digital content strategies

Digital Content Strategies to Use in 2020

Around 34% of consumers are more likely to make unplanned purchases from brands that personalize content. Learning more about trending digital content strategies will give you the competitive edge you’ve been looking for.

Different audiences engage with digital content to different degrees. The average American spends 8.8 hours daily engaging with digital content. Millennials, on the other hand, tend to spend around 11 hours per day doing the same. 

Sure, it’s true that content is king in SEO and digital marketing. But developing a content marketing strategy will ensure that you create the informative, and marketable content your audience desires.

Here are some digital content tips you should consider using in 2020.

Long-Form Blog Posts

If you’ve noticed your competitors’ blog posts getting longer, it’s not your imagination. In fact, the length of the average blog post has increased by 41% in the past 3 years. 

Articles around 500 words were once average and ideal, but the standard has since changed. Now, the highest-ranking blog posts contain about 1,142 words.

Blog posts give you the opportunity to create branded content that’s useful to your audience. In Google’s eyes, longer blog posts tend to be more informative than shorter ones. That’s why long-form blog posts are reigning supreme in the worlds of SEO and digital marketing.

Long-form blogs let you delve deeper into topics that matter to consumers. This allows you to include new information that your competition isn’t talking about and update it as time passes. If your blog post is more recently updated and longer, it’s more likely to be a valuable resource than your competitors’ blogs are.

No matter how good your blog posts are, consistency is the key to achieving success in blogging. Learn more about how often to write blogs to get a better idea of what your content schedule should look like.

Search Intent Matters

Building a content strategy that works in 2020 involves taking users’ search intent into consideration. In turn, knowing more about search intent will help you create more targeted content for your audience.

A user’s search intent is the intention behind their search. Are they seeking information, trying to find a certain website, or looking to buy something? Finding out this information will clue you in on what kind of content to market.

The keywords a user chooses will usually clue you in on their search intent. For example, a user who googles “best moisturizers of 2020” is probably looking to compare products. Another user might google “moisturizer reviews” with a similar intent.

Some of the best examples of content marketing zero in on search intent. At the very least, the result is content that’s more useful to consumers.

After learning the important SEO terms you must know, create digital content around the search intents that arise in your audience. It’ll be easier to market and make your website more visible in SERPs (search engine results pages).

Video Content, YouTube, and Live-Streaming

Don’t forget to incorporate videos into your online content strategy! Next to blogging, video content is the second most popular form of branded content. 

Internet users are more likely to share video content than written content. Videos also hold the average person’s attention for longer periods of time than written content does.

By not creating video content, you could be alienating an entire group of people without realizing it. Not everyone is up to the task of reading a lengthy blog post. Many people would rather watch a 5-minute video about a product instead of researching it.

Plus, video content is more accessible to people with learning disabilities that make reading more difficult for them. 

YouTube is one of the hottest platforms for brands to post videos on in 2020. Not only is YouTube a great source of publicity, but it’s also good for branding and marketing.

Once you upload a branded YouTube video, it can continue generating revenue and plenty of views for years after the fact.  This is especially the case for videos about evergreen topics.

Live-streaming is also getting hotter by the second. Live video streaming gives you the chance to connect with your audience more, answer their questions, and generate leads. Consider hosting live webinars, product demos, and other live video events. 

Live-streaming also helps you boost your brand’s social media presence.

Pillar Content and Filterable Posts

Pillar content is some of the most strategic content you’ll find on the internet in 2020. It’s a piece of content with a central theme that’s broken down into different sections and materials. The user clicks on the different sections to explore the information.

Why is pillar content becoming more popular? Because it provides a more personalized user experience. It also makes the buyer’s journey more seamless. 

This kind of content is also highly organized. People enjoy digesting content in sections rather than all at once. For this reason, filterable posts are also useful to consumers.

Filterable posts let you filter what kind of content you’re looking for. Users simply click on the boxes that apply to their needs and voila! The content is now personalized.

People are more likely to buy from brands with personalized content, so jump on this trend as soon as possible!

Optimize For Voice Searches

Thanks to smart devices, voice searches are becoming more commonplace. Optimizing your content for voice searches will help you tap into a market that many other brands are neglecting.

You see, voice searches are a recent phenomenon. Sure, Alexa is a household name, but many brands haven’t caught up with this trend yet. That means it’ll be easier for you to stand out and attract buyers!

Use The Best Digital Content Strategies of 2020

Out of all the people who responded to a recent survey, 70% conducted voice searches at least a few times each week. Jump on these fresh digital content strategies like voice search optimization before other brands do!

The more you know your audience, the easier it’ll be to create compelling content they enjoy. Either way, it will result in more sales or brand awareness.

Make your content more visible in search engines—buy text links today! Your business’s website will thank you for it.

types of blog posts

Mix It Up: 6 Types of Blog Posts You Should Try Today

Every man and his dog has a blog these days.

Look, we don’t blame them.

Despite all the toing and froing of the internet, blogs have been, and continue to be, a cornerstone of content marketing.

But 4 million new blog posts are now published every single day.

The success and ensuing popularity of blogs combine to make writing a successful blog one helluva competitive task. These days, it isn’t possible to just write an article and expect people to find and read it. It’ll just get lost online.

Mixing up the types of blog posts you create is one way to help yours stand out.

Variety is the spice of life, right? Writing alternative forms of blog content prevents your posts from becoming stale and ordinary. You cover different bases, entertain in novel ways, and set yourself apart from other blogs out there.

Sound good? Read on for 6 types of blog articles to try out now.

1. How-To Guides

Okay, so this one’s nothing revolutionary.

But the success of how-to articles on the internet means it deserves a place on this list.

