SEO Chat | Search Engine Optimization News and Talk
SEO Chat is a place for Search Engine Optimization News and Talk. The blog provides SEO tools, Google optimization tips - Search Engine Advice & Tutorials. It is dedicated to helping business owners and marketing specialists perform Search Engine Optimization on their sites.
Monetizing a blog has always been too overwhelming for an average person to figure out. Too many options, platforms and networks. Too many percentages, numbers and terms to qualify.
Whether you are a new or an experienced blogger, it is always that question "Am I doing enough"?
My dream has always been to set up my own independent program without having to rely on any middleman. After all, if we want to own our content, why wouldn’t we want to own its monetization? I would be willing to select who I advertise and how as well as how much I want to charge.
But how to report to advertisers? What kind of click-through to promise them? How to sell your own ads and own the reports and click fraud protection?
This question had been haunting me for ages until I came across Finteza, the free web analytics platform that has "Marketing Campaigns" feature that looked like it was going to solve all my problems.
Finteza allows you to create advertising spaces on your site which will serve your created banners based on your created schedule.
How To Set Up a Campaign
1. Add Finteza Tracking Code
The first step would be adding Finteza analytics to your site which works exactly the same for any analytics suite you are installing: You just need to grab your unique tracking code and paste it to your site the way it appears on all pages.
2. Create Your Ad Zones
Ad zones are actual spots on your site where your ads will be served.
To add a new zones, go Websites – Settings -> Ad Zones and click "Create Ad Zone".
Give your ad zone some recognizable name (e.g. footer, right sidebar, etc.) and select "Use banner width" and "Use banner height" for its dimensions.
You’ll be given a code to install exactly where you want the ad to appear. I simply used WordPress widgets to put the code and then dragged the widget to where I wanted the ad to be served.
Create as many ad zones as you want / can. You may want to test many ad placements on your site to create your price list and know what to promise to your advertisers.
3. Create Your Campaign
Now, proceed to "Campaigns" tab to set up your campaign:
The campaign name (This could be your advertiser or project name you are promoting),
Time period you want it to run. This is very helpful if your advertiser only paid for a certain period of time versus a recurring payment. You can even set up time of the day this ad will be activated (which frankly I am not sure when one may need to do but this option still seems impressive).
User agents (I simply add all available, as a rule)
There are also some advanced settings which I find very nice to have (especially if you run your own project ads and want to serve to a certain type of audience):
Now you will need to select the ad zones to serve the ads in. Again, for testing purposes select as many zones as you have: You will be able to use Finteza’s analytics to compare how your zones perform.
Mind that if you add several websites to your Finteza account, you’ll be able to manage multiple campaigns across multiple sites of yours from one location which is very neat.
4. Create Your Banners
Next you will be able to create your "Advertising group", i.e. specify your target link and add your banners.
Creating banners is a fun process: You upload your creative, add your promo message and select your CTA. The resulting banner will be generated and it will fit all kinds of dimensions and screens. This is done for responsiveness: These auto-generated banners will scale depending on the size of the screen and still look nice.
You can edit your banners later at any point if you choose so.
Again, there will be performance stats available for all your existing creatives, so the earlier you start the more data you will collect, in terms what seems to engage your audience better.
Once you follow all the steps, simply activate your campaign from "Campaigns" tab and you are done! If you scheduled your campaign to start immediately, it will run right away. Simply open your site and double check everything looks ok.
Collect the Performance Stats
Now, before you have willing advertisers to invest in your site, do run your own campaigns. This will allow you to collect all sorts of data on best ad placement, demographics of your audience, your click-through, etc. This will make your call for advertisers much more effective.
Once your advertising campaigns start running, you will be able to collect all sorts of data including:
Your audience demographics
Articles from where ads were clicked from to
Your ad engagement based on the traffic source
Your click-through depending on the ad location and CTA
All the reports are real-time, you can see current performance stats on any of your campaigns the moment you set them up.
Again the tool is free, so there’s nothing really preventing you from giving it a try.
Backlinks are one of the most important and powerful asset for propelling your site to the top. In our case, we are more interested in organic links. The very definition of the organic backlinks still remain vague, but they do provide the biggest value for the users, look natural in the context and have an anchor text that is integrated in a meaningful way.
Let’s review some ways on how to acquire such links and squeeze the most of juice out of them.
