The SEO Journey – How long before you start seeing results?

May 5, 2015

Guest post by Jack Dawson.

Everyone implementing SEO usually has the same question – how long before I rank first for my keywords? This question does not have a simple answer, mostly because it’s not in itself a legitimate question. It comes from misunderstanding the current nature of SEO and it is stuck in the rudiments of what SEO used to be.

Old vs. new SEO

In the past, SEO was about identifying the best keywords for businesses. These are relevant words with little competition and high organic traffic. You had to pick out 5-10 of those “golden keywords” which would help you capture the majority of your online traffic. If you’re still telling your SEO professionals that you want first rank for this keyword or that, then you’re stuck in the old paradigm.

Old SEO tactics vs. new SEO strategies

Today, there isn’t a single keyword, or keyword group that can solely drive most of your traffic, especially when long-tail search is considered. If your focus is on a group of keywords, you’re missing out on the majority of users looking for you.

Currently, natural language searches drive SEO, i.e., users are searching in much the same way they would ask a normal question, instead of inserting a keyword or two. Google in fact offers voice search options, so that people can speak out their questions. This allows people conveniently to carry out more detailed searches that will provide them with better results.

The result is long-tail keywords, which are less competitive and therefore easier to rank on. They are also more relevant and hence lead to higher conversion rates. Therefore, you should base your ranking objective on a larger group of natural language queries, which is constantly shifting.

Rankings are important, but not quite

There are more important metrics you should focus on rather than just ranking. If you stay focused on getting top rankings, you will have a skewed view of the really important things. It’s not just about getting top rankings. Your rank is worthless if it does not come with leads, conversions and revenue increases, which are the real outcomes.

How to do SEO in 2015

The right question

Rank is a mere output, your SEO firm/professional should be focused on these more than just getting you higher ranking. As you search for the right SEO partner, your question shouldn’t be how long it will take for you to get the top rank but rather how long before efforts culminate in leads, conversions and sales.

How long SEO takes to work

The real answer to this question is highly subjective. A lot of factors come into play to make SEO efforts effective, or not. A few of those include:

  • How long the website has existed
  • How much and what SEO techniques had been applied in the past
  • The layout and general shape of the website
  • How much content is uploaded on the site
  • The website’s link profile, among many others

Even when there are two businesses in the same field competing for the same target market, SEO won’t work the same for both of them because of the above differences. However, here is a brief outline of the kind of results to expect from a valid SEO strategy over time:

Month #1

Website audit, discovery and research, keyword strategy building and general planning. If you get through the research fast, you can start to make technical changes by the first month of operation. For larger or more complicated sites, the research and discovery phase can spill over longer than a month.

Month #2

Implementation of major technical SEO techniques. Basing on results of the audit, you will make modifications to the site. Sometimes, the site requires a complete overhaul, a process that can take several months. Other SEO techniques include building one’s link profile and content marketing, which you can carry out along with technical changes.

During this phase, and especially if a complete overhaul is in progress, you’re likely to see little or no results for SEO efforts. You must complete the changes before seeing any real impact.

Month #3

Major focus on improvement of content and content marketing. These include whitepapers, FAQ section updates, blogging, expanding product descriptions and company information. Where the budget is not a severely limiting factor, you can do this simultaneously with the technical overhaul phase; otherwise technical changes come first.

You may see some ranking improvements towards the end of the month. This may or may not lead to conversion and sales improvement yet, but if they’re not there quite yet that’s okay.

Month #4

Involves a continuation of content creation, technical optimization and link profile building, including link audits to clean out bad/low quality links. This month should produce a notable rise in rankings, traffic as well as lead generation. It won’t be as big as what you’d see after a year, but enough to show that efforts are paying off.

Month #5

By now, social media management and marketing is also part of the SEO strategy to increase direct traffic and promote content created. This simultaneously builds up healthy natural links. Content creation goes on, coupled with PR and other media outreach techniques (collectively, these techniques encompass a web presence optimization strategy). You’ll see more traffic by now, and your leads and conversions should also be increasing.

Month #6

If you have traffic of 5,000 visitors monthly and higher, you can begin to direct SEO efforts towards conversion rate improvement. This converts the traffic coming in to leads and eventually sales. After this, your strategy revolves around content creation and promotion. Any other specific techniques will differ depending on the nature of your business, your website and your business goals.

Conclusion

The majority of SEO professionals and firms tell clients that results are visible in 4-6 months. This is an accurate description, but clients must remember that results only start to show within this time, growing as the time passes. By the time your hit one year, your results should be significantly better than what you saw at the sixth month.

