All posts by Marcela De Vivo

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5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Have you been wondering how to start owning Google’s featured snippets for your brand?

If you’d like to earn those coveted “position 0” spots, you need to start by understanding what featured snippets are and how to earn them. By earning featured snippets, you can increase web traffic, boost visibility in Google SERPs, and earn the credibility you deserve.

The first, and most important, step in earning featured snippets is understanding how to identify “snippable” opportunities.  Once you know how to find them, you can craft the rest of your strategy around maximizing these opportunities.

In this article, I’ll go over five ways to identify featured snippet opportunities.

Use Google to identify potential snippets

Start looking for snippet opportunities by putting yourself in your audience’s shoes and thinking what questions you may want answers for.  Even boring industries have a large range of opportunities to answer questions in the featured snippets.

For instance, let’s say you are in the diamond industry. The very nature of this industry is filled with terminology people will search to get information about.

Doing a quick Google search like, “What is a girdle on a diamond” will showcase a Google featured snippet.

Hopefully the showcased content is yours. Under the snippet you will sometimes see a helpful note from Google, “People also ask.”

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

These are the pressing questions your target audience wants answers for. You can dig a little deeper and even see who has the leading content for that question based query.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Now that you see a few competitors, you can try to steal their snippet with a little more research and some snippable optimization.

Use SEMrush to snag competitor featured snippets

SEMrush is one of the most used online platforms for site analytics, and also a useful tool to identify Google Featured Snippets. You can use SEMrush to find your snippets, or use the platform to find your competitors’ snippets as well.

To check out your snippets, do an “Organic Research” search for your domain:

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Next, locate “Featured Snippet” on the right side of the page.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

You can also filter your snippable keywords using the “Advanced Filters” option, choosing Include – SERP Features – Featured Snippets.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Once you’d identified snippets that your competitors rank for, you can optimize for those same terms.

As for identifying your own snippets, it allows you to find variations of relevant long tail keywords that you could also own, and find keyword clusters that you already have authority in and might be able to expand upon.

Look for questions on Quora

Given that the foundation of these snippets is answering who, what, why, when, where type questions, you’ll need inspiration for finding the questions your audience is asking.

To do so, you can use Q&A platforms like Quora to find them. This will help you compile a healthy list of potential blog topics for your Featured Snippet content marketing campaign.

For instance, let’s say you were a travel site looking to compete with Kayak, Expedia, and other dominating brands.

Type in a quick question with a few of your keywords:

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

A nice dropdown of questions to choose from will suddenly appear right from the get-go, even before finishing your question.

You can also type in one or two keywords and find groups that may have snippet-worthy questions waiting for you to develop content around.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Once in the group, you can poke around, follow certain questions. You can also find a nice list of other groups to the right you may want to check out.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Next, you can use the on-page elements to optimize for the snippets as described here.

Find segmented questions on Answer the Public

Did you know that certain question words have a higher likelihood of being showcased as a snippet? That’s right: the question in question matters.

According to research by SEMrush, question based queries that begin with “how” or “what” are more snippable than when, where, why, and who.

This is valuable knowledge to have, but where do you find questions segmented into those respectable question words fast? Well, Answer the Public to the rescue.

Let’s say you want to earn a few SEO content snippets.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Your search results for SEO will yield a ton of questions you can use for content. The best part is that you can focus on the “how” and “what” questions to increase your Featured Snippet chances.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Find a variety of questions on Reddit

If you are searching for a wide range of questions for your daily blog, Reddit can be very useful. This online platform offers valuable insight for what questions are trending.

First, you will need to access the “askreddit” section of the platform:

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Once you are there, you can use the search feature to further segment your search based on your industry. Focus on generic keywords in order to get relevant questions.

5 ways to identify potential featured snippets to rank for

Once you’ve identified the questions, you can then focus on optimizing for those searches.

Ready for position zero?

Identifying potential Featured Snippet opportunities is the first step towards earning those coveted position ones. Make a list of all the question based queries you find using the above strategies, and begin optimizing your snippable content today.

How do you find featured snippet opportunities?

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How to optimize your content for Q&As

Google is perpetually improving its understanding of natural language. Google Featured Snippets and the rise of voice search optimization has made optimizing your content for question based queries more important than ever.

You may have seen these Featured Snippets pop up in position zero after asking or typing a question in Google’s search bar. The benefit of earning a snippet is now clear to businesses and brands. In fact, Google Featured Snippets have an estimated worth of $3 million dollars, according to snippet research presented by Rob Bucci.

We all know what a snippet is…

How to optimize your content for Q&As

How do you get a snippet for your site, product, service, or blog content?

The quick answer: Optimize your content for Q&A’s. However, there are no guarantees – even Google noted that there is no simple way to mark a page for a Featured Snippet:

How to optimize your content for Q&As

Google’s Featured Snippet support page explains that, “What’s different with a featured snippet is that it is enhanced to draw user attention on the results page. When we recognize that a query asks a question, we programmatically detect pages that answer the user’s question, and display a top result as a featured snippet in the search results.”

People are searching with more LSI question-based queries to find exactly what they want answers for. Knowing where to find the questions your target audience is asking, and how to answer those questions to help Google choose your content for position zero, is essential.

Let’s take a deeper look into the “HOW” behind Q&A content optimization for your next Featured Snippet.

 

1. Use Google to Your Advantage

Finding the questions searchers want answers for is simpler than you may think. In fact, Google will often provide a nice selection of alternatives when you search a query you think your target audience might use.

Remember this snippet from above? Sometimes, but not always, Google will display a list of “People will also ask” questions for you to draw from.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

This is an excellent starting point for your question-based query research. As you click on each of these results, new questions may appear, until Google runs out of that cluster of related question data.

