Category: SEO Tips

Top 5 Web Marketing Tips for New Business Startups and SME’s

1. Twitter Marketing

Set up a Twitter Account and Follow up to 5,000 of your target audience.

A large proportion will follow you back and those that don’t can be unfollowed so that you can follow some more.

This could be a particular niche or businesses / consumers in a certain geographical location. Whilst you are building followers and when you have thousands of followers, send out information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.

2. Facebook Marketing, Facebook Pages and Facebook Group Marketing

Use your personal Facebook account to connect with potential customers and partners, also create a Facebook Page and get your friends, potential partners and target audience (clients etc) to like and share your page. Whilst you are building likers & followers and when you have thousands of followers, send out information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.

You can also set up groups for your target audiences and get some of those to join your group where you can also share information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience.

3. LinkedIn Marketing and LinkedIn Company Pages

Make sure you have a good LinkedIn profile page that covers everything that you do including all of your skills and which links to your company website, blog and Facebook page etc. Also add links to any video that you might have etc.

Also create a Company page on LinkedIn (you need an email address on a registered domain to do this) and regularly post information, tips, offers, competitions and advice that would be useful and of interest to your target audience via your LinkedIn company page and your regular posts facility on LinkedIn.

Finally on LinkedIn regularly connect with lots of people in your target audience on LinkedIn (but not to many all at once though as LinkedIn can block you). Also join lots of groups full of your target audience and connect with them via the group (Something linkedin allows you to do more aggressively than just connecting with people).

4. Blogging

Create a blog or ideally add a blog to your existing website or get a new website with a blog already included and start blogging regularly about your business, products and services etc.

This can help to improve the Seo of your website and get it associated with more keywords to help you get indexed more regularly the search engines and helping you to appear higher up and more often in the internet page ranks.

5. Keyword Content Marketing via content pages on your website

You should have an existing website or get a new website and create great keyword written landing pages for your business, as well as every single product and service and geographical area covered etc.
This will help to improve the Seo of your website and get it associated with more keywords to help you appear higher up and more often in the internet search engine page ranks helping you to get more enquiries.

If you need any help with any of the above please call: 07517 024979 or email: maconsultancy1@gmail.com

SEO Tips / SEO Advice / Blogging Advice

New post on Online Marketing Hub

How to Be the Best Answer with Topic Targeting
by christopherjanb

This weekend I had the good fortune to present at the Minnesota Blogger Conference where nearly 300 local bloggers gathered to learn, get inspired and network.

For my part, I gave a presentation on how blogs are still an incredibly useful tool for marketing. Keeping the reason for blogging top of mind as well as empathy for reader preferences in how they find, consume and act on information are essential if a blog author expects marketing outcomes from their efforts.

When a blog or any content hub can become “the best answer” for the topics that are important for buyers, the return on blogging goes way, way up. One way to execute a content plan to become known as an authority is through topic targeting.

For experienced multi-channel and integrated marketing pros, this kind of approach is going to be fairly common. But for the vast majority of bloggers, whether they be corporate or enthusiasts, the shift from writing for yourself (or your brand) to writing to satisfy specific audience needs is a fundamental shift.

Topic targeting starts by answering a few key questions:

How do you want to be known? How do you want your product or service to be known? What are you, your brand, product or serve the “best answer” for? That singular distinction is essential in order to stand out.
What questions relevant to your area of expertise do buyers have? What information do they need in order to move from curiosity to specific interest to transaction?
As you come to find the sweet spot between how you want to be known and what customers care about, that’s the focus of your topic targeting plan.

Topic targeting is an approach that involves creating resources, experiences and connections that result in an undisputed affinity between a target topic and your brand.
On a large scale for large companies, this is essentially brand marketing. For a small or medium business without massive budgets or resources, these 3 phases below represent a practical approach to becoming the “best answer” wherever customers are looking.

Inspire:
When starting out from a position without prominent authority on your desired topic, one of the most effective ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want your brand to be is to connect with those that already have the authority and community you desire. Recognizing topical influencers in a creative and qualitative way with an emphasis on inspiring readers to think in new ways about the topic is a good start. Co-creating content with topic influencers is also particularly effective. Your target topic will drive which influencers you engage with, the questions and interactions you have, and the titling of the resulting content.

Additional inspire tactics include speaking events that are “on topic” in the conference scope, track and/or title of your presentation. Social engagement promoting target topic content and events should also align. Comments made on industry articles (blogs and online magazines) are also opportunities to create affinity. Blogging about the target topic from different perspectives (what would a buyer need to know from start to finish) is also an effective directed content effort that will contribute to becoming the best answer.

Lastly, a limited number of guest posts on relevant, high profile blogs and contributed articles to industry magazines and websites on your target topic will provided added support for your brand and the target topic.

Desire:
Anticipation is a gateway to topical authority. Continuing to blog on the target topic and growing influencer relationships will lead to even more community engagement opportunities. Consistent creation of useful and entertaining blog content as well as alignment with industry influencers will create a very powerful mental state amongst your blog readers: anticipation. A community that can’t wait to see what you’re going to publish next will be instrumental for amplifying content and stimulating new perspectives on your target topic. That desire leads to advocacy, evangelism and scale for reaching a target audience in a highly credible way.

Acquire:
Demand for information and expertise leads to demand for your solutions. As authority is built on your target topic represented by the content you create on your own websites, third party references to your brand as an authority, growth of your community around the topic and advertising activities, there are several opportunities to show more tangible evidence of expertise: Some examples include:

Case studies
Definitive topic resource/guide
Events – online and off
Industry survey and report (annual)
Lists recognizing experts in the topic (annual or quarterly)
All of these tactics provide opportunities for readers to move from awareness and learning about the topic (with your brand at the forefront) to consideration and action – leads and transactions. Consumers increasingly expect to be able to educate themselves to a purchase decision and making it easy to find, experience and act on your content isn’t just good content marketing, it’s what buyers want.

Specificity is essential with topic targeting as are patience and persistence. This is an earned achievement that also needs to be maintained. But once consensus and momentum are achieved, the ability to attract those actively seeking what you have to offer will expand the value of your content beyond lead generation and sales to other means of monetization – sponsorships, advertising, syndication.

To apply the approach mentioned in this post will require some homework – research in your market or industry to see what kinds of content and messages resonate with the target audience. That’s where the audience Discovery, Consumption and Action model for understanding your audience comes in to play. It is also a continuous effort that can start simply and scale based on what works and what doesn’t.

But the most important thing if all, is to start: How do you want to be known? How does that fit with what your customers want to know?

For more on this SEO Tips /SEO Advice / Blogging Advice post or content marketing in general see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/how-to-be-the-best-answer-with-topic-targeting/

The SEO Tips / SEO Advice / Blogging Advice page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

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Popular Cardiff Blog Posts from Yesterday, Tuesday and Last Week!

Networking Breakfast in Cardiff Bay:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-networking-events/networking-breakfast-event-at-the-stunning-cote-brasserie-in-the-heart-of-cardiff-bay-for-this-friday/

Twitter Training Cardiff:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/social-media-training-cardiff/twitter-training-cardiff-2/

Record Demand for England Rugby World Cup 2015 Tickets:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/rugby-world-cup-2015/record-demand-for-england-rugby-world-cup-2015-tickets/

*If you like these popular marketing blog posts from yesterday you may also like these other marketing blog posts from Tuesday and Last week:

Tuesday’s popular marketing blog posts:

How to be above average on Twitter:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/social-media/how-to-be-above-average-on-twitter/

Twitter Training Wales:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/twitter-training/twitter-training-wales-2/

Content Marketing / Content Writing for Search Engine Optimisation

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/content-marketing/content-marketing-content-writing-for-search-engine-optimisation-2/

How Users view and interact with Google Search Engine Results Page

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/marketing/a-recent-post-about-how-users-view-and-interact-with-google-search-engine-results-page/

*If you like these popular blog posts from yesterday and Tuesday you might also like these popular posts from last week:

Popular Blogposts from last week:

Business Woman Networking Event in Cardiff:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-networking-events/business-woman-networking-business-event-in-cardiff-south-wales/

Would you like to find out how to increase your website or blog traffic by 100% to 500%+???

