We have been putting the finishing touches on our initial Google Analytics integration over the past few weeks. Those of you who requested access to our beta testing list should be receiving emails soon letting you know that these new features have been activated on your account.
The first report that we will be adding is our “Now Provided” report. This report will mash up rank tracking data, Google Analytics, and various AdWords related metrics. You can see a sample of that report below.
Our goal with this report is to give a clearer picture of which keywords are driving traffic to each page. Then we narrow down opportunities where you may not rank in the top couple positions for a keyword, but there is data to support the value of focusing on those keywords, even if they’re not something you’re tracking in AuthorityLabs.
We will be rolling these new features out to accounts over the next couple weeks. Keep an eye out over the next few months as we add even more reports to help you with your SEO campaigns.
Mention link building to most business owners and you’re likely to get weird stares as their minds replay thoughts of a previous bludgeonings by Google Penguin. But that punishment wasn’t the result of link building; it was the result of bad business practices (i.e., buying links). No matter what you think about the process of building links, this much is clear:
Links remain one of the most important elements in your business’s efforts to gain traffic, authority and drive conversions.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Link Ranking Factors from SearchMetrics’ SEO Ranking Factors for 2014:
Click image to expand size
While this chart only tells a smart part of the overall story, it does highlight that links still play a significant role in the overall ranking of a website. (Take a look at the complete list here.)
It’s pretty apparent that the role of links, while diminishing by comparison to content and social, isn’t going away any time soon.
“Links aren’t dying…We just need to focus on building better ones.” Link building expert Julie Joyce, owner of LinkFish Media.
I couldn’t agree more.
I also propose that we take a different approach to link building as well. If your company or agency has engaged in “traditional” link building, it likely looks something like this:
Identify a target you’d like to get a link from
Have a staffer reach out ask for a link to a piece of content or web page
Staffer sends emails with the same ask
Or, maybe your business is heavily involved in content marketing already, and you have a pretty good process in place. Instead of the hard sell, your team identifies your audience, determines where they go to consume and share content, creates content along the lines of what they normally share, then reaches out to them.
I have a much, much different—and, I think, more effective way of doing link building—and it’s one I think your business should give a try.
Link building begins with a content-first mindset.
When brands put users first in creating content all too often the messaging of the brand falters, and with it their link building or content marketing efforts.
For example, say you’re a brand that’s done your homework, discerning your target audience is Millennials who mainly use Snapchat and Instagram. You then go about creating highly visual content, which you share on those platforms and then begin outreach efforts in hopes of acquiring links.
In this scenario, which we see played out daily, the content is typically off-message, created only for the purpose of getting links and mentions but having very little to do with the overall goals of the brand.
It’s why we so many poorly targeted, poorly executed infographics. The social team notices the popularity of infographics; the SEO folks salivate at the link opportunity; and the content and design teams realize the information is already at hand and they can deliver a shiny infographic in two days.
You end up with something like this:
Remember, every piece of content you create, and every endeavor you undertake to share such content, must have clear, definable goals and metrics associated with the larger goals of the business.
This serves to take the emphasis off vanity metrics (e.g., shareability) and places it on what the brand, overall, is trying to accomplish.
By taking a content-first approach that’s informed by users, you create wins for everyone.
Here’s how it looks:
You commit to only producing content that’s impactful, resonant and in line with your core branding (this assumes your brand was established after identifying your ideal prospects)
You continue to gain clarity on the members of your target audience who’re willing to support your brand (e.g., customer, ambassador, advocate, etc.)
You identify the platforms they’re using to share and link to content
You become a visible, active participant on those platforms, with hopes of creating a meaningful relationship
You notice certain members sharing, linking to and engaging around your content
You reach out to those members (a) who’ve shared your content, (b) who are the most active, visible and (c) who are the most influential to ask about the types of information that’s lacking in the sector (you might even ask them to be a part of the content, as part of a co-marketing effort)
You produce the type of content the audience members highlighted as missing
You ask if they would be so kind as to share the content
You share it and give audience members credit for their help
You aren’t so much link building as you are relationship building. And, in an age where PR, branding and media relations is so neglected, but so very important, this is a philosophy every business must adopt, to some degree. As a content strategist, who has advised hundreds of companies and overseen thousands of content-related campaigns, I’m convinced that success begins with the commitment to create amazing content.
