10 Blogging Tips You Can't Ignore

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Blogging is not easy as you imagine. There are a lot of tasks to get done in order to see better results. Some tasks can be done in a short period of time and some can take a while. While blogging requires a lot of dedication and effort, blogging still play an important role in digital marketing.

Blogging should be done strategically. You can't just start your own blog and expect to see skyrocket results to your website. It does not run that way. Besides, you can't see a huge success in an overnight effort.

Blogging takes some time and should be taken seriously with smart decisions. You need blogging guidelines to help you keep focusing in the right track. So in this article, I will share with you a checklist you need to go through every single time you write a blog post. So let's start.

Always make sure your blog post is targeting keyword/s

Blog posts are published to be read not to be unseen. Whenever you write a blog post, always keep in mind to check if there are people searching for your topic.

For example, this blog post is mainly targeting blogging tips. If you see the Google search results for blogging tips, you will surely see a tons of pages ranking for this particular keyword.

blogging-tips

So before you start writing your own content, be sure to check this one. Or if you want to see more data, you can use keyword research tools to make your job easier.

Always utilize your keywords in search snippets

A search snippet is what you see in Google search results for every listing you see for every keyword. This serves as a summary of what your page is about. In some cases, it provides more information to search query.

A search snippet is composed of your page title, page description and page URL. Having your keyword placed in these elements of your page might give you an advantage.

blogging-tips

This might help your blog post appear in organic search for your target keyword. This is better than not adding your main keywords in special elements of a site page.

Always publish rich media content


When it comes to blogging, contextual format is the main thing that across our mind. However, there are other tactics you can use to make your blog post entertaining such as:
  • Images - Adding images to make your blog post more alive than contextual content. Besides, a content full of text is boring and no one will read it through to the very end.
  • Videos - Adding videos can't always be great for every content you published. Unless, your blog is focused in tutorial such as cooking.

Utilize your other content to your next blog post


Internally linking your published article is a must. In blogging, you need to keep your visitors as longer as possible. So you need to make sure your visitors will check your other articles.
  • Use related articles at the end of your blog post
  • You can manually include a set of articles at the end of your blog post
  • You can add further reading articles in the body of your blog post.

Build your email list


Having a strong group of followers or of readers in blogging is important. You must have a way to contact your readers directly without worrying too much they miss your recent blog post.

This can even make your promotion easier. In one single click, you can drive targeted traffic to your blog without making extra efforts. And this is your own media channel.

Write an Amazing Blog Post Topic


Headlines are important in blogging. You need your articles to have catchy headlines your readers can't ignore to click. Without great headlines, no matter how quality your blog post is, you can't get the most out of it.

To give you an idea, I will give you two different title in the same topic and you can decide which one you will go for:

A. How to Succeed in Blogging
B. 15 Smart Moves to Succeed in Blogging

As you can see in the blog topics above, going to letter B is the best decision you can make.

Always Build Your Own Asset


Blog posts don't last to the test of time, especially in Google Ranking. As days go by, there is always something come out better than yours. And you will be pushed down to 0 CTR position.

In this case, you need something to back you up. You need to be a resource of something in your industry. For instance, create a create a useful tool, a complete tutorial page or a Glossary page for your industry.

This is very useful and important in every way you think of. However, the catch here is you need to find something in your industry that is not given yet. So you need to know the needs of your industry.

Always make friends with other bloggers


Connecting to people in your industry is crucial. There is no way you can win in blogging on your own.

At certain time in your blogging career, you will need to communicate with bloggers and influencers in your industry. If you are just starting in blogging, start making a list of bloggers in your industry with strong followers.

Email similar content publishers

Your job as a blogger does not end after you click your publish button. In fact, it is just the beginning of your journey. You have to let the world know about your new content. You have to reach them because they are not going to reach you.

You can do this by looking for blogs who published an article related to your topic. For example, you created a tool for wordpress. You can use your tool to reach out to bloggers who created plugins for wordpress.

Obviously, if you will not contact exactly the people who published the same topic you covered, you will blow it up and your content is not going to do much.

So go check related articles to your topic in organic search and see how much work there is to be done.

Have a consistent publishing schedule


Committing yourself to a publishing schedule is very important. Give yourself a time to research, write content and polish your content the way your readers will love. You don't have to publish everyday. Besides, your readers have their own job to do as well.

You also need to know what day and time in particular your readers are preferred to visit your blog. To do this, there are several options you can try:
  • Use a poll to know your readers suggestion
  • You can email your readers for detailed suggestion
  • Or you can check your Analytics tracker to see what are their preferred date/time of your publication. (day and time you get more traffic)



Conclusion

Blogging is not a hit and miss. You don't just create a blog post and hope to see good results. Each of your blog posts should reach your audience and provide the information they need. Utilizing these 10 blogging tips to your blogging activities should give you a better results!

