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:

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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Untapped Link Building Tactics

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In search engine optimization (SEO), links are widely known as a must-have signal for websites, not only to increase website visibility or to increase your website organic rankings, but also to expand their audience reach in their industry. Surely, the main goal we should have in mind when we build link is to drive referral traffic to our website and increase the ability of our website to perform in organic search.

While link building plays an important role in a website’s performance in organic search, Google has set some rules which should be followed strictly by SEOs in building links if they want to keep their presence in search alive and kicking. This means, any link building tactics that are against Google guidelines are prone to algorithmic or manual penalty.

Why have a tactic?

In link building, you can’t just decide to do whatever link building tactic works for your competitors. If they do guest blogging, would it make sense if you do the same? If you want to see long term results and keep your website away from algorithmic filter and manual actions, then you should think of something better.

Something that will make your website standout from the rest. But how will you do it? How can you use your links for traffic generation and potential ranking improvement of your website?

Read on as this article might give you some insights. I’ve created a list of tactics that you might be able to help you out.


Conversation link building

Who said conversation is not a good form of link building? Well it’s actually a better one - if you just do it right. This type of link building don’t require you to be a guru or an expert in the topic, you just need to know exactly what you are contributing to the table. Otherwise, you will rather be ignored than be noticed by the community which is not a good thing right?

In fact, this tactic can really help you drive targeted traffic to your website over time so you definitely have to contribute valuable insights and not just leave your link and expect traffic. As SEOs, one of our responsibilities are to build relevant link and drive relevant traffic to a website, which make this tactic perfect.

Finding the targets:

To spot potential link opportunities for this tactic, you always need to use the “question phrases” such as how. Typically, you will need to answer whatever their questions they have. 

To start with, you can use Quora.com to find easy to answer questions related to your industry.


  • site:quora.com “earn money online”
  • Filter the results in a month or weeks to only see fresh questions
  • Look for question phrases


Do these steps to make things work:

  • Research carefully the topic before joining in to the conversation for better understanding of what the topic is about.
  • Write about your research and make it an evergreen content so you can continuously drive traffic to your website.
  • Share what you have in your content to the thread but don’t give all what you’ve got so they will have to click through your link to see the whole picture information.
Bonus tip:

Quora shows related questions to your topic so you’ll have a list of pages to visit within the website.


Entity Link Building

We’ve all been informed that brand mention is a good form of link building. However, brand name is not the only entity that we use online - it could be names or places which correlate to the brand/company name. 

While no-link mentions are good, websites are better off with links pointing to them rather than plain text. In fact, DejanSEO did a study in 2012 if plain text can help a website increase ranking performance of the site. But confirmed there was none.

The best thing in this tactic is.. It can help you find websites who have mentioned you but not linking to you, and monitor your reputation online whether for your brand or for people in your company. 

Just take a look at the professional page of Dan Petrovic, Founder of Dejan SEO. His page according to Mozbbar has a page authority of 55 over 100 and earned entity mention from various domains such as News.com.au and ABC.net.au



In order for this tactic to work, you need to have a dedicated page on your website which talks about important people in your company such as your CEO or key team players. By including relevant information such as interview exposure, guest authored articles or media exposure links, you can make the page link worthy and high quality.

How to do this:

  • You’ll need to create a profile page of your CEO, Manager or Key Team Players for professional information.
  • Curate all articles, media exposures, interviews of your CEO/Manager being featured on other websites.
  • Find entity mention of people in your company on related websites, news sites, blogs etc.
  • Contact people who have mentioned their names without linking to your website.

Note: This tactic is not available for start up websites.

Participate in Local, National or International Events

Having hard to replicate links pointing to your website can be your advantage. Knowing that this type of link can’t just be created through broken link building, guest blogging or resource page linking because this is editorially given by a webmaster. 

Also, this type of editorially given links don’t feel like to get overused anytime soon so this is probably your kind of links if you want to stay away from unnatural links. 

Take a look at online marketing conferences such as Morcon (Mastering Online Conference) which happens once a year. Morcon is a Philippine-based conference wherein like minded marketers in the Philippines come together and share marketing ideas, experience and knowledge to the community.

One remarkable speaker you can get to meet in Morcon is Jason Acidre, a well-known SEO consultant recognized by international SEO community which is definitely an honor to meet in person.

At the moment, Morcon does not have a website (that I’m aware of) to show a bit of information about the speakers. However, since Morcon is full of smart online marketers, it’s has all the rights to get featured on a link building blog such as Digitalphilipines.net.

Another perfect example is the recent event happened in San Jose, CA last March 2015. Glen Dimaandal - CEO of GDI Online Marketing was qualified enough to get accepted as a speaker at the event, giving him a chance to link his online marketing firm.



