8 White Hat Strategies for Combating Search Engine Bias

8 White Hat Strategies for Combating Search Engine Bias

While you may view search engines as a neutral tool for querying, in actuality, search engines are created by company-affiliated individuals and operate much like any product. They’re designed to satisfy the consumer and financially benefit the producer.

Although this realistic view of search engine intent shouldn’t necessarily raise any red flags, what might concern you is how search engines serve up results.

Google, in particular, intervenes algorithmically to remove spam results that the search engine believes are useless to the consumer. While it is arguable that less spam is a good and welcome thing, what happens if Google deems your site spam?

In addition to the removal of spam, Google is a habitual booster of massive corporations such as Amazon and Facebook. The rationale for boosting larger sites is not particularly nuanced.

Big names can outperform small companies when it comes to SEO, and they typically offer a wider selection of items that can satisfy the consumer. With that said, this Google bias can underserve your site by burying it under offerings from big names.

In the world of Google bias, you need to understand how the deck is stacked against small businesses and actively work to ensure your site performs to the best of its ability.

How Are Search Engines Biased?

When you encounter the word “bias,” you might associate it with nefarious connotations.

Although there have been claims that Google bias slants search results against particular political leanings, when it comes to search engines, Google bias overall tends to trend more toward erring too heavily on the perceived wants of their audience.

Google search algorithms are based on a slew of information, including the phrasing of your query, the reliability of sources, the relevance of pages, and countless other factors. Even your location and settings can help Google discover the most relevant information for your search.

It stands to reason that the aggregation of this information lends itself toward suggesting sources that try to match and satisfy past behavior, as well as other defining indicators.

In addition to these algorithms, Google bias can be impacted by domain authority (DA), a ranking metric that indicates both your site’s success in ranking on search engines, as well as your site’s perceived expertise surrounding a specific topic.

DA is measured by various factors, including inbound links, which are vitally important to score calculation. With an increased amount of inbound links from other relevant domains comes an increased DA score, in most cases.

The Effect of Search Engine Bias on Businesses

Unfortunately, bias (whether helpful or not) can significantly impact small businesses that have few inbound links and sparse content. For big organizations with equally big wallets, constant content creation can earn inbound links and score a high DA score, helping them land top positions on search engine results pages (SERPs).

Collectively, the above factors can severely limit your site’s search result visibility. Not only are you competing against big brand names, but you’re also losing SERP traction if you’re not actively recruiting inbound links and establishing expertise.

There is also a chance your DA will decrease when a massively popular site (think Twitter) gains a large number of inbound links, deflating your search rank and lowering your overall DA score.

For sites as large as Twitter or Amazon, there’s not much a small business can do to compete with the sheer number of inbound links and resulting high DA. However, you can aim to earn a higher score than your competitors by employing white hat strategies to combat Google bias.

Ethical Strategies for Combating Search Engine Biases

While the above may seem daunting for small-to-medium business owners looking to grab some top-SERP terrain, you can use several strategies to help you compete for those rankings.

By incorporating the following four approaches into your digital strategy, you can compete in the battle for search visibility.

Focus on a Single Subject

While it’s clear that Google bias means delivering results from big-name sites, the algorithm is also partial to sites that focus on a single subject in depth.

This strategy not only helps you earn points in Google’s algorithm, but it also helps you establish yourself as an industry expert in your field.

Instead of creating a range of content, focus on a single topic that satisfies every component of the buyer’s journey and build out a content map from there.

This task might seem overwhelming due to the sheer amount of potential content, so here are three places to start:

  • Content that educates on early-journey topics
  • Content that highlights your point of view on your topic
  • Content that explains industry perspectives on the topic

Build Site Relevance

When we talk about search engines, the word “relevance” references how much a site’s content correlates to the active search term.

Much like DA, relevance is vitally important in determining where your site lands on the SERPs for a specific query.

To improve your site relevance score, you should determine intent around user search and create a content strategy to match those queries.

Also, make sure you are relevant to user queries by having the most up-to-date business information on your site and local search profiles.

Earn Inbound Links

Inbound links (or backlinks) are links coming to your site from an external source. This type of link does a great amount of work to improve your site’s perceived expertise. If another site is linking to your content as a point of clarification or for additional information, you’re clearly an expert in the field.

While this all sounds wonderful, how do you earn those inbound links? With many strategies available for the savvy marketer, below are our top five white hat steps for success that can help you grow your number of inbound links and reduce Google bias.

Score Inbound Links

When you write good content, good things may happen.

Editorial inbound links are the holy grail of link building: they’re free and they’re lasting.

Next time you’re crafting content, consider the true value of the piece and assess how your audience will use it.

If it’s helpful to your industry and includes a how-to, chances are it can earn you at least one inbound editorial link. It’s just because you wrote great content.

Craft Useful Infographics

Infographics are great tools. They allow rapid dissemination of information without a lot of reading.

When you create infographics on topics relevant to your industry, it can exponentially increase the likelihood that another content marketer sees your graphic and links to it in their next blog post.

Give What You Get

Although we’re talking about inbound linking, we can’t discount the power of outbound linking. By linking out to other members in your industry, you grow your community.

Not only that, but you also increase the likelihood that the goodwill outbound linking will return the favor in the form of inbound linking.

Create Unique Content

Notice missing content about your specific industry? Chances are, you’re not the first to notice content holes.

When you encounter missing content, you should prioritize taking advantage of the hole and filling in the gaps in information.

This strategy not only benefits your site by further establishing you as an expert in the field, but it also creates opportunities for others in your industry to link to your content, earning you even more inbound links.

Aid a Journalist in Need

HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a service that connects journalists with potential sources. Three times a day, HARO sends emails that share topic areas and specific questions journalists are hoping to be answered, like the one in the image below:

When you share responses to these questions, journalists typically indicate your role as the source, linking back to your site and scoring you additional inbound links.

Create Long-Form Content

If you’re not writing long-form content, tomorrow is the day to start.

