,

Kaiserthesage’s Top 10 SEO Posts for 2013

2013 has been a solid year for my career, and surely, there are so many things that I have to be really thankful about.

Despite all the ups and downs that have happened to me this year, I just think that I’ve just grew stronger, as I’ve learned a lot of new things and met a lot of amazing people that certainly impacted my profession and my life as a whole.

On the other hand, 2014 looks very exciting for me. One of the main reasons is that starting on the first week of January next year – I’ll be exchanging roles with my business partner (JP Prieto) and take charge of the operations and management at Xight Interactive Asia Inc.

For the past couple of years, my role at Xight was mainly focused on brand marketing, client acquisition, strategy development and big picture. But this year, I’ll be more involved in managing the internal operations of the company – and perhaps more hours on the business development side (this also means I’ll be more hands on for client projects, which really keeps me more excited).

Although, my goals for the company wouldn’t change that much, seeing that my personal objectives for the first quarter of 2014 are to continuously improve our product (which is our people, process and culture) and to grow our revenue exponentially (through improving retention, acquisition and allocating more resources to internal projects).

Why the sudden change?

As I’ve mentioned on my most recent blog post, management hasn’t really been one of my greatest strengths (especially for larger groups, given that our company is growing steadily). And in order to become a full-stack entrepreneur, I have to be effective on that area. I want to become a better leader next year.

So what does this change means for Kaiserthesage?

Not much, since I’ll still try to write and publish a post once a week, especially now that I’m more into the holistic approach to digital marketing (not just, SEO and content marketing). This interest will certainly require me to still do intensive research, testing and documentations on my own time.

Getting back to 2013, I believe we have several highlights and milestones worth remembering, like celebrating our company’s 2nd year anniversary, organizing a successful fundraising event for one of our in-house editors, getting interviewed by the BBC, getting new talented people on board and more.

1454964_10151948272119213_415074358_n

“Uhm, yeah. Fcuk Cancer”

Sorry for the inappropriate photo. Anyway, that list wouldn’t end without mentioning the best posts from this blog for this year, since it’s why you’re here in the first place. So with no further ado, here are the best SEO posts I’ve written for the past 12 months.

Top 10 SEO Posts on Kaiserthesage from 2013

1. How I increased my blog’s search traffic by 44% in under a month

increase search traffic

#1 ahrefs

This post was also featured on Moz’s monthly Top 10 newsletter series – and was placed at the #1 spot.

SEOMOZ

2. 22 Link Building Tips from Xight Interactive

#2

#2 ahrefs

This post was also included on Moz’s Top 10 Newsletter (July issue). I also made a slide deck version of this post later this year, and now has over 20K views.

3. 10 Types of Links that Really Matter and How to Get them

#3

#3 ahrefs

4. The True Value of Link Building in Post-Penguin Era

#4

#4 ahrefs

5. Off-Page SEO in 2013 and Beyond

#5

#5 ahrefs

6. Advanced SEO for Blogs – 2013 Edition

#6

#6 ahrefs

7. My Best Kept SEO Secret on How to Rank for Competitive Keywords

#7

#7 ahrefs

8. 80/20 Link Building Tactics

#8

#8 ahrefs

9. How to Consistently Build 40+ Contextual Links Every Month

#9

#9 ahrefs

10. How to Scale Content Marketing

#10

#10 ahrefs

My Guest Posts

I’ve only written 3 guest posts this year:

12 Scalable Link Building Tactics – Moz

moz 1

moz 1 ahrefs

Getting More Social Shares to Your Website – Hit Reach

hit reach

hit reach ahrefs

Simplify Your Inbound Marketing Process: Focus on Content Assets – Moz

moz 2

moz 2 ahrefs

To all my readers, thank you so much for staying with me for the past 3 years. I won’t promise that I’d have an even better blog next year, but one thing is certain – I’ll keep on writing.

Have a rock solid 2014!

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

,

How to build and run an SEO Company: @kaiserthesage asks @SEO_Hacker

A few weeks ago, Sean did an interview of me on their blog at SEO-Hacker, and as originally planned – I’m doing the second part of the series here.

Sean-Si-Jason-Acidre

I’ve known Sean Si ever since I started blogging, and he’s one of my closest friends in the industry. We used to work together for a few campaigns (I was part of the SEO-Hacker team when it was just starting).

We’ve also been exchanging a lot of ideas about the practice as well as the business end of SEO for the past 3 years now. So I’m also certain that you guys will learn a lot from him too.

Management hasn’t been one of my strengths as an entrepreneur, which is why I partnered up with JP (Xight Interactive’s COO) who’s an expert on this domain.

So in this post, I tried to pick Sean’s brain, particularly on how he managed his company from ground up. And with no further ado, below are the tips I got from Sean (that you guys might find useful as well).

What has been the biggest challenge in running/growing your team on your own?

I think thus far the biggest challenge I have faced in growing a team is dealing with people. Now I know why there are so many books about people management and leadership and how to deal with people – it’s because it’s really tough!

SEO-Hacker-Team-1024x459

Other people have their own way of thinking, their own perspective and worldview – and we, as leaders have to adapt to that and try to look at things from their perspective. This doesn’t come naturally to us. It’s a skill we have to continually hone. The toughest times for me was when I failed to do this and see things from their end – and spoke too soon.

Leaders and managers shouldn’t say anything until they understand the situation from the team’s point of  view rather than their own. This entails getting to know every single individual you have on your team so as to be able to successfully see and feel clearly like how they would – and address what you want to say or implement in a manner that is positive and acceptable for them.

SEO is continuously evolving, and there have been so many changes on how practitioners implement SEO campaigns these days. What are the key areas of your current service focus on and was there any big change on how you do SEO before than how you guys approach it now?

Certainly. I would be lying if I said we weren’t doing any linkbuilding before. We were. Blog commenting, directory listing, guest posting, you name it. But all in the best sites. And we did everything manually.

After Panda and Penguin and after all the webmasters decided to squeeze guest posts out from their content strategy, we decided to focus more on content marketing for our clients. We shrunk linkbuilding to a bare minimum and we focused our efforts on getting out the awesome content we’re continuously churning out for our clients.