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/web-marketing-training/would-you-like-to-find-out-how-to-increase-your-website-or-blog-traffic-by-100-to-500/

Does your website work for you? – If not engage with a website consultant

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-news/does-your-website-work-for-you-if-not-engage-with-a-website-consultant/

Christmas Party Venue in Cardiff, South Wales

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/cardiff-business-news/christmas-party-venue-in-cardiff-south-wales/

Website Marketing Tip

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-marketing/website-marketing-tip/

Twitter Marketing Tip

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-marketing/twitter-marketing-tip/

Networking Event in Cardiff:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-event-in-cardiff/networking-event-in-cardiff/

8 things you might not know about UK SME’s – An Infographic

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-news/8-things-you-might-not-know-about-uk-smes-an-infographic/

Rugby World Cup 2015 Fixture Schedule:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/welsh-sport/rugby-world-cup-2015-fixture-schedule/

Beaujolais Day:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-networking-events/beaujolais-day-in-south-wales-2/

Networking Event in Cardiff:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/cardiff-business-event/business-networking-event-in-the-heart-of-the-city-of-cardiff-for-thursday/

30 Actionable Content Marketing Tips:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-advice/30-actionable-content-marketing-tips-you-can-use-right-now/

5 Expert Tips regarding the Hashtag #

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-marketing/5-expert-tips-regarding-the-hashtag/

Some popular Welsh Business Hashtags

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/social-media/some-popular-welsh-business-hashtags/

Twitter Marketing Tip:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/business-marketing/twitter-marketing-tip-5/

SEO Tip / Search Engine Optimisation:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/blogging/seo-tip-search-engine-optimisation/

The popular Cardiff blog posts from yesterday and last week page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

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SEO Tip / Search Engine Optimisation

If you want your Website to improve its ranking in the Internet search engines, and have it associated with more keywords in order to get more traffic integrate a blog to your website and start a content marketing strategy!

Write about your products, services, staff, events, case studies and offers and share you marketing material.

If you need help use the advice of a content marketing specialist or outsource some of the content marketing services to an outsourced service provider like MA Consultancy:

07517 024979 | maconsultancy1@gmail.com

*If you liked this SEO Tip – You might like our Social Media & SEO Training:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/social-media-training-cardiff/social-media-training-cardiff/

The SEO Tip / Search Engine Optimisation page was written “By Mike Armstrong”

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SEO Tip / Search Engine Optimisation

If you want your Website to improve its ranking in the Internet search engines, and have it associated with more keywords in order to get more traffic integrate a blog to your website and start a content marketing strategy!

Write about your products, services, staff, events, case studies and offers and share you marketing material.

If you need help use the advice of a content marketing specialist or outsource some of the content marketing services to an outsourced service provider like MA Consultancy:

07517 024979 | maconsultancy1@gmail.com

*If you liked this SEO Tip – You might like our Social Media & SEO Training:

http://maconsultancycardiff.com/social-media-training-cardiff/social-media-training-cardiff/

The SEO Tip / Search Engine Optimisation page was written “By Mike Armstrong”

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Basic SEO Tip – Link Building

If you want to improve the ranking of your website get your real world contacts (Partners, Customers, Suppliers, Associations) with websites, to marketing your business and website on their website with a link.

Additional Tip: If you can get them to add some marketing info and a link for free or without exchange that’s perfect but if not exchanging a link (swapping your with one for them) is the next best option and it can also be worth paying for this type of marketing with a link on some sites (especially if they have a high ranking website or a high relevancy to your site website – such as a Trade Body or Association)!

*If you like this SEO Tip you might also like this Twitter Tip & Web Marketing Tip:

Twitter Marketing Tip

Web Marketing Tip

The Basic SEO Tip – Link Building was created & posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Basic SEO Tip – Link Building Tip

If you want to improve the ranking of your website get your real world contacts (Partners, Customers, Suppliers, Associations) with websites, to marketing your business and website on their website with a link.

Additional Tip: If you can get them to add some marketing info and a link for free or without exchange that’s perfect but if not exchanging a link (swapping your with one for them) is the next best option and it can also be worth paying for this type of marketing with a link on some sites (especially if they have a high ranking website or a high relevancy to your site website – such as a Trade Body or Association)!

*If you like this SEO Tip you might also like this Twitter Tip & Web Marketing Tip or our Link Building Service:

Twitter Marketing Tip

Web Marketing Tip

The Basic SEO Tip – Link Building Tip was created & posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Content Marketing & SEO Advice!

New post on Online Marketing Hub

How To Be Successful With Content Marketing Through Your Search Engine Strategy
by christopherjanb

Find a publicly advertised brand you identify with, from a healthy perspective, and follow their brand online.

What do you see?

Consistent values? Positive, helpful and resourceful communication? Ways to get in touch with them?

If you answer, “yes” to these questions, then that brand shows positive signs of effective content marketing through search engine strategy.

Content marketing and search engine strategy go hand-in-hand now more than ever.

Taking all the above into consideration, I did a brief case study using Kaiser Permanente to demonstrate how search strategy works. You can see for yourself how Kaiser has tapped into the power of content marketing through their search engine strategy.

In this article, I’ll walk you through the basics of optimizing Google’s search capabilities for your own brand’s content marketing success. You’ll learn about the following:

How IP addresses and location-based services play into localized search engine strategy.
The importance of branding… and why paying for Google ads may be worth your while.
Why and how Google rewards brands that create quality content.
First, let’s talk about search engine strategy…
Enter ‘Kaiser’ in the Google search bar and you’ll find this:

See link below:

You’ll Notice the following in the screenshot:

1. The result numbers from your search term.

The search term, ‘Kaiser,’ yields about 47,100,000 results from across the entire Web. What does this mean to you? Take into consideration the strength you – i.e., your website – must have to be #1 on the first page of only about ten.

2. A map showing you the results of the matching Kaiser locations in your area.

Your computer has what is known as an “IP address,” which is short for Internet Protocol address. Google, and other sites, use your IP address to identify computers on the Internet.

Your IP address is typically based on your real-world location, which helps Google provide you with relevant, local results. You can learn more about what Google has to say about IP addresses, including how to find yours here.

More people currently rely on their mobile devices to search and obtain instant and accurate results from their search efforts than ever before. Location services for mobile devices are essential for viewing maps and other local results, based on your current location. Google Maps can detect your location through the following:

GPS
WiFi
Cell Tower
Apple Location Services
Google provides helpful suggestions for improving your location’s accuracy, GPS signals, and more for your mobile device here.

3. Kaiser’ ad is the first result.

Google likes ads. I’ll talk more about that below.

4. The second result is their name in URL/website domain name format, and their top locations in your area.

Site structure, page names, and organization is important for the user experience and helps Google find information quickly. IP addresses and GPS/location settings also make a difference.

5. The third result is a social profile where reviews are encouraged and unconfirmed, such as Yelp.

Google prefers sites which are based on traffic, use or advertisement procurement.

What did this case study teach me about using search engine strategy for my own content marketing?
I learned about the importance of branding and advertising
Your brand name is everything.
Dominating the webiverse with your brand name is a great end goal. Since IP addresses are key for people finding you online, you’ll want to start locally and build up from there. Google rewards brands that register their physical locations by giving them top placement within search engine results. A recent article via Vertical Response lists the top 20 places where you should list your business online.

Social profiles and reviews are important to Google.
As your brand’s name gains exposure, more people start learning about you and your name. As more people use your brand name in these sites, it also helps Google recognize you, helping your brand show up higher in Google rankings and search results.

Google likes being paid.
Paying for advertising, especially search advertising, increases the likelihood that your brand name shows up in Google search results. Using Google AdWords makes it easy to create and run ad campaigns. Depending on how much you pay and the types of campaigns you set up, you can control different features of your ad, such as where it shows up in a Google search.

