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Some of you may not remember, but there was a time when using a foldable map was the only way to navigate on a road trip. I remember in every gas station across the nation there was one name — Randy McNally, the map company. If you wanted to travel to multiple states, you needed multiple maps spanning your location and destination.

I remember when I left for college in 1998 — I was traveling from Salt Lake City to Dallas, and all I had was one giant map with my route highlighted and off I went.

Back then, you didn’t have that handy voice telling you to turn left or take this coming exit. If you were wondering which exit to take, you had to (hopefully pullover) open up your map, find where you thought you were, and find the turn you had to make. You had to vigilantly watch the road signs to know if you were heading in the right direction.

The world of SEO, which is still very young and experimental, is not so different from these days of maps and road signs. Simply put, the work of SEO is a lot like starting on a road trip and then monitoring the road signs to ensure you are on the right path.

All successful road trips start with preparation and planning.

We’ve all heard the question, “When will I reach my goal?”

Whether it’s rankings, traffic, or conversions, we all have a destination in mind when we do SEO work. Or at least we should — after all, every road trip starts with a destination in mind.

To determine your destination, begin by asking the question, “What am I trying to do?” Ask yourself,  “Where do I want this to end up in 3 months? 6 months? Or a year or more down the path?” Answering these questions will guide strategic planning and provide the framework to evaluate whether you have the means to get to your destination.

In this first part, we’ll look at the things you’ll need to consider before you even start your journey.

Technical Considerations: Your Website’s Chassis

No one is thinking about the chassis of their car or truck when driving down the road. Hopefully, they don’t have to. But with SEO, not considering the frame that holds your website together can lead to big losses down the road. Like a car’s chassis, all the most important elements of your SEO efforts will either be supported or fall apart depending on the strength or weakness of your website’s chassis.

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider when evaluating the strength of your website:

  • Are nofollow tags preventing Google spiders from crawling your site?
  • Have you secured your site properly via HTTPS standards?
  • Are title tags optimized?
  • Are you using H1 and H2 designations properly?

Making these technical fixes and optimizations is a necessary practice to ensure your website can reach the destination you have in mind.

Keyword Research: The Road Map to Your Destination

No road trip should be considered without properly mapping out which roads to take and which to avoid. A good road map will help you visualize where you are heading so you can follow the signs along the way to reach your destination. This is where keyword research comes in — keyword research serves as the map for your SEO road trip.

Keyword research is the process of identifying the terms and phrases people enter into search engines to find relevant websites and pages. Keyword research is a core SEO practice because it helps you understand how and why people come to your website, how your competitors attract visitors, and generally how often your audience searches online.

Keyword research is an investment in understanding what search engines think your customers are looking for. It doesn’t matter if you think moving in a straight line is the quickest way to reach your destination if there is a mountain separating you and your goal. Keyword research helps you plot the optimal path to your destination. If you are new to this idea, consider working through our keyword research guide.

Content: The Engine That Moves Your Website

Content plays a significant role in helping you reach your SEO destination. Content is the engine that drives your website, serving visitors and search engines alike.

Like an engine, content has many different parts and they all work together. Content plays many different roles on your website, including:

  • Providing information.
  • Supporting navigation.
  • Influencing the decision process.
  • Communicating your message and ideals.

All these parts working together push your website forward, helping you reach your destination, even in ways you weren’t expecting.

A complete content strategy includes content that supports visitors at each stage of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision-making.

Backlinks: Fuel That Powers Your Website

Backlinks remain an important part of competing in search because links are a vote of authority online.

Your content plays a huge part in your linkability because most websites don’t carry the branding needed to earn links purely on the merit of their brand name or products and services.

Most sites need to produce content that is linkable to earn backlinks. Linkable content is typically top-funnel content that targets the discovery stage, but these pages can pass equity through your site by internally linking to mid-funnel, and bottom-funnel pages.

You can have the best-looking chassis (technically optimized site) and a high-performance engine (high-quality content) and still get nowhere without fuel (links) to propel your car (website). Without links, you’ll never reach your SEO destination.

Links are essential to SEO success and you should spend some time learning how you are linking internally and who is linking to you externally.

Now that the car is reliable, the roadmap has been laid out, the engine is humming, and your gas tank is full, your SEO journey can begin.

Joe Oliver
An Apple fanboy, camping enthusiast, and developer of leaders. Joe believes great marketing lives at the crossroads of compelling design and interesting stories. When Joe's not helping the PAGES crew live at that crossroad, you'll find him in the mountains with his family or playing in a local Cornhole tournament.

The post Taking an SEO Road Trip appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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Finding a topic that hasn’t been overdone can be tough.

We’ve all been there: the more content you create, the harder it can feel to come up with a unique idea in a crowded market. And when you are trying to build links to your content, there is nothing more important than a unique idea.

Sometimes, even with a fresh idea in a tough or crowded market, building links is a struggle.

So, what then? You could try to pivot your content into different industries once it’s published. But then you run the risk of forcing a connection, something that bloggers, journalists, and any other link building prospects hate.

One of the best strategies you can use to combat an oversaturated industry — and get more links overall — is creating content with more than one outreach market from the start.

For this to work well, you need to create content like a chef adds ingredients to a dish. You need to be aware of the proper balance so that one flavor doesn’t overtake the rest. Some ingredients might not belong, regardless of your culinary skills.

When creating content with outreach markets in mind, you need to strike a balance so that your piece is relevant and your brand is credible for the audience you are reaching.

There are three main steps to creating a piece that achieves this: identifying outreach markets that work for you, choosing your main content topic and identifying tangential markets that you can cross over into. Put your aprons on and let’s get cooking.

What is a Linkable Audience or Outreach Market?

To use this strategy effectively, you must first understand what makes a linkable audience or outreach market.

The idea of linkable audiences is not new, nor incredibly difficult to grasp. If you’ve done any amount of link building, you’ll know that certain industries are more receptive to outreach than others. Some types of industries have a lot more resource pages where they list links, giving you more opportunities to secure links. Others really enjoy visual content pitches. To go back to the cooking analogy, there are just certain dishes that people like. So, you use them as a base before you start fusing them with other dishes.

This post from Citation Labs that has been around for a bit provides a solid list of “linkable” audiences or outreach markets. These are industries that typically have more opportunities for providing links back to your asset. Some of the industries from the post include:

  • Teachers
  • Caregivers
  • Parents
  • Senior citizens
  • Veterans
  • Job seekers

Typically, you’ll find these industries feature a lot of resource pages for people looking for guides or information about a specific topic. There are a few other industries out there that I’ve found are receptive to outreach for visuals. These industries include:

  • Pets
  • Productivity
  • Small business/entrepreneur

Understanding where the best opportunities lie will help you determine how this technique applies to your niche and offerings.

