It’s rare to be able to learn about a platform or technology from the way that the owner uses it.
Facebook doesn’t tell us how they optimize their Facebook ads. Though Google has begun to provide some insight into how it optimizes its web presence for search engines, no right-minded SEO professional is going to wholly rely on their advice.
Amazon is different.
Amazon sells a huge array of their own products on their marketplaces. This gives us an opportunity to learn about how they present those products and the tactics they deploy to optimize product listings.
What follows is a review of Amazon’s own listings covering Amazon products (e.g., Echo), Amazon-owned companies (e.g., Blink), and Amazon private label brands (e.g., Ella Moon clothing).
I’ve pulled out specific tactics from each content area that you will be able to use to improve your conversion rates and ultimately increase revenue.
We’ll look at the following areas:
- Product Titles
- Product Variations
- Bullet Points
- Enhanced Brand Content and A+ Content
I’ll show how Amazon:
- Adapts its presentation of content to suit the type of product and pricing.
- Knows when to communicate practical information and when to lean on emotional reasoning.
- Consistently address customer objections and highlights benefits.
- Utilizes additional sales features and optimization tactics to drive targeted, high-converting traffic.
Before we dive in, it’s worth emphasizing that simply copying what Amazon does is not a solid strategy.
Our aim should be to understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Then apply those learnings to our situation.
If you’re new to Amazon then feel free to get in touch with me through the bio link at the end of this article.
What Is Amazon Conversion Rate Optimization & Why Is It so Fundamental to a Successful Amazon Strategy?
It’s vital to always bear in mind that Amazon is a point of sale. It becomes a great point of sale if the user can find the right product at the right price in the quickest possible time.
To create this seamless customer experience, Amazon needs to know which products are most likely to satisfy the customer’s needs.
This is where conversion rate comes in. If product A generates more orders per 100 visits than product B then, with everything else factored in, it is product A that will reap outsized benefits from Amazon’s algorithms.
A best-in-class conversion rate not only means your products will generate more sales from your current traffic levels but over time this will also boost your presence across Amazon’s search and promotional media space.
This creates a flywheel of more exposure, more traffic, more sales, more customer reviews, more brand awareness, and higher conversion rates.
This is why conversion rate optimization must be a priority for all Amazon sellers.
If you’re from an SEO background, think of it this way.
Just as Google views a relevant and authoritative backlink profile as fundamental to high website rankings, Amazon places the same value on products with high conversion rates.
A Higher Conversion Rate Gives Amazon Sellers Competitive Advantages
Let’s now delve into the specific advantages that high converting products derive from the Amazon ecosystem.
Much like Google, no one really knows exactly how Amazon’s A9 algorithm works but Amazon does provides some insight. Here’s the most pertinent section;
“Factors such as degree of text match, price, availability, selection, and sales history help determine where your product appears in a customer’s search results.”
I’ve highlighted ‘sales history’ because this is what we’re really interested in.
Sales history is a catch-all term for performance metrics such as order defect rate but what it really pertains to is how well the product converts.
In any reasonably competitive product vertical, sellers will have done the basics of including keywords, keeping products in stock, and pricing competitively.
Any ranking advantage is largely attributed to sales history and, specifically, conversion rate.
As Amazon itself states, search is the main way that people find products.
Despite the increasing dominance of ads in Amazon’s search results, organic rankings are integral to revenue growth.
Improve conversion rates and organic rankings will improve, too.
A higher conversion rate means a lower customer acquisition cost. It also provides a competitive advantage in sponsored ad bid auctions.
This isn’t specific to Amazon. We see the same idea represented by Google Ads’ Quality Score metric.
Here’s how it works.
For a given keyword and multiple competing product ads, Amazon will favor the ad for the product with the highest historic conversion rate even if the CPC bid is lower than that of competitors.
The reason is simple. Customer satisfaction overrides everything.
From the seller’s point of view, acquiring sales at a lower CPC means the budget is spent efficiently.
That saving can either be banked, reinvested into expanding the ad campaign, or diverted to other marketing activity.
An often overlooked benefit of a higher conversion rate is the huge organic exposure this creates within Amazon’s additional merchandising features.
Take a look on Amazon and consider just how many impressions appearing in each of these widgets can produce.
Best Sellers (A List of Best Sellers Within a Category)
Customers Also Viewed/Shopped for Carousels
Compare with Similar Items (Product Comparison Tables)
These spots are highly dynamic.
While it may seem that they favor products that have been on-sale for a long time, Amazon’s algorithm does factor in recent performance.
Making significant improvements to your conversion rate, increasing media spend, and tactical use of promotions can all contribute to increasing this exposure.
Non-Listing Conversion Optimization Strategies
It’s worth pointing out that, while we’re dealing specifically with listing optimization in this post, there are other factors that significantly influence conversion rate, namely:
- The delivery method (use FBA or Seller Fulfilled Prime).