There are tons of platforms and webmasters who will accept your content (assuming it’s awesome and provides a ton of value) and distribute it to their own set of audiences. It takes some research and testing but it works wonders! Just like how you would reach out to a webmaster for a guest post, it takes relationship and skill to be able to build an awesome marketing circle.

People are getting better at content – often times it’s the ‘marketing’ aspect that gets left out. That’s where we’re putting our eggs now.

What was the toughest algorithmic update that your team has worked on? How did it change your process?

This is a tough question. I don’t want to come across as to boast, however I would say plainly that we have not experienced a ranking drop or a penalty with the Google updates that have gone by during our years as an SEO company (Thank God!).

We don’t play with shady tactics when it comes to ranking clients. We make sure to take care of their branding – and that includes their backlink profile, their code and design, their content, even their site’s speed and performance!

Crazy right? We do all of those things for our clients for what we charge on a monthly basis. All-in. That’s what SEO is all about for me and my team – a holistic approach to making an awesome, user-centric website that Google will love to rank.

It’s tough and it takes more effort and money to accomplish – and perhaps that’s why we charge a higher rate than most SEO companies here in the Philippines. But not having to deal with ranking drops and penalties make it all worthwhile.

Plus, the clients are sure to be happy with how we’re managing their branding online. We have a very high client retention rate – which is the most important thing for us. Let’s face it, why would you want to get a new client and go through all the tough work of fixing their site, migrating their hosting to a better, faster one, integrating a blog, and other on-site factors, when you could just take good care of your existing ones and let the profits roll in?

I know that you’ve been a strong advocate of content marketing ever since you started, but how do you scale it or how do you effectively implement it with your clients – knowing that our approaches and methods vary based on the client’s industry and available resources?

Content marketing works. Plain and simple. You and I both know that and we both have experienced it first-hand. It’s not too hard to know what kinds of content would please the client’s target market. We study the client’s brand, products, processes, etc. And from that, we formulate and schedule content topics (that’s content strategy) to be written out and marketed to target platforms that will amplify our content’s reach (that’s content marketing).

No matter what industry you go to (assuming it’s ethical), this approach should work. I’ve written two extensive tutorials that we live by – this has helped our readers when it comes to content strategy and content marketing:

  1. Content Strategy Guide
  2.  Breaking Down Content Marketing

If you are watching our clients closely enough (and this is public information) you’ll be able to see how we’re doing it for them. Not least of which is Uratex, SPI Global’s Think Tank and Innovation Lab and Juan Carlo the Caterer

As the head of your company, what tasks/activities do you focus more on?

That’s a tough question. Right now I’m doing most of what a sole proprietor should be doing. Marketing, Finance Management / Cashflow, Team meetings, Innovation, Sales, Accounts Management, Legal matters, bills, etc. Just a little short of EVERYTHING. Don’t get me wrong. I love it.

It’s a ton to take in! Thank God I have an awesome team to back me up with some of these things. But if I have to choose 3 activities that I’m most focused on, it would be conversion rate optimization for SEO School, reading / writing for SEO Hacker, and sales / accounts management for SEO services.

seo-hacker school

Those are the three things that I love doing and that no one else in the SEO Hacker team is doing as of now.

There’s also one other thing that I just started doing – that’s improving our communication line and newsfeed with clients to try and improve our client retention and additional orders rate. I found out that it’s much easier to sell a new product to an existing client. So we’ve come up with an internal mailing list to keep them in the loop for algorithm or industry changes and for new or existing products we have to offer them. Of course, we only feed them stuff that are relevant to them and that would help them grow their business.

It’s work in progress and we haven’t launched it yet – but we’re working on it and hopefully it would be out by the turn of the new year.

How does your day look like? And how do you make time for everything or how do you prioritize your tasks, knowing that you’re in-charge of almost all the areas of your business?

In a nutshell:

8am: Waking up, going to my computer and checking my email for urgent / critical issues, checking my phone for any critical messages

8:30am: Taking a walk and getting some sun

9am – 11am: Answering emails, replying to social media messages, reading blogs

12pm – 3pm: Fixing / optimizing client(s) sites, anything technical, checking SEO school for any improvements we can make, researching for my next blog entry

3pm – 6pm: Meetings with the team, clients, calls, etc

6pm – 8pm: Writing, Marketing content, putting tasks and readings in the Trello board for the team

8pm – 10pm: More writing, replying to social media messages, DOTA with my teammates, reading a chapter of a book or two, basketball

10pm – 12am: Checking SEO School for more improvements, putting it in the Trello board, working on side projects with my team (usually contests), sleep

Let’s talk about hiring process. What do you typically look out for from your applicants (or any particular skill sets you highly require)?

Let me build the context of our team first: We are not a purely SEO team. Even if SEO is our forte as a company, our team is extremely diverse in skill and knowledge.

Some of the skills in our team include:

  • Graphic design
  • Front-end web development (CSS, PHP, HTML, Jquery, Scripts, etc)
  • Mobile responsive coding
  • Content marketing
  • Outreach specialists
  • Accounts management
  • Sales
  • Marketing
  • Powerpoint Content and Design
  • Blog Management
  • IT – (Database, back-end code, etc)
  • Technical SEO
  • Writer/s
  • Editing
  • Project Management
  • Operations Management
  • Social Media Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Making Great Chili Con Carne

You can check out our team here. We’ll be featuring each team member’s individual skills and specializations too – check it out.

All these things (Chili Con Carne included) is aimed towards creating an awesome SEO strategy – holistic content marketing.

What we value in our team is the ability to innovate, adapt, learn, test, courage to fail and ask questions, work hard, meet deadlines, manage his/her tasks and time, and knows how to have lots of fun.

Hiring is easy. If I’m not in the office, our HR and director does the interview. Personally, I like looking people in the eye and trusting on my guts and instincts as to who the person is and if he is the right fit for the team.

I know this might sound too cliché but the most important thing for me is character. A potential teammate has to have the right character from the start – because that is something quite difficult to change. Skills can be learned. SEO can be taught. But character stems from life experience, background, upbringing, and a relationship with God.

Since you’re also managing your team, how do you scale your staff’s training process, especially for the new hires?