Identify Your Core Linkable Outreach Markets

The first step in this strategy is identifying your core market and topic. One of the easiest ways to start is to identify what works best in your industry. To begin, look at your competition.

Take a competitor’s blog and, using a tool like Ahrefs, look at their “Best by Links.” Sort by “Referring Domains” and you’ll have a good idea of their most linkable assets. The titles of the assets should give you a solid idea of the piece’s topic and the outreach market related to it.

Next, look at the backlinks to those top pieces. This will help you determine the outreach market related to these pieces. For example, if you see a lot of backlinks from military sites, you can assume that active military members or veterans are the main topic of the content and so are the target outreach market.

(You should also take this time to determine if the backlinks are spammy or duplicative. If spam links make up most of the backlinks, try to find another piece for reference.)

Once you identify the main audiences and topics your competitors are using, you can work backwards to create a topic that works for you, improving on your competitor’s existing content.

Choosing a Topic That Fits

The second step is mapping content to fit your target audience.

The biggest reason for this is simply that your audience won’t think you are a credible source. You’re not going to serve Korean BBQ chicken if you are an Italian brick oven pizza joint. Just because a linkable market exists doesn’t mean it will work for you. If there is a disconnect between your content and your site, it will be harder to build links to that topic; you won’t be seen as a credible source in that industry.

Another key reason not to create content that isn’t related to your industry? Links that aren’t related to your industry are less valuable than links from industry-specific sites, and in extreme cases may even hurt your site.

So, if you run a dog food blog, you shouldn’t be trying to create “A Child’s Guide to Online Safety” or “A Veteran’s Guide to Getting a Job Out of the Military.”

Your topic should be clearly related to both your site and your identified outreach audience. Then, to really extend the reach and potential value of this piece, start thinking about topics you can cross over into.

Tangential Outreach Markets

After you’ve identified your main linkable audience for your piece and decided on the topic, step three is to start thinking about tangential markets. Again, just like in the previous step, you’ll need to consider the credibility factor here. Just because you know these other markets exist doesn’t mean you can map your piece to all of them.

A chef will choose ingredients that blend well together. Since I’m a terrible cook, I think about this like an equation: you take your topic and linkable outreach market, and then add a third market.

In my last article, I used an example of a fictional coffee blog and how they could find content keyword ideas that had link intent, so let’s keep that example going here. Let’s say that looking at backlinks and your competition, you’ve seen that some other coffee blogs were successful writing about how coffee can make you more productive. So, the equation would look like this:

Coffee+Productivity = X Ways Coffee Will Make You More Productive

Let’s try to add a third angle:

Coffee+Productivity+Entrepreneurs = Coffee-Drinking Habits of Famous CEOs

Or

Coffee+Productivity+Teachers = Does Coffee Help Studying?

Quick Note on Pitching Your Ideas

I could write an entire piece about how to properly pitch emails for link building, but there’s one main point you should know if you’re building links for these types of pieces with crossover markets: always adjust your strategy based on the audience. If you are pitching your content to publishers or bloggers to get links, be sure to change the focus of your pitch so that it directly fits that market.

When This Doesn’t Work

At the end of the day, this isn’t rocket science, but this strategy definitely takes some finesse. Shifting your mindset to focus on creating content with outreach markets in mind can be hard to get used to at first, but the trickiest part is making sure the balance is all there so that you remain credible.

As I mentioned, getting too far away from your main industry will not only make you seem less credible, making the content harder to build links to, it will also end up cultivating backlinks from sites that don’t make sense for your industry. The clearest signal that an idea doesn’t work is when you have to force a connection. What ingredients don’t belong? You can usually tell if you are being honest with yourself, but if you need a few checks along the way, some signals to look for include:

  1. Your backlinks are becoming too one-sided.
  2. If you weren’t building links to the content, it wouldn’t fit on your blog.
  3. Your content tastes terrible.

It is also probably worth mentioning that this technique is best applied as part of a larger link building strategy. This is great for figuring out ways to outdo your competition in crowded markets, but don’t rely on it alone to earn links. If everything has already been covered, this will help you figure out a new angle to approach an overdone topic.

Once you have this down, it is a powerful strategy that will help spread your content into various markets, extending your audience and backlink profile.

Vince Nero
Vince Nero is Content Marketing Manager at Siege Media, an Inc. 5000 content marketing-focused agency. Vince has a fascination with the way people behave online and the types of content they consume. Visit his website here to learn more about his work.

The post Extending Your Reach: Creating Content for Multiple Outreach Markets appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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-A Note from the Editor.-

We hit the lottery when Sloan joined our team. When I had this crazy idea to make a magazine I don’t think there could have been anyone better to help execute that idea than Sloan. We are so very grateful for her time with us and believe she is on her way to many more great things. From all of us at PAGES, thank you!

– Joe Oliver, Founder and Editor-In-Chief 

Boise, Idaho is the home of PAGES magazine, and it’s also home to many digital marketing and creative advertising agencies. Boise is a fast-growing city, with lots of opportunity for businesses, and it’s also a great place to be if you like getting outside, enjoying public lands, exploring the arts, and being involved with your community.

The PAGES crew is small, but mighty. We work hard to publish four issues a year, and make each one the best it can be. Early this year, our art director, AJ, suggested we enter PAGES into a regional advertising competition, the Rockies Creative Awards. We rolled up our sleeves and put together an entry.
Local creative ad agencies typically dominate these advertising awards, but we had confidence that PAGES could compete. We might not be doing creative work for our clients every day, but the PAGES crew functions a bit like an in-house agency model within Page One Power’s marketing department, and we knew we know our stuff.

We submitted our entry, and waited with bated breath for about a month for the results to roll in. Finally, after a few weeks, I came back from a meeting one afternoon to find the good news sitting in my inbox: we’d won a silver!

PAGES has been a project near and dear to my heart.

I’ve spent many hours pouring over copy, organizing projects in Asana, divvying up tasks and deciding deadlines, and debating things like whether or not a period should go inside or outside quotation marks when the text in quotation marks is not a sentence, (Someone will tell me I’m wrong, no matter what I decide…), or whether search engine optimization (SEO) needs to be spelled out before we use the acronym…in a magazine dedicated to SEO.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with some wonderfully talented marketers and creatives, both on my own team and outside of it. I’ve gained experience in publishing that I’d likely never have as a fresh college grad. I’ve flexed my muscles in project management, digital marketing, and publishing, and like any good workout, it’s pushed me at times, but it’s always been worth the work.

PAGES, and Page One Power, have been a huge part of my life and my career over the last two years. They represent my first real home as a marketer, and it’s where I’ve been a part of a team that I’ve loved.

However, it’s time for me to make a transition, and by the time you’ve read this post, I’ll no longer be holding my post as managing editor at PAGES and content marketing specialist at Page One Power.

