Guest Posting And SEO Blog

23/Sep/2018
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What Makes a Great Marketer?

In my career as a startup founder I’ve discovered 10 traits that a unicorn marketer must possess in order to be a major asset in marketing campaigns.

Unicorn marketers are magical creatures that help your company bloom into a billion-dollar business.

If you’re ever lucky enough to find a unicorn in the wild, you want to hire that unicorn as soon as you can.

What Makes a Great Marketer?

Here are 10 traits that the best of the best marketers will possess.

What Makes a Great Marketer?

Analytical

Unicorn marketers love to analyze data and trends, and they use to inform their strategy and messaging.

Whether it’s diving into sales reports or pouring over site analytics, they’re eager to use every scrap of data they can find.

Good Storyteller

At their core, unicorn marketers are good storytellers. They know how to captivate the attention of their audience and influence them.

No matter how complicated the service or product, they can break it down into something users can not only understand, but get excited about.

Sincere

People can spot insincerity a mile away. Millenials are particularly adept at spotting inauthentic messaging, and are immediately turned off by it.

Unicorn marketers craft messages that are sincere and transparent, and in doing so, earn the trust of their audience.

Resourceful

You’ll never hear a unicorn marketer say something can’t be done.

They will always find ways to accomplish goals are set before them, even if there’s a shoestring budget or a tight deadline.

Stays Relevant

Whether it’s Facebook Messenger marketing or creating Instagram stories, the best marketers find out where their audience is and meets them there.

That includes diving into unfamiliar territory.

Objective

No matter how large the workload, unicorn marketers are clear on their objectives.

They are adept at prioritizing their tasks, and are able to reassign priority as needed.

Driven and Motivated

The best of the best possess an inner drive and fire.

They give every project everything that have, and are always looking for ways to improve, learn and grow (no hand-holding required).

Humble and Open-minded

Unicorn marketers are confident, but they’re also humble and open-minded.

They’re willing to take constructive criticism, and are always thankful for the opportunity to improve.

Audience in Mind

The best marketers have one thing in common: their audience is always at the forefront of their mind.

They conduct persona research and every message they write is crafted with those personas in mind.

SEO-Minded

You can have the best marketing campaign in the world, but it won’t matter if no one sees it.

That’s why unicorn marketers optimize their content for search so that their messaging is seen by everyone.

If you encounter a marketer that possesses all of these qualities, you’ve found yourself a rare unicorn. Hire them as fast as you can and watch your company grow!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “10 Things you MUST Look for in a Marketer for Your Small Business” was first published on Small Business Trends


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23/Sep/2018
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It is not always clear for online businesses when it is time to rethink their website. Of course, issues like technical problems or outdated information may be obvious enough, but what about the more subtle signs?

Ask yourself the following questions:

Have your online sales dwindled? 
Is your web traffic declining? 
Are bounce rates increasing?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it could be a sign that your e-commerce website needs work. 

It’s nearly impossible, though, to come up with a solution if you don’t know what is causing the problem in the first place. Below are four of the most common conversion killers in e-commerce website design (and how to fix them).

Editor’s Note: Looking for information on e-commerce web design services? Use the questionnaire below and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

1. Your platform is not SEO-optimized.

An SEO strategy is a pillar to a strong and successful online company. After all, if your customers can’t find your business, then they are obviously not going to buy your product or service. And while most ecommerce sites understand the importance of strong keywords in product descriptions, it does not necessarily mean that their site is truly optimized for strong SEO. 

According to Woorank’s recent report, 18 percent of ecommerce sites had broken backlinks that led customers to 404 error pages or poor redirections. Backlinks that come from high domain authority sites can be extremely beneficial for your own website’s ranking, but if these links are not formatted correctly or lead to irrelevant pages (such as a generic homepage), it could lead to higher bounce rates. 

According to SEMRush, in addition to backlinks, other SEO factors on your website affect its ranking, including your website’s security and the quality of your keywords throughout the content. This is why using an e-commerce platform optimized for better SEO practices is a smart choice. Look for features that make it easy to include customized navigation links, page titles, URLs, tags, and meta descriptions so your site’s content is highly visible for search engines to pick up on.

2. Your UX is out of date.

The experience your customers have with your website and brand makes all the difference. Study after study has proven that tweaks to the UX can impact your business’s bottom line. It affects how much customers are willing to pay, how loyal they are to your brand and how likely they are to recommend you to other consumers. 

A great UX can be a clear advantage in a highly competitive market. In fact, next to price, the usability of a website and other UX factors are the most important considerations for online shoppers. If your website is not offering an up-to-date UX that provides what your visitors want, chances are that they will look elsewhere. 

Take a look at design flaws that could be standing in the way of a smooth UX

Are customers able to navigate through your platform clearly or does your site offer too few (or too many) categories? 
How complex is it to make a purchase?
Does your design truly reflect your brand or could it use a modern update? 

Keep an eye on your analytical datasets and see where your customers begin to disengage. If customers are frequently abandoning their carts, it could signal an issue with the UX of the purchasing process. Or if users commonly exit after viewing product pages, perhaps the layout or description could use some rework.

3. Your data collection strategy is unclear.

Ecommerce businesses rely more on customer data than ever before to stay relevant to audiences and provide them with better experiences. Brands that are heavily data-driven are more profitable and grow faster than companies that do not extensively use customer data in their strategies. 

Due to the high expectations set for personalized brand experiences, e-commerce brands must have a system in place to not only collect necessary datasets but also to apply them for a better customer experience. 

Rather than trying to build a large database of information, a better approach is data minimization. The important thing for online brands to do when it comes to figuring out data-collection strategies is to narrow it down to the why, what and how. 

Why are you collecting this information?

What is it going to be used for?

How will it be organized and applied?

Define your strategy first and determine the exact ways that your team can apply customer data, whether it be with personalized shopping recommendations, custom offers or better marketing messaging. From there, it will be easier to determine which data points are necessary, and your team can figure out how to collect this through website data analyzation methods.  

4. Mobile optimization is limited.

As more shoppers use mobile devices for research and checkout, it is important that e-commerce brands offer the same or similar shopping experiences on the small screen. Twenty-four percent of retail ecommerce sales are now technically m-commerce, so online brands must be prepared to make their sites optimized for customers browsing through their smartphones and tablets.

Though the number of m-commerce sales continues to rise, it seems that brands are still not offering the type of experience that customers expect or deserve. According to a report by Salesforce and Demandware, customers are less likely to purchase from an e-commerce brand if their mobile site seems less secure or has UX barriers, such as difficulty seeing product information or issues with checkout.  

Be sure that the mobile version of your website is just as well designed and UX optimized as your desktop version. In order to avoid common customer frustrations, it needs to be adaptive to various screen sizes so customers do not constantly have to zoom in and out manually to browse your site. Adjust text sizes for easy reading and make sure that navigational tabs are simplified for easy searching.

Conclusion

A total overhaul of your website can be expensive and time-consuming, and in some cases, not completely necessary. A few little tweaks and changes can have a strong effect on your customers. Take a look at your own analytical data to see what could be causing visitors to vanish without a trace and without a purchase. 

Your website should never truly be complete. There are always adjustments and changes to be made for a better shopping experience. Pay attention to what your customers want and design accordingly.

Read more: business.com


23/Sep/2018
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For all the brands looking to improve their online presence, here is a checklist of 50 SEO tips that briefly cover everything from SSL certificates to schema to search friendly URLs and much more.

Site Structure

Marketers should keep a close watch on the structure of their website and the SEO strategy they will implement. Below is the rundown of 19 tips linked to the construction of your site.

HTTPS. Security of your site is an important consideration. It’s a good idea to migrate HTTP sites to the HTTPS protocol. In an attempt to protect customer and crucial business information, you as a startup owner should improve the trust factor of your site by investing in a cheap SSL certificate. Given the fact that HTTPS sites enjoy slightly better Google rankings, it pays for e-commerce startup owners to activate their SSL certificate. This move towards web security will enable visitors to transact on your site with confidence.
Fast Site. You also need to ensure that your e-commerce site responds quickly to customer clicks. Site speed is another element that can dictate the success of your e-commerce SEO. Reduce page load times so as to reduce the bounce rates of your site.
Internal linking tells search engines how to index your site. The further a page is from the home page, the less important it may be considered to be. That doesn’t mean pages should have a lot of links. It just means that content should be organized logically and that every page on the site should have at least one link to it.
Backlinks. Everyone pretty much knows this, but we’ll repeat it anyway. The basis of off-page SEO is and has always been links. So start building superior-quality backlinks.
Mobile Friendly. Research suggests that, on average, > 50% of web traffic comes from mobile searches. In order to stay in sync with technology, e-commerce owners should capitalize this tendency by optimizing the site for mobile displays. While doing this, care should be taken to compress the images to less than 70KB so that mobile pages load faster. Search for “google site speed tool” to find a great tool for testing the speed of your site on mobile screens.
Home Page Status to Category Pages. It is also important that you grant ‘individual home page’ status to category pages, with respective content and keywords. A well-organized category-level navigation is another important factor that can boost success.
Meta descriptions play a significant role in increasing your CTR (Click Through Rate). Efforts should be directed towards writing compelling Meta Descriptions so that visitors will be compelled to see what you have to offer. One great way to find the best meta description formula is to test them using Google Ads. Test a few versions as ads, see which are clicked on most often, and use that text as the basis for your meta description.
Image SEO is another tip that e-commerce startup owners might find useful. When web content is supported by images, it can make for better visitor engagement and also causes the page to be returned in image searches. Such content-supportive images should come with ‘Alt Tags’ and if possible ‘Title Tags’. These tags enable both normal and visually-impaired visitors to easily access your site.
Title Tag. It’s important that you optimize your Title Tag by ensuring that it contains a string of 60-70 characters. Long-tail keywords can deliver enhanced organic searches you may not have thought of. Adding the keyword to the Title Tag is another sure shot means to attract the attention of visitors to your website. How to find the right Title Tag? The AB testing method mentioned above using Google Ads can help.
Chat / Chatbots. You can include live chat on your website. Remember that you need to have someone available to respond to live chat though. Chat “bots” have become a thing lately though and can programmatically answer visitor questions when a human isn’t present.
Breadcrumb navigation is another navigational aid used in your structure. It is through breadcrumbs that visitors can navigate between the numerous product lines, categories and information pages of your website. Google recommends breadcrumbs as a way to organize information. It is advisable to use Breadcrumbs on all your product category, product sub-category and product pages.
Social Integrations. You can allow visitors to share your pages through social integrations. Provide such an option on all your product pages
301 Redirects. When a product or page is discontinued, use the permanent 301-Redirect URL . This way, instead of a dead page, users are automatically redirected to a live page. It also lets search engines know that the page has moved, so you don’t lose any of your hard earned links.
Header Tags. Incorporate header tags on all your product pages. The most important headline should be an H1 tag. You should have only one H1 tag. Then, add H2 tags to sub-headings. You can have many of these. Within H2 headings you can nest H3 or H4 tags. This helps search engines organize content on a page-level.
Canonical Tags. You should also use a canonical tag. This URL tag avoids the issue of duplicate content which every website experience. When a search engine finds content in two or more places on your site it has to decide which one to show in search results. The canonical tag lets them know the right one.
URL Structure. Pay attention to the structure of your URLs so as to strengthen product categories. Website.com/category/ should be the URL of your category page. Similarly, you can represent the sub-category page using the website.com/category/sub-category/ URL format. Additionally, the product page can be represented as: website.com/category-sub-category/product-name. These URL naming formats are not only user-friendly but can lead to more traffic because search engine and users can get a better idea of what your page is about from the URL itself.