Normally, each speaker is required to provide a short description of themselves and most of the time it comes with brand name with a link to their website. Example

The good thing about this tactic is you can expand your brand awareness which can drive new visitors to your site. 

Tips to get this done:

  • Find organizations in your industry that have frequent conferences locally or nationally. You can use Facebook Group or Meetup.com to easily find your targets.
  • Reach out to group administrators and request if you can be one of the speakers on the next event.
  • Select highly interesting topic that you have a lot of knowledge about so you can be very confident to know every ups and downs of it.

Radio Interviews

Do you want media exposure or media links? Have you been looking around HARO for news links? You can probably get those links in a quite simple way. Interviews have been around for some time now and is very popular for online marketers and bloggers for exposure and link opportunity. 

However, what I noticed is most of the time, we only tap bloggers to request interviews and rarely to tap other interview opportunities such as radio interviews. In fact, radio interviews can expand your brand audience reach and can attract targeted traffic to your website - not to mention the link you can get from them when you get featured in an interview. 

A perfect example on this is the interview of Benj Ariola, VP for SEO of Internet Marketing Inc. They had a two consecutive exclusive interview with Benj Ariola about Google Mobile and User Generated Content.



Although the interview page itself didn’t include a link to IMI’s website, it has earned quality link on websites like finance.yahoo.com. Was it worth it? Hell yeah!

If you have not tapped radio interviews yet, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Media link/s to your website - Giving you a quality link which can give you an edge in the competition in terms of ranking.
  • Free media exposure of your brand in local market - giving you an opportunity to attract your local target audience.
  • Giving your website trust and authority value by being cited on media site in your target location which sends positive signal to search engines.

How to get Radio Interviews?

  • Find radio programs in your industry who interview companies, bloggers, marketers or entrepreneurs.
  • Listen to their previous interviews to know who sort of topics interest them.
  • Send them an email containing your interview request.
  • Let them know how interested you are to be featured to their program.

Sponsor Venue for Events

Do you wish to earn links to your website or do you just find it hard to earn links? You can probably earn links by doing a unique approach. Normally, every industry has conferences happen once or twice a year conducted by industry leaders to meet other experts or newbies in their industry. 

Surely, they have all the budget they need to occupy a venue for their event. However, if you have extra space in your area where you can allow experts in your industry to use for their events, would not that be great?  

That’s definitely something you don’t want to let pass, Here’s why:

  • You can build strong relationship with experts in your industry which can make outreach easier for you.
  • Earning links whenever you have upcoming events in your industry which you are sponsoring won’t be difficult.
  • Increasing your social followers won’t probably a huge problem.

Where to find these experts?

  • Meetup or Facebook group is probably the best choice you can use. Just look for up coming events happening in your local area.
  • Contact the meet up organisers that you would like to sponsor a venue for their next event.
  • If all goes well, you can request the event speakers to write an article about the next event on their blog with links.

Things to keep in mind when you do link building:


Keep relevancy all times - This is something that link builders should not overlooked or ignored. If you want your links to stand out and remain valuable to your website, creating relevant links is definitely crucial.

Diversify your anchor text profile - Of course, everyone in the SEO industry is aware that we can no longer exhaust partial and exact keyword match anchor text as anchor text because it only sends negative signals to Google and can put a website at risk.

Use your brand name - Of course for none advertorial purposes. If you want good looking links, instead of using your target keyword as anchor text, why not just your brand name? This gives your brand a 

Avoid spam triggering words - As much as possible, do not use “cheap, affordable, buy, free +keyword etc” use in your anchor text as part of your keyword

Use only quality sites - If you want your links to work for you in terms of traffic generation or can help in your ranking improvement, use only relevant sites in your industry that are highly visited and have good authority and recognition in your industry.

Final Words

Everyone knows that in link building space, quantity don’t matter if your inbound links are crappy and violating webmaster guidelines. You need quality and relevant links pointing to your website. But keep in mind that you can’t be obsessed with links, don’t focus on them. Build links slowly but with quality for better ranking performance of your website in organic search.
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6 Types of Links That Work and How You Can Get Them

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In search engine optimization, links still contribute a valuable signal to websites whether they should be ranked in organic search or not. Website still need links to build authority and to drive new traffic to a website. Although it was announced by John Mueller that webmasters should not build links, this does not mean that we should totally put an end to it. However, it’s just a matter of improving the approach how we get those links, not just spamming them.



Web pages are connected from one page to another through link and if we put an end to it, how will new pages be connected to other websites? It’s just not possible at the current state of our internet setup but who knows, this could become possible sometime in the future. Anyway, in the modern link building approach, we need to have a different mindset when we build links, we need to make sure that all the links we build in the future will have a significant impact to our website in the long run, otherwise, Google will use these links to penalize the websites we do SEO for. 

