Category Archives: marketing

Graphic with SEO keywords

Optimizing Your Blog for Higher Search Rankings

Still struggling to achieve a top search ranking for your blog? Conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that the higher your blog ranks, the more traffic it will receive. But how exactly do you increase your blog’s search ranking?

Use an SEO-Friendly Blogging Platform

The platform on which you build your blog will directly affect its search rankings. Some content management systems (CMS) contain messy code that’s difficult for search engines to properly crawl, which subsequently harms the site’s search rankings. You can avoid this problem, however, by using an SEO-friendly CMS for your blog like WordPress. Powering tens of millions of blogs and websites, WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS. It’s cleanly coded, patched with new updates in a timely manner, and features a plethora of plugins and themes.

Beware of Duplicate Content!

When blogging, use caution to ensure that your content isn’t being published in multiple locations. It’s not uncommon for blogging platforms to place new content in two or more locations, such as the original URL, authors, tags, categories, and archives. Just because you “think” your blog post is being published in a single location doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. Double-check your blog’s settings to ensure all new posts and pages are not being published in multiple locations. And if they are, use the noindex attribute to discourage search engines from crawling them.

Allow Visitor Comments

How can allowing visitor comments boost your blog’s search ranking? It’s no secret that content is a ranking factor used by Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. Websites that are updated with fresh content on a regular basis will reap the benefits of higher search rankings. While you can always create new content by hand, a supplemental method of content creation is to enable visitor commenting. Each time a visitor leaves a comment, whether it’s positive or negative, creates new content for your blog. Search engines will notice this content, taking into account when determining where and how to rank your blog.

Social Sharing

Don’t underestimate the importance of social media when optimizing your blog for higher search rankings. All of the major search engines place an emphasis on social signals like Facebook likes and Twitter tweets. Assuming you are able to attract social signals like this, you can expect your blog to rise in the SERPs.

But how do you encourage readers to share your blog posts on their social media accounts? One helpful tip is to place social media buttons directly on your blog. Instead of forcing readers to leave your blog and login to their Facebook/Twitter accounts to share a post, they can do so directly from your blog. This alone can make a huge difference in your social media marketing efforts.

Have any other SEO tips for blogs that you would like to share with our readers? Let us know in the comments section below!

Simple Yet Effective Ways to Promote Your Blog Posts

Can’t seem to gain any traction with your blog? Check out some of the promotional techniques listed below!

Add Images

Don’t underestimate the value of images within a blog post. Studies have shown that Internet users respond to content with images with a higher level of engagement when compared to text-only content. It will generate more comments, more Facebook “likes,” more tweets, etc.

But adding images to your blog posts has a second benefit that often goes unnoticed: the images will be indexed by Google Images and Bing Images. So the next time someone searches for a keyword related to the image in Google or Bing, they may discover your blog post. Just remember to follow the basics of image optimization, such as renaming the file name to something more relevant, using alt text, and using the appropriate file extension.

Leverage The Power of Social Media

When it comes to promoting blog posts, nothing holds more value than social media. Creating a Facebook update with a link pointing back to your new blog post can send tons of traffic to it, many of whom will share the link on their own accounts. When done correctly, this can create a viral effect in which one user shares it with another user, who then shares it with someone else — and the cycle repeats.

If you really want to take advantage of social media, add some basic sharing buttons to your blog. Granted, users can always like or share your blog post by logging into their Facebook account, but you can make it easier for them by adding these buttons to you blog. Rather than leaving your site to “like” a post, they can simply click the button. It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Stay on Top of Trends

A third way to promote your blog is to publish content that’s currently trending. By definition, trends come and go, which is why it’s important to act fast when you notice a trend that’s relevant to your blog’s niche. Whether it’s a news story, current event, viral video, etc., give your perspective on the trend by writing up a short post. You can then share it on social media using the appropriate #hashtags.

There are dozens of ways to find trends, but one of my personal favorite tools is http://trends24.in/. This simple, free-to-use tool reveals trending Twitter #hashtags from the past 24 hours.

Quote Relevant People

How can quoting relevant people yield more traffic to your blog posts? It serves a few different purposes. For starters, there’s a chance the person you quote will notice your content, linking to it from their own website. Second,, search engines will notice that you are quoting an expert, possibly boosting your blog’s search ranking as a result. Third, your blog’s visitors will view your site as being a leading authority figure since it contains actual quotes.

What methods do you use to promote your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

How To Craft a Blog Post From Start To Finish

guest-posting-01Still struggling to gain any traction with your blog? There are tens of millions of blogs currently online, but unfortunately only a fraction of them ever receive any noticeable amount of traffic. Unless you want your blog to fall into the abyss where countless others remain, you should take a methodical approach to crafting relevant, meaningful posts.