- Price (the lower the better).
For more information on these head to the following destinations:
So, to quickly recap, we’ve learned:
- How integral conversion rate is to the Amazon ecosystem.
- The huge commercial advantages that can be gained from having competition-beating conversion rates.
Now, we’ll analyze each content element on a range of Amazon product listings to tease out the tactics they’re using to optimize their listings.
Product Title Optimization
Amazon provides very clear product title instructions. They even go to the extent of advising on the type of content that should be included.
For example, they suggest this format for small appliances
- Style: Brand + Model Number + Model Name + Product Type, Color
- Example: KitchenAid KSM150PSER Artisan 5-Quart Mixer, Empire Red
- Example: Vornado 510W Compact Air Circulato
Descriptive, keyword-rich titles are the best approach but that can mean different things for different products.
Example 1: Highlight Crucial Tech Specs
Emphasizing product compatibility is a classic sales tactic.
In this case, the charger is an accessory. Amazon knows that the first question people are going to ask is: “Have I found the right adaptor for my device?”
By addressing this straight-away they reassure users.
The title is also rich in keywords. By including device names, they are able to rank for ‘device + adaptor’ type keywords and ensure they’re attracting highly-motivated, high-converting visitors.
The phrase “Original OEM” might seem like an odd phrase to use but its included because Amazon knows there are a lot of cheap imitations.
OEM means “original equipment manufacturer”. The aim is to build trust that this is the real deal and a high-quality product.
One improvement I would make is to write this in layman’s terms (e.g., “Genuine Amazon Adaptor”). I didn’t promise that Amazon is perfect!
The wattage is included to reassure that people are buying the right version.
If you sell electronics, hardware or any other type of technical product, then be sure to include the most important technical specifications in your titles.
Example 2: Persuade with Key Product Attributes
A great title should be scannable, allowing the customer to pick out key benefits.
Here, Amazon’s Blink team highlights features such as high-quality recordings (HD Video), reliability, and low maintenance (“2-year Battery Life”).
Alongside the key benefits, Blink includes a key competitive advantage, namely cloud storage.
Example 3: Don’t Overcomplicate Titles
Sometimes simplicity is the best option.
This title tells you what it is, the color of the product, and that it’s the latest model.
Nothing more, nothing less.
This style isn’t going to be for everyone, but if your product doesn’t come in many variations and the customer isn’t prioritizing specific technical details then a simple approach can work.
Note that within Amazon’s website, the Echo faces very little competition so Amazon hasn’t overloaded the title with lots of keywords.
Improving Product Images
The image gallery is an opportunity to allow customers to explore the product in more detail. It should be used to provide context, such as:
- Who it is for.
- How it is used.
- How it works.
- What it comes with.
- How it looks in situ.
Example 4: Visualize Unique Features
One of the key selling points of the Amazon Echo (2nd Gen) is the multi-room feature.
Amazon has made a big play of how families can use one Echo to control other Echo devices.
The image reinforces this innovative feature.
Example 5: Counter Reasons Not to Buy
Overlaying images with text gives so much more context especially when it’s difficult to visualize the feature.
Amazon uses the text to reassure customers of the product quality.
It’s not a stretch to surmise that market research has shown that people may doubt that the Echo sound is as good as a traditional speaker system.
If your customer research shows that people are reticent to buy because of apprehension about specific features then use the images to address these concerns head-on.
The same tactic is used on the Blink camera system listing page. People may be concerned about exposing an electronic product to the weather so Amazon shows a wet camera.
The customer quickly understands the product is waterproof and that’s one less excuse not to buy.
￼Example 6: Highlight Product ‘Why-Buys’
There’s nothing particularly visual about the fire TV stick. What’s important is that it opens up a huge amount of TV and film content to the customer.
This is the core benefit.
Amazon uses the image to reinforce the range of accessible content (if you have Amazon Prime).
Consider what your core product benefit is and how that can be visualized. Place that in the first or second image slot to increase the customer’s exposure to this information.
Immediately hitting people with the strongest “why buy” and repeating this through the page is a great way of increasing the motivation to buy and increase your conversion rate.
Smart Use of Product Variations and Selling Features
A simple yet often overlooked tenet of conversion rate optimization is that if you don’t offer the product the consumer wants then your conversion rates will be low.
The same applies if you have the right product but the consumer doesn’t know you sell it.
Example 7: Consolidate Variations to Reduce Customer Effort
This is why the correct use of Amazon’s product variation features is so important.
Here, not only is Amazon offering an incredible variety of colors, patterns, and sizes, but they’re also (not unsurprisingly) correctly using the parent-child relationship feature to full effect.
￼Often, Amazon sellers split their products on to separate listings. Doing so is a mistake precisely because you’re making it harder for the customer to find the right product.
By consolidating all product varieties onto one page, the customer is more likely to complete their purchase and, what do you know, higher conversion rates follow.