Another way you can use Google to help find appropriate questions around is to look at the LSI keywords at the bottom of SERPs.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

You can usually find one or more question queries to investigate there. For instance, clicking on “what is seo and how it works.”

How to optimize your content for Q&As

This will return another SERP Google Featured Snippet with even more question based queries.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

This takes you even further down the Featured Snippet rabbit hole, allowing you to build a healthy list to use as a foundation for creating ‘snippable’ content.

But Google isn’t your only resource . . .

 

2. Use Other Tools and Platforms

Google is not the only place to find Q&As to optimize content around. There are a few other useful sites and platforms that will assist you in building your question based query list.

Quora

Quora is all about asking and answering questions. You can use this online platform to see what people really want answer for in your niche. It is also extremely easy to use.

First, type in your niche in the search bar . . .

How to optimize your content for Q&As

This will take you to your niche’s board.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

You will see the number of people following the topic and have more options listed for you to browse questions your target audience may be asking. You can also simply scroll down and get an idea of the latest questions being asked.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

Create a database of potential questions on Quora that you can answer on your own website.

BloomBerry

Another useful online platform for finding questions for Q&A content optimization is BloomBerry.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

You can use this tool to find questions in your niche, questions people are asking about products that may be similar to yours, as well as questions people are asking about your competitors.

Now that you have a few online spaces to find the questions your audience wants answers for, it is time to begin optimizing your Q&A content marketing initiative.

 

3. Optimize Content Around Popular Question Words

For obvious reasons, you want to begin your content using the question you aim to answer. This tells Google that you are indeed offering up an exceptional answer that is worth a Featured Snippet.

The How, What, Where, When, Who, and Why words need to be in your heading tags. Why? Google likes snippable content easy and concise.

If you are wondering which question keywords you should focus on, those question based queries beginning with “How” and “What” have the highest search volumes.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

4. Optimize Content with a FAQ Page

You may have content optimized for Google Featured Snippets, but you simply aren’t getting the position zero results you hoped for. One way you can improve your chances is to improve search with a FAQ page.

Chances are, you are answering key questions your audience wants answers for. By creating a FAQ page with these timely questions can add value to your overall user experience, as well as maximize position zero chances.

Round up the articles that answer question based queries and create a FAQ landing page with outbound links to each of those articles.

Google can also draw snippable content from your FAQ page like this example from Stanford University . . .

How to optimize your content for Q&As

And its corresponding Google Featured Snippet . . .

How to optimize your content for Q&As

 

5. Snippable On-Page Optimization

If you still haven’t started your snippet campaign quite yet, there are a few important on-page optimization techniques you can easily employ to boost your position zero success.

Heading Tags

When developing your content for a Featured Snippet, begin with headings. Your Question based query should be in an h1 or h2 tag.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

Paragraph Tags

Next is your body text under the question based query heading. This text should be in a paragraph (<p>) tag.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

Word Count

Research on Google Featured Snippets has found a correlation between word count and position zero. An analysis by SEMrush found that 40 to 50 words is the sweet spot for snippets.

How to optimize your content for Q&As

How to optimize your content for Q&As

Try Different Formats

Google Featured Snippets come in a variety of formats. There is the traditional paragraph snippet, as well as bulleted snippets, table snippets, numbered snippets, “steps” and “rules” snippets, and even charts and graphs.

Charts and graphs

How to optimize your content for Q&As

In the chart above, Brilliance created a simple diamond size chart to show the difference between MM size and Carat weight, which Google picked up the first few rows.

Numbered format

How to optimize your content for Q&As

In the example above, Yoas has a number list with simple, short items, and people can click on “More items” to view the rest.

You get the idea. Paragraph snippets are often the easiest, but if you have a great step-by-step article you would like to optimize for Q&A content, give it a try.

 

Are You Ready to Optimize for Position Zero?

Intelligent marketers will start creating a Q&A optimization strategy, given the trend towards natural language processing, voice search, and Google’s quest to bring the world’s knowledge to people’s fingers right from the search results page.

By earning the snippet, you are giving people the information they want right away, which results in them clicking through to learn more and gaining trust over your information. It’s a powerful strategy that all marketers should be bringing into their mix.

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8 ways of using collaborative tools to effectively manage remote teams

The remote workforce is growing exponentially. Corporate global companies and first year startups are all turning to remote teams to get the job done.

The question, however, is how do you manage your remote team as effectively as your in-office team?

This is a question many CEOs, directors, and managers are facing more often as workers want remote possibilities. In fact, a Gallup survey found that 43 percent of Americans already did some remote work in 2016. This number is up from 39 percent in 2012.

Much of the shift toward remote working can in many ways be attributed to the continued rise of the mobile workforce. The advancements in mobile technology has made remote working seamless for companies and workers alike. From smartphones to tablets, remote working has become easier than ever.

The benefits of managing remote teams effectively

The value for companies taking the remote approach is also very enticing, especially when it comes to the bottom line. Most remote teams are more efficient, put in more work hours, and can decrease company overhead by millions.

Did you know that American Express saves $10 to $15 million annually in real estate costs alone due to their remote workforce?

What’s the secret? How can you build an effective and productive remote workforce of your own? They answer lays, unsurprisingly, with emerging tech that facilitates the management of remote teams. “It works best when a company has developed a plan, including the best technology to use,” Alina Tugend of The New York Times explained.

Let’s take an insider techie look at what up-and-coming collaborative technologies you can integrate into your remote plan for growth and success.

1. Use Slack

Bringing the office to your remote teams is easy with Slack. Even though Slack is a messaging app, it can serve up big time communication benefits that ultimately boost team efficiency and productivity.