That is a very good question. Right now, we have evaluations every 3rd month, 6th month and 1st year for new hires. All of the upper management are to meet up, discuss about the productivity and challenges that the new hire has faced, and decide if the new hire is up for regularization or is to have an extended probationary period, or is not a team fit.

It’s pretty roughly shaped and we’re still in the process of improving this to a quantifiable level. We’re in the process of quantifying our KPIs in light of our goals for next year. This is what we’re all excited about – that way, we can pinpoint whether a teammate or a new hire really does a good job (or is improving) or not.

What are the processes/practices that you’re looking to integrate with your current services in the near future (PPC, CRO, etc…)?

CRO definitely. Remember when web development and design dominated our industry here in the Philippines? Well, now is the age of SEO and PPC and inbound marketing. I’m betting that the next big thing for us is CRO. Especially for our clients who are already looking into e-commerce because of the sales they are generating through their website/s.

We are doing CRO for SEO school and I’m actually excited to launch a new series about how we have changed SEO school over the years and the effects it has had for our users.

Because of the extent of CRO we have gone through with SEO School, I’m confident to launch a new product line on CRO. We’ll be targeting our existing clients since they already have an awesome stream of relevant traffic from search.

The thing about CRO is, it can be expensive. With all the tools and A/B testing we need to implement. So it has to be well explained to the client as to what extent CRO will be applied and what we are expecting to come out of it.

What’s the future of SEO-Hacker?

Only God knows. 🙂

Our vision for SEO Hacker (Services) is to be the best internet marketing company in the Philippines, then Asia, then the world. God-willing.

For SEO Hacker School, it’s to be the destination for up-and-coming SEO specialists who are looking for a simplistic approach to learning SEO and everything in between.

For SEO Hacker (blog) it should remain as it is – an online resource for simplified SEO to beginners and start-ups who are interested in working their way to a more advanced level.

We’re very excited about the future. We have big dreams. And by prayer, hard work and guts, we hope to pull it off soon.

What are the most valuable lessons you’ve learned so far in building and running SEO-Hacker?

This is a tough one. There are tons and tons of things I’ve learned as its first managing director and CEO. However, if I have to trim it down to a handful (else this post would drag on), it would be these:

1) There is no self-made man.

Everything is given. The richest people in the world may not tell you the secret to their success but it always has one darn element in it: Luck.

The thing is, I don’t believe in luck. I think everything happens because it is allowed by God. Each ‘surprise’, each ‘lucky break’, each ‘out of the blue client’ is led to you because of a higher purpose and reason.

Don’t ever think you got where you are because some cosmic event in space-time brought about gravity, and stars, and land and fish and evolution and the luckiest monkey has had the DNA to amazingly breed your oh so beautiful face and mind. And it’s all up to you to make your fame and fortune.

You have no lucky stars to thank.

It’s all God.

2) Managing people is tough. Really tough.

You can’t get angry. Can’t lose your temper. Can’t say anything out of emotion. Because at the end of the day, even if you’re right, you’re wrong.

Especially in this day and age where individuality and relativism is so prevalent. The “What’s right for you, may not be right for me” mindset is shaking even the foundations of the corporate world. That is the reason why there are so many turnovers happening left and right in this day and age. Job security is no longer the case. Happiness in the workplace is.

You know what works? Google. Everyone wants to work there. Because they have an awesome environment, a competent but friendly culture, a high pay-grade, and lots and lots to learn.

We’re not Google, but we’re surely trying to make our workplace different. Even so, there are people who are bound to leave for greener pasture. There are people who will not be happy about you. There will be people who have their own opinions and will be passing them on to the rest of the team.

If I can master managing people in my lifetime, that would be an accomplishment to behold.

3) Clients love the little things.

Yes output is important. Yes reports are critical. Yes design and delivery matters. But you know what? The difference between me and a much cheaper competitor is usually the little things.

I personally call clients when they want things to happen. I personally go to their office when they want to meet up because they need to understand our reports. I personally make sure that they know what me and my team are doing for them. That’s what I want SEO Hacker Services to be.

I ask about their life. I care for them. I tell them what’s happening with Google. I tell them what they need and why we’re doing what we’re doing.

The feeling of being taken care of – that’s exquisite. People will pay premium for a company to take care of their brand.

I know I will.

4) Doing things Right pays off

Lots of unethical competitors have come and gone in the first page of keywords I’m targeting. I have to admit: I’ve been tempted to play with grey hat tactics for some time. It wasn’t because we weren’t getting any business. We’re happy with our clients – but it’s just the thought of getting beat in the SERPs by these black-hatters that tick me off.

Well, Google came around and finally made sense about all the “ethical” stuffs they’ve been talking about. True enough, they got a lot of the dirty players off the board. But not after the damage has been done. I’m getting a handful of client inquiries asking for repair and reinclusion lately – footprints of the dirty players that were once ranking on the first page.

Through all this, I stuck with what was ‘right’.

I’m happy I did.

5) Focus on what you’re Awesomely Great at

One thing I would’ve done differently is to get someone who’s strong at the things I’m weak at as a long-term teammate. While I’m extremely happy with my team today as they back me up with my weaknesses, I didn’t start off that way. I wasted a lot of time with things I was totally not passionate about.

Things like: Legal, finance, project management, business development, client billing, etc.

These are just some of the few lessons I’ve learned in starting and running SEO Hacker. I took a more extensive approach about your question in an entry titled: “15 Important Lessons I Learned as an SEO Start-up” or you could also check out my personal blog where I publish some stuffs about leadership, management, entrepreneurship and starting up a company.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and you can also follow Sean (@SEO_Hacker) and me (@jasonacidre) on Twitter.

,

9 Easy Ways to Build Links

The techniques being used today to build links to a website have certainly evolved along the constant evolution of search. And apparently, the growth of search as well as the increase in competitiveness led to the birth of many creative, advanced and scalable link building tactics.

However, this doesn’t mean that we have to ignore the basics – knowing that “advanced” is just being really good at the basics.

Easy ways you can build links:

What has change?

Just like before, search engines are getting smarter every day, and they are now smarter than what they used to be.

