Tag Archives: CONTENT

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6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub

Giving away knowledge is the most effective way to build a solid brand presence. But is it just about writing and publishing blog posts?

It might have been sufficient to start a niche blog to build authority ten years ago. These days, you’ll need to go the extra mile.

Here are 6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub to build a stronger, more recognizable brand and a more reliable web presence.

1. Educate yourself: Monitor industry trends

A company that monitors and utilizes latest industry trends is an innovative company. Besides, knowing what’s hot in the industry gives you a lot of new marketing ideas and keeps your business always moving forward.

Twitter and Facebook are most efficient ways to monitor micro-trends (i.e. those that are happening at any given moment). They are also incredibly time-saving because you don’t need spend hours reading articles on what’s going on. You can just hover over the trending word to see the immediate context:

When it comes to yearly industry trends, those that happen gradually, month by month, the ways to monitor them can vary.

  • Monitor your keyword in Buzzsumo or at least Google Alerts
  • Put together a thorough reading or RSS list to subscribe to trusted niche news outlets.

2. Monitor competitors

What are your competitors doing to innovate? Which latest technology trends have they been embracing? Which new marketing tactics have they been playing with?

Monitoring your competitors is a must for an innovative company that strives to educate its employees and community. There’s always ways to learn from others, especially when it comes to mistakes to avoid and new tactics to adopt.

SE Ranking offers one of the most robust competitor monitoring solutions allowing you to monitor their page changes, search engine rankings, backlinks and even social media mentions. It’s a convenient platform holding a lot of tools under one roof and hence making competitor monitoring much more productive:

6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub

3. Hold webinars with influencers

Webinars have a ton of benefits, from the ability to create new video content (that can be further repackaged into podcasts) to community building and lead generation.

Webinars are also helpful for influencer marketing and positioning your company as a niche knowledge hub. When seeing familiar names on your site, visitors will automatically assume your brand is trusted and will be more inclined to buy from you or opt in to your email list.

ClickMeeting is a feature-rich affordable solution to easily host webinars that include lead generation forms, timelines, convenient backend, reliable video recording technology, customizable thank-you pages and more.

6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub

It’s a smart idea to combine this tactic with trend monitoring process to hold webinars on some recent events and tendencies.

4. Put together a whitepaper

A whitepaper is an official company’s report on their area of expertise. Apart from sounding really fancy, a whitepaper is a great downloadable material that tells your users that your company is willing to give back and contribute to the community knowledge base.

It takes some considerable time and effort to put together a solid whitepaper, so look into some repackaging opportunities to include some in-depth articles you have previously published on your site. For some examples, head over to Internet Marketing Ninjas Resources page to see a few whitepapers we did (they are free to download).

6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub

5. Hold a yearly industry survey

Investing in an industry survey has a huge PR benefit: Surveys are great outreach material as many journalists and bloggers are happy to cover your findings on their sites.

On top of that, you can use surveys to build relationships with niche influencers inviting them to take the survey and contribute their thoughts. This is what Moz has been doing for years, quite successfully.

6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub

The easiest way to put together a high-quality industry survey is:

  1. Reach out to influencers (using Boomerang app or a similar one to scale follow-ups)
  2. Invest into Google Surveys. Choose your target audience, type your questions, and watch the results come within hours. Your questions are published across a network of news and reference sites, as well as within Google mobile app. People answer your questions in exchange for access to premium content, and credits to Google Play.

Google Surveys are the fastest, highest-quality way to collect answers and put together all kinds of reports to pitch bloggers and publish on your site.

6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub

6. Create a course

If you’ve been taking the above steps, you are likely to have a lot of expert content piling up and scattered around the web. Putting together a course to consolidate all those multi-format materials is the smartest thing you can do.

Upload your webinars as video lessons, attach whitepapers and reports as bonus downloads, include your observations about the niche trends, and you have a solid online course to further engage your audience and add value to the industry.

Kajabi is the most advanced way to build an online course I’ve seen so far. It has plenty of building and marketing tools inside and you can use your own domain to host the course too.

6 ways to turn your website into a niche knowledge hub

Becoming a well-known brand is a long-term project. But the outcome is well worth it.

The above ideas will help you build a stronger, more recognizable brand while also letting you create linkable assets and solid trusted content for your site too.

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How to scale web design to improve page loading speed

You might be thinking, what’s the fuss about website speed? What is important about the average page loading speed?

According to Aberdeen Group, a 1-second delay in page load time yields:

  • 11% fewer page views
  • A 16% decrease in customer satisfaction
  • A 7% loss in conversions

Amazon reported an increased revenue of 1% for every 100 milliseconds improvement to their website speed while Walmart, also found that every 1-second increase in page speed resulted in a 2% increase in conversions.

Source

The speed of your website additionally impacts your organic search rankings because Google, since 2010, has included site speed as a signal in its ranking algorithm.

Basically, your web page loading speed is very important and determines if you will rank in SERPs.

Below are 6 simple but highly effective ways to enhance your web speed immediately by modifying your website design.

#1 Optimize images and lazy load everything

Some of the most common bandwidth hogs on the web are images. According to HTTP Archive, images now account for 63% of page weight.

“As of May [2015], the average web page surpassed the 2 MB mark. This was almost twice the size of the average page, just three years ago.”

How to scale web design to improve page loading speed

Source

The graph shows a breakdown of what consumes kilobytes the most. Practically all asset types are growing, with the most notable one being images.

When creating content, some people make use of large images and then use CSS to scale them down. However, unknown to them, the browser still loads them at full size.

For instance, if you scale down an image of 800 x 800 to 80 x 80, the browser will load ten times more.

The best way to optimize your images is to compress them into smaller sizes while retaining quality. Using tools such as TinyJPG and Compressor.io, or CMS plugins such as WP Smush It (WordPress) and Imgen (Joomla) for compressing images will guarantee your website loads faster, resulting in better experiences for web visitors and increased conversion rates.

Another option is to “lazy load” images and web contents. In essence, you make use of a little bit of JavaScript to find out which images are in or close to the viewport and only download images that the user will likely see.

The benefits of Lazy Loading according to Stackpath include:

  1. Lazy loading strikes a balance between optimizing content delivery and streamlining the end user’s experience.
  2. Users connect to content faster, since only a portion of the website needs to be downloaded when a user first opens it.
  3. Businesses see higher customer retention as content is continuously fed to the user, reducing the chances the user will leave the website.
  4. Businesses see lower resource costs since the content is only delivered when the user needs it, rather than all at once.

#2 Make use of browser caching

Setting up browser caching allows you to temporally store data on a site visitor’s computer. This ensures that they don’t have to wait for your web pages (logo, CSS file, and other resources) to load every time they visit your website.

Your server-side cache and their browsing configuration determine how long you store the data. Setting up a browser caching on your server can be done by contacting your hosting company or by checking out the following resources:

Leveraging browsers caching is specifying how long web browsers keep CSS, JS, and images stored. Allowing your web pages load much faster for repeat visitors resulting in a smoother experience while navigating and better rankings in SERP’s.

Also, installing a cache plugin will have a huge effect on your page loading times. Caching plugins handle this concern by generating a static copy of your content and deliver it to site visitors. This can lessen your page loading time drastically.

Caching plugins could help you see around ten times improvement in your overall website performance. An example of caching plugin includes W3 Total Cache.