It’s a bittersweet change, but I’m excited for the opportunities the future holds for me. I can’t wait to see how PAGES continues to grow, and what the crew brings its readers in the coming months.

I want to extend a huge thank you to all of the contributors who I’ve worked with during my time at PAGES: you have helped make PAGES what we knew it could be, and we wouldn’t have been able to get here without your generosity and your knowledge. You’ve all been great to work with, and your work has helped us in our mission to help marketers get more from search.

And, of course, all my gratitude to my team, who have supported this project — and me — from day one.

To see what I’m up to next, you can give me a follow on Twitter or LinkedIn.

And who knows, you might see me between the pages of PAGES down the line!

 

Sloan Roseberry
Sloan Roseberry is managing editor of PAGES magazine, and part of the content marketing team at Page One Power. You can follow her for the occasional tweet or connect with her on LinkedIn.

The post PAGES at the Rockies Creative Awards, and a Farewell from the Standing Managing Editor appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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A technically-sound website is the basis for digital marketing success. Consider your website as if it were a storefront; just as a brick-and-mortar needs investment to stay ready for customers, your site does as well.

As a technical SEO team within an SEO agency, we review lots of websites. Our goal is to uncover issues that could hold our clients back from getting the most from their investment in SEO. While we specialize in off-page SEO — specifically, link building — the definition of “optimization” applies to the entire process of improving the performance of a site in search. That includes an optimized strategy, and strategically, it typically makes sense to address the issues occurring on-site before looking for ways to optimize performance beyond the domain.

When auditing a site, there is no-one-size-fits-all check. Every site is different. Each has been touched by different developers, hosted on different platforms, and as it’s grown, has had its own journey. And so, each audit goes through a process unique to the site.

There are issues that are common to encounter: unsecured sites, improper indexing, no XML sitemap or robots.txt. Other times, we’ll have suggestions for optimization that wouldn’t necessarily be considered technical, but could improve performance: keyword targeting opportunities, content the site may need, or internal linking optimization.

But sometimes, we discover things that make us scratch our heads. These are a few of the odd site issues we’ve encountered over the last year.

Caching Conundrums

While this mysterious error has since been resolved, the great caching conundrum threw me for a loop when I first ran into it.

Viewing Google’s cached version of a webpage allows you to access previous versions of recently-updated pages, or view pages that are not currently responding.

Doing so is typically a simple process; to look at a cached version of a page you can either:

  • Put the word “cache:” (with a colon) into the address bar:

Cache:examplesite.com

  • Find the site in the SERPs, and click on the drop-down “cache” option within the result.

However, slowly throughout the summer of 2018, both of these options started showing a 404: Not Found code. We saw 404 codes on big sites like Moz, but not on informational authority sites like Wikipedia. We began tracking organic traffic, indexation, and keywords in a state of anticipation and fear of what might come.

While exploring the issue internally, a fix appeared!

If you reached your 404’d cache page from the SERP drop-down, you could manually adjust the URL, and it was very likely a cache would appear.

It was as simple as adding or deleting a “www.”

Example of the Caching Error in Google

From the SERP drop-down, Page One Power’s 404-cache is :

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zSgWJuQ6SiAJ:https://www.pageonepower.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

However, if you removed the “www.” like so:

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:zSgWJuQ6SiAJ:https://pageonepower.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

You’d see a live cache!

This trick worked both ways:

The SERP drop-down 404-cache for Moz’s website is:

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:0mHt2cKI_FIJ:https://moz.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

But, when you added a “www.” like so:

https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:0mHt2cKI_FIJ:https://www.moz.com/+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

You’d see a live cached version! How strange is that?

And perhaps the most mystifying thing about it? Google never mentioned it. This peculiarity was never addressed or acknowledged as an issue, despite many conversations surrounding the issue between SEO professionals. And one day, it was all fixed again.

Later, it was determined that the most likely cause of the issue was the recent switch to mobile-first indexing. This had likely triggered an unexpected chain reaction which happened to impact caching on desktop.

The lesson learned? Sometimes we just really don’t know what’s going on behind the SERPs, but SEOs will do their best to figure it out — and often, they’ll find a solution.

Exploring Hidden Elements

We love Google Search Console’s Fetch and Render tool. It’s a great way to look at what Googlebot picks up on your site and what it thinks users are seeing. But looking at this tool can turn into an adventure when content is unexpectedly hidden!

Pleasing webpage design and UX can sometimes seem to be at odds with SEO best practices. A well-designed site that utilizes JavaScript might look great to users, but hiding content can have an impact on your rankings. The verdict is out on exactly how hiding your content affects the way Google assesses those pages, but from what we’ve been told by Google representatives, there is good reason to believe that hidden content has less weight in rankings. Considering this, it’s important to ensure any content that is considered essential to a page is placed in highly-visible places on your site.

Sometimes, however, content on your site may be hidden unexpectedly and unintentionally. There are common reasons content might be hidden: whether served via JavaScript or iframe, or blocked in a robots directive, an SEO expert can often spot the symptoms of hidden content before seeing it laid bare by the tools.

Luckily, the Fetch and Render tool will give you a couple hints about what content it can’t see.

Exploring Fetch and Render is the “gold standard” of what the Googlebot sees; taking a peek can send you down a rabbit hole of hidden options.

Exception: not all CSS or JavaScript-delivered content is treated the same by Googlebot, even though it may be able to see it the same.  

Disobeyed Directives

There are a few ways you can tell Googlebot how to treat your site. The most common ways are in a */robots.txt or in <head> of your page. If you have one, you can find these pretty easily.

Examples of How to Direct Googlebot

yoursiteurl.com/robots.txt is where crawlers go first, and where you can tell those robots what to do on your site.

There are also page-specific directions like:

<meta name=”robots” content=”index, follow”>

If put in the header, this is a request for the robots going through the page to index that page and follow the links on it.

But every once in a while, we see the Googlebot ignoring the directions given to it.

While it’s definitely a mystery, and initially causes alarm, after a deep dive we sometimes find that the blocked page is incredibly useful to users — and perhaps the roadblocks in front of Google should be changed.

Evaluating user information can be a great way to watch for pages that are especially useful that should be highlighted in your internal link structure, and that should be evaluated again to make sure they aren’t being hidden by your directions to Google.

When we do website audits, there are always areas that send us down a whirlwind of discovery.

Every audit is an adventure, and each website is as unique as the organization it represents. Getting to the bottom of a technical issue can have a huge impact on the success of a site, so while our hope is that we’ll discover our client’s sites are already technically optimized, it’s always exciting to discover ways to help them improve as well. Sometimes, we discover oddities like these along the way.

These three are just a few that have taken us by surprise in 2018. Hopefully, there are many more interesting times to come!