Having a Slack virtual office space allows you and your remote teams to discuss projects and tasks that are organized and prioritized just for them. Your remote team can also share files, and has the capability to sync other tools with it as well.  Brent Freeman, CEO of YogaClub, shares how using Slack has enabled him to outsource work to freelancers effectively, saving significantly on overhead costs.

2. Remote team Slack apps

Slack certainly has a lot to offer when it comes to managing your remote teams. Another efficiency tool they offer for the remote workforce is team dedicated Slack apps.

You can install internal integrations exclusive to your remote teams, make messages actionable, thus increasing productivity, and define your own permission scopes for each app and user. It is also fairly easy to build a Slack app.

3. Keep up with time zones

Having remote workers or remote teams spread out all over the world can make keeping track of everyone’s time zone challenging. Luckily, you can track time zones a lot easier with online platforms like EveryTimeZone and Freckle.

These little time tech platforms allow you to quickly view the time zones of your remote teams, and the time zones of your clients. This allows you to see who’s schedule fits a client in England, or if you need to have a virtual meeting with your remote team in Spain.

4. Get Glip

Increasing productivity can often seem daunting for managers of remote teams. After all, how do you bring the in-office workflow to the virtual space? Like Google Docs, Glip can facilitate this.

It allows you and your remote teams to share documents, set up deadlines via shared calendars, share documents with clients, start a group chat, and even annotate images. Glip is also compatible with Outlook and Google Calendar.

5. Monitor your remote team

With so much on your plate as a CEO, director, or manager, managing your remote teams effectively can be difficult. What is going on with your developers in Bangladesh? What about the marketing team in Buenos Aires?

To keep track and monitor everyone you can use Hubstaff. It is hailed as one of the best remote management tools on the market. You can monitor specific team member, or entire teams in just one app.

From tracking hours worked in real time to viewing a few screenshots every so often, you can ensure productivity is at its highest. Since it is an app, you can monitor while you are mobile as well.

6. Enhance remote collaboration

When it comes to remote work, collaboration can be tough. Your team is everywhere in the world, on different schedule, living in different time zones, how can you make collaboration happen?

Using platforms like Quip is one option. Like Google Docs, but with far more collaboration capabilities. Compatible with Android and iOS, it is great for your mobile workforce as well.

You and your remote teams can mention one another in tasks and they will be pinged instantly. Team members can also collaborate via chat right in the document, making switching screens a thing of the past.

8 ways of using collaborative tools to effectively manage remote teams

7. Delegate with Asana

Asana offers up some exceptional delegation opportunities for managers of remote team members. You can create projects and organize them for specific teams. This is very helpful if you don’t feel like staying up late to send a project to your SEOs in the Philippines.

You can also use Asana with Google Docs and Dropbox to make file, image, and video sharing even easier. You can also track team progress on projects as well. There is a free option with Asana, but the paid platform may meet larger business needs better.

8. Keep everything secure with LastPass

Have you ever had a remote worker need access to a platform you use in a hurry? Did you have that user and password handy? Probably not, and this is a big issue for many remote teams.

You can have a long-winded excel sheet of usernames and passwords vulnerable to a potential cyber security attack. Or you can use LastPass. You can generate unique passwords for your remote teams and keep you and your clients’ projects safe.

There are numerous emerging technologies available online to make managing remote teams easier. The key is to find the ones that work best for you, your team, and your business. What remote management tools work best for you?

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The Guestblogalypse: How to get links without guest blogs

Guest blogs are a popular link-building strategy used by businesses all over the world.

And until recently, many were relying on guest blogging as their primary source of earned links. But a diverse link profile is essential to maintain ranking. So how can businesses achieve this?

“The landscape of SEO and link building is always changing, and today, the importance of building high-quality links has never been higher” – Paddy Moogan of Moz

Guest posts are an easy and effective way to build earned links. But on May 25 2017, Google issued a warning to sites against excessive guest posting.

“Lately we’ve seen an increase in spammy links contained in articles referred to as contributor posts, guest posts, partner posts, or syndicated posts,” Google stated.

Google even followed up with a nice list of what violates favorable link earning . . .

What are brands and businesses to do? Rely solely on natural link building through highly authoritative content? Well, this would be ideal for all. But let’s face it, this strategy may not be the most realistic given the vast amounts of content being produced daily and the difficulty of standing out from the crowd.

Guest blogging can still be a part of your link earning strategy. However, it should not be your only strategy.  It’s important to diversify your link profile so that it doesn’t constitute a large percentage of your backlink profile.

Here are a few fantastic link opportunities you can put into motion today.

 

1. Blogger reviews

If you have a product or service to leverage, you could leverage the blogger community to review your product, which can result in links. Even when bloggers disclose that you sent them free product to review, these reviews can earn in natural links when other bloggers learn about your products and decide to try, and review them!

How do you find bloggers willing to whip up a review? Use the power of Google. Let’s say your product is rugged cell phone cases. Open your Google browser and type in “cell phone case product reviews.”

The Guestblogalypse: How to get links without guest blogs

You will see a wide-ranging list of sites that have done product reviews in your market niche. You can skip the Amazon reviews and the listicles. Look for the sites that focused on one product.

The Guestblogalypse: How to get links without guest blogs

Next, begin compiling a healthy list of bloggers that you could reach out to. Your outreach email should be very short, concise, and to the point. Here is an example that has worked well in the past . . .

Hello (Blogger)

I noticed your review of (similar product) and wanted to connect. I just launched a new cell phone case that is rugged, waterproof, and great for travel and sports enthusiasts.

