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.


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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9 Simple Ways to Create Content that aren’t Blogposts


When people think content production, it’s an instinct thing to want to start writing right away. While that’s understandable, at some point though, you will need to define why you create content and what you’re trying to achieve with it. These decisions do two things:

– They give your content focus and clarity

– They make you a content publishing guru


At the end of the day, producing and publishing content is a way to build relationships and a community around your business so people feel loyal to you. It’s a strategy for becoming recognized as a thought leader in your industry. And you want the content you create to achieve those goals be it:

  1. Prospecting; generating leads for follow-up
  2. Sales
  3. Marketing; generating interest in your business
  4. PR; building a public opinion about your products
  5. Customer support
  6. And/or thought leadership

When you are just starting out with content marketing, it makes sense to start with a blog. But as you then gain expertise, you can add one or two new types of content. The important thing to remember is you want the type of content you’re creating to check two boxes.

Ask yourself:

  1. Is it something easy to create?
  2. Will your audience appreciate information in that format?

The different types of content

Not including blog posts…

1. Video

With online video quickly becoming the preferred medium for people to satisfy their information and entertainment needs, small businesses failing to include it in their marketing strategies will do so at their peril. If you wish to increase the online visibility and impact of your business, you want a presence on video-hosting and sharing websites like YouTube and Vimeo. The common practice among marketers now is to upload videos to YouTube and these are then re-posted on their blogs. Others create a video blog, or vlog housed on YouTube.

2. Podcasts

It’s a fact of life now that different people consume content in different ways and as a business, you want to get your message and brand out there across multiple channels. Podcasts serve the purpose of adding variety to the mostly text-based content strategy that most businesses use. Podcasts are often published on iTunes, Stitcher Radio or Blubrry. Their appeal lies in the fact that you can listen to them any time, anywhere whether you’re driving to work, riding in a train or even just sitting on the couch in your living room.

3. Webinars

Next up, let’s talk about webinars. As part of your content marketing strategy, you can host webinars and present information to a live audience. You can then use any recording of the event and slides that you used as content on your website, in newsletters and on your product pages.

4. Speeches, workshops & interviews

Marketers, particularly B2B marketers, have, for the last couple of years, struggled with the fact that content is now the key that unlocks all other marketing channels. And fair enough! Sharing quality content makes email messages more likely to be opened and social media more engaging. Workshops and interviews, when implemented correctly, promote both thought leadership and brand awareness.

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9 Triggers to Spark Ideas for Great Content

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Content marketing is helping businesses generate website traffic, online visibility and ultimately, sales leads. And as we proceed through 2014, good content will continue to be a key part of effective online marketing. As a business, we all know that running a blog is perhaps the central pivot around which content marketing revolves. The challenge is to know what to write about everyday but that’s how frequently you should generate content.


Do you often wonder, “What do I blog about today?”  Do you often have trouble coming up with fresh and interesting ideas for what would make great content for your audience?

We’ve got your back! Today we’ll talk about 9 amazing triggers to spark ideas and inspiration for valuable content.

1. Use Google’s Keyword Suggestions Tool

When you type in a search phrase in Google’s search box, a list of suggested keywords and phrases is produced (at the bottom of the results page). The search suggestions can sometimes provide you with valuable insights as to what people in your marketplace are searching for, and more importantly, what words they are using to search for what they need.

Useful tip:

In the Google search box, try using words like ‘tutorial’ or ‘how to’ in front of your usual set of keywords. This will help you figure out what your audience might need help with and you can then use this information to provide real value and expert information to your readers.

2. Go to

Soovle is another search engine that utilizes keywords to return results to its users. The difference is: In contrast to Google and some of the other search engines out there, Soovle filters results and gives keyword suggestions acquired from these 7 sources: Google, Yahoo, Bing, Answers, Wikipedia, Amazon and Youtube.

3. Try Quora

Websites such as, Yahoo Answers and Quora provide a platform for netizens to ask for and receive specific information. Let’s take Quora for example. Take one look at Quora, and you’ll immediately see the potential there when it comes to finding something to write about for your blog. Quora is a platform with a HUGE collection of queries on all topics imaginable. Check out questions related to your industry and answer them in the form of a post on your blog.

4. Don’t Forget about the Social Media Networks

Mingle with your audience on the different social networks.  And not only because social signals are now important ranking factors in Google’s search algorithm but also because this is perhaps one of the best ways for you to learn more about your customers and potential customers and what it is they are looking for in a product or service in your marketplace. Engage in healthy conversation and ask them about what they would like to know about your industry. From the information you get, you can derive new and great ideas for content from the questions and opinions of your fans and followers on the social networks.

5. Check Out Other Blogs in Your Niche

It’s all about keeping an eye on what your contemporaries and competitors are doing! You see, reading blogs that are related to your industry is an absolute must if you run a business blog. Many bloggers write about trending topics. Every now and then, you could find inspiration for a blog post in what others choose to write about.

