So stop ignoring them and create a customized description for every page you visit.
4. Markup pages with microdata
You’ll notice that major companies have more information visible in Google’s search results. This is micro data.
Microdata may contain a phone number, a logo, or an address. These sites have been setup in such a way as to provide more information to Google’s crawlers.
Use a program like Scheme to help build your Microdata.
Studies show that there’s a 25% higher click-through rate on search results that have this information visible.
5. Keep URLs short and descriptive
Your URL is one of the first things a search crawler will see, make sure it is easy to crawl and categorize.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is using the standard title of the page as their URL. While this works most of the time, it can be too long.
Long URLs make it difficult to categorize your website properly. It may mean your site appears under searches you never intended it to.
This can hurt your ability to hit your target audience.
Try to keep your URL to roughly five words or less. There’s little need to have anything longer than that.
6. Use title tags effectively
Title tags tell search engines what a page is all about. You’ll find it at the top of a browser.
Remember that Google limits title tags to between 50 and 60 characters. It’s generally recommended that you should keep them below 55 characters.
Your copy must drive people to click on the site. Try to use a common keyword term at the front of your title, but only if it fits.
This should be easy because it is the category of your website.
7. Use header tags in the right way
Header tags come in the form of <H1>, <H2>, and <H3>; they go all the way down to <H6>.
These determine the order of importance of each header. We should mention that crawlers will look at these tags before anything else.
It’s how headers are identified and how sites are categorized. Use them to enhance your SEO.
Furthermore, you should aim to avoid generic tags, such as ‘Products’. Instead you should try to make them as unique as possible for better results.
8. Optimize image alt text
Image alt text is the text that appears if a user has images disabled. It also helps to tell search engines exactly what an image is.
Remember, they can’t read images directly. They don’t see what a human sees. All they can do is look at the file name, the description, and the alt text.
Yet this is a part people often forget. They assume everyone can already see the images so they don’t need to worry. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Make an effort to create alt text. All this is is a basic phrase that defines the image. For example, if you had a picture of a sleeping cat you might call it ‘sleeping cat image’.
9. Make inbound links natural
The link neighbourhoods were amongst the first entities to fall when Google started to implement Panda and Penguin. And for good reason. They were toxic and it meant search engine results were full of spam.
Inbound links continue to matter, and you shouldn’t discount them, but there’s a twist.
Monitor where any inbound links come from and ensure they are coming from quality websites. They should be entirely natural and come from websites that are relevant to your industry.
If a page takes longer than five seconds to load, Google is going to penalize your site. This is because site speed is a marker of quality. Google doesn’t want poor quality websites ranking high.
First, you need to test the speed of your site. Google already provides a free tool you can use for this, but there are a range of third-party tools that accomplish the same thing.
If it takes longer than five seconds to load, you may well need to upgrade your server to make it run faster. Alternatively, you can reduce the number of heavy files on your site. For example, you could remove some videos or images.
SEO in 2015 is about quality
What this article should show you is that SEO in 2015 is about a focus on quality. You don’t have to edge towards grey hat or black hat SEO techniques in order to succeed. By improving the quality of the content on your website, there’s no reason why you can’t get the results you’re searching for.
Passionate brand advocates can provide marketing on steroids.
On a social web they boost sharing, enable crowd sourced marketing and they do it for free.
They are your online tribe of brand ambassadors….
Brand ambassadors are people, customer advocates and fans who represent and talk about your brand with passion. If they are also passionate about your brand then that can provide powerful crowd sourced marketing that can amplify brand awareness.
Because they love your products and services…
You should make sure that they have conversations in front of as many potential customers as possible.
Bigger can be better.
Those conversations can be offline and online. The social web has made the online role more powerful and sometimes even viral.
When you need an authentic promotional boost, you need to recognize and leverage your brand ambassadors. This can be done with visual content marketing that includes incentives, tools and technology that can multiply your brand awareness.
People like to buy from people
In the past, businesses have enlisted logos, symbols, key colours and slogans to build their brand awareness. However, with the instant gratification demands of Gen Y and the “always on” expectations of Gen Z, there is so much more to successful brand marketing than a catchy jingle.