Also, you may notice a tapering in results after a certain point, after which SEO efforts will be directed at maintaining the results as opposed to improving them. The key is not to stop just because there aren’t any results in the first 2-3 months. The minimum budget time for SEO should be 6-12 months, because SEO is a long-term marketing strategy. Plan properly and invest knowing you’re in for the long haul.

Author bio: Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.

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24 Extraordinary Facebook Guides, Tips and Rants

April 21, 2015

Facebook remains the undisputed Goliath of social networks. It offers marketers  creative flexibility and sophisticated targeting options.

Yet with recent changes including prohibition of “like-gating” and dramatically decreased organic reach, some brands are questioning the value  of the platform.

Cost to reach 1000 people on Facebook

Image credit: Moz

How can marketers best respond to the loss of organic exposure? What Facebook marketing tactics are most effective today? Which page apps are most helpful? What are the best tools and tactics for Facebook advertising? Or is  the best course of action to focus more on other platforms?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in two dozen of the best Facebook marketing guides, tips, and rants of the past year.

Facebook Marketing Guides and Tips

8 Brilliant Facebook Marketing Tactics to Use Right Now by Social Media Today

Betsy KentBetsy Kent explains how to use some lesser-known Facebook marketing tactics such as copying and pasting a post to use elsewhere by clicking on the timestamp and getting the URL (“Now you can repost on other Social Media sites [such as LinkedIn] or shorten the URL and use it on Twitter”), and determining the best time of day to post by looking at your Facebook Insights.

The End of the Facebook Like-Gate Era: What Marketers Need To Know by V3 Integrated Marketing

Shelly KrammerShelly Kramer lists several of the most common “like-gating” tactics no longer allowed by Facebook (including offers to free access to special content in exchange for a “like,” sweepstakes or contests, giveaways, or polls where visitors have to “like” your page in order to vote), and provides guidance on what to do in place of these now-banned activities.

Essential Facebook Marketing Resources: A Complete Guide by Social Media Examiner

Lisa D.  JenkinsWant to learn how to market your brand on Facebook? Lisa D. Jenkins here collects more than three dozen categorized resources to help everyone from newbies to experienced Facebook marketers up their games. The articles are grouped into categories including getting buy-in, marketing with your personal profile, creating a Facebok business page, using Facebook’s tools, running contests, and understanding Facebook advertising.

Organic Reach on Facebook: Your Questions Answered by Facebook for Business

Brian BolandFacebook’s Brian Boland contends that organic reach is not “dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money,” but rather because 1) there is now much more content being shared on Facebook, and 2) Facebook has responded by changing the way News Feed works—using “thousands of factors relative to each person” in order to surface the most valuable and engaging content for each user.

Infographic: How to Get More Facebook Likes by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

Jim DoughertyyJim Dougherty shares an infographic outlining several tactics for increasing page likes, such as using email: “Invite your email subscribers via email, provide them with a description and an incentive to like your page” (being careful not to violate the rules outlined by Shelly Kramer above)…”According to HubSpot, 80% of social media users like to connect with brands via Facebook.”

How to Compare Your Facebook Page With the Competition by Social Media Examiner

Ian ClearyFrequent best-of honoree Ian Cleary reviews five tools “to help you compare your Facebook Page against competitors and identify tactics to help you improve your Facebook marketing,” including Fanpage Karma, a freemium tool that provides a wealth of competitive Facebook stats like fans, growth, ad value, response rate, post interaction, and page performance (which “is calculated using a combination of the growth of fans and engagement and is scored out of 100″).

What 11 Experts Are Saying About Facebook Marketing by Louder Online

Aaron AgiiusAaron Agius shares tips on how to get more out of your Facebook marketing efforts from top experts including JD Lasica (“To attract customers and generate sales, you first have to show customers that you aren’t just interested in selling them something. You have to build that trust”…[so, for example] “Highlight your vendors’ successes and talk about good customers. Stick with JD’s rule of thumb above-4:1 status to promo ratio [and] focus on providing value”) and the brilliant Mari Smith, who explains why and how to post effectively outside of regular business hours.

A four-step antidote for declining Facebook reach by Ragan’s PR Daily

Mairead RidgeMairead Ridge offers practical tips illustrated by an accompanying infographic “to help you reclaim your brand’s digital reach lost to Facebook’s changing algorithm.” Among the recommendations here: test a variety of content types (“Monitor the differing engagement levels of status updates, photos, videos, and links”), share links, and diversify your channels (e.g., “Create Web versions of your emails, and include ‘share’ buttons”).