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How To Measure The Effectivity of Your SEO

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A lot commercial website owners hire SEO practitioners to do the technical work for them. Because most business owners do not have time to read raw data and unstructured reports to know if their marketing efforts are working just fine or they are just wasting time and resources. They only care about the results of the efforts have been made for the benefits of their business. While it is definitely hard to read raw data from Google Analytics for example, and in various traffic monitoring platforms, there are still crucial elements of success that every business owners can track to see if the resources being spent over the SEO activities are worth to invest. These elements of success should be generated from month to month, quarter to quarter or even year to year. This can be done in seasonal campaign but it still depends on your KPIs which can give you insightful information.

Search impression for your targeting keywords

Search impressions are important for webmasters. They need to know whether their website pages appear in multiple keywords related to their pages or not. This gives them hints if their pages appear in search queries they are not targeting but closely related to their pages. You can track this performance in your Google Search Console property, assuming that you are logged in to your Google Account. You can set the dates in comparison to previous reporting period, date range specific such as in one week, couple of days and so on.
You can then see what keywords people are using that triggers your website to appear in search results. This query reports from Google search console can be downloaded straight from your search console property to see the whole reporting data. Again, the date covered can be date-sensitive depending on your data needs.
Why you need to track this?
  • You need to know whether your priority keywords are appearing in search impressions
  • You need to know which keyword is giving most impression to your web page in SERPs
  • You need to know how many search impression a particular page of your website can get from search.

Search traffic through your targeting keywords

As part of knowing if your SEO efforts are really helping you drive traffic from search. You can track this performance from your Search Console or in Google Analytics account to see the whole data of your search traffic. Since we are tracking the search traffic through our keyword targeting, you have to make sure that branded search are excluded from your reports through filtered view in Google Analytics. In Google Search Console, branded search are by default added and can be excluded only if imported to excel and you have to do it yourself. Why you need to track this?
  • You need to know if your keyword targeting are performing in driving organic search.
  • You need to know which of your keywords are in need of extra effort for better performance.
  • To see if your brand is out-trafficking your target keywords.

Improvement of your search traffic

One of the major purpose of doing SEO for any website is to consistently improve search traffic. As a business owner, one of the best KPI aside from conversion is search traffic to see if you have any traffic to convert. Google Search Console and Google Analytics can help you provide the data you need. You can compare the traffic from month over month or whichever date range you prefer that can give you insightful data. You can also compare traffic from counties to countries, or even devices to devices. Again, the data available in Google Search Console is downloadable so you can see the whole picture of your search traffic data.
So for example, if you have created a resources on your website such as a study of A/B Testing or you just made a comparison of hosting differences websites for 2016, you can check their traffic performance versus the previous months to see if they actually performed in getting traffic from search. If search traffic play a huge contribution in your business performance, tracking and comparing search traffic in a regular basis is highly important.You can also get advance insightful information that you can use to improve your search traffic. For instance, you created a list of top 10 experts to follow or technical guidelines in web development, you can see which one will attract readers and you can do more of it. Why this is important
  • You can know if your SEO efforts are working for you. 
  • You can know which of your SEO efforts are helping you perform better.
  • You can see which pages of your website are in need of improvement

Improvement of your search visibility

Another important contribution of SEO for a website is to consistently improve a website’s search visibility. Whether organic ranking, knowledge graph results or even in quick answer snippet featured, you need to follow what’s happening in the industry to see if your website is coping up with the changes. Consistently, you need your website increase its ranking from current position all the way to the top. Proven by data, getting the number 1 spot in Google Search Results can give you boost in organic traffic for your targeted keyword. Throughout the months, you should see your website position in Google getting up as you invest to your SEO campaign because if not, your SEO practitioner might not be doing it right. Fortunately, not only getting the number 1 spot can help you drive organic traffic. Google has also enabled their quick answer feature box in organic search for question-related query. James Perrott has written an article about everything you need to know in Google Answer Boxes, you can check it out if you want to learn more of it.
Also, Google has made an extra effort to require webmasters to implement accelerated mobile pages for mobile search users. But this is only for websites with news content or section in the website. Google has also provided a complete instructions on how to set it up the right way.


Conversion from your search traffic

Business owners only look at the results of any activities. They need to know if they did get any results or benefits from the efforts that have been made. This is not because they are not interested but they just don’t have time for it. That’s the reason why they hire SEOs in the first place. To see the results of your SEO investments for your website, Google Analytics can give you the data you need. You can see the total of goal completions with associated goal value that gives you indications whether you get a profit from a certain period of time.

Also, Google Analytics give you a feature where you can compare the goal conversion from a set of date range you preferred. You can see from comparison report whether your website is performing month over month. And you can make necessary actions based on the data you will see.
Why this is important
  • You need to know if your SEO investment is continuously giving you daily, weekly or monthly profit.
  • You need to know if your visitors are happy with your required steps prior to conversion

Conversion from other traffic sources

Conversion from other traffic sources is also a good indication of good SEO campaign. Since your SEO is not only driving targeted visitors to your website, but also converting the traffic driven. While this is not always possible to happen, it is still better if happening. Google Analytics can also give you this data available at hand.