Mary Wilson
Mary is lead technical SEO specialist at Page One Power, overseeing and conducting SEO auditing for their clients.

The post Stories of the Strange: Site Auditing Oddities appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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It’s not uncommon these days to come across content aimed at digital marketing professionals that attempts to pit channels against each other in an attempt to determine which is “best”: PR vs. SEO, social media marketing vs. content marketing.

In reality, most informed marketers know that this isn’t quite the way things really work. While it’s true that every business must determine which channels are most effective for them, often, the optimal strategy will include multiple channels, each supporting the others.

An important aspect of successful digital marketing is avoiding silos within your organization and having a good understanding of how all the parts of your strategy fit together. Integrating the many channels of your digital marketing campaigns will not only improve the customer experience, but it will also boost results.

As a digital marketer, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything that needs to happen in order to meet your goals. And SEO and social media are two contributing areas where there seem to be endless possibilities of tactics that can be pursued.

With that said, there are ways you can integrate strategies to maximize results with limited time and resources. Social media and SEO present an immediate opportunity to do this.

Here, I’ll be addressing some simple ways to combine social media and SEO strategies. These tactics will help you improve results and efficiency while driving visibility to your content and supporting link building efforts. By implementing them, you’ll reach your targets and strengthen thought leadership.

1. Engage Your Audiences

Social media can be used to support your link building efforts by engaging with key contacts associated with each of your target sites. I’ve often seen a higher success and acceptance rate when establishing relationships and creating familiarity with a brand before reaching out about a link building opportunity.

For example, if you are looking to contribute a guest article on an industry-related publication, identify some of the editors at the publication and start engaging with them on social media before actually reaching out.

In addition to this, advertising across social media platforms can be a great way to take your strategy to the next level. Compile lists of existing clients, prospects, partners, affiliates, sponsors, media targets, influencers, and thought leaders. Then, import these lists on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for more advanced targeting.

2. Increase Visibility

Initial content distribution and promotion is an essential part of every successful online marketing campaign. This is something most marketers recognize; however, where we often fall short is continuing to drive visibility to existing content over time.

In order to get the most out of the content that you’ve worked hard to create, it’s important to distribute it beyond just the week of publishing. This will help increase traffic to your site, and reach people you may have missed the first time around.

On the most basic level, don’t forget your top assets. As long as the content is still relevant and valuable, there is no reason why you shouldn’t reshare it with your audience. If some of your top assets have become less relevant or outdated, maybe it’s time to refresh it with updated information.

3. Listen Up

Striking a balance between technical optimization and the experience visitors have on your site can sometimes be a challenge. These days, most marketers are savvy enough to recognize that spun or keyword-stuffed content isn’t doing them any favors. However, it’s not terribly uncommon to find content on websites where it’s not quite relevant, or is too high-level and general to make an impact for readers.

While creating keyword-focused content is essential, it also needs to be aligned with your audiences’ wants and needs. This can often be challenging; however, by monitoring conversations happening across social media around core keyword themes, SEOs can come up with some really valuable content opportunities.

Identify the questions people are asking on social media, and use this information to come up with new content ideas. Taking this a step further, you’ll now have several opportunities to distribute this content after it has been created and published.

To make this easier on yourself, consider leveraging one of the many social listening tools available. This will not only benefit marketing campaigns from an SEO perspective, but it will also help build and strengthen thought leadership.

Recap

A well-rounded digital marketing strategy accounts for the ways each tactic supports the others. Having a good understanding of how all the parts fit together typically leads to optimal results from each individual initiative.

While there are many ways to integrate your digital marketing tactics, these are a few immediate opportunities to better align your social media and SEO campaigns.

One final tip? Make organizational efforts to get your social media marketing and SEO teams on the same page. Take the necessary steps so both teams understand the role they have in supporting the other, whether it’s how keyword research can inform social media marketing strategies, applying SEO best practices to content developed for social, or ensuring both teams are aligned in messaging. Understand how the KPIs between these two teams are aligned, and you’ll likely see improved performance working towards your objectives.

Kristen Vaughn
Kristen Vaughn is an Associate Director of Online Marketing at KoMarketing, where she develops, manages and executes digital marketing strategies across a variety of B2B campaigns.

The post 3 Easy Ways to Integrate Your Social Media & SEO Campaigns appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, 91 percent of B2B brands and 86 percent of B2C brands use content marketing.

That’s a lot of content being produced — and not all of it is good

As marketers, we get bombarded with cold sales emails, follow-ups on those emails, sponsored LinkedIn messages, invitations to events, and newsletters — tons of newsletters (especially on Thursdays).

Realistically, we aren’t reading all of the content we’re seeing. And chances are, our prospective clients or customers are also missing out on relevant content we’re producing. There’s a vast sea of content on the web, now well over 100,000,000 gigabytes in size, and it grows by the minute.

Just as content marketers work to produce relevant content for their audiences, Google faces the challenge of determining which pieces of content are worthy of coveted top rankings.

Google has been making strides to improve its algorithm to filter the noise and present the most relevant and useful content for each query. In 2015, Google introduced E-A-T quality guidelines and has now stated that it is one of their top signals for page quality.

E-A-T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. More specifically:

Expertise: Content should be written by an expert in your industry, be useful and add value to the reader.

Authoritativeness: Your audience should be able to trust that your content is accurate, reliable and true. Authority can also come from your writers’ credentials and in the quality of the comments or reviews on your site.

Trustworthiness: At a very basic level, your site needs to be secure, with an SSL certificate, and abide by an easy-to-read privacy policy. Your audience needs to be able to trust the content and company information on your site.

E-A-T is especially important for sites and pages that are considered related to Your Money or Your Life (YMYL).

These pages include:

  • Financial, medical or legal information pages. Also includes articles providing advice.
  • Shopping or financial transaction pages where users make purchases or pay bills.
  • News articles or public/informational pages (e.x.: disaster response services, government programs, social services, news about important topics relating to international events, science, technology, etc.).
  • Other topics, such as car safety and child adoption information, that the public relies on as being accurate and true.

So, how do you adapt your content strategy to address this? Here are five tactics you can use to ensure you are producing high-quality content for Google’s quality guidelines, but more importantly, for your audience.

Write for Humans

If you’re creating content to educate your audience and build trust, write with them in mind.

Start a conversation, keep your content straight-forward, and provide takeaways. Content should be written in natural language, as if someone was speaking rather than writing, with minimal jargon. And if you must include buzzwords, explain them. Don’t make assumptions about what your reader does or doesn’t know.

Search engine algorithms are becoming smarter. At the same time, users expect more of technology. People are searching on-the-go, using voice assistants and mobile devices, and using natural language when making queries.

As of 2018, 52 percent of global online traffic was generated on mobile devices. It is also expected that 50 percent of search queries will be voice-based by 2020.