I also learned more about how to create the content Google wants…and how that can work for my clients and my business…
Our website pages and content are only as valuable as the words we use.
How often do you hear the expression, “content is king”? We hear it often because, when it comes to your website ranking higher in search results, it’s still very much the truth. When it comes to creating content, we need to understand that it’s the quality of our words that matters. Not only are people searching online for content that informs and educates them, but the Google search engine also craves useful and appealing content. Google wants results which are relevant to the search and to share the best, most trustworthy results.

Moz explains the importance of creating “great content” for your site in the following way:

“ Every search performed at the engines comes with an intent – to find, learn, solve, buy, fix, treat, or understand. Search engines place web pages in their results in order to satisfy that intent in the best possible way, and crafting the most fulfilling, thorough content that addresses a searcher’s needs provides an excellent chance to earn top rankings.”

Regular content is extremely valuable.
We know now how Google prefers quality content, but Google especially rewards those sites which produce quality content regularly.

Eric Sornoso lists and explains the following 3 reasons about why the Google search engine likes regular posting in his recent article for SEOBlog.com, “Google Rewards Sites That Regularly Post Great Content”:

Google likes fresh, new content.
Google likes a constant flow of content.
Google likes accountability.
Creating quality content on a regular basis certainly helps Google (and potential clients) find you, but you can also take extra steps to improve your results. For example, one of the first (and best) actions you should take, especially when your site is new, is to set up your RSS with Feedburner.

This is Google’s RSS Management tool, and it notifies Google each time your blog is updated with a new post. Even better? As you start producing content which generates higher traffic to your website, Google will continue rewarding you through more traffic referrals. It’s a win-win-win: for you, for Google, and for the searcher.

Over to you
Without a doubt, tapping into the power of Google and forming a strong search engine strategy can take your content marketing – and your business – to entirely new levels. Are you using search engine strategy as a way to bolster your own content marketing efforts?

Author information

Jamie Teasdale
Founder & Lead Strategist at Plan Promote Prosper
Jamie Teasdale is a business growth advocate and strategist who is passionate about supporting small businesses in their quest to effectively communicate with their target market. Focusing on content marketing (inbound and outbound) and brand messaging, Jamie’s company Plan Promote Prosper assists companies who recognize the value of strategic and consistent content marketing through blogging, email marketing and social media engagement, and the impact it makes toward positive SEO.
Planning a content marketing strategy is no small endeavor and should be done each year. Jamie and her team make it easy and affordable. Plan Promote Prosper offers eight white-labeled content marketing products and services that are sought after by leading marketing companies, web firms, copywriters and social managers. Jamie’s office is located in downtown Portland, Oregon. In her spare time, Jamie enjoys painting, traveling and spending time with friends and family.

For this full article including images see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/how-to-be-successful-with-content-marketing-through-your-search-engine-strategy/

Content Marketing & SEO Advice page posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Website News – Conversion Rates

New post on Online Marketing Hub

4 Powerful Conversion Rate Influencers
by christopherjanb

Conversion rates are lifeblood statistics for webmasters. If Kyle Rush taught us anything about optimization at the Obama campaign, it’s to test everything like mad scientists.

Whether you are trying to promote readership, sell a product or drive traffic to a particular page, you want to increase the rate at which this behavior occurs. In order to achieve this goal, it is important to consider the factors that influence users’ decisions during the conversion process.

We’re going to look at:

How colors influence purchase rates, meanings, and sets a brand tone
How site speed can help – or hinder – conversion rates
How decision fatigue reduces conversions and why less choices is better for consumers
Why custom reporting is vital to optimizing for conversions, such as capitalizing on an influx of mobile or location-targeted users
The Influence of Color
When it comes to the purchasing decision, color is one of the most influential factors in determining whether or not a customer buys a product. This often, overlooked element of marketing can be very useful or detrimental depending upon whether or not it is taken advantage of.

For instance, 85% of customers cited color as the primary reason they purchased a particular product. One factor that plays into the importance of color involves the subconscious decisions that people make. After ninety seconds, people have already made a subconscious decision about a product and 90% of the time that decision is based on color.

Gender is also an important element to consider because men and women respond differently to different colors. Men enjoy products that are blue, black or sea foam green, and they tend to stay away from purple, brown and orange. Women on the other hand, like purple along with blue and sea foam green, while revealing a similar distaste for brown and orange.

The associations that people make with colors are important to consider when designing a product, website or brick and mortar store.The art and science of color theory embodies everything from meanings across cultures to light sensitivity. The following list shows the general meanings of different colors, specifically in the United States:

Red: lust, negative issues, excitement, love

Example: Target

Yellow: jealousy, competence, happiness

Example: Lipton Ice Tea

Green: good taste, envy

Example: Garnier

Blue: masculine, competence, high quality, corporate

Example: UB Solution

Pink: sophistication, sincerity

Example: Ouou

Violet/Purple: authority, sophistication, power

Example: Kaleidoscope

Brown: ruggedness

Example: Wawa

Black: grief, sophistication, expensive, fear

Example: HBO

White: happiness, sincerity, purity

Example: Apple

In digital environments – websites – colors are often leveraged to motivate users, normally in the form of a subscription, purchase, download, or click-through. The base color for a company logo or brand does not mean call to action buttons need to match or be harmonious in color. In fact, buttons with colors that contrast the main theme actually grab more attention.

The Influence of Site Speed
Website speed is a critical factor for converting customers online. One conversion rate study revealed a strong correlation between faster page load times and increased conversions. Every second that the page load time was reduced yielded a percentage increase in conversions. Conversion rates increased 3% for every second the loading time was reduced from fifteen to seven seconds.

This correlation was not limited to purchase conversions, as page load times proved to be an important factor in influencing donations. A study regarding the 2011 Obama for America campaign revealed that a three second reduction in page load time yielded a 14% increase in donations. This research reflects the importance of improving site speed for both for-profit and non-profit websites.

It’s easy to measure site speed today; just head over to Google’s page speed insights. In the example below, I put my own blog on the chopping block and you’ll see there’s a lot I can do to increase my page speed/reduce loading times:

The Influence of Choices
The number of choices that your landing page offers visitors is another element that impacts conversion rates. A basic summary of the research on this topic suggests an inverse relationship between the number of choices offered and conversion rates. Contrary to popular belief, more choices lead to fewer conversions as visitors are distracted, rather than being led to the point of conversion.

In terms of specific examples, social sharing buttons, webinar registration options, contact fields and landing page fields are all elements that should be limited in order to increase conversions. One study regarding social share buttons indicated that total shares decreased by 29% when two additional buttons were added to QuickSprout’s site. The same idea applied to a study regarding webinar registration, as conversions increased by 16.93% when the number of available sessions was reduced from four to three. This data suggests that the old saying less is an important rule when it comes to landing page design.

The Influence of Custom Reporting
Analyzing custom reports on Google Analytics is another excellent strategy for increasing website conversions. The way in which you interpret the data generated from your site’s activity can offer valuable information for improving user experiences and increasing conversions.

One valuable report is a measurement of conversion rates based on the browser and device with which the user accessed your site. The browsers and devices for which you have the lowest conversion rates indicate opportunities for improvements. For instance, if mobile users are producing the lowest conversion rates then improving your mobile site should become a priority.

Top landing pages is another report that offers insight regarding where improvement efforts should be focused. By looking at your top landing pages and comparing their bounce rates to the site’s average, you can identify which top landing pages need to be revisited and tweaked.

Comparing new vs. returning traffic can further help webmasters understand how people behave on landing pages. This data can be broken down to compare different landing pages in order to see where new and returning visitors have the highest or lowest conversion rates.

Considering that the ultimate goal of every website is to convert users in one way or another, it is important to understand the factors that influence conversions. Consider the aforementioned conversion rate influencers when developing your own website or blog.

