The Point

Archive for the ‘Search/SEO’ Category

Dec

How to Get Your Blog Post on the First Page of Google – Featuring an Interview with Andy Crestodina

the first page of google, Crestodina

The “SEO is dead” parade marches on. Even some search professionals are now writing obits for their old friend.

But search continues to thrive. It continues to drive traffic more than, well, anything. So what gives? For any given search, ten web pages are going to command page one rankings and earn waaaaaay more clicks than the gazillions of pages that follow.

If you’re a content marketer, you’d love to see your next blog post on the first page of Google. How important is it to understand SEO? It’s crucial.

I’ll be straight with you. If you want to play last decade’s lightweight Google games, you’ve come to the wrong place. A pro like Andy Crestodina won’t indulge you.

However, if you want to talk about creating immensely useful content while executing a strategy to rank atop Google SERPs (search engine results pages), you’d want to listen to Andy, if you could. And you can.

Right now. Right here. I present my friend, the content chemist himself, with a full set of answers on how he gets his blog posts on the first page of Google and how you can do the same.

Listen to Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media explain:

•  How he puts in the effort—in advance—to create blog posts with a very high chance of landing on the first page of Google.

•  Why it’s always more important to appeal to readers than searchbots.

•  His formula: traffic x conversions = success.

•  The three questions that must be asked and answered:

  1. Is anyone searching for this phrase?
  2. Do I have a chance of ranking for the keywords?
  3. Can I make the best page on the internet for the chosen topic?

•  The number one factor for ranking in Google.

•  What to do after you publish.

•  A better name for “SEO.”

•  A more effective approach than keyword density.

•  The case of the ambidextrous armadillo.

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Nov

SEO Simplified for Short Attention Spans

SEO Simplified

“We really do want to understand SEO.”

I was on a conference call with a client who said that. And then:

“Let’s plan to have a 15 minute call where you can explain SEO to us.”

Gulp. Can SEO really be simplified to that extreme? Well, I do love a good challenge. But I don’t love SEO. I’m not the analytical type. If SEO isn’t exactly your cup of tea, here we go: SEO, with a spoonful of sugar.

(The article takes 15 minutes to read aloud and, of course, less to simply read.)

What’s SEO mean?

Search engine optimization. It’s a clunky term for sure. You can’t optimize search engines. In fact, you can’t even learn exactly how they work. These are well-guarded secrets.

What can you do? You can do the right thing to your website’s pages—optimize them—to increase the likelihood Google and the other search engines know where they are and what they contain, so it will present them as a recommended resource when they match a search.

That’s not all you can do. It’s ground zero—what you have to do. And though you need to understand what you’re up against to do it well, this activity, defined as “onsite optimization,” is the easy part.

The other stuff you can do represents the hard, but more meaningful part. This other stuff happens “offsite.” I’m going to explain.

But for now, to answer the question, I’ll say SEO means the things you do onsite and off to help get presented by a search engine and discovered by its users.

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Jul

How Publishing Crappy Content Ruins Your Rankings

content farm

Lessons from (and confessions of) a former content farmer.

This is a guest post from Erik Devaney of HubSpot, aka @BardOfBoston, pictured above ;-)

Ever stumble across a poorly written, vaguely comprehensible article with a title like, “How to Cook Atlantic Pygmy Octopus on a Weber Grill” or “The Best Types of Blue Flowers for Japanese Rock Gardens”?

Chances are, an article like that came from a content farm: a website that publishes thousands upon thousands of crappy articles, all for the sake of ranking for as many keywords (and keyword combinations) as possible.

If you want to think about them in terms of actual farms, content farms are like giant, multinational agriculture corporations. Corporations like these can have thousands of employees, hundreds of different products, and they often use genetic engineering in order to optimize those products. Likewise, content farms can have thousands of writers, hundreds of different verticals, and they often use black-hat SEO tactics (especially keyword-stuffing) in order to optimize their content for search engines.

Of course, genetic engineering is a tad different from SEO. Yet both are frequently viewed as ways to “game the system,” and often carry with them negative (and unnatural) connotations.

It should come as no surprise then to learn that Google is not a big fan of content farms. And just a few years ago, they made these feelings known to the world with the release of their Panda update.

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May

12 Content Marketing Tips Every Small Business Must Know

cmsmallbiz cartoon

Garrett Moon of Todaymade is one of my favorite bloggers. I loved the tips he offered in this post and he agreed to let me republish it here. 

Ahh.. the life of a small business owner. So peaceful, so serene, and so little stress. Am I right?

Of course not–your life is crazy! But you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?

Being a small business owner has many benefits and many job titles. In the course of a single hour, you can easily jump from Chief Executive Officer to Chief Financial Officer, from Chief Operations Officer to Chief Marketing Officer. In small business, you are in control of your own destiny. You are also in control of your own content marketing.

Every day, I hear from small business owners like you asking about how they can get the most out of their content marketing. They simply want to promote their business to best of their ability, and who can blame them? For that reason, I decided to compile a list of my top twelve tips for content marketing for small businesses.

1) Listen To What Your Customers Ask You

Small business content marketers struggle with what they should be talking about online.

It is easy to get into sales pitch mode and push our products and service on our customers, but that isn’t what they want from us. They want the same thing that they want in the store – advice. One of the simplest tips for small businesses that are using content marketing is to simply answer the questions that your customers are asking.

Take a poll in your business and figure out the top ten questions that your customers ask most frequently. What do they want to know about? Make a plan to write a blog post (or several) answering each question one by one. Do this regularly, and you will soon build a library of practical content for your future customers.

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Apr

Search Yourself: A Personal Branding Must

search yourself on google

Personal branding is all the rage.