Brand Awareness Online

Now for brand awareness.

The best way to improve the presence of your brand is to allow buyers to share their reviews and recommendations on your e-store or website. This will not only increase the web content of your product pages, but will also provide social validation.
Initiate a guest blogging strategy where 3rd parties create content for your site. In fact, this very post is the result of a guest blogging effort. This can not only drive more traffic to your e-store but will also enhance the presence of your brand amongst online shoppers.
Paid search like Google Ads can pave the way for enhanced brand awareness that will eventually lead to an organic sale. Does PPC improve SEO? No. They’re not connected.
E-store owners can also look at inserting aggregated star-based reviews next to their products in support of an organic search. This can make stars appear in search results next to your products and services. Aggregated reviews are a form of “schema”. You can learn more about schemas at schema.org.
You can also bank on the power offered by rich snippets which are meant to provide additional information to the visitor who lands on the home page of your e-store. They can help your site occupy “position zero” in search results. The most common e-commerce rich snippets are availability, reviews and ratings, events and pricing. You can add rich snippets by implementing Schema Markups.
You can initiate an affiliate program by asking bloggers to express their views about your online products. This tip not only generates more sales but will also increase the backlinks to your e-store, at least, as long as they like your products or services.
Another marketing tip that can work is to look for local events that are happening in the industry-space and sponsor them.
You can also participate in Reddit forums linked to your product line if done very subtly. But be warned, Reddit users do not respond well to overt marketing. Use this strategy at your own risk.

Along with all the above-mentioned tips linked to three different heads of e-commerce business, you can also check out a host of helpful tools that can positively impact your organic traffic. Below are a some SEO tools to check out.

Google Shopping is a tool that may come with a lower ‘cost per click’ and the higher conversion rates when compared to other PPC alternatives.

Google Trends can give you insight into what is trending in your industry, giving you ideas as to where to invest content and SEO resources on your site.

The Crazy Egg tool promises to make your website better instantly.

Google Search Console is a tool to improve the performance of your site by enabling you to quantify search traffic data. This one is considered a “must have”.

You can check out Adwords Keyword Planner to identify compelling keywords. It’s not perfect though, while popular – the numbers sometimes don’t add up.

Readable improves the readability of your web content. Well, it doesn’t do it, it shows you how to.

If your e-store has visual content that needs to be shared amongst visitors, you can use Canva to create amazing graphic designs.

Quick Sprout says you can learn how to grow your traffic, improve your website, and increase your conversions. Sounds great!

You can also check out the responses given out by users on Quora. A question and answer platform, Quora helps you plug the gaps between useful user insights and the deficiencies in your products.

SEMrush is an awesome tool to identify the keywords that are being used by your competitors.

Thanks for reading!

Read more: feedproxy.google.com


23/Sep/2018
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This Saturday night, Sept. 8th, marks the 2018 Korea Autumn Racing Carnival and the latest chapter in Korea’s drive to position itself as the next horse racing superpower. This year’s edition is poised to be biggest and most geographically diverse to date, with nine different countries represented across the two main features. Fans in the United States could have an especially exciting evening ahead of them as Chublicious, the only entrant both bred and trained in the USA, has a strong chance for a podium finish in the night’s main event.

In its third year, the carnival’s showpiece races, the G1 Keeneland Korea Cup (1800M/1 1/8 Mile) and G1 Keeneland Korea Sprint (1200M/6 Furlongs) are already established as the premier horse racing events on the local calendar. The USA’s formidable presence (i.e. 19 locally-bred horses across both races) is also a key factor in Korean racing’s rising status amongst US audiences.

The USA, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Hong Kong, Singapore, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Japan will all face host nation Korea on Saturday at Seoul Racecourse, where they will attempt to claim a share of the Cup’s purse of 1 Billion Korean Won (US$894 000) and the Sprint’s 700 Million Korean Won (US$626 000) prize money.

TVG will provide live coverage of the Korea Cup and Sprint in the Americas. Fans can tune into TVG1 at 3:45 p.m. Seoul local time on Sunday, Sept. 9th (2:45 a.m. EDT, or 11:45 p.m. PDT on Saturday, Sept. 8th) for the Korea Sprint (Race 8). The Korea Cup can be viewed at 4:55 p.m. Sunday local time (3:55 a.m. EDT, or 12:55 a.m. PDT) (Race 9).

The Carnival’s 2017 sophomore edition marked the first chance for the USA to race on Korean soil. While Japan was victorious in both races, Linda Rice’s Papa Shot (third in the Cup) and Kenny McPeek’s The Truth or Else (fourth in the Sprint), made sure that America’s first Carnival appearance was a memorable one.

This year the Ron Faucheux-trained Chublicious will be the only US-based horse in action when he takes part in the Sprint. Chublicious earned his first graded win this time last year as a longshot who powered his way to an upset victory over the favorite in the Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash at Laurel Park.

With Chublicious (Sire: Hey Chub) having ended only once outside the top three in his last ten starts, the Sprint will more than likely feature an American podium finish as the race includes a total of nine US-bred horses. Two of them, the Ji Yong Cheol-trained Wonder Bolt (Sire: More Than Ready) and Seo In Seok’s Zentenary (Sire: First Defence), are among the highest-rated horses in training at Seoul.

Further highlighting US-bred talent with overseas training are Ennobled Friend (UAE/Sire: Malibu Moon) and Maximus (Singapore/Sire: Lemon Drop Kid) in the Cup as well as Wild Dude (UAE/Sire: Wildcat Heir) and Moanin (Japan/Sire: Henny Hughes) in the Sprint.

Moanin will carry Japan’s hope in the Sprint, while fellow Japanese runner London Town heads into the Korean Cup to retain his title and become the first horse to post back-to-back wins. One of his challengers will be the Irish-bred Riven Light, who overcame an injury and made a remarkable comeback to win the Galway Festival as the topweight and widest draw.

Korean Champion Cheongdam Dokki

The Korea Cup also boasts a squad brimming with US-bred horses currently training in Korea. The host nation’s side is yet to seal victory in the Cup or Sprint, although that may very well change this year with US-bred Cheongdam Dokki (Sire: To Honor and Serve), a champion four-year-old winner who has enjoyed a hot run of form with 11 wins and 3 placings from 16 starts. The combination of Cheongdam Dokki’s potential and a home track advantage should make for a compelling evening as Korea looks to assert their standing in the Carnival’s main event.

The rivalry between Korean runners Final Boss and Cheonji Storm is set to cause great excitement and expectation among fans. Final Boss is last year’s Korean Derby winner and a son of Menifee, one the leading US-bred sires in Korea. The pair showed a strong fighting spirit at this year’s Segye Ilbo Cup, which ended in second favorite Final Boss stealing the moment from the heavily backed Cheonji Storm.

The Korea Autumn Racing Carnival is the renewed collaboration between the Korean Racing Authority and Keeneland as part of a long-standing tradition to export the best bloodlines to Korea and take its horse racing to world-class status. The participation of horses trained in nine different countries this year as well as increased popularity of Korean racing in the US, reflects the quality and global recognition the Autumn Carnival has achieved.

The Korea Cup and Korea Sprint from Seoul Racecourse will be broadcast live on TVG this Saturday night. Handicappers will want to note that races will be available to bet on at two tracks in Korea during the evening – Seoul (10 races) and Busan (5 races). They can also tune in and wager on leading ADW platforms such as TwinSpiresXpressbetNYRABetsWatchandWagerAmWager, and BetAmerica. For the most comprehensive offering of past performances, expert picks and to watch live they can visit skyracingworld.com.

Content provided by Sky Racing World

About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South Korean racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.

The post USA Poised For Success At Keeneland Korea Cup And Sprint appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

Read more: paulickreport.com


23/Sep/2018
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Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Generating and retaining customers is the lifeblood of every small business in the world. Which is why it’s no surprise that business owners find marketing the #1 biggest challenge.

We recently ran a survey with 304 business owners to uncover their biggest interests and challenges when running a business. Around 33% said marketing was their biggest challenge, money and time were close behind. Advertising was also on the list.

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

It’s clear that getting repeat business, retaining customers and generating new ones is a huge focus point for all business owners. The question is, how do you do marketing and advertising effectively? How do you attract new customers with a positive ROI?

Here, I’ll share nine of the most effective marketing strategies for small businesses. From search engine marketing to social media advertising, you’re about to get a ton of proven ideas to grow your business strategically.

1. A Website for Conversions, Not Fancy Design

When creating or optimizing a small business website, the design always seems to be the top priority. Indeed, many business owners fret over image sizes and shades of color. But what about its ability to attract new customers? Leading the website traffic down the right path to convert them into a customer seems to go out of the window in favor of design.

