Archive | August 2018

Why websites should be using HSTS to improve security and SEO

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If you want added security, faster load times and stronger SEO for your site, contributor John Lincoln walks through why and how you should be using HSTS for a better user and ranking experience.

Site users and search engines don’t take website security lightly which is probably why you’ve likely heard of added security measures like HTTPS.

But a lesser-known security layer called HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS) is also available and can help protect your site and your search engine optimization (SEO) as well.  Let’s walk through what HSTS is and how it works.


HSTS is a response header that informs the browser it can only connect to a certain website using HTTPS.  HSTS increases both the speed and security of HTTPS websites.  To fully understand what HSTS does, you need a little working knowledge of HTTPS.


HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure) is a secure version of HTTP.  When a user connects to a site using HTTPS, the website then encrypts the session with a secure sockets layer (SSL) certificate. In layman’s terms, it adds an extra layer of security to the site session and protects against hackers who may try to steal information from web users.

As you can imagine, this is especially useful for e-commerce, banking, or other transaction sites like Paypal, which require users to enter sensitive information.


[Read the full article on Search Engine Land.]

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How to find good writers and other content marketing struggles

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You get what you pay for when it comes to copywriters says contributor Jessica Foster. Here’s a look at how to hire good copywriters to help drive traffic and sales to your site.

While the “content is king” mantra sits firm 0n its throne, it leaves one burning question: “How do I find writers fit for such royalty?”

From low-cost content factories to high-ticket copywriters you feel you can’t afford, you may find yourself wondering if there’s a middle road.

How do you know which solution is best for you?  Some say the best solution is to build an in-house team of writers, but this isn’t always the most affordable (or practical) option.

For those that need to outsource content writing, finding the right fit can be a bit of a whirlwind and confusing.

Today’s column will help answer all those questions, and more!  I’m going to share ideas that will help you find, qualify and hire quality search engine optimization (SEO)-savvy content writers you can depend on.

Struggle #1: What qualifies as a “good” SEO content writer?

Qualifying a good writer can feel a lot like qualifying a new love interest. They look good on paper and make a good first impression, but how do you really know they are the one?

The hard truth is that, just like with a love interest, you’ll have to spend time getting to know your writer before you really get an answer in full. But that doesn’t mean you have to go in blind. Here are some non-negotiables that will increase your odds of finding a good fit without wasting time:

  1. It should be clear to you from the start that your writer understands the basics: grammar, spelling, and structure. You can learn this through conversation. Converse with your writer by texting and/or email to get a feel for their grasp of the written word.
  2. A good SEO content writer also understands that a search engine wants you to write for the audience, not the algorithm. Ask for samples to assess this and watch out for keyword heavy posts that have poor flow and readability. Read their work and ask yourself, “If I am my target audience, do I find this information valuable and consumable?” If you don’t, usually the algorithm won’t either.
  3. Run the samples you receive through a readability scoring app like Sometimes an article will look great on the surface, but you’ll find that it carries a low readability score. This means the way its written lacks clarity and is difficult to consume.
  4. If you want to doubly ensure that you’re going to get a great return on your investment, look for content writers that do SEO copywriting — not just practice SEO. Why? People that only specialize in SEO might be able to bring you traffic, but will they know how to influence that traffic? Not necessarily. Copywriters understand the psychology of why your audience will purchase, join your list, or take any action you want them to take on your website. This is where the real magic happens, so look out for these copywriting unicorns.
  5. Lastly, copywriter or not – your writer should understand your audience’s relationship with your niche. If you want to sell diet pills to middle age women who want to lose weight, your writer shouldn’t just understand the audience or only understand the diet pills. They should understand where the two collide. What are your audience’s pain points, limiting beliefs, and buying triggers around your product or service? Usually, this is the biggest mistake when hiring, but the answer is simple: require relevant samples when vetting your wordsmith and see what they know.

Struggle #2: Where can I find good SEO writers?

Speaking objectively, you can find good writers anywhere. But there’s definitely a difference between shopping around on Fiverr versus other higher quality avenues that offer you better screening opportunities.

One of the best ways to vet an SEO content writer is to find them on social media where they post long-form content. This way you can see for yourself how they write, how they work, and how they interact with their clients and prospects.

Join SEO and copywriting groups on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn and just hang out for a bit. You’ll notice writers posting in quality groups to attract leads. Instead of just seeing samples that can be tweaked, you’ll get to see how they write and interact with leads and clients on a day to day basis.

This level of consistency and insight into a writer’s personality, ethics, and values will help you feel more comfortable and less blind going into a working agreement together.

You can also post in these groups asking for recommendations. You’ll find community members are happy to showcase the writers who’ve brought them the most value.

Struggle #4: Do I need an “SOP” for my writers?

A million times yes!

You are probably going to pick an experienced writer who is also catering to multiple clients at the same time he/she works with you. Each client they work with has different primary preferences and concerns, from the style of writing, how the work should be submitted, and so on.  Standard operating procedures (SOPs) help minimize the guesswork for your writer and potential headaches for you.

The truth is most business owners aren’t struggling to find quality writers, they’re struggling to keep them! Without clear direction, writers have to guess how you want things done and that generally causes confusion and room for error.  With more direction and outlines like an SOP, everyone stays happy.

Writing SOPs may seem like a time-intensive step, but the good news is, once it’s done it saves you hundreds of hours on the backend. And if you want to take it off your plate, consult an operations specialist who can help with this. It’ll increase your return on investment (ROI), help eliminates stress and keeps good writers happy and in your employ.

Struggle #5: How much should I pay for copywriting?

A wise human somewhere once said — you get what you pay for.  If your audience is based in the US, will a non-English speaking content writer fully understand not only the language but the culture of your audience?  Probably not.  Do you have editors available to help or are you setting yourself up to spend just as much time editing a piece as you would have spent writing it yourself? The allure of inexpensive writers is high but unless you have the time and patience to train them it’s probably not a smart investment.

Even a native speaking writer charging minimum wage is probably inexperienced and may not have access to research resources. At the end of the day ,you’re paying for a result. How much is it worth to you to make sure you are getting the best content in a reasonable amount of time?

Ultimately, the best copywriter understands your audience’s language and culture, is skilled in SEO and conversion rate optimization, is resourceful and capable. You have other things to worry about, and having a writer that can produce high-quality content is key not just for successful writing, but successful business operations and scaling.

Struggle #6: Is “SEO content” worth the investment?

Search-engine-optimized content is like anything else — you get out of it what you put into it. If you hire top quality writers, you’re going to get top quality content which in turn will help drive traffic and better rankings for your site.

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5 Ways on How to Make Money with Your Blog Other than Writing Posts

How to make money with your blog

How to Make Money with Your Blog

Some of your writers built a career out of getting clients from Upwork and other online job marketplaces. This a viable option for most since the demand for writers like yourself is there. All you need to do is submit your rate and cover letter to impress the prospective client.

