Writing a book, much like skydiving and getting your motorcycle licence is something that most people are, "definitely going to do at some stage." However, unlike jumping out of a plane or risking your life on your daily commute, writing a business book can have immediate and tangible benefits.
Engaging an audience has always been tricky, but these days your audience has the attention span of a goldfish with ADHD.
And you're trying to get them to read a blog about you, your business or your industry? Shame on you. You're worse than Hitler.*
Unless they’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, all digital media buyers have now heard of programmatic buying and know some of the benefits that can be seen by using it. Before you dive in and launch your first campaign though, here are some tips that will set you up for success.
Copywriting for search engines has become less about optimising content, and more about the creation of useful and relevant articles that answer specific questions. Much has been made of the importance of long content and formulas have been presented that supposedly offer the ideal ratios of targeted keywords in relation to the length of a blog. As the Google algorithms has continued to advance at staggering rates (despite ongoing issues with add-ons such as Google News) the importance of creating useful content has increased exponentially.
Been working hard on SEO but ready to give up because you're not getting the results? Search engine optimisation is the most frustrating digital marketing discipline; you work hard, and there are no immediate results or even evidence that you've accomplished something.
But there may be more to it than that. If you are like more than 60% of those attempting to rank on the first page of Google, then it is highly likely that your efforts are being undermined by one of these common, and avoidable errors.
1. You're Trying One Thing - Because It's the One Thing
There is no magic bullet when it comes to search engine optimisation. Backlinks, content, website optimisation, shares, clicks and all the other bits and pieces are just part of a puzzle that nobody completely understands.
We have conducted numerous experiments to prove that there are certain parts of the SEO ecosystem that are more important than others, and while content is obviously vital, in the same way that wheels are vital to a car, the other components are crucial to make the car move.
SEO is more about ticking boxes than fixing one particular problem. Don't focus on a solution that sounds like it will solve all your problems at the expense of the other parts that are vital to make your SEO efforts profitable.
2. You Don't Have Enough Site Authority
Backlinks! If you don't have backlinks then you don't have adequate domain authority and Google thinks that you're not worth ranking.
Got the best content in the world? It doesn't matter if you don't have the authority to back it up. Google uses this measure to understand the difference between a high-quality website with high-quality content, and a talented blogger who writes well but has no credibility in their chosen vertical. This is important because Google doesn't want to be seen as a, "hackable," tool, and Google's customers don't want to be searching for a solution to their problem, only to find well-crafted misinformation instead.
Search algorithms and bots can read – in fact, better than any human – but that doesn't extend to understanding the contextual importance of pieces of information. Instead, common sense is applied, and if domains of a higher authority are linking to your article or page, then Google assumes that you probably know what you're talking about.
Importantly, while the algorithms no longer handing out backlink penalties for low-quality links, there is plenty of evidence that Google itself will punish you in the event you try and be clever.
3. Your Content Isn't Long Enough
Just to qualify this, all of your content doesn't have to be over 2000 words, and there are still plenty of arguments going on as to the level of importance that Google puts on content length. Our experiments, however, have shown that having a good base of long content – over 1500 words – on your site will aid in ranking opportunities as part of a larger content strategy. Good SEO copywriters will vary the length of their articles and webpages to demonstrate to Google that your website is a useful resource, not just a template that is repeated again and again. We have spoken before about the importance of optimised cornerstone content, and this is a good place to start when defining which of your articles and blogs should be long, detailed and useful.
4. You are Clumsy with Editing
Let's keep this one brief because the point is made in the title, but we learned this lesson the hard way. When we first started out, we would publish as much as possible as often as possible, and we didn't have an editor on staff.
Our rankings were terrible.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Google can read and hates writing that doesn't make sense, bad grammar and bad spelling. Everyone makes mistakes, but if those errors are a common occurrence in your articles, you will pay the price.
5. Your Website is Stunning...
...and slow. We have enough empirical evidence now to prove that Google will punish you if your website is too slow. This graph shows the rankings of a client of ours. Their content was excellent and they had high-quality backlinks, but their website – despite being visually beautiful – had a loading time of around six seconds. We brought that down to under two seconds without destroying the user experience and as a result, the content, backlinks, internal links and the other components could do their thing. Optimise your website for SEO through removing superflous JacaScript, HTML and minifying images.