Yes, design is important. However, it should serve the function of the website — to generate new customers — not the other way around. So, what makes for a conversion-driven website? At the very least, your home page must include these elements:

Headline: What is the value proposition of your offering? What makes you different? The headline should grab the attention of the visitor and compel them to keep reading.
Calls-to-action: What do you want the visitor to do? Should they call you directly, fill out a form or buy from your website? Having a clear call-to-action will encourage visitors to take the next step in the relationship with you.
Benefit-driven copywriting: The content on your homepage (and product pages) must focus on the benefits that your product or service brings to the customer. It should talk about their challenges, not facts about your business. People care about how you can help them. Elements such as awards and years in business can help with trustworthiness, but should be secondary to what you do for your customers.
Social proof: Start collecting customer testimonials and wear them on your website like a badge of honor. You can also include reviews from third party sites (such as Google Reviews) and logos of any publications you’ve been featured in.
Contact information: Make your contact details easy to find. If you rely on telephone enquiries, ensure your phone number is in the header. If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, make it easy for people to find you.
Visual content: The imagery you use should enforce what you’re offering. If you sell physical products, use imagery that illustrates them in use.

Bighorn Law prominently displays their phone number in the navigation bar. They also include a relevant clear headline and call-to-action relevant to the various locations they serve:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Whatever the action you want people to take, make sure you’re encouraging them take it!

2. Optimize for Local SEO

Once you have a conversion-driven website, it’s time to drive traffic. According to Search Engine Journal, 93% of online experiences start with a search engine. In other words, most of your customers will find you via Google.

Which is why it’s important you make it easy for prospects to find you in a sea of competitors. This means optimizing your website for SEO.

For small businesses, local SEO is the holy grail of digital marketing channels. Here are some components to keep in mind when running a local SEO campaign:

Optimize title and meta descriptions: These two elements dictate how you appear in the search engine. If you’re a plumber and operate in the Austin, Texas area, you’d want the keyword “plumber austin” to appear in your title and meta description.
Claim your Google My Business listing: By claiming your Google My Business (GMB) listing, you increase your chances of exposure on the search engine. This means appearing in directories as well as Google Maps:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Generate Reviews: Not only does your average rating contribute to social proof, it can also help your ranking in the local search results. Encourage your customers to leave reviews whenever possible.
Ensure your NAP matches: The NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) on your website must match the one you include in your GMB listing.

By ensuring your free local listing is set up and fully optimized, you’re more likely to attract more clicks, leads and customers.

3. Create a Funnel that Nurtures

Not all visitors to your website will be ready to buy right away. Which is why it’s important you have a call-to-action at all stages of the funnel.

What are these funnel stages? Typically, they include:

Top-of-funnel (TOFU): These are people who are entering the awareness stage and are looking for a solution to their problem.
Middle-of-funnel (MOFU): At this stage, potential customers are researching specific products and services to fulfil their need.
Bottom-of-funnel (BOFU): The prospect is ready to buy. They’ll be choosing from a selection of vendors. It’s your job to make sure it’s you.

Generate TOFU leads by offering something of value in exchange for their details. This can include educational material (such as ebooks and whitepapers) or product-related offers (like discounts).

To attract these TOFU leads, create content that delivers value upfront. You’ll learn how to do this in #6. MOFU content, on the other hand, should talk about their specific problems and the different ways they can solve it (including your offering).

Finally, BOFU content should focus on getting the prospect to become a customer. This content might include competitor comparisons, spec sheets and pricing tables. With all this content in hand, you can use email marketing to capture lead information at each stage of the funnel and nurture them into customers.

4. Identify Local & Industry Influencers

Influencer marketing has become a practice of its own over the last 24 months. For those not in the know, influencer marketing is where brands partner with social media “influencers” who have access to sizable audiences in order to promote their products and services.

While it may appear to be reserved for bigger brands, the art of influencer marketing is widely available to small businesses thanks to the rise of micro-influencers.

Micro-influencers are those with a smaller yet niche audience of engaged followers. They don’t cost as much, meaning it’s an affordable option for small businesses. Not only that, but they tend to receive a higher level of engagement than “major” influencers.

Using Instagram as an example, search for accounts that share similar interests to your audience or those based in your target geo. For example, if you run a burger restaurant, you could search for your town name to find the top posts:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Then, look through the accounts associated with these top posts. Identify those with 20,000 to 100,000 followers, as these fit the “micro-influencer” criteria:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

From here, engage with these micro-influencers to get on their radar. Do this by liking and commenting on their posts. Once you’ve done this a few times, send them a direct message (DM) to see if they’d be interested in working with you.

Offer freebies and in exchange for the exposure to their account. Work with them to create engaging content. Remember, Instagram is a social platform that thrives off high-quality and shareable photos. Make sure your content fits this criteria.

5. Optimize the Customer Experience

Customer service is no longer just about after-sales care. The entire relationship must be optimized to delight prospects, customers and advocates alike. This is known as customer experience, which encapsulates marketing, sales and customer support together into one cohesive strategy.

IKEA has one of the most recognizable customer experience strategies in the entire world. From the meatballs to the guided walkways where their furniture is setup, everything has been cleverly designed to delight the customer.

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

So, what makes a great customer experience? Some say it’s about “sweating the small things” and going the extra mile. But to do that your entire business needs to be working towards the same goal.

This means making every touch-point with your business a delightful one. From talking to sales reps to browsing your website. Here’s a quick process to coming up with a good customer experience strategy:

Step 1: Create a Vision

Great customer experience puts the customer first. How can you be different and more brilliant than the competition? Are you dissatisfied with the status-quo? Brainstorm with your employees and come up with a mission statement.

Step 2: Understand the Customer Journey

How do your customers make decisions and research solutions and new products? To uncover this insight, talk to them directly. Conduct in-depth research and create segments for each customer category.

Step 3: Collaborate

Remember, customer experience means bringing every part of your business together. Collaborate with all of your employees to come up with the best customer experience strategy possible. Enable and empower them to serve your customers as best they can.

Step 4: Execute

Start making it convenient for customers to buy from you, easy to reach you and personalize the entire experience for each of your customer segments.

Over time, you must measure the effectiveness of your customer experience strategy. You can do this by running customer satisfaction surveys to see how happy customers are with different areas of your business.

When done right, customer experience can become your biggest differentiator. Take the time to delight your customers in every corner of your business as possible.

6. Create Valuable & Entertaining Content

As mentioned earlier, not every prospect will be ready to buy from you right away. Which is why it’s important to build a relationship early by delivering value up front.

How? With content marketing.

Content marketing is the practice of creating entertaining or value-driven (how-to) content to capture a wider audience. For example, Ozone Coffee uses content to share stories and attract an audience of passionate customers who care about social responsibility:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Define your content strategy by talking to your customers and uncovering the topics they care about. These topics don’t need to be directly related to your product, but they should be relevant.

In the example from Ozone above, they provided a healthy baking recipe for their readers. It has nothing to do with their business aside from the fact that baked goods taste delicious alongside coffee, but either way they know it’s a subject their customers care about.

From there, create a schedule and stick to it. This could be once a week or even once a month. Whatever your cadence, make sure it’s consistent.

When you publish new content, promote it through your social platforms, email list and any other channels you’re active on. Ensure you’re attracting a wider audience by encouraging your followers and customers to share.

7. Test Facebook Ads

Paid media platforms like Facebook Ads can provide a wildly positive ROI when done right. For example, design service Design Pickle generated over $5,800 in monthly recurring revenue from their Facebook ads:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

Not only can you hyper-target your exact ideal audience, but you can generate leads with a small budget before scaling up.

To cover the intricacies of Facebook Ads would take an entire guide in itself. Instead, I’ll cover some basic principles and offer an example so you can see them in action:

Strategy: What do you hope to achieve? Are you promoting your products or content? Who is your primary audience? Make sure you have a documented strategy first-and-foremost.
Objective: This is the first step when setting up your Facebook Ads. Objectives include brand awareness, traffic and lead generation. Select the objective that makes the most sense to your strategy.
Target Audience: This is where the real power of Facebook Ads lies. Define targeting variables such a geographical location, gender, age — all the way to psychographic elements like interests and behavior.
Budget: Set a daily budget, schedule when you want your ads to run and select an optimization method. For example, “link clicks” will optimize your budget spend for generating traffic to your website.
Ad Format: Your ad creative can be served in image, carousel or video formats. Make sure you have this ad creative in advance by following Facebook’s guidelines.
Monitor: Keep a close eye on your Facebook Ad campaign. Monitor elements such as cost-per-click (CPC) as well as on-page metrics like bounce rate and avg. time on site.

In the example below, pediatric dentist Route 32 use engaging imagery to capture attention quickly. They also use benefit-driven copy with a clear call-to-action, making it clear what they want their audience to do:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

Imagery is the most important element to Facebook Ads. It’s what will stop your audience from scrolling through their news feed. Use vibrant colours and include small amounts of text that get to the crux of what you’re offering.

8. Create Native Social Media Content

Of course, you don’t have to pay to play in the world of social media. Indeed, you can create an organic audience of engaged followers just by creating content they care about.

The process and strategy varies from platform to platform. Here, I’ll share some great examples from other small businesses and how you can emulate them for your own success.

In the example below, 33 Aces Brewing use their Instagram account to let their branding shine through while creating engaging photography:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

Instagram users are drawn to high-quality photos. 33 Aces uses simple photography principles while showing the day-to-day life at their brewery to show their followers what goes on under the hood.

In this next example, Bean Box have used their platform to create a viral contest. When followers sign up, they receive a $10 gift card and the opportunity to win a prize worth $500:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

When someone signs up for the contest, they have the option to share with their friends for more entries. This incentivizes sharing, as they have a greater chance of winning if they do.

Finally, this example from Bradbury & Partners shows how you can blend work with an element of fun in your content:

Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively

Image source

The overarching principle: create content that works in the context of each social platform. People prefer high-quality photography on Instagram, so make sure you give it to them.

Similarly, everyone loves a good Facebook contest, so find new ways to tap into this sharing behavior to expand your audience.

9. Don’t Neglect Partnerships

There are other small businesses in your marketplace who have access to your ideal customer. You can partner with these businesses to promote each other’s products and services.

Victoria Bennett, Partnership and Sponsorship Director at Barclays Personal and Corporate Banking, says it best:

“To tap into one another’s expertise, contacts and customers. A combined approach can be more powerful than flying solo when executed properly.”

Start by finding potential partners in your space. For example, a local music venue could partner with restaurants in the area to promote gigs in exchange for poster space inside the venue.

Events are another effective method of tapping into each others’ audiences. That same music venue could partner with restaurants to offer a variety of different foods for a weekend festival, tapping into each other’s audiences to spread the word.