Takeaways

Business owners are not technical savvy, they are not into learning every technical aspect of SEO. They just need to see the results behind the efforts that were made from their investments. However, they still need to know at least the basic of reading the data so they will know if their target is being met or if their goals are being achieved. The tips mentioned above about tracking the SEO results for a website are good jumpstart to give understanding of the results in

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10 Link Building Tips that Every Link Builder Must Know

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Link building is not one easy task for everybody. This can't be done just by anyone because there are rules to follow. These do's and don'ts are strictly followed because there are consequences behind in every actions against those rules.  

One perfect example of it is a can be found on Google Webmaster Guidelines. In this guideline, Google tend to warn webmasters to plan to manipulate their PageRank in return of high position ranking in SERPs for their target keyword phrases.

Throughout the years, link building had been the main focus of webmaster to increase their organic keyword ranking. They believed that links are the key to get high ranking results in search. While I can't disagree to their belief, link building should be done the right way without manipulation intent.

In this article, let's highlight the crucial tips that every link builder must know when building links.

1. Don't build links for the sake of links

Links are made to be click. The reason why you should create links is to drive traffic to your website, ranking is next. This should be the main purpose of your link building campaign to ensure you can get the most out of it, instead getting links to increase your inbound links.


2. Don't focus on a single metric

Using one single metric is a blind quality indicator. DA, Ahrefs, Rank, TF/CF are created outside Google search quality team. There is no clear answer whether or not a high DA/Ahrefs rank/TF-CF is a good indication of quality website. You need to cross check websites to check its quality such as:

  • Link profile and issues
  • Index status and issues
  • Ranking visibility

3. Don't build links using commercial anchor text

I know most of us want to rank for commercial keywords. However, whether you agree with me or not, it does not look natural to get a link from websites with anchor text like "insurance services arizona". Regardless of the relevance, if your links from other websites are commercial keywords, you are only risking your website.

4. Don't build links to conversion pages

Similar to commercial anchor text, building links to commercial pages such as services page is non-other than questionable link. Why? because it does sound unnatural to get a direct link to a services page from other websites especially if it is an exact match. This will only look an advertorial intent with an aim to manipulate its ranking position in organic SERPs.

5. Don't build link for ranking purposes

Admit it or not, a lot of SEOs are still obsessed to rank #1. Because of that intent, they keep their link development process on the go in a monthly basis at high frequency. This practice is not guaranteed to get quality results and this can have negative impact in the long run. 

6. Don't build links you control

A lot of link building activities have become low quality. Whether you like it or not, any link that you build and control of is not a good type of link. It will be a problem if not now, eventually. 

These are samples of  links you can manipulate:
  • Widget links
  • Signature links
  • Forum links
  • Guest post

Cyrus Shepard, a former Mozzer, did a whiteboard friday about the rules of link building. While there’s a lot of it, Cyrus highlighted the most important rules at that time.

7. Don't build links from blogs with one owner

Blogs own by a single person looks suspicious. Especially if they are hosted under the same IPor server. These blogs are cross linking to one another and easy to track their footprints for link manipulation. Getting links from these sites is not a good idea and should be avoided at all cost.

8. Don't approach websites that sell links

There are websites or blogs out there that offer link in exchange of money. These site owners completely violate the guidelines of search engine about link selling. Identifying these websites is easy to trackdown.

By following some tips below, you can have an idea of what to avoid:

  • Questionable anchor text
  • Questionable links to commercial pages
  • Requiring compensation during conversation
  • Multiple links to different commercial pages from a single page

9. Avoid not indexed websites

Getting links from websites that are not indexed by Google itself is sure a no. It is a completely waste of time if you will build links from websites that even Google is not aware these sites exist.

To check if the site is indexed or not, use the following command:

  • site:domain.com

10. Avoid hacked websites

Hacked websites are devalued in Google, this results to less ranking opportunity of a hacked website. If a hacked website is devalued by Google, the outbound links from it can be affected. As a link builder, this is one of the things you should avoid to keep yourself away from penalty.

You can identify if a site is hacked through the following:

  • Google will let you know straight from SERPs
  • Google will let you know through Google chrome if a site is potentially harmful to your computer

If you are using wordpress, chances that you are prone to hacking. But there are ways to secure your wordpress from getting hacked. A good example of it is the process that Jamie wrote on his blog about wordpress security.