In this article, I’ll share with you what types of links that could work for your website and how you can get them. Remember, there are few reasons why you are building links, traffic, exposure, authority and rankings.

Interview links

Interview links will always be useful to any websites, new or old ones. This helps discover new traffic and can increase referral traffic to a website which makes it a good channel for acquiring targeted audience. Interviews can also help increase your exposure and authority in your industry that can send positive signal to search engines which can have significant impact to your search rankings.

You can also increase your indexed pages from various websites for your expert name or brand name so when someone search for you or your brand online (entity search), search users will definitely see your interviews in the results and obviously good for online reputation management.

Take a quick look when you search for "Interview with Venchito Tampon" in Google SERPs.



Tips to get interview links:
  • Share new information to the table in your industry and make sure you become an expert in this field.
  • Write for various top natch websites in your industry frequently to increase your visibility to that channel.
  • Send email to experts in your industry who conduct interviews with thought leaders and experts for interview request.

Benefits of interview links:
  • It can give you naturally given links to your website with your brand name as anchor text.
  • This an help you diversify your link profile from various link sources.
  • You can increase your online exposure in your industry which can help you expand your audience reach.

Editorial/Earned Links 

Editorial link is type of quality link which can be really hard to earn. Knowing that this type of link is quite very powerful and highly recognize by search engines as naturally given links, the importance of earned links can benefit a website in the long run in terms of traffic, ranking ability and even exposure.

The good thing about editorial links is you don’t have to go out there and look for link opportunities for your website, these links are willingly be given to you by webmasters which can help pass authority to your website that can help in ranking.

Tips to get editorial links:
  • Create link worthy content on your website that people in your industry will likely to talk about such as case studies.
  • Create a list of resources for your industry where your audience can always use as reference such as list of how-tos articles or even just glossary of terms.
  • Produce content like survey where people in your industry can take part in and credit them when you publish the post.

The key to earn editorial links is you need to produce something to the table that was never produced before by anyone in your industry or an improved an updated information on certain topic which was covered before by someone in your industry. 

Benefits of editorial links:
  • This can help you drive constant targeted traffic to your website in a continuous basis.
  • This can help you improve your website’s search performance in your industry.
  • You can increase relevant links to your website.

Social links

If you want to have easy to obtain type of link but can have tremendous impact to a website, links from social media is definitely the one you need. Social media links help a lot a web page to attract wider range of audience in a specific period of time and can also make a web page increase its audience reach. Essentially, this could have an indirect impact to the website in terms of rankings and significant impact in terms of traffic that your business will enjoy.

Although social media links alone can’t help your website outperform your competitors in organic search, this can still help your website have positive signals which search engines won’t be able to ignore. But you need to keep in mind that in order to have successful social media links, you need to have the strong and right social followers so that all your social share will only be shared to your kind of audience.

Tips to get social media links:
  • Add social sharing buttons on your website particularly on your article or blog posts.
  • Share valuable information to your audience that they can’t resist to share
  • Encourage your audience to share your content to their social connections

Benefits of social media links:
  • This can help your posts to get viral and increase your audience reach.
  • You can drive more targeted traffic to your website through social share of your connections.
  • This can bring more potential followers to your social pages which can be your potential alliances in social media sharing.

Resource pages links

One useful and beneficial type of link that you should have for your website is the resource pages link. This can give you links for long term benefits in terms of ranking and traffic purposes that you can take advantage of for your website. Moreover, resource pages links can help you have a connection with websites in your industry through email conversation when you reach out to them requesting for link inclusion to their resource page.

By having links from resource pages on websites in your industry, this could signify trust between you and other websites because you are being referred by them just by including your link on their resource page. This significant signal is very important for users and search engines as they can see relationships between other websites.

Tips to get resource page links:
  • Provide tools in your industry where your audience will likely to use constantly.
  • Contact webmasters in your industry who have already listed similar websites in your industry.

Benefits of resource pages links:
  • You can pass link authority from other websites to your website.
  • You can drive relevant traffic and relevant links to your website.
  • You establish good relationships with webmasters in your industry which can expand your connections

Newsletter links

If you are looking to constantly increase new traffic and returning traffic to your website, definitely using newsletter campaign is vitally important. While newsletter links have no direct impact to organic rankings, it has a significant impact in referral traffic to your website. 

Tip in getting news letter links:

  • Contribute content to other websites in your industry that have newsletter campaigns.

Benefit of newsletter links:

  • You can attract more traffic to your website through your contributed article on related websites in your industry that have this type of campaign.