Author information

Jesse Aaron
Jesse Aaron is a professional blogger with a passion for homebrewing, and writes on a variety of topics on his blog Mashbout. In his spare time Jesse enjoys redditting, brewing beer (as you may have guessed), slowly learning Python, and reading (currently reading Infinite Jest). Follow Jesse on Google Plus.

For more about this article or content marketing in general see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/4-powerful-conversion-rate-influencers/

The 4 Powerful Conversion Rate Influencers page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Link Building Tips

A recent post on Online Marketing Hub

The Future of Link Building

by christopherjanb
Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Building the types of links that help grow your online business and organic search traffic is getting harder. It used to be fairly straightforward, back before Google worked out how to treat links with different levels of quality and trust. However, the fact that it’s getting harder doesn’t mean that it’s dead.

What does the future hold?

I’m going to talk about links, but the truth is, the future isn’t really about the links. It is far bigger than that.

Quick sidenote: I’m aware that doing a blog post about the future of link building the week of a likely Penguin update could leave me with egg on my face! But we’ll see what happens.

Links will always be a ranking factor in some form or another. I can see the dials being turned down or off on certain aspects of links (more on that below) but I think they will always be there. Google is always looking for more data, more signals, more indicators of whether or not a certain page is a good result for a user at a certain moment in time. They will find them too, as we can see from
patents such as this. A natural consequence is that other signals may be diluted or even replaced as Google becomes smarter and understands the web and users a lot better.

What this means for the future is that the links valued by Google will be the ones you get as a result of having a great product and great marketing. Essentially, links will be symptomatic of amazing marketing. Hat tip to
Jess Champion who I’ve borrowed this term from.

This isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be. That’s the point.

To go a bit further, I think we also need to think about the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, there are so many more signals that Google can use which, as marketers, we need to understand and use to our advantage. Google is changing and we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on.

A quick side note on spammy links
My background is a spammy one so I can’t help but address this quickly. Spam will continue to work for short-term hits and churn and burn websites. I’ve talked before about
my position on this so I won’t go into too much more detail here. I will say though that those people who are in the top 1% of spammers will continue to make money, but even for them, it will be hard to maintain over a long period of time.

Let’s move onto some more of the detail around my view of the future by first looking at the past and present.

What we’ve seen in the past
Google didn’t understand links.

The fundamental issue that Google had for a long, long time was that they didn’t understand enough about links. They didn’t understand things such as:

How much to trust a link
Whether a link was truly editorially given or not
Whether a link was paid for or not
If a link was genuinely high quality (PageRank isn’t perfect)
How relevant a link was
Whilst they still have work to do on all of these, they have gotten much better in recent years. At one time, a link was a link and it was pretty much a case of whoever had the most links, won. I think that for a long time, Google was trying very hard to understand links and find which ones were high quality, but there was so much noise that it was very difficult. I think that eventually they realised that they had to attack the problem from a different angle and
Penguin came along. So instead of focusing on finding the “good” signals of links, they focused on finding the “bad” signals and started to take action on them. This didn’t fix everything, but it did enough to shock our industry into moving away from certain tactics and therefore, has probably helped reduce a lot of the noise that Google was seeing.

What we’re seeing right now
Google is understanding more about language.

Google is getting better at understanding everything.
Hummingbird was just the start of what Google hopes to achieve on this front and it stands to reason that the same kind of technology that helps the following query work, will also help Google understand links better.

Not many people in the search industry said much when
Google hired this guy back in 2012. We can be pretty sure that it’s partly down to his work that we’re seeing the type of understanding of language that we are. His work has only just begun, though, and I think we’ll see more queries like the one above that just shouldn’t work, but they do. I also think we’ll see more instances of Googlers not knowing why something ranks where it does.

Google is understanding more about people.

I talk about this a little more below but to quickly summarise here, Google is learning more about us all the time. It can seem creepy, but the fact is that Google wants as much data as possible from us so that they can serve more relevant search results—and advertising of course. They are understanding more that the keywords we type into Google may not actually be what we want to find, nor are those keywords enough to find what we really want. Google needs more context.

Tom Anthony has
talked about this extensively so I won’t go into loads more detail. But to bring it back to link building, it is important to be aware of this because it means that there are more and more signals that could mean the dial on links gets turned down a bit more.

Some predictions about the future
I want to make a few things more concrete about my view of the future for link building, so let’s look at a few specifics.

1. Anchor text will matter less and less
Anchor text as a ranking signal was always something that works well in theory but not in reality. Even in my early days of link building, I couldn’t understand why Google put so much weight behind this one signal. My main reason for this view was that using exact match keywords in a link was not natural for most webmasters. I’d go as far as to say the only people who used it were SEOs!

I’m don’t think we’re at a point yet where anchor text as a ranking signal is dead and it will take some more time for Google to turn down the dial. But we definitely are at a point where you can get hurt pretty badly if you have too much commercial anchor text in your link profile. It just isn’t natural.

In the future, Google won’t need this signal. They will be much better at understanding the content of a page and importantly, the context of a page.

2. Deep linking will matter less and less
I was on the fence about this one for a long time but the more I think about it, the more I can see this happening. I’ll explain my view here by using an example.

Let’s imagine you’re an eCommerce website and you sell laptops. Obviously each laptop you sell will have its own product page and if you sell different types, you’ll probably have category pages too. With a products like laptops, chances are that other retailers sell the same ones with the same specifications and probably have very similar looking pages to yours. How does Google know which one to rank better than others?

Links to these product pages can work fine but in my opinion, is a bit of a crude way of working it out. I think that Google will get better at understanding the subtle differences in queries from users which will naturally mean that deep links to these laptop pages will be one of many signals they can use.

Take these queries:

“laptop reviews”

Context: I want to buy a laptop but I don’t know which one.

“asus laptop reviews”

Context: I like the sound of Asus, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony laptop reviews”

Context: I also like the sound of Sony, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony vs asus laptop”

Context: I’m confused, they both sound the same so I want a direct comparison to help me decide.

“asus laptop”

Context: I want an Asus laptop.

You can see how the mindset of the user has changed over time and we can easily imagine how the search results will have changed to reflect this. Google already understand this. There are other signals coming into play here too though, what about these bits of additional information that Google can gather about us:

Location: I’m on a bus in London, I may not want to buy a £1,000 laptop right now but I’ll happily research them.
Device: I’m on my iPhone 6, I may not want to input credit card details into it and I worry that the website I’m using won’t work well on a small screen.
Search history: I’ve searched for laptops before and visited several retailers, but I keep going back to the same one as I’ve ordered from them before.
These are just a few that are easy for us to imagine Google using. There are loads more that Google could look at, not to mention signals from the retailers themselves such as secure websites, user feedback, 3rd party reviews, trust signals etc.

When you start adding all of these signals together, it’s pretty easy to see why links to a specific product page may not be the strongest signal for Google to use when determining rankings.

Smaller companies will be able to compete more.

One of the things I loved about SEO when I first got into it was the fact that organic search felt like a level playing field. I knew that with the right work, I could beat massive companies in the search results and not have to spend a fortune doing it. Suffice to say, things have changed quite a bit now and there are some industries where you stand pretty much zero chance of competing unless you have a very big budget to spend and a great product.

I think we will see a shift back in the other direction and smaller companies with fewer links will be able to rank for certain types of queries with a certain type of context. As explained above, context is key and allows Google to serve up search results that meet the context of the user. This means that massive brands are not always going to be the right answer for users and Google have to get better at understanding this. Whether a company is classified as a “brand” or not can be subjective. My local craft beer shop in London is the only one in the world and if you were to ask 100 people if they’d heard of it, they’d all probably say no. But it’s a brand to me because I love their products, their staff are knowledgeable and helpful, their marketing is cool and I’d always recommend them.

Sometimes, showing the website of this shop above bigger brands in search results is the right thing to do for a user. Google need lots of additional signals beyond “branding” and links in order to do this but I think they will get them.

What all of this means for us
Predicting the future is hard, knowing what to do about it is pretty hard too! But here are some things that I think we should be doing.