Keep in mind that queries also exist beyond the search bar. Your audience may be using social media, image search, YouTube, and even eCommerce platforms to do their research. So, make sure you’re creating and customizing content suitable to different audiences and platforms.

Either way, advancements in machine learning —  combined with access to big data — impact user experience (UX) twofold: changing the way content is served up, and increasing user expectations.

This means we need to adapt the way we approach keyword research, and adjust the way we write our content accordingly. Think of keywords as topics, rather than long-tail-keywords. Page titles should reflect what someone would ask out loud rather than a typed query.

It’s always best to commission actual writers, instead of companies that use AI to mass produce content. Hundreds of badly written articles will not appeal to readers, or to Google, and will definitely not help your brand. Think about it: writers can provide perspective, expertise, and relate to your audience in a way that cannot be matched by a machine, even if it’s a smart one.

Tips & Tools

Google keyword planner is useful for identifying search volume and determining topics, but here are other useful tools to optimize your content for mobile and voice search:

  • Google Trends to see search trends over time.
  • Answer the public for examples of questions using natural language.
  • KeywordShitter mines Google auto-complete, providing infinite results.
  • People also search for/ask & Related searches in Google search results.
  • Search Console to see search queries that people use to come to my site.
  • Q&As from Google my Business will show you what your customers are asking.
  • Twinword Ideas is a visual latent semantic indexing (LSI) tool, to help you find related words for your content (and potentially replace your thesaurus).
Optimize for Machines

In 2018, Google rolled out several algorithm updates. Most notably, mobile-first indexing, the mobile speed update, Chrome security warnings, and the Medic Core update in August. The commonality here is the user.

These are user-first updates, improving the mobile experience, user safety, and the quality of content in the search results.

Balancing your high-quality content with technical SEO best practices is key for an optimal UX. At a very high level, site speed, security, responsive design, and implementation of structured data are key for top performance. Here are the elements you’ll want to prioritize and address:

Speed

You need a fast site if you hope to rank. This could involve upgrading your server, as well as enabling caching and compression on your site. Defer render-blocking javascript and CSS. Create a canonical AMP version of your site. Each of these tactics will help your site load faster on mobile.

Security

Site security is more salient than ever in 2019. Add an SSL certificate to make your site secure (HTTPS) and validate that there are no security issues in Google Search Console.

Responsiveness

Your site should be designed with a fluid grid that adapts based on screen size. Design mobile-first, and then adapt the design for desktop. Include larger fonts, scalable images, and a mobile menu.

Structured Data

Add structured data on your site to help Google (and other search engines) categorize and index the content on your site properly, so that it serves up the best results for each query. If implemented correctly, your page(s) could qualify for rich results. A few examples include the knowledge panel, rich cards, videos, ratings, and most importantly featured snippets, where voice assistants usually pull their results from.

Tips & Tools

Check out the Google Search Gallery to see how structured data can produce rich results. To avoid penalties, always make sure to use the Structured Data Testing tool to test that Structured Data has been applied correctly.

Think About Formats

“More than half of people say they look poorly on brands with mobile sites that are not designed for use on a smartphone.”

– “4 Insights Into How Shoppers Use Apps and Mobile Sites,” Google, 2017.

Quality content is all about UX. If your customer has even one bad experience with your brand, they may not come back. Your site design and overall experience needs to be on point. All visual assets should be on-brand so that your audience recognizes them as your content. Assets should also be created for mobile-first and optimized using alt tags and metadata to ensure they can be found using image and video search.

Here are a few examples:

Images

Images should have the right balance of resolution and file size. Aim to make them as light as possible without losing quality. Images should be formatted to adapt to different screen sizes, device types, and for rich results (snippets). Always remember to include alt tags and image titles — image search is going to be huge this year!

Videos

Spend a little more time and budget to plan for multiple formats including horizontal, vertical, and square (for specific social media platforms and website requirements). Add music, but make sure that the video can be watched without sound. Include subtitles and title screens. When deciding on the length, think about your audience and the purpose of the video. Add meta descriptions to help people find your videos on YouTube and Vimeo.

Infographics

Interactive or animated infographics have the best UX, especially on mobile. However, sometimes you may be up against budget constraints, or requests to repurpose content that was originally designed for print. When this happens, create a mobile version that’s long and skinny, with increased font size (18 to 20 pts) that can easily be viewed on mobile.

Tips & Tools

Have you heard of Adobe Spark? It’s a great tool to help marketers create visual assets in a plug-and-play interface. It’s useful for creating social media posts and videos without a designer.

Accessibility considerations: Include closed-captioning for the hearing impaired. Educate yourself on color combinations to avoid for the colorblind.

Consent & Communication

Last year, the EU rolled out GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), requiring everyone who communicates with Europeans to adopt new privacy policies. Canada has similar laws, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of the world soon followed.

As the Director of Marketing and Growth at a global content marketing and communications company, I understand how much impact this can have on your business. We took the opportunity last spring to reevaluate our privacy policy and fine print. And although our newsletter subscribers had consented previously, we did a major cleanup to remove contacts with low engagement. We made sure to reach out to them by email before unsubscribing them.

By reducing our newsletter distribution list by 23 percent, the open rate increased by 22 percent and click rate increased by 27 percent.

Even though our list shrunk significantly, the silver lining is that our engagement stats increased, as our list now consists of people who are interested in reading our content. This may be a hard sell for brands that care mostly about reach and the optics of a large distribution list. But it could be a selling point to companies that are more interested in connecting with their niche audience.

It is in every brand’s best interest to introduce stronger privacy and data protection protocols for their businesses and for their customers. It is imperative to create clear opportunities for customers to opt-in or provide consent to receive communications, as well as easy ways of opting-out. This is part of building strong trust relationships with your audience.

Tips

Your fine print and privacy policy should be clear and concise. It shouldn’t be excessively long, and it should be written so that anyone can understand it. Aim to use the same tone of voice as your main content, and whenever possible, use examples.

Frequency: Less is More

If you’re struggling to meet your social media schedule, it could be time to rethink your content strategy. If that means only posting once or twice a week, do that. Use your data to find the best day and time-of-day to post, and then align it to create a content calendar that makes sense for your business and resources.

The cadence of your content is also important. The ratio of curated, promotional, and original content you publish will help establish trust with your audience. Original and curated content lets you showcase your brand’s expertise and authority, while the promotional pieces will give your prospects clear and relevant calls-to-action relating to your recent campaigns.

There are several different ratios that brands use. Generally, it is a best practice to share more of the curated and original pieces, and less of the promotional posts. The best approach for your brand can be found through testing.

