all these Instagram techniques look like a lot of work to you. But it is better if you get on the right track from the beginning and work it into your overall strategy. This will not only help you mold yourself into an Instagram star, it will also be loved by your audience. Because who doesn’t want to know the full story about a picture that you took?

 

  1. Use Influencer Marketing to Its Full Extent

Never have it been easier to get in touch with influencers. And once you have identified someone as an influencer in your niche, you want to interact with them on a regular basis.

This means that you want to get notified every time they post a new picture. This will give you the opportunity to be one of the first people they notice. And soon you will become one of their favorite person or brand.

This will take some time, but with consistent effort, you will get there.

 

  1. Get Rid of Tagged Photos You Don’t Like from Your Profile

Let’s be honest, there might be some pictures that you might’ve clicked that you don’t like. And they definitely have tagged you in those pictures.

This is the time to visit the tagged photos area of your profile and see if you have some pictures that you don’t like. If you don’t like them, it is possible that there is someone who doesn’t like them either.

By using the Edit Tags option, you can choose with pictures you want to stay and which pictures you want to hide from your profile. You will need to confirm that you want to hide them, and so you should say yes to that.

Obviously, that wouldn’t get rid of the picture from Instagram entirely. It will just hide it from being shown on your profile.

 

  1. Manually Approve Which Tagged Photos Shows On Your Profile

I love this feature because it gives you more control over what other people see on your profile.

And if someone tags you in their picture, you will have to manually approve it in order for it to show in the tagged pictures section.

Where will you find this option?

It is under Options -> Photos of You -> Add Manually

I know this can mean that fewer people will be able to see how cool your brand is. But trust me, this is a good thing to control. You do not want to end up with a ton of tagged photos and find yourself or your brand in a potentially embarrassing situation that could be completely avoided by using this setting.

 

  1. Your Account, Your Style

I understand that you might want to follow the same tried and true technique. If other brands can have success with a particular style, you could have success as well thing.

And while that might be true, it is better if you develop your own style.

Because people love to follow brands that are doing something unique. Or at least posting pictures that look like they are doing something unique. Even if they are doing the same thing as the other brands, with their own style, they make it unique and likable for their audience.

This will not only set you apart from your competitors on a profile level, your audience will also be able to recognize your picture as soon as it pops up in their feed. Your brand would just click in their mind and they would be more interested in reading your caption rather than just scrolling past it.

 

  1. Narrow It Down. Get Local.

Check out what’s going on in your city, a specific area that you might be interested in, or maybe even your neighborhood.

You can do this by going to the search page and choosing the Places tab. Then type in the name of the place that you would like to see all the geotagged posts for that particular location.

This can be helpful in a ton of ways.

You can use this information to decide on what things you would post next. Or if you are traveling, you can check out those particular spots and see what’s so interesting about them (obviously if other people post interesting pictures of that place).

But not just that, you also want to know what other people in your city/ neighborhood are posting about. This will help you connect with them on a more personal level and spark conversations that you never thought would happen.

 

  1. Calls to Actions Are Still Very Important

Remember, Instagram is similar to every other social network out there. You are basically having a conversation with your audience. Here, you’re having it through pictures.

So you always want to have a call to action on your post. But what should people do when they see your post? Are you always confused on what you think would be a good call to action?

If that is something you’re facing, then you should go back and think why you are posting that picture in the first place.

But while doing the research for this post, I found that Staples are very good at these calls to actions. They let people know exactly what they want them to do after they see their posts and that drives a ton of engagement.

The best call to action one can have is if they are taking something mundane like liking and commenting and making it fun.

Remember, calls to actions are the very things that often get people to share your posts and potentially make them go viral.

 

  1. Posting at the Right Time

This is very important. Because you want as many people viewing your photos as possible.

So before you post anything on Instagram, make sure that you know the time zone of the where the majority of your audience lives. And more importantly, at what time they are scrolling through Instagram.

Different people use Instagram at different times, but usually, the engagements are at their peak during Wednesdays between 5-6 PM. This doesn’t mean that you should only post at that time.

Most people use Instagram whenever they are free like while commuting home from work or school, the first thing in the morning, or on Sundays.

A good rule of thumb here is to remember that your photo has a good 4 hours to maximize its visibility before it gets lost in the news feed with other pictures. This is the reason why you should post when you know your audience will be having their downtime.

Like for instance, if the majority of your audience is adults, it is better to post between 6 – 9 AM or 6 – 10 PM.

 

  1. Asking Questions in Your Captions

If you’re looking to get more comments on your photos, this is the best way to go about it. The best thing about asking a question is that it has a dual effect:

  • You get more likes, and
  • You get more comments

And remember, the more you engage with your audience, the more followers you will have.

 

  1. Post Frequently. But Don’t Post Too Much

This is something that you will need to hone in. Because once you start getting more followers, the immediate thing you will have to deal with, is how you can keep up with their interest.

Once the best and the easiest ways to keep up is to post photos that are relevant and attractive. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you constantly have to be on a photoshoot. Well, that will depend on what niche you are in.

But let’s say that you have a couple hundred photos that you can post on Instagram right now. The best thing to do would be to post 2-3 photos per day instead of flooding all the pictures like a madman.

People won’t like that and they will probably end up unfollowing you because of that. Plus, your profile won’t be as attractive to new followers as well.