There you have all 10 link building don’ts that every link builder need to keep in mind. In link building, quantity don't matter. Quality is the most important tip to keep in mind when you build links. As time goes by, the practice you know working today, may not work tomorrow. This means that any practice works for you must not be abused and should remain acceptable in general guidelines.
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Why Your Email Outreach Fail

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Almost all link building activities today start with outreach. You name it, guest posting, broken link building, resources page linking and so on, you know the rest. All of these tactics need to get in touch with the webmaster of your target website as the starting point. 

In most cases, outreach specialists have a list of websites in excel sheet with contact names and emails of presuming the right person to contact. These outreach specialists will then send emails to people in the list, hope to hear from them for further conversation and hopefully a successful link conversion.

While there is nothing wrong about sending out emails to connect with webmasters. It is inevitable to send someone an email for link acquisition, there is something that outreach specialists don’t seem to noticed at all. After sending out emails day by day of their working hours, they always come with a wrong introduction or template that ruins the whole campaign.

You want to know why? 

In fact, I have received a lot of emails and I will share some of the emails I received from these outreach specialists. But to summarize them in bullet points, I will make it shorter for all of you.

  • They lie.
  • They don’t use their real name and use a dummy account.
  • They offer only one time content contribution.
  • They are highly irrelevant to my blog.

Over the years, email outreach has been widely used for link building or content contribution purposes. If you are a blogger or webmaster you have probably received an email from someone reaching out to you either or a link inclusion or content pitch. As you read these emails, you often delete them or don’t even read the whole context for whatever reasons. But here are the common issues.

The use a funny template

The reason why I said funny is because they always claim to be a fan or regular reader of your blog. In fact, they have never even commented or shared any of my articles from the very first day I published one. Also, the blog is run by me and I don’t have an editorial team at all. But this long time reader guy assumed I had a team. 

The email body is obviously templated and not very convincing. While it appears to be personalized, I did not think It was. The article title they claimed shared was just copied and pasted in the email with apostrophes “6 Types of Links That Work and How You Can Get Them” 




If the email was personalized, I would not have seen a copied and pasted title in the email they sent me. Also, there is a hyperlinked to my blog. If this was personalized, the long-time-reader-guy would know that I only managed one blog and would not have linked put a hyperlinked to rankingelite.com.

How to get this right:
  • If you don’t know the right person to contact of the blog you’re trying to contact, ask in your email who might be the best person you should connect with.
  • Do not use apostrophes or parenthesis to highlight how you noticed a blog in your email
  • Do not bold any words in your email body to emphasize the purpose of your email
  • Do not share any links of your previous work unless it was requested.
  • Do not hyperlink the blog you are contacting in your email.

They are not relevant to my blog

Another email I received was from someone working for a fashion blog (olwomen.com). A self-proclaimed long time reader of my blog has sent me an email about guest blogging inquiry. While I do accept guest contributors to my blog, I don’t always publish all articles contributed by external writers just because of quality and relevancy issues.

As you can see in the email screenshot below, they are asking for 2 do-follow links back to their website. I don’t mind giving do-follow links, but asking for it in email, this guy got some confidence. If it was me, there is no way I would ask for it in email outreach.

Also, there was no emphasized expertise shared in the article and the choice is all mine to think of the topic. Since my blog is about search engine optimization, I highly doubt that someone from fashion industry could write content with value and quality information. 

How to get this right:
  • Do not ask for links in return.
  • Do not bother sending email to irrelevant blogs because you will waste your time.
  • Give topic suggestions to the blog owner in your initial pitch.
  • Avoid using irrelevant sentences in your email body. Make it short and be direct to the point.

They post only for links

Another email I received was from someone looking to drop their article on my blog. The email says they have an article ready to be published that is related to web design suits their website. Since they have it prepared even before contacting me, I did not have any option to choose topics. It was only to benefit themselves, which is not how it works on my blog.

I don't understand why they don't invest in time writing sensible email. It is important that whenever you write email to bloggers, make your email worth reading. Always remember that you are the one in need, not the bloggers you are contacting. Their blog can and will run without your content contribution so always keep in mind that you are the one in need.



How to get this right:
  • Do not tell the bloggers you already have an article ready.
  • Always express your interest in the email that you are highly interested to contribute articles.
  • Give a room for a quick introduction of yourself or where you are writing from.

They always get the timing wrong

Time is crucial in every initial email. You need to find out the perfect timing before you send out your outreach campaign. If your target bloggers are in your area, then you should be fine. However, if your target blogs are outside in your area where the timezone is different, you can't just send out emails anytime you want to.

You need to consider their leisure time, you don't want to send emails to bloggers during their dinner time or sleeping time. Bloggers receive a lot of emails everyday and if you send at the time they are not reading their emails, then don't expect an immediate response.