Voting site links

Similar to newsletter links, you can also constantly drive targeted and new traffic to a website through voting sites in your industry. Knowing the voting sites are always visited by people in your industry, the amount of targeted traffic to your website can be really important for few crucial reasons:
  • These new traffic to your website can lead to further promotional campaign like social share.
  • Linkers in your industry can discover your website and may find it link worthy content which can even more expand the audience reach.

Although you can’t always monetize your website through traffic voting sites because what you share in voting sites is information focused and not product or services of your business. But the good thing about voting sites is you can attract even influencers and experts in your industry to visit your website. 

Tips to get voting site links:

  • Write link and share worthy content where your industry can find unique and valuable.
  • Contact people in your industry who have an account on your target voting sites and request to up-vote your content.
  • Do it yourself, moderately.

Benefits of links from voting sites:
  • You can drive constant click through traffic to your sites from very relevant traffic source related to your industry.
  • You can attract first time visitors to your site which can become your loyal visitors.

Summary

Knowing what types of link that matter for your website is really crucial. You don’t want to waste your time doing link building campaign and yet you’re not even sure if those links you build will work or just risking your website’s reputation in search engines. If you really want to succeed in link building, identify what sort of links you really and to scale your campaign, measure your efforts and save your valuable time so you can do other works related to your online marketing campaign.
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Google Says no Link Building! What to do?

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In a Google Webmaster Hangouts, John Mueller of Google, has answered a question about link building - is link building in any way good? John Mueller says he would try to avoid link building in general. His recent statement made a lot of noise in the industry and SEO blogs and news sites published articles covering his statement.



Although John Mueller said that they do use links as part of their algorithms, he also mentioned that they use a lot more than that. So focusing in link building alone may only harm a website rather than actually help it perform in organic search.

Back in 2012, when Google released their Penguin Algorithm, it was already a sign that Google is slowing killing link building because webmasters tend to focus more and more in generating links, regardless of quality or low quality. With that being said, how can a website standout in organic search without focusing in link building? Let’s try to uncover the most important factor to help websites perform better in organic search.

Increase your indexed pages

Google aims to provide reliable information to search users as often as possible. Search users always look for answers to their questions, even the most stupid question has answers elsewhere in the internet. In a report of InternetLiveStats.com, they revealed that Google search statistics has reached over a billion per day. This means that the possibilities of your content to appear in organic search is definitely higher.

However, if your website only contain few pages and these pages were created to rank for certain keywords, you could be losing the chance to appear in organic search for other key terms related to your industry that you did not target on your website pages. Actually, in 2008, informational search users are far higher than commercial or navigational search users according to Penn State which makes sense if you consider Knowledge Graph and Hummingbird.

Say for example, your main keyword for your website is “Perth home builders” and your website only has 45 pages broken down below:

  • 40 property listing pages
  • 1 About us page
  • 1 Contact us page
  • 1 Company history page
  • 1 Company executives page
  • 1 Sales Personnel page

Your website may only appear in organic search when your target or similar keywords are used when your target audience look for home builders in Perth but other than that, your website may not appear in SERPs when your target audience change their keyword terms.

While we all understand the value of being #1 in Google is crucial, we can’t just be obsessed overdoing methods we believe work to become the number one.

Fix your website technical issues

In relation to having indexed pages in Google, we can’t just sit and relax creating pages and hope to get better results in the long run. Having more quality pages indexed by Google is just one of the steps you can do to help your website perform in organic search. This means, there are other areas you can do such as technical section of your website. Your website won’t perform well in organic search if this is experiencing serious technical issues that you have not addressed because you are more interested in building links.


To help you get started, here are some checklist you can look at for technical issues on a website:

  • You can check your website title and description tag if they are properly optimized, over optimized or non-optimized. You can do this by crawling your entire website using a tool like Screaming Frog.
  • Analyze your website structure to see if you have important pages that don’t fall to 3-clicks rule.
  • Review your link profile to make sure you are in good shape. You can do this by looking at your website’s inbound link via Google Webmaster Tools - links to your site section or you can use other link profile reporting tool like Ahrefs.
  • Check your robots.txt file to make sure all pages you want to be indexed are being indexed.
  • Improve your website page speed for better search user experience. You can check your website loading speed performance by using Google Page Speed Insights Tool.
  • Check your website multi-device compatibility.

These are just common checklist but yet have significant negative impact to a website if not addressed properly.

Remove your low quality pages from index

One of the main reasons why Google has been penalizing websites from search is because of the quality issue of content on a website. Instead of focusing on generating links to your website, why not spend your time analysing your content, identifying your thin pages or even duplicate content? By ensuring your website content quality is monitored, you can rest assure that your website will not be hit big time when Google makes another Panda algorithm update.

