SEO: Back To Basics for Beginners

For many businesses that have an online presence, creating and posting fresh, valuable content is something top of the priority list. When it comes to SEO, you must take full accountability for your website promotion strategies and be vigilant to the strategies that your team is using to promote your site.

The cost of SEO has risen thanks to Google making it difficult to implement cheap and effective link-building strategies. The white-hat approach is now the way to go for all things SEO.

When it comes to SEO, you must take full accountability for your website promotion strategies. This means being highly vigilant around the strategies and processes used by your team to acquire links for your website. The last thing you want is to get hit by a Google penalty!

One of the primary goals for producing great content is to have it rank on the first page of google results. The tricky thing is that everyone is gunning for the same top positions in Google. Hitting that top spot of the first page not only takes an outstanding piece of content, it also requires a solid outreach strategy for effective content promotion.

To make things even more tricky, Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm which constantly keeps you on your toes.

Check out these eye-opening SEO stats: 

  • 93% of people start browsing through a search engine – SEJ
  • The number one position in the Google SERPs get’s, on-average, 33% of clicks – SEW
  • Between 70-80% of people ignore paid search marketing results and focus on the organic ones instead – UC

 

One of the biggest underutilized strategies of SEO is on-page optimization. A well-optimised page can make a huge difference in the search results. Don’t be afraid to make changes to your content well after you first publish it. You’d be surprised how much of a difference a few little tweaks can make.

So what forms the backbone of a successful SEO campaign?

This SEO, back to basics for beginners list will show you exactly that:

External Backlinks

external backlinks

Backlinks have always been a major ranking factor in the search engines. There’s a lot of talk out there about Google’s 200 rankings factors. It’s true, Google does have a hell of a lot of ranking factors that influence a website’s overall search ranking. But the factor that holds the most weight by far is still backlinks.

Google still uses backlinks to determine how important a website is. When another website links to you, Google sees that link as a vote for your site. Not all votes are created equally as some websites have a lot more trust and authority in the eyes of Google compared to other websites.

Say for example, you run a training company that helps college students start online businesses. You manage to secure a guest post on the University of Massachuessets website. The post that you write for the university includes a link back to your website.

This single link could make a huge difference to your search engine rankings as university domains are super trustworthy and authoritative in the eyes of Google. A single link from a domain like The University of Massachuessets would be more valuable than ten or even twenty links from brand new websites that don’t have a lot of authority.

Each link that gets sent to your site passes a certain amount of “link juice” to your page. This link juice gets diluted if the website links to other domains from the same page. Google’s algorithm divides link authority based on the number of links pointing from a particular page.

So a link from a blog post that only has one other link to a different site is significantly more powerful than a link from a post that is also linking to twenty other domains.

Make sense? I know it’s a little confusing but it’s the nature of the beast unfortunately.

Internal Backlinks

Another strategy that is hyper-underutilized by businesses all over the web. Internal backlinking is the practice of linking to from your website to other relevant pieces of content on your website.

By implementing an internal linking strategy to your website or blog. You’re effectively funneling the trust and authority of your pages evenly throughout your website. This can work wonders for your search engine rankings. Wikipedia for example, has an insane internal linking strategy.

One of the most effective ways to implement this is to link out to other relevant pieces of content naturally. You don’t need to make this any more complex than it needs to be. If you make it a habit to link out to a couple of other relevant pieces of information on your site from each post, you’ll see the difference in your rankings quite quickly.

Content Format

on-page seo

Gone are the days where Google couldn’t understand the keywords you were trying to rank for if you didn’t place it strategically many times in your content.

Google’s search engine algorithm is highly intelligent. To run a successful website in 2017, you need to be writing content for your audience, not for the search engines. Search engine features like latent semantic indexing allow you to create compelling content that is also highly optimized for the search engines.

So if you’re trying to rank for a certain keyword in Google, you don’t need to place it in your article dozens of times. Doing so can actually land you a penalty if you aren’t careful. This will hurt the ability for that particular page to rank in Google.

Other things that are super important when it comes to content format are headlines. Headlines tell the search engines what your content is all about. Your H1 (main headline) should contain your target keyword. You also want to sprinkle related keywords into your subheadings and images.

To add a keyword to your image, you’ll need to edit the image and add your text in the “alternative text” section. This gives the search engines the ability to read your image as they can’t tell what your picture is about without specifying the alternative text.

For images, it’s best practice to place your target keyword in your featured image and as mentioned earlier, sprinkle related terms as your alt text for your other images.