Long-form content can gain you more online visibility in the measure of likes and shares, an opportunity to engage more with your community, and serve as a clear indicator of industry expertise.

How does long-form content help you combat Google bias?

A serpIQ study found the best-performing content usually tallied over 2,000 words.

Research conducted by Brian Dean underlines the finding that long-form content is much more valuable to users than its shorter counterpart in many cases.

Now that we know long-form content performs better, how can it eliminate Google bias and help make your site more visible to future consumers?

Below are the top two reasons why long-form content can help your site emerge from the shadows of big brands.

Authority

We talked about the importance of establishing expertise in all content development, and this tenet is nowhere more true than in long-form content.

When you create extensive guides, blog posts, white papers, books, and other deep content dives, you not only establish yourself as an expert among your peers, but you also begin to establish yourself as an expert to search engines.

This can give your content and your site a much greater chance of being seen by an unindoctrinated searcher and overcoming existing Google bias.

SEO

When you create long-form content, you have nearly endless opportunities to use keywords to your advantage.

In shorter content, deploying multiple keywords may present a challenge, but with high word counts come more opportunities for you to make your keywords do as much work as possible.

When you start winning on some of your identified keywords, your site can begin to climb in SERP rankings, making you more visible to searchers, providing an edge over your competitors, and removing existing Google bias.

Conclusion

While it is inarguable that Google bias exists, it’s important to remember Google bias isn’t inherently bad, and it doesn’t mean small businesses are incapable of overcoming search barriers.

By incorporating these elements into your digital strategy, you can begin to surmount Google bias and start increasing your site’s rank on the SERPs.

As you implement these strategies, keep customer intent in mind and remember not to create content for content’s sake. Like most things, when it comes to content strategy, quality prevails over quantity.

Which white hat strategy have you found most effective to use against Google bias?

Twitter for SEO: How To Use Twitter to Boost Your Brand

Twitter for SEO: How To Use Twitter to Boost Your Brand

Twitter is has a massive audience, making it a great platform for advertising products and services, or sharing your content.

If you aren’t using Twitter to boost your brand, you’re seriously missing out.

According to Statista, Twitter has amassed more than 330 million active monthly users.

twitter for SEO twitter users

But there’s a better reason to build your brand on Twitter, besides the capability to reach the large, diverse audiences it provides.

Search engines actually use social signals from social media to rank your website. Likes, shares, and comments can have a massive impact on SEO.

According to cognitive SEO, the higher the average number of shares, comments, and likes a brand has, the higher their website rank actually is.

social signals Twitter for SEO

That’s crazy, right?

If you use Twitter correctly, you can boost your brand’s search engine rankings just by posting on the platform.

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That’s because Twitter lets you build a large following and gain the attention you need to boost brand awareness.

More brand awareness = more searches about your company.

You might be wondering, “Where do I start?”

Exposure is key. For starters, you need to promote Twitter trends, your tweets, and your account to get your name out there to as many people as possible.

Twitter for SEO Tip #1: Promote, Promote, Promote

Twitter ads are a surefire way to gain tons of visibility, generate leads, and grow your audience. Therefore, promoting content on Twitter can help you rank higher.

The best part is that you can target specific, custom audiences.

One brand that is currently using an effective Twitter strategy is Rothy’s, a sustainable shoe company. Their Twitter content is on-brand, impactful, and engaging.

Rothy’s shoes are not only made from recycled materials, but they’re also machine washable. And the brand doesn’t let their Twitter followers forget it.

twitter SEO, twitter trending example rothys

One way to enjoy the same success as Rothy’s is to promote your own trends or “tags.”

Promote Twitter Trends

On Twitter, trending or “viral” topics appear on the Discover tab, within the Twitter app, and on the left side of the page.

When you promote a trend, it will appear in those locations.

twitter trends example

The more people that use the tag, the more exposure you’ll gain.

Promote Tweets

Promoted tweets are just regular tweets that appear for users who don’t follow you on Twitter.

The only difference is that Twitter will add a tag to these tweets that read, “Promoted by (your brand’s name.)”

twitter for SEO twitter ad example

Users can like or retweet them like any other tweet, but you have to pay to have them show up in a targeted audience’s timeline.

Promote Accounts

Promoted accounts put your entire Twitter account in front of users you’ve targeted to help grow your audience.

As many as 85% of people say that they find new businesses on Twitter through promoted accounts.

Promoted accounts appear within people’s timelines in the “Who to follow” section and search results.

twitter for SEO promote twitter accounts ad example

A small tag will appear under your account name that says, “Promoted.”

You shouldn’t just be promoting your account, tweets, and tags to targeted audiences, though. Be sure to add targeted keywords so Google is more likely to recognize your tweets.

Twitter for SEO Tip #2: Use Targeted Keywords

You optimize your website for the keywords you want to rank for.

Why not do the same with your Twitter account? Add keywords right in your Twitter bio, for example, so that Google associates your account with relevant keywords.

Use these same keywords within your tweets or as a caption alongside images you post.

Users who are searching for these terms on Twitter will then find your page. Your tweets will get more exposure, which will boost your SEO.

The best part is that keyword searches on Twitter account for misspelling, synonyms, slang, and more, just like on Google.

If a user searches for “love pizza,” broad match results might include, “loving pizza” or, “I love pizza.”

You know which tweets, tags, accounts, and keywords you want to promote. But which audiences should you promote them to?

Twitter for SEO Tip #3: Select Your Twitter Audience

You can target Twitter ads to certain audiences so they appear in search and in their timeline.

You can select additional audience features and add keywords to any ad campaign. You can even import multiple keywords.

twitter for seo choose your audience example

Campaigns will show up in both search and timeline by default.

You can customize where tweets appear if you prefer one over the other, though.

And adding tailored audiences only takes a few clicks.

You can upload your own list or you can put a code on your website to collect visitors, purchasers, or downloaders.

It’s important to note that uploading your own list can take up to three hours.

twitter for SEO how to upload lists

In addition to promoting your content, using targeted audiences, and selecting a custom audience, you should also use relevant hashtags.