Example 8: Use Additional Selling Features to Build Confidence
This is a relatively new feature rolling out across the Amazon ecosystem. Everyone knows that DIY can be a frustrating experience.
If you’re not into that type of thing or you’re unfamiliar with installing electronic devices, then the idea of installing a $229 doorbell may well deter you from purchasing a Ring product.
Amazon offers an installation service to address this concern. That’s another excuse not to buy ticked off by the Amazon team.
Amazon offer a range of similar features for other types of products.
Product Listing Bullet Point Optimization
This is the most influential part of a listing page, as well as your best opportunity to sell the product and overcome any concerns that may stop a user from purchasing.
As Amazon advises, keep the copy concise and emphasize key benefits.
Think of the bullet points as a consultation with the customer. You’ve got a short time period and limited space.
The best bullet points are laser-focused on quick comprehension of the product and how it will benefit the user.
Example 9: Keep Copy Concise & Transactional
Another thing the Ring Video Doorbell listing does well is to educate the user and overcome concerns.
As a recent innovation, video doorbells provide a clear benefit but most people will be unfamiliar with how they work.
Amazon understands this.
It’s building up a persuasive argument by emphasizing benefits such as:
- Providing a free trial.
- The peace of mind that comes with real-time notifications.
The language is concise with a little flair.
Don’t underestimate the power of this approach. An Amazon user is highly motivated to purchase.
They’re likely to be far down the purchase funnel having already done some research and knowing exactly what type of product they need.
This transactional approach matches the user intent.
It’s fair to say that understanding intent is fundamentally important to achieving high conversion rates.
Example 10: Simple Products Don’t Need Embellishing
Don’t over-complicate the copy.
If you’re selling a simple, easy-to-understand product then just provide the necessary information.
Amazon isn’t trying to over-sell with flowery language and doesn’t feel obliged to use the full character count.
Take these bullet points for a T-shirt set. The price is $18 so it’s not exactly designer clothing.
Amazon understands what the customer wants to know to be able to commit to the purchase.
- Easy to wash
- Suitable for everyday wear
Nothing more, nothing less.
Example 11: Emphasize Features of Functional Products
Selling a product is often about conveying the benefits – how will this product make you happier, healthier, wealthier, and so on.
Let’s be honest, not every product can make these types of claims. But no matter what you sell, your customer will always want to know if it’s the right product for their needs.
If you’re selling technical products, this invariably means providing specifications such as size, color, power ratings, and safety information.
Amazon doesn’t get distracted by trying to pitch this adaptor as anything other than a very functional item. There’s no attempt to show how it improves people’s lives.
If they were selling a higher ticket item that genuinely made life better, then absolutely the copy would promote benefits.
It’s all about knowing your product’s place in the world!
Enhanced Brand Content & A+ Content Storytelling
Many product listings will display a block of unformatted text mid-way down the page. This is the traditional product description.
Amazon advises to use this space to tell your brand’s story and, if appropriate, share important usage information such as ingredients, materials, settings, etc.
In a nutshell, use the space to educate the customer.
Due to the formatting limitations, many product descriptions end up looking like this. Pretty dull, right?
This is hardly going to contribute to a high conversion rate.
￼But, all is not lost.
If you are the brand or product owner, you are entitled to display what’s called Enhanced Brand Content (EBC). Brands selling through Vendor Central will have access to a similar service called A+ Content.
If you take a look at Amazon’s product listings, you’ll notice that the vast majority present a lot of visual information instead of this standard text description.
So what can we take from that?
Well, given the creative resources that are required to produce the content, EBC must strongly correlate with higher conversion rates, otherwise, Amazon wouldn’t display EBC/A+.
If you’re a Vendor account holder, then no doubt your Amazon account manager has encouraged you to invest in A+ content.
If you’re not a Vendor account holder then the secret is out!
Here’s how Amazon makes the most of Enhanced Brand Content.
Example 12: Communicate Core Value Proposition
Different sections of the page fulfill different jobs.
The top of Amazon’s listing pages tend to be highly functional and aimed at closing the transaction. The EBC content is designed to appeal to emotional purchase drivers.
Amazon takes the opportunity to tell a much richer, visual story.
In this case, the Fire TV Stick is pitched as a window into a cinema-quality world of entertainment all from the comfort of the home.
The value proposition is clear for all to see and leaves the customer in no doubt as to the excitement on offer.
While the copy is interspersed with functional information this is still consistent with key messaging around the quality of the experience.
Everything is tightly aligned towards this central entertainment message.
When creating your Enhanced Brand Content, think about the core message you want to convey.
Next, consider what emotions this should elicit in the buyer. The trick is to produce a visual format that reflects the sentiment you want to create.
Example 13: Use EBC Modules to Aid Decision-Making
Amazon provides a helpful comparison table within the EBC.