1. Be Involved in Link Roundups
Bloggers love publishing posts with links to the recent articles. These are fairly simple to create and share around. And it’s pretty easy to be listed in one of those as well. Being involved in this content is cool because you can get a lot of quality links fast which is really useful for SEO.
If you have an exceptional piece of content that you’ve made recently, you can create one of such great link roundup posts. In this case, I really love the citation from Jeff Jarvis: “If you can’t imagine anyone linking to what you’re about to write, don’t write it”.
As soon as you publish the article, let people know about it and suggest them to mention your content. Send them a personal email and mention this blogger in your content.
I can say that this is an excellent way to help bloggers by including their posts on your site. They will definitively notice it and will come check your out. And this is the first step to build relationships with them.
2. Offer Your Product for Blogger Reviews
I would like to assure you that there are a lot of bloggers in every money-generating industry who can write a review about your product. As you know, a product review is a good way to let people know about it in details and it usually contains a link leading to your website.
That is not so difficult as might appear at first sight. Just carefully think over your offer, find bloggers in your niche, reach them out by offering something valuable in exchange and wait for their responses.
It is worth noting that asking bloggers for a review or a link via email is not ethical and violates Google policies. Don’t be direct about it. Be more creative!
3. Run Contests
Contests are great ways to attract relevant audience and engage them with your brand. A lot of companies are using this method and I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Notice that contests have a high risk: it if the contest is lame or not well run it can actually damage your reputation.
4. Work With Influencers
Based on NeoReach, an influencer is “an individual with an online presence who has the potential to influence the opinions and behaviors of your target audience.” Because these bloggers have such a good follower base by making quality and interesting content, people start trusting them and respect their opinions.
Once you make a list of influential people in your niche, you can start working with them while creating a great content. A lot of companies in your niche have a special press section where they cover news somebody else has written about them. Take a look at these pages for important updates, and you can create your own story on your blog.
If you engage with influencers just for marketing, you can miss the chance to be customer-centric.Focusing on your customers and your business will be more profitable. The best way to do that is to encourage a community and engage bloggers in a two-way conversation. Let influencers know how their opinion shaped your business decisions.
5. Help People and Ask for Links in Exchange
It might sound weird, but the quality links are born from naturally built relationships between websites. Cooperation, support, friendship, partnership – everything makes sense. Here I am not talking about link exchange; it is an illegal way to build links that can get your website penalized.
There are a lot of other things you can do to improve your your website. For example:
Translate a piece of content into a different language;
Debug a piece of programming code for someone’s project;
Just extend a helping hand and do the work that serves their interests.
Tip: Take full advantage of your network.
6. Use Q&A Websites
Asking and answering questions are considered to be one of the most effective ways to do better SEO and build quality links. Year after year Q&A websites go on gaining the popularity and become useful at helping people build a good link building strategy.
If you have something interesting and extraordinary, search for the burning issues and deliver the info. Quora and Reddit are one of the most popular websites that can include a number of such unanswered questions.
Why I like these websites is that you can find there some influencers and start building relationships with them. Moreover, you can learn more about your industry and find the right solution to your problem. Deeply held answers will increase your chances to link your content to other pages.
Participating in link round ups, contests and influencer are great organic activities that you can engage with to acquire links naturally. On top of that, companies should also use tools to bolster their link acqusition efforts as well as tools to monitor the competition is the field.
One tool to note is Neil Patel’s Backlinks, a free backlink analyzer to check the links your competitors have and analyze your own link portfolio. This tool in conjunction with Ahrefs, Semrush and others should provide good insight to what works in the niche and what type of links you need to strive for
There are a lot of great ways to get links to your website, and I’ve included only those that work well for me. I hope you will find something useful out there and will begin to create a successful link building campaigns. Cheers!
When you do your keyword research, you take pains to choose keywords that best represent what you’re offering. You hope that someone searching with those keywords will convert. But you need to do more than hope. You need to think like a searcher.
What is Search Intent?
I’ve used this phrase before, and I’m sure you’ve heard it elsewhere as well. In this context, it means asking a few pointed questions about the keywords for which you’re trying to rank. Basically, you want to understand the intentions of someone searching with those keywords. Are they just looking, or do they plan to buy something?