Twitter for SEO Tip #4: Use Relevant Hashtags

There are several ways to use relevant hashtags.

You can be on the lookout for trending Twitter topics you can use to generate more attention.

With this one, make sure that you research and understand what a tag means before you use it.

For instance, you might not want to use the tag “#WhyIStayed” to promote your pizza, since that tag originated as a way for people to share stories about domestic violence.

You can also create a branded hashtag (that you can later promote) as Toyota has done with the tag “#LetsGoPlaces.”

It’s right in the company’s Twitter bio.

twitter trending, twitter SEO toyota letsgoplaces example

By creating a branded tag, you’ll encourage other Twitter users to use the same hashtag on posts that they share featuring your brand.

twitter for SEO example #letsgoplaces

Rothy’s has accomplished the same kind of brand awareness with the tag “#LiveSeamlessly.”

twitter for SEO rothys example #liveseamlessly

You can even find out which hashtags influencers are using with the help of a few tools.

Like Twitonomy, which will show you a list of the top ten hashtags for the industry influencers you search for.

twitter for SEO how to find top hashtags

Finding trending hashtags in your industry at any given time is important, too.

Hashtagify is a great tool to try out since it will reveal the top 10 hashtags related to the keyword you search for.

For example, if you want to see the most popular tags related to the word “SEO,” type it into the search bar.

The site will show you the tag’s recent popularity and trend information.

twitter for SEO tools hastagifyme

From there, you can see a full list of related hashtags.

twitter for SEO find related hashtags

You can even view a list of top influencers related to that specific tag.

twitter for seo find top influencers

If that isn’t enough, look at Twitter’s tailored trends for more ideas.

Twitter for SEO Tip #5: Check Out Twitter Trending Topics

Tailored trends, which Twitter introduced in 2012, give you a list of topics based on your location and the users you follow.

Twitter trending topics can help you stay current on topics that are important to your audience. Keep an eye on these lists and make sure that your selections are as close to the audiences you’re targeting.

To change your location, just click on the “Change” button.

twitter trends example Twitter for SEO

Then, enter the region/country and city that you want to see.

twitter trends set location

That’s all there is to following Twitter trends!

Now, if you aren’t already adding images and video to your tweets, you should. They will give you more exposure than tweets without them, which is great for SEO.

Twitter for SEO Tip #6: Add Images and Video

According to WordStream, tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than tweets without them.

More clicks = better rankings.

Make sure that you only include images that are relevant, engaging, and high-quality.

Mr. Peanut’s account using this image is a great example:

twitter for SEO tips use images example mr Peanut

Video views can have the same effect as images.

According to Insivia, 82% of Twitter users watch video content on the platform.

Add a short video to your next tweet to promote your product, brand, or service, like this one from SMILF.

twitter for SEO example SMILF

Giveaways and polls are another great way to interact with followers, find new followers, and most important of all, gain attention.

Twitter for SEO Tip #7: Run Giveaways and Polls

One simple way to leverage Twitter to boost your search engine rankings is to run a giveaway based on retweets.

To enter, people complete an action, like retweeting one of your tweets.

You can include a link to your website or your most recent blog post in the tweet to boost that page’s rankings.

Or, just add a branded hashtag like the Pittsburgh Steelers did in a Twitter giveaway.

twitter for SEO giveaway example Pittsburgh steelers

Be sure to offer the winner a prize and announce to your audience the date that you will be choosing the winner.

Running polls is just as easy as running a giveaway, if not easier.

BuzzFeed has even created an entire Twitter account dedicated to polls, which currently has 119,000 followers.

You can use polls to settle a debate or interact with your followers by asking questions, like Airbnb.

twitter for SEO airbnb poll example

The engagement you’ll gain from giveaways and polls will boost likes and retweets, improving your overall search rankings.

Remember how I said to include a link to your website when running giveaways? You should add those to regular tweets too, especially if you post blog content regularly.

Twitter for SEO Tip #8: Share Links

The power of links on Twitter is huge. Sharing them can maximize the reach of your content and web pages.

Since Google recognizes links, tweeting URLs is a quick way to use the power of Twitter to boost your rankings.

That’s one of the reasons I share links regularly to promote my new blog posts.

twitter for SEO tips example from Neil Patel

By sharing links, you’ll direct and drive traffic right to your site, which Google will love.

I like to use a URL shortener like Bitly to optimize my links before I share them so that my links don’t take up too much of my character count.

If you don’t have a blog, tweet out links to your products or web pages on a regular basis, like Free Radicals does.

twitter for SEO example of posting a product

Just be sure to share relevant and helpful information regularly, not just links to your products.

Twitter for SEO Tip #9: Tweet Consistently

You may think that more is better when it comes to tweeting.

But Google might actually see that approach as spam.

Plus, you don’t want to post too many tweets in a row to your followers, or you might annoy them into clicking that “unfollow” button.

Stagger tweets throughout the day and during times when your followers are the most active.

One tool that makes scheduling tweets easy and efficient is TweetDeck.

To schedule tweets, just write them out and select the date and time you want them to go live.

twitter for SEO tools tweetdeck

Another great Twitter management tool is Hootsuite. You can integrate other social media accounts with this tool, too.

You should also use a tool like Tweriod to determine when most of your followers are online. Buffer does this in their platform as well.

twitter for SEO twitter tools tweriod

Those are the best times for you to tweet because your tweets will get maximum exposure and attention.

Aside from following all the rules I’ve already named for boosting your rankings through Twitter, the most important one is to actually interact with your audience and reply to them.

Twitter for SEO Tip #10: Interact with Followers

This tip might seem obvious, but people often overlook it.

Imagine if Wendy’s hadn’t replied to Carter Wilkerson? #NuggsForCarter would never have become a trending topic that brought Wendy’s tons of publicity.

twitter for SEO tip interact with followers example

It can be hard to gain interactions on Twitter. Considering that users send over 350,000 tweets every minute, your tweets can easily get lost in the crowd.

That’s why you should engage with the people who are already talking to you to gain the attention of users who aren’t yet.