But here’s my criticism to this approach: you may have to lower your asking price if you want to bag the job. The competition is fierce in sites like Upwork so you might have to bend backwards just to get the job you want.

Not to mention, the platform takes part of your earnings from the clients. It makes sense for them to get a cut since they provided the avenue for you to earn money. But if you want to pocket 100% of your earnings, then you need to find another way to find clients looking for writers.

This is why I set up my blog – to attract the clients I want and charge for the price I feel I deserve. By setting up the landing pages and strategically writing the posts, I got to bag clients that know my worth!

Below are other benefits of setting up a blog as a freelance writer:

  • Showcase your writing – Since you’re a writer, it only makes sense to write blog posts. Doing so allows you to show the writing you’re capable of. Also, if prospective clients are looking for sample works, you can point them to your blog and let your words do the talking.
  • Get found on Google and Bing much easier – This is for the most important benefit that blogging brought to my freelance writing career. Even if I wasn’t actively looking for jobs, people who are looking for a writer can search for my articles on Google. It’s difficult to rank your pages on search engines, mind – you need to learn how to do keyword research first to find search phrases you can rank for easily. Once your site builds more authority, you can expect your blog posts to rank for their respective keywords. If your clients see them on search results, you’re already at arm’s reach on bagging them as clients. What’s more important is you didn’t make the effort of attracting them! They came looking to hire you.
  • Control your brand –  It’s best to control the narrative of your career. You can’t let others dictate what kind of writer you are. With a blog, you have a platform to speak what’s on your mind and make your audience recognize you are the writing they’re looking for. According to Jason Acidre of Avaris in this post, “Think of a blog page as your “virtual soap box.” It gives you a venue to share your thoughts, ideas, and opinions with others who have similar interests.”

<img src=”; class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6120 sp-no-webp” alt=”CJB quote about clients and google search” width=”1400″ height=”700″ srcset=” 1400w,×150.jpg 300w,×384.jpg 768w,×512.jpg 1024w,×200.jpg 400w,×25.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1400px) 100vw, 1400px”>If you don’t have a blog yet, you’re already thinking of how to start a blog for free and make money. Personally, go for the paid route from the start so you have full control of your blog and its appearance. You will need to buy a domain and hosting to set up your blog. I suggest that you buy a domain from Namecheap (affiliate link) and host your site on SiteGround (affiliate link). Below are links to resources that will help you with both:

How do bloggers make money from blogging?

<img src=”; class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6087 sp-no-webp” alt=”Blogging with Coffee – How to Make Money with Your Blog” width=”1280″ height=”768″ srcset=” 1280w,×180.jpg 300w,×461.jpg 768w,×614.jpg 1024w,×30.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1280px) 100vw, 1280px”>As mentioned, I want to diversify my income streams and not depend on my clients as a freelance writer.

I love writing and blogging. Since I took my freelance writing career seriously in 2014, I can’t think of doing anything else. However, there comes a time when you’re about to outgrow something and you need to take a different direction.

While there’s still a lot in my tank with concern to writing, I feel the need to expand my horizon and put my other skills to better use. And how much better could it get with blogging? The core aspect of blogging is still writing, so I get to play with my strengths. But there are other variables that play a critical role in blogging such as content promotions, social media, email marketing, and others. Basically, a blog is a business!

The goal here is to find ways on how to make money blogging without writing the post. Throughout the years of working with my blog, below are blog ideas that make money and take your blog to new, profitable heights:

There’s more to blogging than just writing! If you to learn how to make money with your blog without typing a word, then read this post.Click To Tweet

1. Sell sponsored posts

If you have build authority with your blog, people will contact and ask you to publish a sponsored post.

Sponsored posts are like a paid advertisement for a brand in a form of a blog post. What brands do is include a link to their site naturally within the post. However, it depends on the sponsored post you’re willing to publish. They are brands who want to do a full review of their product or service on your blog.

Here’s an example of an email I received this past week from someone who wants me to publish a post for them for a fee:

<img src=”; class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6091 sp-no-webp” alt=”sponsored post example” width=”864″ height=”455″ srcset=” 864w,×158.jpg 300w,×404.jpg 768w,×26.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 864px) 100vw, 864px”>The beauty of sponsored posts is you get paid to publish unique content from brands. You may need to edit the post accordingly to meet your blog’s voice. But it’s a win-win for your blog!

I receive these emails from time to time but not all materialize into actual posts. Sponsored posts are a crap shoot – you can get lucky and publish high-quality content for a fee. But most of the times, people back away once they find out about your asking rate and other variables.

If you have a blog for years and are not receiving sponsored post requests, then your blog’s authority isn’t good enough. Below are ways on how you can improve your blog’s reputation and help you how to make money online through sponsored posts:

  • Create SEO-friendly content – Google loves fresh content. But what the search engine loves even more is content that provides value to its readers and follows search guidelines to a tee. I have written a post on how to write blog posts that get clients and I apply the same principles when writing for my personal blog. It’s all about providing readers with the best information about the topic with some added bells and whistles that Google loves. If you can create a steady stream of content on your blog, then expect your authority to increase.
  • Build backlinks – Link building is one of the most difficult things that even SEO specialist have to deal with. You need to be creative and determined to get links from high-quality sites for your blog to gain traction with search engines and your audience. If you’re not familiar with link building, here’s a post I wrote at to help you come up with low-hanging fruit links for your site.
  • Foster relationships with other bloggers – You blog is technically an outreach tool to help connect people with the right information. Leverage your blog to help you engage with the right audience. Promoting your blog post on social media is a great way to put your foot in their doors as far as building relationships is concerned. However, you need to focus on forming bonds with influencers in your industry. Conducting blogger outreach will help you reach out to them more effectively. With the help of influencers, you can grow your traffic and turn the followers of influencers as your own.

Here’s a screenshot of my site’s “authority” using SEMrush (affiliate link) for posterity’s sake:

<img src=”; class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6093 sp-no-webp” alt=”christopher jan benitez authority” width=”1096″ height=”496″ srcset=” 1096w,×136.jpg 300w,×348.jpg 768w,×463.jpg 1024w,×23.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1096px) 100vw, 1096px”>What you need to focus on here is the Organic Search feature. Brands look into how much traffic a blog garners from organic search. They determine this by the number of keywords you blog is ranking for on search engines. The more keywords you attract, the more appealing your blog is for brands. Also, if you look at graph on the lower right of the image, there should be an upward trend to your blog’s number of keywords. Brands love blog that are constantly growing in search traffic.

You can use the information here to dictate the price of sponsored posts on your blog. I won’t tell you how much you should charge, but you shouldn’t shortchange yourself with your blog. Compare your blog with others within your industry using SEMrush (you can sign up for a free account but you have limited searches per day). Search for their sponsored post page on their blog and see how much they charge. Use those to benchmark your blog and come up with a reasonable rate.