Newsletters are an easy way to share your best work. However, if you are currently sharing all of your content by email, you’re doing something wrong. Depending on your business, reducing the distribution frequency of your newsletter can provide several benefits, including:

  • Reduction of clutter in your readers’ inboxes.
  • Providing you with time to check your stats and share only the best performing posts.
  • Providing you with time to segment your list and share targeted content based on your readers’ interests.
  • Impress your readers with really amazing content that they will love and be inspired to share.
Tips

Spend less time creating content and more time distributing it, analyzing results, and fine-tuning your strategy. Don’t post anything and everything, just post your best stuff. Take a look at your stats to see what your audience likes, shares, and engages with. Use that data to refine your content for future campaigns.

Recap

Not only will 2019 be the year of high-quality content, it will also be the year where content is created for the way people search, whether it be on mobile devices, voice assistants, image search, communities, reviews, social media platforms, or YouTube.

By using data to better understand your consumer, what interests them, and where they live online, you can create content specific to their needs and customize it for the channels they visit most often. These tactics will not only extend reach and increase visibility, but also lead to credibility, engagement and loyalty.

The gap between what appeals to readers and what pleases search engines is quickly narrowing. Google’s E-A-T is a perfect example of that.

It may seem that following these guidelines will be time-consuming, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember, less is more. Save time and resources by creating content that is of a higher caliber at a reduced frequency. And, spend those extra hours on your strategy, analysis, adapting your content to various formats and distributing your content on the right channels.

Your audience will thank you for it.

Joelle Irvine
Joelle is the Director of Marketing and Growth at Bookmark Content and Communications, a full-service global marketing company that brings together content and communications. In addition to digital marketing and SEO, she also loves travel, pop culture, gadgets, and tech.

The post Audience & Algorithms: How to Optimize Your Content Strategy for 2019 appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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Some of you may not remember, but there was a time when using a foldable map was the only way to navigate on a road trip. I remember in every gas station across the nation there was one name — Randy McNally, the map company. If you wanted to travel to multiple states, you needed multiple maps spanning your location and destination.

I remember when I left for college in 1998 — I was traveling from Salt Lake City to Dallas, and all I had was one giant map with my route highlighted and off I went.

Back then, you didn’t have that handy voice telling you to turn left or take this coming exit. If you were wondering which exit to take, you had to (hopefully pullover) open up your map, find where you thought you were, and find the turn you had to make. You had to vigilantly watch the road signs to know if you were heading in the right direction.

The world of SEO, which is still very young and experimental, is not so different from these days of maps and road signs. Simply put, the work of SEO is a lot like starting on a road trip and then monitoring the road signs to ensure you are on the right path.

All successful road trips start with preparation and planning.

We’ve all heard the question, “When will I reach my goal?”

Whether it’s rankings, traffic, or conversions, we all have a destination in mind when we do SEO work. Or at least we should — after all, every road trip starts with a destination in mind.

To determine your destination, begin by asking the question, “What am I trying to do?” Ask yourself,  “Where do I want this to end up in 3 months? 6 months? Or a year or more down the path?” Answering these questions will guide strategic planning and provide the framework to evaluate whether you have the means to get to your destination.

In this first part, we’ll look at the things you’ll need to consider before you even start your journey.

Technical Considerations: Your Website’s Chassis

No one is thinking about the chassis of their car or truck when driving down the road. Hopefully, they don’t have to. But with SEO, not considering the frame that holds your website together can lead to big losses down the road. Like a car’s chassis, all the most important elements of your SEO efforts will either be supported or fall apart depending on the strength or weakness of your website’s chassis.

Here are a few things you’ll want to consider when evaluating the strength of your website:

  • Are nofollow tags preventing Google spiders from crawling your site?
  • Have you secured your site properly via HTTPS standards?
  • Are title tags optimized?
  • Are you using H1 and H2 designations properly?

Making these technical fixes and optimizations is a necessary practice to ensure your website can reach the destination you have in mind.

There are many tools that can help in this evaluation. Below are just a few.

Resources to help evaluate the technical aspects of your website. Keyword Research: The Road Map to Your Destination

No road trip should be considered without properly mapping out which roads to take and which to avoid. A good road map will help you visualize where you are heading so you can follow the signs along the way to reach your destination. This is where keyword research comes in — keyword research serves as the map for your SEO road trip.

Keyword research is the process of identifying the terms and phrases people enter into search engines to find relevant websites and pages. Keyword research is a core SEO practice because it helps you understand how and why people come to your website, how your competitors attract visitors, and generally how often your audience searches online.

Keyword research is an investment in understanding what search engines think your customers are looking for. It doesn’t matter if you think moving in a straight line is the quickest way to reach your destination if there is a mountain separating you and your goal. Keyword research helps you plot the optimal path to your destination. If you are new to this idea, consider working through our keyword research guide.

Resources to Help You Determine Your Keyword Research Map Content: The Engine That Moves Your Website

Content plays a significant role in helping you reach your SEO destination. Content is the engine that drives your website, serving visitors and search engines alike.

Like an engine, content has many different parts and they all work together. Content plays many different roles on your website, including:

  • Providing information.
  • Supporting navigation.
  • Influencing the decision process.
  • Communicating your message and ideals.

All these parts working together push your website forward, helping you reach your destination, even in ways you weren’t expecting.

A complete content strategy includes content that supports visitors at each stage of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision-making.

Resources for Content Strategy and Evaluation Backlinks: Fuel That Powers Your Website

Backlinks remain an important part of competing in search because links are a vote of authority online.

Your content plays a huge part in your linkability because most websites don’t carry the branding needed to earn links purely on the merit of their brand name or products and services.

Most sites need to produce content that is linkable to earn backlinks. Linkable content is typically top-funnel content that targets the discovery stage, but these pages can pass equity through your site by internally linking to mid-funnel, and bottom-funnel pages.

You can have the best-looking chassis (technically optimized site) and a high-performance engine (high-quality content) and still get nowhere without fuel (links) to propel your car (website). Without links, you’ll never reach your SEO destination.

Links are essential to SEO success and you should spend some time learning how you are linking internally and who is linking to you externally.

Now that the car is reliable, the roadmap has been laid out, the engine is humming, and your gas tank is full, your SEO journey can begin.

In part two of Taking an SEO Road Trip, we will look at the signposts that help you know you are on the right path to success.

Joe Oliver
Joe is a 15-year (plus) veteran of the management and leadership industry. He is currently the Director of Marketing and Sales at Page One Power.

The post Taking an SEO Road Trip: Part One appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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Between The PAGES - Episode 6 - David Schulhof - SoundCloud
(1938 secs long, 9 plays)Play in SoundCloud

David Schulhof is the CEO of U.K.-based search marketing agency Red Hot Penny. In this interview, we discuss his work and passion to incorporate Search Marketing as curriculum at Universities around the world. This was a unique interview and one we couldn’t be happier to promote.

Thanks for listening.