By creating personalized replies that relate to your specific industry and audience, you’ll build up tons of engagement for a boost on Google.

Encourage users to interact with you by posting relevant tweets, talking to industry-specific followers, mentioning other Twitter users, and responding to mentions quickly.

By interacting with followers, you’ll gain more retweets, mentions, and likes. And that means better rankings.

You should also reach out to influencers who can share your tweets, brand, and account with their audience.

Twitter for SEO Tip #11: Do Influencer Outreach

Since exposure on Twitter is the key to gaining likes and retweets, look for influencers who can give you exposure to their Twitter audience.

Twitter influencers can boost your credibility quickly because they’re already credible within your industry.

When an influencer talks about your brand, products, or services with their Twitter audience, their trusted followers will head to your page to check you out.

When trying to reach out to influencers, it can be helpful to:

  • Create meaningful content that is shareable and valuable to your industry
  • Develop long-term relationships with influencers rather than viewing them as people who can give you a quick, short-term boost
  • Retweet tweets from influencers with whom you want to engage
  • Collaborate with influencers by writing guest blog posts for them or allowing them to write guest posts on your blog

Several tools help find influencers in your industry if you aren’t sure who to reach out to.

One of them is Klear.

twitter for SEO tools influencer marketing Klear

Just select the social network you want to search through, the skill or keyword you’re interested in, and your location.

That’s it!

Another great tool for finding influencers in your industry is BuzzSumo.

Just search for a keyword, and you’ll find influencers that relate to that topic.

twitter for SEO tools BuzzSumo

The tool will even show you the page authority, domain authority, number of followers, retweet ratio, reply ratio, and the average number of retweets for each influencer within the results.

Conclusion

Twitter is an absolutely massive social network.

But you should never think of social networks as being isolated from search engines. It’s actually quite the opposite.

Google pulls tons of information from social sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The more exposure your posts get (such as likes, comments, mentions, and retweets), the higher your search engine rankings will be.

That’s because Google uses social signs to recognize certain web pages and brands.

But you have to use Twitter in the right way.

It’s all about gaining exposure and attention. Start by promoting your account, your tweets, and your tags (sometimes known as trends).

Use targeted keywords on Twitter just like you do on your web pages and blog content. Google will recognize the keywords associated with your brand on Twitter, too.

Be sure to use relevant hashtags and research a trending tag before you tweet something that contains it.

Add images and video to your tweets to increase engagement, and be sure to share links back to your website to direct and drive traffic.

Tweet consistently and schedule out your tweets in advance to maintain a regular posting schedule. Post during times when your followers are most active.

Finally, don’t forget to engage with followers as often as possible and do some influencer outreach to get your name out there.

How do you use Twitter to boost your search engine rankings?

User Engagement Is the New SEO: How to Boost Search Rank by Engaging Users

User Engagement Is the New SEO: How to Boost Search Rank by Engaging Users

Many businesses aim for their websites to rank highly in search engines, but it’s a moving target.

Google, for instance, updated its algorithm 3,234 times in 2018 to meet user needs (emphasizing the “optimization” part of SEO).

You might remember when Google’s featured snippet addition disrupted the numbered ranking system of search pages. Because the snippet’s goal is to provide a simple answer from a strong piece of content, it might pull from the second or fourth website listed on the search engine result page instead of the first.

As a result, 34% of desktop users don’t even click on a webpage, since their questions are answered by a featured snippet on the search results page. This may seem like a cheap tactic to hoard traffic, but it’s not. By prioritizing the searcher’s experience over the hierarchy of web pages, Google ensures satisfied users.

Optimizing for search engines shouldn’t be your main focus anymore. The ongoing shift in Google’s algorithm over the past decade indicates a new market focus on meeting user expectations. In this post, I’ll do my best to pull back the curtain and show you how improving the user experience on your site will also improve your rankings and increase traffic.

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Search Engine Engagement Metrics

Before we delve deeper into the metrics that will likely correlate with an increase in rankings in the age of user experience, it’s worth noting that no search engine is an open book. Google notifies the public when it updates its core algorithm, but it’s notoriously secretive about this proprietary information.

With this in mind, here are a few user engagement metrics that Google and other engines seem to value as priorities.

Mobile Optimization

In 2015, Google announced that mobile optimization would become a contributing factor to SEO rankings. Half of all searches originate on mobile devices, after all.

Google recommends a responsive web design that adapts to desktop computers, phones, and tablets, and it rewards mobile-optimized sites with higher rankings on SERPs.

This opens up into another potential benefit: placement in Google’s coveted “local pack.” The local pack is the set of three businesses featured on Google’s search results. Previously, Google featured seven businesses there, but the number has since been reduced to maintain a mobile-friendly layout.

local searchSemantic Search

We’ve already mentioned that Google’s algorithm has drastically changed, especially since the old days of keyword stuffing. The first change allowed Google to judge not only the use of keywords, but also the ways in which they are used. During this phase, keywords and phrases needed to appear naturally. If they detracted from the readability of a page, Google would penalize that page’s ranking.

After the 2013 Hummingbird update, the search engine’s algorithm considers overall meaning — it realizes a page is more than the sum of its keywords. For instance, if you searched for “What’s the fastest animal?” prior to Hummingbird, a page would have to use the keywords “fastest animal” in several places to communicate the topic to Google’s crawlers. Now, with semantic search, Google can compare search intent with a page’s content to provide a better search experience.

Most recently, Google has helped searchers by rolling out BERT. This technology was designed for users who increasingly search by posing questions. It considers search intent by analyzing how a word relates contextually to the words that precede and follow it. Most searches made via voice recognition are questions, so this advancement will probably benefit Google in the future (Comscore predicts that half of all search engine inquiries will be voice searches by 2020).

Dwell Time

The dwell time metric is determined by the amount of time a user spends on a page before navigating back to a search engine. Search engines use this metric to judge the relevance of a page to a user’s query. If a user stays on a page for a long time before bouncing back to the SERP, then that page is likely more valuable than others.