Say you’re trying to sell cars. For most people, a car is a major purchase. You don’t just set out one day and buy a car that afternoon; you do some research, think about your needs, consider what you can afford, and so forth. As you might expect, the keywords searchers use reflect this process.
This means that you can tell, with some degree of accuracy, where a searcher is in their buying process (and possibly how likely they are to convert) by looking at the keywords they use. If you try to rank for the kinds of keywords used by a searcher who is close to buying, you should see more conversions. On the other hand, as you’ll see a bit later, you might not want to entirely rule out ranking for keywords a searcher might use earlier in the process.
With voice search on the rise, satisfying searcher intent and meeting the users’ immediate needs becomes the SEO top priority.
Search Intent and Semantic Search
Semantic search is the ability of search engines (Google) to identify:
The relationships between concepts
As you can see, search intent is very much connected to both the keyword context and how the keyword is perceived in relation to other related concepts.
There’s a tool called Text Optimizer that extracts Google’s featured snippets and, using semantic analysis, identifies related concepts and entities to help you optimize for searcher intent:
Implementing Search Intent Concept to Marketing
Take a searcher using the key phrase "car reviews." This searcher has probably decided that they need a car, but they’re still comparison shopping. They haven’t decided what they want to buy yet, so it will be quite some time – maybe even months – before they make their purchase. Contrast this with the searcher who uses the key phrase "fast auto financing." For whatever reason, this person wants or needs to buy a car, and quickly. They will probably convert much faster than someone who is searching for "car reviews."
Typically, searchers use longer and more specific terms when they’re closer to making a purchase. They’ve already sifted through the other options, and narrowed their choices down to the two or three products that best suit their situation. Consider the difference between the key phrases "Toyota dealers" and "Toyota Camry four door V-6 engine." Both searchers may be getting ready to go shopping, but the second one knows what make and features she wants.
This would be an appropriate place for me to bring up a concept that’s more than 100 years old: the purchase funnel. In its most basic form, it posits that consumers go through four stages when getting ready to make a purchase:
Awareness of the existence of a product or service.
Action, or actually making the purchase of a chosen product.
I want to emphasize here that this is the simplest version of the purchase funnel. There are many others, and a number of marketers believe that the purchase funnel, as it has been traditionally formatted, is dead. In their view, social media has changed the purchase funnel into more of a consumer’s journey, and even after purchasing a product, the experience leads the consumer to build expectations for their next "consumer decision journey" based on how this one went.
What happens instead is that consumers often start out considering a narrower list of brands for a particular product. So if I were shopping for a car, I might consider Toyota, Ford, and Hyundai brands. Once I start asking my friends and doing research online – "active evaluation" stage – I might actually widen my selection. I chat up a friend who’s been very happy with his Kia, and I read some study that tells me Chrysler vehicles have gotten more reliable over the past five years, and Volkswagen brings back a car line I thought I’d never get to drive… well, you get the idea.
What, exactly, does this mean to you? You might need to plan for two different keyword campaigns:
one to reach out to consumers just starting to actively consider purchasing your product,
another one to get those who are ready to buy.
That first keyword campaign may also need a social component to make you visible in the places that a savvy, searching consumer will see you – not just in the search engines, but on social sites. An effective digital marketing campaign is well-integrated and takes many channels into account.
The real challenge involves presenting a searching consumer with the kind of information they’re looking for at a particular stage of their decision process. That’s not easy, and it’s beyond the scope of this article. But if you keep in mind the searcher’s intent in choosing certain keywords, and consider what kinds of questions they’re asking when they use them, you stand a better chance of converting them. All you need to do is give them the answers they’re looking for. Good luck!
Imagine this: your e-commerce site is losing visitors on Black Friday
or the recent record-setting Cyber Monday – traditionally the two
biggest shopping days of the year.
What’s worse is that this situation is totally unnecessary. You
could have kept those visitors if you had just reduced your website’s
load time. By neglecting something so important, you are losing a
significant amount of money and will continue to lose revenue until you
tackle this problem.
Why Speed Matters
Speed matters first because it is one aspect of an efficient,
high-functioning website. Nowadays, when most people access the Internet on the go from mobile devices, site speed has become especially important. But site speed also matters because people’s
attention spans are getting increasingly shorter. Data shows that
almost half of all internet users expect website pages to load in less
than two seconds. If your site takes longer than three seconds to load,
40% of users will move on. And speed matters to Google.