Here, they’re using it to simply display the differences across the Kindle range.
Comparison tables aren’t unique to Amazon’s websites. They allow users to research, compare and build confidence in their decision-making.
It’s this increased confidence that nudges a prospective purchaser into completing the transaction.
Remember that without EBC, it’s impossible to convey this type of information. This is why it’s crucial to deploy EBC if you’re conversion rates need a boost.
Example 14: Unfamiliar Brands Need to Communicate Their Story
Amazon is a huge global brand. It doesn’t waste any space by introducing who they are or what they stand for.
The opposite is true for Amazon’s private label stores.
Take this Ella Moon listing, for example. Very few people will have heard of the Elle Moon brand.
Instead of telling a product story as Amazon do with Echo, Fire TV Stick and other well-known products, this time the focus is on introducing the Ella Moon brand positioning.
If people are unfamiliar with your brand or your insights suggest your company story is a key conversion driver, then use the EBC to introduce your brand.
Try some of these classic brand communication tactics
- Ethical principles
- Founder story (What motivated you to create the company and/or products?)
So we’ve seen why conversion rates are fundamentally important and the virtuous circle of growth that products and brands enjoy when they achieve high conversion rates.
Amazon takes listing optimization seriously. Whether it’s a low priced T-shirt or a $229 doorbell, there’s attention to detail throughout each listing.
That doesn’t mean the same tactics, messaging and visual styles are deployed across each product.
It means that Amazon has understood the importance of:
- User intent.
- Core product benefits.
- When it’s appropriate to highlight features and technical information.
- When it’s best to play on emotional drivers.
We’ve also seen how Amazon has made the best use of each listing feature to reinforce key brand and product positioning.
Countering customer objections and emphasizing how each product meets the customer’s needs are crucial to producing high converting listings.
Take time to understand what these are for your products and how to best communicate those on the listing page.
Make the most out of features such as product variations and Enhanced Brand Content to present choices, comparisons, benefits, and specifications.
All screenshots taken by author, July 2019
Simple guide to creating an expert roundup post that drives website traffic
- Roundup posts are pieces of content in which a list of selected experts give their insights on the same topic, in short descriptions that include their opinions, predictions, or reviews.
- Creating an expert roundup post for your website or blog can take some preparation and organizing efforts, but it brings undeniable long-term benefits in terms of traffic, authoritativeness, and peer recognition.
- In the following guide, I will take you through every step of creating an enticing expert roundup post for your website.
Publishing valuable content is a constant challenge when it comes to the formats and topics to cover. As a blogger, digital marketer, or content creator, you already know how much thought goes into offering your audience fresh, engaging content on a regular basis. Readers appreciate formats they are familiar with and can consume easily. A roundup post is an example of a successful approach to topics of interest in your industry.
Roundup posts are pieces of content in which a list of selected experts give their insights on the same topic, in short descriptions that include their opinions, predictions, or reviews.
Creating an expert roundup post for your website or blog can take some preparation and organizing efforts, but it brings undeniable long-term benefits in terms of traffic, authoritativeness, meaningful relationships, and peer recognition. By gathering a group of experts to answer the same question, you will not only generate relevant content for your website but build a strong relationship basis with experts in your industry.
Having a list of selected experts answer a well-placed question gives you a valuable piece of content that is highly shareable, so let’s see what it takes to do it right. In the following guide, I will take you through every step of creating an enticing expert roundup post for your website.
1. Brainstorm potential questions
The first step you need to take after deciding to publish an expert roundup post is to find the perfect question to ask the experts. This will be the key element of your post, and it will dictate whether it will be successful or not.
The perfect question might not be easy to find, but take enough time to find it. Brainstorm as much as you need before you decide who to invite in. All the further efforts of finding influencers and experts could be in vain if the topic you choose does not fit the roundup format, or doesn’t spark interest in your readers’ minds. So I’d recommend you find a question that resonates well with both your readers and experts.
Things to consider when brainstorming
To better understand what kind of questions are fit for a roundup post, you should picture the end result. You want to have your experts give your readers a piece of their own judgment, advice, or insight on a subject that your readers are familiar with. It won’t be a 101, a critical debate, or brain-picking for ultra-specialized information.
Your question needs to be:
- Easy enough to give your respondents room to elaborate and get ample answers from them without the need for extra-questions.
- General enough to give you a reasonably long list of influencers, experts, and peers. Go to niche and you might be able to talk to a handful of people about it.
- Original enough to get your readers curious about the topic, and what experts have to say about it.
What about the topic will you be asking about? Naturally, it has to be specific to your website or niche and what you usually write about. The key is to find a subject that your audience is curious or interested in. Perhaps a trend, or a subject that usually sparks debate or behind-the-scenes type of information that regular posts don’t really get into.
You have the chance to get insights about the latest trends everyone is wondering about, or tips and tricks, good practices that expert peers have discovered through their experience and expertise.