Ask really hard questions
Marketing is hard. If you or your client wants to compete and win customers, then you need to be prepared to ask really hard questions about the company. Here are just a few that I’ve found difficult when talking to clients:
Why does the company exist? (A good answer has nothing to do with making money)
Why do you deserve to rank well in Google?
What makes you different to your competitors?
If you disappeared from Google tomorrow, would anyone notice?
Why do you deserve to be linked to?
What value do you provide for users?
The answers to these won’t always give you that silver bullet, but they can provoke conversations that make the client look inwardly and at why they should deserve links and customers. These questions are hard to answer, but again, that’s the point.

Stop looking for scalable link building tactics
Seriously, just stop. Anything that can be scaled tends to lose quality and anything that scales is likely to be targeted by the Google webspam team at some point.

A recent piece of content we did at Distilled has so far generated links from over 700 root domains—we did NOT send 700 outreach emails! This piece took on a life of its own and generated those links after some promotion by us, but at no point did we worry about scaling outreach for it.

Start focusing on doing marketing that users love.
I’m not talking necessarily about you doing the next Volvo ad or to be the next Old Spice guy. If you can then great, but these are out of reach for most of us. That doesn’t mean you can’t do marketing that people love. I often look at companies like Brewdog and Hawksmoor who do great marketing around their products but in a way that has personality and appeal. They don’t have to spend millions of dollars on celebrities or TV advertising because they have a great product and a fun marketing message. They have value to add which is the key, they don’t need to worry about link building because they get them naturally by doing cool stuff.

Whilst I know that “doing cool stuff” isn’t particularly actionable, I still think it’s fair to say that marketing needs to be loved. In order to do marketing that people love, you need to have some fun and focus on adding value.

Don’t bury your head in the sand
The worst thing you can do is ignore the trends and changes taking place. Google is changing, user expectations and behaviours are changing, our industry is changing. As an industry, we’ve adapted very well over the last few years. We have to keep doing this if we’re going to survive.

Going back to link building, you need to accept that this stuff is really hard and building the types of links that Google value is hard.

In summary
Links aren’t going anywhere. But the world is changing and we have to focus on what truly matters: marketing great products and building a loyal audience.

For more about link building or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-future-of-link-building/

Link Building Tips page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

SEO Tips

A recent post on Online Marketing Hub

The Future of Link Building

by christopherjanb
Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Building the types of links that help grow your online business and organic search traffic is getting harder. It used to be fairly straightforward, back before Google worked out how to treat links with different levels of quality and trust. However, the fact that it’s getting harder doesn’t mean that it’s dead.

What does the future hold?

I’m going to talk about links, but the truth is, the future isn’t really about the links. It is far bigger than that.

Quick sidenote: I’m aware that doing a blog post about the future of link building the week of a likely Penguin update could leave me with egg on my face! But we’ll see what happens.

Links will always be a ranking factor in some form or another. I can see the dials being turned down or off on certain aspects of links (more on that below) but I think they will always be there. Google is always looking for more data, more signals, more indicators of whether or not a certain page is a good result for a user at a certain moment in time. They will find them too, as we can see from
patents such as this. A natural consequence is that other signals may be diluted or even replaced as Google becomes smarter and understands the web and users a lot better.

What this means for the future is that the links valued by Google will be the ones you get as a result of having a great product and great marketing. Essentially, links will be symptomatic of amazing marketing. Hat tip to
Jess Champion who I’ve borrowed this term from.

This isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be. That’s the point.

To go a bit further, I think we also need to think about the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, there are so many more signals that Google can use which, as marketers, we need to understand and use to our advantage. Google is changing and we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on.

A quick side note on spammy links
My background is a spammy one so I can’t help but address this quickly. Spam will continue to work for short-term hits and churn and burn websites. I’ve talked before about
my position on this so I won’t go into too much more detail here. I will say though that those people who are in the top 1% of spammers will continue to make money, but even for them, it will be hard to maintain over a long period of time.

Let’s move onto some more of the detail around my view of the future by first looking at the past and present.

What we’ve seen in the past
Google didn’t understand links.

The fundamental issue that Google had for a long, long time was that they didn’t understand enough about links. They didn’t understand things such as:

How much to trust a link
Whether a link was truly editorially given or not
Whether a link was paid for or not
If a link was genuinely high quality (PageRank isn’t perfect)
How relevant a link was
Whilst they still have work to do on all of these, they have gotten much better in recent years. At one time, a link was a link and it was pretty much a case of whoever had the most links, won. I think that for a long time, Google was trying very hard to understand links and find which ones were high quality, but there was so much noise that it was very difficult. I think that eventually they realised that they had to attack the problem from a different angle and
Penguin came along. So instead of focusing on finding the “good” signals of links, they focused on finding the “bad” signals and started to take action on them. This didn’t fix everything, but it did enough to shock our industry into moving away from certain tactics and therefore, has probably helped reduce a lot of the noise that Google was seeing.

What we’re seeing right now
Google is understanding more about language.

Google is getting better at understanding everything.
Hummingbird was just the start of what Google hopes to achieve on this front and it stands to reason that the same kind of technology that helps the following query work, will also help Google understand links better.

Not many people in the search industry said much when
Google hired this guy back in 2012. We can be pretty sure that it’s partly down to his work that we’re seeing the type of understanding of language that we are. His work has only just begun, though, and I think we’ll see more queries like the one above that just shouldn’t work, but they do. I also think we’ll see more instances of Googlers not knowing why something ranks where it does.

Google is understanding more about people.

I talk about this a little more below but to quickly summarise here, Google is learning more about us all the time. It can seem creepy, but the fact is that Google wants as much data as possible from us so that they can serve more relevant search results—and advertising of course. They are understanding more that the keywords we type into Google may not actually be what we want to find, nor are those keywords enough to find what we really want. Google needs more context.

Tom Anthony has
talked about this extensively so I won’t go into loads more detail. But to bring it back to link building, it is important to be aware of this because it means that there are more and more signals that could mean the dial on links gets turned down a bit more.

Some predictions about the future
I want to make a few things more concrete about my view of the future for link building, so let’s look at a few specifics.

1. Anchor text will matter less and less
Anchor text as a ranking signal was always something that works well in theory but not in reality. Even in my early days of link building, I couldn’t understand why Google put so much weight behind this one signal. My main reason for this view was that using exact match keywords in a link was not natural for most webmasters. I’d go as far as to say the only people who used it were SEOs!

I’m don’t think we’re at a point yet where anchor text as a ranking signal is dead and it will take some more time for Google to turn down the dial. But we definitely are at a point where you can get hurt pretty badly if you have too much commercial anchor text in your link profile. It just isn’t natural.

In the future, Google won’t need this signal. They will be much better at understanding the content of a page and importantly, the context of a page.

2. Deep linking will matter less and less
I was on the fence about this one for a long time but the more I think about it, the more I can see this happening. I’ll explain my view here by using an example.

Let’s imagine you’re an eCommerce website and you sell laptops. Obviously each laptop you sell will have its own product page and if you sell different types, you’ll probably have category pages too. With a products like laptops, chances are that other retailers sell the same ones with the same specifications and probably have very similar looking pages to yours. How does Google know which one to rank better than others?

Links to these product pages can work fine but in my opinion, is a bit of a crude way of working it out. I think that Google will get better at understanding the subtle differences in queries from users which will naturally mean that deep links to these laptop pages will be one of many signals they can use.

Take these queries:

“laptop reviews”

Context: I want to buy a laptop but I don’t know which one.

“asus laptop reviews”

Context: I like the sound of Asus, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony laptop reviews”

Context: I also like the sound of Sony, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony vs asus laptop”

Context: I’m confused, they both sound the same so I want a direct comparison to help me decide.

“asus laptop”

Context: I want an Asus laptop.