2. Display ads

One of the most common ways on how to make money with your blog is to serve readers with contextual ads. The ads change depending on the content you have on your blog to improve your click-through rate. You can earn money from ads if your visitors click on them.

<img src=”; class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6096 sp-no-webp” alt=”ads on blog examples” width=”1346″ height=”627″ srcset=” 1346w,×140.jpg 300w,×358.jpg 768w,×477.jpg 1024w,×23.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1346px) 100vw, 1346px”>Similar to sponsored posts, the success of display ads depends on your blog’s ability to draw traffic. The more visitors you have, the more chances people will click on your ads. It’s also important to consider where you place the ads on your blog. Observing the best practices will help you increase your ROI and earn more.

To be honest, I tried displaying contextual ads using, but it didn’t yield the results I wanted. Also, they disrupted the flow of the content according to readers so I had to put a stop on it. Maybe I needed more traffic to justify placing ads there. Or it’s probably because of my niche that’s service irrelevant ads on my blog.


Despite my unsuccessful stint with ads, it shouldn’t discourage you from trying it out. Every experience is different. Who knows, your blog might earn more than mine!

There are also blogs that lease out blocks on their site pages to brands. If a brand agrees with the terms, the blogger will feature the banner ad and receive a monthly fee for keeping the ad there until the contract expires.

Here’s a post by Matthew Woodward sharing his tips on how to make money with your blog using display advertisement.

3. Create an online store

The surging popularity of e-commerce prompted people to make money online by selling physical products. The logistics of tracking inventory and shipping them to buyers can be problematic. However, if you strike it rich with your product, making money from an online store is a profitable and scalable business if you have the right system in place.

Bloggers like yourself may not be too keen on building an online shop to diversify their income. However, if your concern stems from not having physical products to sell, then shouldn’t worry at all. You can sell digital products you created through your online store.

Below are examples of products you can create and sell as writers or bloggers:

  • E-books – If you can write blog posts, then you can whip up an e-book in your sleep! E-books are much longer and contain more information than blog posts, but it shouldn’t stop you from creating one (if not more!). You can sell e-books on your blog at the price you deserve. An example of a blogger who’s made a living selling e-books from his blog is Ryan Biddulph. As a side note, he’s also written posts on my blog. Click here to check them out! However, since the goal is for you to not write at all, you can hire a ghostwriter to get the job done for you.
  • Courses – If you want to provide more in-depth information about a pain point of your audience, it’s best to create a course about it. The course can come in the form of a drip campaign via email. If they subscribe, you can send them emails regularly that teach them about the subject. However, creating video content is the best way to communicate your ideas through a course. The videos show the exact process of doing something instead of just saying them. I have a course on guest posting tutorial that teaches people how to establish their brand and generate more income through guest blogging. I haven’t monetize the course yet but it’s an example of the course you can create on your blog.
  • Consultation – If you’re an expert about a subject, then don’t just hand out your exclusive knowledge for free.  Create a consultation program where they can schedule a call with you and provide them with everything they need to know. For your consultation program to work, you need to have an established brand online so you can attract more people to take your offer. If you’re a relative unknown, start small by giving consultations at a lower price until you build enough equity.

If you have physical products to sell on your blog, then you need to learn the proper management and distribution of your products to customers. There’s a Shopify guide that covers the subject of fulfillment thoroughly. There are also third-party fulfillment providers if you want turnkey solutions to everything related to packaging and delivering the orders.

There’s more to blogging than just writing! If you to learn how to make money with your blog without typing a word, then read this post.Click To Tweet


4. Join affiliate programs

Among the different ways on how to make money with your blog, affiliate marketing has the most potential to diversify your income.

You need to search for affiliate programs to join. I’ll leave it to Anil Agarwal to share with you the top affiliate marketing programs to join. Once you’re signed up, you can choose which products to promote from the marketplace. Ideally, you must promote products related to your niche to optimize your ROI. Find out what problems your audience has and find the products from the affiliate programs that best answer their needs.

Commission Junciton

<img src=”; class=”wp-image-6100 size-full sp-no-webp” alt=”Commission Junciton” width=”1349″ height=”633″ srcset=” 1349w,×141.jpg 300w,×360.jpg 768w,×480.jpg 1024w,×23.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1349px) 100vw, 1349px”>

Commission Junction is one of the biggest and most popular affiliate marketing platforms online.

Upon choosing a product to promote on your blog, you will receive the link that directs people to the product’s landing page. If your visitors click on the link and successfully buys the products, you will get a cut from the total sales.

How much money can you make blogging through affiliate marketing? It depends on several factors such as the price of the product you’re promoting, the commission rate, minimum payment threshold, and others.

I have been trying my hand at affiliate marketing for years although not seriously. However, I have been earning a steady amount of commissions from MissingLettr!

<img src=”; class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6104 sp-no-webp” alt=”missinglettr payout” width=”1222″ height=”478″ srcset=” 1222w,×117.jpg 300w,×300.jpg 768w,×401.jpg 1024w,×20.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1222px) 100vw, 1222px”>I assume I got the commission from the sales I made from the review post I wrote about the tool. The review wasn’t a glowing one, but it encouraged readers to subscribe to the tool. Thankfully, they haven’t cancelled yet!

You may scoff at the amount I’m getting. I know I am! But the point stand – it’s possible to make money from affiliate marketing! To help you create the types of blogs that make money with affiliate marketing, read this post by Steve Scott.

5. Create memberships

An online membership may be a pipedream for bloggers who are barely getting by the day. Unlike creating digital products to sell, online memberships take time and effort to maintain and keep an engaged audience. You need to conduct regular calls with the members, take Q&As 24/7, and continue creating exclusive content to members to justify keeping their monthly subscription.

A great example of an online membership is Freelance Lift by Liam Veitch.

<img src=”; class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-6106 sp-no-webp” alt=”Freelance Lift” width=”1347″ height=”629″ srcset=” 1347w,×140.jpg 300w,×359.jpg 768w,×478.jpg 1024w,×23.jpg 50w” sizes=”(max-width: 1347px) 100vw, 1347px”>He has created a portal where freelancers looking to improve on their craft converge to learn how they can make the most of their careers. Liam does this by creating modules that help freelancers set the foundations for a successful career and a Slack support group to further discussion about freelancing.

As mentioned online memberships are a pain to maintain. You need to commit yourself in making this work because members gave you their hard-earned money to help them. However, if things go your way, you can generate more income you can ever imagine.

To help you prepare for building a paid membership and turn your site into one of the top money making blogs, read this post by Ali Luke at CopyBlogger.

Did you learn how to make money with your blog the right way?