User-generated content, which predominantly includes photos, videos and tweets, is the most powerful tool you can use to harness and maximize the influence of your brand ambassadors. By leveraging the wealth of visual content your brand ambassadors are generating, you can transform a simple hashtag into a digital “call to arms”.
Traditional brand ambassadors
Until recently, brand ambassadors have largely been celebrities who were paid to endorse a brand. The formula is simple- get someone with a public profile to wear, be photographed with or mention your product, and a spike in sales should follow.
Celebrities like Kate Middleton and Emma Watson can send retail sites into overdrive as the masses scout for certain covetable items. The Dutchess’ $50 (USD) black-and-white spotted maternity dress sold out on ASOS’s site only minutes after she was published wearing it.
Emma Watson increased the scarf sales of Crumpet, a British knitwear company, by 62 percent in just three weeks after being snapped wearing one of their designs.
But what about if you are a smaller business, who cannot afford to shell out for royalty, or even C-grade celeb?
Without blowing the whole year’s marketing budget on a five minute celebrity endorsement, you can transform your consumers into powerful and relatable brand ambassadors through the influence of visual content.
Fans love talking about brands they love
Becoming a brand ambassador is often an accidental outcome for many consumers in today’s digital era, whose natural instinct it is to collect, curate and share their experiences. It is up to you to decide how to market your business with your brand ambassadors’ visual content.
Brand ambassadors espouse the brand value you guarantee to deliver to your customers. Your job is to then help them find others like them, offering them a platform where their needs are placed front and centre. With today’s consumers more inclined than ever to collaborate, you cannot afford to not have their voice designed into every phase of your business’ functions.
Let them sell your products
Do you remember Avon?
The direct-selling cosmetic brand Avon operates almost entirely on the basis of brand ambassadors. To buy their products or even gain access to them, you need to know a brand representative.
While many companies are unlikely to adopt this exact business model, we can learn a great deal from this style of marketing.This type of marketing is incredibly effective because the sales message does not come from a corporation, it comes from family, friends or co-workers; people we trust.
According to a recent Nielsen survey, 84 percent of those surveyed ‘always’ or ‘sometimes’ take action based on personal recommendations. Further still, 70 percent said they took action because they followed someone’s recommendation online.
A candid endorsement from people who do not directly represent or work for your brand is truly valuable among your potential consumers and future fans. A genuine recommendation from a friend instills not only confidence is your brand but confidence in the consumer’s decision to pick your brand over one of your competitors.
In today’s noisy and overcrowded marketplace, you need to be nimble and responsive to consumers’ needs. You need to motivate your consumers to design not only your product but your brand’s message with you.
Rather than seeing your advertising strategy as a one-way street, create an environment where your consumers want to talk to you, and even better still, want to talk to others about you. What better way to get the conversation started than by leveraging your brand ambassador’s visual content. Remember, a picture speaks a thousand words.
Excite your ambassadors
According to VisionCritical, 43 percent of social media users have purchased a product after ‘Sharing’ or ‘Favoriting’ it on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
Whether it is the trend-setters or trend-buckers who characterize your target market, visual content is a hard to ignore medium through which your advocates are already spreading your brand’s message.
In order to excite your potential brand ambassadors, you need to create a campaign which will drive their desire to share with friends, followers and onlookers.
Campaigns can start with simply ‘Liking’ or ‘Following’, usually in exchange for new product updates and competition announcements. You can then prompt your consumers to share photos, statuses and videos associated with a your brand’s keywords or hashtags through a ‘call to action’, prize incentives or instant rewards. Further still, have your customers upload a photo of them redeeming their prize or enjoying their discount across their social networks while tagging your company or using your official hashtag.
With user-generated visual content becoming more authentic and more trusted than any corporate content, it is time to place your brand in the background and your consumers’ real-time experiences in the foreground.
3 practical tips on how to market with visual content
1. Offer Discounts and Prizes
MarketForce reports that 79 per cent of people say their primary reason for ‘Liking’ a company’s Facebook page is to receive discounts, with a further 81 percent saying they are influenced by what their friends share on social media.
By routinely offering discounts and promotions on your social media channels in exchange for ‘Liking’, ‘Sharing’ or uploading, your brand will grow its reach ten-fold via a series of mouse clicks.