Whoever you partner with, and however you do it, make sure it’s mutually beneficial. The partnership should work towards the goals of both businesses, no matter what they are.

How are you planning to grow your business this year and beyond? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Marketing is the #1 Problem According to Small Businesses: 9 Ways To Do Marketing Effectively” was first published on Small Business Trends


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23/Sep/2018
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You know what’s one of the hardest things about becoming an online marketer?

You really don’t know where to start.

Like formal education, there’s no sequential and well-defined learning path.

Which is why most of the successful marketers became experts through trial and error.

But this approach doesn’t work for everyone.

In fact, one of the reasons why people give up on internet marketing is because they’re never really sure if they know enough.

Thankfully, Google, Facebook, HubSpot, and several other leading online companies decided to do something about this.

They’ve put together digital marketing courses of the highest quality that anyone, even a complete newbie, can take for FREE.

Yup! you need to pay NOTHING.

They’re designed for complete newbies and take them to different levels of expertise in online marketing methodologies like content marketing, eCommerce, copywriting, social media, email marketing etc.

Many of them even certify you on course completion.

Now imagine “Google Certified” or “Certified by Facebook” written with your name.

 

google digital garage certificate

 

Quite a credibility boost, isn’t it?

Will these courses make you an expert?

Most of them won’t.

But they’ll give you a solid understanding of the core internet marketing concepts with a bird’s eye view and prepare you for more advanced marketing techniques and strategies that you can apply to your niche marketing business.

They won’t teach you step-by-step niche marketing techniques or give you marketing tools like NicheHacks Insiders, but they’ll still give you an overall understanding of all the major online marketing concepts.

Let me describe each course for you.

 

1. Google Digital Garage

Target Audience: Newbies and Intermediate marketers
Course Instructors: Multiple Google marketing experts
Course Format: Videos, workbooks, practical activities, and additional reading material
Certification: Yes

 

If you don’t do any other course in this list, just do this one.

Seriously, Google Digital Garage certification course is a goldmine for newbies.

It starts with the very basics of online marketing and gradually takes you to more advanced topics like SEO, advertising and retargeting.

 

Source: Google Digital Garage

 

The course contains 26 “Badges” which are essentially 26 different modules with 106 short video lessons.

It covers all aspects of digital marketing and teaches you how to market any product or service using different online marketing tools.

 

Source: Google Digital Garage

 

Trust me, it’s a lot of content.

Each topic has anywhere between 2 to 7 short video lessons that make it easy to digest the information

To help you practice what you learn, all topics come with their own set of practical exercises and quizzes.

 

Source: Google Digital Garage

 

If you’ve been into online marketing for some time, the starting lessons might look a bit too basic to you.

You can choose to skip them and go to the more advanced lessons.

But I’d still recommend taking the whole course in its defined sequence because it shares some really good case studies and examples with every lesson.

At the end of every topic, you’ll need to pass a short multiple-choice exam to earn the badge for that topic.

And once you’ve earned all the 26 badges, you can attempt the final certification exam to earn the right to call yourself a Google certified digital marketer.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

Google Academy for Ads

Google Academy for Ads is a platform where you can learn everything about Google’s most popular tools and services like YouTube, Google Analytics and Google Ads (previously Adwords) and earn certifications by completing the coursework and passing the exam for each course.

 

Source: Google Academy for Ads

 

Google has moved all its certification courses and learning programs related to marketing advertising and sales to the Ads Academy.

Every course takes you from the very basics of the topic to the most advanced levels

And here’s the best part

All courses and certifications are absolutely free (which was not the case a few years ago)

But not all of them are meant for marketers.

So I’ve shortlisted the ones that you should worry about.

Google Ads Certification Course
Google Analytics Individual Certification
YouTube Certification Course
Digital Sales Certification Course

Let’s have a quick look at each of them.

 

2. Google Ads Certification Course

Target Audience: Intermediate marketers
Course Instructors: Multiple Google marketing experts
Course Format: Videos, workbooks, practical activities, and additional reading material
Certification: Yes

 

Google Ads Certification (previously Google Adwords) is one of Google’s most popular and in-demand certification courses. If you’re looking to enhance your knowledge of paid advertising, audience targeting, and retargeting, this course is for you.

It can be accessed in Google’s Academy for Ads.

In case you didn’t know, Google Ads is Google’s advertising platform that anyone can use to market their product and services by using different kinds of ads (search, display, mobile, video etc.)

 

 

The famous”Google Keyword Planner (GKP)”, which most marketers use for keyword research, is a part of Google Ads platform and is primarily used for targeting keywords for advertising.

Google’s Academy for Ads offers separate courses for each advertising type.

Google Ads Fundamentals (mandatory)
Google Ads Display Certification
Google Ads Search Certification
Google Ads Mobile Certification
Google Ads Video Certification
Google Ads Shopping Certification

To become certified, you’ll need to pass the Google Ads Fundamentals exam plus any other certification of your choice from this list.

Which means, if you want to earn Google Ads Search Certification, you’ll first need to pass the Google Ads Fundamentals exam.

The same applies to all other certifications in this list.

Once you complete a certification, you’ll get a nice presentable certificate that you can add to your LinkedIn profile or resume.

 

Source: Google Academy for Ads

 

Should you really bother about this course?

I definitely think you should.

Earning a Google Ads certification will open up new opportunities for you, help you promote your business, and get high paying freelance advertising clients.

But even if you’re not interested in the certification, the knowledge shared in this course will help you IMMENSELY and show you ways you can double or triple your sales by using targeted and optimized ads.

Remember, most of the top marketers use paid advertising and don’t rely solely on SEO for traffic and lead generation.

 

3. Google Analytics Individual Qualification Course

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Instructors: Justin Cutroni and Krista Seiden
Course Format: Videos, workbooks, practical activities, and additional reading material
Certification: Yes

 

Anyone who has a website usually has a Google Analytics account as well.

It’s the world’s most widely used web analytics application.

But did you know there’s a LOT you can do with Google Analytics beyond the standard reporting on Pageviews, Bounce Rate, and Top Content?

When I took this course a few months ago, I was literally blown away by the power of Google Analytics

There’s SO MUCH you can do with it.

If you use to its potential, it will not only become your number one audience research tool but also give you data from so many different angles that you’ll be able to make much more informed and data-backed marketing decisions.

 

Source: Google Academy for Ads

 

Google Analytics Individual Qualification course is comprised of two parts.

Google Analytics for Beginners
Advanced Google Analytics

You’ll get certificates of acknowledgment for just completing the two parts.

But to become Google Analytics Qualified, you need to complete both the parts AND pass the comprehensive certification exam.

Here’s the prize waiting for you.

 

 

Even if you complete the first part “Google Analytics for Beginners” you’ll have more practical knowledge of the tool than most people.

The course is really well designed and delivered by a couple of analytics advocates at Google, Justin and Krista.

 

 

Both the courses are divided into several modules that are further broken down into 5-10 min lessons.

Plus, you can access additional resources like hour-long Q&A sessions with Krista that she recorded to respond to the most common user questions.

Overall, the course will add a LOT of value to your skill set and enable you to look at web analytics in a completely different way from the past.

 

4. YouTube Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Text content, supporting videos, additional reading material, exercises
Certification: Yes

 

If you’ve ever wondered how to successfully start, grow, and monetize a YouTube channel, this course is for you.

Google Academy for Ads actually has 4 YouTube certification courses.

YouTube Channel Growth
YouTube Creative Essentials
YouTube Asset Monetization
YouTube Content Ownership

Source: YouTube Certified

 

However, only the first two are about growing a YouTube channel and creating the right content. The other two are focused on legal matters, such as content rights, and technical matters like reporting and analytics.

Unlike the courses on Google Ads and Analytics, the YouTube certification course mostly has text content with occasional video lessons.

However, the additional reading material and quizzes make it a comprehensive course for anyone looking to enhance their understanding of YouTube.

Once you complete a course, you’ll need to pass the certification exam and score at least 75% to become a YouTube Certified professional.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

5. Digital Sales Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Text content, supporting videos, additional reading material, exercises
Certification: Yes

 

This is a pretty unique course from Google.

Its main purpose is to help digital marketers sell advertising services more confidently, which might not sound relevant to you as an affiliate or niche marketer.

However, this course offers a LOT more

It covers some of the key sales and marketing principles that any marketer should keep in mind while selling their products or services.

Doing this course would definitely improve your communication skills, teach you to think from the customer’s perspective, and give you a much better understanding of how to position your product or services for maximum impact.

Instead of plain text articles, the course is comprised of interactive quizzes, videos and a lot of additional reading material.

Lessons are broken down into small and easily digestible chunks presented in slides with illustrations, images, and diagrams.

Here’s an example.

 

Source: Google Ads Academy

 

I personally found this a very useful course and would recommend anyone involved in online selling to enroll in it.

That’s all as far as the courses on Google Ads Academy are concerned.

All of these courses offer great value and award you globally recognized certifications.

If you’re just starting your journey as an online marketer, this is the best place to start learning.

Let’s have a look at some of the other free courses on the web.

 

6. Facebook Blueprint

Target Audience: Newbie to Advanced marketers
Course Format: Text content, supporting videos, additional reading material, exercises
Certification: Yes

 

You must’ve seen marketers brag about their Facebook marketing skills and how they treat Facebook as an ATM machine where they simply run a Facebook ad campaign and start making money with product sales.

Well, you can start doing the same in just a few weeks with Facebook Blueprint.

Facebook Blueprint is THE most comprehensive collection of Facebook advertising and marketing courses on the web created by Facebook itself.

 

 

It’s a complete academy of Facebook courses where you can learn everything starting from the most basic things like creating a Facebook Page to the more advanced techniques such as advertising and retargeting.

You can choose courses matching your business goals

 

 

Or choose a learning track based on your role

 

 

The courses are designed using a combination of interactive reading material, videos, and quizzes.

I especially like the frequent use of case studies and interviews of successful marketers that are included in most of the courses.

You can attend all the courses for free.

But if you want to go a step further and become a certified Facebook marketer, you’ll need to pay the certification fee (which varies by certifications). You’ll be awarded your unique certification number and badge once you pass the final comprehensive exams.

 

Source: Facebook Blueprint

 

In my opinion, the certifications are not that important (unless you’re planning to work for an agency or offer freelance Facebook marketing services)

What’s important is that you make use of this amazing resource that is available for free and learn as much about Facebook marketing as possible so that you can use that knowledge to grow your niche marketing business.