The five tips should help how to make money from blogging for beginners. At first, you will be out of your comfort zone because it won’t require to you write. However, once you got in the groove, everything will operate like clockwork. In fact, you as a writer have a distinct advantage in making money from blogging because you know how to create killer content. Even if you don’t write, you can get someone to write for you and the results will be just as great.

What’s important is consistency. You need to implement the tips and advice on the different ways regularly to reap the fruits of your labor faster. Again, the journey will be difficult because you won’t be making money right now. But focus your attention on the money you will make from your blog to keep you from veering away to your destination.


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How to Improve or Restore Your Online Reputation


In this article, you’ll discover how to respond to unhappy customers on social media and address negative online content.

Why an Online Reputation and Reviews Matter to Marketers

Every day, people use the internet to find locations, share stories, write reviews, conduct research, get information, design things, and buy and sell products and services.

These studies make it clear that what people say about your brand online directly affects your bottom line. Businesses can lose contracts, employees can get fired, and even more importantly, the brand’s reputation can suffer, whether the negative information is true or not. Online reputation impacts profit.

And, with our increasing dependence on social media, people are using social platforms to assess your brand’s character and value, often before they purchase. If you address negative reviews and mentions head-on, as Southwest Airlines does below, you can often turn things to your advantage.

Address negative reviews and mentions head-on.

Negative Reviews Aren’t Always a Bad Thing

When a company receives a negative review, the automatic reaction is usually to hit the delete button. But it’s important to recognize negative reviews not only as a threat but also as an opportunity. For instance, you can try to turn a dissatisfied customer into a raving fan. Or use the customer’s insight to improve your customer service experience, product, or service.

As long as you receive mostly positive reviews, the odd negative review shows that your business is genuine and credible.

As long as you receive mostly positive reviews, the odd negative review shows that your business is genuine and credible. Plus, the positive reviews become more meaningful.

Potential customers will check how your brand responds to criticism. If you respond well, you get a score in your favor. Respond poorly, and you can probably kiss that potential client goodbye.

Of course, there are varying levels of negativity. To illustrate, if a customer submits a negative review, it’s not likely your reputation will be irreparably damaged. But if your CEO is reported to be involved in fraudulent activity, your online reputation could be damaged significantly.

Your response should depend on the scale and severity of the damage. A poor review or customer complaint can be carefully addressed and handled in-house, but damage from an unfairly slanted review or unfavorable news story can be addressed proactively via a content strategy. Here’s how to handle both types of negative mentions and restore a damaged online reputation.

#1: Use Tools to Monitor Your Online Reputation

Before you can address bad reviews or mentions, you have to be aware of them. With more customers using online review sites and social media as a channel for complaints, praise, and queries, it’s just about impossible to manually register for and monitor them all. That’s where tools and alerts come in.

Small businesses can usually get away with using free tools to learn about mentions or reviews that have been submitted about your brand, whether for a company or individual. Here are a few free tools to try to monitor your online reputation:

  • Set up Google Alerts to get notifications of mentions of your brand or any keyword (products and their misspellings) used on the web. It’s quick, free, easy, and effective. Simply enter the search terms you want to be alerted about and decide how often you want to be notified. Every time that search term is used online, Google Alerts will notify you via email.

Set up Google Alerts to get notifications of mentions of your brand or any keyword used on the web.

  • Open an account with Free Review Monitoring to get notified of reviews submitted with all major review sites. The tool analyzes the most popular review sites for the keywords in your company name.
  • Rankur has a free version that can be set up to monitor all mentions across the web, including news sites, blogs, images, videos, and the main social media sites. Monitor keywords and brand names. You’ll have to upgrade to the $24/month plan for alerts, though.

Rankur has a free version that can be set up to monitor all mentions across the web,

#2: Turn Genuine Negative Reviews or Mentions on Social Media to Your Advantage

It’s ideal if you can address and resolve any issue publicly on the channel your customer is using. Transparency shows that you have nothing to hide. If you need to take the conversation off that channel, say to email or private messaging, be sure to update the original thread once resolution has been reached.

On Facebook, you can respond to reviews via your page or reply to comments directly. For a private exchange, move the conversation to Messenger.

On Twitter, you can respond to any tweet with an @reply. For a private exchange, move your conversation to direct message.

Respond to any tweet with an @reply.

On Instagram, you can respond to mentions with a comment that contains the customer’s @username. For a private exchange, move your conversation to a direct message.

On Instagram, you can respond to mentions with a comment that contains the customer's @username.

If you get a bad review or mention, it’s usually a symptom that something is wrong. To turn it into something positive, you must first understand the root cause of why it was given. Find out why someone is upset and respond on the channel they used to share their feedback.

Root Cause #1: The Customer Genuinely Wants to Help You Improve Your Service or Product

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the customer experienced real frustration with your service and wants to warn you before more customers endure similar “pain.”

Turn It to Your Advantage

In this scenario, a sincere “we are sorry, and thank you for your feedback” is most often what the customer is after.

This customer wants to see how you respond and what you’re going to do about what they’ve told you. If you do nothing, they aren’t likely to provide feedback again. If you thank them and explain how their feedback will be used, they will walk away satisfied and you’ll have reinforced your good relationship with them.

Make sure you respond to the feedback quickly and that the customer is aware of your response. This should not be an automated part of your customer care process. It requires the involvement of a trained person who can thank them for the honest feedback and explain the changes their input is helping you make.

Make sure you respond to the feedback quickly and that the customer is aware of your response.

Root Cause #2: The Customer Is Upset and Felt Unheard or Unacknowledged via Your Regular Customer Care Process

When a consumer is disgruntled, they experience intense emotion and feel the need to express it, whether it’s justified or not. They will often take the matter online for practical reasons, with the intention of getting a response from you.

When people have a bad service experience that they have strong feelings about, and the company doesn’t acknowledge those feelings, the consumer will vent somewhere: either by telling friends and family, or perhaps over social media. Both are bad situations for any business to be in and can hurt your online reputation. Ignoring the review or mention is likely to make the matter worse.

Consumers who have bad service experiences may vent over social media.

Whether the complaint is justified or not, the customer experienced real frustration with your service and wants you to acknowledge their pain.

Turn It to Your Advantage

What the majority of companies don’t understand about angry customers is that with a bit of strategic and creative thought on the brand’s part, intense anger can turn into awed bedazzlement and loyalty for life.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. If their anger is justified, show them that you accept responsibility and are truly sorry for stirring up their anger.

Put yourself in the customer's shoes when you respond to a negative comment or mention on social media.

In your response, accept responsibility for the mistake, acknowledge the reviewer’s frustrations, and make apologies. It’s also helpful to address each point. You can flip the bad experience into a redeemed one with an excellent response. After you acknowledge their position, consider providing a free service or product upgrade.

Pro Tip: When considering options to redeem your brand’s reputation, it’s important to consider the cost of replacing the customer and the expected profit from the customer if they stay with you.