Browsers such as Google Chrome, which is used by 81% of W3School’s 50 million monthly visitors as of August 2020, know how long a visitor remains on a page. Dwell time is a significant indicator of relevancy and quality, so webpage designers should aim for visitors to remain on a website for as long as possible.

Unfortunately, dwell time is one of many metrics that only search engines have access to. However, you can still use other data to measure the user engagement on your own site. Tracking metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and conversions from your landing pages can provide crucial insights into the value your users get from their experiences with your website.

4 Ways to Boost User Engagement on Your Website

Realistically, it’s easy to understand how a great user interface has the potential to boost search rankings, but making it happen is another story. Let’s take a look at several UX SEO best practices.

1. Augmented Reality

In 2017, personal care and beauty store Sephora released the Visual Artist update on its app. Users can virtually try on lipsticks, eyeshadows, and other cosmetic products from the comfort of their homes. This small user experience-focused change resulted in a reported organic revenue growth of 14% parent company LVMH.

Augmented reality is increasingly accessible to smaller businesses. It is quite common to find eyeglass retail websites, for instance, boosting user engagement with AR features that allow shoppers to virtually try on glasses.

You can also use this technology to include customers in the experience of launching a product. Jordan Brand did just that with the release of its Air Jordan III Tinker sneakers. Sneaker fans could scan a Snapchat code, purchase through Shopify, and have the shoes delivered by local fulfillment centers within the day.

2. Interactive Tools

Increasing user engagement is as simple as finding ways to capture the attention of a website visitor. Interactive tools and activities that occupy a user’s time (and provide value) are essential when creating a top-notch search experience.

This could be something simple such as a mortgage cost calculator on a home lending website, a responsive chatbot, or live user survey feature on your landing page. Warby Parker, for example, has enhanced the online prescription glasses retail web experience by offering an online quiz for picking out the right frames. The simple quiz provides personalized fashion advice and leads visitors along their sales journeys.

warby parker quizIn fact, if you use a tool like SEMrush to identify the most trafficked pages of a popular website, you will often find that they are interactive. These tools keep users engaged. By installing event tracking within the tools, Google Analytics can report just how engaging they are.

3. Video Content

Many marketers fear that video content will slow down their pages and cause the bounce rate to skyrocket. This is a valid concern, but it also may be worth the risk. Video is easier for people to process, and it can encourage someone to stay 2.6 times longer on a webpage. Well-placed video enhances dwell time and boosts rankings.

For example, Toyota used video in its interactive “Choose Your Wild” campaign for its 4Runner vehicle. The video engages potential customers by letting them go virtually “off-road” in the vehicle and, at the same time, allows the company to collect customer preference information in a fun, unobtrusive way.

4. Lead Magnets

Surprisingly, some of the most effective ways to ensure you’re providing an exceptional user experience aren’t particularly innovative at all. Lead magnets with gated content aren’t a new tool in the digital marketing space, but you’ll find that you’ll command your audience well by understanding their needs and producing applicable content.

After all, the subtext of Google’s movement toward user-friendly webpages is really just ensuring that high-ranking pages are valuable content resources. You will be improving the user experience and prioritizing conversion optimization at the same time.

Bidsketch uses this approach: It offers a free sample proposal in exchange for a voluntarily disclosed customer email address. Content-heavy websites like The Oatmeal and BuzzFeed similarly capture email addresses by offering quizzes (which also enhance user engagement and dwell time). Try offering various free “goodies” as lead magnets such as spreadsheets, tutorials, generators, or calculators.

By keeping users engaged with valuable, meaningful content, you will not only create happier visitors (and maybe brand advocates), but you will also rank highly on Google.

Whether that engagement stems from augmented reality, interactivity, videos, lead magnets, or some other approach, it can make all the difference in the success of a company’s user experience and SEO efforts.

SEO Starter Pack

Website Investing: How Mo Mullah Invests in and Grew a Website from $2,800 to $24,000 in 1 Year

Website Investing: How Mo Mullah Invests in and Grew a Website from $2,800 to $24,000 in 1 Year

Website investing and digital properties are becoming a little bit more like physical property investments, especially when it comes to the ways people are profiting from the assets.

Just as physical real estate properties are flipped, renovated, rented, or invested in for passive income, we see similar trends with online digital properties.   

We’ve covered flipping websites in a previous guide, but what if you want to hold onto the digital asset as a long term investment but don’t want to manage the day to day operations?

In real estate, this type of arrangement is completed by a property manager. An investor would invest in a real estate piece and hire a property manager to run the day to day operations. 

Website investors can run their website or digital asset investments with a similar strategy. With online properties, the person who would run your websites’ day-to-day operations, similar to a property manager, is often referred to as an “operator.”

Whether you are looking to purchase a website as an investment opportunity or have someone take over your current website, an operator service may be a great option. 

We caught up with Mo Mullah, a website operator specializing in flipping and investing in websites for some website investment advice

Tell us a little about you and your website investing background?

Hey, I’m Mo, I’ve been buying and flipping websites for a few years now. I run a bespoke site operator service that gives clients the opportunity to work with a professional and well-rounded site operator. 

I usually work with a variety of clients, including those that have just started in the online business world, and also cater to more experience websites flippers who have larger portfolio’s and need a professional site operator to successfully manage their sites.  

Today I own a variety of business in the online marketing world and by diversifying my income across multiple niches have a sustainable income that helps me travel the world, live in the Caribbean and importantly sustain a big family. 

What’s your backstory, and how did you start making money online?

I graduated with a law degree about a decade ago but ended up turning away from a career in Law. The hours were long, and most tasks were very monotonous. I longed for a more time-friendly way to earth passive income and spent years looking for it. 

Prior to operating in the website investing world, I set up a lucrative email marketing business that still pays dividends now. I promoted numerous affiliate campaigns that regularly profited me over $30,000 a month by promoting bespoke high ticket affiliate products.

Now I spend the majority of my time growing and investing in websites (both content and affiliate sites) The ability to exit at over 30 times monthly revenue is a powerful reason to get involved in buying and running content sites online. 

