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Planning Your Content Strategy for a Whole Year

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There are a variety of different factors that can help to make a website successful. A highly innovative SEO campaign is essential and that will be impossible without an effective content strategy. As the old saying goes, content is king and without it, your website will be bare and barely noticeable. With this in mind, it is vital to plan out a long-term content strategy that can be followed for the entire year.

content-strategyIn basic terms, your content strategy is the management and creation of the content for your website. It is possible to incorporate written content, as well as videos. As long as something is being added to the site, your site will remain active and thrive. How many posts should you add in a week? How long should they be? Below, you will learn everything you need to know to plan an entire year’s worth of content.

Is it necessary?

First and foremost, a lot of businesses will question the overall necessity of the content strategy. It has been proven repetitively that a good, solid content strategy can drive a business to success. Those that have already taken the time to implement one are more effective and able to manage their time more efficiently. Following a specific plan will ensure that your content’s effectiveness expands and covers your blog and social media channels. Suffice to say, a thoroughly planned content strategy is crucial for all businesses!

What to Include

There are a few integral aspects that should be included in your strategy. First and foremost, you need to layout your specific needs! What is the overall purpose of your strategy? What are you attempting to succeed and what are your goals? All of this information will prove to be beneficial and will help to keep you on the right track at all times.

Next, you’re going to include your overall plan. How are you going to be able to deliver your information? What steps must be taken to get the content that you need? You should also keep track of the difficulties that you will face. This information will ensure that you’re able to get the content needed and deliver it in the most effective manner.

Details about your specific audience should be added. It is vital to know as much about your customers as possible. What type of content is best for these individuals and what exactly are they looking for? By knowing these individuals thoroughly, you will be able to deliver the exact content and information that these individuals desire. By doing this, your strategy will prove to be much more fruitful. Read more

A Tool for Every Webmaster: Schema.org

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Throughout the years, the practices of SEO have changed significantly. As Google continues to churn out new updates, the practices are slightly altered further and further. This can make it difficult for webmasters and SEO technicians to keep up with the latest standards. Now, there is an entirely new system, which is proving to be quite effective. Now, it is highly recommended to incorporate schemas into your HTML coding for more structure and easier understanding. Within this guide, Schema.org will be explored in depth.

Schema-org

What is Schema.org?

In actuality, Schema.org isn’t an idea or technique. Instead, it is a collaborative effort from some of technology’s most substantial individuals. The group, which runs the site and is pushing for schemas, consists of experienced and highly intelligent individuals. Some hail from Yandex, while others have worked with Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. With this type of backing, there is no doubt that the group is onto something big! These massive Internet corporations encourage the use of schemas and actually sponsor Schema.org.

Introduction to Schemas

Every website owner, Webmaster and SEO enthusiast needs to know a great deal about HTML coding and other similar languages. However, they likely know very little, if anything, about schemas. The schemas actually take the process a little bit further and help to define the HTML tag in a much deeper sense. When organizing your information with header tags, such as <h1>, you’re typically helping viewers differentiate the importance of your content.

By incorporating the use of schemas, it is possible to do the same for the various search engines. When these extra tidbits of information are added, the search engines have a much easier time determining the overall purpose of the tag. This allows them to provide more relevant content to users.

By relying on Schema.org, the webmaster will be able to access a comprehensive database of information and terminology, which can be used to properly mark up their pages. By using the vocabularies, which have been shared on the website, the webmaster can enable the search engines to better understand their websites. Read more

8 Tools to Help You Evaluate Your Website Content against Your Competitors

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Whether you want to build trust among your customers, drive sales, or become recognized as a thought leader in your industry, content marketing is essential to building a successful online presence.

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A big part of producing and publishing information that builds authority and a community around your brand is watching your competition. After all, you’ve been doing it from the time you were in school or on a sports team. The value of watching your competition is twofold.

  1. You want to keep up
  2. You want to know where the marker is set so you can outperform your competition

In the world of online marketing, the same principles apply. Competitor analysis is essential to finding opportunities and setting goals based on thought leaders and competitors you aspire to beat.

Keeping an Eye on Your Competitors

As a content marketer, it is valuable to keep a finger on the pulse of your audience. One of the ways to do this is to keep an eye on your competitors. In particular, you want to analyze the types of content they are producing because competitive marketing strategies are strongest when:

  1. They position your strengths against your competitors’ weaknesses
  2. Or when you choose positions that pose no threat to competitors so that you are no longer competing for the same

This, in turn, can help you write opinion pieces. You also gain valuable insights into reader expectations.