When you give a customer something they consider meaningful, you can be sure they’ll tell their friends and family about their service recovery experience with your brand.

When you give a customer something they consider meaningful, you can be sure they'll tell their friends and family about their service recovery experience with your brand.

#3: Protect Your Reputation From Unwarranted Negative Mentions

Before the internet became enmeshed in our lives, when we experienced poor service, we’d turn to friends and family, telling on average 10 people about it. Over time, those 10 people would spread the news further. Now though, it takes only seconds for people to publish something online that can rip a reputation to shreds while spreading the word to thousands.

Because most people conduct online research before making a purchasing decision, it’s vital that what they find about your brand will encourage trust in your products or services. Here are three examples of online results that could damage your reputation:

When customers research your brand online, make sure what they find encourages trust in your products or services.

  • Product comparison reviews that are presented as genuine and objective but are written by people being paid a commission for selling one of those products aren’t helpful to consumers or your brand. Often, paid affiliates don’t disclose their relationship with the product they represent and write with a slant to ensure the product comes off sounding like the better choice, even if it’s not.
    As a result, when people search for reviews about your product and read the slanted review, your reputation can take a hit and your product may experience a decrease in sales.
  • A disgruntled employee or competitor uses online channels to spread unfavorable or false claims about your company and to slur your brand’s name.
  • A news article describes a criminal case that involves one of your employees. The employee is exonerated and found not guilty of all criminal charges, but future searches for the employee’s name or your company serve up news articles that highlight the now-dismissed accusations.

Handling damaging information like that mentioned above requires a well-thought-out plan. Depending on the severity of the allegations, you can either handle it yourself or hire an advisory consultant or PR firm.

If you plan to handle it yourself, you need to invest in quality content that’s been optimized for search. Why? When you have strong, quality content on your website, blog, and social channels, your content will dominate the front results of pages of search results. In this way, you get the best form of control you can, leaving any negative information trailing in the dust of your good content.

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Elevate your website through stunning templates from Wix

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Nowadays, people would rather take a fast look over your website than read every single word and piece of information: if they don’t like the way it looks like, or if they find it hard to browse, then they will leave and never come back.

There are many products on the market today which can help you to create a beautiful website. For example, Wix has focused on making the creation of a website as easy as possible. In fact, it is so easy that you will start feeling like a true web master, as everything will fall together perfectly in just a few clicks, motivating you to keep going.

If you aren’t completely familiar with Wix and what they offer, then we recommend checking out this helpful Wix Review so that you can better understand what we’re saying. You’ll soon understand why you don’t need to be a professional programmer or web designer to get your very own stunning website. If you’re good at choosing from amazing options, then you are ready to get started with Wix.

Wix Review – how to create a stunning website in a few clicks

First things first, you’ll need to create an account and even this is tremendously easy. After doing so, endless possibilities will roll out right in front of your eyes.

Because 2018 is famous for the “mobile-friendly” trend, your website needs to be mobile-responsive. To check how your site looks on mobile, simply switch to the mobile version and easily make adjustments where needed. Not sure where to start? Select Optimize Now and the Mobile Editor will do it for you.

Here’s what you can add to your website:

Social Media Channels – social media is a very important part of today’s business world, as pretty much everyone spends time on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and many more. Wix allows you to link all your social channels to your website so that both you and your followers are constantly updated. Even more, you can browse the Wix App Market for even more social apps, such as Social Media Stream or Live Messenger that will boost the user engagement.

Audio – if you want to bring a little music to your website you can benefit from the themed players that can be customized to match your site. If you are a musician, you will be able to sell, share and stream your music through the Wix Music App – you’ll also receive 100% of what you earn

Photo Gallery – Whether you want to show off your own photos or add high-quality images to make you website look even better, you can do both for free. Wix has three galleries that offer thousands of professional images that you can use on your site to make your brand stand out. Moreover, you can upload images from your social accounts in just a few clicks.

Blog – you get a variety of layout options to show off your words and match your brand. Even more, the Wix Blog App is free and seamlessly integrates with your website, offering numerous features that will allow you to grow your readership without the extra work. Share posts on Facebook, send excerpts via email to subscribers and let fans leave comments. Moreover, the SEO Wiz app will offer you a personalized SEO plan to help you improve your ranking on search engines like Google.

These amazing features are just some of the reasons why we think that Wix should be your go to website builder. Plus, we can even offer this amazing Wix promo code – to help make choosing them an even easier choice. However, if you weren’t convinced, then lets take a look at some of the features of their new templates…

New website templates released that will make you drool

If you don’t have the inspiration to customize the entire website on your own but wish to have a stunning website, these new templates are going to save your day:

The Music DJ website template – a summer inspired template that will make sure your music spreads around the globe. The template ensures a smooth transition between your name to your latest mixes and upcoming events.

Film Student website template – you know what they say: it is never too late to start improving yourself, and this template has all the needs of a budding filmmaker. You’ll get a section that explores your final project, a show reel and a bio page for information about your training. We will let you discover all the rest by yourself as we do not want to spoil the fun!

Internet Comedians website template – we’d for you to make us laugh and what better way than through a website that has been specifically created for you? Showcase your online series or web shorts, upload your own videos or sync your amazing YouTube channel using Wix Video.

Other templates from the newest collection include: Music video director, Pop up fashion store, Graphic illustrator, Record label and many other, all targeted to your specific needs.

Start today and be happy tomorrow, as your website visitors are going to be amazed by how good looking and impressive your website is!

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Want to Prove Content’s Success? Stop Measuring It

What are you trying to measure? What does success look like?

Too often the answers to those questions have no relation to each other.

One of my favorite books about data and measurement is The Haystack Syndrome by Eli Goldratt. It’s almost 30 years old, but it’s more relevant than ever. He proposes a method to architect a system to appreciate the difference between data and information (hint: one has context and thus impacts action) and get to true business measurement.

One of my favorite quotes from the book should resonate with content marketers:

Tell me how you will measure me and I will tell you how I will behave. If you measure me in an illogical way, don’t complain about illogical behavior. 

When I work with a company to evolve its measurement strategy for content marketing, two primary challenges appear. First, the company usually has no true purpose or goal for its content marketing initiative. Many businesses simply define their content marketing as producing ad hoc assets and measuring them like any campaign-focused asset. The team is usually then stuck (or resolved) to use vanity metrics on the content itself such as clicks, shares, visits, etc. In other words, it’s cool to know the blog post or infographic was found and read, but what behavior did it change? You don’t know.

It’s cool to know a blog post was read, but what behavior did it change, asks @Robert_Rose. Click To TweetThe second challenge, related to the first, is that if businesses have an owned media initiative that collects and builds audiences, they simply don’t know how to connect that new audience to optimized buying behavior. In other words, “It’s neat that we have 5,000 people in our content marketing email list, but when are we going to sell to them or convert them into leads. Won’t that alienate them?” You don’t know.