What has worked for you to drive traffic to your website investments?

The best way to grow traffic to your sites is by doing very good SEO. Traffic doesn’t just end up on your website without having to first put the time in. My specialty lies in very good keyword research, a systematic approach to onsite SEO, and a meticulous approach to building backlinks. 

An excellent example of this is when I recently purchased a website for $2800 and flipped it for $24000 in under a year.

My approach to this was efficiency, scalability, and keeping costs low by doing all the hard work myself. 

When I first picked up the site, it was in poor shape, so I immediately did a link audit and a content audit to strip away any broken parts.

I then rebuilt parts of the site, including content and built new links over a 12 month period in a systematic way.

Website Investment Example

Spike in backlinks in June: 

Here are the trending months: 

March-May – Pageview went up 5x

I also diversified the monetization outside of amazon and used additional affiliate platforms as well as ads to create more revenue

Additional affiliate network: 

New Ads Network: 

Amazon Sales:

March 

April

May

June

 

Lastly, I carried out extensive backlink building using guest posts and used a fine-tooth comb to go over all my link prospects. Link building ended up being the main reason why the website sold for a 10x increase.

Upward growth in referring domains from 2019 – 2020

Through your website investing have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

The biggest thing to watch out for in this industry is buying websites that you don’t fully understand the risks.

Doing the correct level of due diligence is vital to having a sustainable asset and business. If you do the correct amount of due diligence, ask the right questions and negotiate correctly, you can very smartly bag yourself a bargain.

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  • Learn how to build white hat links to your site without headaches
  • Finally have a proven method to finding profitable niches
  • Get access to our foolproof keyword research methods
  • Learn how to outsource high quality content

Get The Authority Site System

If you, however, fail to do this and get shiny eye syndrome or only focus on the top line revenue or the potential to grow it, you risk buying something that is destined to give you more trouble down the road. 

Examples of this are knowing your risk profile and avoiding any deals that fall outside these lines. PBN (Private Blog Networks) are a perfect example here.

Also, asking the right questions to the current owner, like, “if you decided to keep the website, what would you do to continue growing it?”

Google Algorithms and affiliate commission cuts are just a few things that are outside of your control but should be factored in any serious website investment

I learned the hard way the importance of due diligence and nearly got burnt buying my first website without doing proper due diligence.

I purchased the site on the strength of the revenue but when a major Google update hit this page lost it’s page rank in the SERPs and the website loss value immediately. I struggled to get recover from it, and ultimately, it was a bad investment

The lesson I learned…. Never buy a website that relays too heavily on 1 or 2 pages. (30% of traffic going to 1 page is too much for me) 

What types of website investments are there?

Website investing can be broken down into 4 main investment categories. The first is the cost of the website itself. The second is the cost of content. The third, the cost of backlinks (or the outreach to obtain those links), and the last is the cost of plugins, tools & other VA costs to help manage and run it. 

The highest cost is, of course, the cost of acquiring the sites (including broker fees and wire fees), next usually the cost of links and costs of content will take up a large chunk of your budget. Lastly, the costs of tools (i.e., AHREFS) will take up the remainder of your budget.  

However, the biggest investment isn’t usually financial. For me, the biggest investment was my time in each project.

You can always make more money down the road, but you can’t get your time back. This is why growing or purchasing the correct website is essential. 

There are many ways to pick a niche. If it’s your first time setting up a website and running it, then my advice would always be to pick something that you have an interest in.

While you don’t need to be an expert in it, chances are you’ll be spending a ton of time figuring things out, writing some content and doing some type of outreach. If you pick something that you understand, it will make this process a whole lot easier. 

I run websites full time, so for me, that’s 8 hours a day 5 days a week. This works for me as each website has a specific growth plan and exit timeline.

Also, importantly my time is compounded down the road as the revenue starts to trend up. 

Having a smart exit strategy is a must and most full-time website flippers know roughly when and for how much they are looking to exit their website or portfolio before they spend all the money or time to set it up. 

How long did it take you to begin making money with online websites?

The first website I created took a few months before it made any revenue. It made about $12 after around 5 months. While that sounds like a kick in the teeth, for me it was a milestone.

Making your first few dollars is always the hardest part. Once you do, the strategy is just to continue to replicate what you did to generate that first few dollars, but on steroids!

A smart strategy for those starting out is to focus on a commercial post and monetize it with amazon. This is a very predictable way to make money and will help to prove the concept works.

Once you’re making a few hundred dollars a month, then it’s time to start looking into additional affiliate networks and also checking your traffic to see if you qualify for ad revenue.

There are multiple ways to monetise a website. The more established website dip their toes into as many monetization streams as possible. Video ads, sponsored posts, email marketing, and selling digital ebooks are just a few you could incorporate.  

What platform/tools do you use for your websites?

There are a plethora of tools and plugins you can use to fast track your growth and success when buying and selling websites. These 5 are ones that I would recommend:

  • AHREFS – For competition analysis, Site auditing, Keyword research, and a variety of other incredible tools. 
  • HUNTER – For outreach and obtaining and verifying email prospects and link targets. 
  • TOTAL UPKEEP – For website backup and security. 
  • WP ROCKET – For website speed and optimisation 
  • AAWP – For quick and easy amazon comparison tables 

What is your philosophy or strategy when it comes to link building?

Link building is the hardest part of any successful campaign. It’s one of the most critical growth metrics and is very often done incorrectly. It’s difficult and very time-consuming and even when done correctly can still be very expensive and eat into a large budget.

There are a variety of services that will build links for you and these services offer a wide variety of things.

However, my advice is to try to build links yourself first to understand the process. Only once you have some experience in what it takes to build a single link, will you understand if or why it’s worth paying someone else to.

The key to link building is correct prospecting and fine-tuning an outreach process that allows you to stand out from all the noise in the inbox.

The most creative link builders have an airtight strategy for each niche. Each website is unique to that campaign. 

I do 80% of my link building myself and pay an outreach manager to do the rest. I also pay for a VA to “clean up” my inbox and only leave in up to date and relevant link prospects.  