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5 Tips to Power up Your Content Marketing

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In 2014, we can see a fusion of what would have been considered a few years ago to be separate techniques. For example: social and search engine marketing. They are converging to become one. Another strategy that’s tending to fuse with that mix is content marketing.


If you want to thrive (or even just barely stay!) in business in the coming months and years, we strongly recommend you to get started with content marketing if you haven’t already.

In this article, we will be sharing 5 components that can make content marketing an investment or a waste (if they are missing!).

Know Your Audience

Even if you cater to a broad range of customers, you need to know who you want to target when writing any and every piece of content.

Nike for example has several Twitter accounts targeting different segments of its audience (nikebasketball, nikefootball, nikerunning, nikegolf, niketennis, etc.) This allows the brand to publish highly targeted pieces of content.

Get to know your audience. Find out what they are interested in, the language they use, etc. (this is where niche forums help!). With this information, you’ll be able to create content that resonates with your readers. Skip this, and you are risking writing or paying for content that is only going to get a couple of views, when it could be getting hundreds or thousands with a little research.

Ask Them to Participate!

A fancy term to describe that would be “User-Generated Content”. Encourage that. Tell them to ask questions. Ask them questions and for their feedback. Make a survey. Do contests. Provide an easy-to-see link on your page where they can contact you to make a guest post.

A lot of sites run almost exclusively on user-generated content. You don’t have to be one of them, but making it simple for your audience to contribute to your content can’t hurt, can it?

Focus on Quality

Quality is one of those things that just keeps gaining more and more importance with time. Search engines and social networks spend millions of dollars on building algorithms that specifically find quality content.

If you intend to be in business long-term, your investment in quality content now will pay off for a long, long time to come, starting today.

Invest (time or money or both) in writing awesome blog posts, remarkable articles, kick-ass e-books and doing extraordinary webinars.

Quality encourages shares, signups, and purchases (We rarely buy when we are not impressed. What about you?)

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New Site? Here Is How You Can Get Noticed

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Gone are the days when you could just run link pyramids combined with a few Scrapebox blasts to get a site ranking high up in a matter of weeks. Ever since the Panda update, things have been very difficult for those who used to rely on ‘grey’ methods to rank in Google search.


Nowadays, in addition to link building you need to build genuine connections with others in your niche and get talked about in social circles. Thankfully, there are some easy legit ways, using which you can get a new website ranking and gain a loyal following over the course of time.

Good Content

The number 1 reason why someone comes to your website is for the content. So it’s crucial that you decide on the kind of content your site will be comprised of. Do you plan to be a simple aggregator for others’ flagship content? Or maybe it’s your aim to be an (original) authority site in your niche?

Once you have decided upon your approach it’s time to make a posting schedule. Your website won’t get on page 1 of Google in a week. This is a long-term process and there’s no reason why your content-posting schedule shouldn’t be one too. You don’t want to choke readers with too much content but at the same time you don’t want to go for days without new posts being updated. Apart from building a loyal readership, regular content posting also lets Google see your site as a continuous source of unique content. This most certainly helps in getting your site ranking high in the SERPS.

No matter what kind of content posting frequency you want to adopt, it’s important to constantly brainstorm for ideas. Here’s a little secret: top bloggers don’t wake up every morning and spend hours thinking about ‘what to write today’. Most professional writers have an idea bank in place, which they normally spread around their schedule. A good idea is to have an excel sheet where you and any of your co-writers can jolt down all your ideas.

The timing of posting content is very important too. Take Bleacher report for example, chance are you’ve already heard of it but if you haven’t it’s a vast network of sports blogs that are popular with fans of all kinds. A successful Bleacher report blog will always make new posts around the day of a game. Similarly, an Apple fan blog will increase the frequency of their posting once the WWDC comes around. Timing is very important.

Be Social

It’s a no brainer in today’s world that having a social presence is imperative. However most people do it the wrong way. They start social accounts and set them to auto post, mostly via an automated plugin.

Instead of doing this, try using your website’s social profiles, like you would your personal ones. Use them to strike conversations with others, post other interesting content you find on the Internet and to promote other writers whose stuff you find interesting. Starting with zero followers & likes can be difficult but don’t forget that even the biggest of accounts started from scratch.

Value-add Bookmarking

When we talk about social bookmarking we are not referring to running automated software and bookmarking every new blog post to 100’s of sites. That doesn’t serve any purpose anymore.

The post-Panda social bookmarking serves two purposes. First, it brings a decent amount of traffic, which in the initial stages of a new website is a welcome sight and secondly, bookmarking gets your site in front of a new audience and goes a long way in establishing your site’s brand value.

However there are 2 things you need for this to work. First is good content. If your content isn’t interesting, no one is going to share it. Second- use your bookmarking account for what it was intended for- for bookmarking interesting things on the Internet. Don’t just restrict it to promoting only your own website. Other users can see this and once they realize that you’re just interested in marketing your own site, they will quickly move on. No one likes to be manipulated, especially on the Internet.