Wait a minute. Shouldn’t you know if the content changed the audience’s behavior? Shouldn’t you know how content can convert subscriber lists into sales?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Through CMI’s blog, books, workshops, and master classes, we talk about measuring content marketing by looking at “what do audiences do that others do not.” Look at how subscribed audiences behave differently than others you might be marketing to through other means.

But, OK, what does that mean in the context of what you should measure?

Funny enough, the second half of Eli Goldratt’s wonderful quote addresses that:

Change my measurements to new ones, that I don’t fully comprehend, nobody knows how I will behave, not even me.

See, whether you don’t understand the business goals or you don’t know how to associate content consumption metrics to the goals you do understand doesn’t matter. The fact is you don’t fully comprehend what it is you’re trying to do. Therefore, no one really understands why you’re doing what you do. Not even you.

Developing a return on your audience

You can remedy this. Yes, content marketing can – and must – be measured in multiple ways to be a viable strategy. Recognize, however, that the business value is not in creating great content. “Value” lies in the behavior change of the audience affected by the great content.

The business value is not great content. It’s how the content affected the audience’s behavior. @Robert_Rose Click To TweetThus, the first step is to address the question, “What does success of an engaged, subscribed audience look like?”

Break down the answer into what we (maybe too cutely) call the Four C Investment Goals of Value – competency, campaign, customer, and cash.

Though each C can be broken into subcategories with different types of objectives appropriate for different kinds of companies, let’s look at a starting point for each.

Competency value: Audiences enable smarter, more cost-effective business strategies

Investing in acquiring data an audience provides is not simply aggregating shopping or surveillance data about what “buyers” do on your digital properties. Audience data is given willingly. I talked about this recently in discussing how GDPR is the biggest gift to marketers in more than 10 years.

This value exchange means that the data gleaned from these audiences can be valuable to other parts of your organization.

Schneider Electric, a global company specializing in energy management and automation solutions with more than $25 billion in revenue, has a multitude of marketing and sales efforts across the world. One of them is an audience-building platform called Energy University, a free e-learning resource.

The platform delivers courses in 12 languages and has been endorsed by more than a dozen professional and trade organizations for continuing education credits. Over the last few years more than 180,000 learners have gone through the university. One of the biggest benefits Schneider receives from this platform is the ability to use the students’ data to understand them better and learn what products they may ultimately be looking to buy.

If you can begin to gather more valuable data from your audience, you can become a more competent company – and enable better business decisions across the sales and marketing spectrum.

Campaign value: Traditional marketing and advertising made more efficient

In classic marketing and advertising the main effort to reach audiences is to spend money on campaigns that attempt to optimize how many eyeballs can be reached. And then measure the ratio of that cost to the number of those people who do what the campaign wanted them to do.

One of the earliest benefits of content marketing and audience engagement is to make these campaigns more efficient or effective. In Joe Pulizzi’s book Epic Content Marketing, he writes about Indium, a company that refines, produces, supplies, and fabricates indium chemicals for the electronics semiconductor, solar, thin-film, and thermal management markets:

Seventeen engineers from materials supplier Indium have discovered content gold with their From One Engineer to Another blog. Through it, they produce valuable content, videos, and answer questions about a variety of engineering topics (for example, how to set up and operate the Indium sulfamate plating bath).

According to Indium’s marketing director, leads jumped 600% after the blog’s launch.

Andrew Davis, marketing thought leader and a keynote speaker at this year’s Content Marketing World, calls an audience a “pre-customer database.” I love that term, as it illuminates a core truth. Audience members receiving value from your content today may not be in the market for your product or service now, but you will be top of mind when they are.

Customer value: Create better customers

One of the best ways to measure what audiences do that others do not is to see if they buy more initially or shortly after becoming a customer. Can you teach customers to be better customers?

Can you teach customers to be better customers, asks @Robert_Rose. Click To TweetCustomer events, content-driven apps, and even print magazines are used not only to make customers feel better about their purchase, but to provide separate, discrete value from the brand as well.

Consider Nike. The company began developing branded apps in 2006. Now, it has multiple apps focused on helping runners and athletes track their progress. As Ad Age recently reported: Collectively, these apps boast a user base of over 28 million people. That is 28 million people to which the brand has direct access. With this greater customer intimacy, Nike gains invaluable insights and information about its user base. With access to all this information, Nike could have used it to aggressively drive sales from the apps, but instead Nike brilliantly created an authentic athlete community by means of its apps.

Through this community Nike built, the brand fosters intense loyalty, which translates to revenue down the line.

That is the power of an aggregated audience, and it changes the remit of marketing considerably.

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The Latest Evolution of Facebook: The Marketing Low-Down on 5 Recent Changes

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Anne Leuman

From the Russian ad debacle to the Cambridge Analytica scandal to suffering a major stock price blow just a few short weeks ago, Facebook has been making less-than-stellar headlines the past few months. Users are concerned about their privacy and how their data is being used—and brands and marketers are wondering whether the platform will continue to be a viable advertising and engagement platform.

In an attempt to rebuild trust, ensure better data protection and transparency, the social network is doubling down, again, on their commitment to improving the user experience and creating a fun, respectful community.1

As all marketers will remember, the quest to improve user experience started way back in 2015, with the announcement it would be making refinements to its News Feed to strike a better balance between friends, public figures, publishers, businesses, and community organizations. That continued in the summer 2016 with more updates favoring friends and family content—and was still on the move when the first scandal broke later that year.

Of course, these changes didn’t do marketers and brands any favors in the organic reach department. Organic reach had already been declining, and these moves have nearly eliminated its potential. And now, more changes have arrived, presenting new challenges as well as some opportunities.

Below we share the low-down on five of such recent or rolling out changes, what they mean for social media marketers, and some potential next steps to take.

1. A New News Feed

Once again, the News Feed is getting a facelift—a big one. While Mark Zuckerberg announced back in January 2018 that changes would be rolling out throughout the year, a “major update” was announced in April, which Director of Product Management, Mark Hull, details in the video below:

Essentially, meaningful person-to-person interaction is what will carry the News Feed ranking weight, and person-to-page interactions will continue to be second tier. Oh, and Facebook expects people to spend less time on the platform.

This sounds pretty scary for marketers. Most have adapted their strategies to zero-in on fostering engaging discussion, as well as throwing spend behind Facebook’s ad platform (which is also changing and we’ll get to that later).

But before you eliminate Facebook from your marketing mix, there are a few opportunities to consider:

Working with influencers: With Facebook continuing to elevate content from individuals, there may be no better time to start building relationships with industry influencers and thought leaders that you can collaborate with on content.

Read: Death of Organic Reach = New Opportunities for Influencer Marketing

Facebook Groups: As my colleague, Nick Nelson, reported not too long ago, while groups have long been available as a feature on Facebook, the brand-driven “Facebook Groups for Pages” were just rolled out last year. And some brands are seeing traction with them, but this isn’t something you leap into without being thoughtful.