 

HubSpot Training Academy

I’m a huge HubSpot fan because they’ve built this multi-million dollar company purely on the back of some outstanding content. Really, it’s a great case study of what content marketing can do for businesses.

With HubSpot Academy, HubSpot has shared their years of experience, learnings, and experiences on one platform.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

I have personally completed all of their marketing courses and can vouch not only for their value but also for their outstanding production quality.

For a free resource, HubSpot academy massively over delivers.

Here’s a quick look at some of their courses relevant to online marketers.

 

7. Inbound Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Lindsay Thibeault
Certification: Yes

 

Inbound certification is the flagship course of HubSpot Academy. Till date, over 130K marketers have successfully completed the course and passed the certification exam to become Inbound certified.

But what exactly is Inbound?

Inbound is a customer-centric marketing strategy in which the focus of all the marketing activities is on building and nurturing the relationship with your prospects, instead of bombarding them with direct sales pitches.

The whole methodology is divided into 4 stages

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

As a niche marketer, you should pay special attention to this course because it outlines exactly the kind of thought process you should have while selling or promoting your products.

Instead of making the most common newbie mistake of trying to sell to strangers from day 1, understand the inbound approach and focus on turning strangers into visitors, visitors into leads, leads into customers, and finally customers into promoters and word of mouth marketers of your brand.

This course will tell you exactly how to do that with over 2 hours of high-quality video lessons.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

At the end of the training, you can become a certified Inbound professional by passing the certification exam.

Here’s the prize waiting for you.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

Once you understand the fundamentals of the inbound methodology with this course, you can apply it to other marketing forms such as content, email, and social media marketing.

 

8. Content Marketing Certification

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Multiple HubSpot marketing experts and guest lecturers
Certification: Yes

 

This is the best training course at HubSpot Academy, in my opinion, and probably one of the most comprehensive courses on content marketing fundamentals anywhere on the web.

It covers all the important aspects of content marketing like,

The purpose and the process of content marketing
Becoming an effective writer
telling great stories
Generating content ideas
Promoting your content
Writing long-form content
Creating a writing framework
Optimizing content for maximum search and user engagement

Some of the lessons are taught by accomplished content marketers like Sujan Patel which would cost you hundreds of dollars outside HubSpot Academy

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

There’s a complete module dedicated to SEO and internal linking strategy as well which makes this course even more valuable.

I strongly recommend watching all the lessons one by one.

But if you think you already know enough about content marketing, you can skip directly to the certification exam to become a certified content marketer.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

9. Email Marketing Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Courtney Sembler
Certification: Yes

 

If you’re a regular NicheHacks reader, I’m sure you know we’re huge fans of email marketing.

No matter what business model you have, an engaged, vibrant, and responsive email list is one of your biggest assets.

So it’s no surprise that I’ve included the Email Marketing Certification course in this post.

By the end of this course, you’ll have a pretty good understanding of why email marketing is so important and how you can make it work for your business.

It covers almost all important email marketing topics like

How to write subject lines for maximum engagement
Writing email content that drives action
Getting your emails delivered and opened
Collecting contacts and building an email list
Audience segmentation and advanced targeting

And several other important topics, as evident from the course curriculum

 

 

What makes this course unique is that it’s designed around the inbound methodology that I previously discussed.

This means that the whole focus of the course is actually on creating campaigns tailored to the needs of your audience and building a loyal subscriber base that trusts you.

It’s very different from the usual affiliate email marketing courses where the only objective is to sell products immediately and bombard subscribers with promotional messages.

The course also has an optional module which teaches you how to use HubSpot for email marketing.

 

10. Social Media Marketing Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Multiple HubSpot instructors
Certification: Yes

 

If you’re having trouble engaging with people on social media, building meaningful relationships, and growing your followers, this course is for you.

It discusses some very important concepts like influencer marketing, outreach, audience research and social listening in a lot of detail.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

Like the email marketing course, this course also applies the inbound methodology to social media marketing and shares practical advice for growing your influence with Twitter, Facebook, and other leading social networks.

So if you’ve been wondering how the most successful social media marketers build influence online, enroll in this course.

 

11. HubSpot High Impact Writing Course

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Daniel Pink
Certification: No

 

As a writer, I loved watching this course.

But even if you’re not a professional writer, writing is a skill you must learn to become an effective and persuasive marketer.

Because you’ll need it whether you’re creating landing pages, email sequences, headlines, blog posts, social media content or any other form of online marketing.

So what’s exactly in this course?

It’s an interview style video course where you’ll get advice on pre-writing, drafting, and post writing techniques by NewYork Times best-selling author, Daniel Pink.

 

Source: HubSpot Academy

 

Daniel goes into the details of how you can

Develop a habit of writing
Improve your mindset
Write clutter free copy
Create content that makes people remember you
Research the most authentic sources for your content
Overcome the writer’s block
Edit your content like a pro

This course does not offer a certification, but it’s still a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their writing skills.

 

SEMRush Academy

If you’re an online marketer, SEMRush shouldn’t be a new name for you since it’s one of the most popular keyword research and SEO tools on the web.

SEMRush Academy, however, is a newcomer on the block and is still in its early days.

However, from the courses available so far, it shaping up to be another valuable learning platform.

Most of the courses on SEMRush Academy right now are focused on the tool itself.

Here are a couple of courses worth your time for now.

 

12. SEO Fundamentals Certification Course

Target Audience: Newbies
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Greg Gifford
Certification: Yes

 

If you don’t know anything about SEO and are looking for a course that’ll quickly give you a basic understanding of the core SEO concepts, this course is for you.

 

Source: SEMRush Academy

 

The instructor, Greg Gifford, is well-known in the SEO industry and he does a pretty good job of explaining the fundamentals of SEO in a newbie-friendly manner.

But there’s more to this course than just the basics.

It is comprised of 8 modules with 31 lessons that span over 4 hours.

 

greg gifford semrush academy

Source: SEMRush Academy

 

Here’s what each module is about

Search engine basics
Technical SEO
Link Signals
On-Page Signals
Mobile SEO
Other Ranking Signals
International SEO
Local SEO

Once you complete the course (which I recommend you should) you can attempt the certification exam which is pretty simple for anyone with basic SEO knowledge.

But hey, it makes your profile look good so there’s no harm in doing it.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

13. SEMRush SEO Toolkit Course

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced marketers
Course Format: Videos, case studies, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Multiple SEMRush experts and guest lecturers
Certification: Yes

 

This course teaches you how to use SEMRush for keyword research, generating new content ideas, identifying new niches, and growing your online exposure.

It’s more like a tutorial of the tool.

I wouldn’t have included it in this list if it wasn’t for the additional guest lectures and case studies included in the course.

 

Source: SEMRush Academy

 

Every lecture in the course offers additional reading material and case studies in which experts from outside SEMRUsh share how they used the tool to achieve success for their sites.

In my opinion, these additional resources make it a pretty solid SEO course.

 

Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

As the name suggests, CMI is one of the pioneer content marketing publications that has grown into a multi-million dollar training company.

Most of their courses are paid (VERY expensive) and targeted towards large organizations.

But I found a couple of free sessions that are really useful for marketers of all shapes and forms.

Here’s a quick look at them.

 

14. Developing Audience Personas

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced marketers
Course Format: Webinar, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Ardath Albee
Certification: No

 

I talk a lot about audience personas in my posts because they help you visualize and understand your target audience better and as a result allow you to create more targeted content.

In this course, Ardath Albee, a leading B2B content marketer, will talk you through the process of creating audience personas.

 

Source: Content Marketing Institute

 

It’s a short 35-40 minute webinar and not everything in it is directly applicable to most online marketers.

However, most of the advice on researching your audience, gathering information, and then structuring it into a persona is spot on.

So I’d definitely encourage you to watch it.

 

15. Integration of Paid, Earned and Owned Media

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced marketers
Course Format: Webinar, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Andrew Davis
Certification: No

 

This is a very interesting 40-minute webinar session that teaches you the basics of how paid, earned and owned media can be integrated to create a winning marketing strategy.

Sounds technical?

Not really.

Paid media is any marketing activity that you pay for, for example, Ads
Earned media is the natural coverage your site or brand earns through outreach, networking, and other unpaid promotional activities
Owned media is the content you create on your own platforms, for example, blog

The webinar shares examples and case studies of how different brands used a combination of all three types of media to achieve their desired results.

Pretty useful information for any online marketer.

 

Coursera

Coursera is a leading online education platform with full-degree programs of the highest quality from some of the world’s top universities.

Most of the courses on the platform require you to pay a fee.

But I found a couple of relevant courses that you can attend for free.

To get certified, however, you’ll need to pay, which is optional of course.

 

16. Viral Marketing and How To Craft Contagious Content

Target Audience: Newbie-Intermediate Marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Jonah Berger
Certification: No

 

I seriously loved this course

It’s a high-quality course designed and delivered by Jonah Berger, Associate Professor at The Wharton School, which dives deep into the science of viral content and what makes content stick to people’s minds.

 

Source: Coursera

 

Jonah shares some great examples of sticky content and how advertisers have been using it in different ways for years to stand out in some of the most competitive markets.

This should be on every marketer’s watch list.

 

17. An Introduction To Neuromarketing

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy
Certification: No

 

Neuromarketing is a fascinating subject.

The more you learn about the more it excites you because it shows you ways to play with the minds of your audience and use their habits and tendencies to your advantage.

Both Stuart and I love this topic which is why I even wrote a detailed post about it.

This short course, presented by neuroscience expert Dr. Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy of Copenhagen Business School barely scratches the surface of this broad topic.

 

Source: Coursera

 

The course consists of a couple of books and 5 video lectures with a total watch time of around 40 minutes.

But it still has a LOT of actionable lessons that’ll help you create more persuasive content and marketing campaigns, and will also change the way you perceive the actions of your audience.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

18. Marketing With Ahrefs

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos
Course Instructor: Sam Oh
Certification: No

 

Ahrefs is probably the most popular SEO, content marketing, and keyword research tool. It has every feature that an internet marketer needs.

Ahrefs Academy, however, is still a fairly new project but it has a couple of high-quality courses for marketers. One of them, “Blogging for Business”, is a paid course so that’s out of the scope of this article.