Examples of questions:
- What’s one piece of advice you’d give to beginner bloggers?
- What’s one thing you would’ve done differently when starting your blog?
- What do you think the future of blogging is?
How to get ideas
Easier said than done? If you don’t already have a topic you’ve been pondering about, compile a list of possible questions for your roundup with a little research.
Use tools like the Ahrefs Content Explorer to find trends in your industry, and subjects that seem to attract a lot of readers. You can filter results by their social shares, number, and quality of referring industries so that this tool and similar ones can give you a good idea of what subject should be pursued.
With these things in mind fuel that creative engine and start putting ideas on paper, whether they seem perfect candidates or just potential pursuers. It’s best to have a long list to start from when drafting the winning question for your roundup post.
2. Find talented experts
After finding your question, you should have a good idea about the expertise of your respondents. Assuming that you are active in your industry for a reasonable time, you should already know who the experts in your niche are. You want to compile an extensive list of experts of at least 50+ because not all will reply to your inquiry.
Let’s make a profile for the ideal respondent in your expert roundup post:
- They are directly related to the industry you are writing about
- They have a good follower base and an audience that regards them as influencers
- They have contributed to roundup posts in the past
- They are continually sharing thought-provoking, original ideas on their social media and on personal or business blogs
- They have authority in the field: company owners and founders, top positions in companies of the industry, public speakers, success bloggers, and more
A practical, fast way of identifying possible candidates for your roundup post is to check other roundup posts in the industry. Does this approach seem lazy at a first glance? The redundancy of a roundup article doesn’t come from the list of people contributing to it, but from the very topic, you will choose for it.
As long as you are able to provoke your respondents to bring something original to the table, selecting them from other roundup articles is absolutely fine.
Depending on your topic, you might find tens of experts already showing potential for accepting your invitation. But don’t put your eggs in one basket: there are other ways of finding strong, authoritative voices in your niche.
A simple search on social media can give you a good idea of who is interested in the topic you have selected and fits the ideal profile described above. Twitter and Facebook are also great platforms where you can find experts in your industry.
For our roundup post about blogging tips for beginners, we have gathered content from CEOs and founders of content marketing websites, authors, bloggers, and podcasters in digital marketing. They were all able to give us valuable insight into what blogging is like for beginners, and what they should do to thrive.
Web search is another simple solution to putting together your expert list. We were able to find several experts by simply typing in our keyword or phrase onto Google. Find bloggers who have been covering your subject, or similar ones, and dig a bit more in their previous posts, to have an idea of who you’re going to contact.
Ahrefs, BuzzSumo, and Hootsuite are other awesome tools to research hot topics and authoritative blogs, as they display real-time data on their referring industries, traffic value, and the number of shares they get for their posts.
3. Find their contact information
Once you have a list of experts, bloggers, and influencers who can give you valuable insight into the subject you want to cover, it’s time to start gathering their contact information.
It’s best to keep a database of their information, on a simple Google or excel sheet with their names, email addresses, URL to their website, the date when you contacted them, and a column where you check if they submitted content or not. You can get a little more advanced by using a CRM or email outreach tool like Mailshake.
Keeping your contact information organized will speed up the preparation process and will help you avoid awkward situations like sending an invitation twice, or forgetting to do a follow-up with them.
Some of the experts you’re trying to reach won’t have a visible email address but you can use tools like Hunter.io to find them by simply entering their first name, last name, and their domain name. It will give you a list of the results it found. Ideally, you would launch your invitation privately, but if you still can’t find their email address, don’t hesitate to send a tweet that mentions your plan or a simple message via the other social media platforms.
Here are more tips on how to find contact information for people who you want to reach, and what good practices you should follow.
4. Reach out to your experts
If it’s the first time you are contacting someone, it’s a good idea to look into the good practices of a cold email. Roundup posts are great for getting quality backlinks, and the persons you will contact are aware of the positive influence their contribution can have on your traffic and domain. But they can’t endorse a website or a blog that doesn’t prove to be valuable on a constant basis.
We can talk about cold email outreach best practices for days on end but that would take too long. What I highly recommend is that you be genuine, polite, and kind when reaching out to your experts. This goes a long way and they’ll be able to tell when someone is being genuine since they receive hundreds of spam emails every day.
I also recommend you personalize each and every one of your emails. Yes, this will take time but you will have a higher conversion rate than if you were to send the same bulk email to everyone.
I don’t have a template to help you get started, but below I have provided a screenshot of an email I sent out to one of the experts that we included in our roundup. Feel free to use it for some inspiration and to help garner some ideas.
Another fantastic way of reaching out to experts is by joining and engaging with them via their live streams. We used this tactic to reach one of our experts who had not replied via email. It worked out, and he gave us some awesome advice while on his live stream.