How to Make Your Facebook Marketing Work for B2B by Social Media Examiner

Ben Harper details four tips to help maximize results from Facebook marketing, such as creating and curating thoughtful content: “When you understand how your B2B audience reacts to content on Facebook, you can start creating content they want to share—the kind of content that lets them reinforce their own interests and expertise.”

Guides and Tips for Facebook Pages and Apps

New Facebook page layout: 18 things you need to know by Agora Pulse

Richard BeesonRichard Beeson steps through 18 key page layout changes implemented by Facebook in the summer of 2014, among them three changes to the ways apps are displayed (“Apps tabs are still present on your page, but they are below the fold…All apps are still in the top menu, but hidden behind the ‘more’ dropdown…[and] You can have one app featured on the main menu, above the fold, but only one, and no sexy visuals here”). He explains the details behind and ramifcations of each change.

The new layout for Facebook brand Pages: what you need to do by Smart Insights

Marie PageWhile the post above focused on what was changed, this article from Marie Page details four areas in which marketers should make changes (or at least check to be sure all is still working) in response to Facebook’s page layout changes. For example, with regard to your Facebook page cover image, “Although the dimensions of your cover image are still fine, you may well find that content is now hidden by some of the new features.” She shows how elements can be rearranged to take advantage of this modification.

15 Types of Facebook Apps to Enhance Your Facebook Page by Social Media Examiner

Andrea VahlNoting that “Facebook apps let you customize your Facebook page in many ways,” Andrea Vahl shares “15 ways Facebook apps can enhance and customize your Facebook page.” Among her categories of useful apps are custom tab apps (“you can use them to create so many different things. For example, you could include an image, a restaurant menu, a video, and an opt-in form on a single custom tab to basically install a mini-website on Facebook”), email capture forms, blog / RSS feed apps, and job listing apps.

Facebook Advertising Guides and Tips

15 Ways to Optimize Your Facebook Ads by Social Media Examiner

Rocco BaldassarreRocco Alberto Baldassarre details 15 techniques for getting better performance and ROI from Facebook ads, among them keeping mobile and desktop ads separate; installing a conversion pixel (with instructions on how to do this); and testing bidding strategies (“Test different bidding methods to find out what reduces the cost per conversion but still gets enough volume. I recommend starting with CPC and conversion optimizer”).

Facebook Getting Closer to Being an Entirely Paid Media Site for Brands? by Strut Marketing

Steve GoldnerYes, everyone knows that organic reach has been greatly diminished for brands on Facebook, but what’s really behind this? Steve Goldner speculates that there are several reasons (including Wall Street pressure), but believes “If you lump all of the issues together, the key fact that emerges is that most Facebook users are turned off by brand interruption in their social platform.” He explains four important impacts of these changes on how you should approach social media marketing.

Here’s What Happens When Facebook Advertising Fails by KISSmetrics

Sherice JacobExpanding on Steve Goldner’s post above, Sherice Jacob observes with regard to diminished organic reach that “The brand wants the viewers’ eyeballs, the viewer wants the brand to give them something more relevant.” She then offers three approaches designed to please both sides, incuding link posts: she cites recent research which found that “of posts made by fifteen different major brands, text-based updates dropped 65%, video and photo-based updates stayed about the same, and link-based posts jumped 30%.”

How to Use Facebook Ads for Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide by Content Marketing Institute

James SchererNoting that “Successful content marketing isn’t always just about the content. Sometimes the marketing aspect (i.e., WPO) needs to take center stage,” James Scherer points out that Facebook ads remain “one of the cheapest ways to increase brand awareness” and details how Facebook ads work, how Facebook’s ad auction works, how to use Facebook’s targeting options, how to generate leads from your content, and how to retarget lost readers.

How To Knock 70% Off Your Facebook CPA by Moz

Ben Harper (again) details how a three-step process combining data insight, smarter targeting, and aggressive optimization can lead to as much as “70% reductions in CPA through Facebook adverts.” The process begins with a data phase in order “to gain a deep audience understanding so that you can more effectively target your campaigns. By drawing out audience insight, you can identify where your audience are active, and identify lower competition targeting segments.”

3 Facebook Advertising Tools That will Save You Significant Time and Money by RazorSocial

Amanda WebbGuest author Amanda Webb reviews three useful Facebook ad tools (two of which are free), explaining how each works; for example, Social Stats “assesses how much you should spend on your advertising campaign, depending on the size of your audience…When you are planning a Facebook advertising campaign, one of the hardest questions to answer is how much should you spend, and there is no simple answer to this. If you are very specific with your targeting, a little can go a long way.”