But the most obvious change is that link building is not just a part of SEO anymore.

  • Link building is a branding tool.
  • Links that can send substantial amount of relevant visitors are valuable (in SEO, branding and conversion or lead generation standpoint).
  • Links affect search rankings, but it also allows websites to get directly discovered by its target audience/customers.
  • Search is now more reliant with marketing-driven metrics. And when your links are authentically byproducts of your marketing, they are much stronger.

So in this post, I’ll revisit several methods that can help you easily drive quick and easy wins when it comes to acquiring solid links to your site.

Link out to others

Linking out or mentioning others’ works, especially those who are in your field, can strongly enhance the linkability of your site, seeing that you’re using other trusted sources as a reference for your content.

Although, the linkability of your site won’t just stop there, since it can also help acquire links through:

  • Getting trackbacks – which is not as bad as most people think, as it can also refer traffic back to your content (and can also serve as a signal that search engines can use to find and index your content).
  • Initiate reciprocation – this is one of the best ways to get into your prospects’ (or target influencers) radar, and if you’re providing good content, then the probability of having them link to you in the future would certainly be high.
  • Getting social links – many have forecasted that social links will be the future of link building, well it is. Publishers tend to share content (especially if they’re good) when they are mentioned in it, and this can somehow drive more relevant traffic and send signals that search engines use as a ranking factor to determine a page’s popularity/authority.

Some of the most popular methods used in getting industry influencers’ attentions:

  • Interviews (group/crowdsourcing).
  • Ego-baiting (making a list of top brands/experts in your space).
  • Writing about or reviewing their company/product/service.
  • Expounding or contradicting their ideas.
  • Curating popular blog posts in your industry.

crowdsourcing

Talk to people

Building relationships, which is very vital in this age of marketing, obviously starts with conversations. The Internet made communication easier for people, so why not invest some of your time and effort in connecting with other publishers and influencers in your industry.

There are so many ways to engage your target link prospects and there are also many ways to acquire valuable links through conversations such as:

  • Blog comments
  • Forum posts
  • Q&As
  • Social networking
  • Email outreach

Relationships are considerably a solid driving force for marketing, knowing that building alliances can help make the syndication and distribution of your content a lot easier. The more you exchange ideas with people in your industry, the more link opportunities you can get.

Bonus: James Norquay recently did a case study on how giving away gifts may result to links and/or shoutouts, and you might want to check that out.

cyrus

Join industry-specific communities/platforms

The web has grown so much this past decade that it seems like any industry that you can think of already has a place online where enthusiasts actively participate/discuss (niche communities).

Inbound.org, Hacker News, Bigger Pockets and a lot of other popular subreddits on Reddit are few samples of these kinds of online communities – that seemed to become a huge part of the modern culture of industries.

hacker news

Establishing yourself or your brand as an authority on these platforms can certainly impact how others see you, which often makes your brand more linkable.

Another approach that you can take advantage of is through finding online publications in your industry that have “community blogs”. It’s easier to get published on these kinds of blogs, but it’s very important to ensure that the ideas and information that you’ll share will be more likely useful to their audience.

community blog

Publish content on popular/linkable websites

If you consider your brand an expert in what you do, then aim to get published on the top blogs in your niche – because there’s so much value to get from that.

moz

The best thing about submitting content on site’s that you know that are highly linkable (and have a huge following) is that aside from building high-value links to your website, you also get to attract 2nd-tier links pointing to the content you’ve contributed.

 ahrefs

This type of content placement easily connects you with other content publishers (which can get you ton more of links), and definitely potential leads/customers to your business, given that your content is visible to thousands of those blogs’ followers.

Repurpose content

Transform your site’s successful content assets into other formats, as you can easily get more links back to your site (as the original source of the content) once you start distributing it to other content platforms.

Some of the formats that you can use to repurpose your existing content assets:

Slide presentation

You can upload your slide deck on Slideshare (and include links on your slides). I’ve done this approach a few weeks ago, and was definitely successful, as the deck (that was originally published as a blog post) managed to get 3,000+ views and send almost a hundred of new visitors to my blog.

Video

You can also convert your guides/articles into video tutorials and upload them on video hosting sites like Youtube or Vimeo. The best part about using method is that videos, particularly from Youtube, have better chances of getting higher search rankings for long-tail search terms. So it can certainly help you attract highly targeted traffic.

video

Ebook

If you have ton of long-form content or series of blog posts that can be combined into one, then turning them into an Ebook is also a great option. Aside from offering it as a giveaway to your readers, there are also a couple of ways to make the most out of your Ebook or PDF documents for link building, like:

  • Uploading it on Scribd or Accel.io
  • Offering it to other bloggers to be given away (or be used as an incentive for their opt-ins).

Infographic

This is one of the most popular (and perhaps effective) ways to repurpose content, as images are easy to distribute and tend to be shared more a lot over the web.

You can submit your infographic to numerous infographic directories:

Or image sharing/hosting sites to get more links.

Other ways to ensure that your infographic will reach more of your target audience:

  • Encourage your readers to use it, by providing an embed code on the original page hosting it.
  • Launch it first on high-traffic blogs/websites in your industry, to ensure that it’ll be seen by your target audience.
  • Promote it through your guest blogging campaigns (by embedding it within your contributed content).
  • Use reverse image search (via Google image search or Tineye) to track blogs who have used your infographic but didn’t link to you.

Transcribe videos from other influencers in your space

This part of the post will actually be a part of Pole Position Marketing’s annual link building secrets free ebook – and I’ve just thought of giving you guys an exclusive preview of how extremely awesome next year’s edition will be.

Many influencers and/or experts from different industries use videos as a medium to communicate their brands’ messages and also to showcase their expertise. Using this content format these days may come in various forms such as:

  • Video tutorials
  • Conference presentations
  • Webinars, hangouts or Q&As
  • Video blogs
  • Infomercials and kinetic typography

Transcribing videos created by thought-leaders in your industry and publishing the transcription in your own website can benefit you in so many ways, seeing that:

  • The method allows you to build a linkable content almost instantly (since the information shared in the content is from an industry/topic expert).
  • It helps you to get into your target prospects’ radar, which will make it easier for you to connect, engage and build relationships with them.
  • You can get links directly from them (through attribution), if they decide to use your transcriptions alongside their videos.