Show Links:
mz.cm/tickets

The post PAGES SEO Podcast | Episode #6: David Schulhof on Search Marketing at Universities appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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Welcome back folks! We’re excited to be announcing Issue #6 of PAGES.

In this issue, we’ve featured a variety of articles on some pretty interesting topics in search. We explore subjects like international SEO, bias in Google’s results, and several features focused on getting the most you can from your search initiatives.

Let’s get to know the contributors from Issue #6!

Our Contributors to Issue #6 of PAGES

Charles Taylor

Charles Taylor is a regular PAGES contributor and is currently the SEO Manager for Verizon’s Fios division. Charles loves testing SEO theories to find truths that lead to better digital marketing outcomes. He’s always looking for ways to help new and established companies solve their SEO challenges.

 

 

This time, Charles tests a myth about political bias in search results. Check out his piece to learn what he found!

Twitter | LinkedIn

 

David Schulhof

David is the CEO of U.K.-based search marketing agency Red Hot Penny, practiced digital marketer, and a guest lecturer at the University of Surrey. David is passionate about digital marketing and sharing his knowledge of the field.

 

 

We sat down with David to talk about his work to get search marketing on the lesson plan for post-grad marketing students in this issue. Stay tuned for the recorded version of his interview, coming up on Between the Pages.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

 

Ronell Smith

Ronell is a digital content strategist and branding consultant for B2B and B2C businesses. He’s an expert content marketer, strategist, blogger, and SMB coach who’s helped many brands get their online marketing in order.

 

 

Ronell shares a method for applying search intent insights, to help marketers build content that ranks, in this issue of PAGES.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website | Medium

 

Britney Muller

Britney is Senior SEO Strategist at Moz. She’s passionate about data-driven marketing, dabbles in machine learning, and often shares what she knows on stage at digital marketing conferences. Britney is also the founder of boutique medical marketing agency Pryde Marketing.

 

 

Britney outlines a process to help you prioritize SEO tasks to maximize investments in her article in our sixth issue.

LinkedIn | Twitter | Website

 

Julia McCoy

Julia is founder and CEO of content marketing agency Express Writers. She’s written two books on content writing, teaches courses on content marketing, and hosts The Write Podcast, which focuses on stories, lessons, and strategies in the content marketing field.

 

 

Julia lends an expert’s perspective on building solid content marketing strategies in this issue of PAGES.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

 

Tania Lobo

Tania is a content specialist at multi-lingual marketing agency Digital Crew. She and the Digital Crew team help companies with international presence expand their influence and make an impact in new markets.

 

 

In this issue of PAGES, she gives readers an introduction to SEO for Baidu, the Chinese search engine.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Website

If you’re not already subscribed to PAGES, you can visit here to get signed up. Subscribing is free and you’ll get PAGES delivered straight to your mailbox.

News About PAGES Magazine

We’re also very excited to announce a change that we’ve made in the interest of our readers — subscribers can now download the current issue of PAGES in our archive, as well as having access to all back issues.

Don’t forget to share your thoughts on Issue #6 on one of our social media channels using the tag #pagesSEOmagazine, or to share PAGES with your friends who could benefit from it. We love hearing what you think!

You can also give us a follow to stay up-to-date with the release of fresh articles here on our blog.

Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Instagram

Don’t forget to tune in to Between the Pages as well — we’ll be featuring some exciting conversations with new guests from this issue in the coming weeks. Listen and get updates on new episodes here.

We’re also very excited to announce that we’ve partnered with Moz as a sponsor of MozCon this year! It’s bound to be a great show. If you’ll be there, please plan to stop by the PAGES booth to say hi to the crew. We love talking about the PAGES mission and sharing ways to get involved, and can’t wait to spend some time with our readers and former, current, and upcoming contributors!

As always, thank you for supporting and reading PAGES. We can’t wait to hear what you think of the stories featured in Issue #6.

Sloan Roseberry
Sloan Roseberry is managing editor of PAGES magazine, and part of the content marketing team at Page One Power. You can follow her for the occasional tweet or connect with her on LinkedIn.

The post PAGES Issue #6 | Now Available appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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You know the score: you’ve spent hours (or even days) on your latest content marketing campaign. You’ve got a great idea which is backed by great data, and it looks amazing.

You’re busy promoting the campaign, and an email drops into your inbox from a journalist at a top-tier publication. It’s clear that they’ve covered your content and you click through to take a look…

Wait…what?! There’s no link? Only an unlinked brand mention?

This scenario is all too common. Whilst coverage from a top-tier publication isn’t to be frowned upon, don’t forget: there’s more value we can get out of a campaign than brand mentions. A link from an authoritative publication is a powerful signal to search engines, and there’s many a case study to demonstrate this.

At this stage, many simply give up and accept the fact that there’s a brand mention without a link, moving on to further promote the content to other publications with the hope that they’ll provide a valuable link.

You’ve done the hard work though; you’ve created the content and promoted it. The journalist liked the story enough to cover your campaign. What if there was a tried and tested tactic to turn unlinked brand mentions into links within hours of an article going live?

The Problem With Most Link Reclamation Strategies

You’ve probably come across link reclamation before: finding unlinked brand mentions and reaching out to journalists, asking them to add a link to your brand.

The problem with this tactic is the way it’s often executed. In most cases, SEOs and link builders are carrying out link reclamation weeks, or even months, after a mention went live. In many cases, the link builder pursues generic brand mentions where there’s really no real reason for a publisher to link out. After all, you need to remember that journalists don’t have to link.

Asking for a link to your homepage simply because a publication mentioned your brand doesn’t usually add any value to the content. Journalists are smart. Homepage links don’t usually enhance the user experience of their article and in an instance when it does, they’ll likely have already linked.

However, what if you’re asking for links to your relevant content campaign asset? A link which allows a user to explore data or stories covered in the article more in-depth? One which adds value?

Sounds far more appealing to a publication, right?

Why Journalists & Bloggers Link

Journalists don’t link out for the benefit of your SEO campaign. Sorry, but they couldn’t care less how you rank on the SERPs or this month’s link KPIs. They use links to cite sources.

Think back to college; you were likely taught to properly cite your sources and reference where you collected data and information from. Citations add authority to your work, and give due credit to the original author — that same principle applies in online journalism. Links also make it easy to access the original source of information, which can reinforce authority and trust.

When providing a citation, publishers will almost always mention the brand which created the content. After all, if you’ve carried out research and offered a story to a journalist, it’s only right that you should be referenced.

Providing a link, though? Sadly, this doesn’t always happen. Some will always link, others don’t. This doesn’t mean you can’t land a link however, even if an unlinked brand mention has already gone live.

How To Turn Brand Mentions Into Links

There’s a simple process which you can follow to maximize success, which is likely a little different than link reclamation strategies you’ve tried before.