The other one, Marketing with Ahrefs, is available for free and has some really useful tutorials on topics that include

Keyword research
Making data-backed decisions in keyword research
Link Building
Finding new linking opportunities
SEO Audit Techniques
Guest Blogging Strategies
Finding profitable content ideas

 

Source: Ahrefs Academy

 

The course goes beyond the basic SEO concepts and offers some really actionable techniques that you can start applying to your business right away.

Most of the advice is based around different Ahrefs features, but even if you’re using a different tool, you can still benefit from it.

 

19. Constant Contact Summer Series

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Webinars, worksheets
Course Instructor: Multiple instructors
Certification: No

 

Constant Contact Summer School is a series of webinars on different email marketing topics.

The sessions have been categorized under 5 broad headers

Email Planning
Email Design
Email Content
Performance Measurement
Growing Your Email Marketing Campaigns

 

Source: Constant Contact

 

Every lesson has its own set of worksheets and quizzes to help you practice and understand it better.

It’s a pretty useful email marketing course irrespective of your level of expertise.

 

20. Social Marketing Training With Hootsuite

Target Audience: Newbies-Intermediate Marketers
Course Format: Videos
Course Instructor: Multiple instructors
Certification: No

Hootsuite Academy has several high-quality courses on social media marketing. But unfortunately, all of them are paid courses, except for one – “Social Media Marketing Course”

It’s a seriously detailed and high-quality course that covers everything from the fundamentals of social media to the more advanced topics like influencer marketing, advertising, and advocacy

 

Source: Hootsuite Academy

 

The course is divided into 6 modules, each having multiple text resources and video lectures.

At the end of the course, you also have the option to attempt Hootsuite social media certification exam by paying a fee.

 

21. Social Media Advertising With Buffer

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos
Course Instructor: Brian Peters
Certification: No

 

Here’s another value-packed course that you should not miss no matter what.

the Social Media Advertising course by Buffer is focused on just one thing, generating higher ROI on social media advertising campaigns.

It’s a free course available on Skillshare that teaches you the ins and outs of paid social media advertising and how Buffer used it to amplify their content and generate more leads for their business app.

 

Source: Skillshare

 

The course is comprised of 10 video lectures with a total watch time of around 1 hour. It goes deep into different advertising goals, targeting types, content creation techniques for different levels of the sales funnel, and scaling your advertising campaigns.

This one should definitely be on your watch list.

 

22. The Unbounce Landing Page Course

Target Audience: Intermediate-Advanced Marketers
Course Format: Videos, additional reading material
Course Instructor: 
Certification: No

 

Landing pages are a key part of any marketing or sales campaign.

But creating a high converting landing page isn’t simple.

You need to understand buyer psychology, use persuasive copywriting skills, and design the page in a way that it highlights your main call to action.

Thankfully, The Landing Page Course by Unbounce, addresses each of these points in a lot of detail.

 

Source: The Landing Page Course

 

The course is a combination of articles, reading material (lots of it), and a series of videos on different aspects of landing page design.

It shares several case studies and examples of successful landing pages, and gives you plenty of actionable advice about page design and copy that you can start using right away.

 

To discover 200+ profitable niche markets click the image below now…

 

If You Don’t have Time, Do This

Even though all of these courses are free, you’d still need a LOT of time to consume all that knowledge.

It’s great if you can.

But if you can’t, here are my shortlisted MUST-DO courses for newbies (from this post)

Google Digital Garage
HubSpot Content Marketing Certification Course
SEMRush SEO Fundamentals Course
HubSpot Email Marketing Course
Hootsuite Social Media Marketing Course
Marketing With Ahrefs
Unbounce Landing Page Course

Do these courses first.

Then move on to the others on the list because all of them offer great value for FREE.

Meanwhile, if you want to accelerate your learning in all of these areas and get more specific knowledge with case studies, examples, step by step guidelines and marketing tools, join NicheHacks Insider.

Unlike most of these free courses which give you a bird’s eye view on their topic, NicheHacks Insiders dives much deeper.

It’s a small investment for such a HUGE and personalized learning resource.

 

Don’t Just Learn, Take Action!

Every course in this list offers amazing value and knowledge for free.

But it’s all useless if you don’t apply what you learn.

Don’t watch these courses or earn certifications to feel good about yourself.

Watch them to take action.

The more you apply this knowledge, the more it’ll help you grow as an online marketer.

All the success in the world is waiting for you on the other side of your comfort zone.

 

The post 22 FREE Top-Rated Online Marketing Certifications & Courses To Make You a Better Internet Marketer appeared first on NicheHacks.

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23/Sep/2018
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Welcome to SocialTalent’s Live & Learn series!

Each week we gift you with a little bit of info that will help smoothen your recruitment process and expand your knowledge of your industry.

With this Live & Learn series we promise we kept it:

Short
Simple
Ready to use!

Sound good to you? Let’s begin!

How to use Indeed for Recruitment Research

Did you know Indeed is so much more than just a job board? If you read between the lines it can unlock a whole new world of data. Johnny Campbell teaches you how to find out what talent is searching for and how you can make crucial decisions with your team.

 

Key Takeaways

Now you have the skills to find some extra information on the potential candidates you should be looking at AND how the market is reacting to jobseekers demands. Remember:

What job titles is your prospective talent searching for? Checking the filters in Indeed can lead to crucial SEO insights for your job ads.
Use the Education filter to gain an idea of what level of education your ideal candidate will have. What are the exceptions and what is the norm?
Seeing which companies are hiring for similar roles and where talent is currently working will help you clarify what the market is looking for.

 

SocialTalent we have created the best recruitment training for our Recruiter Academy. Packed with insights from Recruitment experts like Johnny Campbell, John Vlastelica and Stacy Donovan-Zapar to develop your skills as a recruiter, whether you work for an agency or have a role as a corporate recruiter as part of a team of flying solo- we have the training for you!

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Create your own Recruiter Academy

Access our video library and learn your way to success!

LEARN MORE

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23/Sep/2018
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Information Technology Blog – Why Small Businesses Need a Website? – Information Technology Blog

If you have a business and don’t have a website, you are losing out on great opportunities for your business. With the advance in technology more and more people are exposed to internet. Gradually they are learning to utilize the Internet for their daily requirements.

A website itself can be used to accomplish many different marketing strategies to help your business grow. Therefore, websites take a front seat reaching out to the millions of people looking for your kind of services online.

Website means trading of, either products or services on the internet. The way of getting clients to buy online is having an website that encourages visitors to stay there. Apart from that, if your company is unable to put up a good website, then it is likely that your company cannot deliver better goods or services.

Business website is the best way for your online business presence, where you can easily show off your products and services, all over the world. And website informs your customers online everytime 24/7. A responsive website will surely help you to reach your target market if used properly.

Brand Visibility

Your business may be known internationally through your website because you are no longer limited to customers around your physical location.Many people use their tablets or smartphones to decide where to go and what to buy.

Easy way to connect

Creating a website is an easy way to connect with customers. It provides them with the convenience of reviewing your products and services whenever they want. It lets people know who you are, what’s important to you and what you can do for them. As a website owner, you can easily add or update your products and offers to keep customers up to date.

Advertising

You can run promotions, specials and offer discounts therefore growing your business. A website is more environmental friendly when it comes to advertising and marketing. There are lots of ways to advertise your products or services through the internet. One example is Facebook ads, an advertising feature offered through Facebook. Another one is called SEO. This is a major advantage for your business. Having a good SEO service provider can boost the ranking of your website which quickly results in increased sales and higher profits.

Increase Clients

Most businesses have local popularity, but what about potential customers outside their city? A website can help you generate more customers. Not just outside your city, but worldwide. The internet offers a global community. With a website, your business will be visible around the world.

Reach the Unreach – Increase Sales

If you are having any business in a particular area of a city, Then you may be famous in that area or may be in the whole city. But still you can’t extend your business to that area where your business is not present. But by the help of websites your business can become omnipresent. And you can increase your sales to a very high level.

Build authority

Though the Web has been around for some time, it’s true that you didn’t always need a website to find your audience. It was a lot easier to market via direct mailings, Yellow page ads and local word-of-mouth. However, today your website and your social presence are the factors that customers are looking for when they research a small business. They want to know that you’re stable enough to have a dedicated Web presence. That you’ll be around tomorrow should something go wrong. That they can get a hold of you when they need to. By creating a website, you set up shop on the Internet and show customers that this is where they can come to find information about you, to read articles that you’ve written and to learn.

Cost Effective

As a business owner you probably think you cant afford a professional website, but the cost of designing a website varies from professional web designing company to company; a website for a business generally costs under $30 or Rs. 2000 INR, once its up and running, renewal charges of Rs. 2500 per annum, in some cases; the amount can go higer based on designing of website or graphics based websites or e-commerce can cost you around $1000 or Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 1,00,000 INR. Compared with the cost of a newspaper ad or other media ads, you can reach the potential customer with a website.

Attract More Customers

Website is a tool which can attract potential customers and simplify the initial process of ordering your products( or services). Potential customer will find your website using key words, get acquainted with the services, conditions and may want to become your customer.

Digital Business Identity

In the digital domain your website is your digital identity. It represents your business. Gone are the days when business was limited to a particular geographical area. Now each and every business is global. It is because of your website that people from all over the world will be able to know what services you are providing. Even when you are sleeping your website is at work and people are transacting with it thus increasing your business manifold.

More Traffic means more business growth

Developing a website and fetching it to the top of Page 1 on Google search helps the business to have greater online visibility and ranking on the search engines. The tactics include keyword research and optimization, Meta tag management, content and copy enrichment, landing page optimization, cross-channel promotion, link building monitoring and development that happens post the website development are the expert skill that determines a steady rise and lasting value for the website.

Conclusion

Due to this, web page creation & development industry has grown tremendously in order to meet the increasing business requirements. Thus by developing your own business website, you can reach out to your consumers worldwide and offer them your products and services directly through your business website.

About Author

Dimitris Papoutsis is the manager of the Synergic Software as well as he loves to write a blogs, article and web content, other interests are storyteller and enterpreneur. 

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The post Why Small Businesses Need a Website? appeared first on Information Technology Blog.

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23/Sep/2018

Are you tired of counting the words of your work and in the middle of lines you forget then have to start counting again and this cycle keeps wasting your time? Word Counter helps you to calculate the stats of your syllables, sentences, the average length of words and phrases.