What makes this strategy really viable is that videos – as a platform for online marketing – have been well accepted and widely utilized in many industries, which means the tactic can be replicated on any other verticals.

Example:

Earlier this year, Ross Hudgens did a transcript of Matt Cutts’ webmaster help video on what Google SEO changes are coming next.

Ross notified Matt Cutts about it:

ross-tweet

And Matt obviously liked it:

matt-tweet

Tips on transcribing videos

  • You can do it manually, or you can also use Inqscribe – a video transcription software.
  • Make sure that the transcript is readable (removing the uhms/ahs, breaking the transcript into shorter paragraphs, appropriate use of punctuations, commas, etc…, and including images/screenshots if possible).
  • Don’t forget to give link attribution to the original source of the video content when you publish the transcript on your site/blog.
  • Let the original source of the video content know about the transcript you’ve created, and start engaging.

Regular content contributions

I’ve mentioned this many times before, that regularly contributing on the top domains in your industry is far better than link dropping to hundreds of mediocre blogs through guest blogging.

quote

This is actually my most favorite link building tactic today (aside from link baiting and building evergreen content assets) for many reasons:

  • It establishes trust and indicates relationships – a factor that is very important to search engines.
  • It can help improve AuthorRank (given that you’ll be consistently contributing content on highly credible publications).
  • It can scale relationship building (as you continuously engage with their readers) and content distribution efforts (especially in promoting your upcoming content assets).
  • Great for branding, based on your association with the authority blogs you regularly write for.

Profile pages

Profile pages are easy link acquisitions, and there are ton of places over the web where you can build a profile with a link to your website.

Though it might be easy to get these links, there are ways that you can do to make them hard-to-replicate.

Because it’s not really about the link (whether it’s dofollow or nofollow), it’s about how you make use of your profile pages to make the links coming from it more valuable.

This is done mainly by strengthening the link value that your profile pages can pass back to your website/brand. Here are several methods that you can implement to efficiently integrate your profiles with your campaign:

  • Interactions and activities occurring on your profile page(s) (ex: engaging your followers on Twitter, Facebook or Google+ for them to click-through to your website).
  • Building links to your key profile pages (ex: linking to your Google+ or Twitter account when leaving comments on blog posts you read).
  • Cross linking or promoting your other profiles on networks where you have a larger following base (ex: asking your followers on Twitter to also follow you on Google+).

about.me

Build readership

Lastly, the easiest way to become the ultimate link building machine is to have a strong readership – and most especially if other content publishers are also reading your stuff.

This is not really that easy to pull off, as it requires hard work and consistency (in pushing out content that will make your target readers return for more).

Some of the strategies for content development that I focused on to gradually build my blog’s readership:

  • I created more evergreen content, so I can continuously attract new readers to my blog (as most of them find me through search).
  • I tried to blog regularly (3x – 4x a month) so my existing readers will have a reason to come back.
  • I used to allow dofollow links on the comments section to entice readers (spammers) to comment on my posts (because the higher number of comments new readers see, the more your content gets interesting to them).
  • I focused before on publishing long-form content (with unexpected hooks or ideas that they won’t find anywhere else) to increase the shareability of my blog posts. Because the more social shares, the more you can get new readers, and more potential linkers.

Once you’ve built a strong readership, link building gets a lot easier.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Looking for more advanced SEO strategies and hard-to-replicate links? Check our link building services.

Managing Advanced Link Building Campaigns

trello

The link graph has always been a core part of Google’s search ranking algorithm. Even though the popularity of its importance led to the growth of web spam, Google still keeps on finding ways to make it more difficult to manipulate search rankings through unnatural linking behaviors.

Penguin updates and the unnatural link manual penalties just prove how important links are (and they’ll probably remain very vital in the future), as it is somehow addressing businesses to finally move on from the old ways of gaming search.

Link development is still a valuable process in marketing a website, and knowing how to manage your link building campaigns effectively is still an essential skillset.

Goal Setting

In starting a new campaign, it’s best to first understand why do you need links or link building. To give you a few reasons why it’s needed on a holistic digital marketing campaign:

  • To mainly improve the site’s domain authority (DA) and the domain’s ranking ability. As higher a domain authority may help the site gain better search visibility for all the keywords (head terms and long-tails) it is targeting.
  • To improve referred visitors to the website – through the links acquired from other authority websites in your industry (for marketing and content discovery).
  • To improve site indexation, as links can serve as signals that will help crawlers find and index new pages and the continuous changes implemented on the site.

Once you know why you’ll be doing link building, it’ll be much easier for you to establish your campaign’s goals. For instance, to successfully get all the 3 areas mentioned above, you’ll need to:

  • Get highly visible links from high DA sites in your industry – to be able to absorb domain authority as well as relevant traffic back to your website.
  • Be consistent with progressive link acquisition, based on your primary metrics (authority and relevance).

Your goals will help you determine the actions you need to take. This stage will give you a lot of insights, particularly with what methods to focus on in order to meet your campaign’s objectives.

Further reading: 10 types of links that really matter and how to get them

Minimum Viable Service

This is very similar to the business concept that has been popularized by Eric Ries (minimum viable product), wherein you provide different sets of tasks in the initial stage of the campaign that will not require extensive knowledge about your clients’ product/service/company for you to be able to deliver substantial output on your campaign’s first month.

It will mostly be comprised by tasks that don’t need a lot of effort, but can still offer enormous results. A few samples of activities that you can easily provide as a minimum viable service are (while you’re preparing for the high-value tactics):

  • Penalty diagnosis
  • Content asset inventory
  • Technical SEO audit and recommendations (you can check out Annie Cushing’s audit checklist)
  • Easy to acquire links (such as profile pages, web/niche directories, social profiles, etc…).

Including this business strategy in your consulting service’s structure can strongly improve how you head start and handle campaigns as whole, given that these actions can also help you and your clients draw actionable ideas and have a better grasp of the campaign’s path.

Strategy Development and Prioritization

You can then build a strategy or list of actions to implement based on your campaign’s goals and the findings from your initial activities (research phase).