#3 Compress web content

Google defines compression as the process of encoding information using fewer bits. Though the latest web browsers support content compression ability, many websites still do not deliver compressed contents.

Visitors who visit these websites experience slow interaction with web pages. Major reasons for these unfavorable website behaviors include old or buggy browsers, web proxies, misconfigured host servers, and antivirus software.

Uncompressed contents make receiving the web contents and page load time very slow for users who have limited bandwidth.

For effective compression tactics to deliver efficient website content, Google recommends the following:

1) Minify, HTML, CSS and JavaScript

2) Make use of consistent code in CSS and HTML with the following method:

    • Use consistent casing – mostly lowercase.
    • Ensure consistent quoting of HTML tag attributes.
    • Indicate HTML attributes in the same order.
    • Indicate CSS key-value pairs in the same order by alphabetizing them.Using tools such as Adobe DreamWeaver and MAMP to create/edit CSS and test run websites locally on your PC respectively.

3) Enable Gzip compression

Gzip finds similar strings and code instances and replaces them temporarily with shorter characters.According to Google:

“Enabling Gzip compression can reduce the size of the transferred response by up to 90%, which can significantly reduce the amount of time to download the resource, reduce data usage for the client, and improve the time to first render of your pages”

#4 Optimize CSS code and delivery

The introduction of CSS was a key improvement and has had almost no shortcomings. However, it is essential to consider the impact CSS scripts can have on page speed, particularly when it comes to the representation of a web page.

When CSS is delivered inadequately, it results in a delay by the browser in downloading and processing the styling data before it can completely finish rendering to display your web pages to your visitors. This is why it’s vital to optimize CSS delivery and to identify the pitfalls that can slow down your web pages.

CSS can be used in several ways by a web page and still work. Given that there are various ways to use it, there are several different CSS setups. Regardless of how you set up on your web pages, your CSS should be aiding your web pages to render faster and not slowing them down.

You can make use of different online tools to compress, optimize and clean CSS delivery. Additionally, you can refer to Google’s recommendations on optimizing CSS delivery.

#5 Use a very fast hosting company

Some time back, I changed my hosting company and the average speed of my sites increased dramatically without changing anything else. That was when I realized that hosting companies are not all equal when it comes to the loading speed of websites.

When navigating a website or opening a web page, you are opening files from a remote computer, which is the web server of the hosting company. The faster the remote computer, the faster your web pages can be opened.

There are various hosting companies out there for your use. Just ensure that you carry out proper research and read enough reviews of each before deciding to host your site with any of them.

When researching for a reliable web hosting company, the most important factors you should look out for include speed/load time, uptime/reliability, customer support and price/value.

#6 Deactivate plugins you don’t use

Plugins are typically the major reason for slowing down a WordPress-hosted site. Delete plugins that you no longer use or aren’t essential.

You can identify plugins that harm your speed by selectively disabling plugins and measuring server performance.

Additionally, to speed up the experience of your WordPress site on mobile, check out our guide to Implementing Google AMP on your WordPress site as quickly as possible.

Conclusion

Users will continue to demand a richer online experience, and there will be faster and cleaner JavaScript, more CSS hacks, and other third-party analytics to increase the size of your pages and weigh down your websites.

As an online marketer, you can’t allow this to bog you down. You must regularly strive to scale your web design to improve your page loading speed.

A little continuous attention to your website loading speed will go a long way. Remember: as little as a one-second delay in your site loading speed is all it takes to lose a lead.

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5 little-known tools for a holistic digital marketing campaign

Everyone knows digital marketing is a field of constant evolution. In many cases, a strategy is only as good as the tools it employs.

Using the right resources enables you to keep the “tricks of the trade” in your back pocket and stay on top of the shifting landscape.

It’s no secret the next few years are poised to be monumental for the business world. Most notably, marketers are bracing themselves for breakthroughs in areas such as Artificial Intelligence, and the extremely hyped arrival of widespread virtual reality.

With so much innovation, brands need to constantly be looking for new ways to set themselves apart. Let’s talk about five little-known tools you can use to stay one step ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

1. Client Heartbeat

When you’re researching a product or service online, how important are customer reviews? A BrightLocal study found that 92 percent of consumers take online reviews into consideration during the buyer’s cycle. With numbers like this, including customer feedback on your platform needs to be a priority.

Enter Client Heartbeat. This tool lets you send surveys to customers via email following an interaction. While this isn’t the only tool on the market to accomplish this task, what sets it apart is the option to incorporate benchmark data and compare with scores related to customer satisfaction.

As far as gaining the feedback itself goes, Client Heartbeat has one of the industry’s best response rates – around 60 percent.

The reason it’s successful is because they make it a point to keep the process simple. There is a maximum of six questions in which the customer can answer with a 1-10 rating.

5 little-known tools for a holistic digital marketing campaign

You can also automate the tool to send out surveys at the most opportune time, so you don’t even need to think about it. One of the premier benefits is you can gauge your results with competitors to see where you stand.

Online reviews play a huge role in today’s customer lifecycle. Use this tool to get the most out of them.

2. Workzone

Success in an organization is something that starts on the inside and works its way out. With all the different factors and distribution channels in marketing today, companies need to establish an optimal system to complete tasks and streamline information across the board.

Regardless of the size of your business, digital marketing is very much a team effort.

It can be easy to take for granted the modern organizational tools we currently have at our disposal. Finding a good rhythm for effective campaign management is much easier than it was, say 10 years ago.

Even today, there are a great deal of challenges at hand with the substantial cost of low performance. Back in the old days, there was a lot more trial and error involved. Now, there are tried-and-true templates to use.

5 little-known tools for a holistic digital marketing campaign

Workzone is an effective collaboration workspace for enterprise marketing managers, with all campaign statuses integrated in one place. The task status on the dashboard shows the team leads responsible for each sub-task and ensures that each job is nudged to completion.

There is also a Gantt Chart function that allows you to set timelines for every campaign. Regardless of skill level, Workzone is designed to be user-friendly for everyone involved.

By promoting open communication and proper task management throughout every project, this program is truly one of the best on the market.

3. Canva

Research tells us that humans process images way quicker than text. Taking this information with a grain of salt, incorporating visual effects into your brand messaging is a requirement. Regardless of what types of images you include, they need to pop. More importantly, they need to be authentic.

This is where Canva comes in. Using this tool, you don’t need to be a graphic designer to produce compelling visuals.

5 little-known tools for a holistic digital marketing campaign

You can simply upload your pictures and add some pizazz to them with a variety of color schemes, fonts, and custom templates.

Additionally, you can choose from a wide selection of images in the Canva library. While some of the more advanced ones cost money, there are plenty of free options to get you started.

4. Content Idea Generator

As many bloggers will tell you, one of the toughest parts of the job is coming up with captivating titles. There are all kinds of scientific facts that apply to how certain words and phrasing impact click rates.

The truth of the matter is you can have the best content the world has even seen, but, if the headline doesn’t draw people’s eyes, no one will be enticed to read it.

Portent’s Content Idea Generator is about as easy as marketing tools get. By simply entering in the subject you want to write about, this resource will spit out all kinds of possible ideas for headlines.

5 little-known tools for a holistic digital marketing campaign

Now, you can’t expect EVERY generated title to be a winner, but this tool certainly beats all the others in creativity and grammatical correctness. Use it as a jumping off point to get your creative juices flowing.