Presently it costs (dollar amount), but would love to send you a free phone case if you would happily review it and share it with your fans.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

(Your name, website, and contact information)

You may be wondering why there is no mention of a back link. Well, bloggers that do product and service reviews know the deal – typically there is no real surprise why you are giving them your product free, so there is no need to mention it.

 

2. HARO

HARO is a platform that provides journalists with a database of sources for stories (and an opportunity for sources to obtain media coverage).

There are some that think HARO isn’t worth the time. However, there have been instances when this little link building gem has produced serious results. The key is to keep your query answers focused on your niche, product, or expertise.

 

The Guestblogalypse: How to get links without guest blogs

Once you have found a few HARO queries that fit your particular niche or expertise, you can send your detailed and expert insight. You will typically hear back from the journalists that are interested in your insight. The ones you will not get featured in, however, you will simply get no reply.

 

3. Capitalize on broken links

There are a lot of link opportunities if you know how to find broken links of businesses and companies in your industry. Here you will be looking for broken links on resource pages that will return a 404 message.

First you will need to pull up the different resource pages in your niche, industry, or expertise. If your site were devoted to alternative health, you would use a variety of Google search strings to find these resources, such as:

The Guestblogalypse: How to get links without guest blogs

  • “alternative health”  + “resources”
  • “alternative health” + “recommended sites”
  • “alternative health” + “resource pages”

Using these Google search strings will bring up results like:

The Guestblogalypse: How to get links without guest blogs

Next, you’ll want to identify the broken links.  Here are 3 ways to find broken links:

Once you find one, it’s time to email the site owner kindly asking to replace the broken link with your site’s URL.  If the broken link is on a page referring to a particular article or resource, consider recreating a similar resource on your site so the link is natural and makes sense.

You will be surprised how well this method works. No site owner wants a poor user experience, and getting rid of those broken links will make them happy you reached out.

 

4. Discover unlinked mentions

Another great way to easily earn links without toiling over guest blogging content for hours on end is to find unlinked mentions. When someone mentions your brand or business, you should get a link back right? Well, this is not always the case.

You can, however, put on your link detective hat on and find those mentions and ask the site owners for a link. Online tools like BuzzSumo, MOZ, and Mention allow you to set up alerts for this tactic.

The Guestblogalypse: How to get links without guest blogs

The only downside is that you may need to sign up for a membership, or free trial to access this feature on most platforms. Nonetheless, it is a quick and easy way to earn links, especially if you had a piece of content go viral recently.

 

5. Use infographics

Infographics are a highly shareable asset to any link building strategy, but many businesses and brands still fail to see the power they possess.

You can pretty much create an infographic about anything. Infographics also have a very long shelf life for link building and are a fantastic way to differentiate yourself from the army of people offering free content.

The first thing to do after you have infographic in hand is list it on infographic sharing platforms like:

There are also a number of high authority news and blog sites you can list your infographic on as well, such as:

After you have submitted your infographics to the above sites, it is time to offer it to bloggers in your niche.

Similar to blogger reviews, you will be reaching out offering a high value item they can share with their audience. If you have a robust social media following, be sure to mention that you will gladly share their post across all your social media networks as well.

It is important to remember that building links the right way, to appease Google, is of great importance. You want to maintain a nice balance of do follow vs. no follow links, as well as a slow and steady link building strategy.

Make sure you are using a mixture of strategies so that your link profile remains diversified.  If guest posts are only one of several strategies you are employing, then you can continue to earn links without fear of seeing a negative impact on your organic traffic.

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How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

Google featured snippets are an amazing opportunity for marketers to skyrocket above competitors on page one, increase page views, and boost conversions.

But what is a Google featured snippet? And does this SERP manipulation really work?

What exactly is a Google featured snippet?

Chances are, you have seen a Google featured snippet while searching Google. If you asked a question based query, Google will have eagerly answered it with a snippet. These featured snippets are the answers to users’ questions, showcased in a box in what’s known as “position zero” on page one.

For instance, let’s say you searched for, “How do I optimize my website?” Your question based query will be met with a snippet answering your question. In most cases, these are pulled from page one results, but snippet information can be pulled from page two, three, and maybe even farther down the SERP line.

Google Featured Snippets are indeed search friendly, and you will get answers without having to click any pages.

Featured snippet formats range from bullet points to numbers, but there are in fact a variety of snippets that Google will deem worthy and display.

Snippets may answer search-based queries in paragraph form, like so:

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

You may be wondering, Why is this important for my business, products, services, or blog? By obtaining position zero on Google page one, you rank above the #1 organic listing. The sheer real estate given to featured snippets is staggering.

They essentially dominate the results page, giving you and your brand maximum, above the fold, exposure. And all without dipping into your AdWords budget. What could be better?

Probably the most appealing aspect of snippets is that they are indifferent to industry powerhouse brands, and sites that normally dominate SERPs. Any brand, large or small, corporate to boutique, start up to conglomerate, can get a coveted position zero, page one spot.

The SEO value for your brand and business includes:

  • Snippets drive more traffic to your site.
  • Snippets boost brand visibility in Google SERPs.
  • Snippets increase trust and credibility.

All great things aside, it is essential to understand that getting a Google Featured Snippet can be like hunting for Bigfoot. You may get your content featured one day, but the next, it could simply be back to position three or four.

How do you get a Google featured snippet?

This question is becoming a focal point for many SEOs, marketers, content developers, and CEOs in nearly every industry. The most important aspect behind getting a featured snippet is quality content, formatted in a specific way.

You would assume that Google algorithms choose selected snippets based on first page search results. However, this is not always the case. SERP rank may actually have little to do with the decision.

Our research on featured snippets discovered that content can be pulled from any page, even as far back as page 80.