5. Put it all together
Getting enough contributions from the experts you have contacted is a great achievement in the process of creating a stellar roundup post. But your job is not finished yet. Putting together the content you have just received from your guests is very important, as it will have to be a high-quality presentation that they will gladly share on their channels, therefore getting you some exposure to new audiences.
Things you want to include
- A headshot
- Their reply
- Short bio
- Social media and website handles
- And your own comments
As you can see in our roundup post example, each contributor’s section starts with a professional picture of the contributor, the content that they have submitted, finished with our own thoughts on their commentary. We have added easy-to-follow social media icons that take you to their Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or LinkedIn profiles, the titles they hold, and links to their main projects: companies they work for, blogs, YouTube channels, and others.
We wanted to make it easy for our readers to follow and engage with our experts via their blogs, businesses, and social media accounts.
While you want to emphasize the value of each contributor, you must also have your reader’s interest in mind, and clearly answer a need or a question your audience has.
6. Promote your post
Promoting your posts should be done in the interest of all your contributors, yourself, and your audience. The effort you have invested in compiling these pieces of content will ideally be rewarded with significant organic traffic, a good number of quality backlinks, and most importantly the start of new and meaningful relationships.
You should also edit the content carefully so that each contributor gets the same level of attention and appreciation. Take your time to thank each one of them for their contribution and don’t hesitate to personalize your message with your personal impression of their content.
Backlinks are certainly welcome, but asking them explicitly might not be appreciated by all the persons you will contact. The best ways of getting your contributors to share the roundup post are to simply ask them if they could share it with their audience.
Infographics, tweets, quotes included in an image, newsletters, and paid ads are all great ideas for getting your content everywhere and promoting it like crazy.
Conclusion: Creating an expert roundup post is totally worth it
Publishing an expert roundup post might not be everyone’s style of content, but for certain industries and domains, it can be a long-term valuable resource, both for your audience and your peers. And, of course, for you.
Keeping your focus on the value your post should bring to your readers will help you choose an enticing topic, ask the right question, and select the right people to answer it. While no one can ignore the advantages a roundup post has for contributors and creators alike, backlinks and traffic should not be your singular concern.
Ultimately, the success of such a compilation is given by the shares, referrals, and traffic you get from your audience. Create a fantastic expert roundup post by asking a question your readers are interested in, and your contributors can easily answer.
Give this type of content the time and effort it needs and it will prove to be a fruitful initiative, both amongst your peers and as a relevant post for your website.
The anatomy of a negative SEO attack
- SEO can just as easily destroy websites’ rankings as it can build them up.
- Newer websites or startups with smaller backlink profiles are the most vulnerable to negative SEO attacks.
- Webmasters need to regularly monitor their backlink profile to make sure their site is not keeping company with any questionable web properties.
- Negative SEO can be remediated through manual outreach or Google’s disavow tool, but high-quality link building campaigns are the best way to minimize the impact of low-quality links.
In the early days of search engine optimization, a variety of black-hat techniques allowed SEOs to dominate the first page of search. Cloaking, keyword stuffing, backlink spam, and other strategies could catapult websites to the first page. But those days are long gone. Google’s algorithms are extremely powerful and can easily result in a negative SEO attack. Not only will black-hat strategies no longer work – they will destroy your site’s rankings and even prevent your domain from ranking permanently.
So for those out there on the internet who are not interested in seeing your domain move up the first page, black hat SEO is an easy way to harm your website. Many new site owners are so eager to get any backlinks that they can, they allow low-quality links to populate their profile without ever thinking about where those links are coming from, or why those other site owners linked to them in the first place.
Negative SEO attacks are real. I’ve helped many clients recover from them. They can come from competitors, hackers, or seemingly out of nowhere, but without a quick response, a website’s reputation with search engines can be permanently harmed.
Although Google algorithm updates or technical issues with your website can impact your keyword rankings, an unexpected drop could be a sign of negative SEO. The good news is, the anatomy of a negative SEO attack is clearly recognizable. If you take quick action, you can protect your website and minimize the damage.
The websites that are most vulnerable to SEO
The reality is, every time your site moves up a spot in the SERPs, you knock another site down. It’s not fun to imagine that other people would use negative SEO to harm your efforts, but if you offer great service or product that could take business or traffic away from someone else, then your site is at risk.
Any website can experience a negative SEO attack, but local businesses and startups with less than 300 referring domains are the most vulnerable. The smaller your backlink profile, the more impactful any low-quality or unnatural links will be. If 50% of your links are spammy and you’re a brand new site, Google crawlers are going to look at your backlink profile and assume your site is trying to cheat your way to the top.
For new webmasters, in particular, it’s critical to pay close attention to every backlink you acquire. This is also true when you pay for the services of a link building company. Some site owners are hesitant to pursue link building because they have had negative experiences with SEOs in the past who engaged in these spammy techniques that ended up tearing their site down rather than building it up.