4 Ways to Evaluate your Content Marketing Strategy against That of Your Competitors

  1. Set up an Alert to Get Notified Whenever your Competitors are Mentioned Over the Web

While knowing when your competitors are mentioned over the web does not directly help you compare your content marketing strategy vs. your competitors’, it can help you keep a tab on what’s happening on and off their website. This can help you identify the keywords and types of content that are likely to increase any return on your investment (ROI). Read more

The Why & the How of Performing an SEO Audit

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By definition, an SEO audit is a thorough analysis of your website to check the overall health of your search engine optimization, encompassing both technical and creative elements. These optimizations improve rankings, drive traffic and increase awareness in the search engines. Determining their performance can help you identify SEO problems and in turn, determine what is holding back the organic performance of your site.

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So if you’re wondering if should you perform an SEO audit, the answer is yes. Not only should you perform an audit, you should perform a thorough one so that nothing slips through the cracks. An SEO audit can help you:

  1. Analyze and evaluate the quality of your inbound links. This can help you detect if you’re attracting poisonous links from low quality sources such as link farms.
  1. Analyze what your competitors are doing and get an inside look at their backlinks with tools like Open Site Explorer (OSE) & Mondovo.
  1. Check your content and make sure your homepage content and landing pages are optimized.
  1. Check your keyword targeting, keyword cannibalization, content formatting and headlines.
  1. Evaluate your on-page optimization including title tags, meta descriptions, URL structure and images’ file names as well as alt text.
  1. Analyze and evaluate your website’s accessibility and indexation so your content performs better in the search engine listings, including checking the robots.txt.
  1. Check your site’s architecture and internal linking.
  1. Review your website’s mobile experience.
  1. Review page load time for key pages.
  1. Avoid duplicate content by making sure there is one URL for each piece of content and the content does not show up elsewhere on the domain.

These are all small changes that can be made to parts of a website but when implemented combined with other optimizations, they can have a noticeable impact on your site’s performance up the SERPs.

How to Perform a Comprehensive SEO Audit

A comprehensive SEO audit can be broken down into 5 sections:

  1. Accessibility
  2. Indexability
  3. On-page optimization
  4. Off-page optimization
  5. And competitive analysis

Accessibility

Here is the deal: You may have the most beautifully crafted website with the most premium content that you paid the bucks for but if the search engines and users can’t access it, it might as well not exist. Under this section of your SEO audit, you investigate things such as:

  1. Your robots.txt file
  2. URLs that return errors
  3. Your site’s XML Sitemap
  4. Your site architecture
  5. Your site’s usage of Flash and JavaScript navigation
  6. Your website’s performance with tools such as Google Page Speed and YSlow to makes sure your site doesn’t take too long to load.

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Semantic Search and its Impact on SEO

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Keyword-based search engine optimization, as traditionally practiced, is dead as we witness the rise of long-tail keywords and semantic web technologies. These are now intrinsic to almost every operation performed by the major search engines including Google and Bing. As a result, if you are a search engine marketer and you are serious about maximizing the visibility of your website in the SERPs, you need to have a sound knowledge of how the semantic web works and the incorporated technologies.

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But do not take this to mean that keywords are no longer relevant to SEO in 2015. After all, the search engines do require some text to make sense of what it is your company actually does. But what they take great pains to understand (and subsequently store) are other information including places and concepts that ultimately gives the pages on a website their meaning.

In short, semantic search is this creepy functionality within Google and adopted by a few other search engines whereby the engines derive meaning from the words on your website rather than focusing on the words themselves. This was introduced as part of the Hummingbird update released in the summer of 2013.

The Value of Semantic Search

Search begins when words are typed into a search box. This makes ranking for the right keywords one of the most important activities in search marketing. But most people don’t search with one keyword. For example, someone is very unlikely to type “laptop” in Google’s search bar. They would type additional words to give additional clues. For example, they could be looking to:

  1. Buy a new laptop
  2. Buy a used laptop
  3. Have a laptop repaired
  4. Upgrade a laptop
  5. Buy laptop accessories
  6. Or do research for a paper due at school about the evolution of laptops

In turn, the search engines explore the semantics of those additional words and understand the meaning behind them to guess what the user might really be looking for. This has an application in SEO because by incorporating semantic technologies in your SEO campaigns, you can help Google deliver your website pages as the best results possible to user queries. This means you have to determine the right keywords based upon user intent and then create content based on those terms.

Semantic keyword research has many advantages:

  1. Semantic keywords inform high-converting blog posts.
  2. It can improve your click-through rate when the elements of your conversion funnel are aligned semantically, including your landing pages and emails.
  3. It can improve your quality score, which in turn leads to better rankings.