Ever since the introduction of Google’s Mobile First Index, site speed is Google’s official ranking factor. This means slow load time means decreased rankings, hence poor site visibility.
Site speed has a huge effect on usabiloity and conversions. If people are leaving because your site is too slow, they are not converting.
For these reasons, web developer Robert Mening says that increasing site speed is “an essential skill for any website owner.” He provides an extensive list of strategies for speeding up WordPress (WP) websites in particular.
Evaluate Your Site
First, you should objectively test the speed of your site. To do so,
you can use GTmetrix or Pingdom, both of which provide a detailed
analysis of what (if anything) is causing your site to lag.
These tools measure if your site is too slow and you can also use
them to continually monitor its performance. Remember that your goal
should be for your pages to load in under two seconds. Faster than that
is even better.
Have a Good Foundation
Make sure that you have a good hosting provider. Most likely your
best bet is to opt for a virtual private server (VPS). Shared hosting
will slow you down too much, and a dedicated server probably has more
power than you need and is too expensive.
You should also consider
managed WordPress hosting created especially for WP sites. With managed
hosting, you won’t have to be responsible for the technical aspects of
your site. Keep this same mentality when selecting your theme.
Choose one that only has what you need, keeping it as lightweight as
possible. One strategy is to opt for a minimal theme and then add
plug-ins to add additional functionality. You might also consider
utilizing a content delivery network (CDN).
The closer a server is to a
user, the faster the loading time will be. A CDN takes your static
files and distributes them on various servers across the world so that
your site is closer to people than it would have been otherwise. There
are even solutions that will allow you to host parts of your site
through a CDN. Some CDN resources you can check out are:
Jetpack (a plugin)
Updates and Maintenance
It should go without saying that you should keep all of the elements
of your site as up to date as possible. This includes everything from
HTML and PHP to your theme and plug-ins. Your hosting provider is
responsible for your site’s primary updates, but you should still keep
any eye on them.
The more up to date your technology is, the more secure your site
will be and the more efficiently it will run. Clean up your database as
it gets bloated with data you aren’t actually using. You should
eliminate anything you aren’t using (plug-ins, widgets, etc.).
Other Tactics for Decreasing Loading Time
Speeding up your site is about enabling it to do as little as possible.
With this principle in mind, consider doing the following:
Don’t host videos on your site – auto-embed them
Compress your images and your website files
Reduce server requests (e.g., limit how many posts you show on
each page, break comments and posts into pages, implement lazy loading
Concatenate files (i.e., combine them into one larger file)
Limit what you can (such as post revisions, buttons, and widgets)
Deactivate pingbacks and trackbacks
Include an expires header in your static resources (this determines the length of time a visitor’s browser caches content)
Optimize CSS delivery
Prioritize above the fold content
Use a Web Design Platform Made for Site Speed
If your current content management system or theme is giving you a
bad time, speed-wise, switch as soon as possible. Don’t try to fix or
adjust. Use a website builder that gets it.
Duda is a solid example of an agency-friendly website building platform built from the ground up to minimize load times. Duda CTO Amir Glatt even published a detailed article describing what they have done to get Duda’s infrastructure as aligned as possible with Google’s best practices for page speed, achieving better scores than Wix, Weebly and even the mighty WordPress:
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
It’s old news that people are using mobile more and more for all of
their online activities. Not only does your site need to load quickly
but it also needs to load quickly on smartphones. Because of the
widespread use of mobile, Google has released Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which is “a whole new way of creating web pages and effectively changes the mobile web.”
Testing, monitoring and auditing how your site performs should be done on a continuous basis. Your site might be generating errors any minute due to redesign, new features, new sections/products being added, seasonal traffic spikes, sudden social media success, etc.
Serpstat is an advanced SEO platform that can help with auditing your website and alerting you of errors on a regular basis. It will break loading speed issues into two groups for you to easily prioritize:
It will also provide explanations for each item they are checking for you to better understand any issue and easily delegate the task to a non-SEO team member.
Everyone Benefits from Fast Loading Speed
No matter what area of life we’re talking about, people appreciate having experiences that are orderly, seamless, and fast.
Optimizing your site for speed will set you ahead of the majority of
websites on the internet. The result will be that you lose fewer
visitors and increase your revenue.