Don't let a good SEO tip make you focus on a single, seemingly glamorous or exciting part of SEO. By definition, ranking on Google is a meritocracy, so it's a lot of hard work. Put together a list of all the crucial components you need to rank and gradually tick those boxes. Identify gaps, fill them and you will see results.
Google Keyword Planner is the most popular keyword research tool available, and with good reason – it's free, and it's from Google, so the assumption is that you are getting information straight from the horses mouth. All your keyword research problems solved in one easy to understand package.
Trying to rank on search engines can feel like you're ticking the right boxes, only to discover that those boxes actually didn't matter and need to revisit your entire box related strategy. Don't worry, it's not just you feeling this way and today we're going to talk about yet another box -website architecture- and how to best structure your internal links for optimal 'link juice.'
There are plenty of articles and websites dedicated to the Google algorithm; how to beat it, how to hack it, how to trick it and how to work around it in order to achieve higher SEO rankings. Of course, outside of the staff in what I assume is a large stainless steel building with no windows and a large door with "Google" emblazoned across it, nobody knows what exactly the algorithm does. We have had plenty of clues, and there are heaps of SEO agencies (ourselves included) who are sad enough to conduct numerous experiments to learn more about how the search engine will respond to various inputs. We know that backlinks, internal linking, content length and content quality are crucial for good rankings and we know that Google can see through any attempts to circumvent a system that it, in the end, based on fair play.
And herein lies the rub. Google's algorithm is not designed with content creators in mind. This isn't to say that Google doesn't care, it's just that it has a much bigger priority – the customers who visit the site and ask for the fastest way to bake a cake and where the best local Mexican restaurant is. These are the queries that lie at the core of Google's business model and the organisation itself will only remain viable as long as a majority of the planet considers Google to be the first port of call for almost every question imaginable. If the quality of search responses decreases or content producers and SEO practitioners find a way to circumvent the system, the integrity of the searches will be lost and Google will no longer be the powerhouse it is today.
If there is no trust from the consumer, then they will seek out somewhere else that maintains the aforementioned spirit of fair play. This is the core of the Google promise –
Organic rankings can't be bought; they are based on what we consider to be the best possible solution to your question or problem.
Of course, this is common sense, but somewhere along the way we decided to get clever. We wanted to know, not only what the search engines did but also how they did it and we did this to try and find a way around it. The thing is, all we needed to do to "hack," the system was to produce better content and share it with enough people to gain a reputational uplift.
Make good content and build the web infrastructure for people to be able to see it.
This isn't to say we are going to stop our experiments on the way the algorithm works. Instead, it is a reminder to ourselves as to what we are trying to achieve. Getting bad content ranking well is not a solution to anyone's problem – Google loses, we lose and our clients obviously lose as their reputation suffers from having a lot of people see something that is substandard. We will reinvigorate our efforts to be a content marketing agencythat does SEO because it fits perfectly together – Google wants good content to rank, and we produce good content.
In the end, awesomeness is the best hack.
Digital marketing is about taking one thing and turning it into 17. Using
A blog post becomes a press release or a client informational or an eBook. It's like nature, but with words and inbound marketing tactics rather than bees and pollen and birds and...you know, other outside stuff. In other words, when you create any form of content, it should be repurposed for the overall benefit of your digital marketing strategy. Here are our top three tips on how to make sure your content marketing efforts
1. Work Your Keyword List
Having conducted keyword research (click the link for the best keyword research article I've ever read from Ahrefs), you should have a long list of short and longtail phrases you can use as the basis for copywriting and content creation. In order to integrate these correctly into your content, they should form part of your language, the way you speak or as advertising people like to say your, "voice."
This, again, refers back to topic clusters; groups of keywords that complement each other, assisting Google in understanding what it is you are trying to say.
Using the example to the right, which is taken from our HubSpot, we would incorporate these phrases, not clumsily but naturally through the adaptation