Chances are, with all its possibilities and suggestions, the Content Idea Generator will give you a few good ideas.

5. Hotjar

Your website should be thought of as the central hub for all of your brand’s content. Therefore, you need to be watching how people interact with it like a hawk.

If you’re new to the game, there are a lot of website behavioral tools out there to choose from. But, due to its relatively low entry price and simple usability, Hotjar will serve you well.

This tool generates heat maps of your website to give you an idea of how and where visitors spend their time.

5 little-known tools for a holistic digital marketing campaign

Rohan Ayyar, my fellow SEW contributor and colleague at E2M, who consults with clients on UX design at our website and app development arm MoveoApps, has a very interesting piece of advice:

“Depending on the layout, visitors have two typical patterns of scanning your content: F-shaped and Z-shaped. Identifying the one that works for you will help you tweak the visual hierarchy of your content for more conversions.”

You can record full sessions of how visitors read your content for insights on how your pages are being consumed to help identify bottlenecks and plan your next approach. One of the best functions of this resource is you are able to recruit test subjects for objective input on your platform.

If you are looking to boost conversion rates, analyzing heat maps is one the best types of research you can conduct.

In conclusion

Digital marketing is a fascinating entity, to say the least. With so much change and innovation, there seems to be new resources coming out every day to make business operations run smoother.

If you want to get ahead, you need to keep an eye out for the tools that can tackle your most prevalent issues. Consider these ones in your next campaign!

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6 ways to build a more productive remote content marketing team

The landscape of the modern workplace has changed a lot in the past ten years. Once upon a time you had to find shady crafting companies or secret shopping positions if you wanted to work flexibly and from home.

Now we’ve seen a powerful trend emerging. In 2015 the number of US workers who had moved to remote (or telecommuting) jobs had climbed to an unprecedented 37%. That is a number that continues to grow as more startups and even large scale companies open their workforce up to those who act as office vagabonds, putting in hours from home, coffee shops, and even while traveling.

Content marketing is being impacted by this trend most. You no longer need to find and move talent to your office: You can work effectively with content writers from all over the world.

1. Use a good task management platform

There are so many task managing apps out there that it would be hard to find a single one that works best. You will want platforms that deal with business management (so your team can stay on board at all times), and communication (so you can always keep in touch, no matter where you all are.

Flow, Trello, and Asana are three solid examples you may want to look into.

From personal experience, managing a productivity tool still takes plenty of time. So unless you have a reliable project manager in-house, it makes sense to rely on a project management company.

It may actually save you money and minimize your headache with dealing with multiple to-do lists and processes. Distributed is a good example of a company that actually specializes in managing distributed teams all over the world. Hiring a virtual assistant is another option.

2. Use a reliable editorial calendar tool

I am a big proponent of using a year-long editorial calendar that lets you and your content marketing team get properly prepared for big holidays, seasonal trends and even fun days that can be turned into solid promotional material.

By preparing your content in advance, you’ll be always ahead of the game. It’s exceedingly important if you deal with an international teams when not everyone is aware of your local trends and holidays.

My all-time favorite editorial calendar management platform has been Coschedule that’s also perfectly set-up for distributed teams: You add your team members and watch everyone do their own thing:

6 ways to build a more productive remote content marketing team

If you are looking for a higher-level solution, take a look at NewsCred. It gives you a nice color-coded dashboard of your content marketing plans:

6 ways to build a more productive remote content marketing team

3. Invest into solid writing tools

Your writing team is as effective as the tools you provide them with. You want them to brainstorm, research and write productively. Different workflows may require different writing tools. I always encourage writers to use the following tools:

1. Google Docs to create content. It’s easy for editing and it’s real time, so teams can work on content assets while discussing it on Skype or in a Slack group.

2. HARO and MyBlogU to collect useful quotes from niche experts and influencers.

3. Plagiarism Check to quickly check for any instances of copied content. This is especially important if you have new writers. Believe it or not, but many writers would just copy some parts of content (these could be too long quotes) without realizing it’s not an advisable digital content marketing tactic.

6 ways to build a more productive remote content marketing team

4. Use an effective social media sharing solution

It’s very important to engage your content writing team into the marketing routine. It’s obvious that they will be much more excited at seeing their articles succeed (after doing their brainstorming, research and writing tasks) than the social media team who may see the completed content assets for the first time.

Thus it’s essential to have a unified multi-user cross-channel social media sharing and scheduling solution that would enable cross team marketing incentives.

I use DrumUp to scale my social media marketing tasks. It has all the features I need:

  • Easy one-click scheduling (for my articles to go to my social media channels repeatedly for more exposure)
  • Multi-user support (for team members to see what they need to be shared)
  • Leaderboard feature to encourage friendly competition among the team members
  • Content library feature to store my promotions, ever-green content and seasons greetings in categories for convenient reuse

6 ways to build a more productive remote content marketing team

5. Use a marketing dashboard to monitor stats

Cyfe is a great customizable all in one business management software that allows you to create your own widgets to handle any aspect of your business, all for $19 per month. For higher-level content marketing stats monitoring I use the following boards:

  • Growth of traffic referrals (Google Analytics)
  • Recent traffic referrals (Google Analytics)
  • Social media traffic analytics (Google Analytics)
  • Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Pinterest account growth

6 ways to build a more productive remote content marketing team

6. Use productive communication tools that spur creativity

Properly set-up communication between your remote employees helps creativity, experience exchange and marketing collaboration. It also helps your brand consistency because your team can properly discuss every content asset before they start working on it.

Slack is an awesome communication tool that lets you create channels and speak to different groups, or on different topics. Think of it as a more professional version of Discord.

There’s one reason I prefer Slack over emailing: It gives a centralized platform for your team communication but unlike a project management solution, Slack fosters a more relaxed environment which is so important for creative teams. Slack helps creativity and gives writers a place to brainstorm freely without being accused of cluttering the board.

Create your super team!

Don’t let your workforce get limited by borders. These days we have tools in place that empower you to build the content marketing team of your dream without investing time and money into moving everyone into a single office. How are you managing your remote content marketing employees?

8 technical issues holding your content back

Technical SEO has certainly fallen out of fashion somewhat with the rise of content marketing, and rightly so.

Content marketing engages and delivers real value to the users, and can put you on the map, putting your brand in front of far more eyeballs than fixing a canonical tag ever could.

While content is at the heart of everything we do, there is a danger that ignoring a site’s technical set-up and diving straight into content creation will not deliver the required returns. Failure to properly audit and resolve technical concerns can disconnect your content efforts from the benefits it should be bringing to your website.

The following eight issues need to be considered before committing to any major campaign:

1. Not hosting valuable content on the main site

For whatever reason, websites often choose to host their best content off the main website, either in subdomains or separate sites altogether. Normally this is because it is deemed easier from a development perspective. The problem with this? It’s simple.

If content is not in your main site’s directory, Google won’t treat it as part of your main site. Any links acquired on subdomains will not be passed to the main site in the same way as if it was in a directory on the site.

Sistrix posted this great case study on the job site Monster, who recently migrated two subdomains into their main site and saw an uplift of 116% visibility in the UK. The chart speaks for itself:

We recently worked with a client who came to us with a thousand referring domains pointing towards a blog subdomain. This represented one third of their total referring domains. Can you imagine how much time and effort it would take to build one thousand referring domains?