Start by asking yourself what methods you can use to reach your goals.

  • What types of links do we need to improve our DA and click-through traffic?
  • How do we get them? Can we get them fast?
  • Can we expect immediate results (link acquisition, traffic, rankings, revenue, etc…)?

There are so many tactics to choose from, and you can start here.

Breakdown your to-do list based on each method’s level of priorities and difficulty. Start with the ones you know are important, high-value, but not that time consuming.

This will help you create a better and very actionable timeline for your campaign, which is very crucial as you proceed.

Process Documentation

Document all the processes that you’ll implement in your link building campaign, for this will help you scale your staff’s training process (and your client can also use this to train their in-house staff).

process doc

In creating your documentation, make it as comprehensive (and comprehensible) as it can, like including all the steps they’ll need to do for each listed tactic, and including screenshots if necessary.

What this documentation will normally include are:

  • Step by step guide for all the tactics your campaign has to execute.
  • Sample email templates for different types of outreach methods.
  • Tips on improving or making each technique more efficient.

Task Delegation and Communication

Use project management tools to track everything that’s happening in your campaign. This can most certainly help in organizing your team members’ tasks, gaining insights with your campaign’s current state, or to determine if it’s on the right track and what areas are lacking.

It’s also a good way to collaborate with your clients, and to notify them as well with what’s going on in real-time. We use Trello internally.

trello

Aside from having a better outlook of your campaign, this stage should also help you track your team’s performance, as well as initiative. And it’s imperative to discuss with your team the tasks that need more urgency and consistency.

Reporting

Reports – the most critical part of a campaign and perhaps one of the main products of any SEO provider. Paddy Moogan shared a really good template for link building reports on his book (The Link Building Book), and I highly suggest checking that one out.

Aspects of a good link building report would usually include:

  • Executive summary – which briefly explains and highlights all the notable areas for the month of the campaign.
  • Improvements – the things that have improved, which could be increase in organic traffic, referred traffic (through the links you’ve acquired), conversions driven by links (via assisted conversions on GA), increase in domain authority, and there could be a lot more.
  • Actions taken – a detailed report of all the tasks you’ve implemented for the entire month, which could also include the list of links successfully acquired, published content, as well as audit findings and recommendations.
  • Action plans for the succeeding month – including your campaign’s next steps is definitely a good way to impress your clients, as the more you get to learn and understand their business/industry, the more you can suggest result-oriented approaches to your link building.

Continuous Opportunity Discovery

Always be on the lookout for things that will not just improve your link building campaign, but also for opportunities that can help your client take their business to the next level.

This may come in the form of coming up with content assets that will allow them get more links, rankings, traffic, leads/conversions, or it could also be realizing partnerships that may able to help their product development, branding or even just their link building.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

,

Using Analytics Data to Improve your Traffic Generation

Measurability is what sets digital marketing apart from other traditional marketing channels.

The accuracy of data collection through web analytics has played a vital role in online marketing for years now, not just because it makes reporting look cooler, but because it helps marketers make better decisions and for campaigns to have better directions.

Web analytics has 4 major uses, and it seems that many of us tend to forget the last one:

  • Collect
  • Measure
  • Analyze
  • Optimize

As I have been mentioning a lot lately – it’s not about how much data you have; it’s about how you use your data to your advantage.

So in this post, I’ll be sharing several methods that you can implement to get the most out of the data you’re getting from your digital marketing activities.

Improving Site Discovery and Traffic

John Doherty wrote a great piece a month ago on Moz on how to build marketing funnels using Google Analytics, which has also discussed this topic. I highly suggest checking out that post as well.

marketing funnel

In optimizing your website for it to be more visible to your target audience, it’s important to first understand the channels where you are getting the most traction from.

You can start by checking your site’s most visited landing pages, including the mediums that they are able to constantly get new visitors from.

Behavior > Site Content > Landing Pages > and on the “Second Dimension” tab choose Traffic Sources > Medium:

site discovery

Determining which sites have referred the most engaged traffic to your website is another data set that you’ll have to consider checking (referring sites with low bounce rates, high visit duration and high percentage of new visits).

Acquisition > All Referrals:

acquisition

On making use of these data:

Putting more efforts on those that have proven to drive results is a conventional wisdom in online marketing.

  • Be consistent in building brand exposure on sites that have constantly driven visitors to your website – by becoming more visible on their sites through continuous content contribution or by making sure that the pages from their domain that passes on traffic to your website will continuously get traffic (by helping them rank better or by building 2nd-tier links).
  • Update and solidify your site’s top landing pages, particularly those that have low engagement rate, as these pages are the ones that help people discover your site/brand.
  • Find sites similar to the websites sending targeted traffic to you (using Google search or Similar Web) and aim to gain more brand visibility from them too (given that they also cater to the same audience you’re targeting).

related search

Understanding the customer journey

Traffic generation is not just about bringing new traffic to your website, as the process’ entirety also involves nurturing your audience (growing your returning visitors) for it to be truly efficient.

What are the things that I can do to keep my visitors on coming back to the site? That’s one good question to always ask. And a few answers to this question are:

  • Continuously growing your content resources (blog, content assets, newsletters, etc…).
  • Building an interactive community within the site (forum, community blog, etc…).
  • Providing free web-based products/services.
  • Making all of your brand’s offerings (ex: whitepapers, newsletters, videos, etc…) very visible on the site’s key pages (as CTAs).

But the main key to really make your site sticky for new traffic is to provide a unique experience (that they’ll want to share and utilize again).

That’s why it’s very important to determine which mediums are mostly used by people to find your site and what possible elements of the site make them want more.

Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths

top conversion paths

Turning to Mobile

Mobile internet usage has clearly been huge for the past decade (and is still continuously growing), making the available data from Google Analytics more valuable than ever.

Aside from the fact that these data can help you decide if it’s really right for you to invest on mobile marketing, it also gives you insights/opportunities on how you can diversify your brand’s growth in terms of traffic generation and product offerings.