I wrote a post offering 11 suggestions for getting started with your personal brand development last month, which was well received. Then I wrote a listicle version for the popular site, 12Most.com, which went ballistic on social media, especially LinkedIn.

Next, (with a big assist from my friend Seth Price of Placester) I created an infographic called “The A to Z Guide to Personal Branding.” It quickly became the most popular piece I’ve ever done. 78K views on SlideShare. It’s been republished by HubSpot, MarketingProfs and Steamfeed, to name just a few.

Google it and see for yourself.

Speaking of Googling it…

This article is about doing a search of yourself. I suppose that could be your name or your company. Since we’re talking about personal branding today, try it with your name first.

I guess I have a good overlap thing going on in that my company has my name in it. The search results won’t be the same for “Barry Feldman” as they will be for “Feldman Creative,” but there will be some overlap.

I want to tell you that was a smart naming strategy is, but it’s mostly smartly lucky. (Or would that be luckily smart?)

See, in 1995, when I launched my company, I wanted to name it BFD Advertising. That is, “Barry Feldman Does Advertising.” Wifie gave the idea an enthusiastic thumb down. Feldman Creative was approved.

Anyway, consider a few of these new media realities:

  • Your brand is what other people say it is—not what you say it is.
  • Like it or not, a Google search result is the easiest, fastest and best way to gauge your public persona.
  • It’s also the best way because it’s what potential employees, partners, customers and even friends are going to do.
  • Google is essentially your home page.
  • A Google search result is essentially your business card (or even resume)

You with me? If so, I believe you’ll understand why I suggest Googling yourself now and then.

I hope to help you understand why—and the process—and the results—and its implications.

Do you like what you find?

When I search myself, it looks like I’m doing some things right online. I’m not saying all is perfect. It’s a work in progress. But results I want people to see dominate the first page.

What about you? Happy with the results?

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Dec

Barry Christmas to You

Oct

Let’s Fixate on Death Before It’s Too Late

death

I’ll be damned. It’s Halloween time. You know what that means?

The year’s final two months are staring us in the face now. As bloggers we’ll have no choice but to write holiday themed stuff, “best of” and “worst of” the year posts, and of course, predictions for next year. Then comes January and we’re obliged to write about New Year’s resolutions and football.

But today, my devilish friends, we’re free to write about whatever the hell we please. Seeing as how it’s All Hallows’ Eve, I’ve chosen to write about the dead and dying.

Quick sidebar of historical significance: Did you know All Hallows’ Day initiates the triduum of Hallowmas? Yep. It’s the time of the year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (aka “hallows”) and faithful departed believers.

Incomprehensible, I know, but creepy and fun all the same. And now back to our dark, disturbing story. (more…)

Sep

Fire Your SEO Writer

I reject the term “SEO copywriter.” I couldn’t even get myself to use it in this post’s headline (even though it’s what I want to talk to you about).

The reason for my disdain of the term is it puts SEO before copywriting. If you believe this is a smart approach to creating effective content, this article will be a waste of your time.

Your copywriter needs to understand SEO.

Every online marketing writer should have a seriously solid grasp of SEO. If they don’t apply basic “white hat” (ethical and genuine) SEO practices when writing for your website and blog, you’ll realize less success with search and therefore get fewer eyeballs on your content. You don’t want that.

However, you also don’t want SEO to seize control of the work. In my opinion, writers who call themselves an “SEO copywriter” either (a) want to rank for the term, or (b) believe rankings equates to results. They don’t.

In advertising circles we’re fond of saying “Nothing kills a crappy product faster than great advertising.” It’s repeated often because it’s true. And the idea applies to SEO copywriting.

  1. Play only by the rules of the robot and you increase your search engine rankings.
  2. You increase your chances of getting clicks to take people to your website.
  3. You also increase your bounce rate while decreasing engagement, time on site, opt-ins, subscribers, shares, trials, buys and referrals.

Why would I be so bold as to state #3 above? Because the SEO-first mindset usually results in word puke.

The real objective isn’t to rank high or generate traffic. If you’re thinking in terms of long-term success, the real goal is accomplish these things, and then, give your visitor the best possible experience. They’ll spend more time on your site, share your content, and come again. And yes, search engines factor these things in big time.

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Jun

11 Leading Website Conversion Killers [INFOGRAPHIC]

Screen shot 2013-06-14 at 5.19.52 PM

 

You’ve got it going on with your keywords. You’re ranking high. The traffic is coming now. Web-a-palooza. Party time. Cha-chiiiiiing.

Not so fast Master Webmeister. It seems visitors are bugging out before they click a single thing.

This buzz-kill problem is called “bounce” in web speak. I call the culprits “website conversion killers.” You probably couldn’t care less who calls what what. It’s simply infuriating to see your incoming traffic come and go like lightning bugs.

Realize: Getting found won’t get you far.

You want visitors to click and stick.

After being involved in the creation of websites since—well—since websites were created, I’ve come to recognize the website mistakes that discourage new business prospects from getting into the website or getting any closer to becoming a customer. I’ve written about them here on our blog and also in an article at Convince and Convert, but now I’d like to present the ugly truth about the web’s leading conversion repellents in a new infographic.

I hope you like it and I hope you share it too.

Here it is.

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Jun

3 Simple Keys to an Effective Marketing Strategy

If you’re looking for the ultimate definition of effective marketing strategy, you need not look any further than the phrase’s three words. Effective. Marketing. Strategy.

We’ll look at each. And I’ll fire a series of questions at you in an effort to help you uncover some gaps in the planning process that are so crucial to your success. (more…)