9 Facebook hacks that will blow your mind by iMedia Connection

David ZaleskiDavid Zaleski explains how to use several interesting capabilities of Facebook many users may not be aware of, such as how to embed a Facebook post onto your website (also noting that “Visitors can also like your page right from the embedded post”), how to use Facebook Insights to determine the best times to post (based on when your fans are online), and how to track the level of “like” activity on competitor or friend pages.

Easier, More Effective Ways to Reach the Right People on Facebook by Facebook for Business

This post explains how to use four main targeting types: location, demographic, interests and behaviors—plus Partner Categories in the U.S.—to target Facebook ads more effectively. Within location, for example, “you can build campaigns around any combination of geographies: country and city (France and London), country and state (Canada and New York), state and city (California and Las Vegas), state and ZIP code (US only), etc. It’s also easier to exclude certain areas  i.e., New York City, except 11211, or the UK, excluding Cambridge.”

Why Every Business Should Spend at Least $1 per Day on Facebook Ads by Moz

Brian CarterBrian Carter calls Facebook Ads “the biggest marketing opportunity ever,” based on their exposure potential (“they can reach as many people or more people as radio or TV, and in whatever country”), sophisticated targeting options, and low cost. While the economic of Facebook ads have changed a bit since this post was written, the essential points still hold.

And Finally…Not Fans of Facebook

‘Facebook Zero': The End Of Social Media Engagement by The Holmes Report

Arun-SudhamanArun Sudhaman analyzes the changes to organic reach implemented by Facebook in the spring of 2014, reporting on research showing “marketers can now reach just 6% of their fans via organic reach, a decline of 49% from last October’s peak” (and the situation’s gotten no better since then). He quotes Forrester that “Facebook has abandoned social marketing” in favor of an ad-driven model, and notes Ogilvy is now “encouraging clients to look more closely at other social networks, particularly Twitter and Instagram and, for B2B players, LinkedIn.”

Why You Should Forget Facebook by LinkedIn Pulse

Jeff BullasJeff Bullas (who knows a thing or two about social media) quantifies the drop in organic reach on Facebook, and points out that brands like Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, and Charity Engine are either quitting Facebook or focusing more on other content and social channels. He then outlines “two key strategies that you can pursue” in response to Facebook’s declining reach, and three tactics for earning free traffic outside of Facebook.

Is Facebook afraid of its future? by iMedia Connection

Brian Easter“Facebook has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately,” according to Brian Easter. He speculates about the motives behind the giant social network’s recent moves, and wonders if the company’s leadership will find their higher purpose, or if instead of “trying to build a great company, Facebook leadership decided to monetize everything they could, in every way they could, before they join AOL and MySpace as ‘has been’ tech giants?”

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10 Valuable SEO Resources: Keyword Research, Tools, and Local SEO

April 14, 2015

As noted here last week, ranking highly in search requires writing great content, making smart use  of Google Webmaster Tools, and building or earning high-authority backlinks.

keyword ideas  tool

Image credit: Small Business Ideas Blog

But there’s more involved in generating high, and highly relevant, organic search traffic.

At its core, search still relies on words, whether typed or spoken. How can you identify the highest-value keywords for your content? Which keyword research and other SEO tools are most effective? What tactics are most valuable for local SEO success?

Find those answers and more here in 10 expert SEO posts.

SEO Keyword Guides and Tools

How to Find Keywords Your Competitors Don’t Know About by Feldman Creative

Barry FeldmanWriting that “By strategically implementing long tail keywords, you’re far more likely to rank high, attract the audience you desire, and show motivated prospects the way to your website” but “Your challenge is to identify the right long tail keywords,” Barry Feldman outlines six sources for finding those valuable-but-undertargeted phrases, including tables of contents on Wikipedia and common questions on forums.

Fast SEO Competitive Analysis by Search Engine Watch

Ben GoodsellBen Goodsell explains how to identify top competitors in search, how to use SEMrush to discover how people are finding competitors in search, and how to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner tool along with Excel to identify search trends and quantify search volume.

Google Didn’t Want Us To Use The Keyword Planner This Way. But It Works Nicely. by Advanced Web Ranking
***** 5 STARS

Dan ShureNoting that “This landing page tool in keyword planner is primarily designed for when you have created a landing page, and you want to place ads to get paid traffic to that page specifically,” Dan Shure proceeds to demonstrate eight other “unintended” ways to use this tool for keyword research, such as by entering competitor sites, then using filters to find high volume / low competition phrases from the resulting list.