People use the internet to solve their problems. Thus, writing easy to understand, step by step how-to guides almost always go down a treat.

The exact topic, of course, depends entirely on your niche. A plumbing business might write how-to guides about fixing common household plumbing issues; a dentist’s office could create guides for cultivating better oral health.

You get the idea.

Think about your area of expertise and use your insight to create instructive posts. Doing so helps establish you as an authority in the niche. Help somebody do something for themselves, and, ironically, they may solicit your support later on.

2. Listicles

Here’s another type of blog post that’s hugely popular online.

You can’t beat a good list.

People are impatient these days (our attention spans are literally less than that of a goldfish!). They don’t want a giant wall of text to go through. Present them with it and they’ll almost certainly look elsewhere for their answers.

Lists are a top method of summarizing masses of content into key points. Trust us when we say this goes down better in the fast-paced, impatient world of the internet.

Streamline your content in this way and you’re on your way to a winner. Even better, they’re often far quicker and easier to write.

It’s a win for everyone involved.

3. Guest Posts

Here’s a quick one for any lazy webmasters out there (just kidding…).

Assuming the quality of work is up to standard, guest posts are a brilliant way to get new content, for free and with zero effort. In exchange for a backlink or exposure to your audience, someone else volunteers a blog post for your website.

They write an article on a given topic and you host it!

4. Review Articles

Remember: people go online for answers.

Combine that with an unparalleled urge to buy things, and you have a need for review-type articles. In simple terms, people want to know about the pros and cons of the products they’re interested in buying.

Are you up to speed with your gear, tech, household appliances, or what-not? Well, writing accurate and impartial reviews will address this demand for answers.

Of course, the desire for quality reviews doesn’t stop at products. Services are just as much of a priority.

Take TripAdvisor as a case and point. People want to know about the standard of restaurants, hotels, attractions, and so on before frequenting them.

Set about writing these reviews and ranking them on Google.

5. Curated Content

Curated content encompasses a broad spectrum of specific content possibilities.

Nonetheless, it’s often ignored by content creators, meaning it’s worth mentioning here.

Indeed, the very notion of being a content creator is at odds with curation. Here, instead of creating something from nothing, you pull together a post based on what’s already out there.

Shocking as it might sound, your next blog post doesn’t have to be original content!

Heck, you could even ask permission to host a favorite blog post from a competitor on your site. Credit the source and you earn a popular pre-written post with (almost) zero effort.

Resource pages are another example of curated content. A marketing firm could write an article about ‘the best marketing resources on the web’, which simply includes links to, and a description of, each resource found.

Regardless of the exact format, assembling a post based on pre-existing content can be both helpful to you (it saves writing something from scratch!) and your readers.

6. Interview Posts

Any narcissists out there should close their ears now:

You don’t have to be the center of attention in your blog posts.

Why not interview experts in the field or people of interest to your niche? Your readers gain a fresh new perspective and useful insight into a certain topic.

You could record the interview too and write a transcript of it. Doing so earns you two brand new forms of content for the website, opening the door to a wider audience.

Moreover, this is a great way to earn newfound organic traffic and interest- the interviewee is likely to share the interview with their audience too.

Time to Try These Different Types of Blog Posts

The internet is awash with blogs just like yours.

Even if you’ve seen some success already, there’s no time to rest on your laurels. The sheer mass of new content that’s published daily means you have to go the extra mile to stand out.

Posting different types of blog posts will be a helping hand in that endeavor.

Doing so keeps your writing fresh, your audience on their toes, and readers more actively engaged. After all, not all content is created equal and a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it; different topics demand alternative approaches.

Hopefully, this post has provided a selection of top ideas for successfully mixing your blog posts up.

Tired of waiting months for your blog posts to rank? Click here to get some quality backlinks to help drive juice your way.

writing blogs

How Often Should You Be Writing Blogs? The Only Blog-Posting Guide You Need

Blogs are simply wonderful: they give you a creative space to write, lend a personal voice to your brand, and generate more traffic to your site.

However, you shouldn’t just post as many blog articles as you possibly can. It’s quality over quantity, leaving your readers wanting more and more from you.

There’s a fine line between writing blogs that will service your readers and just writing posts that will put more words onto your site.

So, how often should you be writing? It honestly depends on your style. Here are a few factors to see which one fits best for you.

1. List out Your Goals

As with anything else on your website, your frequency of blog posts depends entirely on the ultimate goals that you have.

These goals range from thought leadership to increasing engagement. You should lay out your marketing goals, sales goals, amount of readers you’re shooting for, brand identity, etc.

Think back to what inspired you to start the blog in the first place.

Was it to generate more leads for the business you own? Were you hoping to help people think through a certain aspect of their life? Is there a product or service coming somewhere in the near future that you wanted to push?

Whatever that looks like, it can help you figure out your goals and marketing strategy, which will, in turn, answer the question of how often you should post.

For example, if you’re trying to get more people to follow you on your company Instagram account, posting 2-3 times a week and tagging your Instagram account on it will help direct more readers to it.

2. Your Writing Style

Here’s another clear indication of how much you should or shouldn’t be posting on your site’s blog. What kind of writing do you enjoy doing?

Are you one to tackle the big topics in a thorough, 2,000-3,000 word article? If so, you’d probably see tremendous results from writing one of those a week and pushing it out for the rest of that same week.

Do you like to write 500-1,000 word articles with little how-to’s and/or “5 reasons why” type of subjects? Then maybe shooting for a range of 2-3 throughout the week can produce consistent readers.

Whatever your writing style is, your schedule needs to give you enough time to carry it out. Don’t set a goal of 2 3,000-word articles per week if you don’t have the time to do so efficiently.

If you’re rushing out your writing, then you’re doing a disservice to your readers.