Taking page two or page three content to produce a snipp-able piece of content defies traditional Google ranking factors. This gives all a shimmer of hope, regardless of your page two ranking, or page eight, or those sites trapped in SERP purgatory.

It is all about authoritative content, and the format you choose to make that content snippable.

Here’s how you can get a Google featured snippet

Starting to optimize your content for featured snippets, or reworking previous content to get a snippet, requires a few formatting techniques.

Formatting

Formatting your featured snippets should  take into account. . .

  • Text
  • Tables
  • Numbered lists
  • Bullet points
  • Steps
  • Charts
  • Images

We’ll get into more details with each, but draw out your dusty old basic HTML techniques and use them when optimizing pages for featured snippets.

Word count

Making your steps, numbered and bulleted lists, or paragraphs concise and tight may make it easier for algorithms to determine whether your content is fit for the feature.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

You want to optimize to the tune of Google’s algorithms, and research has found that word count makes a big difference. “The most common length of content in Featured Snippets is between 40-50 words,” according to an analysis by SEMrush.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

 

FAQ content

Searches often type questions into Google, and expect to find exact answers.  When creating your editorial calendar, craft content in an FAQ format.  Develop entire articles around the questions that people will ask, and answer those questions in your content.

Instead of having all of your content in an FAQ page, create a page for each question, and then you can link them all together through an FAQ glossary that links to all the FAQ pages.

Craft your Q&A list utilizing a keyword research tool to identify related questions. You can also check keywords at the bottom of any SERP for snippet optimization.

Table, paragraph or list?

The type of snippet format you choose for your content may play a role in how Google’s algorithms choose snipp-able content. For instance, 29 percent of all snippets are tables.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

A featured snippet “Table” would look like . . .

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

This, however, doesn’t rule out a list or paragraph. In fact, paragraphs and lists seem to be trending as of late for Google featured snippets.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

Even “Rules” can be applied to snippets . . .

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

And the standard numbered list . . .

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

Use paragraph tags

Another formatting tactic you can use for Featured Snippets is to ensure the content, or answer, is in a paragraph (<p>) tag. The tag also needs to be below the search query header.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

Headers play a role

To optimize your content for a Featured Snippet, your search query should be in an h1, h2, h3 header.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

Don’t be afraid to add steps

For question based searches, Google might not pull through an entire paragraph for the snippet. By adding Step 1, Step 2, etc. for each subheading, h2, Google will work them chronologically.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

Remember, when it comes to snippets, Google likes content that is logically formatted.

A quick case study on featured snippets

The below post on diamond girdles is a good example of a Google Featured Snippet that gets superior ranking with a position zero snippet, position one, and above all on page one.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

Even though the site ranks #1 organically for this keyword, there was a 16% increase in traffic ever since the featured snippet gained rankings.  By creating content optimized for the Who, What, When, Where, Why questions and using keywords that appear in Search Suggestions, this website has gained dozens of featured snippets that have increased traffic substantially, month over month.

How to optimize for Google’s featured snippets

What are you waiting for?

To get off to a powerful start, run an audit of keywords you rank for, and pluck the question based queries. Then, answer those questions using the above tips and tactics. Optimize for position zero and make Google work for you, and your bottom line!

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How influencer marketing can benefit your SEO strategy

Influencer marketing is a powerful tactic to add to your SEO toolbox.

With links continuing to reign supreme in SEO, but the difficulty of acquiring them increasing, influencer marketing can help you to generate authoritative links which have the additional benefit of an increase in your user engagement signals, traffic, and visibility.

In this article, we’ll explore a few ways influencer marketing can make your SEO campaigns into digital powerhouses.

Influencer marketing builds inbound links

The issue with using influencers for inbound links is that many will disclose the links as sponsored.  One way to get around this is to create content-driven influencer campaigns.  Traditionally, brands use influencers to create “commercials” for their brands.  They are very sales-driven and are focused on pushing a product or brand directly.

When working with influencers, why not create campaigns that are related to specific issues in your industry?  Instead of making them an extension of your sales team, get them to create video or text content based on their thoughts on a specific topic, citing your site as a resource. This may be a way to bypass the need for disclosure.

Depending on your budget, you may need to start with micro-influencers (influencers with smaller, but highly engaged audiences) to begin earning those inbound links.

Influencer marketing boosts brand visibility and engagement

The biggest challenge many brands and marketers face is getting heard over the buzz. The competition in today’s digital marketplace is fierce. In fact, engagement and traffic ranked number five among most important ranking factors, according to Moz.

Simply put, the more your engage your target audience, the more traffic you will drive to your site, products, and services. This makes influencer marketing an essential asset in every industry.

How influencer marketing can benefit your SEO strategy

According to an advertising survey by Nielsen, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from other people over brand advertisements. And whom do consumers know? The influencers they follow on social media. In fact, a study by Annalect and Twitter found that users have as much trust in influencers as they do their friends.

How influencer marketing can benefit your SEO strategy

Influencers amass followers who hang on their every product review or recommendation. You can take advantage of their community to enhance your brand’s visibility via social media, blogs, and vlogs.

The traffic your influencers drive to your site will boost your SEO rankings in ways paid ads simply cannot. But don’t forget about content engagement. An influencer with one million followers may not be as powerful as a micro-influencer in your niche with 20,000 followers.

“Posts from people with small followings get strong engagement, and bring an air of authenticity and trust,” according to Business Insider.

A great example of reach versus engagement is the different between the audiences of celebrity Jimmy Fallon and YouTuber Connor Franta. Falon may have a bigger reach, but Franta has a much higher engagement.