As your backlink profile grows, spammy links will not have as much of an impact on your domain authority or rankings. Still, it’s good to keep an eye on the referring domains and anchor text diversity of your backlink profile.
How to identify a negative SEO attack
There are a variety of common negative SEO techniques that people may use to harm your website. After handling negative SEO attacks with my own clients, these are the most common types I’ve come across and that I encourage webmasters to be on the lookout for.
1. Toxic backlinks
Backlinks from low-quality sites that have low domain authority, little relevance to your industry, or very little site traffic should always be suspect. If you receive a large influx of these low-quality links, they may be coming from a link farm that has the infrastructure to build a massive amount of links quickly. If you’re a new site with a large percentage of toxic links, Google will likely assume you’ve been participating in black hat manipulation.
2. Comment spam links
One way SEOs used to manipulate their site authority was by leaving backlinks in the comment section of blogs or forum sites. If you suddenly receive backlinks in the comment section of older blogs with no relevance or traffic, someone might have placed them there maliciously. If it’s an SEO agency that placed the link and you paid for it, fire them immediately. Google indexes those links in the comment section, and it will not look favorably upon your site if you have a lot of these unnatural backlinks.
3. Exact match or unnatural anchor text
Natural anchor text will most often include your brand name, the services or products your business offers, or more generic wording like, “Click Here.” If all of your anchor text has the exact keyword you’re trying to rank for, that will come across as manipulation to Google. If the anchor text is irrelevant, it will confuse Google bots about the content of your site. It’s important to pay attention to the most common ways that other sites link to yours so if new links don’t share at least some similarity, you can investigate them accordingly.
4. Fake negative reviews
Although negative reviews don’t have as drastic of an impact on your site authority as your backlink profile, Google does crawl and render those sites when considering whether to rank web pages. Local and small businesses with bad reviews, in particular, will not rank, so in addition to reviewing your backlink profile on a regular basis, site owners should also be monitoring the important review sites in their industry. Most major review sites allow you to report reviews if you have reason to believe they are fake.
There are other types of negative SEO that I haven’t listed here such as content scraping, links hidden in images, and more, but the above are very easily identified using Google Search Console or any type of backlink analyzer. Familiarizing yourself with the many ways that others may try to link to your site in a harmful way will help you be able to identify those problematic links right after they show up in your backlink profile.
How to perform negative SEO remediation
Digging yourself out of a negative SEO attack is never fun, but it can be done. If you’re being a responsible webmaster and monitoring your backlink profile regularly, you should have a solid understanding of what a healthy backlink profile for your website looks like, and will therefore be able to recognize the moment that something appears off.
If you believe that the influx of links is indeed the result of nefarious intentions, you have a few options to repair the damage, and hopefully, before Google penalizes your site. Some of these options are more expensive than others, but if you’re not an experienced webmaster, it is probably best to get the guidance of an SEO expert. If you remove the wrong links, you can end up performing negative SEO on your own website by mistake.
1. Request removal
The first step with any link is to reach out to the webmaster to ask for the link to be removed. Admittedly, this is not always successful. However, before you move on to option two, you want to make sure you have exhausted every effort to have the link removed before requesting Google to get involved. If the link was the result of comment spam, the owner of the blog may be willing to moderate or delete the comment. There have been webmasters who have charged my clients a fee to have links removed. Depending on the price you’re willing to pay, you can choose to do so or move on to other options.
2. Disavow file
In 2012, Google added the disavow tool in Google Search Console to give webmasters more agency in their off-site SEO. The reality is, no one can fully control the websites that choose to link to theirs in a harmful way, so it’s not really fair for search engines to penalize your site as a result. Google recognized this and created the disavow tool, however, they still advise site owners to use it sparingly.
A disavow file is essentially a list of links that you want invalidated on your domain, or that you don’t want Google to consider when evaluating the quality of your website. There are detailed instructions on how to submit a disavow file in the Google Search Console help center. Take note though that these links aren’t actually removed, Google just no longer takes them into consideration the next time they are crawled and indexed. If you’re using an SEO software that measures the quality of your backlink profile, you will likely have to submit the disavow file there as well if you want their metrics to accurately reflect how Google understands your site.
3. Link building campaigns
High-quality, contextual link building is different from black-hat SEO in that it uses original content to earn links on relevant, industry-specific publications. The best SEO agencies will increase site authority the right way, through techniques that are Google compliant and don’t harm your rankings in the long-term. If you are not actively trying to earn high-quality links for your website, not only are you missing out on the opportunity to improve your overall keyword rankings, you place your site in a more vulnerable position. If you pursue consistent link acquisition and build up a healthy backlink profile before a negative SEO attack occurs, you are more well-positioned to avoid a Google penalty.
