Directory Maximizer

The Most Critical SEO Elements for 2014

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These days, many webmasters are finding it difficult to figure out what’s still relevant for SEO and what’s no longer important. Two of the main components of a strong SEO strategy remain the same: 1) to publish high-quality content that gets read and 2) get linked to by as many people as possible. Translation: Quality content and inbound links.

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But this year, a third key element joined the ranks of these two components and that’s social media! Social media wasn’t around when SEO first developed into an industry; it only became a factor in the ranking algorithm in recent years. Today social media is a means to increase shareability, distribution and reach of content and this, in turn, provides readers and search engines alike with new data to assess quality.

So the 3 key elements to building a strong SEO campaign in 2014, irrespective of industry include:

1. Content strategy

2. Inbound links

3. Social media

Is Content Really King?

“Content marketing” is beginning to replace the term “SEO”. It’s no longer enough to simply have an SEO strategy. In the wake of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates, many of the once-popular SEO tactics that used to work no longer do.

“Content is king” is a mantra that is probably repeated more often than any other in the world of SEO. As such, business owners should continue to focus on creating high-quality content guided by solid keyword research. A solid content marketing strategy not only aims to build your business exposure and visibility for many keywords, it also aims to build brand awareness, authority and credibility as well as social media awareness and conversion rates.

Are Links Still the Primary Ranking Factor?

With Google stepping up its efforts to penalize link networks and those who buy and sell links, how important are backlinks to Google’s search algorithm? Have backlinks lost their importance for ranking purposes?

In his Webmaster help video published on May 5, 2014, Matt Cutts shared:

“I think backlinks still have many, many years left in them”

Cutts said links help Google figure out the reputation of a site or pages. But Google also wants to give more weight to pages written by experts. So this means that authority will become even more crucial for websites and in the coming months and years, website owners are going to see an even greater emphasis in the value of authorship.

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Streamline Your SEO With These 5 Strategies

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In 2000, ‘keyword stuffing’ was an SEO technique that worked. In 2010, using ‘spun articles’ could still con the search engines. In 2011, a spammy link was still considered to be a vote for a web page.

Every business owner, webmaster, search engine optimizer and marketer needs to be aware that SEO in 2013 is very different from the how it was in the previous years.

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If you want to siphon quality traffic from the search engines, you will have to learn how to work with them(instead of against them). This article shares SEO techniques that are really search engine friendly. Do not be afraid to incorporate them as part of your strategy, as no update will ever wipe them out.

Directory Submissions

directory submissionNote: We are not talking about article directories. We actually advise against using them.

Here, we are referring to web directories. These are online directories that categorize businesses and links based on their nature.

Make sure to only submit your website to quality directories; you don’t want the search engine crawlers to find your website on directories that link to spammy websites, or low quality directories that cannot be bothered to place different businesses under the correct directory.

It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can either spend a couple of hours per week to do it yourself, or use a directory submission service that will do it for you on a monthly basis (prices usually start under $14-$15).

Guest Posting guest-blogging

Guest posting is a practice that you need to start if you haven’t already. The highest quality links are those are located within relevant content, on related websites (which is why article directories don’t work that well; they are about everything!).

Basically you contact bloggers in your niche, telling them that you would like to write a high quality article for their blog readers, and that in return, there would be a few links pointing back to your pages and websites.

It usually helps including the following in your request:

  • How much you like their website and why
  • How you found them
  • Why they will want your article as a post on their blog (examples of your work, the response you generate in social media, etc.)
  • How many links you intend to have in your article
  • The word count you are suggesting, and if they deem another length would be better, how much?

Going Social

social mediaSocial signals are slowly (but steadily) playing an increasing role in search engine rankings. It seems that Google is able to measure the level of activity in terms of Likes, Shares, +1s, Repins, Retweets, etc.

It makes sense, as if something is generating a response in social media, it has to be something that people are connecting with.

It can get overwhelming, as different social networks function differently, and there can be a learning curve when it comes to knowing how the different audience on the different networks respond. The solution? Start with 1 social network. Get the feel of it. See what the other business pages are doing to generate buzz. Or hire an expert to do it for you.

Content Marketingcontent marketing

Quality content keeps rising with each and every update. Why? Because good content gets people to talk about you on their blogs (i.e. natural link building) and gets people to Like and Tweet about your stuff (i.e. social signals).

It’s basically SEO as it should be.