Tracking & Analytics

Tracking your rankings is another cornerstone of a successful SEO strategy. Without tracking, you have no idea what you’re ranking for. You don’t know what’s working and what’s not. There are plenty of ranking trackers available for a very low monthly fee.

Tracking enables you to see how many visitors your website is receiving, where they’re coming from and how long they spend on on your site (among many other things). There’s an endless amount of things you can track on your website and overall it allows you to run a data-driven campaign that has a much higher chance of success.

Local SEO

Not to be confused with organic rankings results, local SEO is geared towards brick and mortar or service area businesses who want to appear on the maps pack. The maps pack has become the new go-to for finding local services, replacing the yellow pages and is a must for any local business in order to maximize their online visibility. The ranking algorithm, although not completely detached from organic SEO has many different ranking factors, most notably the use of GMB profile (Google My Business) and building of citations. You can read more about local Seo in this in-depth guide to local SEO.

Introduction To SEO For Affiliate Marketers

SEO can be one of the most profitable ways to generate targeted traffic to your affiliate marketing website. There are thousands of successful affiliate marketing websites that have effectively implemented a search engine marketing campaign to generate the traffic, leads, and sales they need for their business.

This article will provide a brief introduction to SEO, covering what it is and how it works.
 

What is Search Engine Optimisation?

search engine optimisation

When you search for something in Google you usually end up with two sets of results (although many people don’t realize this). The first type of results are the paid listings. Google has up to four slots at the top and two at the bottom of the first page for pay-per-click results.

The rest of the results are what we like to call “organic”. This means that the webpage is naturally rankings for those keywords based on a variety of factors. These listings don’t pay anything for clicks through to their website because the search engine considers them to be the most relevant results for the terms searched.

For many affiliates around the globe. These organic rankings form the cornerstone of their business. It drives the bulk of the traffic that converts into leads and sales for their affiliate marketing business.

The biggest caveat to search engines is that nobody really looks beyond the first page. Which means that the competition is really high for those precious first-page rankings. Even rankings at the bottom of page one produce dismal results compared to the top.

The first result (on average) attracts around 33% of clicks while the last results on the first page attract no more than 3% of clicks.

What Does “SEO” actually mean?

The term SEO (search engine optimization) refers to the things you can do to your website to gain better rankings in the search engines. The closer to number one you are, the more traffic you get onto your site. In very simple terms, more traffic means more money for you.

An important thing to note about organic search listings is that there is no way you can “fake it till you make it”. You can’t manipulate the search engines into thinking your site is the most relevant results for any given search term. As a result of this, you employ strategies that attempt to convince the search engines that your results are the most relevant. This is the essence of SEO.
 

How Does One Perform SEO?

The things you can do to improve your website rankings typically fall into two categories:

On-page SEO – Are strategies you can implement on your site to help Google better understand and categorize your content. Keyword density, site speed and URL’s are some of the things that can alter your rankings in the SERP’s. On-page SEO is often something that is neglected by affiliate marketers as they relentlessly pursue off-page SEO methods. A short amount of time spent optimizing your on-page SEO can really make a big difference to the results in the SERPs.

Off-page SEO – These are things that build your website’s trust and authority in the eyes of Google but not directly built into your website. A perfect example of this is inbound links. These are links that come from other websites into yours. Links are seen as a quality and relevancy signal in the eyes of Google. To this day, they form the backbone for high search engine rankings.

Good Things About SEO

  • Free traffic – This is what makes SEO so powerful. Once you achieve high rankings, the traffic is free so you won’t have to offset your conversions with your paid traffic expenditures.
  • Lower risk – Because the traffic is free, you don’t need to put as much importance into what you’re ranking for. It also doesn’t matter it the conversion rates aren’t amazing because you aren’t paying for each visitor.
  • SEO is fair – Your ability to rank high in the search engines isn’t related to how much money you have to spend. While it definitely helps to have some money, there are plenty of effective strategies you can implement to skyrocket your results without spending a dime.

Bad Things About SEO

It takes time and effort – Two things most people don’t like hearing. Yes, SEO is a long-term investment. It can take up to six months of hard graft work before you start seeing results in the SERP’s. If you’re looking to make money fairly quickly then SEO might not be something for you.

That said, anything worth its salt usually takes time to create. Once you achieve those rankings, you’ll have an asset that will financially reward you time and time again.

New To Affiliate Marketing?

If you’re sat there scratching your head about what affiliate marketing is, here is the definition

Affiliate marketing is a form of referral marketing where the “affiliate” gets rewarded in the form of financial compensation for the promotion of products and services.