70+ Keyword Research Tool Alternatives to Google Keyword Planner by Small Business Ideas Blog

Brian LangUpdated for 2015, this bookmark-worthy post from Brian Lang now includes reviews of more than 90 keyword research tools, ranging from tools provided by the search engines (e.g., Google Correlate, the Bing Keyword Tool) to online research tools like Advanced Web Ranking to keyword suggestion tools, other desktop keyword tools, competitive analysis tools, browser add-ons and plugins, analytics tools, and “other ideas.”

Free Keyword Suggestions Tool by SerpStat

This simple free tool lets you search for general keyword ideas as well as questions only (e.g., what is…? type terms), and export results (with registration).

10 Great Alternatives to the Google Keyword Research Tool by Pamorama

Pam DyerSince “the demise of Google’s Keyword Tool, the most popular of its kind, has left marketers scrambling for alternatives,” Pam Dyer helpful reviews 10 other options here, including both free tools like Ubersuggest (which “makes good use of Google Suggest and other suggest services. You can instantly get thousands of keyword ideas from real user queries. It also offers vertical results for images, news, shopping, video, and recipes”) and paid tools such as KeywordSpy.

Other SEO Tools

Webbee SEO Spider Version 2.0 Official Release by Webbee

This free downloadable SEO analysis tool offers five different crawl modes including keyword intelligence: “This crawl option will crawl all the keywords from website. This mode takes keywords from titles, headings and anchor texts and do analysis on them either they are conflicted with any other webpage’s keywords or are good to go.”

SEO Tools: The Definitive Excel Plugin for Digital Marketers by leaderswest Digital Marketing Journal

Joe CoxGuest author Joe Cox delves into the functionality of Niels Bosma’s SEO Tools plugin for Excel, which he believes “is without doubt the most outstanding and powerful Excel add-in available for SEOs.” Among the tool’s capabilities, the Google Analytics API “literally puts the power of Google Analytics into your Excel Workbook,” and “from HTML Title, Meta Description, Meta Keywords, H1, H2, H3 and Canonical URL Meta, the on-page section of Bosma’s SEO Tools is absolute dynamite.”

Local SEO Guides

Google+: No.2 Social Network, Ghost Town Or Key Driver Of Local Search? by MediaPost

Jeremy Walker writes that regardless if its shortcomings as a social network, “Google+ sits at the center of local search.” He outlines four steps for local businesses to make the most of Google+, from creating a Google+ account and verifying ownership to enhancing the content on your Google+ Brand Page: “you can add a custom cover photo, create posts, add photos and even videos.”

10 Local Marketing Myths Hamstringing Your Business by Search Engine Land

Chris Silver SmithChris Silver Smith lists 10 “local marketing myths that you should become familiar with (and banish from your own thinking),” such as as that your primary keyword must be part of your domain name; that Twitter and Facebook are worthless for certain types of local businesses (“social media profiles such as Twitter and Facebook pages provide you with assets to help proactively manage your online reputation, and they may help you outrank your competition”); and that mobile optimization isn’t important.

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How to Dramatically Improve Organic Search Traffic

April 7, 2015

Guest post by Felix Tarcomnicu.

If you want to dramatically improve your organic search traffic, you have to make your website better. Think about what makes it unique, valuable and engaging. To dominate the search engines results, your website must stand out from all the others in your field.

A common mistake among webmasters is that they think their website is done way too early.  Because of that, they spend less time improving the website and eventually everything stagnates. The truth is that your website is never done. You have to continuously improve and give your users reasons to spend more time on your website and engage with your content.

If you are determined to get more organic traffic and make your website deserve to rank on the first page in Google, follow the below tips.

1. Use Google Webmaster Tools

By using Google Webmaster Tools you know when your website has coding- and search-related issues. The tool points out errors and gives you recommendations to improve your website.

Use Google Webmaster Tools to identify and fix 404 errors and crawling or security issues.

Also from Google Webmaster Tools, you can highlight your data and tell Google how your content is structured. When your website becomes the authority in your niche, Google can use your structured data to show knowledge cards with data from your website.

To structure your data, click on ‘Search Appearance’ and then on ‘Data Highlighter’.

webmaster tools data highlighter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Structuring your data is a very easy and straightforward process that can give you a lot of advantages. To understand your website’s pattern, Google will ask you to indicate where your information is located on your page. You can chose to highlight articles, review pages, books, videos and more.

webmaster tools data highlighter

2. Understand user behavior

Knowing what your users do on your website is the key element of improving the overall user experience. If your users think that your website is unique and valuable, then Google might think the same and reward you with higher rankings.