Invest in good content (time or money – or both). It’s not only about SEO. This will also get people to

  • Come to your website from other places
  • Stay on your website to browse other pages for more content
  • Sign up to your list for ‘Insider content’ and ‘Updates’
  • Buy your stuff (or the stuff you are recommending) because if your free content is awesome, what sorcery might you be sharing in your paid products?

Internal Linking

Internal Linking StructureA lot of people cannot be bothered to spend some time on their internal linking. It bugs me. We all know how Wikipedia ranks among the top 3 for a loooooot of terms. Every single informative article on Wikipedia is full of links pointing to other pages within the domain. Their strong internal linking structure and their good rankings, is certainly not a coincidence.

Creating a good internal linking structure shows that you know what your website is about; it shows that your website is themed.

Spend some time to interlink your new articles with relevant anchor texts that point to your existing articles. And if you really want to go all-out, do that for your already published articles as well. Take my word for it, big G WILL notice!

Making a Guest Post Is More Than Just Writing A Good Email

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Guest posting is a great way to generate traffic and quality backlinks at the same time. However, it can be easy to mess things up (and get rejected!) if you are doing things “on the fly”, or without proper planning.

Guest Blogging

Whether you are new to this guest posting thing, or an intermediate poster, this article will help you better stay organized and increase your chances of getting a positive response from prospective bloggers.

Writing a good email

Just writing a generic email and sending it to everyone won’t work with the quality blogs. They receive a lot of requests on a daily basis, and if you want them to even consider having your post on their blog, you will have to stand out. These few tips below might help with that.

First, you need to make it a bit more “personal”. Blogs do not become successful on their own. It certainly won’t hurt if you let the bloggers know which one of their posts is your favorite one. Also mention how you first came across their blog (Search? Facebook?), and how you keep visiting because of all the cool posts. After all, bloggers are human beings too.

Next, you need to let them know that they can choose a topic of their liking. You can also suggest 2 – 3 ideas, but it’s always good to let them know that you are flexible if they would like you to write about something else.

Give them links to your other guest posts, or if you do not have any, send them samples of your writing (within the niche!).

Oh, and one thing that can destroy all your chances of appearing on their blog is an email full of mistakes (or even an email that just doesn’t sound right). Make sure you check, and cross-check that your email is short, to-the-point, readable, and mistake-free.

Let them know that you are listening, in case they have any question or request. Give them a couple of ways to contact you (whichever is easier for them).

Make it easy for them to publish your article. If you don’t know how to display lines of codes on a page under your domain, at least send them a text file with everything necessary (include all HTML tags; especially <a href>). They are more likely to publish your article (and they will do it faster) if all they have to do is to copy and paste.

Prioritize blogs

If you are contacting multiple blog owners (if you are not, you should!), you need to list them in order of importance.

This is because you will likely need to come up with slightly different blog ideas for each blog, even if you are in the same niche. Prioritization allows you to know where to devote more time to research topics appropriate for their audience.

So if you have a list of 20 blogs, you can spend one day to contact the 5 most important ones with alluring proposals, and then you can spend less time for the other blogs (10 the next day, and 5 the following).

There are several tools that can help you with that. If you work alone, Excel might work for you. Or if you are a team working from different locations, you may want to turn to Google Docs.

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Pros & Cons Of Accepting Guest Posts On Your Website

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We know that it’s an honorable feeling (or simply an ego boost) when you get contacted for a guest post, especially the first few times. However, it’s not a reason to just say “Yes!” and start publishing whatever comes your way.

Before doing that, you may want to consider the pros and cons of guest posting. We will present these below.

We will also share an easy to implement strategy that will encourage people who want to make a guest post on your blog to contact you.

Guest Blogging Service

Pros

More time for other areas of your business

Publishing a guest post means that you have the time to focus on other aspects of your business (instead of writing and proof-reading an article of your own).

You could be working on your actual marketing or the creation of more landing pages for example.

Taking advantage of the expertise of others

This is not to say that you are bad at what you do! But we have to admit that we are not extremely good at EVERY SINGLE aspect of our respective niches.

A good example of that would be the fitness niche. I might be good at making posts about working out to build muscles. However, if I’m less good at nutrition and fat loss, I could use the help of experts in the field to make guest posts on my blog (or I could spend the time to research and write something myself).

The benefit of accepting guest posts here is not only saving time, but also piggybacking on others’ knowledge, and increasing the reach of the audience.