While a commitment to great content is tough to stick with over time, the effort is well worth the trouble. Why? Most of the competition doesn’t care enough to begin down this path.
It’s too easy to define the audience, find out where they congregate and then start peppering them with content similar to what they already read, share and (sometimes) link to. If your business hopes to earn links, and not just beg for them, you need must commit to creating compelling, novel and indispensable content. Is it hard? Yes. But is it scalable? Absolutely.
Google’s head of webspam, Matt Cutts, seems to convey a similar message in this video from SMX Advanced 2014: “If you do enough excellent, interesting, useful, funny, compelling stuff, usually your reputation, or your links, however you want to think of it, takes care of itself.”
I don’t agree that great information is all it takes to get links. But, in my experience, it is part of the surest path to acquiring links.
Pubcon Vegas 2014 is about 3 weeks away! We have found that when going to Pubcon you need to plan ahead of time to make the experience more enjoyable. So, Brian LaFrance and I, Melissa Fach, got together and figured out what tips we would give to Pubcon attendees. This was a complete collaborative effort, however Brian is the expert on food and restaurants in Vegas (check out the extensive list below!). You can also see some great tips on last year’s Pubcon post, see comments.
Pubcon is a ton of fun and Vegas is fun, but that fun can take a major detour if you are not prepared. So, please check out the tips and suggestions below and if you have any tips please add them to the comments. Lastly, both Brian and I will be attending and speaking at Pubcon! Come say hello!
Things to Bring to Pubcon
Bring a hoodie or jacket to the conference – freezing! The biggest complaint you will see on Twitter is how cold people are. Everyone tries to warn people that it is cold – Pubcon can’t control the temp, the convention center does.
Bring water and drink water, lots of it! It is easy to get dehydrated in a dry environment, and drinking alcohol doesn’t help. (by Thursday you will see a few conference zombies that forgot to drink water…and are slightly hungover)
Bring Tylenol/Motrin, daily. Either you will need it or your fellow attendees will. A great way to make a new friend is have some Tylenol :).
Have some cash for the convention center – drinks, food, cabs and tips.
Comfy shoes for the conference – the convention center is large and all that matters is your feet survive.
Deodorant. Don’t forget it and use it a couple times a day. Vegas can be a stinky place and you don’t want to contribute to that.
Camera that zooms – you want quality images for social shares, blog posts and memories.
Chapstick, it is dry – it will be useful for the convention center and casinos.
A small, portable power strip – Some hotel rooms and the convention center can end up with a limited number of outlet options. There are cheap power strips out there such as this one that will give you some extra flexibility on where you can charge your computer, phone, and whatever other accessories you have.
Labeled power and phone cords. People lose them all the time at conferences. If your name and Twitter handle are on the cords people can tweet your name with the #Pubcon hashtag and you have a better shot at finding it.
A couple of snacks/snack bars. You never know when you will miss a meal because you are talking with someone you don’t want to walk away from – snacks can save you!
Saving Money & Other Money Tips
Share cabs – you don’t want to walk to the conference shuttle or wait for it you can share a cab and it will cost you like $2-3 dollars (plus tip). It is always good to have cash and small bills work great for this.
Use your drink tickets. Free booze can be hard to come by outside of sitting at a table losing money. Plus, you can bring someone you respect a drink, that is always appreciated.
Gamble downtown if you want cheap tables. In the evening, most of the table minimums on the strip are all going to be 2-3x those of the casinos on Fremont Street.
Just plan on spending money on food and drinks – not a lot of savings
Save receipts for everything (cabs, food, networking drinks, hotel, travel expensives), or take pics and save them to Evernote or Dropbox; these are tax deductions!