You can see how the mindset of the user has changed over time and we can easily imagine how the search results will have changed to reflect this. Google already understand this. There are other signals coming into play here too though, what about these bits of additional information that Google can gather about us:

Location: I’m on a bus in London, I may not want to buy a £1,000 laptop right now but I’ll happily research them.
Device: I’m on my iPhone 6, I may not want to input credit card details into it and I worry that the website I’m using won’t work well on a small screen.
Search history: I’ve searched for laptops before and visited several retailers, but I keep going back to the same one as I’ve ordered from them before.
These are just a few that are easy for us to imagine Google using. There are loads more that Google could look at, not to mention signals from the retailers themselves such as secure websites, user feedback, 3rd party reviews, trust signals etc.

When you start adding all of these signals together, it’s pretty easy to see why links to a specific product page may not be the strongest signal for Google to use when determining rankings.

Smaller companies will be able to compete more.

One of the things I loved about SEO when I first got into it was the fact that organic search felt like a level playing field. I knew that with the right work, I could beat massive companies in the search results and not have to spend a fortune doing it. Suffice to say, things have changed quite a bit now and there are some industries where you stand pretty much zero chance of competing unless you have a very big budget to spend and a great product.

I think we will see a shift back in the other direction and smaller companies with fewer links will be able to rank for certain types of queries with a certain type of context. As explained above, context is key and allows Google to serve up search results that meet the context of the user. This means that massive brands are not always going to be the right answer for users and Google have to get better at understanding this. Whether a company is classified as a “brand” or not can be subjective. My local craft beer shop in London is the only one in the world and if you were to ask 100 people if they’d heard of it, they’d all probably say no. But it’s a brand to me because I love their products, their staff are knowledgeable and helpful, their marketing is cool and I’d always recommend them.

Sometimes, showing the website of this shop above bigger brands in search results is the right thing to do for a user. Google need lots of additional signals beyond “branding” and links in order to do this but I think they will get them.

What all of this means for us
Predicting the future is hard, knowing what to do about it is pretty hard too! But here are some things that I think we should be doing.

Ask really hard questions
Marketing is hard. If you or your client wants to compete and win customers, then you need to be prepared to ask really hard questions about the company. Here are just a few that I’ve found difficult when talking to clients:
Why does the company exist? (A good answer has nothing to do with making money)
Why do you deserve to rank well in Google?
What makes you different to your competitors?
If you disappeared from Google tomorrow, would anyone notice?
Why do you deserve to be linked to?
What value do you provide for users?
The answers to these won’t always give you that silver bullet, but they can provoke conversations that make the client look inwardly and at why they should deserve links and customers. These questions are hard to answer, but again, that’s the point.

Stop looking for scalable link building tactics
Seriously, just stop. Anything that can be scaled tends to lose quality and anything that scales is likely to be targeted by the Google webspam team at some point.

A recent piece of content we did at Distilled has so far generated links from over 700 root domains—we did NOT send 700 outreach emails! This piece took on a life of its own and generated those links after some promotion by us, but at no point did we worry about scaling outreach for it.

Start focusing on doing marketing that users love.
I’m not talking necessarily about you doing the next Volvo ad or to be the next Old Spice guy. If you can then great, but these are out of reach for most of us. That doesn’t mean you can’t do marketing that people love. I often look at companies like Brewdog and Hawksmoor who do great marketing around their products but in a way that has personality and appeal. They don’t have to spend millions of dollars on celebrities or TV advertising because they have a great product and a fun marketing message. They have value to add which is the key, they don’t need to worry about link building because they get them naturally by doing cool stuff.

Whilst I know that “doing cool stuff” isn’t particularly actionable, I still think it’s fair to say that marketing needs to be loved. In order to do marketing that people love, you need to have some fun and focus on adding value.

Don’t bury your head in the sand
The worst thing you can do is ignore the trends and changes taking place. Google is changing, user expectations and behaviours are changing, our industry is changing. As an industry, we’ve adapted very well over the last few years. We have to keep doing this if we’re going to survive.

Going back to link building, you need to accept that this stuff is really hard and building the types of links that Google value is hard.

In summary
Links aren’t going anywhere. But the world is changing and we have to focus on what truly matters: marketing great products and building a loyal audience.

For more about link building or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-future-of-link-building/

SEO Tips page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

Link Building

A recent post on Online Marketing Hub

The Future of Link Building

by christopherjanb
Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Building the types of links that help grow your online business and organic search traffic is getting harder. It used to be fairly straightforward, back before Google worked out how to treat links with different levels of quality and trust. However, the fact that it’s getting harder doesn’t mean that it’s dead.

What does the future hold?

I’m going to talk about links, but the truth is, the future isn’t really about the links. It is far bigger than that.

Quick sidenote: I’m aware that doing a blog post about the future of link building the week of a likely Penguin update could leave me with egg on my face! But we’ll see what happens.

Links will always be a ranking factor in some form or another. I can see the dials being turned down or off on certain aspects of links (more on that below) but I think they will always be there. Google is always looking for more data, more signals, more indicators of whether or not a certain page is a good result for a user at a certain moment in time. They will find them too, as we can see from
patents such as this. A natural consequence is that other signals may be diluted or even replaced as Google becomes smarter and understands the web and users a lot better.

What this means for the future is that the links valued by Google will be the ones you get as a result of having a great product and great marketing. Essentially, links will be symptomatic of amazing marketing. Hat tip to
Jess Champion who I’ve borrowed this term from.

This isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be. That’s the point.

To go a bit further, I think we also need to think about the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, there are so many more signals that Google can use which, as marketers, we need to understand and use to our advantage. Google is changing and we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on.

A quick side note on spammy links
My background is a spammy one so I can’t help but address this quickly. Spam will continue to work for short-term hits and churn and burn websites. I’ve talked before about
my position on this so I won’t go into too much more detail here. I will say though that those people who are in the top 1% of spammers will continue to make money, but even for them, it will be hard to maintain over a long period of time.

Let’s move onto some more of the detail around my view of the future by first looking at the past and present.

What we’ve seen in the past
Google didn’t understand links.

The fundamental issue that Google had for a long, long time was that they didn’t understand enough about links. They didn’t understand things such as:

How much to trust a link
Whether a link was truly editorially given or not
Whether a link was paid for or not
If a link was genuinely high quality (PageRank isn’t perfect)
How relevant a link was
Whilst they still have work to do on all of these, they have gotten much better in recent years. At one time, a link was a link and it was pretty much a case of whoever had the most links, won. I think that for a long time, Google was trying very hard to understand links and find which ones were high quality, but there was so much noise that it was very difficult. I think that eventually they realised that they had to attack the problem from a different angle and
Penguin came along. So instead of focusing on finding the “good” signals of links, they focused on finding the “bad” signals and started to take action on them. This didn’t fix everything, but it did enough to shock our industry into moving away from certain tactics and therefore, has probably helped reduce a lot of the noise that Google was seeing.

What we’re seeing right now
Google is understanding more about language.

Google is getting better at understanding everything.
Hummingbird was just the start of what Google hopes to achieve on this front and it stands to reason that the same kind of technology that helps the following query work, will also help Google understand links better.

Not many people in the search industry said much when
Google hired this guy back in 2012. We can be pretty sure that it’s partly down to his work that we’re seeing the type of understanding of language that we are. His work has only just begun, though, and I think we’ll see more queries like the one above that just shouldn’t work, but they do. I also think we’ll see more instances of Googlers not knowing why something ranks where it does.

Google is understanding more about people.

I talk about this a little more below but to quickly summarise here, Google is learning more about us all the time. It can seem creepy, but the fact is that Google wants as much data as possible from us so that they can serve more relevant search results—and advertising of course. They are understanding more that the keywords we type into Google may not actually be what we want to find, nor are those keywords enough to find what we really want. Google needs more context.

Tom Anthony has
talked about this extensively so I won’t go into loads more detail. But to bring it back to link building, it is important to be aware of this because it means that there are more and more signals that could mean the dial on links gets turned down a bit more.

Some predictions about the future
I want to make a few things more concrete about my view of the future for link building, so let’s look at a few specifics.