Some Tools You Can Use for Semantic Keyword Research

1. Google’s Advanced Search

Google’s advanced search results is a quick and effective way to generate semantic keywords. Using the example above, say you’re an online laptop store and you are currently having a 30% off promotion. To find keywords that visitors actually type into the search engines, type “laptop discount codes” in Google’s search bar. Scroll to the bottom, and ignore everything in between; at the bottom is a harvest of keywords. Read more

6 Reasons Why People Hate Your Blog

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No matter the size of your business, producing and publishing helpful blog posts is always a good idea to help your business have a powerful online presence and stand out among competitors. After all, there is no better way to add relevant content to your website on a regular and consistent basis than to use a blog. The challenge is to build a blog that people actually like.

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The benefits of blogging maybe multiple, for example:

  • It builds trust and authority amongst customers
  • It’s a way to build relationships so people feel loyal to you
  • It’s a strategy for becoming a recognized thought leader
  • And it’s a way to drive sales without coming across as someone who belongs in a used car lot

But in order to reap these benefits, you need to be able to connect with people. Blogging means nothing if you spend hours writing a blog post only for people to spend mere seconds skimming it? Ideally you want people to spend hours on your blog and come back frequently, which is not happening if they hate your blog.

Consciously or not, are you doing things that are making people tune out from your blog? Find out now.

6 Things that May be Making your Blog Posts Unpopular with Readers.

1. Your Blog Posts are Boring

At the risk of stating the obvious, there are 24 hours in a day and no matter what our schedule looks like, loaded or relatively empty, we only have these 24 hours within which to fit everything we need to do. And it’s the same for everyone. So if you run a business blog and you want people to appreciate your blog posts, you need to make the posts worth the little downtime people get after going to work, taking care of the house and looking after their kids. If you think people will take time out of their busy lives to read your long, rambling, unfocused if not downright boring blog posts, you are thinking wrong. You have to get to the point quick and as creatively as possible to keep your readers engaged down to the last word.

2. They Lack Quality Images

To have a great blog, you need amazing blog posts and the thing when it comes to amazing blog posts is that they need quality images. According to a post on jeffbullas.com, blog posts with images get 94% more total views. The same blog post also mentions that the quality of the image used for a product is more important than product-specific information and ratings and reviews. With findings like these, it’s clear that a blog needs visual content in addition to literature.

3. You are Not Publishing Content that’s Helpful Enough

The next consideration is that even if you create and publish amazing blog posts, not all amazing blog posts are created equal. For example, interviews often make for more interesting, engaging and useful blog posts. Lists posts are also usually favorites among blog readers. With blog posts, you also want them to be as helpful and resourceful as possible so back up any claim you make with credible links and references. Another thing that works like magic in keeping your readers on your blog longer and making them like you more is adding a related posts widget below each of your posts. Read more

8 Considerations to Build a Website With Maximum SEO Potential

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When building a website from scratch, to make it both usable for visitors and optimized for the major search engines like Google, Yahoo! and Bing for good visibility, findability and traffic, some SEO components need to be incorporated into the design of the site and its architecture right from the get-go. Sure you can develop a website without SEO strategies in place and later optimize it but it’s most efficient to do it from the beginning. It’s like building a house with hardwood floors and taupe paint with the intention to later change it to carpet flooring and olive green paint. Changes can of course be made but it will eat up additional time and resources.

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With each passing year, companies increasingly understand the importance of sound SEO strategies for the successful online performance of websites. After all, your website could be the sleekest and prettiest of all websites but if it is not structured properly and ergo doesn’t rank well up the SERPs, what’s the point?

8 SEO components to incorporate into the design and architecture of a website from the very beginning

1. Avoid “code bloat” by keeping the website layout as simple as possible

With HTML and CSS, there are a thousand and one ways to achieve any result you want but that does not necessarily mean that all the solutions are created equal. To avoid “code bloat”, keep the layout of your website as simple as possible and avoid using unnecessary code. You may think the extra code is harmless as long as the website looks good for users but this is not the case. For a start, simple code is recommended because it is more likely to work in different browsers. Then of course unnecessary code means bigger files and therefore slower page load times as well as increased chances of crawling issues.

2. Use simple-to-understand URLs

URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors. So if you’re trying to determine what type of URL structure to use with your new website, remember that visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs. Search engines like Google are good at crawling all types of URL structures but making your URLs as simple as possible is a good SEO practice because they clearly convey the subject matter of your content.

3. Keep your website navigation simple and descriptive

When building a new website, a key consideration is keeping the navigation structure simple and efficient to make it easy for visitors as well as the search engines to follow. In fact, many eye-tracking and usability studies have shown that the best positions for a website’s main navigation menu is either across the top of the page or vertically down the left side.

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