Conference / Nightlife Survival
Make sure your cab driver knows to go to the Las Vegas Convention Center (South Hall) on Paradise Rd. (our cab driver tried to take us to the wrong convention center).
Prepare to be up most of the night. If that means getting a quick nap at some point during the day or right before dinner, do it. Networking in the evenings is huge. (this is even more important for those that come from multiple time zones away)
Consider hitting the Breeze Bar in TI (Treasure Island) every evening; massive networking happens here (I think the earliest I left was 2:30 am).
Network with conference sponsors, like us, and exhibitors.
Plan dinners ahead of time and make sure they don’t conflict with parties or events you want to attend. Expect that plans may change on the fly though and be flexible.
Eat enough food so you don’t end up too wasted and on YouTube – Good plan…especially avoid being on YouTube riding a bull. That would be embarrassing.
Get a cell number from people attending parties or dinners you are attending – if you get lost or if plans change you can always reach someone.
Wash your hands often. Nothing like picking up a virus because someone else with a cold or flu had their virus infested hands all over the same doorknob, gaming chips, or bartop you’re now touching.
REMEMBER – people you meet in a bar could be huge in regards to your future; make sure you don’t drink so much that you kill any opportunity you could have created (seen it happen).
There are many people in recovery, make sure you are respectful when it comes to drinking or offering drinks. Be willing to walk away from a bar for networking.
Things That Freaked Melissa, the Floridian, Out
I am from Florida and to say it is very humid here is an understatement. I didn’t realize what the ‘dryness’ of Vegas would do to me. So, here are some tips if you also live in a humid and/or sea level environment:
Drink as much water as possible. I was dehydrated and didn’t realize it. My skin was super dry, my lips were dry, I was weak and on the 4th day my legs swelled up and I looked like a freak…drink water. (Water is far cheaper at pharmacies and stores than hotels).
The dry skin – bring lotion and face moisturizer and use them often.
My hair is really curly, but in Vegas it was completely straight. If you have curly hair plan on a different hair style and bring the styling products you will need.
Altitude sickness – I didn’t realize this was a thing until I got back and a friend that lived in Vegas explained what I was feeling was altitude sickness. Where I live in Florida I am below sea level; the altitude of Vegas was a huge change for me. Here are some tips on how to avoid altitude sickness and some symptoms you should look out for.
I always end up bringing too much when I travel and the truth is so much can happen in Vegas that you need options. Here is my strategy on how to not overpack:
Plan and bring an outfit for each day and night. This will save you a lot of time!
Don’t worry about being dressed up for the conference. The majority of the people attending are on the geeky side and they don’t expect business attire. Plus you want to be comfortable when spending all day at a conference dragging around a laptop and accessories.
Have 1-2 dressy options for possible nights out (Bring items you can mix and match for a possible 3rd night).
Bring comfy daytime shoes for walking around Vegas and the conference.
Bring a dressier pair of shoes for evenings – focus on comfort instead of looks. You need a dressy pair.
If you end up needing something there are stores everywhere!
Plan on bringing back multiple freebies from the conference – consider the room you will need when you pack and the weight of your bag after the conference (airline fees).
Plan a comfortable/comforting outfit for flying home – you will be tired, exhausted, possibly hungover and looking nice won’t matter. Also, the TSA is super careful in Vegas, wear things that don’t require you to remove items to get through the long line. (They checked my hair in a pony tail, twice! They aren’t messing around)
Like Melissa, I usually end up bringing too much. It’s just hard to plan for everything and sometimes plans fall through.
Bring multiple pairs of shoes. I prefer having 2 sets of walking shoes so I can rotate day to day.
Good walking shoes typically won’t get you into clubs, so you’ll want to consider that if you plan to go out and party.
Pack your clothes in a roller bag. Almost everything is a pretty long walk in Vegas.
Brian’s Dining Suggestions
Brian has attended many Pubcons and been to Vegas many times. He has a fantastic list of restaurants to choose from. Each of the links below takes you to Yelp so you can check out reviews, get directions and see pictures of the food.