When auditing your website content for quality issues, you can use these tips below to help you get started:

Method 1: Google Site Search

Step 1: Do a site search of your website in organic search. site:domain.com - This will give you an idea of how many of your pages Google display in search results.
Step 2: Spot for pages you don’t want Google to index such as: tags, site search results, spun articles etc. - These type of pages are often causing problem with site overall performance in organic search and if not addressed correctly, it could even result to penalty.
Step 3: Add noindex/nofollow tag in your robots.txt file for the low quality pages ie:

Disallow: /tag
Disallow: /search

Method 2: Screaming Frog

Step 1: Do a site crawl of your website via Screaming Frog and spot the pages with low text ratio of 250 for blog posts or articles.
Step 2: You can either update the text ratio of your pages or totally remove it from your website.

Method 3: Google Analytics

Step 1: Take a look of your site content > all pages section.
Step 2: Change the total pages view in Google Analytics to maximum of 5000
Step 3: Identify the pages with highest bounce rate and average time spent on a page.

Embrace Structured Markup

For local and e-commerce websites, structured data markup definitely helps a lot. Actually, according to this article on Search Engine Land you can get up to 30% increase of your organic traffic with structured markup. With that information in mind, it may be a lot better than spending your time in link building, right?

There are 12 markup that a website can use for rich snippets. Obviously, we cannot use them all but you can take advantage on a few:
  1. Authorship markup - Google no longer supports this markup.
  2. Local Business Schema
  3. Testimonial
  4. Breadcrumbs
  5. Events
  6. Coupons
  7. Videos
  8. Recipe
  9. Individual
  10. Table list
  11. Products
  12. Business and Organizations

By polishing your rich snippets, you can give better information to search users of what they will see on your website and why it’s relevant to their search query. While rich snippets don’t affect search rankings it does not mean web pages won’t get any benefit from it when displayed in organic search.

For better understanding of rich snippets and structured data, you can check this out on Google Webmaster Tools help section.

Optimize Your Page Elements

While this is very common for SEOs, it’s still important to review your page elements if you can see anything that need improvement. You need to make sure that your page elements are properly optimized so you won’t miss a thing that may be highly important. These elements may not be highly important as you think but if you patiently make use of them, the impact could be overwhelming.

Here are the page elements you normally need to optimize for every page of a website:

1. Title tag
2. Description tag
3. Header tag
4. Image tag
5. Internal links
6. Keyword placement
7. Anchor text usage

Essentially, if those page elements are properly optimized, you should expect a better performance of your website in organic search, mixed with other on-page factors you would do to optimize a website such as page speed, site layout etc.

Review and Clean up Your Link Profile

Did you know that instead of help your website, you may actually be harming it when you build links to it? It does not automatically happen that way but when you basically overdo it, that’s the time you will get into trouble. Yes, link building is important but you don’t need to focus on it all the time.

Unfortunately, you don’t have control over the links pointing to your website you did not create or don’t have access with. This means, you are not always sure whether your links are all quality and not manipulative so spending some time to review and clean up your link profile is worth doing for than spending most of your time in link building.

When reviewing your link profile, here’s what you need to do:
  • Download your links from Google Webmaster Tools, Ahrefs, MOZ or Majestic.
  • Review your anchor text profile and make a categorization ie: exact match, partial match, branded, image, etc. - You need to make sure that your anchor text profile isn’t more of partial match and exact match. It has to be mixed with branded, generic, no anchor text for diversify purposes.
  • Review the source of your links - You need to see if they are quality, relevant, indexed by Google or don’t contain spam.
  • When you find negative links, send a disavow request to Google or if you want to do heavy lifting, send emails to webmasters asking them to remove the negative links you discovered.
  • You need to make it a hobby like every month so you can be sure that your website is always in good shape.
Link Building is just one thing we can do to help a website perform in organic search and it does not mean if we don’t perform link building, our website performance will be affected. There are other factors that are even more important than building links such as the methods that have been mentioned in the above. By focusing on these section, you might actually help your website rather than harm it. SEO isn’t only about link building and link building isn’t the only way to become number one in Google search so don’t be obsessed in link building!
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Link Building Interview with Venchito Tampon

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Link building is a though job. You need to have knowledge, expertise and skill to implement a successful link building campaign for a website. Obviously, not everyone have requirements and can implement a high quality link building campaign.

In this interview, we have Venchito Tampon on board to share his experience, knowledge and specialty in link building. 

Let's do this!

1. Who is Venchito Tampon and how was your life like before? How did you get started in search industry and what was your starting point?