How influencer marketing can benefit your SEO strategy

Improve your social visibility with influencer marketing, and also keep your engagement high. This is an influencer marketing tip many marketers and brands will overlook.

Influencer marketing keeps your content fresh

Creating fresh content can be challenging for marketers and brands, thus emphasizing the need for influencer marketing. The sole job of influencers is to develop unique and compelling content that your target audience can’t resist.

Influencers can also leverage their followers to produce content for you. They can maximize a social campaign by encouraging their community to share unique images or thoughts associated with your brand or campaign.

One excellent influencer marketing case study is when the brand Gloria Ferrer used influencer marketing to boost their brand awareness by launching the #GloriousBites campaign. Influencers used the hashtag to create buzz around the campaign, netting 44 million social impressions.

How influencer marketing can benefit your SEO strategy

Generating millions of social impressions via influencer marketing will surely increase your social visibility and brand engagement.

Influencer marketing leads to collaborative content and publishing

Cultivating meaningful relationships with influencers is a powerful way to maximize your SEO efforts. A quality partnership with your influencers ensures exceptional content with collaborative opportunities down the road.

This is a long-term goal, but once you and your influencer have a mutually beneficial thing going, collaborative content like an interview series or industry report could be in the mix.

How influencer marketing can benefit your SEO strategy

You and your influencer can benefit greatly from borrowing one another’s authority, proving to add more visibility for both sides. As partners you can earn more links to add to your robust link profile for a boost in SEO.

The relationships you develop via influencer marketing could also provide you and your brand with an in to otherwise off-limit high-authoritative publishers. You influencer networking can open doors, and those doors could lead to social visibility on a global scale.

Finding relevant authoritative influencers

Finding relevant authoritative influencers is the most important aspect of influencer marketing. You want your influencer content to reach your target audience with engagement. This will make your influencers SEO assets to your brand.

Key influencer metrics include…

  • Check the influencer’s domain authority
  • How many unique visitors does the influencer get per day, week, and month?
  • What does the influencer’s engagement per post look like?
  • What are the audience demographics, such as age, location, and gender?

Despite influencer marketing’s trending nature, many marketers, SEOs, and brands are still coming up short. Don’t fail to utilize the true power of a well-cultivated influencer campaign.

Use the above examples to maximize your SEO strategy, and get a first page Google ranking for your brand.

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What is influencer marketing, and why should it be part of your digital strategy?

If I tell you I have the secret formula for any entrepreneur to succeed, you may not believe me.

You probably have never even heard of me, my company, or have yet to follow me on social media.

But if Neil Patel, New York Times best selling author and a person The Wall Street Journal calls ‘the web’s top influencer’ tells you, “My secret formula is the greatest”, you will probably believe him.

In a nutshell, that is influencer marketing. It takes the “I” out of the equation, letting others tell the story about your products and services. Haven’t you seen George Clooney’s Nespresso commercials?

Now getting Neil Patel or George Clooney to be your influencers is where the challenge lies. Sending either one of them an email may prove difficult, but fortunately there are many social channels and creative ways of identifying and targeting key influencers.

The return on influencer marketing may be worth the trouble too. Trusted influencers can boost your brand awareness and market your products and services in unprecedented ways traditional marketing can’t compete with.

Why you should absolutely use influencer marketing

Why influencer marketing? Well, the answer is quite simple. Influencer marketing can provide you with instant visibility, hordes of potential customers, and a high return on your digital strategy.

A relevant influencer to your industry exposes your brand to the right consumers. These targeted consumers are already interested in your niche, and they will be paying attention with a strong likelihood to purchase.

According to an influencer marketing study by Tomoson, “51% of marketers believe they acquire better customers through influencer marketing.”

This may be why 84 percent of marketers are planning at least one influencer marketing campaign in 2017, according to a survey by Schlesinger Associates.

And it is all about established trust. An influencer’s followers are loyal with rapport built over several years. In fact, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from people over brands, according to research by Nielsen.

Another great reason to add influencer marketing to your digital strategy is that you will get instant results.  You can be sure your influencer’s sizable loyal audience will stick around and give your brand instant attention.  No need to wait for organic SEO results to kick in after months and months of work.

Find influencers relevant to your brand and industry

The first thing about influencer marketing you want to keep in mind is relevancy. You want to not only look at a potential influencer’s audience numbers, but also how they fit with your brand.

“The best influencers work to integrate their branded campaigns into their unique stories without skipping a beat,” says AJ Agrawal of Forbes. “They know their audiences are fickle and can quickly leave, so they treat each and every post with care.”

Three things absolutely essential to consider when qualifying potential influencers are Context, Reach, and Actionability.

Asking a foodie to promote your new marathon training app will not work. Sure, there is a connection between these niches, but they have completely different Context and audiences.

Reach is a simple one to qualify. You want your influencer to have a healthy sized audience. But qualify this audience since anyone can buy social media followers these days.

And Reach is only as good as the influencer’s Actionability. They have one million followers? Fantastic! However, if that audience isn’t engaged, your influencer marketing efforts are wasted.

You can get very granular when it comes to creating metrics to qualifying your influencers.  We look at demographics such as age and gender and calculate a number for potential relevant audience when reviewing what influencers to work with.  This, and other metrics can be used to determine an estimated CPM which can help you compare the power and value of your influencers when it comes to potential reach vs ROI.

Influencers are social media moguls and popular bloggers

To get your influencer marketing campaign off to a great start, target social media influencers. Those with the biggest following are certainly on all social media channels.

To begin your research, determine what social media network will maximize results. If your brand is in the fashion realm, Instagram and Pinterest influencers are best.