You have to buy your own lunch. On site lunches are hit and miss and the lines get huge. Sometimes better to catch a cab to a close restaurant and get better food. Some options that are a quick cab ride away…
Lotus of Siam – Good Thai food option. Can be busy, but has also accommodated groups of around 10-12 on past trips.
Bahama Breeze – Good food and service with a ton of great drink options.
Culinary Dropout – Get the pretzels & fondue appetizer. You’ll thank me later. You can also order any burger on a pretzel bun, which is awesome.
People usually scatter all over the city for dinner. There’s no shortage of great options in Vegas. Most of the casinos have several restaurants inside with everything from amazing steakhouses to huge buffets. Some places can get busy and reservations are recommended in most cases. Many of these options are a short walk or quick cab ride away from the convention center and conference hotel.
Shibuya – Great sushi inside MGM Grand. If you want a great food experience where you don’t have to make any decisions, go with the omakase.
Nobu – There are two options for Nobu in Vegas. Service can be a little slow at times but the food more than makes up for it.
Sushi Roku – Solid sushi choice in the Forum Shops at Caesars that’s a quick walk from Treasure Island. Good service and usually easy to get in without a wait.
By taking the suggestions we offered above you can plan out everything and really enjoy Pubcon. Every tip offered is based on experience and failures :). We want you to avoid having anything negative and Brian wants you to eat well! If you have any Pubcon suggestions please add them in the comments below.
Jay Baer’s book Youtility makes a point, on page 30, that’s as important as it is easy to miss:
“Stop trying to be amazing and start trying to be useful.”
I first read the line in July, during a flight to the West Coast, and since that time it’s occurred to me that the point Baer made has far deeper meaning than I’d initially realized.
In a nutshell, my realization is that potential customers, far and wide, are raising their hands, eager for help, eager to spend their money with our businesses but we’re too busy to notice, too busy marketing to them, trying to push them down the sales funnel, toward conversions.
What are our prospects saying? “Just have a conversation with us first.”
Usefulness Is The First Step To Your Brand Getting The Attention It Deserves
You wouldn’t expect someone to walk up to you, ask your name, then, in the next breath ask to marry you. So, why are you asking prospects to make the plunge before they’ve ever decided you’re worthy of a relationship?
Take a gander at social media to see numerous examples of brands getting it right.
@HiltonSuggests has raised eyebrows and their brand’s profile by being an indispensable resource on Twitter for travelers, even those who don’t stay at their hotels.
@AmericanAir has swiftly become the airline of choice for many fliers by using social media as the de facto arm of customer service, honestly answering specific questions about delays, cancellations and hassles other airlines typically ignore.
@Clorox‘s Twitter profile is a treasure trove of information, as they dispense useful tips to some of the most common problems, and in the process provides an enviable example of how a brand that loses the me-first attitude can prosper. (I defy you to check out this brand’s Twitter profile and NOT find something that makes your life easier.)
Traveling soon? Simply keep a hotel bar of soap w/ your dirty laundry to keep it from smelling funky #ProTip LifeHack <ahref=”http://t.co/JQttQD14Yd”>pic.twitter.com/JQttQD14Yd
These brands, and others like them have created top-of-mind awareness by catering to three of the most important needs of consumers: usefulness, meaningfulness and indispensability.
Useful: We’re here when you need us most.
Meaningful: We strive to add value.
Indispensable: We’re willing to earn the right to be a part of your life.
From working with hundreds of companies of all sizes over the last 15 years, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that, to ensure long-term success, the goal must be to create an indispensable brand.
Start the journey to creating an indispensable brand by doing the following:
Answer a question on Twitter - Seek out relevant conversations in your vertical, then, as often as time permits, chime in the answer to questions related to your service or product category. Be sure to refrain from pushing your products or services. The goal is to be present and in-the-moment useful.
Share meaningful tips in your newsletter - Let’s face it, newsletters have become the scourge of our inboxes. Be a trailblazer by gathering your sales and marketing teams to figure out some of the biggest problems your customers are facing. Once you have that list, get with the content folks to have them create Q&A’s and other one-page features designed to answer those questions as part of the newsletter. (This is the kind of information that gets shared outside the company as well.)