Step #1) Choose a Topic

The first step in crafting a blog post is to choose a topic. This is arguably one of the most difficult steps in the process, as many bloggers experience writer’s block. They may initially have several ideas, but once those are gone they struggle to come up with new post topics. If this sounds like a familiar scenario, try using Topsy, Google Trends, or Google News to find topic ideas that are related to your blog’s niche.

Step #2) Write

The second step in crafting a blog post is to write it. After choosing a topic, pull up your preferred document editing program (e.g., Microsoft Word, Open Office, etc.) and write your post. Some bloggers write directly in their blog’s content management system (CMS), but I recommend writing in a Word document first. Doing so will reduce the risk of your work being accidentally lost, and Word’s grammar and spell check will catch things you might  miss.

When creating a new blog post, write with the end user in mind and snot the search engines. Far too many bloggers focus on things like keyword density, word count and other metrics, assuming it will improve their search rankings. But in reality, this only hurts their efforts by taking away from the reader’s experience. After creating your blog post in a Word document, copy and paste it into your blog’s CMS (note: use the Word paste function to prevent formatting from being carried over). If you want to retain the formatting, (e.g., headings, bolt, italics, bulleted lists, etc.), you can save your Word document as an HTML file, and then copy / paste it into your CMS.

Step #3) Proofread and Edit

Next, go through and proofread your blog post to check for spelling and grammar errors. Even the most experienced blogger will have a slip up from time to time. Proofreading, will allow you to catch these mishaps before your visitors see them. You can also use this time to polish your blog post, making it sound more natural and appealing. When you are finished, go ahead and publish your new post.

Step #4) Spread The Word

Last but not least, let the world know that your blog post exists by creating links on your social media accounts. At the bare minimum, you should have an account on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter, all of which can be used to promote your new blog posts.

What’s your preferred method for crafting new blog posts? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Undeniable Benefits of Blogging For Businesses

emf-rad-12

Still haven’t taken the time to set up a blog for your business? Many people assume blogs are used strictly for personal purposes, sharing with the world political views and movie criticisms. While many blogs fall under this category, many businesses find  blogs increase their sales.

#1) Boosts Your Credibility

Businesses that maintain active, informative blogs are viewed as being more credible in the eyes of their target audience. When a user searches for information related to your business online, he or she may notice your blog. If your competitor doesn’t have a blog, users may may assume you are more actively engaged with helping customers. They will view your business as being more credible and trustworthy since it contains an informative blog.

#2) Drives Traffic

Of course, another undeniable benefit of business blogging is it drives traffic to your website. If potential or current customers find your blog useful, they will read it,  and some will return periodically to see if you’ve published new content. You can use this extra traffic to your advantage by selling your product/service either directly on your blog or on a website linked to your blog. This alone should be reason enough to launch a blog for a business.

#3) Easier For Customers To Find

A lesser-known benefit of business blogging is the simple fact that it makes your establishment easier for potential customers to find. Let’s face it, the old days of finding a business’ street address and phone number in the Yellow Pages are long gone. Now, consumers use the Internet to locate this information. By maintaining an active blog, you’ll make your business transparent so it’s easier for potential customers to find. Just remember to include all of the pertinent information on your blog, such as the address, hours of operation, phone number, email address, etc.

#4) Showcase New Products

Business owners can also use their blog to showcase new products or services. You can use it to announce new offerings, or offer a discount for the first X number of buyers, or any other promotional offer. The next time your business adds a new product to its lineup, think about how to use your blog to hype the new product and get customers interested.

#5) Encourages Sharing

Blogs naturally encourage users to share the content on their social media networking sites/profiles. How does this benefit business owners?  If your blog readers share a blog post with their network of friends, family and associates, more users will see your blog, which in turn drives traffic and sales. You can drive even more social shares by including Facebook, Twitter and Google+ buttons on your blog.

How To Interview Someone For Your Blog

interview-861513-mStruggling to come up with new topic ideas for your blog? Regardless of the niche, I think every blogger has found themselves in this scenario at some point. But when you fail to publish new content on a regular basis, both visitors and search engines begin to turn a blind eye to your blog. A simple and effective source of new, original content is interviews. If you’re willing to put forth the effort, you can conduct interviews with people who are relevant to your niche and publish them on your blog.

Identify Relevant People

The first step in conducting an interview is to identify people who are relevant to your blog’s niche and/or the interest of your readers. LinkedIn is a helpful tool for this purpose, as it’s the only true social media network for business professionals. Spending 15-20 minutes browsing through the site should provide you with a list of several potential interview candidates.

Craft a Proposal

The second step is to create a proposal for the interview candidate. You don’t have to spend an hour writing some long essay-style paper, but instead create an email introducing yourself, explaining what your blog is about, and asking the person if they’d like to participate in an interview. Be sure to let them know that you’ll include a backlink to their website on your blog. This little incentive is often enough to entice professionals to answer a few questions. When you are finished with the proposal, email it to your list of candidates, personalizing each one according to the recipient’s name.

You can’t expect every candidate to accept your proposal. But if you send enough proposals, some people will respond and accept the interview.