Venchito Tampon is the sole author of the link building and content marketing blog, Digital Philippines. He is also the Co-Founder and Marketing Director of LinkCore Media, a high quality content marketing and link building company. He also coaches potential internet marketers in the local scene by becoming a Filipino motivational speaker and by sharing his digital marketing knowledge on local workshops and seminars. 

I became a freelance writer one year before I entered in the search marketing industry (2012). It’s tough game since I need to continuously apply for different writing jobs in order to increase my active income. 

Maybe, that’s one of the reasons why I love our industry (search).  It is because everyone has the guts to compete, learn new skills for technical, writing and marketing purposes and earn a well compensating income in a short period of time.


2. Your blog mainly focused in link building, what made you focus in this particular area?

I’ve seen a lot of new internet marketing and SEO blogs that are being launched almost every week so I thought there’s a top need to start a blog that is unique and almost different from the others – that made me focus on link building.

However, if you’ve been a long time reader of my blog, you can still read posts that discuss about content marketing and blogging, like my popular articles on content promotion strategies and blog post ideas

Those two topics mentioned above are closely related to my main blog theme, which is link building.

3. How do you a create link building strategy for a client? 

Here is a simple process that I follow when creating link building strategies for my clients.

  • Learn everything about the website. It is important to deeply understand the company’s selling proposition or how it generates revenue, what makes it different from its competitors and how many contents are available in the website. 
  • Learn from the client’s competitors. Link searching on competitors is a good technique to analyze how the industry works (i.e. how does each and every backlink is being acquired). 
  • Analyze what method(s) are effective to use in that particular industry by understanding the relationships between the pages being linked to and the linking websites.

I guess this is a pretty simple process to implement but there’s so much value that you’ll get when you do a thorough research first before starting off the campaign straight. 

4. How do you measure a successful link building campaign?

For agencies who are working on full SEO packages, the main measurement of the success of the campaign lies on the referral visits and assisted conversion part of the site’s analytics.

If there’s an increase in those site’s aspects, then the link strategy is effective. Though there’s still a need to test more link tactics in order to get better results next time.


5. What is your specialty in link building?

Our specialty as a link building team is the ability to pitch webmasters/bloggers that we haven’t been engaged before (stranger type) and to build long term relationships with them that’ll benefit both parties.

It’s really tough to discuss corporate/blogger partnerships through email since there’s no sense of loyalty unless you already have years of connections with a specific person. 

Though with the right approach and value to offer to the person, you can easily catch his/her attention and engage with him/her for the longest time.


6. When accepting link building campaign from a prospect client - What questions do you ask to qualify a client for link building?

Here are a few questions that I ask to my potential clients for our link building services?
  • What are the best contents that you have on your website or are you still planning to create in the future? 
  • Who are your competitors?
  • What groups of people are you targeting for your campaign?
  • Do you have any past relationships with bloggers/webmasters in your industry?

The more we understand the client’s business and its industry, the easier for us to create a strategy that will fit in to their business needs. 

7. How do you charge your clients for link building and what are your deliverables?

We have a custom pricing for our link building services but basically we price at around $800 every month (starting rate). 

The client can still continue working with us after a month if he/she is satisfied with the quality of our services (no strings attached).

8. How do you find link opportunities for your clients and how does this change from industry to industry?

There are so many tactics that I use to find link opportunities and I’ve written a big post on that specific topic, but to recap a few of my favorite methods, here’s a list that you can immediately apply:
  • Do a Google search prospecting for available links/resource pages in your industry (use inurl:resources OR inurl:links “topic”) but don’t end there, create a list of websites/pages that you see in every resource page and go find their linking domains/pages. They may not be your client’s direct competitors but they have linking pages, which are low hanging fruits that you can easily get.
  • Perform reverse engineering on a deeper level. Use Ahrefs or other third party link analysis tools to find linking domains of your client’s competitors but make sure to understand how they are able to acquire their links (analyze the link relationships).
  • Go to industry forums and look of active users that have their own blogs/sites that you can quickly engage with through email, since they are the ones who’re responsive to email conversations due to the nature of their work (freelancing).

If you want to learn more on how to search for relevant link opportunities, you can check out this post on high quality link search strategies


Thank you Vecnhito for sharing your knowledge and experience with us!

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Link Building Ideas for New Websites

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New websites need to be promoted. They need exposure, presence, and strong alliance with other websites through links and of course with their target audience. If you just launched a new website or blog, you are probably wondering what are the possible ways you can perform to help your website be found and discovered by your target audience and hope to eventually become visible in search engines.

You may be wondering of using various approach in digital marketing such as paid advertising, press release or even email marketing just to build your awareness. Although, those are tied for short term results, it's better to be doing something than nothing at all, right? But if you are thinking of long term results, probably link building is best for you.