Take the show on the road - Actively seek out offline groups and organizations to speak to and share generic information about your line of service or products. The goal is to get in front of these groups, no strings attached, and build a rapport that could pay dividends down the road, not lead to a sale right away. For example, a physician might talk to the parents of high school athletes, making them aware of how to prevent common injuries.
Create an amazing piece of evergreen content - Sounds easy enough, right? Not so fast. I don’t mean a piece of content relevant to your industry, products or service. I’m talking about creating a piece of content that’s imminently needed and useful. For example, you could create a “Complete Guide For Brewing Amazing Coffee At Home” or “The Definitive Guide For Keeping Kids Safe Around Pools.” Doesn’t matter that those topics fall outside your area. Your goal is to organically tie your business to prospects’ everyday life, and that begins, first, with visibility. Creating comprehensive evergreen content on topics that are of concern to a huge swath of the population is a surefire means of getting on the useful-meaningful-indispensable path.
Again, the playbook for becoming an indispensable brand has already been written. You just need the commitment to follow the course in front of you.
What is your business doing to become an indispensable brand?
Erica McGillivray is the Senior Community Manager at Moz. She also handles the presentations that are given during Mozcon to ensure that the presentations will be received in a positive light by the audience. Because Erica has so much experience with presentations, conference attendees and speakers I thought I would reach out and get some advice on presentation design, content and themes.
If you currently speak or you hope to speak one day I suggest you read Erica’s advice carefully and check out all the great resources she offers.
1. You are a huge part of the presentations at Mozcon. Can you tell us what your role is?
I essentially function as the speaker wrangler for MozCon. I herd cats.
But in all seriousness, I have the privilege to work with some of the brightest minds in our greater industry and bring their brilliance to the MozCon stage. MozCon speakers are selected by a small committee, and as part of that, I help get our speakers vetted and selected. Then I work with each speaker from initial outreach about coming to MozCon to post-MozCon feedback.
MozCon is quite a bit more hand-ons than other conferences in the space, because we believe that further coaching and help has gotten already amazing speakers to bring the best presentations (so far) of their careers to the stage. We have initial calls to discuss topics, reviews of drafts or outlines, early final deck reviews, a walkthrough of the stage pre-MozCon, final reminders before going on stage, and post-MozCon pretty robust feedback. There’s a lot I’ve learned over the years of doing this at MozCon (and from my own speaking) or have observed particular needs for the MozCon audience through their feedback and our stage setup.
Revenue suggestion for @Moz: Hire out @emcgillivray to edit presentations for other conferences. She has an incredible gift! #mozcon
2. What are the common mistakes you see in presentations?
Ian Lurie from Portent really summed up bad deck mistakes. The two biggest things I see are 1) text not being large enough for the entire audience to see, and 2) cramming too much text on a slide. The latter is the cause of excessive bullet points and often just bad design layout. Audiences will read your slides before they listen to you, so if you have more than 20ish words on a slide, they are likely not listening to you and instead are reading.
Besides the actual deck itself, the biggest mistake I see is not practicing your talk multiple times or not practicing it in front of a live audience. Great talks are practiced, and great speakers practice their talks. Too many speakers work on their decks until the very last minute — which most conferences runners hate — and don’t give the deck time to settle and the talk to fully form in their heads. You want to be comfortable with it on stage.
3. Based on your extensive experience can you tell us what makes a presentation successful with a live audience? How about on Slideshare?
I highly discourage presenters from attempting to make one deck for both the presentation and your Slideshare upload.
Presentations should mostly be about what you say, and most of the time, without your words, the deck will range from mildly to completely incoherent. The best decks present information clearly to the audience and support the talk itself.
It’s about storytelling and takeaways. (The MozCon audience is particularly finicky on those actionable takeaways in that you can give the best talk in the world and get killed in the feedback if there’s no easy-to-grab tips.) You don’t have to have the world’s prettiest deck, but it does need to clearly present the information. Those two things often get misconstrued as the same.