Audience > Mobile > Devices 

mobile devices

On making use of these data:

  • Optimize your website for mobile devices (and OS) that are sending conversions to your website – by making your site responsive or building custom mobile versions of the site for devices that are yielding results. This can tremendously affect your site’s ability to rank better on mobile search.
  • Improve the site’s loading speed. For more tips, you can also check out Sean Si’s extensive guide on how to improve site speed.
  • Build site features that are specifically targeted to mobile users (like offering different formats of your content such as audio, video, downloadable PDFs or mobile apps).

Social Traffic

Knowing which social networks that are driving the most traffic and conversions to your site is just the first step. It’s also imperative to identify those that can help diversify your site’s traffic sources.

You can easily determine these social networks by gauging which ones are sending high percentage of new/unique visits, with low bounce rates.

Acquisition > Channels > Social

social

Making use of these data:

  • Start building your following base on these other social platforms, by spending more time to interact with its other users (particularly those that are in the same niche/industry).
  • Create content specifically targeted to these platforms (like developing original images and promoting them through Pinterest, or creating more slide presentations then uploading them on Slideshare, etc…).
  • Cross-promoting your content on these channels on social networks where you are already established.

Improving landing pages with low organic traffic

Export the list of your site’s landing pages into an excel sheet (including the mediums sending traffic to them, by adding it on the secondary dimensions of your landing page’s analytics report).

This way, it’ll be easier for you to sort the list and determine your site’s weak pages in terms of search visibility.

Make a list of these pages, and assess the importance of each, especially with the search terms they’re aiming to rank for.

On improving your weak landing pages:

  • Optimize them to become more evergreen (update the information it contains).
  • Make it more comprehensive – especially if the content provides answers to frequently asked questions (or frequently searched queries in your space). As this can also help unleash your content’s full potentials, such as in optimizing your sales training, as well as customer service awareness.
  • Build more thematically relevant internal links to them, to pass more link value and ranking power. For more tips, you can also check this guide on content optimization.

Do the math in your landing pages

If every page on your site is getting 100 visitors per month on an average, then adding 10 new more unique and useful pages will allow you to attract a thousand more visitors in the next month.

But of course, this is not a precise amount of increase that you can actually expect. However, having a deep understanding of the capability of your site to make its pages earn visibility and traffic is extremely crucial when it comes to growing your audience/customer base.

Always look for opportunities that can help you expand your brand’s reach, like implementing these things:

  • Regularly checking your site’s internal site search data to see what topic areas your visitors are really looking for (Behavior > Site Search > Search Terms).
  • Understanding your target audience’s other interests, so you can come up with content specifically targeted to these users (Audience > Interests > Affinity Categories).

affinity categories

  • Identify countries, cities and languages that you have a strong market, and create content specifically tailored for these site visitors – as this can result to getting more long-tail keywords that you can target and rank for (Audience > Geo > Location or Language).

geo

Make your site more remarkable to improve return visits!

Whether you’re running an online publication, SaaS company, ecommerce site, B2B or an offline business, in the long run, visitor retention will be far more valuable than new visitor acquisition – because these are the people who are ready and willing to spend more in your business.

new vs returning

How to make your website remarkable:

  • Invest on content that people won’t find anywhere else (thought-leadership)
  • Invest on design
  • Invest on building relationships
  • Invest in branding

More helpful resources:

If you liked this post, you should subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

, ,

The ROI in Forum and Comment Marketing

inbound.org

Building and earning visibility through conversations has proven itself to be a very result-oriented approach in online marketing.

Sharing your knowledge and expertise on online communities doesn’t just help you build links (that get clicked more often than not), but it also allows you to build a strong brand presence that will let people in your industry know that you really know your stuff.

And best of all, it can also help you generate leads/sales directly.

Examples

To start off, I’ll throw a couple of samples of how I personally gained from just being active on some of the biggest online communities in the SEO industry in the past.

Note: My links’ actual conversion data (from early 2010 – June 2013) has been wiped out when Google Analytics’ new interface was launched earlier this month.

A few years back, my blog marketing strategy heavily relied on building conversations on other sites (particularly those that I knew where my target customers are) – and I believe they really paid off.

For instance, I used to be active on Warrior Forum in the early days of my blogging career (in which I have contributed 173 forum posts).

Warrior Forum

Over the span of 3 months, I’ve managed to get a few service inquiries:

warrior-conversions

And I was able to work on 2 good projects (for $500/month – that was my monthly rate before).

tony bianco

So if I had a total of 173 forum posts, which could have taken me 2 minutes to make each post (a total of 346 minutes or 5.8 hours), and say I’m paying myself $20/hour. Then the total investment I made for this specific task would be $116.

The return was two $500/month worth of projects. Not bad for an investment right?

Another sample would be my current presence on Inbound.org (being one of the community’s top users).

inbound.org

Which definitely have generated a lot of business leads for Xight Interactive for the past several months:

inbound-conversions

It has been much easier to close deals with prospected clients coming from this community, since they already know what type of service they are looking to get.

inbound-inquiry

Other than getting service leads, it also helps me scale my marketing efforts, as I get more linking opportunities – seeing that other community members perceive my brand as an authority in the field.

link opportunity

Calculating the amount of efforts I’ve done vs. the results I got (as a business owner) was definitely satisfying.

I’ve already shared 1,545 articles on Inbound.org (although I’m not saying it’s about the quantity of your contribution). So let’s say it takes me a minute to share a single post on the site – which actually isn’t, since I believe it’s just a few seconds (a total of 1,545 minutes or 25.8 hours). Then I’ve already spent $516 worth of my time on contributing to Inbound.org (if say I’m paying myself 20 bucks per hour).

The returns were I was able to close a lot of new client inquiries and got more marketing firepower for my blog’s brand – which I can truly say a win/win.

Improving your conversational marketing strategy

Like any other marketing strategy/tactic, conversational marketing also has a few best practices of its own.

Generosity is key.

The more you add value to the discussions or give valuable information to other people in your target communities, the more you can:

  • Make your brand and contributions appear more authentic.
  • Build an authoritative identity for your brand.
  • Standout in discussions that really matter (increases click-through visitors).
  • Help and influence other people.
  • Build better relationships and become more linkable.

I know some people in our industry who have been really generous in sharing their ideas/knowledge, which I think have helped a lot in establishing themselves as an authority in the field.