Advice for other online entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out in website investing?

Making money online by flipping website is a long, tiring process that sometimes doesn’t bear any fruit. It’s riddled with traffic fluctuations, site’s crashing, hosting issues, affiliate terms changing, revenue instability, and dealing with large teams who may not always follow precise instructions. 

On top of that, you are constantly in competition with other website owners who are working diligently to knock you off the top SERP positions and steal your revenue away. 

It can sometimes be a daunting task where the odds are stacked against you, especially in highly competitive niches (ever tried to build a website from scratch in the hosting niche! OUCH!)

With that said, with the right strategy, the right team, and a realistic exit plan, buying, growing, and selling websites have a huge potential, and as an industry, it’s only getting started.

It’s a young asset class, and more and more investment firms are entering the space to take advantage of the growing ROI’s

My advice will always be to start out slow, build one project from the ground up, make a ton of mistakes, and then iterate and solve problems as you go along. This is a practical way to learn the industry while keeping your risk level low. 

Sign up for a few free (or paid) courses and video courses and find a mentor. This will fast track your success and enable you to learn from other people’s mistakes, which will shortcut your learning curve and increase your chances of more revenue faster. 

Mo is offering a site operator service for anyone interested in a hands-off investment to building their affiliate business.

This operator service is perfect for an investor who has picked up a website and is looking for a passive income investment and a great fit for a website portfolio owner who doesn’t have the time to scale up 1 or more of their businesses. 

For a set fee the website operator service includes: 

  • Hands off Project Management 
  • Full On-Site SEO, including a full site audit. 
  • Full content audit and additional Keyword research, 
  • Finding Content, Formatting & Adding content 
  • Finding reputable links agency or webmasters & Ordering it 
  • Theme, Plugin & Site speed optimization 
  • Overall site maintenance & monitoring
  • Full Scalability and growth plans
  • CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) across all high traffic commercial & Info pages/posts.
  • Premium Content & Premium Links (included with the premium package – please inquire for more details

For more information please contact Mo here:

Email: [email protected]

Messenger: https://www.facebook.com/mo.mullah.77

10 Free Google Tools All Content Marketers Should Use

10 Free Google Tools All Content Marketers Should Use

If you consider yourself a content marketing professional, there’s a good chance you already use Google tools the make your life easier.

But regardless of how much experience you have and the results you’ve achieved in the past, you know there are always new ways to boost your performance.

Social media, just the right keyword tool, Google’s Keyword Planner, honing your search term — these things can all have a big impact on your volume and your success as a content marketing pro.

Many people look at Google and see nothing more than a search engine. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see your website at the top of the search engine giant’s results, you can’t ignore the process for reaching this goal.

When it comes to content marketing, the tools you use, and the strategies you employ will greatly impact the end result.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a content marketing beginner or have many years of experience under your belt, this post could change your approach.

Below, I’ll discuss 10 free Google tools that all content marketers should use.

You may not use all of these tools, and some might not suit your marketing strategy. Even so, I’m confident that you’ll find one or two that can alter your approach for the better.

Are you seeking a tool that helps you find and target the best keywords for your business?

While there are many to choose from, the Google Keyword Planner remains one of the best ways to conduct keyword research.

There’s a lot to like about this free tool, including the fact that it’s extremely simple to use.

As a content marketer, you should always be searching for keywords that can give your website or a particular blog post a boost.

My top suggestion for using this keyword tool is simple: experiment, experiment, and then experiment some more.

The more searches you run, the more you’ll understand how the tool works. Also, multiple searches give you a better idea of which keywords best suit your site.

For example, “content marketing” may be your primary keyword. In a perfect world, you’d rank at the top of Google for this term.

However, you know that this will be difficult. You also know that there are long-tail terms that can increase your search results.

This tool helps you uncover these terms. Check out this screenshot:

With this in mind, you now have a better idea of what to do next. Maybe you find that “b2b content marketing” is a keyword that makes sense for a future blog post.

At that point, you can plug the term, in as your primary keyword, to dig up even more long-tail ideas.

Even though Google Keyword Planner appears to be nothing more than a basic tool, it does everything right for content marketers who want to uncover keywords that can improve the bottom line: the search result it delivers.

Pro tip: If you want more information, try a dedicated keyword planner like my tool Ubersuggest.

What goals have you set for your content marketing strategy?

If you don’t know the answer to this question, now’s the time to take a step back and reassess your situation.

If you’ve already set a few goals, there’s a good chance that many of them are based on search engine results and related statistics. If so, you need to become familiar with the inner workings of Google Analytics.

No two people use Google Analytics in the same manner. But, there are several things to keep in mind if you’re a content marketing professional.

To start, you can use this tool to get an instant snapshot of your performance over a particular period of time.

This alone will give you a clear idea of whether or not you’re on track to achieving your goals.

From here, you have the ability to dig deeper for more data.

As you click-through to each section, you’ll find yourself digging deeper and deeper. For example, I always enjoy checking out my top pages for a particular time period.

This gives me a clear idea of what’s working and what isn’t, in regards to topic selection, the type of content that I’m providing, and whether readers are sticking around to see what I have to say.

The more you use Google Analytics, the easier it is to focus your time on the data that has the biggest impact on your site.

Similar in many ways to Google Analytics, the time you spend with this free tool is never a waste.

There’s so much to learn from the Google Search Console. You could soon find yourself spending hours combing through data.

In addition to reviewing your site’s overall health, there are several other things you can do with this tool.

My favorites are all listed under the Search Traffic drop-down:

For example, Search Analytics allows you to quickly analyze your performance on Google Search.

If you’ve ever wondered how your keywords are performing, you can click the Position box to learn more. This will show you the average position for all of the keywords that appear in Google Search.

Content marketers should become familiar with everything the Google Search Console can do for them. Even if you only use it to track a few key metrics, it’s well worth it in the long run.

Do you find it difficult to continually generate fresh ideas for your blog and other content marketing opportunities?