The cost of migrating content back into the main site is miniscule in comparison to earning links from one thousand referring domains, so the business case was simple, and the client saw a sizeable boost from this.

2. Not making use of internal links

The best way to get Google to spider your content and pass equity between sections of the website is through internal links.

I like to look at a website’s link equity as a heat which flows through the site through its internal links. Some pages are linked to more liberally and so are really hot; other pages are pretty cold, only getting heat from other sections of the site. Google will struggle to find and rank these cold pages, which massively limits their effectiveness.

Let’s say you’ve created an awesome bit of functional content around one of the key pain points your customers experience. There’s loads of search volume in Google and your site already has a decent amount of authority so you expect to gain visibility for this immediately, but you publish the content and nothing happens!

You’ve hosted your content in some cold directory miles away from anything that is regularly getting visits and it’s suffering as a result.

This works both ways, of course. Say you have a page with lots of external links pointing to it, but no outbound internal links – this page will be red hot, but it’s hoarding the equity that could be used elsewhere on the site.

Check out this awesome bit of content created about Bears Ears national park:

Ignoring the fact this has broken rule No.1 and is on a subdomain, it’s pretty cool, right?

Except they’ve only got a single link back to the main site, and it is buried in the credits at the bottom of the page. Why couldn’t they have made the logo a link back to the main site?

You’re probably going to have lots of pages on content which are great magnets for links, but what is more than likely is that these are probably not your key commercial pages. You want to ensure relevant links are included between hot pages and key pages.

One final example of this is the failure to break up paginated content with category or tag pages. At Zazzle Media we’ve got a massive blog section which, at the time of writing, has 49 pages of paginated content! Link equity is not going to be passed through 49 paginated pages to historic blog posts.

To get around this we included links to our blog posts from our author pages which are linked to from a page in the main navigation:

This change allows our blog posts to be within three clicks of the homepage, thus getting passed vital link equity.

Another way around this would be with the additional tag or category pages for the blog – just make sure these pages do not cannibalize other sections of the site!

3. Poor crawl efficiency

Crawl efficiency is a massive issue we see all the time, especially with larger sites. Essentially Google only has a limited amount of pages it will crawl on your site at any one time. Once it has exhausted its budget it will move on and return at a later date.

If your website has an unreasonably large amount of URLs then Google may get stuck crawling unimportant areas of your website, while failing to index new content quickly enough.

The most common cause of this is an unreasonably large number of query parameters being crawlable.

You might see the following parameters working on your website:

https://www.example.com/dresses

https://www.example.com/dresses?category=maxi

https://www.example.com/dresses?category=maxi&colour=blue

https://www.example.com/dresses?category=maxi&size=8&colour=blue

Functioning parameters are rarely search friendly. Creating hundreds of variations of a single URL for engines to crawl individually is one big crawl budget black hole.

River Island’s faceted navigation creates a unique parameter for every combination of buttons you can click:

This creates thousands of different URLs for each category on the site. While they have implemented canonical tags to specify which pages they want in the index, this does not specify which pages are to be crawled, and much of their crawl budget will be wasted on this.

Google have released their own guidelines on how to properly implement faceted navigation, which is certainly worth a read.

As a rule of thumb though, we recommend blocking these parameters from being crawled, either through marking the links themselves with a nofollow attribute, or using the robots.txt or the parameter tool within Google Search Console.

All priority pages should be linked to elsewhere anyway, not just the faceted navigation. River Island have already done this part:

Another common cause of crawl inefficiency arises from having multiple versions of the website accessible, for example:

https://www.example.com

http://www.example.com

https://example.com

http://example.com

Even if the canonical tag specifies the first URL as our default, this isn’t going to stop search engines from crawling other versions of the site if they are accessible. This is certainly pertinent if other versions of the site have a lot of backlinks.

Keeping all versions of the site accessible can make four versions of a page crawlable, which will kill your crawl budget. Rule redirects should be setup to redirect any request and the non-canonicalization version of the page to 301 redirect to the preferred version in a single step.

One final example of wasted crawl efficiency is broken or redirected internal links. We once had a client query the amount of time it was taking for content in a certain directory to get indexed. From crawling the directory, we realised instantly that every single internal link within the directory was pointing to a version of the page not appended with a trailing slash, and then a redirect was forcing the trailing slash on.

Essentially for every link followed, two pages were requested. While broken and redirected internal links are not a massive priority for most sites, as the resource required to fix them does not outweigh the benefit, it is certainly worth resolving priority issues (such as issues from links within the main navigation, or in our case entire directories of redirecting links) especially if you have a problem with the speed with which your content is being indexed.

Just imagine if your site had all three issues! Infinite functioning parameters on four separate sites, all with double the amount of pages requested!

4. Large amounts of thin content

In the post Google Panda world we live in, this really is a no brainer. If your website has large amounts of thin content pages, then sprucing up one page on your website with 10x better content is not going to be sufficient to hide the deficiencies your website already has.

The Panda algorithm essentially makes a score of your website based upon the amount of unique, valuable content you have. Should the majority of the pages not meet the minimum score required to be deemed valuable, your rankings will plummet.

While everyone wants the next big viral idea on their website, when doing our initial content audit, it’s more important to look at the current content on the site and ask the following questions: Is it valuable? Is is performing? If not, can it be improved to serve a need? Removal of content may be required for pages which cannot be improved.

Content hygiene is more important initially than the “big hero” ideas, which come at a later point within the relationship.

5. Large amounts of content with overlaps in keyword targeting

We still see websites making this mistake in 2017. For example, if our main keyword is blue widgets and is being targeted on a service page, we might want to make a blog post about blue widgets too! Because it’s on our main service offering, let’s put a blurb on our homepage about blue widgets. Oh, and of course, you also have a features of our blue widgets page.

No! Just stop, please! The rule of one keyword per page has been around for nearly as long as SEO, but we still see this mistake being made.

You should have one master hub page which contains all the top line information about the topic your keyword is referencing.

You should only utilize other pages should there be significant search volume around long tail variations of the term, and on these pages target the long tail keyword and the long tail keyword only.

Then link prominently between your main topic page and your long-tail pages.

If you have any additional pages which do not provide any search benefit, such as a features page, then consider consolidating the content onto the hub page, or preventing this page from being indexed with a meta robots noindex attribute.

So, for example, we’ve got our main blue widgets page, and from it we link out to a blog post on the topic of why blue widgets are better than red widgets. Our blue widgets feature page has been removed from the index and the homepage has been de-optimized for the term.

6. Lack of website authority

But content marketing helps attract authority naturally, you say! Yes, this is 100% true, but not all types of content marketing do. At Zazzle Media, we’ve found the best ROI on content creation is the evergreen, functioning content which fulfils search intent.

When we take a new client on board we do a massive keyword research project which identifies every possible long tail search around the client’s products and services. This gives us more than enough content ideas to go about bringing in at the top of the funnel traffic that we can then try to strategically push down the funnel through the creative use of other channels.

The great thing about this tactic is that it requires no promotion. Once it becomes visible in search, it brings in traffic regularly without any additional budget.

One consideration before undergoing this tactic is the amount of authority a website already has. Without a level of authority, it is very difficult to get a web page to rank for anything well, no matter the content.

Links still matter in 2017. While brand relevancy is the new No.1 ranking factor (certainly for highly competitive niches), links are still very much No. 2.