Provide yourself the time to deliver quality content, and your readers will flock to you for it.

3. Amount of Current Posts

Another big indication of how many blog posts you should aim for is the number of posts you currently have on your site.

If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to post more per week than someone who already has 100-200 blog posts on their site.

However, you’ll want to keep posting as often as possible until you get somewhere in the 300-400 mark if you’re looking to max out site visitors. Then you can start posting less often and yield the same big results.

The amount of posts translates to a certain amount of visitors that can be expected.

If you’re not looking to be an industry-leading blog, then this portion won’t matter as much. Instead, you may want to consider filtering out blogs after a certain lifespan, unless, of course, they’re the top-producing articles on your site.

4. Your Company Size

If you’re a business that’s looking to ramp up site visitors, you may be surprised to find out that your company size plays a part in blog writing.

A basic rule of thumb for most companies is to shoot for publishing around 11 blog posts each month. The numbers don’t significantly change from posting any more than that.

However, if your company is a relatively big company (more than 100 employees), then posting over 11 blogs per month will help you see significantly more traffic.

Let 11 posts be a great starting point. Test it out for a month, see how it feels, and make adjustments as you see fit.

5. Your Blog’s Topic

Every blog owner at one point or another hits something called a writer’s block.

They just can’t seem to come up with the next topic, and it feels as if you’ve covered everything already (which is, of course, not true).

From there, it can get hard to uncover things to talk about and may lead to you posting far less often.

To get out in front of that, you may consider pacing yourself and not going over a certain amount of posts each week. There will always be new trends and relevant topics that you can discuss.

Try scheduling out your topics when you can. Don’t just say you’re going to post 11 times a month; schedule those out week by week with the topic attached.

That way, you’ll be giving your readers a consistent pace of blogs each month.

Writing Blogs for Your Intended Purpose

Ultimately, you should be writing blogs to accomplish the goals that you and your team have set for yourselves. If those goals are long-term, then a consistent dose of 2-3 articles per week should give your readers plenty of content to keep them happy!

Best of luck with your blogging endeavors! May it be an asset to you and your business’s marketing strategy for years to come.

Be sure to read this article on hiring a content marketer to see if that’s a necessary step for the level blogging you’re trying to achieve.

headings and subheadings

Structure Matters: How Your Blog’s Headings and Subheadings Affect SEO

Headings and subheadings — are they really that important to SEO?

While you might already know that readers love being able to scan your pages for the most important information, you might not understand how it can play into the SEO side of things.

If you’re ready to understand blog headers and subheaders, continue reading this article, and we will show you how you can make them work for you.

Elevate User Experience

Search engines like Google care about user experience. When Google sees that people are enjoying their experience on your website, this is a good signal and may help you with your SEO efforts.

Structure Your Content for Easy Understanding

When you use headers, you structure your content in a way that people can read through like they’re riding on a raft down a smooth river. Without headings, subheadings, and proper structure, it’s more like being on a raft with rapids and rocks.

Improve Accessibility

For people that can’t read easily from the screen, having headings and subheadings allows them to access the information easily due to the HTML. The HTML makes it easy for a screen reader to understand the structure of the article so it can read it aloud to the person that needs help.

Screen readers help by offering shortcuts from one header to the next header, which makes headers even more important for the visually impaired.

Headings Carry More Weight Than Normal Text

When it comes to SEO and optimizing your on-page content, headings carry more weight than normal text. Since headings carry more weight than normal text, it is important to add your primary keyword into at least one of the headers in your content.

You’ll make it easier for people and search engines to know what your page is about. Search engines can decide whether they should rank your page, and people can decide whether it is relevant and whether they want to read it or not.

Using H1 & H2 Header Tags

If you look at a website that isn’t optimized properly, one of the most common offenses you’re likely to notice is the lack of h1 and h2 header tags. Many people don’t even know the importance of using these tags, which is why they go unused.

When you look at a website, the header 1 text is usually the text that is the largest on the page. Most of the time, this is the content’s title, and it tells the reader what to expect within the content’s page.

While you can make bigger text without using h1 or h2 header tags, it isn’t going to work the same way.

The h2 header text helps guide the reader to the part of the content they are interested in. People will scan your page and look for the specific answer they are searching for, and the h2 header text should be the one helping them with this task.

Is On-Page SEO Really That Important?

We all love backlinks, right? I mean — hello! Of course, we do.

We know that backlinks are an important part of SEO and gaining rankings in the search engines, but are on-page SEO elements like headers and subheaders moving the needle?

It’s easy to get caught up with building backlinks, but we have to give our backlinks something worth linking to, or our SEO efforts are in vain. No matter how many links you build to your site if your content isn’t serving the searcher, it’s not going to rank well.

Part of serving the searcher is taking care of on-page elements. Here are some things you should take into account when you’re working on each page of your website.

1. Site Speed

If your site is too slow, people likely won’t get to see your headers because they are going to click away. People are very impatient and want to get their information right away, so they won’t wait on your website to load more than a few seconds.

2. Navigation

Your website navigation should be easy to go through to make it easy for people to go from one interesting page to the next. You may have noticed that many people sites have “relevant” or “related” posts on the site’s sidebar, within the content and throughout the rest of the site.

The longer people stay on your site and interact with it in a positive way, the more positive signals report back to Google.

3. Content Structure

We’ve talked about structuring your content with headers and subheaders, but that isn’t the only thing you can use to structure your content. Use images to make your content flow nicely and to support those text elements of your website.

People love images, and it is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t forget about adding your primary keyword in the alt text in at least one of your photos on the page. If the image doesn’t load for people, you want them to know what it is, and you also want to send signals to the search engine that they should consider your page for that keyword.