To make things right, here's what you should do:
  • You need to send your emails at the time they are in front of their computers. Figure out their timezone and schedule your emails.
  • Make sure to send a reminder to those who did not respond. If your email was sent in their morning, send it in the afternoon when you follow.
If you can't send emails at the time that your prospect bloggers are checking their emails or at front of their computers, you can use tools. There are email scheduler tools available you can use to maximize your email campaign such as:

  • Rightinbox
  • Boomerang
  • Canned Response
Since outreach is vital in link building activities nowadays, you can't afford to mess this up. You can't use one template for your outreach campaign, you can't even use an obvious templated email at all. You need to get to know who you are contacting before you actually send an email like nationality or location. 

Also, don't forget about their language. If your prospect is in AU, the tone of your email and your spelling should be australian. Same goes to US, CA or even UK bloggers. Although this might have a low impact, you can't ignore the possibility of using generic email template might cause you low responses.
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Quality Link Building Done Right

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Let's admit it. We can't live without links; we can't compete out there without increasing awareness of our website in our industry. We can't even rank pretty well on our target keywords without quality signals such as link, pointing to our webpages. Simply, links are something we can't ignore and something we can't abuse either because probably, it can shake a website upside down and turn a wonderful dream into a nightmare.

Over the past couple of years, link building has never been easy. It keeps on getting harder and harder as Google introduces something new to the SEO community. We can't deny it because it's pretty popular to the point where even a business owner who has no enough knowledge about search optimization knows about Penguin, Panda, EMD, the decay of guest blogging and so on.

While there are so many ways that we can do to perform quality link building to a website, it's not always easy for everyone to build links that will work and help their way up to the top. In this article, I'll share some ideas how to do quality link building and for the sake of this tutorial, let's use running shoes as our niche.

Audience Targeting

Before you conduct link building, you must know what website or blogs you should aim to get a link from. You can't just get a link from a website that sells shoes because the website is highly related to yours. There are some factors that you have to consider before deciding to get a link from a running shoes website.

You need to consider the goals of your running shoes website if it is appropriate to get a link from any running shoes website you'll find online. Such as, you want to get a link from a website that will benefit you in the long run and not just for the sake of links.

Alternatively, consider asking yourself the following questioner
  • Does this website target the same geographic location as yours - If your website is targeting Canada running shoes buyers, would you like to link from a website that target Australia website?
  • Does this website get decent organic traffic from search - One main reason you're linking to other website is to attract targeted traffic from them. If your target website doesn’t get organic traffic, you won't see any benefit from the other website.
  • What type of running shoes they offer? (For men only, women only or both - As part of audience targeting, if you're selling shoes to men, would you like getting women visitors?
  • Does this website have a good reputation in your industry - As part of your link building campaign, you only want to engage with quality websites that are recognized by people in your industry.
Audience targeting in link building should not be set aside. You may not be expecting a decent amount of traffic from other websites but you can't deny the fact that they do have what you need, which is audience/traffic. You can also tap other industries that are highly related to your industry such as (sports blog or marathon blog) as they both have a potential to drive relevant traffic to your website.

Assuming that you already know your target audience, you’ll now have to find the websites that will help you increase and strengthen your visibility and brand presence. 

Finding your prospects 

Finding prospect websites you can link from is not easy as it sounds. While there are link builders know the drill already, it's a lot harder for starters. Luckily, there are ways to get this done and it's a lot easier to accomplish. I'll share some tips that you can implement, just follow the steps below:

If you are just starting up link building to your website, being able to be seen on other websites in your industry is really crucial. You will need their authority and popularity in order to build awareness for your website. Since they are authority websites, you can most likely earn authority to your website.

In this section, we will find guest blogging opportunities.

Step 1. Use operator search to filter the results in Google - There are various "operator search" that you can use to minimize the results in Google, you just have to know how to use them. But for the sake of this tutorial, i'll share one way.

Use site:.ca inurl:write-for-us "running"

Step 2. Pull all information you need from Google - In this step, you will need a MOZ plugin to simplify the process. So if you don't have MOZbar, just get download from Google playstore and activate it before you do a search.

The search we used above is simply telling Google that you only need running shoes websites with extensions .ca (Canada) and are accepting guest bloggers (write for us)

Step 3. Download the results from Mozbar tool that you just installed in step 1. - This will download a file in .csv format with the information you need such as DA, PA etc.

Step 4. Delete unnecessary information you don't need and your done.

There are other ways you can do to find prospects other than guest blogging opportunities. You can use non-linking brand mention, resource pages linking etc.

Qualifying your prospects

Assuming that you have collected all your prospect websites, you can start to assess them if they are qualified, over qualified or not qualified according to your needs. To do this, you will have to inspect your prospect websites inside and outside to make sure they will not harm your website.

1. Check Domain Authority

First things first, you need to know if your prospect websites have a good decent score of authority. You can check a website authority through MOZbar extension for chrome, just turn it on and it will show you the authority of a website from 0 to 100. Normally, you would limit yourself at least minimum of DA 30, because below 30, the authority you can get from those websites won't be helpful enough to help you rank.