Make it easy for your consumers to share their involvement with others – both online and offline. Promote relevant hashtags and reach out to thank those that participate in the contest will transform your consumers’ entries into unique, memorable brand engagements.
Gatorade’s ‘G Challenges’
The ‘G Challenges’ campaign run by Gatorade generated impressive results. With an AFL grand final weekend for four up for grabs, the campaign gained significant traction within the first few hours of launching. Gatorade asked their customers to film, tag and share a series of AFL footy challenges over the course of six weeks. Entries came in thick and fast.
A selection of these entries were then republished by Gatorade across their social media channels and rewarded with weekly prize packs, sparking positive consumer conversations across Facebook and Instagram. By employing a simple marketing strategy, Gatorade were able to transform the AFL amateur on the local playing field into an online brand ambassador via one simple upload.
2. Reward Them With Recognition
Developing a close relationship with your brand ambassadors is a vital ingredient to a winning marketing strategy. Today’s consumers crave self-validation and it is your job to leverage this need.
Identifying key influencers and “shoulder tapping” them with recognition will inspire others to follow suit. If they ‘Share’ a photo, thank them for it. If they leave a comment, reply to it. Develop a fun and reciprocal relationship between your brand and your consumers.
If you validate their efforts, you’ll encourage consistent invaluable user-generated content which can then be republished and repurposed to grow your reach and increase your engagement.
The #superstyle campaign run by New Zealand fashion retailer Superette is a great example of identifying, recognizing and leveraging keen brand ambassadors. Superette’s followers used the hashtag #Superstyle on Instagram to see their photo added to an online gallery and social community on the company’s website.
The beauty of this campaign is in the simplicity and impact of user-generated content. Superette runs the social hubas an ‘always on’ activity, constantly collecting up-to-date and visually stunning content. They launched the social hub with a contest, with the winners announced on Superette’s blog.
Recognizing and rewarding your contestants’ active participation is a key step to maximizing reach. Help them to help you. Upgrade your consumers into brand ambassadors with incentives, such as being showcased on your site’s social hub, and they will spread the gospel of your brand in real time, to real people, to give you real reach.
3. Provide a Platform to Connect
With the organic reach of Facebook decreasing, it is imperative for businesses today to find alternative ways to engage with their consumers.
Providing an attractive and user-friendly platform, which looks and feels like part of your website, is a no-brainer. Forget static images and staged brand advertising, with the right tools you can build your own media channel using user-generated content. In turn, you’ll attract more visitors to your website, have them stay longer, increase your conversion rate and grow your email database.
Again, it is a no-brainer. JUCY World
One business that is choosing to bring their content home is Jucy Rentals. A car hire and rental specialist with locations across the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Jucy have chosen to own the relationship they have with their customers.
Collecting content from promotional hashtags and direct upload, Jucy’s dedicated social hub has become a place for globetrotters and intrepid travellers alike to share their inspirations and be inspired. Priceless images of Jucy campervans parked up next to world landmarks and against breathtaking vistas are uploaded every single day to the platform.
By repurposing this content across their official channels and e-commerce pages, Jucy have developed a fantastic strategy for encouraging brand ambassadorship by placing themselves at the centre of their customers’ conversations.
The media landscape has changed and there is a huge opportunity to grasp. With the right tools and technology, you can empower your consumers to not just speak about but become the voiceof your brand.
The challenge then becomes finding a way to measure ROI within the context of lead generation.
Finding a way to determine content ROI can be a long and arduous process.
The shortest path to figuring this all out is to measure the impact your content has on your audience – then focusing on maximising lead conversions from that content.
Below are three content marketing tactics that when integrated with your content strategy, will help you have a bigger impact on your audience and convert more leads:
1. Tap into social media to understand your audience
It doesn’t matter how good your writing staff are.
If your content isn’t seen or shared, you will naturally find it difficult to close deals.
That means we should develop a social media strategy to better understand our audience and get our content found.
While the importance of this kind of exposure may seem obvious, it will take resources and an understanding of how to repurpose content. It helps to look at how other brands have done this well as part of their content marketing efforts.
Uber, one of today’s leading transportation apps, has successfully managed to implement localized and targeted social media campaigns.
They’ve done this based on different country expectations across their many global locations.