If you are currently doing a job as a content writer, then this application can do wonders for you. You usually get assigned a task that has a word limit. No matter how fast you right, you end up wasting a lot of time in counting. As it will give you an upper hand if you submit your work within that limit. On the other hand, if you are a web owner and you have to ensure a continuous flow of content to publish on your websites, then word counter can be the essential employ of your firm. It will give you word count in a few seconds, and you will be able to know that which of your employee is returning you work fulfilling the requirements.

Word Count Tool

The life of a student is tough, and they usually get the homework to write essays in a limited word count. To not waste much time on this, by using this word counter you can directly save that time and can utilize it. In the same manner, there are many students in one class and teachers cannot count words in every assignment so it will be constructive for them to use this tool.

Not only the word count but word counter can inform you about the top keywords used in the content. Having access to this application is straightforward.  You can insert as long data you want to. You can directly write or copy/paste content, or there will be the option of upload the file. After doing this, your content will be uploaded, and in few seconds the number of words will be in front of you. Yes, we can use things like Microsoft Word to count, but no one has time to download the software and then make them count. Word counter will not need to be downloaded, and you can use it on any device.

The cost of using this tool is zero. Yes, you can use it all free. To delete your old content and checking for another you can click clear button, and all of the old text will get erased in a second. This tool checks the data available in the variety of formats like .docx, .txt, and doc. But the text format is appreciated the most.

What is estimated reading and speaking time?

The estimated reading time is the average time based on an average estimate it takes to read 200 words per minute. It is essential information for people as it helps them to know how much time it will take to read your written text. Furthermore, the estimated speaking time is based on the average time it takes to speak 125 words per minute. These both estimations are helpful for the writers who are content or blog writers, it helps them to know how much the user will invest to read your article, if the estimated is in excess then the writer can consider reducing the length of the text so that it becomes appealing and exciting for whosoever reads it.

This website and cost less tool will help you to save a lot of time. Whenever you are having this problem, you absolutely should use this application.

You can get this tool on Small SEO Tools which is one of the largest providers of SEO tools. This website provides you the safe platform and all its tools are 100% free of cost. Among other popular tools which you can use are Plagiarism Checker, Grammar Checker, Reverse Image Search, and so on.

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23/Sep/2018
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What is the first thing you do when you need new marketing ideas? What about when you decide it’s time to change the way you keep the books finally? Or even notice a flat tire in the car?

My guess, you turn to Google.

But did you know that 89% of B2B buyers and 81% of online shoppers do the same?

Faced with a problem, challenge or even a choice, they google it. Simply.

And so, it’s a cold, harsh truth that without at least some presence in Google, your business is unlikely to survive long.

In this guide, you’ll discover a strategy to build this presence – Search Engine Optimization (SEO.)

You’ll learn what SEO is, how it works, and what you must do to position your site in search engine results.

But before we begin, I want to reassure you of something.

So many resources make SEO complex. They scare readers with technical jargon, focus on advanced elements, and rarely explain anything beyond theory.

I promise you, this guide isn’t like that.

In the following pages, I’m going to break SEO into its most basic parts and show you how to use all its elements to construct a successful SEO strategy. (And to stay up-to-date on SEO strategy and trends, check out HubSpot’s Skill Up podcast.)

Keep on reading to understand SEO, or jump ahead to the section that interests you most.

When asked to explain what SEO is, I often choose to call it a strategy to ensure that when someone googles your product or service category, they find your website.

But this simplifies the discipline a bit. It doesn’t take elements like different customer information needs into consideration. However, it does reveal its essence.

In short, SEO drives two things — rankings and visibility.

Rankings

This is a process that search engines use to determine where to place a particular web page in SERPs.

Visibility

This term describes how prominent a particular domain is in search engine results. With high visibility, your domain is prominent in SERPs. Lower search visibility occurs when a domain isn’t visible for many relevant search queries.

Both are responsible for delivering the main SEO objectives – traffic and conversions.

There is one more reason why you should be using SEO.

The discipline helps you position your brand throughout almost the entire buying journey.

In turn, it can ensure that your marketing strategies match the new buying behavior.

Because, as Google admitted themselves – customer behavior has changed forever.

Today, more people use search engines to find products or services than any other marketing channel. 18% more shoppers choose Google over Amazon. 136% more prefer the search engine to other retail websites. And B2B buyers conduct up to 12 searches, on average, before engaging with a brand.

What’s more, they prefer going through the majority of the buying process on their own.

For example, in recent survey from HubSpot Research, we found that 77% people research a brand before engaging with it.

seo-1

Forrester revealed that 60% of customers do not want any interaction with salespeople. Further, 68% prefer to research on their own. And 62% have developed their own criteria to select the right vendor.

What’s more, this process has never been more complicated.

seo-2

Source: Forrester Research

Finally, DemandGen’s 2017 B2B Buyer’s Survey found that 61% of B2B buyers start the buying process with a broad web search. In comparison, only 56% go directly to a vendor’s website.

But how do they use search engines during the process?
 

Early in the process, they use Google to find information about their problem. Some also inquire about potential solutions.

Then, they evaluate available alternatives based on reviews or social media hype before inquiring with a company. But this happens after they’ve exhausted all information sources.

And so, the only chance for customers to notice and consider you is by showing up in their search results.

How Does Google Know How to Rank a Page?

Search engines have a single goal only. They aim to provide users with the most relevant answers or information.

Every time you use them, their algorithms choose pages that are the most relevant to your query. And then, rank them, displaying the most authoritative or popular ones first.

To deliver the right information to users, search engines analyze two factors:

Relevancy between the search query and the content on a page. Search engines assess it by various factors like topic or keywords.  

Authority, measured by a website’s popularity on the Internet. Google assumes that the more popular a page or resource is, the more valuable is its content to readers.

And to analyze all this information they use complex equations calledsearch algorithms.

Search engines keep their algorithms secret. But over time, SEOs have identified some of the factors they consider when ranking a page. We refer to them as ranking factors, and they are the focus of an SEO strategy.

As you’ll shortly see, adding more content, optimizing image filenames, or improving internal links can affect your rankings and search visibility. And that’s because each of those actions improves a ranking factor.

Three Core Components of a Strong SEO Strategy

To optimize a site, you need to improve ranking factors in three areas — technical website setup, content, and links. So, let’s go through them in turn.

1. Technical Setup

For your website to rank, three things must happen:

First, a search engine needs find your pages on the Web.

Then, it must scan them to understand their topics and identify their keywords.

And finally, it needs to add them to its index — a database of all the content it has found on the web. This way, its algorithm can consider displaying your website for relevant queries.

Seem simple, doesn’t it? Certainly, nothing to worry about. After all, since you can visit your site without any problem, so should Google, right?

Unfortunately, there is a catch. A web page looks different for you and the search engine. You see it as a collection of graphics, colors, text with its formatting, and links.

To a search engine, it’s nothing but text.

As a result, any elements it cannot render this way remain invisible to the search engine. And so, in spite of your website looking fine to you, Google might find its content inaccessible.

Let me show you an example. Here’s how a typical search engine sees one of our articles. It’s this one, by the way, if you want to compare it with the original.

seo-3

Notice some things about it:

The page is just text. Although we carefully designed it, the only elements a search engine sees are text and links.
As a result, it cannot see an image on the page (note the element marked with an arrow.) It only recognizes its name. If that image contained an important keyword we’d want the page to rank for, it would be invisible to the search engine.

(Pro Tip: If you want to see how search engines see your pages, use this free tool – SEO Browser.)

That’s where technical setup, also called on-site optimization, comes in.

It ensures that your website and pages allow Google to scan and index them without any problems.

And the most important factors affecting it include:

Website navigation and links

Search engines crawl sites just like you would. They follow links. Search engine crawlers land on a page and use links to find other content to analyze. But as you’ve seen above, they cannot see images. So, set the navigation and links as text-only.

Simple URL structure

Search engines don’t like reading lengthy strings of words with complex structure. So, if possible, keep your URLs short. Set them up to include as little beyond the main keyword for which you want to optimize the page, as possible.

Page speed

Search engines, use the load time — the time it takes for a user to be able to read the page — as an indicator of quality. Many website elements can affect it. Image size, for example. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights Tool for suggestions how to improve your pages.

Dead links or broken redirects

A dead link sends a visitor to a nonexistent page. A broken redirect points to a resource that might no longer be there. Both provide poor user experience but also, prevent search engines from indexing your content.

Sitemap and Robots.txt files

A sitemap is a simple file that lists all URLs on your site. Search engines use it to identify what pages to crawl and index. A robots.txt file, on the other hand, tells search engines what content not to index (for example, specific policy pages you don’t want to appear in search.) Create both to speed up crawling and indexing of your content.

Duplicate content

Pages containing identical or quite similar content confuse search engines. They often find it near impossible to determine what content they should display in search results. For that reason, search engines consider duplicate content as a negative factor. And upon finding it, can penalize a website by not displaying any of those pages at all.

2. Content

Every time you use a search engine, you’re looking for content — information on a particular issue or problem, for example.

True, this content might come in different formats. It could be text, like a blog post or a web page. But it could also be a video, product recommendation, and even a business listing.

It’s all content.

And for SEO, it’s what helps gain greater search visibility.

Here are two reasons why:

For one, content is what customers want when searching. Regardless of what they’re looking for, it’s content that provides it. And the more of it you publish, the higher your chance for greater search visibility.

But also, search engines use content to determine how to rank a page. It’s the idea of relevance between a page and a person’s search query that we talked about earlier.

While crawling a page, they determine its topic. Analyzing elements like page length or its structure helps them assess its quality. Based on this information, search algorithms can match a person’s query with pages they consider the most relevant to it.

The process of optimizing content begins with keyword research.

Keyword Research

SEO is not about getting any visitors to the site. You want to attract people who need what you sell and can become leads, and later, customers.

However, that’s possible only if it ranks for the keywords those people would use when searching. Otherwise, there’s no chance they’d ever find you. And that’s even if your website appeared at the top of the search results.

That’s why SEO work starts with discovering what phrases potential buyers enter into search engines.

The process typically involves identifying terms and topics relevant to your business. Then, converting them into initial keywords. And finally, conducting extensive research to uncover related terms your audience would use.

We’ve published a thorough guide to keyword research for beginners. It lays out the keyword research process in detail. Use it to identify search terms you should be targeting.  