Without an authoritative website, you may have to step back from creating informational content for search intent, and instead focus on more link-bait types of content.

7. Lack of Data

Without data it is impossible to make an informed decision about the success of your campaigns. We use a wealth of data to make informed decisions prior to creating any piece of content, then use a wealth of data to measure our performance against those goals.

Content needs to be consumed and shared, customers retained and engaged.

Keyword tools like Storybase will provide loads of long tail keywords with which to base your content on. Ahrefs content explorer can help validate content ideas by comparing the performance of similar ideas.

I love also using Facebook page insights on custom audiences (by website traffic or email list) to extract vital information about our customer demographic.

Then there is Google Analytics.

Returning visits, pages per session, measure customer retention.

Time on page, exit rate and social shares can measure the success of the content.

Number of new users and bounce rate is a good indication of the engagement of new users.

If you’re not tracking the above metrics you might be pursuing a method which simply does not work. What’s worse, how can you build on your past successes?

8. Slow page load times

This one is a no brainer. Amazon estimated that a single second increase to their page load times would cost them $1.6 billion in sales. Google have published videos, documents and tools to help webmasters address page load issues.

I see poor page load times as a symptom of a much wider problem; that the website in question clearly hasn’t considered the user at all. Why else would they neglect probably the biggest usability factor?

These websites typically tend to be clunky, have little value and what content they do have is hopelessly self-serving.

Striving to resolve page speed issues is a commitment to improving the experience a user has of your website. This kind of mentality is crucial if you want to build an engaged user base.

Some, if not all, of these topics justify their own blog post. The overriding message from this post is about maximising a return of investment for your efforts.

Everyone wants the big bang idea, but most aren’t ready for it yet. Technical SEO should be working hand in hand with content marketing efforts, letting you eke out the maximum ROI your content deserves.

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A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site

Of the many tools available for tracking visitor behavior, Google Analytics is one of the most famous ones.

This free tool provides website owners with insightful information about the traffic driven to their website, helping them to determine exactly where each user originated and how they ended up on the site.

So, if you are an enthusiast who is setting up a website or a new blog using WordPress as your CMS, it is highly recommended to install Google Analytics to your WordPress site.

Why Google Analytics?

A lot of visitors and subscribers visit your website daily and hence, it becomes increasingly important to track information about their visit. If you are focused and determined to monitor your website’s traffic statistics, data drawn with the help of Google Analytics can be extremely useful.

This tool helps you track how your visitors are moving ahead and navigating through your website. This information is vital because it will help you identify the key areas of your website which are doing well and the others, that need a little more attention.

After installing Google Analytics on your website, you can learn about the geographical location of your visitors, their browser information, their duration of stay at your website, pages visited and much more.

With so much information available to access, we hope that we have answered your question as to why you even need this tool. In this blog post, we will provide a step-by-step guide to help you use Google Analytics with your WordPress site. So, let’s read on.

Getting started with your Google Analytics account

For the very first step, you are required to create a Google Analytics account by using your Gmail account. A Gmail account is imperative if you want to start using the Google Analytics tool with your WordPress site.

 

  • Visit the signup page for Google Analytics. You will be presented with the Gmail login page. Simply, enter your Gmail account login credentials to move forward with the process.
  • You will be asked to provide information regarding what would you like to track with this service. You can either track statistics for your website or your mobile apps.
  • Since this blog post is about tracking results for your WordPress website; select the ‘Website’ option.
  • Fill in the other relevant information to start tracking with the Google Analytics.

 

A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site

  • Enter your website’s name, its URL and the type of industry it is related to.
  • Select your time zone so that the service can accurately track the results as per your requirement.
  • Finally, get your Tracking ID by agreeing to Google’s terms of service usage.

A guide to setting up Google Analytics for your WordPress site

 

  • Once you have your Tracking code, copy it and keep it handy.

Adding Google Analytics to your WordPress site

There are several methods that will help you add Google Analytics to your WordPress website. We will mainly discuss two methods here that are suited to readers with a non-technical approach to blogging.

Using the plugin ‘MonsterInsights’

A very popular plugin with over 13 million downloads, MonsterInsights has proven its worth when it comes to seamlessly integrating Google Analytics with a WordPress site.

With a free and a premium version on the shelf, this Google Analytics plugin works well for even the most basic users. Let’s see how you can use this plugin to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site.

  1. Download the plugin and activate it on your WordPress site.
  2. Once the activation is confirmed, the plugin will add a new label to your admin dashboard by the name, ‘Insights’.
  3. For configuration of the plugin, visit the ‘Settings’ tab under the ‘Insights’ label.  
  4. A tab will be presented to you that will read ‘Authenticate with your Google Account’. Click on it and then you will be asked to enter a Google Code.
  5. Above it will be a tab that will ask you to click on it, in order to receive the code. Click on it and then click on the Next button.
  6. Allow ‘MonsterInsights to access your Google Analytics data’. Finally, provide the plugin with the permission to view and manage your Google Analytics data.
  7. A Success Code popup will follow. You will be required to copy it carefully and paste it on the popup (discussed above) in point number d.)
  8. In a final step, select the profile that you want to track with the Google Analytics plugin.

Whenever you want to view reports regarding your site’s visitors and subscribers, you can simply go to ‘Reports’ tab in the ‘Insights’ label of your Admin dashboard.

Using your WordPress theme

In the process discussed earlier, you received a Tracking ID from Google Analytics signup procedure. To use this method, locate the Theme settings option of your WordPress site’s theme. Then, find the label that leads you to a tab asking you to add a Footer Script.

You can simply paste the Tracking code to this section and you will be good to go. Always save the settings in order to confirm your changes.

Once your settings are done and you are ready to take off with your Google Analytics tools, always wait at least 12 hours to let the tool reflect proper results.

Other alternatives

There are other ways to add Google Analytics to your WordPress site. The ones mentioned above are easy to pursue and are highly recommendable. The following are methods that can involve some technical briefing.

  • You can manually add the tracking code by editing the header.php file
  • If you don’t want to edit your theme file, you can install and activate the Insert Headers and Footers plugin to insert the Google Analytics code
  • You can also use the Google Analytics + plugin to access the visitor performance of your WordPress website.

Summing up

Google Analytics is of huge help when you are looking to track results about a recent marketing campaign and are expecting some conversions to take place. This tool will also help you identify the keywords that are relevant to your site’s search engine optimization.

With so much to offer, Google Analytics is a must-use tool for all website owners out there. I sincerely hope that this detailed guide will help you make the right decision without having to expend too much time and energy on the implementation.

If you still have questions, feel free to drop them in the comments below. We are always open to receiving feedback and awesome suggestions.

 

Lucy Barret is a Sr. WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks, a WordPress Development Company, and a contributor to SEW.

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Interview: Why marketers shouldn’t waste their time with Google Posts

The search engine results page recently saw the return of Google Posts, the part-social, part-publishing feature that was launched by Google a little over a year ago during the US Presidential Election.

Billed as “an experimental new podium on Google”, Google Posts has attracted a lot of attention from marketers, search specialists and Google enthusiasts thanks to its prominent place on the SERP – appearing in the form of an eye-catching carousel of cards – and its mysterious deployment.

Over the year since it was first released, it has appeared in and disappeared from search results a number of times with no apparent pattern or explanation. Brands who wanted a shot at being part of Google’s new podium were forced to “Join the waitlist” and cross their fingers.