Why link building is best for brand new websites?

  • It can help the new website become visible on other industry related websites or blog with high monthly traffic.
  • Can help the new website earn inbound links from quality and relevant websites.
  • Opens an opportunity to the brand new website attract targeted audience.
  • Link building helps the website get indexed fast by search engines.
Link building can be done in several ways but in this article, the focus of this link building ideas is for newly launched websites. Let's get started.

Since link building can be done with use content and no use of content, so i just thought it is a good idea to divide the ideas by tactic.

Link building with no content

I’m sure you're hands are itchy to build links to your website but don't get too excited and build massive links pointing to your site. That’s not very good and you will just waste your time because that will never last and you don’t like that, do you? Link building with no use of content sounds like low quality link building but it’s really not. Imagine a directory listing created on Yelp, Yellow Pages, Foursquare etc., ranking for your target keywords? Read the discussion on MOZ for reference.

The truth is, link building is hard - especially if you are aiming to get useful links. Useful in terms of traffic acquisition or just for organic ranking - that’s why link quantity don’t matter if they are in low quality. In this section, I’ll share some tips how to build links with no content.

Niche directory listings

If you just launched a new website or blog, probably it has not been submitted to any directory sites. It may probably be not as quality as .edu links but it is highly important that newly launched websites are to be submitted to directory listings for several reasons:

  • Customers still use directory listings to find establishments nearby ie: Pizza Store
  • Customers use directory listings to leave their feedback/testimonials whether good or bad (Think of Yelp or Google for Business)
  • This increases the chances of your website be seen by your target audience.
While you can get good results on main directory websites, you can't ignore the link opportunities in niche directory listings.

You can't just also go full blast with directory links as your link profile won't look natural - imagine your site successfully submitted to 100 directory sites within a day? That's too much and will trigger a suspicious link acquisition method. So do not abuse the opportunity to build links on niche directory sites. 

But by following some tips below might guide you to the right path:

  • Use your brand name at all times - This can help increase brand signals pointing to your site.
  • Avoid keyword match anchor text - You need to diversify your link anchor text profile.
  • Use consistent NAP - For better user information to avoid confusion.
  • Use high DA directory sites  - Focusing on quality sites can help your new website perform better in search engines particularly in local search.
  • Don't just link build on auto-approved directories
I'll show you an example of how you can find a good niche directory. 

Assuming that you are in gaming industry and you just launched your site. So probably, you are looking for opportunities you can get for your website. 

To get started, I will use DMOZ to find a good quality directory. So go ahead to dmoz.org and click on reference.

Once you're in, go head over to directories category to see a bunch of directories waiting for you to use them.


Then next is to find your industry and select the directories you can use for your niche directory submission.


Some other categories will bring you straight to their listings but some may even have more categories but that is a good opportunity though, the more the better.


Looking on the Apex Web Gaming, looks like a good site for online and downloadable games.


Site quality metrics look good to.


There you have it. A list of high quality niche directory sites using DMOZ alone. :)

So if you are in a gaming industry, don't let this pass!

You might use some information below useful in your directory link building campaign:

Directory link building - Venchito Tampon

Broken Links Replacement

This approach is highly different in niche directory listing as it requires outreach and personalized approach with webmasters or blog owners but broken links is another good method to build links for new websites. While this practice can also be used by old websites, utilizing this approach for new websites still make sense. 

The concept in finding link opportunity on broken link building for new website is simply listed below:

  1. Find authority and relevant resource pages in your industry.
  2. Take a look at the links on resource pages you will find.
  3. Create a list of broken links and gather necessary information of site owner or webmaster ie:email
  4. Let the site owner or webmaster know the issue and recommend some fixes.
The approach is really simple but it is one of a kind and gold mine tactic. Imagine when you find a resource page with broken links? Put that broken link in your back link checker tool to get you excited - I saw this approach by Brian Dean of Backlinko on his SEO techniques.

What's so good in broken link building tactic?

  • You get to communicate directly with other site owner or webmasters in your industry online.
  • You can definitely discover high quality, powerful and relevant links at scale.
  • You can discover other websites in your industry linking to resource pages you are targeting which is an open door opportunity to look into their links.
  • More importantly, you get to help webmasters identify current issues on their website.
For more information about broken link building, visit the follow posts below from other resources:


Identify, Analyze, Replicate your competitors' links

For newly launched websites, analyzing the link profile of their competitors is always worth doing. This can give you insights of how competitive and strong their link profile are, how much link building effort you should spend to compete with their link profile, what sort of links do you actually need to compete?