You’re a Headings and Subheadings Master

Congrats! You’re now a headings and subheadings master, and you know how to use them to your advantage. The main reason headings and subheadings affect SEO is that they provide better user experience and signals to Google that your content is relevant.

Are you ready to take your website to the next level and get more organic traffic from Google and other top search engines? We’ve helped many other businesses, and we can help you too. Sign up for an account today and start getting real links from real authority sites.

google reviews

What to Know About the New Changes to Rich Snippets for Google Reviews

When people need answers, a quick Google search makes life fast and easy. Today, we rarely need to click on a search result to find the answers we’re looking for. Instead, Google often provides snippets to reveal the answer for us.

In fact, a little less than half of all websites use schema markup or structured data. This rate continues to increase as more companies learn about how to use Google rich snippets. Companies can even display reviews on their websites using schemas for Google reviews.

However, that’s about to change.

Google recently announced an algorithm update that’s changing the game.

So what’s changing with rich snippets for Google reviews, and why should you care? Keep reading to find out more!

What Changed?

The Google reviews star rating, or Review Rich Result, is the star rating that appears alongside organic results on Google search pages.

Before, companies could display organization-level rating markups across an entire website. However, these reviews didn’t always match the content displayed on the page.

To respond to these inaccuracies, Google used structured data penalties. However, enforcing such rules on a mass scale proved too difficult. Instead, Google is using this update to maintain a stricter ruling.

The Google reviews snippet update now allows Google to determine when they will or won’t respect ratings structured data.

As a result, the Schema.org property used to trigger these search results is changing as well.

For example, you’re no longer allowed to use a rating widget to display reviews on your company website. These widgets include hardcoded and Trustpilot.

When Rich Results Reviews Display

Google’s announcement also revealed it’s limiting when rich results reviews will display. Any reviews outside of these will no longer appear as Google review snippets:

  • schema.org/Book
  • schema.org/Course
  • schema.org/CreativeWorkSeason
  • schema.org/CreativeWorkSeries
  • schema.org/Episode
  • schema.org/Event
  • schema.org/Game
  • schema.org/HowTo
  • schema.org/LocalBusiness
  • schema.org/MediaObject
  • schema.org/Movie
  • schema.org/MusicPlaylist
  • schema.org/MusicRecording
  • schema.org/Organization
  • schema.org/Product
  • schema.org/Recipe
  • schema.org/SoftwareApplication

The list removes the schema types LocalBusiness and Organization (along with their subtypes). Before, companies could add a review markup to any page on their website. However, Google considered this “self-serving” because the company added the markup to their own website.

Removing the LocalBusiness and Organization types means businesses and organizations can no longer display self-serving reviews.

Technically, companies can still attach a review markup to any schema type. However, many don’t provide value to the searcher when it doesn’t match the content.

Google’s change allows them to limit which schema types trigger for review rich results.

With this list, Google can provide content that’s in the best interest of the searcher.

The “name” Property

Google reviews for rich snippets also require the “name” property in featured snippets.

This property ensures websites will now specify the name of the item associated with the review displays.

If you’re using a plugin for your schema structured website data, check to make sure it’s already including the “name” property. However, if the “name” property isn’t included, check for an update to the plugin.

If the “name” property is missing from your structured data, contact the plugin creator.

Google didn’t indicate what would happen if websites failed to include the “name” property within the structured data. However, Google’s update did say the name property is now mandatory.

What’s Google’s Goal Here?

Google’s main goal is to improve the Google rich snippets functionality for searchers. This update creates limits that determine where and when rich results will appear. As a result, Google schema is now able to limit the inaccurate implementation and use of these reviews.

Previously, the use of Google reviews across company websites was sometimes considered misleading. When a rating displayed on a page didn’t match the content, the review didn’t accurately represent the product or service displayed on the page.

Structured data allows companies to speak directly with their potential customers.

By improving the Google reviews rich snippets, Google makes it easier for users to find the information they’re looking for. Improving user experience can help companies attract new customers. When information is easy to find, searchers are more likely to make a decision about their purchases.

What Should I Do?

Google only recently announced this update. However, we may start to see changes to the algorithm take effect as early as next week.

So how should you prepare?

First, take a look at the Google reviews star ratings on your site. If they’re localBusiness or Organization type schemas, there’s a possibility you’ll lose your star ratings. However, it’s not yet clear how the update will impact these reviews.

If the schema type does impact existing Google reviews, it’ll impact your competitors as well. This will give you a chance to make the necessary updates.

But if you’re up-to-date with your schema, you’re already good to go!

However, you may want to double-check if you’re using a plugin or platform. Make sure everything’s set to reflect Google’s update.

In the meantime, don’t remove Google reviews from your website. Reviews provide your website with social proof, which can help customers learn to trust your business. Reviews are still important; however, this update might change the star ratings that appear in your organic search engine result pages.

This update also shouldn’t change your Google search engine rankings or cause penalties. You may, however, notice the star rating won’t appear alongside your search results anymore.

In the meantime, we’re still waiting to hear more about how the algorithm update will change Product schemas.

5 Stars for Schemas: How Rich Snippets Are Changing Google Reviews

Overall, Google’s goal is to improve the user experience for searchers. The Google reviews rich snippets update will help Google ensure the review ratings display more accurately for the content they represent.

With the update expected to roll out soon, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest Google news.

Keep up with the latest updates by exploring the Search Engine Updates section of our blog!

content marketer

Do You Need to Hire a Content Marketer?

There are two words that will turn every consumer’s head at any time: “ad-free.”

Everywhere you look, people are more resistant to ads than ever. They’re paying extra for their streaming services to watch their favorite shows without ads. They’re installing ad blocking software in their browsers.