It is certainly frustrating and unfair when negative SEO occurs, but there is really nothing that a webmaster can do to prevent it. So in the case of negative SEO, preparation is the best medicine. Knowing what to look for will help you be more prepared to take immediate action and minimize the damage.
Manick Bhan is the founder and CTO of LinkGraph, an award-winning digital marketing and SEO agency that provides SEO, paid media, and content marketing services. He is also the founder and CEO of SearchAtlas, a software suite of free SEO tools. You can find Manick on Twitter @madmanick.
7 changes make a big difference with your Digital Marketing Strategy
We know that the face of marketing has changed from past few years as people are more informed while making purchases, thanks to the information available online. These people become potential customers, and so companies prefer digital marketing over all other forms of marketing.
We know that the face of marketing has changed from past few years as people are more informed while making purchases, thanks to the information available online. These people become potential customers, and so companies prefer digital marketing over all other forms of marketing. Businesses need a robust digital marketing strategy since they are not harnessing the full power of this online trend. For companies to be successful in 2020, digital marketing needs to be more than just posting on Facebook. They will need to improve their existing digital marketing continually.
2020-State of Digital Marketing
Online and digital media has changed – it is no longer a world of random things and what is hot now may change later. However, there are a few simple facts that we need to consider your general digital marketing efforts:
Newcomers will enter, but there will not be new social networks every other day.
Digital marketing strategy should rely on current and upcoming new data.
Why you need a robust digital marketing strategy
It will help you focus and come up with a plan to determine how many followers you want and by how much you need to increase the conversion rate
A strategy will inspire you to get your digital marketing game healthy and be in competition.
A well-written plan will regularly check in on your current methods and see if they are working as per plan. You can optimise and adapt accordingly.
A digital marketing strategy will limit the duplication of content or resources.
It will help you experiment with new approaches to gain and keep customers.
By creating a strategy, you will be able to understand what your customers want and provide services accordingly.
Let us discuss in detail some changes that can make a big difference to your Digital Marketing strategy in 2020
1) Plan new SEO friendly content
One of the best ways of improving SEO is to create new content regularly. The content should be mapped to relevant keywords . Include an SEO friendly title that will directly impact the quality score and ranking. You need to ensure that the material consists of researched keywords in the first 100 words of an article to follow best practices and get credit for your business.
2) Revamp your social media presence
One way to engage your audience and refresh your social media presence is to leverage the trends and bring your brand’s personality to life. We can do it in the following ways
Evaluate your content and ask yourself these questions: How is it different? What engaging content can I create?
Moreover, start conversations with influencers, research for relevant topics and provide insight on articles concerning your brand.
With social media, you can keep on trying to get the best content mix, and with platformance analytics, you can understand the what is working and what is not.
3) AdWords and Content Shock
AdWords is one of the most effective methods of online advertising since the business of all sizes can use it to increase leads and customers. With AdWords, you can spend less and still understand how your audience is searching. AdWords is similar to SEO which takes time to evolve your keyword research and strategy to yield results. Google will reward you with an increase in leads to your site if you stick to it. When the creation and distribution of content are costly than the ROI it generates, it is known as Content Shock. It becomes a great asset for small players since they don’t reach the big numbers from the start. Hence, it becomes the tremendous start for small players as they do not need to scale up their digital marketing strategy.
4) Use Analytics to inform A/B testing
Analytics drives digital strategy, and one of the most important things to do with analytics is to engage in A/B testing. You can use the incoming data to apply A/B testing strategy. Finally, A/B testing is the best way to understand your customers. Resources like Google Analytics, Social Media and AdWords, are the best way to improve your digital efforts.
5) Understand the changing environment
Your biggest enemy when it comes to digital marketing is complacency. Due to changing consumer views, marketers need to identify obsolete strategies and adjust accordingly. The brand now focuses on providing content when the user needs it instead of creating content hoping users will need it. This approach requires a strategy. For a full proof strategy in 2020, marketers need to focus on three main elements: Artificial Intelligence, Social Media and Customer. If you look closely at these elements, they influence all the trends like augmented reality, influencer analytics, video marketing, personalisation, native advertising and content marketing.
6) Encourage personalised interactions
Based on a report, 73% of customers will do business with your company if you provide a customised experience. Personalising your communication helps to engage with your customers. Sending personalised emails, modifying templates, using recipient’s name, personally responding on social media and segmenting the email list based on persona are a few ways that can work very well.
7) Build your network
Try to gain information and experience of others in your field. By building your network, you can predict and work as per changing times. The network will help you prepare for challenges in future.
Your 2020 Digital Marketing strategy needs to be like the playbook which is tailored to the team and team’s competition. A simple principle in the digital world is if you don’t establish a baseline of where your company stands concerning the competitors, you will have no idea of the areas you would need to focus on beating them. Your company will really benefit if you make little changes in your digital marketing strategy by keeping track of upcoming trends and changes in the environment. If this seems like a lot, give VajraGlobal a call.
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