There’s no denying the fact that the search engine giant’s Keyword Planner provides hundreds of keywords related to your business and industry. Even so, this isn’t always good enough, when it comes to creating compelling content. In other words? You need another way to perform keyword research.

This is why I make it a habit of checking Google Trends, when I’m brainstorming new blog ideas.

With this tool, you can explore any topic to see what’s trending. You can also view “stories trending now,” to see if there’s anything that matches your industry and the approach that you want to take.

For example, the upcoming World Cup is sure to be a hot topic.

Is there a way to tie this into your blog or other content marketing efforts?

If you write about sports, you know there’ll be plenty of information to keep you busy. But, even if you don’t, you can use Google Trends to help you get creative.

Sticking with the example above, maybe you could write a blog post entitled: “How the World Cup is Using Marketing to Drive Views.”

With this title, you’re providing your audience with targeted information, while harnessing the power of a trending topic. It’s the best of both worlds.

You don’t need any experience or much time to use this tool. Simply type in your topic and review what Google spits out. From there, let your creative juices point you in the right direction.

Content marketers need a system for recording and tracking data. Furthermore, there may be times when you want to share this information with other team members.

I’ve found Google Sheets to be one of the simplest and most efficient ways to record data, track changes, and collaborate with others.

Here’s an example. I’m often asked about the best way to track email outreach campaigns. While there are many software tools for this, some of which provide a high level of features, some people don’t want to part with the money.

While Google Sheets may not offer the exact same functionality as these tools, it’s still one of the best ways to remain organized. It still has plenty of advanced features, such as the ability to create pivot tables and sort data.

As long as you’re on-board with the idea of regularly updating your spreadsheet, it’s powerful enough to have a positive impact on your content marketing efforts.

Pro tip: you can also use Google Sheets to create a to-do list, which is something most content marketers heavily rely on. Even with a basic list, you’ll always have a clear idea of what you need to accomplish.

Google Alerts is a Google tool that makes it easy to monitor the web for brand mentions, interesting new content, and news. Then, Google sends you an email once a day or once a week — your preference — with a notification if keywords you are interested in are mentioned.

In short, Google Alerts makes it easier to stay on top of news and new content without spending hours a day on social media.

For example, I could set a Google Alert for my name:

As a content marketer, I suggest setting alerts for:

  • Your brand name
  • Your personal name
  • Key industry terms
  • Major competitors

These alerts will help you see new trends fast and might even give you some great content to share on your social media channels.

A big part of content marketing is getting in touch and staying in touch with a variety of contacts.

There will be times when you spend hours sharing a new blog post with influencers in your space. Since email is one of the best ways of doing so, you better be comfortable with the application you’re using.

Gmail has long been my favorite email client, thanks in large part to the built-in functionality. That being said, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

I use a variety of plugins to ensure that my Gmail account does exactly what I need. For example, WiseStamp helps me to create a custom signature. Along with this, I use FollowUp.cc, so that I never forget to follow-up on an important email related to my content marketing efforts.

You don’t have to use Gmail as your email provider, but I strongly suggest giving it a second look, if you’re open to making a change.

With so many plugins to choose from, you should be able to customize your inbox to meet your every need as a content marketer. This alone can save you quite a bit of time and money.

Pro tip: Even if you prefer another email provider for daily communication with coworkers and clients, you can still use a Gmail account to carry out many aspects of your content marketing strategy.

For some companies, GMB isn’t a big deal. For others, such as local businesses, this is not something you don’t want to overlook.

With Google My Business, you can easily get a free business listing on Google. Better yet, this gives you the opportunity to provide a variety of information, including, but not limited to, your phone number, address, and business category.

The benefits of using Google My Business include:

  • The opportunity to get your business in front of customers interested in what you have to offer.
  • People can learn more about your company, based on the information that you provide.
  • Use images to show how your company is unique.
  • Show off customer reviews.

Remember, there is more to content marketing than producing high quality blog posts.

Think about the word “content” for a second. Anything you write about your company and/or anything you can share with others can be a big part of your content marketing plan.

Since Google My Business listings are front and center in the search results, you probably want to use this as part of your content marketing strategy.

If you stay current with my blog, you know I do my best to publish new posts as often as possible.

There’s a lot that goes into creating high-quality blog posts, so I’m always seeking new ways to improve my efficiency.

While I’ve used many tools over the years, to improve efficiency, Google Docs remains one of my favorites. Not only is it free, but it’s extremely simple to use. On top of this, there are tons of features and plugins to experiment with.

Here are some of the things that Google Docs as I work through the creation of a blog post:

  • Checks for spelling errors.
  • Provides an accurate word count.
  • Allows me to easily insert screenshots.
  • Makes it simple to share the document with the rest of my team, such as my editor.

As you know, a big part of content marketing is content creation. If you’re doing a lot of writing, make sure you’re 100% comfortable with the tool that you’re using.

There are other options out there, such a Microsoft Word, but Google Docs has been my top choice for many years.

How do you organize your day, as it relates to content marketing? What steps do you take to ensure that you’re maximizing the use of your time?

Google Calendar is one of the top organization tools among marketing professionals. It doesn’t have all of the features included in some of the paid tools, but it provides more than enough to keep you on track at all times.

Here are some of the ways that I like to use this free tool:

  • Create events for important marketing tasks.
  • Share my availability with team members.
  • Better understand “open spots” in my schedule, as this allows me to make the most of each day.

I don’t use Google Calendar as often as some of the other tools on this list, but it has definitely improved the way I organize my day.

As somebody who understands the demands placed on a marketing professional, I suggest looking into what Google Calendar offers. It may improve the way that you operate.

Conclusion

With only 42 percent of B2B marketers claiming they have a sophisticated content marketing strategy, it goes without saying that there’s always room for improvement, from keyword research that can boost your search volume to using long-tail keywords in your blog posts.

Personally, I enjoy every tool developed by Google. Some are more effective and powerful than others, but each one deserves a second look.

Have you used any of these free Google tools to improve your content marketing efforts? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.