People don’t like to feel like they’re being “sold to” and manipulated. When you’re trying to advertise your business, don’t get discouraged. Get creative by hiring a content marketer instead.

Is a content marketer the next step your business needs to take on the road to success?

Signs You Need to Hire a Content Marketer

If you don’t have a content marketer on your team or a content marketing agency available, you may not realize how much your business is missing. Look for these tell-tale signs.

Your Website Has No Blog (Or a Sparse One)

A blog is one of the best things you can do for your website. It needs to have a steady flow of valuable, well-written content about relevant topics.

When we offer this advice, the same question always follows: how often do companies need to post on their blogs? The answer varies from one website to the next.

Overall, it appears that blogging every few days is optimal. However, it all depends on your site and your audience, so you need to experiment and watch your site’s metrics to find your “sweet spot.”

Or a content marketer can oversee that process for you.

Your Blog Posts are Snooze-Fests

Merely having a blog with frequent posts isn’t enough. Those posts have to be riveting. Spectacular. A TED Talk on the page.

Maybe they don’t all have to be masterpieces but your blogs should be engaging and interesting to read. The information they hold needs to be practical and applicable as well.

Not sure if your blogs fit the bill? Reach out to someone in your target audience. Ask them to browse your blog posts and give you their unvarnished opinion.

You can also see the evidence by looking at the average length of time users spend on your blog pages. If it’s a few mere seconds, you’re losing their interest. 

You Aren’t Getting the Traffic You Want

One of the easiest metrics to track is website traffic. It’s easy to track over time and most importantly, it’s easy for you to see when it drops off.

If your numbers aren’t living up to your dreams, your content could be to blame.

Content that is optimized for search engines can pull in traffic like a magnet. It will use keywords that are searched frequently and that will land your site on the first page of search results.

If the lack of traffic is your problem, make sure you find a content marketer who has extensive SEO knowledge.

Your Social Media Following is Stagnant

Most of your content will live on your website, but its influence doesn’t stop there. To get more mileage for all the glorious content you produce, you should be sharing it on social media too.

If you do this, it also gives you one more way to tell if you need a content marketer.

When your content is strong, people will notice it. Then they’ll notice you and start following you.

If your social media engagement and your follower numbers are dropping or sitting still, it could mean your content isn’t attractive enough. A content marketer can turn that around in a hurry.

Your Blog Roll Sounds Like an Ad Campaign

When you’re producing content for your website’s blog, your ultimate goal is to drive revenue. That won’t happen if your content is too “on the nose,” though.

Let’s say you run a dog grooming business. When you look at your blog roll, it shouldn’t be full of titles like, “Why you need dog grooming,” “Why dog grooming is the best,” and “Why dog grooming is important.”

A few straightforward self-promotion blogs are fine here and there. The bulk of your content, though, should be genuinely valuable information readers are searching for.

For example, better titles would be, “How often should I groom my dog?” and “The hottest dog haircut trends in 2019.” A content marketer can find those valuable topics and craft expert blogs for them.

You Don’t Have a Dedicated Content Strategy

When content marketing first started taking hold, it was a cutting-edge luxury. Today, it’s essential for any business that wants to be proactive in reaching and gaining customers.

No matter how strong your business is today, you need a content marketing strategy. It should be a distinctive part of your marketing plan.

That content marketing strategy should spell out the overall message and image you want to portray. It should also outline different campaigns and focus areas throughout the year.

Finally, your content marketing strategy should have a decisive content calendar. It should include the types of content you need to produce, when to produce them, what purpose they serve, and more.

Feeling a tad overwhelmed by how much you’re missing? A content marketer can design your strategy from start to finish.

What to Do if You Can’t Afford a Full-Time Content Marketer

Let’s assume you fit some of the criteria above and you’ve confirmed that you need a content marketer. The problem is, you don’t have a full-time employee’s salary and benefits sitting around in your budget.

The solution is simple: hire a content marketing agency instead. You’ll only pay for the work you need and there are no benefits or additional workspaces to afford.

As an added bonus, you get the expertise of the entire agency that has trained the person building your content. Compare this to the knowledge a single content marketer has.

Want to give your content marketing an extra boost? Learn more about buying text links today.

setting up a domain

Setting Up a Domain For Your Website

A website is an essential part of doing business. Customers who are looking for your product or service will turn to search engines first. And if your business doesn’t have a website they can find via search engines, then they probably won’t find you at all.

So, building a website for your business should be a top priority. Once the website is built and ready to launch, the final step is securing a domain name that works for your business.

Have questions about setting up a domain name? This quick guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

Choosing a Domain Name That Fits Your Business

What’s a domain name? It’s the web address that shows in the URL bar of an Internet browser. Think of a domain name as the name of your website. 

Because it’s the name of your business’s website, the domain name you choose should reflect your business. Ideally, the domain name you choose would be the name of your business – www.yourbusinessnamehere.com. 

However, this isn’t always possible, especially if your business has a common name. The domain name needs to be available for you to use it for your business’s website.

How Do You Find Out if a Domain Name is Available?

Domain names are registered by companies known as domain registrars. When you’re looking for a domain name for your site, you can use the website of one of these domain registrars to check if the domain name you want is available. Each of these domain registrars checks a database that tells them which domain names are available.

If the domain name you want is available, then the domain registrar will allow you to purchase the domain name and register it on your behalf. If the domain name you want isn’t available, then the domain registrar will usually offer suggestions for an available domain that might work for your business.

When the domain name you want isn’t available and you don’t like the suggestions made by the registrar’s site, you can brainstorm your domain names as well.

Using Different Top-Level Domains

You might start by checking to see if your domain name is available on another top-level domain name. Top-level domain names refer to the end of the URL. Usually, this is .com. But other top-level domain names include .co, .biz, .net and many others. Your preferred domain name may be available on one of these top-level domains when it’s not available on .com. 