So without having information on link profile of your competitors, you may not be able to thoroughly compete who you are up against with in terms of link profile quality. You need to know what sort of link profile they have, do they get their links from Edu sites? Gov sites? News sites etc.

This tactic is also a good source where you can find potential link opportunities you can replicate to your website. So this one is absolutely important for new websites.

The concept for  looking link opportunities on your competitors data simply like this:

  • Look for top ranking websites on Google + your location using your main keywords in SERPs and list the results at least top 3-5 in excel sheet.
  • Pull the link profile data of each website you discovered ranking at #1, #.2 ,#3 etc in organic search.
  • Organize the data by Domain Authority from highest to lowest then delete the sites with low DA.
  • Categorize their link profile data by channel (Forum, Blog Comment, Guest Post, Directory etc.)
  • Figure out which one you can replicate without content ie. - Is it directory listing, sponsored links, resource page links etc.
Blog Commenting

Blog commenting is pretty obvious. You don’t need to have any content to build links because the content are out there and waiting to be read and talked about. All you have to do is find the perfect blog related in your industry and become a well recognize in the community.  Eventually, once you build your reputation on your target blogs through your insightful contribution to the community, you may find it easier for you to generate links to your website.

If you’re adding blog commenting as part of your link building activities, here are some blog commenting tips:

  • Don’t spam the thread with your thank you response.
  • Spend time reading the articles and comment thread to get you in the loop.
  • Don’t waste your time creating exact match hyper link in your comment.
  • Stay within your focus expertise - Stay in your industry
  • Use your name, seriously.
How to find related blogs to comment on? try these search filter queries:

Intitle:keyword + “write a comment”
In post “this is a guest post by” + “write a comment”

You think you have had enough? This isn’t over yet. You've seen above some tips how you can build links with no content, right now I'm going to share with you how you can build with your content.

Link building with content

I assume you probably have been doing content development on your website and probably not sure if you are getting the most out of your content. That's normal. For new websites, who have few content to use and promote this section is for you. 

Link building with content will be quite different with link building with no content as you will initially use your content as an asset or front line when building links to your website. Your content will be the key player in this method and if your content sucks, your campaign will be sucks too, - that’s why you need to be sure of the quality, uniqueness and vale of your content before you build links through it.

Community discussion

Users who participate in community discussions are often in need of information. Information that aren’t just too easy to find over the web because it’s more like a professional knowledge and personal thought of information combined when people tend to answer the questions. For newly launched websites looking to build inbound links and yet at the same time, engaging with for targeted audience, this one might be good for you.

The concept here is just really basic - You just need to find the right place for your content to be read:

  • Look for community groups in your industry that are related to your expertise (SEO, PPC, Social Etc.)
  • Take part in every thread that are related to your expertise.
  • Make recommendations of your content as a source of information in your participation.
  • Refer other resources as well and don’t just focus on yours.
Types of discussions you can take part in are the following:

  • Question and Answer (Q&A)
  • Forum discussions
  • Blog commenting
  • Social discussions (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+)
Guest Blogging

One of the common ways in building links through content is by doing guest blogging.  If you just launched a website, probably your visibility isn’t established yet and you are looking for opportunities where you can find your target audience and drive them to your website. Guest blogging can help you expand your audience reach on highly reputed blogs in your industry so you can really benefit from this approach not only in links but also traffic.

The process in guest blogging is really easy. All you need to do is just follow the following:

  • Find reputable blog in your industry that have high amount of traffic every month.
  • Check the categories and articles to see what sort of content being published on your target blogs.
  • Participate in discussions via comments or interact with the authors/owners via social media.
  • One you build a relationship with the audience and webmasters of your target blogs send them an email inquiry for guest blogging request.
  • If you don’t get a response in a week or two, send a follow up email for the last time.
The good thing about guest blogging is you can start building your trust and authority from related sites and you can get into the radar of influencers in your industry.

Linker outreach

This tactic has become really popular in the link development space, discovered and initiated by Jason Acidre on his blog - Kaiserthesage.com. This tactic is also able to help you make a relationship with other people in your industry who share content related to your industry. Since you just launched your website and probably exploring link opportunities, using this strategy with your high quality content as recommendation to linkers in your industry who may be interested to share your content is definitely a good start.

The concept in linker outreach campaign is very similar to other outreach campaign:

  • Find people in your industry who naturally share content from other websites or blogs in your industry.
  • Collect their online information ie: email, social pages, websites/blogs
  • Connect with their social profile
  • Send them an email offering your content
To get better results in this tactic, make sure that your content definitely adds value and has something to offer in your industry. Otherwise, you may not get high response rate in your outreach campaign so you just don’t email and suggest your link. At least, stress the reason why you they should like to you.
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