2. Website Update Frequency

Normally, you would want to get a link from websites that are actively managed. This gives a positive signal to search engines that your prospect websites are not forgotten. Normally, you can see an update through their articles, news or blog posts. So if you see  their last update about 2 months old, they are probably not active as they should be.

3. Website Extension

Avoiding international country targeted domain is ideal if your website does not target international audience. So if your website targets Canada, your most referring domain would be .ca not .co.uk, .com.au, .com.ph

4. Volume of Traffic

Typically, you wouldn't want to get a link from website that don't get organic traffic or has had a downfall of traffic and never recovered. In order for your link building to be quality enough, link from websites that are currently receiving traffic from search. You can use SEMrush to see the organic traffic trends for your prospect.



5. Ranking Keywords

Similar to volume of traffic, you would only want to link from a website that have ranking keywords (partial, exact or semantic keywords). This will definitely give you an advantage to rank as well as your prospect websites are already ranking.

6. Sponsorship and Advertisement

Everyone is aware that Google hates websites that sell links. If you see a section on your prospect websites about sponsorship and advertisement that pass authority to their websites, that's definitely something you have to avoid if you want to keep your website clean.

7. Anchor text usage

Since the release of Google Penguin, anchor text profile has become very important in Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Just by looking at anchor text profile of a website, you can already tell if it is manipulating their ranking by exhausting an exact match keyword or getting attacked by negative SEO. So if you see a website with a nasty anchor txt profile, that’s one website, you have to avoid.



8. Blog networks 

Identifying blog network for someone new to link building can be quite hard to distinguish. However, there are some ways that you can do in order to figure them out which include the following:

Referring domain - one easy way to identify if a website is part of blog network is to analyze its referring domain. By doing this, you can easily tell if a suspicious website is shadily linking to other websites.

Email address - another way to find out if a blog is part of blog network is through their email address. Normally, blog owners use one email address to two or three blogs in different industry. And they also link together

WHOis info - who is information, should be displayed public. If a suspicious website has chosen to set its information to private, forget about it.

9. Keyword cannibalism 

Normally, site owners always wish to rank faster in search engines for their target keywords. Hence, this often leads them to overuse their target keywords as anchor text in footer or sidebar section with do-follow link. If you see a website cannibalizing itself with keywords, forget about it.

10. Trust flow

By definition, citation flow is a number of how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy pages tend to link to relevant pages. So if your prospect website tends to have below 20 trust flow, it’s probably not going to help you a lot in terms of ranking. So make sure that you’d go about 30 over 100.



11. Citation Flow

By definition, citation flow is a number of predicting how influential a URL based on how many pages links to it. Hence, the more links your prospect website has in terms of citation, the better. So you’d probably go to citation flow of over 30 over 100.

Contacting your prospects

Assuming that you have already done your research and filtered the websites according to your metrics in terms of quality, you should be prepared and ready to contact your prospects via email. Initially, you’ll need their contact name and email address in order to get in touch with the right person. You can normally see contact information you need on about or contact page as some website owners feel comfortable to write it down and give it away.

However, if you can’t find those information easily, don’t speed too much time looking for it. Using a contact form will do if you don’t have any options left. 

The next thing you need to do is write an email that won’t take much of their time to read. Make it short, simple and straightforward. 

Here’s one example for guest blogging outreach:

Hey

I’ve been reading your bog for quite some time now. I enjoy reading your articles about “blog niche”. I was wondering though if I could write an article about the same “blog niche”.

Let me know if you’re interested.

BTW I also run my own blog so if you have time, you can check it out. 


Cheers,

The key here is to be straight to the point. They don’t have all the time to read an email from someone they don’t know so it’s easier to get their attention from the very start.  While may not reply to your emails due to their busy schedule, you can still send them a follow up email after a few days of your initial email outreach. 

Pro tip: You can spot any social activities of your prospects to see if they are online, then that will be the best time for you to engage with them. 

Summary 

Link building is not a joke. It’s not a game we can play with anytime we want. It’s undeniably hard, no doubt about that, that’s the way it is. So let’s not waste our time and effort creating spam links and hope to rank after a period of time. Any actions that tend to manipulate a website ranking in organic search in Google for certain set of keywords will eventually be pulled down to zero visibility in search users. I know it takes some time to assess a website in terms of quality, it’s worth the time doing so. 

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11 Ways to Improve User Experience

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User experience plays an important role in any user transaction or journey. Without giving your audience a good user experience, they will just end up leaving your website without making any further activity like engagement. Most likely, they will not be coming back to your website and chances that your website performance succeeding rate in terms of engagement, conversion, popularity etc can be very low.

Surely, you don’t want your effort in promoting your website and driving traffic be put in to waste if they don’t convert right? Regardless of how strategic your social media marketing, paid search marketing or organic search marketing if you don’t a have strong CTA and UX, you can’t impress your audience and you can’t expect them to do any beneficial to your end.