Using a different top-level domain has advantages and disadvantages. The major advantage is that you can usually find the domain name you want on a less popular top-level domain. But some customers are skeptical of sites that end in top-level domains other than .com, .org, and .edu because they are so used to seeing these top-level domains.

In general, it’s better for branding to stick with your preferred domain name, even if it’s on a less popular top-level domain.

Tweaking Your Preferred Domain Name

If your preferred domain name isn’t available on any top-level domain or if you’re adamant about having a .com site, then you’ll need to get creative with your domain name. 

You can try using recognizable abbreviations for part of your business name in the domain name. Or if you use abbreviations in your business name you can spell them out in your domain name. You can also try adding a word that describes your product/services to your business name in the domain.

Make sure that your domain doesn’t get too long though. Long domains are confusing for customers and don’t work well for branding.

Setting up a Domain Name

Once you’ve chosen your domain name and verified that it’s available, it’s time to set up the domain name. You’ll need to purchase the domain name and register it with a domain registrar.

Often, the service you used to build your website will have the option for them to purchase and register the domain on your behalf for an extra fee. The fee structure for this is usually a one-time purchase to secure and register the domain name, and a yearly fee to renew the domain registration.

If the service you used for your website doesn’t offer domain registration or you don’t want to use their service, you can set up your domain directly with a domain registrar. Some popular domain registrars are GoDaddy, Bluehost, Domain.com, and NameCheap. There are many others out there as well.

Choosing the Right Domain Registrar for Your Business

When choosing a domain registrar, pay close attention to the services they offer as well as their prices. It can be tempting to go with the registrar that’s offering the cheapest price for your chosen domain. But if they don’t have the customer service to support you, you’ll have a hard time when you have issues with your domain or if you want to make changes.

Look for a registrar that offers good customer service, auto-renewal for your domain so your ownership of the domain doesn’t lapse, transfer lock so domain auction services can’t sell your domain out from under you, good site load times, and privacy measures so your personal information doesn’t show when others search to see if your domain is available.

Once you’ve chosen your domain registrar and set the domain up through them, they’ll help you launch your website on your new domain. They’ll also give you a login to their back end so you’ll be able to make changes to your domain settings if needed. If you’re unsure of how to use the backend or make changes, be sure to contact the registrar’s customer service.

More Tips for Launching an Effective Business Website

Choosing the right domain name for your business’s website is key to your website’s performance. It’s also essential for your business’s branding. After reading this quick guide, you should have all the information you need about setting up a domain.

For more tips on how to launch and run an effective website for your business, check out our blog.

transitionsentences

Transition Sentences For More Powerful SEO Marketing Content

SEO covers a lot of topics, including backlinks and web design. However, there’s no doubt that the backbone of any SEO strategy is content.

The content serves as the “bait.” Your posts lure readers into your website, promising the exact information they seek.

Like a good backbone, it also supports the SEO of the rest of the website. It allows you to place internal links, external links, and so on.

That said, it should be high in quality. Interesting topics and proper grammar are a given, but there’s one element of it that only a few writers take seriously: transition sentences.

These sentences help readers get through the content by bridging one idea to another. Let’s learn more about them below.

First, What are Transition Words?

Transition words show the relationship between two sentences, phrases, or paragraphs. It links the two together so that the reader knows to connect the meaning of the two. 

Take, for example, the sentences below.

Example A: “I have a 63-year-old grandmother. She looks beautiful.”

Example B: “I have a 63-year-old grandmother. Despite that, she looks beautiful.”

In example B, our connecting word – or phrase – is “despite that.” Using it, the sentences flow more fluidly. It also lets the readers know that the grandmother looks beautiful despite her age.

Without the transition phrase, it looks like the narrator was spouting random facts. 

What are Transition Sentences?

Transition sentences, like connecting words, then bridge one idea to another without letting the readers fall into a state of confusion. 

Like so, they have the same uses: 

  • To change the subject
  • To introduce a contradiction
  • To emphasize a point
  • To show agreement to the preceding idea
  • To show cause and effect
  • To provide clarification
  • To give examples
  • To conclude an idea
  • And so on

They establish an organizational flow, making a blog post look more cohesive rather than pure word vomit. 

Types of Transition Words

Transition sentences make an explicit connection between two sentences, paragraphs, and ideas. It’s best not to use the word “this” when referring to the previous point, as it’s not always clear what the word refers to.

Like you would expect, they use transition words. Check out some essential words/phrases below that will help you make good transition sentences. 

1. Contradiction

These are words showing a contrast between two sentences, phrases or paragraphs. You use it to point out alternatives or introduce a change of reasoning.

Examples are “but,” “although,” “instead,” “however,” “otherwise,” “whereas,” “albeit,” “besides,” and so on.

To give you a simple example, here are two contrasting sentences:

“I’m not fond of social media. But I have a Facebook account for keeping in touch with friends and family.”

For a transition sentence, you can say something like:

“However, the scenario we explained isn’t always true.”

Then, proceed with a contrasting point.

2. Similarity

In contrast to the above, this type shows a similarity between two thoughts. It’s used for reinforcing the preceding idea or agree to it.

Examples are “as well as,” “together with,” “in addition,” “likewise,” “in the same vein,” “by the same token,” and so on.

Let’s use that in a sentence, “In the same vein as ~this example~, here’s ~another example with a similar result~.”

3. Cause / Condition

This type of transitional words shows there are a cause and an effect. Other words under this category also present specific conditions or intentions. 

In many cases, the cause/effect’s implied, like so: “I’m tired. I’m going to bed.”