Read: The Question on Many Marketers’ Minds: Should My Brand Start a Facebook Group?

Facebook Stories: Very recently, Facebook insiders asserted that Facebook Stories may very well be the future of connection on Facebook. Once again, as Nick Nelson pointed out: “Facebook Stories are intriguing because they offer a real chance to capture part of a user’s attention — maybe even more than the minimum amount.” And early adopters may secure an advantage.

Read: The Future of Connection on Facebook: How Stories May Change the Marketing Game

2. Stricter Ad Targeting

As of late, most of Facebook’s critiques are a result of their advertising products and practices. By increasing the targeting capabilities of their advertising products, Facebook arguably put users’ privacy at risk. To help correct that perception and protect user privacy, Facebook is making several changes to their advertising platform.

One such update was released in early July, requiring advertisers to state where they acquired people’s information for their custom audiences. Instead of simply uploading a list of emails you want to target as a custom audience, Facebook wants advertisers to take extra steps to ensure those emails came from a reputable source and that the audience has consented to those ads. With this change, Facebook hopes to improve transparency with users about why they see ads from certain brands and how they received their information.

New Facebook Ad Disclaimer

(Credit: Facebook)

In addition, Facebook has also disabled their Partner Categories product, which provided targeting capabilities from third-party data providers to advertisers. This limits advertiser insight into user behavior outside of Facebook (e.g. purchasing activity), making ads appear more natural to users and less “big brother.”

From our perspective, this is good news. Consumers are increasingly wary of marketing and advertising messages and this move can help strengthen the credibility and relevance of your ads and brand. Of course, this is all assuming you can and do confirm your custom audience lists and sources fall within the new guides.

So, if you haven’t already, take the steps to review your custom audience lists and their sources. You need to be able to state if you received the information directly from your audience, a partner, or a combination. If you used a data provider like an advertising or marketing agency, double check that they’ve acquired the data honestly and they agree to Facebook’s Terms of Use.

3. New Data History Tools

Now more than ever, people want control over their data. They want to know what information is stored, who has access to it, and they want to be able to delete it.

Recognizing this need, Facebook announced a new feature called Clear History that will be released “soon.”With this new feature, Facebook is giving users the ability to see the websites and apps that store information with Facebook, and delete that information from their account.

However, Facebook will still retain aggregated analytics, but no personally identifying information will be contained.

“We’ll still provide apps and websites with aggregated analytics – for example, we can build reports when we’re sent this information so we can tell developers if their apps are more popular with men or women in a certain age group,” Facebook says. “We can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with your account, and as always, we don’t tell advertisers who you are.

What exactly does this mean for marketers? If you use Facebook plugins on your website (think Facebook Pixel or “Like” buttons on websites), your audience can now see and delete the information that the plugin collects; meaning it won’t be connected to their profile any longer.

Obviously, if users take advantage of this when it rolls out, clearing their history could be problematic for marketers, and maybe even users. For marketers, it will be incredibly difficult to target these folks with ads. For users, that could mean an uptick in irrelevant ads for a time.

However, the eventual upside for advertisers could be the “re-learning” that needs to happen after a history cleanse, which can lead to a more relevant and accurate look of who your audience is.

4. Poor Customer Feedback = Ban

A poor customer experience really sours your impression of a brand. An to ensure that ads on Facebook lead to positive shopping experiences, and not negative ones, Facebook will now ban brands that have low customer satisfaction ratings from advertising on their platform.

For example, if users give you too many frowning faces shown in the rating system below, Facebook will reject your ads.

Facebook Negative Review Example

(Credit: Facebook)

Before you become too concerned, however, Facebook says it will: “Share feedback directly with businesses that receive high volumes of negative feedback and will give them a chance to improve before taking further action. If feedback does not improve over time, we will reduce the amount of ads that particular business can run.”

So, even if you receive negative ratings, you will have an opportunity to make improvements to prevent being banned.

The opportunity here is obvious. The better customer experience you provide, the more successful your marketing efforts will be. For Facebook ads, this is rooted in focusing on clarity and honesty within your ads.

At a minimum, Facebook suggests taking steps to ensure your ads aren’t misleading. In addition, use images or videos to make it very clear what you are selling and what you are selling it for. It’s also a good idea to set clear expectations for how users will receive your product or service. By setting clear guidelines, you’re more likely to meet customer expectations, leading to more positive user ratings. For more insight, read Facebook’s tips on how to improve customer feedback.

5. All of Your Ads, Exposed

Knowing the organization behind an ad is important. Otherwise, users might not trust the content of the ad. So, to increase ad and page transparency, Facebook now allows users to see all of the ads any page is running within their partner network.

This includes ads on Instagram, Messenger, and the rest of the Facebook partner network. In addition, even if pages aren’t advertising, Facebook will provide more information about a page including name history and the date the page was created. Together, these changes aim to give users more information about an organization so they can decide if an ad is credible or not.

Facebook Ad Transparency

(Credit: Facebook)

For marketers, this change isn’t a bad thing — it may even mean more eyeballs on your advertising content. However, marketers should still be thoughtful about how their ads will be perceived by individuals outside of their target audience.

For example, even if an ad isn’t specifically designed for or served to them, users can still review (and report) your ads. As a result, you need to take extra steps to make sure your ads are consistent, clear, and friendly for all.

The Life Force of Facebook

Long before the scandals and latest privacy concerns, Facebook has been rooted in evolution. Just think what the platform started as and has become. So, while the recent and coming changes seem pretty fierce, I think it’s safe to say we were already on that trajectory. And there’s probably more to come.

Since the major changes that impacted advertisers and brands began rolling out in 2015, Facebook has maintained their actions are all in the interest of creating a better user experience. And at the end of the day, that’s what the goal of any marketer is in their quest to nurture their audience and aid them on their customer journey.

So, it’s OK if you’re a panicked, disheartened, or simply irritated. But, at this point, the platform still holds marketing opportunity, marketers just need to adapt their social media marketing strategies, try new features and avenues, and work hard to ensure they’re part of providing that great user experience.

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13 Things Every CEO Needs to Understand About SEO


Or, worse yet, over-simplified and thought to be something easy and that can be done quickly leading to unmet expectations.

The mysterious nature of SEO can lead to misunderstanding and frustration for CEOs.

Understanding the high-level principles and some of the important aspects of SEO success can set the right expectations with executives.

Here are 13 key things that every CEO needs to understand about SEO.

1. Layout of the SERP

The search engine results page (SERP) has evolved a lot over the past several years.

It used to provide a standard layout with a few different variations that always included the “10 blue links” for the organic results and included ads above and to the side. Plus, news, map, or other content relevant to the search query.