For instance, they display country-specific holiday greetings, promotions with relevant images, as well as announce partnerships with local organizations to increase their influence among specific sectors.
Here’s a quick look at how Uber_NYC partnered with a local New York based food rescue nonprofit:
These types of strategies are successful because they encourage us to focus on our prospective customers, thus attracting valuable views and increasing our reputation.
While you likely already consider social media a significant opportunity to get more leads, it is up to you to truly understand how to leverage the various existing channels.
2. Use calls-to-action (CTAs) with caution
No doubt you are keen on maintaining relationships and contact with current and potential customers.
But with the abundance of competing products and players in the marketplace, the need to find clever ways to engage customers and encourage them to carry on with their purchase is increasingly complex.
While call-to-actions have a variety of purposes, they all aim to attract customers to a specific item or direction within the sales funnel.
Whether your objective is to gather a list of emails or to get your website visitor to complete the checkout experience – CTAs must be used with caution.
This is because CTAs may hinder your ability to convert leads if not used correctly – backfiring and pushing leads away from your product or service.
Therefore, look for tools that will help you better segment customers so that the CTAs you choose to present to customers will help, not hinder lead generation.
3. Use tools to personalize your content
Mastered the first two tactics?
This one is a little more challenging to implement.
We need to personalize content for our target audience. There is no way around it, content performance is often defined as one’s ability to turn engaging content into ROI, and this third strategy requires digging deeper into our customers’ minds.
For enterprises, this can require investing in interactive tools, bringing in branding experts to join the team, or outsourcing this challenge to an external provider.
Below are three tools that are worth noting for their potential to personalize your content and optimize ROI:
As mentioned, your content is only as valuable as your ability to locate the most appropriate audience for your product or service.
Keywee uses data-driven techniques to analyze your contextual text and present relevant paid advertisements across various social media channels to reach your target audience.
One of the main difficulties in effective content marketing relates to presenting targeted and relevant displays to specific customers at different parts of the sales funnel. This challenge requires us to consider unique approaches to identifying user behaviour; such things as past browsing history or time spent on a specific webpage.
If we understand the importance of presenting customer-specific messages to convert leads, BrightInfo has developed a content optimization tool that is able to analyze user behavior patterns to facilitate more conversions.
Last but not least, Roojoom is a highly engaging and interactive platform for presenting, optimizing, and measuring your brand’s content performance.
With user-friendly features to display your brand’s content and product offerings, this tool effortlessly creates a customer journey process that incoming user traffic will want to be a part of.
One great feature of this tool is its ability to be uniquely integrated at various online locations according to the client’s preferences. From a company blog, social media channels or newsletters, to a newly launched website pop-up.
For instance, here’s a look at how leading financial player Payoneer utilized Roojoom to power their content:
Wrapping it up
Content has evolved from catchy one-liners, to more engaging and targeted text used to generate leads.
This transition means that successful content campaigns will not only require creative teams and writing hustlers, but also the adoption of tools and strategies to measure content performance.
Guest Author:Shirley Ben-Dak is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at Inbound Junction, a fast growing content marketing firm based in Israel. She regularly contributes to leading tech outlets worldwide and helps identify and advise some of today’s up and coming startups. A former chess player and avid traveler, Shirley is interested in how entrepreneurship and innovation can contribute to sustainable development.
If you are looking for a different platform to get your content shared, you should consider Scoop.it.
Just like other social media platforms, the aim is to share interesting content to a community, which can then be shared with one click to other networks.
Be organized with project management
To run a a successful blog you need to be organized.
If your team is small, you need to make sure you are covering your targets within a certain period. And if your team is large, you need to make sure everyone is working in sync and not duplicating each other’s work.
Your organization’s style is picked up by your audience and when it’s done well you build trust in your industry.
It might take time to set up in the beginning but it will increase your traffic in the long run.
Did I miss something? What free tools do you use to get more blog traffic?
Guest Author: Shirley Pattison is the content marketing editor at imonomy, an in-image advertising company for online publishers. Shirley loves everything about content and blogs both at work and in her free time. If she’s not writing, you’ll find her at the beach with a good book. Connect with the team @imonomy or say hi to Shirley @ShiProjects