One perfect example would be Benj Arriola (of Internet Marketing Inc.), who has been so generous in giving people advice (whether it’s on a forum or in a Facebook group).

benj

Invest more time on communities that will actually drive results

Participate on blogs, forums, social network groups and other online communities in your industry that really matter. Choose the communities that have:

  • A strong search share (to ensure that your contributions will be seen by their constantly growing search-driven visitors).
  • Large traffic, an active community and majority of it is your target audience.

Scaling your conversational marketing efforts

There are also a few things that you can do to make the most out of your forum and comment marketing campaigns, such as:

Hire smart people to do the community infiltration for you

If you have a great in-house team that really knows how your product/service(s) work (your sales or marketing people), then adding these small tasks of participating to online discussions can tremendously help you build a solid sales funnel. Just imagine if they can just do this for 15 minutes every day, right?

I’ve been working with Affilorama for the past 3 years, and I know that they’re support and sales team do this on their free time.

Always measure

Check the top referring online communities that are driving conversions on your website (via Google Analytics). Spend more time on the ones that are really working.

Give product samples to other active community members

Get to know the other active users in your target communities, especially those who’re already/somehow considered to be an authority (but not the moderators).

Give them free samples of your products, as these can help you:

  • Get more inputs on how you can further improve your product (which can make your brand more link-worthy in the future).
  • Build rapport with the people who really care about your industry – and eventually build brand evangelists who can voluntarily promote your content within the communities they are active in.

Build more non-linking brand mentions

Instead of aiming for links when using this approach, use conversations to mainly amplify your online branding efforts. Because there are ton of advantages in doing this, such as:

  • It reduces the chances of getting flagged as a spammer (especially on forums), when you’re slightly promoting your own products.
  • It can cultivate more branded search (given that you didn’t provide a link) – which is a very powerful signal that search engines use to determine strong brands.

forumpost

  • Search engines can understand these non-linking brand mentions (through phrase-based indexing and the concept of co-occurrence), which means they will most likely count them as votes for your website to have better ranking ability on search results.

For more tips on comment marketing, watch the video below from one of Rand’s Whiteboard Fridays.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre

, ,

How I Do Link Baiting on @kaiserthesage

J-zz-In-My-Pants-Caps-the-lonely-island-4133367-850-475

This was my slide presentation earlier today for a brainstorming session with WebPros‘ search and content team (they were amazing and a very smart team!). The deck is just a recap of the core inbound marketing strategy that I’ve been implementing on this blog for the past couple of years.

If you’ve been a reader of this blog, then I believe you’ll find many of the ideas from the presentation very familiar.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

,

My Best Kept SEO Secret on How to Rank for Competitive Keywords

As expected, SEO has gotten a bit more difficult, especially now that Google is pushing to encrypt a bigger portion of their search traffic data from Analytics (100% keyword not provided).

Knowing the keywords that really work and drive results has been a core factor of why SEO is a force to reckon with. But without it doesn’t really imply the demise of SEO as a marketing practice.

I don’t really give a sh*t if they try and keep all the keyword data to themselves, because as long as people are searching for something – we still have work to do.

Steve Webb has put together a list of the most actionable SEO advice from industry leaders this week, and I thought I’ve already given mine – until I’ve come to revisit this method that I’ve been doing since I started blogging.

The secret is simple – Create content that:

  • is evergreen
  • can be continuously updated
  • can target industry head terms

This is somehow based on Wikipedia’s content model, wherein they publish the ultimate resource about a certain subject (industry-specific terminologies) and enabling the content to be continuously updated.

Examples

To give you a better outlook of how I’ve done this tactic, I’ll share a few actual samples.

Example #1: I’ve shared this first example many times before. It’s a linkable asset that has been here on my blog for the past 2 years now – my “SEO strategies resources page”.

SEO strategies

When I created this list (of my top blog posts), I was originally aiming for it to rank for the keyword “SEO strategies”. And it did.

It’s been consistently ranking on the top 3 spots for the past 2 years now.

SERP seo strategies

That brought thousands of highly engaged organic traffic to my blog every month.

organic seo strategies

And here’s the best part, because of the content’s comprehensiveness, it was also able to rank for 779 other more search terms (like online marketing strategies, SEO tactics list, SEO marketing, etc…).

seo strategies variants

So when I realized that this approach was really driving results, I never got contented and had to try it once more.

Example #2: I then built a new resource page for “Social Media Marketing Strategies”.

social media marketing

The results were almost exactly the same. The page was ranking #1 for the keyword “social media marketing strategies” for almost a year now.

social media marketing SERP

That has also brought thousands of highly engaged visitors on a monthly basis, and was also able to rank for 271 other more keyword variations (such as social media marketing techniques, social media marketing plan, social media marketing tactics, etc…).

social media marketing variants

Factors that make them rank better

There are so many things that I’ve done to optimize them and make them more visible on search results, but the nature of these pages were also somehow enough for them to deserve the rankings/organic traffic they are getting.

  • These 2 resources pages I created were internally linking to many of my blog posts that are comprehensive and evergreen (and thematically relevant). So aside from improving the page’s activity rate (as visitors instantly click-through the list of links), it’s also passing ranking power to my site’s other pages.
  • Since these pages are focused on industry terms, I can easily build contextual links to them – through my continuous content marketing efforts (both internal and external).
  • Once these linkable assets are already ranking for the key terms that they are targeting (that are mostly informational search terms), it’s easier for them to attract and earn natural links – knowing that many of the people landing on the page are doing research about the topic.
  • The pages’ ability to be continuously updated makes room for improvement and sustainability in search rankings. The more changes/updates being made on the page, the more it becomes the best resource on the web covering a particular topic area.
  • The robustness of the page’s content also makes it more deserving to rank for multiple keyword variations – which allows it to get more organic traffic.

What to do if you haven’t invested in Content Marketing yet?

The approach I used was aligned with my past content marketing efforts, as the resources page I have just simply compiled all the popular posts I’ve written since 2010.

There are still other viable options if you don’t have enough content assets to compile:

marketing library

I guess this is not a secret anymore. Anyway, if you liked this post, please do subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.