1. Anchor text will matter less and less
Anchor text as a ranking signal was always something that works well in theory but not in reality. Even in my early days of link building, I couldn’t understand why Google put so much weight behind this one signal. My main reason for this view was that using exact match keywords in a link was not natural for most webmasters. I’d go as far as to say the only people who used it were SEOs!

I’m don’t think we’re at a point yet where anchor text as a ranking signal is dead and it will take some more time for Google to turn down the dial. But we definitely are at a point where you can get hurt pretty badly if you have too much commercial anchor text in your link profile. It just isn’t natural.

In the future, Google won’t need this signal. They will be much better at understanding the content of a page and importantly, the context of a page.

2. Deep linking will matter less and less
I was on the fence about this one for a long time but the more I think about it, the more I can see this happening. I’ll explain my view here by using an example.

Let’s imagine you’re an eCommerce website and you sell laptops. Obviously each laptop you sell will have its own product page and if you sell different types, you’ll probably have category pages too. With a products like laptops, chances are that other retailers sell the same ones with the same specifications and probably have very similar looking pages to yours. How does Google know which one to rank better than others?

Links to these product pages can work fine but in my opinion, is a bit of a crude way of working it out. I think that Google will get better at understanding the subtle differences in queries from users which will naturally mean that deep links to these laptop pages will be one of many signals they can use.

Take these queries:

“laptop reviews”

Context: I want to buy a laptop but I don’t know which one.

“asus laptop reviews”

Context: I like the sound of Asus, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony laptop reviews”

Context: I also like the sound of Sony, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony vs asus laptop”

Context: I’m confused, they both sound the same so I want a direct comparison to help me decide.

“asus laptop”

Context: I want an Asus laptop.

You can see how the mindset of the user has changed over time and we can easily imagine how the search results will have changed to reflect this. Google already understand this. There are other signals coming into play here too though, what about these bits of additional information that Google can gather about us:

Location: I’m on a bus in London, I may not want to buy a £1,000 laptop right now but I’ll happily research them.
Device: I’m on my iPhone 6, I may not want to input credit card details into it and I worry that the website I’m using won’t work well on a small screen.
Search history: I’ve searched for laptops before and visited several retailers, but I keep going back to the same one as I’ve ordered from them before.
These are just a few that are easy for us to imagine Google using. There are loads more that Google could look at, not to mention signals from the retailers themselves such as secure websites, user feedback, 3rd party reviews, trust signals etc.

When you start adding all of these signals together, it’s pretty easy to see why links to a specific product page may not be the strongest signal for Google to use when determining rankings.

Smaller companies will be able to compete more.

One of the things I loved about SEO when I first got into it was the fact that organic search felt like a level playing field. I knew that with the right work, I could beat massive companies in the search results and not have to spend a fortune doing it. Suffice to say, things have changed quite a bit now and there are some industries where you stand pretty much zero chance of competing unless you have a very big budget to spend and a great product.

I think we will see a shift back in the other direction and smaller companies with fewer links will be able to rank for certain types of queries with a certain type of context. As explained above, context is key and allows Google to serve up search results that meet the context of the user. This means that massive brands are not always going to be the right answer for users and Google have to get better at understanding this. Whether a company is classified as a “brand” or not can be subjective. My local craft beer shop in London is the only one in the world and if you were to ask 100 people if they’d heard of it, they’d all probably say no. But it’s a brand to me because I love their products, their staff are knowledgeable and helpful, their marketing is cool and I’d always recommend them.

Sometimes, showing the website of this shop above bigger brands in search results is the right thing to do for a user. Google need lots of additional signals beyond “branding” and links in order to do this but I think they will get them.

What all of this means for us
Predicting the future is hard, knowing what to do about it is pretty hard too! But here are some things that I think we should be doing.

Ask really hard questions
Marketing is hard. If you or your client wants to compete and win customers, then you need to be prepared to ask really hard questions about the company. Here are just a few that I’ve found difficult when talking to clients:
Why does the company exist? (A good answer has nothing to do with making money)
Why do you deserve to rank well in Google?
What makes you different to your competitors?
If you disappeared from Google tomorrow, would anyone notice?
Why do you deserve to be linked to?
What value do you provide for users?
The answers to these won’t always give you that silver bullet, but they can provoke conversations that make the client look inwardly and at why they should deserve links and customers. These questions are hard to answer, but again, that’s the point.

Stop looking for scalable link building tactics
Seriously, just stop. Anything that can be scaled tends to lose quality and anything that scales is likely to be targeted by the Google webspam team at some point.

A recent piece of content we did at Distilled has so far generated links from over 700 root domains—we did NOT send 700 outreach emails! This piece took on a life of its own and generated those links after some promotion by us, but at no point did we worry about scaling outreach for it.

Start focusing on doing marketing that users love.
I’m not talking necessarily about you doing the next Volvo ad or to be the next Old Spice guy. If you can then great, but these are out of reach for most of us. That doesn’t mean you can’t do marketing that people love. I often look at companies like Brewdog and Hawksmoor who do great marketing around their products but in a way that has personality and appeal. They don’t have to spend millions of dollars on celebrities or TV advertising because they have a great product and a fun marketing message. They have value to add which is the key, they don’t need to worry about link building because they get them naturally by doing cool stuff.

Whilst I know that “doing cool stuff” isn’t particularly actionable, I still think it’s fair to say that marketing needs to be loved. In order to do marketing that people love, you need to have some fun and focus on adding value.

Don’t bury your head in the sand
The worst thing you can do is ignore the trends and changes taking place. Google is changing, user expectations and behaviours are changing, our industry is changing. As an industry, we’ve adapted very well over the last few years. We have to keep doing this if we’re going to survive.

Going back to link building, you need to accept that this stuff is really hard and building the types of links that Google value is hard.

In summary
Links aren’t going anywhere. But the world is changing and we have to focus on what truly matters: marketing great products and building a loyal audience.

For more about link building or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-future-of-link-building/

Link Building page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”

The Future of Link Building – SEO Tips

A recent post on Online Marketing Hub

The Future of Link Building

by christopherjanb
Posted by Paddy_Moogan

Building the types of links that help grow your online business and organic search traffic is getting harder. It used to be fairly straightforward, back before Google worked out how to treat links with different levels of quality and trust. However, the fact that it’s getting harder doesn’t mean that it’s dead.

What does the future hold?

I’m going to talk about links, but the truth is, the future isn’t really about the links. It is far bigger than that.

Quick sidenote: I’m aware that doing a blog post about the future of link building the week of a likely Penguin update could leave me with egg on my face! But we’ll see what happens.

Links will always be a ranking factor in some form or another. I can see the dials being turned down or off on certain aspects of links (more on that below) but I think they will always be there. Google is always looking for more data, more signals, more indicators of whether or not a certain page is a good result for a user at a certain moment in time. They will find them too, as we can see from
patents such as this. A natural consequence is that other signals may be diluted or even replaced as Google becomes smarter and understands the web and users a lot better.

What this means for the future is that the links valued by Google will be the ones you get as a result of having a great product and great marketing. Essentially, links will be symptomatic of amazing marketing. Hat tip to
Jess Champion who I’ve borrowed this term from.

This isn’t easy, but it shouldn’t be. That’s the point.

To go a bit further, I think we also need to think about the bigger picture. In the grand scheme of things, there are so many more signals that Google can use which, as marketers, we need to understand and use to our advantage. Google is changing and we can’t bury our heads in the sand and ignore what is going on.

A quick side note on spammy links
My background is a spammy one so I can’t help but address this quickly. Spam will continue to work for short-term hits and churn and burn websites. I’ve talked before about
my position on this so I won’t go into too much more detail here. I will say though that those people who are in the top 1% of spammers will continue to make money, but even for them, it will be hard to maintain over a long period of time.

Let’s move onto some more of the detail around my view of the future by first looking at the past and present.

What we’ve seen in the past
Google didn’t understand links.