To determine how your users are engaging with your content, Google uses several metrics, which include:

  • • Average time per visit
  • • Bounce rate
  • • Page view per visit
  • • Exit rate
  • • Number of comments per post

Always write content that engages with your users and ask them to place comments and share their insights. Be funny and natural.

You can understand more about where your users are going and clicking on your website, by checking Google Analytics. To see a click-map of your website, go to Behavior – Site Content – All Pages. Here you can select the page you want to analyze and then click on ‘In-Page’.

google analytics click map

Analyzing your website’s click-map helps you learn where users expect to see links. Alternately, you can use other tracking tools that provide heat maps.

3. Write the best content possible

Writing a 500 -word article is not even close to doing enough. Webmasters who set a limit of words per article are making a terrible mistake. Just because your content writer charges you per 500 words, it doesn’t mean that should be the standard length of your posts.

Your content can be as long as it has to be. Always provide value and bring something new to the table by giving your readers the information they expect to get. There is no maximum length for your posts.

Numerous studies has shown that websites with longer articles tend to rank higher in Google.

Concentrate on helping your readers find solutions to their problems. Remember that the key to making a user return to your website is to satisfy him with the information you have shared.

4. Get quality links to your website

Publishing top-notch content on your website is very important. Nevertheless, it will be very challenging to rank high without having some high-authority backlinks pointing to your website.

Google still uses backlinks as their main ranking factor, and therefore you have to build or earn some high-quality links to increase your website authority.

Note that backlinks can be your ticket to heaven or hell. The quality of your backlinks is extremely important, and you must avoid building links from untrusted sources.

The easiest way to find new link building opportunities is to look at the backlinks of your competitors. By identifying and replicating the links that helped them rank high in Google, you can outrank them.

With tools like Monitor Backlinks you can spy on your competitors link building campaigns. Every ten days, you get a report with all the links they have earned recently. You can sort them by their value and do your best to replicate the best ones.

how to find competitor backlinks

The tool automatically checks if you have a link from each domain, and if you do, it will highlight the backlink row in green.

If you can replicate 30% of the good backlinks each competitor has, eventually you will outrank them in Google.

Final words

To get more organic traffic to your website, start by making your website better. Never stop improving and testing methods that help you improve the overall user experience.

Keep an eye on what’s working best for your competitors and try to replicate their best backlinks.

About the Author

Felix Tarcomnicu is an online marketer. He blogs at ProOptimization.com. Connect with him on Twitter.

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22 Exceptional Business Blogging Guides, Tips & Tactics

March 31, 2015

A well-written and consistently updates business blog is a vital core element of a successful content marketing program. As noted below, blogs are among the most effective tools for increasing website traffic, generating leads, and acquiring customers. Yet blogging requires considerably less expense and effort than other top marketing tactics like live events, webinars, and video.

Why blog for business - top business blogging guides

Image credit: i-SCOOP

What are the key elements of a successful business blog? How can you plan a consistent stream of compelling post topics? What are the most effective techniques for crafting killer headlines and gripping copy? How can you increase your content marketing footprint through guest blogging?

Find the answers to those questions and more here in almost two dozen of the best guides to business blogging strategy and tactics of the past year.

Two Guides to Business Blogging Benefits

Why the Company Blog is More Important Than You Think by Business2Community

According to recent research reported on by Business.com, “Three of the top (marketing) tactics (in-person events, webinars and video) require significantly more resources to deliver”than business blogs, though “compared to these three tactics, blogging is relatively cheap and easy to produce; and as a bonus, it provides a nimble and consistent message platform.” As if that isn’t enough, this post details four more “benefits an authentic company blog can deliver to the organization, beyond the top line” that make the effort required to maintain a high-quality, relevant blog presence worthwhile.

10 Unbelievable Statistics to Sell Your Boss on Business Blogging by WebQuacker

It really shouldn’t be necessary at this point to “sell” top executives on the concept of business blogging, but for those still struggling, Kapil Jekishan supplies “ten of the most persuasive statistics you can bring to the presentation you’re no doubt already preparing for your boss,” including the impacts of blogging on website traffic and customer acquisition, its advantages over advertising, and big-company validation: “Fortune 500 companies have never had reputations as early adopters, but even they have been forced into the business blogging arena to compete for customers”—which is why the percentage of Fortune 500 firms that blog more than doubled from 2008 to 2013.