Basically, you get paid a “thank you” fee for bringing customers to businesses. It is a highly popular way for people to start their first business online and as mentioned in our previous post, it is an industry that is set to grow to $6.8 billion dollars in the US over the next few years.

Why SEO & PPC Can Have A Beautiful Relationship

SEO and PPC are commonly seen as polar opposites. As if the two don’t mix together. Sure, they’re very different marketing strategies but marry them together, and you have the recipe for a synergistic SEM relationship.

Here are a few reasons why merging these two enemies together can work wonders for your leads and sales growth.
 

Better Visibility

better visibility

This is quite an obvious first benefit to implementing both SEO and PPC together. You want to get your name out there as much as possible and maximize your brands reach. If you combine PPC with SEO ranking you can achieve double the exposure in the SERP’s. If you can dominate the PPC and SEO rankings for your chosen search terms, you’ll give the impression of increased authority for your company.

 

Retargeting

Everyone loves retargeting because we know how powerful it can be. Nothing the ROI on a well executed retargeting campaign. Retargeting allows you to target people that have previously visited your website.

This is especially powerful because direct traffic has been proven to convert the best (people who have already been on your site before).

Once people become more familiar with your website they’re more likely to convert into customers.

 

Double The Data

double data

Data-driven marketing is the new buzzword in the digital landscape. People are obsessed with it, and for good reason! Data-driven marketing can be hampered down to an almost exact science. By measuring a marketing campaign effectively, you’re able to optimize on what’s working and get rid of what isn’t.

Call it trimming that fat. But of course, you already know that!

The point I’m getting at here is that implementing both SEO and PPC together will provide you with double the keyword data. Keyword data that you can use to improve your search marketing campaigns and understand your audience better.

 

Optimized Ad Copy

By running PPC ads for your business, you’ll quickly see which ad text works and which ones don’t. If you’re getting a good click-through rate combined with solid conversions, you know the ad text is captivating and congruent to your product offering.

You can leverage the most successful ads and use it for your organic headlines. Implementing ad text that you’ve proven yourself is a guaranteed way to increase the click-throughs to your website.
 

Revealing Hidden Keywords

hidden gem

I say hidden keywords, they aren’t really hidden, you just haven’t discovered them yet! Your website will be ranking organically for a variety of keywords. Those rankings can be used for your PPC ads as you may have naturally ranked for keywords you didn’t specifically target. If you can uncover these gems in your campaigns, you’ll crush your competition.

Your goal with PPC is to figure out the keywords that perform best, with SEO, you’ve already got access to that information.
 

Swapping Out Keywords

Sometimes you’ll find keywords that are just too expensive to use for pay-per-click advertising. That’s when falling back onto SEO can be hugely effective.

It’s possible that one of the best keywords you want to target is too expensive on PPC. An alternative would be to pursue that keyword organically with SEO. This way you can rank for your best keywords and save your marketing budget for other terms that get better ROI.

How Affiliate Marketing Is Driving Company Growth

Among all the various online business ideas, affiliate marketing tops the list in terms of barrier of entry. Funnily enough, it’s actually fairly difficult to generate an income through affiliate marketing because it normally relies on organic search engine traffic. Something that is difficult to achieve for many people that are first getting started online.

SEO is a wild beast and it takes a good amount of time to understand how the SERP’s really work and tailor your strategies to meet the expectations of Google and Bing.

Revelations Of An Affiliate Marketing Case Study

With that being said, the affiliate marketing industry continues to grow, year by year and is projected to grow to a $6.8 billion dollar industry in the US alone over the next four years.

This type of growth indicates a significant increase in uptake and opportunity for affiliate marketing.

Rakuten Marketing released the findings of a survey back in February 2016 on the perception and effectiveness of affiliate marketing programs.

The results revealed that almost 90% of advertisers said that their affiliate programs were either “important” or “very important” to their marketing strategy. The majority of companies revealed that affiliates drove more than 20% of their yearly revenue.

Affiliate marketing is now viewed as a highly powerful method to discover new customers, increase brand engagement and generate more sales for businesses.

According to the survey, affiliate marketing has matured into a powerful way to drive sales for advertisers across the globe. As mentioned above, US affiliate marketing spend alone is set to grow by just over 10% between now and 2020 to $6.8 billion dollars.

The affiliate networks that operate as the intermediary between the affiliates and the merchants are the heart of sales growth, offering tracking and quality assurance for both parties involved.