Create Your Questions

It’s recommended that you go ahead and create your interview questions ahead of time. Some bloggers may attempt to wing it by asking questions on the spot, but this is one instance where it’s better to plan ahead. Think about questions that interest your blog’s readers. Questions should be short, to the point, and relevant to the interviewee.

There are several different ways to conduct an interview for a blog, the easiest of which is through email. Many people assume that interviews are done strictly over the phone, but this isn’t the case. Sending the interviewee a list of questions via email is easier and more convenient, making it a popular choice for bloggers and professionals alike. Once you’ve received the interviewee’s response, you can publish it to your blog.

Have you ever interviewed someone for your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

Can Duplicate Content Hurt Your Blog’s Rankings?

Photoxpress_10205037This is a question many bloggers ask. Search engines typically reward websites that publish unique, fresh content with higher rankings, so conventional wisdom should lead you to believe that duplicate content will have the opposite effect. If you rely on organic search engine traffic, you should read the following post about duplicate content.

How Duplicate Content Occurs on Blogs

Even if you don’t manually create two or more pages with the same content, it may still show up in several locations. WordPress, for instance, is the world’s leading content management system (CMS), powering millions of blogs and websites. While its arguably the best all-around blogging CMS, it comes with a dark side: the potential for duplicate content. By default, WordPress publishes content to the actual page or post URL, archives page, author page and tag page. So while you may assume your content is being published in a single location, it’s actually showing up in four locations.

Of course, there’s an easy solution to dealing with duplicate content on WordPress blogs: use an SEO plugin. Yoast SEO plugin allows WordPress users to specify which locations (e.g. archives, tag, author, etc.) they want to noindex. The content will still be published to these locations, but neither Google nor any other search engine will be able to index it.

Video: Matt Cutts Takes on Duplicate Content

Watch the video above for a closer look at duplicate content. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s anti-spam team, published this Q&A video back in December 2013. While it’s over a year old now, it offers some invaluable insight into duplicate content.

As Cutts points out in the video, nearly a third (25-30%) of the Internet is comprised of duplicate content. With such a massive chunk of the WWW featuring the same content, it’s virtually impossible for Google to penalize each and every site on which it is published. But there’s a fine line you must not cross when publishing duplicate content. According to Cutts, things like excerpts, terms and conditions, privacy policies, and other boilerplate content shouldn’t trigger any filters within Google’s ranking algorithm — meaning it won’t bring down your website’s search ranking. However, building the bulk of your blog’s content around content that’s published elsewhere may result in lower search rankings, or in severe cases, your blog being deindexed.

How To Manage Duplicate Content on Your Blog:

  • If your blog runs WordPress, download and install an SEO plugin such as Yoast’s SEO plugin.
  • Consolidate posts and pages with similar content together.
  • Adding the rel=canonical tag will guide search engines to the original source of duplicate content.
  • Create backlinks to your blog using a single domain format (e.g yoursite.com or www.yoursite.com).

How do you manage duplicate content on your blog? Let us know in the comments section below!

Make Money Blogging With Affiliate Programs

money

Still struggling to make money blogging? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Google Adsense program is one of the easiest ways to earn money online. Anyone who owns a website that receives traffic can throw up ads and almost immediately see the revenue start coming in. Once you become an Adsense member, simply copy the Java code off from your account and paste it wherever you want your ads displayed. Don’t worry, you can choose from several different sizes of advertisements, including full-skyscrapers, half-skyscrapers, blocks and plain text ads. When visitors come to your site, Adsense will dynamically generate an ad relative to the content on your site. So, if your site is about Chicago restaurants, the ads displayed will be similar. When they click on that ad, you’ll receive a commission.

Selling affiliate products online remains as one of the best money making ideas. If you don’t know what an affiliate program is, let me explain – companies hire or use affiliates to help sell their products or services through an affiliate program. This can be extremely lucrative for the affiliates because there is no overhead, customer service, or other fees that are associated with direct selling, leaving you with more money in your pockets.

To get started, you’ll have to join up with a website that connects you to the companies looking for affiliates, known as affiliate networks. To choose one, first determine what product or services you wish to sell. If you own a website about weight loss, then you should join an affiliate network with plenty of weight loss and supplement offers, such as MarketHealth.com. If you’re new to affiliate marketing, you may get rejected from a few of the larger affiliate networks simply because of your lack of experience. To help increase your chances of being accepted, be sure to have your own domain and website already set up and ready to show.

Another great affiliate network I recommend joining is Commission Junction (CJ.com). They are one of the largest and oldest networks in the business, connecting you with hundreds of different affiliate programs in everything ranging from electronics to pet clothes.

When searching for an affiliate offer to promote, always carefully read the payout. Depending on the network and merchant, the payout could be a flat cost-per-sale or it could be a percentage of the total price. If you’ve found an offer you like, search for it on other affiliate networks and see if they have it for a higher commission.