If you want to raise brand awareness via video engagement, then YouTube influencers may be a better fit. However, don’t rule out the other social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat.  Facebook live has created interesting possibilities for influencer marketing.

The power of hashtags will also assist in your influencer research. If your brand is all about fitness, begin searching hashtags related to fitness.

Your influencer marketing campaign should target bloggers too

Interestingly, 86 percent of influencers have a blog. And 88 percent of those say they actually blog themselves. Excellent blogger outreach sources are Inkybee, BlogDash, and GroupHigh.

Get those bloggers to share their Google Analytics traffic. This lets you research blog metrics and get an understanding of an influencer’s true SEO value.

Key influencer metrics to check are . . .

  • Domain Authority
  • SEMrush Organic Keywords
  • SEMrush Organic Traffic
  • Unique Visitors
  • TrustFLow
  • CitationFlow
  • Engagement Per Post
  • Audience Demographics (Age, Location, Gender)

What is influencer marketing, and why should it be part of your digital strategy?

How do you entice influencers?

There are no free lunches, and your influencers will certainly want compensation for access to their loyal audience. How much, or how little is simply a matter of negotiation.

Cold hard cash is one of the most common ways to entice an influencer. But sometimes you can find an influencer or two that truly believes in your brand, and those are simply the best.

These influencers may accept small monetary compensation. Or they may be interested in free products, social media mentions, and cross-promotional content.

Whatever the deal, if you did your research, the return on your investment could be well worth it.

Ready to get your influencer marketing campaign moving?

The following will give you the nuts and bolts of a powerful influencer marketing campaign…

  • Identify and Qualify Relevant Influencers: This means investigating each potential influencer. Study their profiles and read their blogs to ensure they are relevant to your brand.
  • Build Your Influencer Marketing Strategy: This includes defining a budget, identifying possible incentives, creating your campaign’s KPIs, and writing up a campaign brief.
  • Pitch Your List of Influencers: Connect with a pitch letter that is unique, compelling, and concise. You should track pitch dates, replies, and followups to stay organized.
  • Track Campaign Results: Speaking of staying organized, track your influencer marketing campaign results. This includes metrics like impressions, clicks, transactions, emails, and audience growth.

Develop an influencer marketing campaign that maximizes your efforts, builds meaningful relationships, and gets the end result you envisioned. The results just may change the dynamic of your brand forever.

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Building your SEO strategy in 2017: what’s most important?

If you’re wondering what factors to consider as you build your SEO strategy for 2017, links are still the top-ranking factor for Google’s algorithm with content close behind. And high CTR is still at the core of the rankings pack as well.

Earlier this year, Andrey Lipattsev, a Google Search Quality Senior Strategist, fielded questions about the top ranking factors for Google. Lipattsev said, “I can tell you what they are. It is content. And it’s links pointing to your site.”

Recent Study Put Links to the Ranking Factor Test

A recent study by Eric Enge of Stone Temple Consulting put links to the ranking factor test. And links emerged as powerful as ever.

Previous research by Moz and Searchmetrics found a high correlation when comparing high SEO rankings and external links. However, data from other ranking factors were close behind links.

For example, the Moz study found the number of external links to be rated at 0.30, but the Moz authority rated at 0.28, and the page authority at 0.37.

How could links be so vital to SEO efforts and not have a significant statistical edge on other ranking factors? Enge wanted to know why, and he found that the Moz and Searchmetrics studies used commercial search terms, and evaluated each SERP individually.

“Based on consultations with a couple of experts (Paul Berger and Per Enge), I did a different type of calculation, based on the Quadratic Mean,” Enge explained.

Different varieties of search terms were also employed in the Stone Temple Consulting study. Long tail commercial terms, commercial terms, and informational keywords were used to test the power of links.

The results of the new study certainly matched Google’s announcement, crowning links king of ranking. Links per ranking URL rated at 0.39 with domain and page rating far behind at 0.27.

Links are Still Powerful Amid Hundreds of Google Ranking Factors

Did you know Google uses around 200 ranking factors to rank websites? This may be a lot for SEOs to take in all at once. However, focusing on links is still best practice.

Several digital marketing firms compiled hundreds of Google ranking factors, and they may be useful to your SEO efforts, says Entrepreneur contributor Eric Siu.

“While it can be worthwhile for business owners to be at least familiar with some of the topics here, this infographic can be a valuable resource to share with those on your team who are managing your site’s day-to-day SEO operation.”

In fact, out of those 200 ranking factors in Google’s ranking algorithm, three of the most essential encompass links.

  1. The number of external links you receive is important. Some of the top SEOs say external links are simply invaluable to your ranking power, according to Moz.
  2. Anchor text of external links affects ranking. Links with SEO focused anchor text needs to be relevant to the target page.
  3. The links need to be of good authority. For example, your links need to be from a reputable news source or academic journal.

Links have always been a valuable aspect of an SEOs strategy, and many SEO agencies focus on building relevant links to get first page search results on Google.

Building Relevant Links is an Important Ranking Practice

Building links is certainly an essential SEO practice, but Google is still dealing with the manipulation of SERPs via economically minded marketers. However, your link building strategy needs to encompass relevancy, according to Search Engine Land.

Incorporating relevance and trustworthiness into your link building strategy is an essential part of your ranking efforts. The first step in this strategy is to identify resources and publications for inbound links.

Here are two key aspects to incorporate into your link building strategy, according to the best SEO practices of 2016 by Forbes.

  • Identify respectable links. When searching for respectable links ask yourself: Do people trust this site? Does this site use citations? Is the site refined? Is the site a household name?
  • Focus on relevancy in links. In order to optimize rankings, SEOs need to find relevant links within the industry they are marketing. Match content and links up as perfectly as possible to keep rankings moving in a positive direction.