But last month Google suddenly announced that it would be opening up Posts to “museums, sports teams, sports leagues, and movies” in the United States, and all of the above groups along with musicians in Brazil – prompting a renewed flurry of interest from marketers. At the same time, the relaunched Posts became more visually eye-catching with the addition of embedded GIFs and videos.

 

One person, however, doesn’t believe that Google Posts is worth the hype. Michael Bertini, Online Marketing Consultant and Search Strategist at iQuanti, told Search Engine Watch why he thinks that Google has gone off half-cocked with Posts, and why marketers would be better off expending their energies elsewhere.

Google Posts: where is the value?

“I don’t think Google will admit that they made a mistake with this whole Posts thing,” says Bertini.

“Google already has a lot of great products and search results features on the page; to add Google Posts to that clutters up the results page unnecessarily. And I don’t think it offers much value to the end user.”

It’s true that while there has been a lot of excitement from brands and marketers around the prospect of publishing directly to the SERP, few of us have considered its usefulness to users. Google is still first and foremost a search engine; when users enter a search query, they are presumably looking for information.

While people Googling candidates in the run-up to the US Presidential Election would undoubtedly have been interested in what those candidates had to say about certain issues, subsequent versions of Google Posts have moved further and further away from a feature that is useful to the end user.

Interview: Why marketers shouldn’t waste their time with Google Posts

Few people searching for “Boston Red Sox” are looking for pseudo-social updates from their favorite sports team; they’re more likely to be looking for match scores, game tickets, or perhaps a link to the team’s website.

A lot of the interest around Google Posts thus far has been driven by sheer novelty, with people Googling ‘Andrews Jewelers’ or ‘Escape Pod Comics’ simply to see how the businesses had been using Posts – rather than because they featured useful information. In and of itself, how much value does Posts provide to the searcher?

“I don’t think anybody should put a strict focus on getting into Posts – or any one Google feature,” says Bertini. “What I’ve noticed throughout my career is that people who make it a specific focus to get into an area of Google – let’s use Google’s Answer Box as an example – ultimately, they’re left with content that doesn’t fit the end user’s needs. And then it dies.”

“If someone did want to get involved with Google Posts, they should write content that really answers the search query, and then of course request access on posts.withgoogle.com. But that’s all.”

Everything is a test

Based on the fact that Posts has already come and gone from the SERP several times before this most recent, wider launch, does Bertini think that Posts is finally here to stay?

“Everything Google is about testing,” Bertini replies. “Even after they launch it to market, what they would consider ‘permanent’ is not really what we would consider permanent. Personally, I think it’ll last up until the third quarter of 2017, and then they’ll mix it up with something else.

“If Posts get a really high CTR, then Google might invest more in it and add more features. But at the moment, it’s still very much in testing. It still lacks features – there’s no real social interaction, for example.”

Interview: Why marketers shouldn’t waste their time with Google Posts

Google Posts currently allows for limited social sharing, but doesn’t provide a way for users to truly interact with or respond to Posts.

If Posts, ultimately, is still in testing, it explains why it has disappeared and reappeared with so little fanfare – Google doesn’t want to attract a lot of attention to a feature that may not even be launched on a wider scale.

Bertini agrees that the lack of promotion speaks volumes about Google’s intentions – or lack thereof – for the feature. “If Google had complete confidence in this feature, they would be promoting it more.”

He goes on: “If I ran my own business, and I wanted to get more searchers to my site, there are better ways to do that than to focus on GIFs and videos to get into Google Posts.

“For example, if I were making videos already, I would create pages for my videos, transcribe that content, and optimize it for search – that would be a better use of resources than focusing on getting into Posts.

“Ultimately, people are going to invest time and effort into Posts, when Google itself has not yet perfected this feature.”

Google Plus revisited?

Given the pseudo-social nature of Google Posts, a lot of comparisons have understandably been drawn between Google Posts and Google Plus, Google’s last ill-fated venture into social networking. And it could be that Google Plus provides a blueprint for what to expect from the future of Google Posts.

“If we look back at Google Plus – when it first launched, Google’s idea of what Plus would be is not what it is today. And like everything Google, Google will never admit that they made a mistake, or that the product didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to be.

“But I think the search marketers who used Google Plus as a social platform are very disappointed today – if they invested a lot of time and money into building up their profiles and optimizing their Google Plus. It’s not used the way it used to be used, any more. I think it’s going to be the same with Google Posts.”

Interview: Why marketers shouldn’t waste their time with Google Posts

Remember when Google Plus was a big deal?

Bertini believes the aim of introducing Google Posts to the SERP is to encourage more user interaction with the search engine results page. This would tie in with the recent addition of rich results for podcasts to the SERP, allowing searchers on smartphones and Google Home to play podcasts directly from the search page.

“Google is trying to make a different version of social [with Posts], which is social interaction with the search engine results page, where a user can interact with the search page itself. It’s just very early on at the moment.”

If Google can succeed in expanding the function of the search results page in this way, it would definitely be a means of keeping users inside its own walled garden for longer.

But without value to the end user, Google Posts could be a Plus-style flop, and Bertini thinks that Google would be better off focusing its attention on perfecting existing features of the SERP that have more value to searchers.

Interview: Why marketers shouldn’t waste their time with Google Posts

“Google is constantly trying to mix things up, when – once again, personal belief – I think that they should focus on good products that they’ve launched like Answer Box, which is already effective. Or ‘People Also Ask’ – they launched this section, and it’s still not perfect, but it’s good.

“I think this is what Google should devote its energy to, rather than – I don’t want to say get rid of Facebook or Twitter, because I don’t think that will happen – but rather than trying to make the search results page a social platform.”

The future of Google Posts

Google Posts, as it stands, still lacks a lot of functionality. So an ideal world, what would a fully-featured Google Posts look like?

“One, people search for something; two, a Post feature comes up; three, there would be a rating system for whether or not the Post matches the search query.

“Then there would be a sharing function where the user can share the Post via social media. You could also have a Hangouts-style feature integrating chat into Posts, allowing people to chat about what they’ve just read.”

It remains to be seen whether Google will try to keep integrating more functionality into Posts or whether it will once again disappear quietly from the SERP.

But one way or the other, marketers should keep sight of the importance of catering to the end user – not just to the newest Google feature.

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6 tips for creating content to capture short attention spans

It’s not easy nowadays to win over your audience in an abundance of online content, and the short attention span of human beings isn’t making things any easier.

It’s always a challenge to make your content stand out, but this doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged from creating it.

As the average human attention span has dropped to just 8 seconds, however, how can you make content that captures your audience’s attention before it’s gone?

Learn your audience

This is the first thing that will help you beat the readers’ attention span. It is very important to understand your audience, as this will help you create more relevant content for them.

Here are some tips for understanding your audience:

  • Analyse your existing content and the response it received
  • Monitor your channels and the readers’ reactions to your content
  • Measure the time spent on your site
  • Bounce rate is another metric that indicates whether your content is appealing to your audience
  • Perform keyword analysis to devise new ideas that are relevant for your audience
  • Monitor your competitors’ content and find the gaps that you can fill in.

Focus on structure

Having well-structured content helps readers to stay longer on your page. It’s not just the quality of the content that maintains readers’ interest, but also the way you present it.