So, are you using any of these strategies to increase your followers on Instagram? Do you have a particular technique that you absolutely love and it always delivers you results? Let me know in the comments below.

Do Local Directories Still Work?

Let’s be honest, link building has become sort of a struggle these days because you have no idea what Google loves and what it doesn’t. And in the 2006 era, directory submissions were like the invention of the wheel. Every kid on the block was using it and reaping the benefits.

But these days, it has become somewhat risky to get links from local directories. Moreover, we have seen websites get penalized because they overdid the directory links thing.

Does this mean that local directories and all the directories, in general, are bad and you should drop them like a hot potato?

Well, the answer is in the grey area.

It all depends on which directories you are using and whether or not you are taking the right precautions. In fact, I should put more emphasis on the word precaution because if by mistake, you happen to submit your website to a dodgy directory, you will run into a huge risk.

And the whole world knows how painful it can be to get a link removed from a directory. Unless you are going to use Google Disavow Tool.

So for example, you would find your website in hot waters with Google if you decide to submit it to a lot of low-quality directories.

Instead, you should choose to opt for fewer links, but they should come from a better quality of directories. Directories that have a better reputation.

Gone were the days when you could just hand over your money for those “link building” services and they would take care of the whole thing for you. But that would put you on a fast track to penalization these days.

These days you want to go for quality over quantity.

But how do you decide which local directory is better than the other one? Shouldn’t there be some points that you should be able to check off and easily decide which directory would be suitable for you?

I’m glad you asked that question. That’s exactly what I’m going to answer here.

 

How to Choose the Highest Quality of Local Directories

Instead of crossing off local directory submission off your list, why not use my handy checklist that will guide you.

In fact, if you use these 4 points to identify the high-quality directories, they will, in fact, be a LOT better for your SEO strategy. Because then you will have a couple different types of links pointing to your website. And that’s something Google loves to see – a variety of links.

So, there are 4 things that you should consider before deciding to submit to a local directory. These things are absolutely critical and should not be ignored at any cost.

I had to find out the hard way that not all directories are created equal.

 

  1. Not Accessible to Masses OR Paid Directories

This point wouldn’t be applicable in a lot of situations, but you should still look out for this option. Paid directories have the revenue to actually analyze the links that are being submitted to them and so they can turn down spam links to maintain the integrity of their directory as a whole.

But you should also ensure that they are indexed on Google. In fact, you should always check that every directory you check out is indexed on Google. If they are not indexed, just ignore them.

You should also make a rule of only submitting your website to directories in your category. There is no point in getting a link from a directory about dentists to a website that is talking about car accessories. And Google can see that.

 

  1. Local Directories Relevant to Your Niche

Again, this is an important one. If the directory is not relevant to your niche, you might as well spend that time watching videos on YouTube.

What do I mean by this?

Always try to ensure that the directory you’re looking to submit a link to, has a relevant category in it. So if you had a website that talks about SEO, maybe look for Internet Marketing or something related to the Internet in the category section.

And if you are too lazy to do that, try searching for your keywords with the name of the directory and see if it appears in the search results.

For instance, if you wanted to find out if directory1.com has a category related to SEO, you would go to Google and type in “link building directory1.com” and see if it comes up.

Link building would be a relevant search term for SEO.

If you cannot find directories that have that category, start following blogs that compile a list of directories. Through that, you are guaranteed to land at least a couple local directory links.

 

  1. Have Variety. Change Things Up a Little

The best thing you can do while creating local directory links is to have variety. This will diversify your backlink profile and dilute the concentration of keywords you have. You never want to have a ton of links coming in that have the same anchor text. That is a dead giveaway that you are doing something fishy.

Your best bet here is to write different titles and descriptions. These titles and descriptions can contain long and short tail keywords that you are targeting.

Again, you want to make sure that these keywords are relevant to the directory. Or you should just find a relevant category that your keywords would fit in. Vice versa.

Directories are actually a great way if you are looking to diversify your backlink profile.

 

  1. Timing Is Everything

Now that Google almost instantly knows when you are creating a link, you want to be very careful about when you are creating these links.

And not just that, you also want to be careful about how fast you are creating these links.

If you are using a software tool for this, then you might want to make sure that the software is creating these links as slow as possible. Because if it just goes out and creates thousands of directory links in just a matter of days, then you might as well say goodbye to your website.

That will trigger an instant penalty because Google hates software’s that are used for link building.

You want to schedule your links so that they are spread out over a couple of weeks and the links are gradually going live.

Here’s the truth.

After the Panda and the Penguin update, links that are organically created have a lot more value these days. So your main goal here should be to make these links look as natural and organic as possible.

 

Some High-Quality Local Directories That You Should Check Out

I know how hard it can be to find a decent local directory to submit your website to. So I have compiled a small list of directories for you to check out and see if your website fits in any of their categories.

If it does, then you’ve got a head start J

  1. All Business Now
  2. YellowPages.com
  3. Better Business Bureau
  4. Vlib
  5. Clasione
  6. Seek On
  7. Pick N Buy
  8. Joe Ant
  9. Map Quest
  10. CityData.com

 

Conclusion

These days a ton of people are dealing with local companies and websites. So the value of getting links from local directories is much higher than websites that are not targeting a specific geographical area.

This also means that you want to be careful with the few local directory submissions that you do.

Google still loves local directory links or any directory links in general. As long as they are high-quality links. Because these types of links will never go out of style as long as they are of high quality.

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