Some of the most interesting findings of the case study include:

  • More than 80% of advertisers and publishers surveyed, ran an affiliate program
  • Over 80% of advertisers assigned more than 10% of their marketing budget to affiliate marketing.
  • Marketers utilize affiliate marketing at every stage of the customer journey, with 83% targeting customers at the discovery and awareness phase and 79% during conversion, purchase or during ongoing customer engagement.
  • Tracking is improving. Advertisers are better understanding the catalyst behind purchasing decisions. 80% of marketers tracked desktop and mobile sales.
  • For affiliate’s the choice of affiliate network is paramount to partner product promotion. 83% of affiliates surveyed use their affiliate network to select an appropriate product/service to promote with 79% of them attending events hosted by the networks.

How do people normally get started with affiliate marketing?

Many people that are looking to start a side business, get started with affiliate marketing because you can get started almost straight away and you don’t have the barriers to entry that traditional businesses do. You don’t need to invest a fortune either but one thing that you do need to invest is good ol’ precious time.

People normally start affiliate marketing by joining an affiliate program that has great affiliate marketing training. Some of the best affiliate programs provide training as well as mentorship and support.

There are hundreds of training programs out there dedicated to empowering people with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed online. In particular, there are plenty of resources out there for learning how to start affiliate marketing. The fundamentals are actually fairly simple. It just takes the right mindset to follow through with one thing until you start reaping the results.

The Low Down On Custom TLD’s

It’s been a few years now since the generic TLD’s were released to the public. We now have the ability to describe our business and brand better by adding almost any type of domain name extension to the end of our domain name.

Yet, there hasn’t been much uptake in these new TLD’s and we think it’s because people still assume that Google doesn’t put as much weight on those generics extensions as opposed to a .com one for example.

This is a legitimate concern for businesses, bloggers and everyone else who owns a piece of the world wide web. We’re happy to let you know that you WILL still be found online if you’re using a generic TLD like .coffee, .clothing or .ninja!

But don’t just take our word for it, this is the good news coming straight from the horse’s mouth. Google mention the following in a FAQ blog post back in 2015: “New domain endings are not treated any differently than traditional domain name endings like .com or .org. Domain names with new endings are shown in search just like any other domain name

So you don’t need to worry about your brand losing credibility or authority in the eyes of king Google.

Google proved the point they made with an interesting example. If you type “coffee club” into their search engine, you’ll get the following domain as one of the top results: www.coffee.club

There are many examples of businesses that have effectively implemented a generic TLD to better communicate their brand to their audience.

A Couple of Examples

The generic TLD revolution is happening whether you like it or not. Since early 2014, we’ve had the option to switch over and buy crazy TLD’s like .xyz or .foozeball. As mentioned above, these new options give us the opportunity to create a meaningful and memorable online identity.

Google describes it as exactly that “find a meaningful and memorable name for your business as you tell the world who you are and what you do.”

Let’s explore that: if you come across a website that’s called fubar.coffee, you instantly know it’s a business related to coffee. Another example could be Hype.clothing – Hype on its own leaves you with no clue about the business whereas hype.clothing lets you know it’s a clothing business.

Google itself has bought into the generic TLD world. It invest $25 million to purchase the “dot-app” domain as well as launched an entirely new company called Alphabet on abc.xyz

We live in a unique time where the attention span of the average person is less than seven seconds. Anything you can do to communicate your message more effectively is something you should consider.

This is just one of the strategies that can help you establish your identity in the ever-changing digital landscape we find ourselves in.

SEO Trends To Look Out For In 2017 [Infographic]

SEO trends have always been something of a hot topic among search engine marketers. Many marketers are frightened of the next big Google update because they’re worried that all their hard work is going to be undone in one full sweep.

Search engine marketing is a dynamic beast that is constantly evolving to better suit people using the search engines. Some people assume that Google is out there to get people that they don’t want you to rank highly but this isn’t true at all.

Google is primarily concerned with providing the best experience for the person using the search engine. Google’s business is predicated on the fact that people use their search engine so it’s a smart move for them take this stance.

SEO Trends In 2017

There are plenty of trends that have been forecasted for the year of 2017. The evolution of Google’s search algorithm isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. We came across this great infographic that shares eight predictions for SEO in 2017.

Some of the most interesting predictions include:

  • Increase in the implementation of Google AMP (Accelerated mobile pages) – A way to improve the overall performance of mobile web.
  • Schema markup will gain more importance – This is an interesting one because a very small percentage of websites actually have Schema markup implemented so it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.
  • Denser quality content – People have noticed that there’s a lot of content on the same topic but with slightly different words and structure. To combat this, many marketers believe that Google will implement a “per word value” metric to measure the value of a piece of content more effectively.

 

seo trends of 2017