In this article, I’ll highlight the important things to keep in mind for better user experience.

Let’s get started.


1. Make Your Website Look Handsome Sexy (Visually Good)


Back in 2011, Crazy Egg published a piece of information whether website design matters or not. This is a bit crazy but I agree with Joseph Putnam’s statement that first time visitors’ engagement depend on the design of your website so if your website don’t look good, a very low engagement rate can be expected.

Earlier this year, Entrepreneurial Insights published an article about the principles of successful websites. The principle shows that it’s not only about visual design of the website that matters but also the functionality of the website in general.

For an average user, it is important for them to see visually good and easy to navigate website especially if they are not website savvy in terms of different designs. Instead of giving them a hard time understanding the website, just make it easier for them to navigate from one page to another.

Below are some areas you should look at when designing your website for the benefits of your users: Alternatively, if you are just starting up your own website, you can use an HTML 5 cheat sheet or beginner's guide. 

Layout
  • Screen resolution
  • Responsive design
  • Navigation structure
  • Brand and Social visibility
Interface
  • Main features
  • Links
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Contact information
  • Forms
  • Search
Readability
  • Text fonts
  • Text styles
  • Content structured
  • Compatibility

2. Have a Clear Site Navigation


Site navigation should be clear and highly structured, your site navigation serves as a map to your audience. And I’m pretty sure you don’t want to give your visitors a hard time analyzing your site navigation to understand your website hierarchy. Your audience don’t have time for that. 

If your audience don’t get a picture of your website hierarchy structure looks like, they’ll probably bounce back to their source and look for something else. You don’t want them to lose along the journey, do you?

There are several types of site navigation you can choose from. However, they may not be applicable to all industry but you have to use your own data in order to see which best fit for your website.

Types of Navigation
  • Hierarchical navigation
  • Global navigation
  • Local navigation
Styles of Navigation
  • Text links
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Navigation bar
  • Side bar
  • Drop down menu

The main important thing to keep in mind when you plan out your site navigation and its structure, is always think of your users. Because they will be the one to use your website so don’t design it to look good but to look helpful too. But make sure they are crawlable as well.

3. Implement Breadcrumbs


The use of breadcrumbs is extremely important. It aids the issues of complex hierarchy structure of large websites such as e-Commerece site. In fact, this helps search engines fully understand the structure of your website and helps users navigate (usability) your website without having any difficulties whatsoever.

Breadcrumbs have various benefits for websites not only for SEO but for users too:
  • Helps users easily track their current location on your website
  • Reduces the user-clicks to revisit previous pages. It’s only one click away!
  • Encourages users to visit more pages in your website
  • Lowers your site bounce-rate 
Obviously, your goal is to make your visitors engage on your website and breadcrumbs play a big role in this. It does not have to be designed, a simple horizontal plain text is good enough. However, adding few tweaks can make it even better.

Take a look at Google’s own implementation of breadcrumb navigation, it’s very simple yet helpful to their users. 



4. Make Your Site Sociable


Adding social sharing buttons on websites has truly become a mandatory. With the demand of unstoppable growth of social media to individuals, spreading the word to social world is no longer hard than it was before. 



While social media shares, likes, or tweets have no direct impact in Google ranking factors, they can do make an impact to your audience if they see the mind blowing numbers of social engagement on your website.

In terms of user experience, your audience will likely find your website easy to share to their social accounts when they feel like it. Eliminating the actions that your visitors will do is definitely a huge plus for your website and most likely, it’s something your audience will appreciate.

Making your website sociable should never be difficult at all because there are some many tutorials and tools that could make it possible for you. All you need to do is follow their instructions and you should be fine.

Check these tips listed in Google SERPs

But the thing is, you have to decide which portion of your website you should place your social buttons. 
  • Should it be below the title of your article or product page?
  • Should it be floating next to body text of your article?
  • Or should it be at the end of the article?
You can get more ideas on the placement of your social media buttons by using a tool like Addthis or Sharethis. Addthis and Sharethis this have a lot of free and paid social buttons styling that you can choose from. 

5. Offer an HTML Sitemap on 404 pages


Another key to keep in mind when optimizing user experience of a website is you always have to prepare for unexpected situations. Realistically, you won’t always have a chance to fix dead pages real time. Instead, you’ll have a way around to resolve this issue and keep your visitors engaged on your website.

There are many websites doing this like Lego or Henrikhedegaard.com and more. One thing I noticed they all have in common is most of them are telling their audience to visit the previous page or the homepage. 

If would have been better if they presented a list of important pages on their website linked on their 404 pages for two possible reasons:
  • They may come from a referral source like social post or linked from external websites having a list of pages to choose from is much better.
  • Their expectation will not be met and pointing them back to the home page isn’t gonna help either.
Or it might be better if you can make something creative like Steve Lambert 404 page.

For the sake of user experience, wouldn’t that look perfect?