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How to Use Your Blog to Generate Traffic, Leads and Sales

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So blogging is not working for you. That makes you one of the thousands of people who blog but fail to find success in what they are doing- lead generation in the online world of today.


This begs the question…why?

In effect, there are 3 reasons why blogging is not working as an inbound marketing tactic for a huge percentage of businesses (assuming you are doing everything else right- creating quality content and doing good networking).

1. Content Saturation Index

In marketing, Content Saturation Index (CSI) is explained as follows: The more content an industry/niche has written about it, the harder it is for a blog to make headway and find success in that field. Conversely, when an industry has very little written about it, it is not hard for someone to rise above the noise because there is no noise. Any keyword phrase you might want to target to generate organic traffic will most probably be up for the taking.

2. Terrible Blog Titles

When it comes to blogging, one of the most important practices is to always make sure that your blog posts have the most accurate, sexy and SEO-optimized titles. Always start with a working title that you then modify to make sure 1) it sets the right expectations, 2) it pops, for example, by using strong phrases or having some fun with alliteration and 3) it is optimized for SEO without compromising clarity.

3. Poor Targeting of Specific Industries

Let’s take the example of 3 blog posts with the titles:

– Blog post 1: How to lose weight?

– Blog post 2: How to lose 10 lbs.?

– Blog post 3: How to lose 10 lbs. in 14 days or less?

These blog posts go from good to better to best in terms of targeting. Up until a few years ago, blog post 1 would have done fine in the weight loss industry but with more and more blogs popping up daily, lead generation is incredibly tough in this saturated industry and industry targeting is very necessary for marketers.

How to Generate Leads using Blogging

1.Write Useful Content

More often than not, marketers create content just for the sake of it. With increasing pressure from the ominous search engine giant, Google, to constantly create unique and quality content, marketers sometimes fail to realize that, at the end of the day, their job description is to generate leads and unless they are creating content to that end, any content they create is basically…useless. People love Hubspot’s blog because it constantly produces quality content that marketers can read and use. You need to do the same. You need to create content that empowers your readers: it needs to either solve a problem or teach them how to do something new.

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How to Make Your Website SEO-Friendly | A Developer’s Guide

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It’s hard to find technical SEO information over the web. This cheat sheet is aimed at helping web developers new to search engine optimization with improving their sites’ interaction with both search engines and users. The SEO best practices outlined below apply to sites of all sizes and types and will make your website easier to crawl and index. After all, search engine optimization often boils down to making small modifications to different parts of your website. When combined with other optimizations, these changes improve your site’s user experience and subsequently its performance in the organic search results.


1. The Importance of Unique and Accurate Page Titles

For each page on your website, indicate the page title with a title tag. A tittle tag serves to tell both users of your site and the search engines what topic the page covers. Ideally, you need a unique title for each page. The title for your homepage can be your business name and include other important bits of information such as a physical location or a few of your main business focuses.

SEO Best Practices:

– Choose a title that accurately describes the topic of the page’s content.

– Each page should have a unique title tag.

– Use brief but informative titles.

2. A Page’s Meta Description Tag

A page’s meta description tag summarizes what the page is about. It can be one-sentence long or it can be a short paragraph. Like the page’s title tag, the meta description tag also goes in the <head> tag of your HTML document. Meta descriptions tags are important for pages on a website because these are often used as snippets for the pages by Google.

SEO Best Practices:

– Use a description that accurately summarizes the content on a page.

– Use a unique description for each page.

3. Mind the Structure of Your URLs

Organizing the documents on your website under descriptive categories and file names keeps your website tidy and it helps Google better crawl the documents. It also creates simple-to-understand and user-friendly URLs. A URL that contains relevant words provides users and the search engines with information about the page unlike oddly named parameters. Also remember that the URL to a document is displayed as part of a Google search result.

SEO Best Practices:

– Use URLs with words and not session IDs and other unfriendly parameters.

– It’s advisable to use hyphens to separate words as they’re treated as spaces by the search engines, .e.g. homes-for-sale.html

– Use a simple directory structure to organize the content on your site.

– Provide only one URL to access a specific document to avoid splitting the reputation of that content.

4. Navigation is Important

The importance of the navigation of a website is two-fold: to help visitors find their way around the website and for the search engines to understand what content is more important to the webmaster. Plan the navigation of your website based on your home or “root” page, the starting place of navigation for many visitors.

SEO Best Practices:

– Develop a naturally flowing hierarchy for your content from general content to increasingly more specific documents.

– Control most of the navigation on your site through text links. Avoid navigation based entirely on javascript based drop-down menus – you’re alright if the dropdown menu is CSS based and can be navigated by the search engines.

– You need an HTML site map page and an XML Sitemap file.

– You need a custom 404 page for the occasional user who lands on a page of your site that does not exist.

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