Link building is important, and it may be as essential as ever, according to Google’s announcement. And SEOs still need to combine links with powerful content too.

Google Identifies CTR and User Experience as Major Ranking Factors

Links and content are certainly at the top of your SEO strategy. However, Google identified CTR and user experience as major ranking factors. Increasing one will certainly increase the other as well.

Google utilizes CTR data to indicate a sites ranking value, according to Google engineer Paul Haahr. Haahr also added that Google runs A/B tests with SERPs. This could increase or decrease a site’s ranking by a few spots, and has no relevancy to links or SEO.

Essentially, the higher CTR you have, and the more user experience your site receives, the higher the Google rankings.

A study on CTR by Moz found that, “The more your pages beat the expected organic CTR for a given position, the more likely you are to appear in prominent organic positions.”

Rankings and CTR are certainly codependent. Keeping visitors on your site is one important element in the Google ranking equation. Here are a few tips to optimize your CTR and user experience.

  • Bucket brigades. Using bucket brigades is one great SEO strategy to increase user experience, according to Backlinko. These are simply words and phrases that keep people engaged.
  • Better content title and descriptions. Emphasizing fast results is what Google is all about, and your content title and description need to reflect that. Giving Google browsers the sense of speedy information will increase your CTR.
  • More value in your subheadings. Including benefits in your subheadings will also enhance your CTR and user experience. A more powerful subheading will intrigue your audience to stick around and see what the content has to offer.

Your 2017 Strategy: What Else?

Knowing that you must continue with outreach, content, and CTR optimization as your foundation, what else should you consider for your 2017 strategy? A Forbes article describes three steps to jumpstart site traffic in 2017: Real Time Videos, Augmented Reality Gaming, and Google Penguin.

If you keep your site safe from Penguin while focusing on building a real time video strategy with an augmented reality component, watch your site’s visibility sky rocket! It’s time to combine the old with the new to have your best year ever!

A Penguin 4.0 recovery case study

We’ve had time for the dust to settle after the real-time Penguin 4.0 update was released.  

It’s now been more than four weeks since the Penguin update was implemented, and close to a month since Google announced the end of the launch. The question in everyone’s mind now is – what can we learn from this update? How should we proceed now that Penguin is integrated into the algorithm?

In this article, we’ll delve into an analysis of results pages to determine what can be inferred from this latest update. Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to disclose the site, but we are free to discuss the details and process that we followed to achieve this recovery.

Out of Antarctica

Many have complained that there have been few recoveries from Penguin 4.0. I think it’s important to analyze those sites that recovered so we can identify what works and what will continue to work now that Penguin 4.0 is real time.

Let’s start by looking at the organic traffic patterns according to SEMrush:

As you can see, this is an obvious case of a Penguin recovery. Traffic doubled when Penguin 4.0 was released, and thousands of long tail terms increased in the rankings.

The penalty

What caused this site to receive a Penguin penalty to begin with? This client came to us after engaging in the typical Pre-Penguin linking schemes. They had engaged in article submissions, profile spam, comment spam, web 2.0 spam, and other such links.

At the time of the penalty, the site lost between 40-60% of organic traffic.

The strategy – cleaning out

We started with a link audit, where we mapped their backlinks by patterns. We looked at all of their anchor text backlinks, and disavowed them all.

Next, we looked at sites that fit the typical Pre-Penguin patterns, including article directories, forums, and web 2.0 sites. We disavowed every last one of them.

We didn’t stop there. We looked at every single backlink to look for low quality sites, scrapers, and any other site that wasn’t of value to Google. All of those were disavowed as well.

The strategy – building up

Knowing that many of the links that had previously supported the site’s rankings had been disavowed, we proceeded to earn high quality links.  

Our strategy was not to “build links” like many other companies were doing. Instead, we pursued campaign based digital PR with blogger, media, and press outreach. We focused on quarterly campaigns with high level content creation featuring unique stories and research.

One of the campaigns constituted a survey of over 50,000 participants to explore an industry specific question that hadn’t been previously explored. The findings were visualized with infographics, ebooks, and other digital assets.

The results included coverage in Huffington Post, the Telegraph, USA Today, and LA Times, amongst many others.

The campaigns were complemented by reaching out to bloggers and influencers, and sharing the findings of our study. Instead of offering compensation, bloggers and influencers were compelled by the fact that the study was unique and the data not found elsewhere.  

What should site owners do?

If you still have a Penguin 4.0 penalty, there is hope! Now that Penguin is real-time, you do not have to wait months or years for Google to run an update and to see the results of your work.  

You can now count on seeing recoveries sooner if you go through the effort of cleaning out your link profile and earning quality links.

If you do not have a Penguin penalty, then you can start building links a little more aggressively.

Google announced that the negative links will no longer result in penalties. Instead, the links will simply not count – positive or negative. So if the links are negative, they will not boost your rankings, but will not cause terrible traffic loses like they used to.  

BEWARE

Manual evaluation of links and manual penalties will likely increase. With all of the disavow data Google has sufficient data to apply AI spam filters, which will likely alert human spam raters who will review and apply manual penalties. DO NOT BUILD SPAM LINKS.  

Recovering from manual penalties is infinitely harder than recovering from Penguin – especially now.  

What real-time Penguin means is that you can be a bit more aggressive, without fear of accidentally tripping algorithmic penalties that cause a loss of site wide traffic. And if you DO build a few low quality links along the way, you do not need to fear as much as you would’ve in the past.  

Online Reputation Management: Beyond Damage Control

Most people don't think about their online reputation until it's too late. Here are some tips for damage control - and making sure you're not in a position to need them in the first place.