We’ll call it “live link reclamation.”

Why? Because rather than trying to turn old brand mentions from months ago into links, you’ll be doing it within hours of a mention going live. This significantly increases success rates — especially when you add a little trick to maximize your results even further.

It’s a simple 2 step process:

  • Discover New Brand Mentions In Real Time
  • Reach Out To Publications To Request A Link

It sounds too simple to be effective, doesn’t it?

To explain these two steps further, we’ll use a recent example from a campaign for a client in the travel industry.

The campaign in question was an infographic-led asset which revealed “Europe’s Most Instagrammed Beaches,” and was run by our client, Globehunters. The campaign utilized data about hashtags for every beach in Europe, revealing those which are most popular on the social platform. The story had a hook to international, national, and regional press across Europe and, as you’ll see, initially saw a strong wave of coverage, where over 50% of publishers used unlinked brand mentions rather than links.

How do you identify and turn unlinked brand mentions into links?

Discover New Brand Mentions In Real Time

The key to successful link reclamation is speed. If you can request a link within hours of an article first going live, you’re going to increase your chances of success. Internal data from over 100 link reclamation campaigns ran by Digitaloft over the past 12 months suggests that the success rate almost doubles if you reach out to a publication the same working day of an article being published.

Think on it though. It makes sense. While an article is still fresh, it’s a higher priority for journalists, editors, and the IT team than one that was published months ago.

But how do you find brand mentions so quickly?

Firstly, make sure you set up Google Alerts for every campaign, configured to send ‘as it happens,’ with a source of ‘news,’ and how many set to ‘all results.’ Set up the alert for Brand + “campaign search query.”

Your configured alert should look something like this:

In this case, we set up alerts for:

“Globehunters” + “Instagrammed Beaches”
“Globehunters” + “Instagram”
“Globehunters” + “European Beaches”
“Globehunters” + “Beaches”

We also set up a non-branded alert for “Instagrammed Beaches.”

Setting up alerts for a number of different queries ensures you’re not missing coverage as it happens.

Secondly, keep a browser tab with a Google News search window open, and configure to show results from ‘Past 24 hours.’


It may sound tedious, but be sure to refresh this page every hour or so while you’re actively outreaching a campaign asset. Once the heavy promotion has stopped, twice a day should suffice until coverage naturally slows down.

With this combined approach, you’re able to pick up coverage within minutes of it being published. You’ll then need to manually check for any unlinked brand mentions. This technique is also perfect for assessing early successes from your campaign.

The best case scenario is that you’ll see all published articles linking. However, the reality is that you’ll quite quickly come across unlinked brand mentions.

Reach Out To Publications To Request A Link

On the Globehunters campaign, we started to see pickup and coverage within 24 hours of beginning the outreach phase.

In fact, the first piece of coverage we landed was iNews, a DA 67 top-tier publication. Here’s the original coverage:

Notice the problem? There’s no link! They have two internal links to other articles on their site, but no link to our client.

For reference, the article was published 10:20 A.M. on March 28, 2018. The article was modified later the same day; the modification? A link back to our campaign!

To make this change happen, as soon as we noticed the coverage we immediately jumped on link reclamation, sending the following email to the publication:

28 March 2018 at 15:34

Olivia Smith

Correction: Three of Europe’s top 10 most Instagrammable beaches are here in the UK

To: news@inews.co.uk

Dear News Desk,

I’ve recently seen the iNews article regarding ‘ Three of Europe’s top 10 most Instagrammable beaches are here in the UK,’ it was our client Globehunters that supplied the original research and I just wanted to say thank you for sharing, the article is great.

I just wondered if there was any way you could supply a link to the data within the article, that way anyone reading it can see the original data. It would provide a better reader experience and work as a source for anyone who wants to know more.

Thanks again for sharing!

Best Wishes,

Olivia

A few important notes about this outreach:

We didn’t send it straight back to the journalist. Rather, we sent to the contact listed on the publication’s contact page for corrections. In this case, it was the main news desk. Why? Journalists are busy people and, in many instances, once they’ve hit publish, they’re onto their next assignment. Top-tier publishers typically have IT and corrections teams whose responsibility it is to make amendments and updates. Sending to a main corrections or amends email ensures it’s received by the right people.

We opened the subject with “correction,” as well as immediately including the full article title. The recipient of the email can immediately see, from the subject, that a correction is needed and can forward to the most suitable person to make the edit.

In the main body of the email, we thanked the publication for covering the story. This is key. Remember: a journalist is covering a campaign because they loved the concept, not because they have to. Always begin by saying thank you, not jumping straight in to ask for a link. Manners never hurt anyone!

We then politely asked whether a link could be added in, and showcased that users being able to click through to the data offers a better experience for those who want to explore the topic in more detail. We simply showed how a link would add value.

Within 11 minutes of sending a link reclamation email, we received the following response:

28 March 2018 at 15:45

George Martin

Re: Correction: Three of Europe’s top 10 most Instagrammable beaches are here in the UK

To: Olivia Smith, Cc: Daisy Wyatt

Hi Olivia,

Thanks for getting in touch. I’ve updated the story with a link to the Globehunters data;

https://news.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/travel/europe-instagram-beaches-top-uk/

All the best,

George Martin.

Success!

Today, the article looks like:

The Campaign Results

To date, the campaign has earned links from publications including Travel & Leisure, The Sun, Country Living, MSN, and Lonely Planet, as well as a wealth of regional publications across Europe including those in Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Spain.

As an international travel brand, landing links with an international focus has been a key driver of the SEO campaign. However, it’s important to note that not all publications linked to the client at first. Just as we saw above with iNews, we saw over half the coverage (typically that from regional publications) result in unlinked brand mentions. In total, this equated to 18 pieces of coverage.

By utilizing the above link reclamation approach, reaching out within hours of an article being published, we were able to successfully turn 13 of these into links. That’s a success rate of 72%!

The key to successful link reclamation in 2018 is to ensure the link adds value. Demonstrate to a publisher why they should link, and how it will enhance the user experience. Doing so significantly increases results against simply asking for homepage or product and service page links.

Timing is also key. Reaching out to ask for a link to be added into a fresh article (if possible, within hours of it being published) yields a far stronger success rate.

Link reclamation, in many ways, is common sense; think like a journalist and ask yourself what would make them link.

Don’t let your campaign efforts simply return unlinked brand mentions. Have a strategy in place and turn them into links within hours! 

James Brockbank
James is an experienced U.K.-based SEO and content marketer. He's the Managing Director and Founder of award-winning agency Digitaloft, who specialize in creating high-performance content marketing and SEO campaigns for some of the U.K.'s biggest brands.

The post Maximizing Content Marketing Campaign Success With Link Reclamation: A Case Study appeared first on PAGES SEO Magazine.

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