For SlideShare, you want to provide audiences with that extra information that’s missing from the deck, but relayed in the talk. Some speakers release their full speaker notes — though sometimes speakers are hesitant or perhaps embarrassed by them in the raw — and others go as far as transcripts or making a completely separate deck. Personally, I recently did a presentation where I put colored bubbles with text of information into the slides that needed more explanation, and this seemed to work well.
4. There are a lot of recommendations about not using text in presentations. What are your thoughts on this?
Text can be powerful, especially if you choose the right words. Sometimes text can also help the speaker in their flow. For instance, I’m pretty terrible at remembering numbers, and if I’m giving a talk on analytics, numbers are going to be important; so as a speaker, I will often make the slide show the numbers (or whatever else) that I might forget.
As mentioned above, great decks are often ruined by too many words. Limit them.
5. Should presentations be professionally designed?
While I don’t believe they need to be professionally designed, I do believe some basic art of slide building education or a critic of a deck by a designer can be a great thing. A lot of excellent speakers are brought down by bad decks.
I highly recommend Nancy Duarte’s slide:ology, which is a relatively easy book for a non-designer who’s building decks to get some basic principles. On the other hand, a professional designer never hurts if you can afford one. To be perfectly transparent, I was an art student and a graphic designer in a past life, and I know that this has given me a leg up in understanding the principles behind great or bad decks. But I do think that frequent presenters can at least learn some of the basics by reading Duarte’s book or other resources.
6. If you had to single out one thing that consistently sets apart the presentations that get chosen from those that are rejected, what would it be?
Solid pitches that provide details and stand out as a new or unique twist on the topic, plus videos and slide decks from past presentations to serve as a speaking-ability resume. I’m constantly pretty surprised at how many people leave out the details of what makes their talk really different and cool from their descriptions. Sure, your talk’s goodies are a surprise to our audience, but shouldn’t be to show-runners.
7. Personality vs. Professionalism in presentations, what are your thoughts?
I think there can be a balance of both creating a so-called professional deck and put some personality in it. Similar to too much text, too much fun or theme-ing can overwhelm your talk.
For instance, I once created an Inspector Spacetime themed deck. Most of my marketer audience didn’t know that Inspector Spacetime is a fake TV show within the TV show Community. I had a lot of fun doing it, but my audience worried more about knowing how my theme-related and about the theme instead of about my talk. It convoluted the clarity of my deck. I’ve seen similar things happen to MozCon and Mozinar (our webinars) speakers.
8. Anything you would like to share? Resources, tips, pet peeves, etc.?
Don’t be afraid to get out there and speak. Speaking is like everything else in our professional lives: a skill that we learn and evolve to be better at over time. We all have moments where we’re due to falter and times that we will shine.
I always like to share my ever-evolving list of resources for speakers or those who are interested in speaking:
Erica is very busy and I really appreciate her taking the time to answer these questions for us, and for providing all these great resources to learn from. You can find Erica on Twitter , Google+ and Slideshare.
It’s 9:30 am, on a Monday, and I’m staring across the table at the CMO of a midsize company. He’s already warned me that I’m not to talk when his CEO, who has yet to enter the room, is talking. Most important, he said, I’m to answer the CEO’s questions directly, no “hemming and hawing.”
The CEO enters, shakes my hand, offers me a seat and gets right to the point. “Let’s cut straight to the chase: Can you help us get on the first page of Google?” inquires the CEO, who’s leaning forward, elbows on the table, eyes glaring into mine.
“That’s the question we need you to answer for us. Because that’s the only way we’re going to spend money with you.”
I begin with, “That’s a loaded answer, for—.”
“Stop talking,” he says. “Can you get us to the first page of Google? Can you?”
I do the only thing I can: I lie.
“Yes. I can get you to the first page of Google. I guarantee it.”
Hearing those words, the CEO leans back, glancing at his CMO and CFO, who’s now entered the room, then says “Well…? Keep talking.”