With a list of keywords at hand, the next step is to optimize your content. SEOs refer to this process as on-page optimization.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization, also called on-page SEO, ensures that search engines a.) understand a page’s topic and keywords, and b.) can match it to relevant searches.

Note, I said “page” not content. That’s because, although the bulk of on-page SEO work focuses on the words you use, it extends to optimizing some elements in the code.

You may have heard about some of them — meta-tags like title or description are two most popular ones. But there are more. So, here’s a list of the most crucial on-page optimization actions to take.

Note: Since blog content prevails on most websites, when speaking of those factors, I’ll focus on blog SEO — optimizing blog posts for relevant keywords. However, all this advice is equally valid for other page types too.

i. Keyword Optimization

First, ensure that Google understands what keywords you want this page to rank. To achieve that, make sure you include at least the main keyword in the following:

Post’s title: Ideally, place it as close to the start of the title. Google is known to put more value on words at the start of the headline.

URL: Your page’s web address should also include the keyword. Ideally, including nothing else. Also, remove any stop words.

H1 Tag: In most content management systems, this tag displays the title of the page by default. However, make sure that your platform doesn’t use a different setting.

The first 100 words (or the first paragraph) of content: Finding the keyword at the start of your blog post will reassure Google that this is, in fact, the page’s topic.

Meta-title and meta-description tags: Search engines use these two code elements to display their listings. They display meta-title as the search listing’s title. Meta-description provides content for the little blurb below it. But above that, they use both to understand the page’s topic further.

Image file names and ALT tags: Remember how search engines see graphics on a page? They can only see their file names. So, make sure that at least one of the images contains the keyword in the file name.

The alt tag, on the other hand, is text browsers display instead of an image (for visually impaired visitors.) However, since ALT tag resides in the image code, search engines use it as a relevancy signal as well.

Also, add semantic keywords — variations or synonyms of your keyword. Google and other search engines use them to determine a page’s relevancy better.

Let me illustrate this with a quick example. Let’s pretend that your main keyword is “Apple.” But do you mean the fruit or the tech giant behind the iPhone?

Now, imagine what happens when Google finds terms like sugar, orchard, or cider in the copy? The choice what queries to rank it for would immediately become obvious, right?

That’s what semantic keywords do. Add them to ensure that your page doesn’t start showing up for irrelevant searches.

ii. Non-Keyword-Related On-Page Optimization Factors

On-page SEO is not just about sprinkling keywords across the page. The factors below help confirm a page’s credibility and authority too:

External links: Linking out to other, relevant pages on the topic helps Google determine its topic further. Plus, it provides a good user experience. How?  By positioning your content as a valuable resource.

Internal links: Those links help you boost rankings in two ways. One, they allow search engines to find and crawl other pages on the site. And two, they show semantic relations between various pages, helping to determine its relevance to the search query better. As a rule, you should include at least 2-4 internal links per blog post.

Content’s length: Long content typically ranks better. That’s because, if done well, a longer blog post will always contain more exhaustive information on the topic.

Multimedia: Although not a requirement, multimedia elements like videos, diagrams, audio players can signal a page’s quality. It keeps readers on a page for longer. And in turn, it signals that they find the content valuable and worth perusing.

3. Links

From what you’ve read in this guide so far, you know that no page will rank without two factors — relevance and authority.

In their quest to provide users with the most accurate answers, Google and other search engines prioritize pages they consider the most relevant to their queries but also, popular.

The first two areas — technical setup and content — focused on increasing relevancy (though I admit, some of their elements can also help highlight the authority.)

Links, however, are responsible for popularity.

But before we talk more about how they work, here’s what SEOs mean when talking about links.

What Is a Backlink?

Links, also called backlinks, are references to your content on other websites. Every time another website mentions and points their readers to your content, you gain a backlink to your site.

For example, this article in Entrepreneur.com mentions our marketing statistics page. It also links to it allowing their readers to see other stats than the one quoted.

seo-4

Google uses quantity and quality of links like this as a signal of a website’s authority. Its logic behind it is that webmasters would reference a popular and high-quality website more often than a mediocre one.

But note that I mentioned links quality as well. That’s because not all links are the same. Some — low-quality ones — can impact your rankings negatively.

Links Quality Factors

Low quality or suspicious links — for example, ones that Google would consider as built deliberately to make it consider a site as more authoritative — might reduce your rankings.

That’s why, when building links, SEOs focus not on building any links. They aim to generate the highest quality references possible.

Naturally, just like with the search algorithm, we don’t know what factors determine a link’s quality, specifically. However, over time, SEOs discovered some of them:

The popularity of a linking site: Any link from a domain that search engines consider an authority will naturally have high quality. In other words, links from websites that have good quality links pointing to them, work better.
Topic relevance: Links from domains on a topic similar to yours will carry more authority than those from random websites.
Trust in a domain: Just like with popularity, search engines also assess a website’s trust. Links from more trustworthy sites will always impact rankings better.

Link Building

In SEO, we refer to the process of acquiring new backlinks as link building. And as many practitioners admit, it can be a challenging activity.

Link building, if you want to do it well, requires creativity, strategic thinking, and patience. To generate quality links, you need to come up with a link building strategy. And that’s no small feat.

Remember, your links must pass various quality criteria. Plus, it can’t be obvious to search engines that you’ve built them deliberately.

Here are some strategies to do it:

Editorial, organic links. These backlinks come from websites that reference your content on their own.

Outreach. In this strategy, you contact other websites for links. This can happen in many ways. You could create an amazing piece of content, and email them to tell them about it. In turn, if they find it valuable, they’ll reference it. You can also suggest where they could link to it.

Guest posting. Guest posts are blog articles that you publish on third-party websites. In turn, those companies often allow including one or two links to your site in the content and author bio.

Profile links. Finally, many websites offer an opportunity to create a link. Online profiles are a good example. Often, when setting up such profile, you can also list your website there as well. Not all such links carry strong authority, but some might. And given the ease of creating them, they’re worth pursuing.

Competitive analysis. Finally, many SEOs regularly analyze their competitors’ backlinks to identify those they could recreate for their sites too.

Now, if you’re still here with me, then you’ve just discovered what’s responsible for your site’s success in search.

The next step, then, is figuring out whether your efforts are working.

How to Monitor & Track SEO Results

Technical setup, content, and links are critical to getting a website into the search results. Monitoring your efforts helps improve your strategy further.

Measuring SEO success means tracking data about traffic, engagement, and links. And though, most companies develop their own sets of SEO KPIs (key performance indicators), here are the most common ones:

Organic traffic growth
Keyword rankings (split into branded and non-branded terms)
Conversions from organic traffic
Average time on page and the bounce rate
Top landing pages attracting organic traffic
Number of indexed pages
Links growth (including new and lost links)

Local SEO

Up until now, we focused on getting a site rank in search results in general. If you run a local business, however, Google also lets you position it in front of potential customers in your area, specifically. But for that, you use local SEO.

And it’s well worth it.

97% of customers use search engines to find local information. They look for vendor suggestions, and even specific business addresses. In fact, 12% of customers look for local business information every day.

What’s more, they act on this information: 75% of searchers visit a local store or company’s premises within 24 hours of the search.

But hold on, is local SEO different from what we’ve been talking all along?

Yes and no.

Search engines follow similar principles for both local and global rankings. But given that they position a site for specific, location-based results, they need to analyze some other ranking factors too.

Local search results look different too:

They appear only for searches with a local intent (for example, “restaurant near me” or when a person clearly defined the location.)
They contain results specific to a relevant location.
They concentrate on delivering specific information to users that they don’t need to go anywhere else to find.
They target smartphone users primarily as local searches occur more often on mobile devices.

For example, a local pack, the most prominent element of local results, includes almost all information a person would need to choose a business. For example, here are local results Google displays for the phrase “best restaurant in Boston.”

seo-5

Note that these results contain no links to any content. Instead, they include a list of restaurants in the area, a map to show their locations, and additional information about each:

Business name
Description
Image
Opening hours
Star Reviews
Address

Often, they also include a company’s phone number or website address.

All this information combined helps customers choose which business to engage. But it also allows Google to determine how to rank it.

Local Search Ranking Factors

When analyzing local websites, Google looks at the proximity to a searcher’s location. With the rise of local searches containing the phrase, “near me,” it’s only fair that Google will try to present the closest businesses first.

Keywords are essential for local SEO too. However, one additional element of on-page optimization is the presence of a company’s name, address, and phone number of a page. In local SEO, we refer to it as the NAP.

Again, it makes sense, as the search engine needs a way to assess the company’s location.

Google assesses authority in local search not just by links. Reviews and citations (references of a business’s address or a phone number online) highlight its authority too.

Finally, the information a business includes in Google My Business — the search engine’s platform for managing local business listings — plays a huge part in its rankings.

The above is just the tip of the iceberg. But they are the ones to get right first if you want your business to rank well in local search.

What is Black Hat SEO?

The final aspect of SEO I want to highlight to you is something I also hope you’ll never get tempted to use. I mean it.

Because, although it might have its lure, using black hat SEO typically ends in a penalty from search listings.

Black hat practices aim at manipulating search engine algorithms using strategies against search engine guidelines. The most common black hat techniques include keyword stuffing, cloaking (hiding keywords in code so that users don’t see them, but search engines do,) and buying links.

So, why would someone use black hat SEO? For one, because, often, ranking a site following Google’s guidelines takes time. Long time, in fact.

Black hat strategies let you cut down the complexity of link building, for example. Keyword stuffing allows to rank one page for many keywords, without having to create more content assets.

But as said, getting caught often results in a site being completely wiped out from search listings.

And the reason I mention it here is that I want you to realize that there are no shortcuts in SEO. And be aware of anyone suggesting strategies that might seem too good to be true.

SEO Resources & Training

This guide is just a starting point for discovering SEO. But there’s much more to learn.

Here are online training resources to try next:

The Hubspot SEO Academy
Google Analytics Course
SEO That Works course

You can also pick SEO knowledge from industry experts and their blogs. Here are some worth reading:

SEMrush
MOZ
Yoast
BrightLocal (local SEO advice)
Search Engine Journal
Search Engine Watch
Search Engine Land
Bruce Clay Inc.

Over To You

Without actively positioning its content in search results, no business can survive long.

By increasing your search visibility, you can bring more visitors, and in turn, conversions and sales. And that’s well worth the time spent becoming an expert in SEO. 

Read more: blog.hubspot.com