Six Blogging Strategy Guides

Six Crucial Attributes of a Successful Business Blog by MarketingProfs

Michael GerardMichael Gerard details six attributes needed to “to launch and sustain a successful business blog” based on an analysis of more than 400 blogs at the 10,000+ visitors-per-month level. One noteworthy piece of advice: the best content marketers “market their marketing” though social channel, promotional tactics, collaboration with other internal teams, and tapping into “paid media such as Outbrain, Disqus, Taboola, and other types of promotional services.”

Corporate blogging guide: strategy and tips by i-SCOOP
***** 5 STARS

J-P De ClerckJ-P De Clerck provides an outstanding detailed guide to corporate blogging, including consideration of various corporate marketing goals for a company blog, a look at 14 business blogging success factors, and an infographic loaded with statistics and facts about why blogging matters, e.g.: 128 million Americans read blogs; 57% of companies have acquired customers through their blogs; and companies that blog regularly have better relationships with their customers.

29 Musts You Need to Do Before Launching Your Blog by SteamFeed

DJ ThistleDJ Thistle writes that building a successful blog “takes preparation, time, promotion, commitment, constant education, and most of all awesome”—and by that last word, he means following these two-dozen-plus recommendations, from starting with 10-12 posts in the bank to periodically creating evergreen content to connecting with “like-minded bloggers and influencers,” building an email list, and more.

B2B Blogging: Beyond the Basics by MLT Creative on SlideShare

Billy MitchellThis presentation from Billy Mitchell and the team at MLT Creative covers the benefits of blogging, how to keep company politics out of business blogging (“Everything starts with strategy. The blog must be aligned to strategy or you are doomed”), how to create a blogging strategy, how to get people inside and the company engaged with the blog, how to drive conversions, and more.

The State Of Blogging 2014 [Research – Charts] by Heidi Cohen
***** 5 STARS

Heidi CohenFirst, yes, the helpful facts and statistics in this post still apply in 2015. Among the actionable treasures from Heidi Cohen here: the average blog post is 800 words—but the ideal length of a search-optimized blog post is 1,500 words. And 54% of bloggers say they publish at least weekly—but “to generate leads from your blog, the sweet spot for is 2-3 times per week according to HubSpot.”

30 Tips to Freshen-up & Rock Your Blog in 2014 by Pam Moore

Pam MooreThese tips still work for 2015! Pam Moore details “30 tips to freshen up and rock your website,” starting with defining your objectives and audience and progressing through refreshing your content, creating an editorial calendar, inviting contributions from guest bloggers, engaging your audience (bring site visitors “in closer with social links, surveys, video, comment plug-ins, audio”) and more.

Two Guides to Generating Blog Topic Ideas

75 Content Starters for Any Industry by Moz

Amanda GallucciStuck for post topic ideas? Amanda Gallucci provides more than six dozen ideas to kickstart your creativity, organized into 15 categories including tools (e.g., “Create a video tutorial that walks people through how to use a tool for a specific task”), lists, internal resources (“Find out what questions your account managers get asked most frequently. Put together a blog post or other resource that lays out the answers”), events, and “out of the box” ideas.

This Is One Of The Best Sources of Blogging/Social Media Information by Joshua Wilner

Joshua WilnerJoshua Wilner sings the praises of the Support section at WordPress.com, which provides answers to both common and not-so-common questions, “ideas and information about how to use social tools on your blog so that you can drive more traffic,” resources and information about how to change the appearance of your blog, and other do-it-yourself blogging resources.

Nine Blog Writing Guides

The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post: The Data on Headlines, Length, Images and More by Buffer Social

Kevan LeeKevan Lee outlines “the 7 essential elements of a perfect blog post,” from how to write the perfect headline (‘Readers tend to absorb the first three words of a headline and the last three words…[but] of course, few headlines will be six words long in total. In those cases, it’s important to make the first three words and the last three words stand out as much as possible”) to how to optimally use subheads, time your posts, and plan killer post topics.

No Time to Blog? 11 Tips to Create Content Faster by Blue Kite Marketing

Laura ClickWriting that “although many businesses see the benefits of it content marketing, they struggle with committing the time it takes to create content on a regular basis,” Laura Click serves up 11 “quick tips to help you create blog content quickly and easily,” such as recording short videos, publishing infographics, and re-purposing content (“Every company produces tons of content every day—it just might not be in the form of a blog post. Take a look around and see how you can re-purpose emails, FAQs, presentations, etc.”).

30 Stellar Blog Tips For Posts Your Audience Loves by Heidi Cohen

Heidi Cohen (again) lists 30 useful “blog tips for creating blog posts your audience loves to read,” such as design factors, use of images (“Take the time to ensure your images support your blog goals”), utilizing other content formats like video and presentations, crafting concise headlines, and focusing on helpful content over self-promotion (though using calls to action where appropriate is fine).