Greater authority

Do you know what has more effect than seeing 1 celebrity in a restaurant? It’s seeing 2 celebrities in a restaurant!

While your readers might already see you as an authority figure in your niche, having other big names on your blog will definitely boost that image higher up. After all, high value people have high value friends, right?

Of course, this works in your favor only if you let high value people in on your blog. Else it ruins the point.

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12 Step Guide to Having an Authoritative Brand Presence Online

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Authority BloggingHow often have you visited a site directly without having to go through Google? If you have, then those sites have successfully managed to create an authoritative brand online, such that you didn’t feel the need to search for them but instead to go directly to their site.

Having an authority site that people respect will mean you’re doing things that will invariably also help with your SEO efforts. Search engines like Google and Bing go beyond just looking at links and also look at certain credibility factors, like how and where you’re mentioned online. Being mentioned on prominent sites online will only happen when you’ve established a certain amount of authority. So building an authoritative brand online is important if you want to be successful online.

Foundations: Building Your Brand

Building your brand

To start with, you need to get the fundamentals of your brand firmly established. These are some of the most important things to do to build a strong foundation for your brand.

Demonstrate Expertise

In order for people to trust you, you need to prove yourself as an expert. Teach people things they didn’t know before; and make sure it’s not just rehashed content. Share things you’ve learned from personal experience.

Establish Trust

Some say success on the internet is all about trust. Trust means people know who you are, they trust you to deliver on what you say you will and they trust your character. They need to believe that you’re looking out for their best interests.

Have a Consistent Message

You can’t build a brand if you’re always flipflopping on your message. This is one of the main reasons why McDonalds’ brand today is so poor: They started as a family restaurant, then “loved to see you smile,” then at one point even tried to brand themselves as healthy by offering salads. In reality, McDonalds’ brand is unhealthy fast food, in part because they didn’t manage their brand consistently.

Solve Problems

Helping others solve problems is a surefire way to build your brand. If people are having trouble finding deals on hardware, point them to a resource. If people are having trouble using a new marketing tactic, do a special post. Figure out what people’s problems are and help solve them.

Let Yourself Show Through

People love it when real personality shines through. Don’t be afraid to say what you’re really thinking and to say what’s real and authentic. There’s a ring of truth that people can hear when you’re showing your real personality. That ring of truth helps build trust and establishes connection.

Help Others Succeed

Go out of your way to help not just your customers, but other business people. When you help other people succeed, they’ll return the favor at some point in the future.

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Easy 8 Step Process for Landing Quality Guest Post Opportunities

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Guest PostGuest blogging is today one of the most powerful ways to get backlinks, to build a rock solid reputation and to get pre-sold traffic to your website. Many of the old marketing tactics like article marketing have simply died out. Today, if you want to get traffic and links, you really need to create real valuable content and get it distributed.

How do you use guest blogging effectively? Just follow eight steps.

Step #1: Discover the Right Blogs Finding the right blog

The first thing you should do is look for and discover blogs that you may want to guest write for.

Use Google’s “blog” search (on the left) to look for blogs specifically. Look for blogs in your market, as well as peripheral markets. If you have a blog on fishing for example, you might also look for wildlife blogs that have an interest in fishing.

Step #2: Rank the Blogs by Value

Rank the blogs Will getting a guest post up on this blog help you? There are a few ways to determine this.

First, plug the blog into Compete and Google Ad Planner. How much traffic do these services think the blog has? Often time’s for smaller blogs, these tools won’t have any data. Use tools like Open Site Explorer and Alexa to try and get a sense for the reputability of the site and how much traffic it gets.

Take a look at how many comments the blog has on a typical post. Do they have an active audience? Try to only spend time on blogs that are actually read.

Step #3: Figure out Your Proposition

What exactly can you offer this blog owner? How can you benefit their audience?

Try and write a concise yet hard hitting value proposition. Convey how committed you are to providing great content. Then finish with a few guest post ideas for them to consider.

Write from a “what I can do for you” perspective rather than a “why I’d like to guest post for you” perspective.

Step #4: Add a Personal Touch

Mass sent messages almost never work. Instead, you want to send a message that really gives them the sense that you took the time to read their site, get to know their audience and offer something valuable.

Browse some of their latest articles. Read the site and get to know the site’s personality.

Then when you write your email, make sure you say something that shows that you’ve really taken the time to understand them.

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