“By using the millions of dollars you’re going to give me for PPC ads,” I said
We all had a big laugh (me, nervously), which providing me with the occassion to talk about content, which was their real opportunity.
Being No.1 On Google Shouldn’t Be Your First Priority
I made them aware of a few facts that should be used to guide their steps, but they are just as useful for your business as well:
Being No. l on Google doesn’t guarantee success (e.g., they could burn money in PPC with little to show for their efforts)
Conversions will matter, but they matter a lot less when you’re trying to get a business off the ground (e.g., a high conversion rate when you only have 20 customers isn’t the goal; the goal is to have significant audience numbers to convert from)
Social media, especially Twitter and Google is an area of opportunity.
The company, a start-up in the financial arena, had some stiff national competition in the sector, as you can imagine. The company also had some areas of opportunity, by way of content, audience and social, though they didn’t immediately see the potential
I’m convinced the tactics they’ve been successfully using for months now can benefit your company as well
Focus Your Content Efforts On Longtail Keywords
Let’s face it, competing with other large national brands on incredibly popular keywords is a fool’s errand. As brilliant SEO Bill Slawski said recently, “Don’t compete for ‘vanilla’ with Breyers.”
Sage advice, indeed.
A much better approach is to focus your energy around longtail keywords which opens to the door to far more opportunities and, better yet, will be far less competitive.
Keywords can be broken into three parts: head, modifier and tail. The head and tail, or all three together, is what’s known as a “longtail keyword.”
Longtails are vital because they comprise nearly 3/4 of all online searches and, most important, are far more specific, meaning we’re getting closer to discerning true user intent via search.
Consider the following three examples:
cupcake > red velvet cupcakes > red velvet cupcakes near Candler Park
It’s pretty apparent that the user looking for “red velvet cupcakes near Candler Park” would likely be much easier to convert than someone who simply enters “cupcake,” right? That’s the approach I had the financial services company take.
For example, instead of focusing their efforts on “financial planning,” going with “financial planning advice for Millennials” was a much better play.
The specific phrases also make it easy for a business such as yours to create additional pages around them.
Type in your main term, then hit space an start typing a single letter, beginning with “a.” This, more than anything, will provide you with ideas of what to create content around. Be sure to try it logged into Google and without logged into email, for the results will vary by location and who you’re connected to via Google products.
2. Think globally, act locally.
Put yourself in the position of the consumer who would be interested in and/or purchase your product. What would your main criteria be? What would you look for in a brand? How much would you be willing to pay? Who would you seek out for recommendations?
Armed with answers to these questions, you can now set about creating content that answers each and every one of the potential objections.
In this way, you’re basically creating a potentially rankable database of FAQ’s that’s useful and share-worthy.
Create a Google Spreadsheet with your questions and share it with the team, making them aware of the need to add their own questions. Once you have a solid base of questions, get your content, SEO and PPC teams in the same room and let them parse what questions should be answered first.
Then start building out these pages. Most important, be sure to (a) share the pages as answers to questions on social media, (b) link to the pages from relevant blogs on the site and (c) have team members visit forums, review site and discussion boards, where they can answer related questions and share a link to the web page.
What’s more, create blogs around the topics as well.
3. Make blogs a benefit, not a detriment to your longtail keyword strategy.
Remember, blogs are not high-converting pieces of content. That’s where your main category pages, eBooks, case studies and webinars come into play. That being the case, refrain from creating keyword-stuffed blogs since they have the ability to compete with your main product/service pages in the SERPs.
Instead, use blogs for more broadly focused content using your targeted keywords, and do so without loading the text with the specific keywords/keyword strings you hope to rank for (e.g., if “red velvet cupcake bites” is a main category page term, don’t create a blog riddled with “red velvet cupcake bites.”)
This is the first in a three-part series designed to help you smartly and easily gain a head of steam against the competition.
In the next post, I’ll dive into why, early on, conversions matters less than growing your audience, and share actionable tips for growing the latter.