However, not all sentences make themselves look this clear. These cases then elicit the use of a transition word or phrase. You can use “therefore,” “thus,” “as a result,” “under those circumstances,” “consequently,” and so on.

4. Example

This one’s self-explanatory: you use a transition word to give an example. Phrases that can help the readers grasp the concept include, “for instance,” “for example,” “to demonstrate,” “to illustrate,” and so on.

What follows right away is an example; you might even notice some scattered here in this article. 

5. Clarification

This one’s used for clarifying the previous idea. In other words, it’s used for presenting the same idea in a manner that readers might understand better. 

See what we did there? For this one, you can use “in other words,” “that is to say,” “to clarify,” and more.

6. Emphasis

Don’t confuse this for clarification. It’s used for emphasizing the previous point, like so:

“Many Americans are obese. In fact, over 50% of American men and women are obese or overweight.” 

7. Time

To give the readers a clear indication, limitation, or restriction of time, we use transitional words of this type. You can use “at the present time,” “meanwhile,” “subsequently,” “until,” “since,” “henceforth,” and so on.

Let’s use an example sentence to connect two different ideas:

“In the past, women weren’t able to vote. They weren’t able to enjoy much freedom as the men did.

That was all in the past, however.

At present, women are now enjoying the same privileges only men were previously entitled to.”

You can see how the transitional phrase prepares the reader for the different idea that it was about to present. 

8. Space

Much like in the case of transition phrases representing time, those that represent space give the readers a description of the spatial order or reference.

Examples are, “in the middle,” “here,” “next,” “around,” “alongside,” “before,” and so on.

9. Conclusion

This type summarizes all the points presented or indicate a general statement. You often use phrases like, “to summarize,” “in conclusion,” “in short,” “in either case,” “in any event,” “by and large,” “for the most part,” and so on.

An example sentence will be “All things considered, there’s a strong hint of life beyond our galaxy.”

Use the Right Transition Word, Phrase, or Sentence

Follow these guidelines for effective transition sentences. Yes, attracting readers is one of the main goals of SEO, but making them stay is another.

Don’t worry, it won’t be long until you see the results of being nitpicking each part of your SEO strategy. Check out how long it takes to get results in this guide here.

branddesign

Make an Unforgettable Company Identity with Smart Brand Design

When most people think of the concept of “branding,” they have a tendency to write it off as little more than a buzzword

“Branding” can be a bit difficult to define, but the reality is that it’s the difference between success and failure for many companies across a variety of industries. Branding isn’t just about choosing company colors or dreaming up a logo design. 

Instead, think of it as the entirety of your company’s image. 

It helps to think of brand design as a person. People don’t show their identities solely by the clothes they choose to wear, right? They also show people who they are by the way they talk, the hobbies they’re interested in, how they respond to stress, where they work…this list could go on forever. 

Your brand is like the personality of your company — and you need to take corporate identity design seriously to stand out. 

So, how do you create winning brand designs? 

Keep on reading to find out. 

Start With Questions

Before you do anything else, you need to ask yourself and the other founders of your company a few questions. 

If you didn’t know anything about your brand, what kinds of questions might you ask? These are the things you need to consider when developing your brand design. 

For example, why did you start your company? Why does what your brand does matter to you on a personal level? How will it make peoples’ lives better? What’s your experience within this industry? Who do you primarily sell to? How are you different from your competitors? 

These questions will help you reintroduce yourself to your brand, and allow you to build a foundation for your overall brand design. 

You can also send brand surveys like this one to your employees and existing customers to learn about what other people associate with your brand. This way, you’ll learn about what other people actually think of your brand — not just what you want them to think of it. 

Make a Customer Prototype

In the introduction to this guide, we talked about the advantages of seeing your brand as a person. 

Next, you should take things a step further and create a customer prototype personality to assist with your brand identification plan. Essentially, you’ll need to create a character of your ideal customer — and tell the story of how your brand can help them. 

Decide how old this customer is, what they struggle with the most, their income level, their priorities, their location, and their hobbies/interests. Then, tell the story of how your product or services will help to improve their quality of life. 

You can even use this mock customer in your marketing materials. People will certainly see themselves in your creation. This means that it will be even easier for your market to identify themselves and choose to follow your company because it’s relevant to their interests. 

Create a Mood Board

Next, you should create a mood board for your brand — the first step towards truly visualizing what your brand design will look like. 

If you’re a tour guide company, put up pictures of popular destinations. Write down a list of adjectives that people associate with your brand. Figure out the different phases a customer goes through before they decide to buy your product/services, and put those phases up on the board. 

Even put up a few images you’re considering using in your logo, and pin a few potential color palettes to your board. 

Once you see everything laid out, it’ll be much easier for you to create a brand story and make the right choices when it comes to typography, social media presence, your logo, and your company colors. 

Make Brand Design Choices

Perhaps the most well-known aspect of brand identity development is the design element. 

Look back at the way customers and employees have responded to surveys and questionnaires. Notice words that keep coming up over and over again, like “outdoors,” “dependable,” or “time-saving.” 

These words will inform your brand design elements, like your company colors, your logo, and your business’s slogan. 

For example, let’s say you’re a wedding flower shop, and “creative” is a word you see over and over again in your results. You want to pick a logo symbol that makes it clear what you do, but also differentiates you from your competitors. 

We love the logo design idea of having a bride walking down the aisle carrying an oversized, over-the-top bouquet.

First of all, the design is active. Secondly, it’s obvious you’re a wedding florist. Finally, it says that you’re for offbeat brides that want something different than what everyone else has. 

You’re Ready to Get Started with Brand Design

We hope this post has helped you to understand just how important brand design is to every business. 

A solid branding strategy is what helps you to connect to your target market, allows you to evoke emotion in your customers, and separates you from your similar competitors. 