Now, we see varying layouts that are intended to provide an optimal experience on a mobile device and cascade to desktops and other sizes.

The number of ads varies and other information is pulled into the SERP ahead of organic results. You don’t always see 10 organic results and sometimes they are pushed way down the page or mixed in with other content.

First step first, know what you’re looking at in the anatomy of the SERP understanding what is paid, what is organic, and what sources all of the other items come from including local listings, video, images, news, shopping ads, and more.

2. Results & Timing Expectations

SEO doesn’t offer the same level of instant gratification of paid search. While there are low-hanging-fruit terms and easy wins, in most cases, SEO is a long-term play.

For competitive queries, hard work and time have to be invested to move up in the rankings. Search engine algorithm updates and competitor updates create a moving target that takes time and discipline to achieve.

While SEO professionals are trained to not make guarantees and carefully set performance expectations, it is safe to say that we’re talking about months for lesser competitive terms and longer (sometimes much longer) to achieve top results for competitive queries.

Assuming we’re following the search engines’ guidelines, our limits are in areas of collaboration and resources put into the effort.

3. Influence over the Search Engines

When we’re not seeing the search rankings and results we hope and expect, we can’t simply call Google and pressure for better positioning.

Unfortunately, organic search isn’t like getting support for Google Ads, Google My Business, Analytics, or other products. This is a service Google provides to its users – those that use the search engine. It owes us nothing.

SEO professionals gain a lot of information and knowledge through experience, industry sources like Search Engine Journal, and hearing directly from the search engine representatives themselves.

Ultimately, though, we have no individual sway over the search engines or algorithms.

4. Meta Tags

No one area of SEO holds the magical power to influence rankings. Context and addressing the wide range of factors have the most impact.

Meta tags are still sometimes asked about or mentioned as the first thing someone thinks of when asked about SEO.

Yes, you should optimize the title and meta description tags for your site.

No, those items alone don’t have much impact if that’s all you do.

SEO is about so much more than just tags.

5. Submitting Pages

Another old-school tactic that is, fortunately, being asked about and mentioned less than it used to is “submitting to Google.”

Google has recently removed the form where you can submit URLs to it. In the past, a part of getting content indexed was to submit the URLs of new or updated pages through a form. That practice became obsolete when XML sitemaps went into use.

More importantly, submitting to Google and indexing is important to ensure that content is known about, but is not a ranking factor itself.

Focus on submitting and getting stuff indexed needs to be prioritized after creating good content that is worthy of being at the top of the SERPs.

6. Brand vs. Generic Terms

It’s important to have high rankings on brand terms (including misspellings). In most cases, if the brand name is unique, it will naturally rank well for searches containing it.

When looking at organic search rankings and traffic reporting, it’s important to differentiate brand and generic performance.

If you’re investing heavily in SEO and still only getting results from your brand terms over time, you’ll want to take a deeper look at the overall strategy.

By setting up reporting formats to separate brand and generic, you can get a clearer picture of the impact of SEO efforts versus having it diluted by being put into one aggregate bucket.

7. Algorithm Variables & Machine Learning

There is definitely an algorithm that determines what sites rank in what order in each search engine. However, the focus on specific variables and chasing the magic formula as a strategy has faded over the past few years.

Even if we did know the exact full extent of each algorithm variable, the fact that machine learning is in place and can create a different scale for each query is enough evidence that we should be spending our time on investing in better content and building context rather than trying to find ways to leverage just a few variables.

8. Quality of Content

Content quality has been talked about for a long time.

What does quality mean? It means webpages that have copy, images, video, and interactive elements that engage the user.

Content that drives social media mentions, shares, and clicks. It drives longer time on the page and often more pages per visit.

Beyond those metrics, it provides value to the user and they, in turn, share it, link to it, and further engage with it beyond the initial impression.

Focusing on making all content “quality” content is critical to compete in the evolving competitive landscape.

9. Technical, On-Page & Off-Page

SEO can be categorized into three areas:

  • Technical: Website optimizations that don’t always directly impact rankings, but are necessary to allow your content to be indexed and found and to not hold back your site in any way. Examples can be robots.txt, XML sitemaps, canonical tags, 301 redirects, DNS settings, site speed, mobile friendliness, and duplicate content, schema markup
  • On-page: Optimization of the elements that you can on a webpage and throughout a website. Examples include the URL, title tag, meta description tag, heading tags, body copy, and image alt attributes.
  • Off-page (or external): Optimization of the external signals of quality including high-quality backlinks pointing to the site, unlinked brand mentions, social media engagement, and local citations.

10. Indexing

Indexing issues can hurt your SEO efforts.

As Beau Pedraza put it in Your Indexed Pages Are Going Down – 5 Possible Reasons Why: “Pages that aren’t indexed can’t rank.”

One reason you may have indexing issues is because the search engine can’t crawl it. This automated process of discovering content is what leads to the indexing of that content.

Ensuring that the search engines can access all of your content, as well as knowing the priority and hierarchy of it and the context of how pages and sections relate to each other, are the important aspects for SEO.

11. Rinse & Repeat

SEO is not a one-time thing. It is a process that requires commitment and discipline.

Think of SEO as constant testing.

We’re never going to have the perfect formula or be done.

The word “optimization” is important as we’re working to become least imperfect or to stand out as higher quality and authority in status compared to our competitive peers.

Spending six months to come up with the perfectly optimized website or updates and rolling them out to mixed returns can be deflating.

However, if of the impression and mindset of working in a more agile manner rolling out updates and tactical items on an ongoing basis with the understanding that you’ll come back and revisit on a regular basis can lead to incremental and long-term success.

12. Time Commitment

It takes time to optimize.

Each of the three areas of SEO requires commitment and often the help of others in functional areas adjacent to the role of the SEO person.

Often IT, marketing, paid search, web design, web development, copywriters, and more are needed and aren’t all at the immediate disposal of the SEO lead.

In addition to the time needed to collaborate and effect the three areas of SEO, the rinse and repeat process requires patience as it may take multiple rounds of body copy and tag updates (working in concert) to see movement in the rankings.

One-time SEO thinking as dangerous.

13. Resources Commitment

The days of SEO practitioners working in silos are long gone.

We often need the help and support of other people and departments to help us with the aspects of the website and content we need updated.

SEO needs a seat at the marketing table as it can’t be done in a separate ecosystem like paid search and social media (to a degree) can.

Committing to an investment in SEO is the start, but isn’t the end. The SEO lead will likely need updates that involve other resources internally or external hard costs to be able to fully execute the strategy.


There’s a lot of jargon and mystic when the topic of SEO comes up.

SEO is an effective digital marketing channel that, when invested in and understood, can lead to tremendous ROI and growth.

Through a basic understanding of the important concepts that CEOs need to know, the potential of SEO can be unlocked in terms of commitment through time, resources, and proper expectations.

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