A clear and organized structure makes it less strenuous for readers to digest your content, so remember to:

  • Organize your content into paragraphs
  • Don’t create lengthy sentences that make reading harder
  • Use headings to divide up longer chunks of text
  • Use lists and bullet points to facilitate quick reading (like this!)
  • Add takeaway tips at the end of your content to help readers digest the most important parts.

Use images

As with a good content structure, images make reading a page more appealing.

From the header or feature image that offers an introduction to the topic (which may also be the image used on your social shares), to the additional images included throughout the text, images help to separate one section from another in the most engaging way.

They also help the eyes relax from a long sequence of text (which might otherwise be a little dull to read), while making it easier for the brain to process what it just read.

Moreover, images can offer additional value with the use of quotes, stats, or even tips that facilitate quick reading. These images can double as shareable content on your readers’ social feed, giving you more mileage from your content.

Don’t hold back from long-form content

You might assume that a short attention span will require an equally short piece of content for consumption. This is not always the case, as well-executed long-form content is still a valuable asset to your blog.

Provided that you’re adding value to a topic they find interesting, length should not discourage your readers from consuming your content. Remember that long-form content doesn’t have to be boring: structure and images can contribute to make the reading experience easier.

In fact, according to Orbit Media Studios, blog content is getting longer year by year. In 2016 the average blog post length was 1054 words – up from 887 words in 2015.

6 tips for creating content to capture short attention spans

This is a good reminder for all of us that there’s no need to be afraid of longer content. All you need is to focus on relevance and a good user experience to keep people engaged on the site.

Involve different types of content

If you want to appeal to a wider audience, then you might have to experiment with different types of content. There’s no need to limit your creativity to plain text, especially if you can include other formats like:

  • Infographics
  • Presentation slides
  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • GIFs

Every type of content serves its own goal, and all of them can enhance your message.

For example, if you want to turn a complicated concept into a simpler analysis, then a visually​ appealing infographic​ can be useful.

If you want to find new ways to repurpose your content, then you can turn a blog post into a presentation, a video, or a podcast.

These allow you to promote your content across new platforms and reach the right audience with the right type of content. And many of these content formats are more engaging to time-starved audiences than a text-based post.

After all, content marketing is all about being creative with your content and its distribution.

Use social proof

If you’re wondering how social proof can convince your audience to spend more time on your site, here’s an example of how it can work in practice.

We all have more chances to read the content that our friends, or our favourite influencers, share on their social feeds. This is due to the trust that we’ve built up with them, and the belief that their approval serves as the credential we need to visit a page.

This can become even more important if it’s about a page that we haven’t visited in the past.

It’s not a bad idea to build relationships with other people to ensure that our site’s content reaches more people. This way the connection becomes more genuine and there are more chances for new readers to actually pay attention to our content.

Get rid of distractions

If you want to maintain your readers’ attention while reading your content, you have to test your page for any distractions.

It’s easy for the reader’s eye to be distracted by a pop-up, a shiny sidebar, or even untidy formatting. That eye-catching banner ad might be doing its job extremely well – and it may also be competing with your content for attention.

Content success is all about focusing on the reader and the browsing experience. That’s why it’s always useful to switch sides and visit your pages from time to time as a reader.

What do you notice first?

Are you willing to spend enough time to read the content?

Is there something you need to change?

Takeaways

It’s useful to keep in mind that the shorter the attention span, the bigger the challenge to appeal to your audience.

This doesn’t mean that your content can’t win your audience over. All you have to is to keep in mind some tips for making it more appealing:

  • Use a short and descriptive headline
  • Create a clear structure
  • Include images to separate blocks of text
  • Experiment with different types of content
  • Consider the use of social proof to build trust with the audience
  • Be as relevant as possible
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of quality content – whether long or short-form.
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How to create SEO-friendly content

Good content is important, but it also needs to rank high on SERPs if you want to reach a wider audience with it. Here’s how to create search engine-friendly content.

Quality is always important when producing new content, but it’s the SEO that can boost your efforts of reaching a target audience.

SEO-friendly content doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming, provided that you understand how on-page SEO can work alongside your content.

Here’s how to create content that both your audience and search engines will enjoy.

Create original content

There’s no point in creating new content if it’s not authentic enough to stand out. Even if you come up with an idea from a different source, it’s still up to you to offer your unique perspective that will add value to the particular topic.

Copyscape is a plagiarism checker that can help you test your site’s content for its originality. Duplicate content, by and large, is not appreciated by search engines and it won’t help you rank higher in SERPs.

If you find it difficult to come up with new content ideas, here are 21 quick ways to find inspiration for your next topic.

Optimize the title

Your headline is among the first things that users will come across when carrying out a search. This makes them important, and it’s useful to brainstorm as many variations as you can until you land on the best candidate.

Using your focus keyword in the headline can also be a good idea, but don’t try too hard to include it. Use power words and avoid redundancy to create a clear and appealing result. Aim for a headline of 55-60 characters, as this is what Google will display on the SERP.

Also, make sure that your URL is relevant to the title, rather than a sequence of numbers that only makes it more complicated.

Focus on structure

How to create SEO-friendly content

It’s not just the content, but also its structure, that helps search engines decide on the results they’ll display first. Thus, a clear structure with headings and paragraphs that facilitate reading are preferred both from a user perspective and also from a search perspective.

Headings also help search engines get a quick overview of your content, which is why it can be beneficial to feature your focus keyword at least once.

Whether you follow the structure of H1 to H6, or simply add H2 and H3 headings at relevant points throughout the text, consistent structure in your pieces of content is appreciated.

Use keywords

Keywords are less often used nowadays as the first signal to indicate what your post is about, but they are still helpful to offer an overview of the topic you’re focusing on.

Keyword research is still useful when trying to decide on the most interesting topics for your audience. Keywords can still be part of your content, provided that they are added in context and at the right balance. There’s no need to sacrifice the quality of your content to include more keywords, as keyword stuffing can lead to the opposite of the result you want.

How to create SEO-friendly content
Moz Keyword Explorer

Aim for readability

The readability of your content has to do with the simplicity of its language, the lack of grammatical or syntactical errors, and the sentence structure.

Online readability tests allow you to learn the “reading age” someone needs to understand your content, and they depend on:

  • sentence length
  • number of syllables per words
  • frequency of passive voice

Despite the different readability formulas, you can still gain valuable insights on your writing that become even more useful if you want to target a wide audience.

Is your content suitable for the audience you want to target?

Include internal and external links

Internal links can help you prove your authority in a particular field by creating a logical sequence from one post to the other. This may lead to a series of posts that offer additional value, making it easier for search engines to understand your key topics.

External, or outbound, links indicate that you are well aware of the topics you’re writing about, to the extent that you’re ready to use further sources to support your content. It’s more useful to link to reputable sources, as these links have bigger credibility.

Beware, excessive linking, either internal or external can lead to the exact opposite results. Make sure that every link serves its own purpose in your content.

Optimize images

The optimization of your images provides an additional opportunity to show up in search results, this time in image search.

As visual content becomes more and more prominent, it cannot be left out of SEO. Luckily it’s not time-consuming to optimise your images. All you have to do is keep in mind a few simple tips:

  • Always keep the file name relevant
  • Be careful with the file sizes, as they affect the page speed
  • Don’t forget to add alt text, or else a title for your image
  • Think like a user when naming your images
  • Focus on quality images and avoid generic ones

How to create SEO-friendly content

Focus on the user

Every piece of content should have the user in mind. This also applies to SEO. You can’t create your next piece of content, or carry out keyword research, without knowing your audience.