Once you’ve developed your brand design, you need to start thinking about how you’re going to share it with the world. 

Search engine optimization — SEO for short — is the most effective way to get your message out there in today’s climate. 

We can help you to master it with the fine art of backlinking. 

When you’re ready to take your digital marketing level to the same high level as your branding strategy, rely on us to help make it happen. 

see results

How Long Does it Take to See Results from SEO?

The great thing about this SEO (Search Engine Optimization) question is that you can run tests of your own to verify our results. We have created and built hundreds of search engine tests to try to figure out how to get results and see results more efficiently. Our experiences are listed below in this article, and each experience is repeatable.

What Replaced Google+?

In the old days, if you had a new web page, you could post it on a semi-popular Google Plus profile, and it would be indexed within as few as two hours. Even if you submit URLs to the Google Search Console, it takes between two days and two weeks before you see any impact. Link to a page from a popular YouTube channel (YouTube being owned by Google), and it takes longer than if you submit a sitemap or URL to the Google search console.

So, what has replaced Google Plus?

The odd answer may be Facebook and you can run a few tests of your own. If you post a link to an un-indexed page on a followed Facebook profile, on a followed fan page, or into a Facebook community where you receive an additional share, then your page is indexed in as quickly as two to four days. Make sure the Facebook page is open to the public (aka, you do not need to sign in to see it).

Google may be monitoring Facebook more closely than it is letting on. Try an experiment for yourself but remember to run dry tests to see how quickly Google crawls your pages without you affecting the crawl rate.

Submitting a Sitemap to The Google Search Console

To start with, make sure you read an SEO guide on how to submit a sitemap for your website. It is easy to get wrong, and despite our own troubles submitting sitemaps, it is often easier than you think to submit a sitemap to Google.

Our results were very odd in this regard. For example, we submitted a sitemap for a Blogger blog called Reasons To Giggle. We were sure that it would be crawled and indexed quickly because it is running on the Google-owned Blogger and Blogspot system.

We later discovered that it took over 2 weeks to be crawled and indexed. What is more, only around five of its dozen web pages ranked inside of the 100,000 page result mark. We submitted using this line after the “Add/Test Sitemap” function:

atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500

We suspect that some of the website’s pages did poorly on the Google search engine results because they are a little on the short side. There is also suspicion that some posts had no easily quantifiable theme, which may have also hurt their search engine rankings.

Submitting A Second Sitemap to The Google Search Console

We submitted a sitemap from a website called, “Findoutfree.co.uk,” which is an older website with a very strong gaming-forum following. The SEO results showed it was indexed within 12 hours and its page update had also been cached.

We also submitted a sitemap from a financial news website, with 500% more online content and a smaller online following and it took three and a half days before we started to see results.

It seems that if you have numerous and different types of links from active websites, forums, social media pages, and online apps/tools, then your website is crawled more quickly when you submit a sitemap to Google.

Do We See Results from The URL Submitting Function?

This is the “Submit a URL” function at the top of the Google search engine results. We have noticed that it takes roughly the same amount of time it does to validate an error fix.

Our experience is that a submitted URL takes four working days. This is the same amount of time it takes when we have an error reported on a URL and we click the “Validate Fix” button on the Google search console.

Adding Meta Tags to Websites

The very notion of adding keyword tags and descriptive tags to websites was laughed at during the late 00s, and yet these days they are as important as ever. But, it is not because Google is using them to rank websites. Google ranks websites based on their popularity with each user, which is why your search query results may differ from that of another person who searches for the same thing.

Adding meta tags helps online tools, online software, apps, web spiders, and other websites to find and identify your web pages. This exposes your pages to more people, which makes them more popular, which help rank them up through the Bing and Google search engines.

How long does it take for your meta tags to have an SEO effect? They cannot take effect until Google and/or Bing have crawled and indexed your website unless your website is being monitored by certain web crawlers; such as how Amazon is frequently crawled by price-comparison websites.

In truth, the positive effect of meta tags can take between two weeks and years to have any effect.

Adding Alt Tags and Titles to Images

Some of our most exciting results have come through experimenting with images and Google.

Professionally sold and licensed images such as those on ShutterStock will often rank very easily on Google images and as a byproduct on Google’s primary search engine. If the image is already listed on Google thanks to the image selling company, then it will appear very quickly in the search engine results, which will help drive traffic to your website.

If you are using a picture that you copied (legally or otherwise) and that you didn’t buy from a major image seller, then your image will have very little effect on your SEO. In fact, other than improving the usability of our blog posts, we have seen less than a 5% benefit from adding images to blog posts.

However, if you take a brand new photograph, and you add a suitable title, and you add a descriptive (not too long) alt tag, and you upload it on your website, you will see it listed on the Google images search engine very highly. You may also see it listed for other keyword searches.

In short, a “good” and original image that has been correctly optimized can act as an ambassador (and traffic funnel) for your web pages. In terms of SEO investment, this is the most volatile (in a good way) method. It won’t help your web pages get to page one on Google, but it will draw traffic to your web pages and draw positive attention if it is done right.

The Obvious Conclusion is to Experiment A Little

What we didn’t expect was how much fun we would have while experimenting with SEO and how long it takes to see results. We were having ideas such as starting five new Twitter accounts and seeing if posting the same link on all five would have it indexed. We also considered starting experiments with competing websites where all meta tags on the web pages were deleted.

We encourage you to play around a little too. We are not living in an age where you can damage your website’s SEO too deeply (unless you start using black hat SEO), so we encourage you to experiment a little to see what new SEO tricks you can discover.

It is good to experiment for yourself but professional online marketeers already know what works. We offer a number of services to improve your SERPS. Create an account and get started today.