The fundamental issue that Google had for a long, long time was that they didn’t understand enough about links. They didn’t understand things such as:

How much to trust a link
Whether a link was truly editorially given or not
Whether a link was paid for or not
If a link was genuinely high quality (PageRank isn’t perfect)
How relevant a link was
Whilst they still have work to do on all of these, they have gotten much better in recent years. At one time, a link was a link and it was pretty much a case of whoever had the most links, won. I think that for a long time, Google was trying very hard to understand links and find which ones were high quality, but there was so much noise that it was very difficult. I think that eventually they realised that they had to attack the problem from a different angle and
Penguin came along. So instead of focusing on finding the “good” signals of links, they focused on finding the “bad” signals and started to take action on them. This didn’t fix everything, but it did enough to shock our industry into moving away from certain tactics and therefore, has probably helped reduce a lot of the noise that Google was seeing.

What we’re seeing right now
Google is understanding more about language.

Google is getting better at understanding everything.
Hummingbird was just the start of what Google hopes to achieve on this front and it stands to reason that the same kind of technology that helps the following query work, will also help Google understand links better.

Not many people in the search industry said much when
Google hired this guy back in 2012. We can be pretty sure that it’s partly down to his work that we’re seeing the type of understanding of language that we are. His work has only just begun, though, and I think we’ll see more queries like the one above that just shouldn’t work, but they do. I also think we’ll see more instances of Googlers not knowing why something ranks where it does.

Google is understanding more about people.

I talk about this a little more below but to quickly summarise here, Google is learning more about us all the time. It can seem creepy, but the fact is that Google wants as much data as possible from us so that they can serve more relevant search results—and advertising of course. They are understanding more that the keywords we type into Google may not actually be what we want to find, nor are those keywords enough to find what we really want. Google needs more context.

Tom Anthony has
talked about this extensively so I won’t go into loads more detail. But to bring it back to link building, it is important to be aware of this because it means that there are more and more signals that could mean the dial on links gets turned down a bit more.

Some predictions about the future
I want to make a few things more concrete about my view of the future for link building, so let’s look at a few specifics.

1. Anchor text will matter less and less
Anchor text as a ranking signal was always something that works well in theory but not in reality. Even in my early days of link building, I couldn’t understand why Google put so much weight behind this one signal. My main reason for this view was that using exact match keywords in a link was not natural for most webmasters. I’d go as far as to say the only people who used it were SEOs!

I’m don’t think we’re at a point yet where anchor text as a ranking signal is dead and it will take some more time for Google to turn down the dial. But we definitely are at a point where you can get hurt pretty badly if you have too much commercial anchor text in your link profile. It just isn’t natural.

In the future, Google won’t need this signal. They will be much better at understanding the content of a page and importantly, the context of a page.

2. Deep linking will matter less and less
I was on the fence about this one for a long time but the more I think about it, the more I can see this happening. I’ll explain my view here by using an example.

Let’s imagine you’re an eCommerce website and you sell laptops. Obviously each laptop you sell will have its own product page and if you sell different types, you’ll probably have category pages too. With a products like laptops, chances are that other retailers sell the same ones with the same specifications and probably have very similar looking pages to yours. How does Google know which one to rank better than others?

Links to these product pages can work fine but in my opinion, is a bit of a crude way of working it out. I think that Google will get better at understanding the subtle differences in queries from users which will naturally mean that deep links to these laptop pages will be one of many signals they can use.

Take these queries:

“laptop reviews”

Context: I want to buy a laptop but I don’t know which one.

“asus laptop reviews”

Context: I like the sound of Asus, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony laptop reviews”

Context: I also like the sound of Sony, I want to read more about their laptops.

“sony vs asus laptop”

Context: I’m confused, they both sound the same so I want a direct comparison to help me decide.

“asus laptop”

Context: I want an Asus laptop.

You can see how the mindset of the user has changed over time and we can easily imagine how the search results will have changed to reflect this. Google already understand this. There are other signals coming into play here too though, what about these bits of additional information that Google can gather about us:

Location: I’m on a bus in London, I may not want to buy a £1,000 laptop right now but I’ll happily research them.
Device: I’m on my iPhone 6, I may not want to input credit card details into it and I worry that the website I’m using won’t work well on a small screen.
Search history: I’ve searched for laptops before and visited several retailers, but I keep going back to the same one as I’ve ordered from them before.
These are just a few that are easy for us to imagine Google using. There are loads more that Google could look at, not to mention signals from the retailers themselves such as secure websites, user feedback, 3rd party reviews, trust signals etc.

When you start adding all of these signals together, it’s pretty easy to see why links to a specific product page may not be the strongest signal for Google to use when determining rankings.

Smaller companies will be able to compete more.

One of the things I loved about SEO when I first got into it was the fact that organic search felt like a level playing field. I knew that with the right work, I could beat massive companies in the search results and not have to spend a fortune doing it. Suffice to say, things have changed quite a bit now and there are some industries where you stand pretty much zero chance of competing unless you have a very big budget to spend and a great product.

I think we will see a shift back in the other direction and smaller companies with fewer links will be able to rank for certain types of queries with a certain type of context. As explained above, context is key and allows Google to serve up search results that meet the context of the user. This means that massive brands are not always going to be the right answer for users and Google have to get better at understanding this. Whether a company is classified as a “brand” or not can be subjective. My local craft beer shop in London is the only one in the world and if you were to ask 100 people if they’d heard of it, they’d all probably say no. But it’s a brand to me because I love their products, their staff are knowledgeable and helpful, their marketing is cool and I’d always recommend them.

Sometimes, showing the website of this shop above bigger brands in search results is the right thing to do for a user. Google need lots of additional signals beyond “branding” and links in order to do this but I think they will get them.

What all of this means for us
Predicting the future is hard, knowing what to do about it is pretty hard too! But here are some things that I think we should be doing.

Ask really hard questions
Marketing is hard. If you or your client wants to compete and win customers, then you need to be prepared to ask really hard questions about the company. Here are just a few that I’ve found difficult when talking to clients:
Why does the company exist? (A good answer has nothing to do with making money)
Why do you deserve to rank well in Google?
What makes you different to your competitors?
If you disappeared from Google tomorrow, would anyone notice?
Why do you deserve to be linked to?
What value do you provide for users?
The answers to these won’t always give you that silver bullet, but they can provoke conversations that make the client look inwardly and at why they should deserve links and customers. These questions are hard to answer, but again, that’s the point.

Stop looking for scalable link building tactics
Seriously, just stop. Anything that can be scaled tends to lose quality and anything that scales is likely to be targeted by the Google webspam team at some point.

A recent piece of content we did at Distilled has so far generated links from over 700 root domains—we did NOT send 700 outreach emails! This piece took on a life of its own and generated those links after some promotion by us, but at no point did we worry about scaling outreach for it.

Start focusing on doing marketing that users love.
I’m not talking necessarily about you doing the next Volvo ad or to be the next Old Spice guy. If you can then great, but these are out of reach for most of us. That doesn’t mean you can’t do marketing that people love. I often look at companies like Brewdog and Hawksmoor who do great marketing around their products but in a way that has personality and appeal. They don’t have to spend millions of dollars on celebrities or TV advertising because they have a great product and a fun marketing message. They have value to add which is the key, they don’t need to worry about link building because they get them naturally by doing cool stuff.

Whilst I know that “doing cool stuff” isn’t particularly actionable, I still think it’s fair to say that marketing needs to be loved. In order to do marketing that people love, you need to have some fun and focus on adding value.

Don’t bury your head in the sand
The worst thing you can do is ignore the trends and changes taking place. Google is changing, user expectations and behaviours are changing, our industry is changing. As an industry, we’ve adapted very well over the last few years. We have to keep doing this if we’re going to survive.

Going back to link building, you need to accept that this stuff is really hard and building the types of links that Google value is hard.

In summary
Links aren’t going anywhere. But the world is changing and we have to focus on what truly matters: marketing great products and building a loyal audience.

For more about link building or content marketing see:
http://omhub.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/the-future-of-link-building/

The Future of Link Building – SEO Tips page was posted “By Mike Armstrong”