What does your audience expect from you?

How can you enhance the user experience?

Does your site sabotage your content?

All the questions above can be answered by paying closer attention to your site, your content, and your target audience. Google rewards pages that focus on user experience, so never underestimate the power of the user.

Takeaway tips

If you want to create SEO-friendly content, here’s what you need to remember:

  • Focus on user intent
  • Be authentic
  • Come up with the best headlines for your content
  • Pay attention to the content’s structure
  • Use keywords wisely
  • Edit, proofread and aim for readability
  • Use both internal and external links to add further value
  • Optimize all your images to gain new opportunities for search ranking.
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The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

Creating and launching a fully-fledged website is not enough to get your brand noticed by itself.

In order to improve your online visibility, you will need to carry out SEO (search engine optimization) practices.

If you want to achieve a higher ranking on Google and other search engines, you’ll need to get serious about search engine optimization. Luckily, if you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), there are a number of in-built features that make optimizing your content for search significantly easier.

So what is it that makes WordPress such a strong platform for SEO? Let’s take a look.

1. Permalink Structure

Permalinks are the permanent URLs for your web pages, posts, categories and tag archives. It is the web address used to link to your individual blog post and web page. By default, permalinks look something like this:

http://mysite.com/p?=17

This structure makes it difficult for search engine crawlers to read and index your web pages and posts. That means you will need to make it more accessible for both search engines and we visitors.

Fortunately, WordPress allows you to customize your URL permalinks for each of your posts and pages, adding a clear description of your page’s content as well as any relevant keywords – this makes your URL structure search-engine friendly.

To change your default permalink URLs, you will need to go to Settings → Permalink. You can change it either using /post-name/, or /category/post-name. You can also set it using date and name, but I would prefer you to use “Post Name” to optimize your permalink structure for search engines. The custom permalink URL structure will look something like this:

http://mysite.com/%postname%/

Tip: After creating a custom permalink structure, make sure you save all the changes.

2. Easy to create SEO-friendly titles

The “title tags”, or the title of a blog post, is one of the crucial aspects when it comes to getting a better ranking on search engine result pages. The title tags not only tell search engines what your web page is all about, but also leave the first impression on the people who see your post title in the search results.

Since search engines focus more on the initial words of the titles, make sure you add your keywords at the start of your title tag – this will help you rank better. So, WordPress allows you to optimize your title tags for SEO using the All-in-One-SEO-Pack plugin:

After installing this plugin, you will need to access your WordPress admin panel → go to Settings → All in One SEO Pack and add the following:

  • Post Title: %post_title%
  • Page Title: %page_title%

This will help you create unique, engaging, relevant, and search engine friendly title tags for your site, which in turn increase your CTR as well as page views.

3. Creating unique Meta Descriptions for SEO

A meta description is a snippet of content that you can see under the page link within a Google search result page. It gives a brief summary of your blog post or a web page to both the search engine bots as well as web audiences. This will help you get better ranking on SERPs.

It means that creating unique, engaging and search engine friendly meta descriptions for all your posts and pages can improve your visibility across search engines, and can also help you get a higher click-through rate.

The default WordPress settings makes it easy for you to optimize your meta descriptions for Google and other search engines. Better yet, you can use the Yoast SEO plugin or All in One SEO Pack to automatically create SEO-friendly meta descriptions for your WordPress site.

4. It’s easy to generate an XML Sitemap in WordPress

WordPress allows you to create and submit an XML sitemap easily to search engine webmaster tools. An XML sitemap allows you to tell Google and other search engine bots about all your web pages and posts exist on your site. It simply allows search engine crawlers to read and index your site quickly and easily.

Luckily, WordPress offers a ton of plugins that can help you generate an XML sitemap for all your pages, posts, custom post types, categories, and tags. You can use Yoast SEO, or Google XML sitemap plugins to let search engines better index your WordPress site.

For an example: We are using Yoast SEO plugin to generate an XML sitemap for your WordPress site. After installing and activating the plugin, you will need to enable the XML Sitemaps. To do that, go to the SEO → XML Sitemaps and click on the checkbox to enable this functionality.

The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

Make sure you configure it and save the settings. This will generate the sitemap for your WordPress site.

5. Use of categories and tags

The main purpose of categories and tags are to help web visitors navigate your blogs quickly and easily, which in turn, help you get a better search ranking (if used properly). In a nutshell, categories are the table of contents for your blog, while tags are the index that helps a search engine to interpret your blog’s subject matter with ease.

Both the categories and tags help you create a better structure and allow Google to notice it while indexing the blog posts of your WordPress. So, make sure you have all the subcategories, and have a well-structured post to make it as easy as possible for search engine crawlers to “read” your content.

To add categories, you will need to go to the Posts → Categories and Tickets → Labels.

Ensure that you use the best tricks to optimize the categories and tags in WordPress for SEO.

6. Simple and clean code

The code behind WordPress is simple and clean, allowing search engine bots to index your site with ease. Since it is an open source platform, you will see constant modifications in terms of security, performance, and functionalities to let Google and other search engines to position your site higher up the SERP.

Although WordPress already performs well in this particular area, making sure that you install well-coded themes and plugins to ensure the high quality of your WordPress site.

7. Optimization of Images for SEO

If you want to drive more web traffic towards your site, then you can’t overlook image optimization. It is one of the crucial aspects of good SEO.

Image optimization is all about creating engaging, relevant image titles and alt text so that you will get better visibility on Google and other image search engines. WordPress makes it easy to add titles and alt text to your images when you upload them to its CMS, so that image optimization is simply a matter of filling in the right fields.

The SEO benefits of using WordPress to publish your content

8. Linking to related posts

Allow search engines to crawl your older posts quickly and easily using the related posts plugin. It is a great WordPress plugin that can help you add a link to related posts within your new content, thereby increasing your SEO capabilities with ease.

The plugin makes it incredibly simple to add related posts to your blog posts and pages, re-ordering related posts via drag and drop functionality, without generating a single piece of code.

Other key points on WordPress SEO:

(a) Since Google loves fast-loading websites, WordPress makes it easy for you to optimize the speed of your site by:

  • Compressing the CSS and JS files
  • Minimizing HTTP requires
  • Optimizing image file sizes
  • Using Caching
  • Use of CDN services
  • Upgrading the core WordPress, installed themes and plugins on a regular basis.

(b) WordPress enables you to create a new page with fresh, updated and improved content to help you get better ranking on SERPs.

(c) In case you forget to optimize the permalink of an existing/older blog post, then you can tweak the slug to a more relevant and search engine-friendly URL.

If you want to avoid a 404 error, then make sure you add a 301 permanent redirect to the older version of your post. This will redirect your web visitors and search engines to the new URL, which in turn will boost your pageviews.

Wrapping up

If you use WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), these tips should hopefully help to you use it in the most effective way to boost your search ranking.

All you need to do is understand the out-of-the-box WordPress SEO functionalities and how get the most out from them, and you can drive quality traffic towards your website.

 

Lucy Barret is a Sr. WordPress Developer at HireWPGeeks, a WordPress Development Company, and a contributor to SEW.