6. Provide Conversion Forms 


While it’s not a requirement for all websites but as long as you need to get information from your audience such as phone number or email address, this is probably something you can’t miss.

Normally, all websites should have a form like the one you see in contact us page. Sometimes, webmasters prefer to provide their personal email but it’s often get spammed so form is still recommended.

However, if your website is an e-commerce or publication, then you’ll probably need forms and if you don’t have any forms, how would they convert? 

Tips in optimizing your conversion forms:
  • Include only important information that you need
  • Don’t separate First and Last Name - They get extra space!
  • Move your form on the most prominent part of the page
  • Add your privacy policy
For further reading, check out the following tips by Hubspot and Unbounce.

7 Ways to Optimize Your Conversion Forms to Get Better Leads
Best Practices in Conversion Rate Optimization Debunked

7. Enable Site search


You might be thinking site search can’t hep you improve user experience but actually it can. Imagine if you have a lot of articles or products in various categories, your audience won’t have time to go through each of your categories to find what they are looking for and they’ll just probably look for somewhere else. So you have to prevent that from happening.

However, you’ll have to prevent crawlers from indexing your site search because technically these are the pages you wouldn’t want to be indexed. Not unless you want to suffer from duplicate issue?

Disallow: /search

8. Page Load Time Speed

Users don’t have time to wait for pages to be fully loaded. What if they don’t have fast internet connection? You’ll expect them to wait? That’s not gonna work. Users need information to be presented as fast as it could be. 

Think of Google, imagine how crazy they are in providing results on every phrase we search? Take a look at the image below. I searched for page speed and Google provided about 285M pages in 0.21 seconds. WTF?!

Image taken on June 29, 2015 (UTC+08:00)

That’s how important it is for them so why not make it important for you too? In fact, Google has evenly announced back in 2010 that they officially included site speed as ranking factor for the sake of internet users. 

So if your website have page speed issues, you’re probably at disadvantage and it’s gonna affect your user experience and most probably ranking performance in search. 

Here are some tips to improve your page speed:
  • Minimize HTTP Requests
  • Reduce server response time
  • Enable compression
  • Enable browser caching
  • Minify Resources
  • Optimize images
  • Optimize CSS Delivery
  • Reduce the number of plugins you use on your site
  • Reduce redirects
To check your page speed you can go to Page Speed Insights by Google, YSLow.org, WebpageTest.org and a lot more. You’ll basically see areas for improvement once you run a page speed report with any of the tools mentioned about so it’s gonna be easy for you to identify which are causing page speed issues.

9.Multi-Device Compatibility

The increase of mobile search has become wildly fast. The phrase “mobile will surpass desktop” in 2015 has come to reality. That being said, mobile search advertising is expecting to increase to as well. 

Since more users are switching to mobile when looking for information, it’s understandable that Google will require webmasters to have their websites mobile-user-friendly. 

Recently, Google has officially announced on their blog that they’ll be expanding the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal and they even send a massive notification to webmasters about making their websites mobile-friendly.

10. Fix mobile usability 

Earlier this year, Google has released another feature in Search Console - formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools. The aim is to give users a better experience for mobile searchers and have a meaningful after-click experience from search results when they landed on a page they clicked on and hopefully usable on the following ways:
  • A defined viewing area (or viewport) that adjusts to the device’s screen size.
  • Content that flows in the viewport, so that users don’t have to scroll horizontally or pinch the screen in order to see the entire page.
  • Fonts that scale for easier reading on small screens.
  • Easy-to-touch elements (e.g., buttons) that are well-spaced from other touch elements.
  • Visual design and motion driven by mobile-friendly technology.
Since mobile search is on the rise, Google has given a sign for webmasters if they want their website to perform in Mobile Search, perhaps following their checklist is a good idea.

To see if your website is currently experiencing mobile usability issues, you can go check to your search console under search traffic.


11. Fix Crawl Errors

Crawl errors is inevitable. It usually happens when a page becomes unavailable when Google revisit the page or just a simple error in hyper-linking the URL. Whichever it is, crawl errors cause dissatisfaction to users if they landed on a page that no longer exist.

In Search Console, Google let’s the webmaster of a specific website property know about the current crawl errors on the website. They provide the report in crawl errors section on search console such as linking pages and the date when the error was first detected. Alternatively, you can use other third party tool such as www.brokenlinkcheck.com


Normally, dealing with crawl errors can be done in two easy ways and these include:
  • 301 redirection
  • Robots.txt blocking
Once the crawl error report in search console are fixed, you can mark them as fixed and you can move on with our life.


Summary

When designing a website, always think of your users and how they can conveniently navigate your website. If your website design is elegantly good but does not give your users a good experience, it’s not gonna make a huge positive impact to your website.

After all, it's always the results what matters and you don't want your traffic to remain as traffic, right? You want to delight, make relationship with them and convert them.
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