23 Tips for Writing Click Worthy Blog Titles by Prof KRG

Kenna GriffinKenna Griffin summarizes the attributes of an effective blog title along with nearly two dozen tips for writing click-worthy titles, such as using strong verbs (“Use strong action verbs in your titles. Avoid passive verbs and ‘be’ verbs”), including a number (“Scannable list posts are popular among blog readers. If your post is a numbered list, use the number of items in the title”) and avoiding abbreviations.

8+ Powerful Blogging Tips: How To Get Mind-Blowing Results From Every Blog Post You Publish by Blogging Wizard

Adam ConnellThis is a long post and the steps outlined require a fair amount of effort, but the process outlined here by Adam Connell can certainly deliver results. He delves into how to create high-impact visuals using Canva, how to use WordPress plugins to create shareable quotes, how to identify and get the attention of influencers (and how not to do this), and how to leverage niche social bookmarking sites.

10 Steps to Building More Effective Blog Posts by Blue Kite Marketing

Laura Click (again) explains her methods for “how to build and structure blog posts in a way that’s optimized for today’s website visitor,” from writing a compelling headline (useful tips plus links to additional resources) and including a strong introduction (“Next to the headline, the opening paragraph is the most read part of your blog post…Ask a question. Tell a quick story. Start with a problem. Share some statistics”) to including a call to action.

93% of Bloggers Are Clueless About These Crucial Blog Post Ingredients by Post Planner

Scott AyresScott Ayres shares the strategies Post Planner used to achieve some very impressive 12-month growth figures, all done with content marketing. Daily posting, aggressive list-building, and utilization of “11 key blog post ingredients” ranging from an irresistable headline and opening with a bang (“if you don’t capture the reader’s attention in the first couple sentences of the the post, they’ll just bounce”) to maintaining attention with internal cliffhangers and choosing an arresting image.

How to Attract More Clicks to Your Blog Posts: 11 Revealing Title Tests by HubSpot

Sarah GoligerSarah Goliger reveals results of testing on various types of titles and which work best. Among the findings: questions work slightly better than statements (“Frame your blog post title as a question to make it more intriguing”), “you-focused” language beats “me-focused” (“Craft your title language to be about the reader and what is interesting to them, not you”), and beginning your blog post with a number helps.

How to Stick to Your Blogging Schedule by Blue Kite Marketing

Pointing out that “One of the biggest reasons company blogs fail is lack of consistency” in serving up fresh content, Laura Click (yet again) offers 10 helpful tips for sticking to a regular blogging schedule, among them building a content plan (a simple, flexible editorial calendar), eliminating distractions, collecting ideas and researching as you go (the way posts like this are built!), and working ahead when your schedule permits.

Three Guides to (Properly) Using Guest Blogging

Proof That Guest Blogging Is Not Dead, Coming Right From Google by Monitor Backlinks

Felix TarcomnicuFelix Tarcomnicu argues that guest blogging isn’t dead, despite earlier statements from Matt Cutts, because Google accepts guest posts (with do-follow backlinks) on their blog, and “If Google is accepting guest posts on their Analytics blog…that’s the proof that guest blogging is not dead, and you should not stick a fork in it. Period! What you should do, is to raise your guest blogging standards.”

The Pros And Cons Of A Guest Blogging Strategy In 2014 by BirdBrain Logic

Amanda DiSilvestroFrequent best-of honoree Amanda DiSilvestro outlines the pros (e.g., building relationships: “Part of guest blogging is building relationships with editors across the web. This is an excellent way to find new opportunities and stay involved in the community”), cons (keyword links have become less important), and the ultimate verdict on the benefits of guest blogging—concepts that still apply in 2015.

The Five Types of Guest Bloggers (Funny Graphic) by SteamFeed

Jesse AaronReviewing the panic caused by Matt Cutts and his “fall of guest blogging for SEO” announcement, and the ensuing clarifications, Jesse Aaron shares an amusing infographic characterizing the five types of guest bloggers, such as “The Guru” (the self-proclaimed expert who values image and follower count) and “The Spinner” (submits to hundreds of sites; what’s plagiarism?).

This was post #5, the final post, of Blogging for Business Week 2015 (#b4bweek) on Webbiquity.

#1: Welcome to Blogging for Business Week!

#2: 13 Great Guides to Growing Your Blog Audience

#3: Five Expert Guides to the Best Blogging Tools

#4: 12 of the Best Guides and Resources for Free Stock Images

#5: 22 Exceptional Business Blogging Guides, Tips & Tactics

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