Publishing web content designed to attract prospects when they’re in buying mode is a natural place for companies to start with SEO blogging.
However, for most businesses, both the universe of people interested in purchasing right now (or are actively researching a purchase) and the universe of topics those people are looking up as part of their research are quite small.
After a couple of years, many marketers feel like they’ve exhausted their potential for growing their audience simply because they’re myopically focused on the task at hand – talking to and attracting prospects who are currently in buying mode.
In this blog post, I will explain:
- How to attract prospects before and after they’re in buying mode.
- How to get your brand on the radar of influencers in your industry through blogging.
Why You Must Write Outside Your Product Area
I am not here to argue that you shouldn’t post blogs about your products and services or the needs of prospects considering you vs. competitors. Certainly, you should.
Non-prospects, though, are engaged in creating and sharing content.
Journalists, podcasters, students, professors, conference organizers, other marketers, researchers, bloggers – and your prospects when they aren’t researching products – are constantly Googling things.
The job of an SEO is to have the best content on the web to appear at the top for those searches. This behavior is what generates natural inbound links, brand awareness, and trust.
This non-prospect-audience are the real influencers (no offense to people like this). Their jobs often depend on researching things on Google, finding quality sources to cite for their own work, and sharing. You can become their trusted source.
People might encounter your brand and develop trust with it through a strong SEO blogging program.
In the future, they may be in the market as a prospect or prospect influencer (such as a colleague or adviser), your brand will have a leg up on the competition.
What to Write About to Gain Industry Influence
When planning your blog content calendar and deciding what to write, consider:
- What topics a journalist in your industry might write about.
- What they might be Googling to find the information they’re looking for.
Try to create a research report that deserves to be on the first page of search results for this type of query.
Include citations, tables, graphs, charts, bulleted lists, numbered lists.
Be the best resource on the web for the query.
Below is a list of proven blog ideas from the world of Enterprise IT that can be applied to practically any industry – this is a formula for B2B SEO blogging success.
My suggestion is to start with these topical constructs and brainstorming ideas before using any type of SEO tools. Use Google’s auto-suggest and related searches to help guide you.
Only begin to consider search volume for fine-tuning the exact keyword targets and/or prioritization.
The goal isn’t necessarily to create content for high volume keywords, but for the right audience that is likely smaller but more influential due to their intent.
Writing About What Is Trending or Will Be Trending Soon
This is an agreeable suggestion, but it can be hard to know what is trending or will be trending soon.
Conferences, podcasts, and analyst reports are great places to look for ideas.
Write About What Has Been or Will Be Discussed at Conferences
When someone is at a conference and they hear about a new industry concept, they may be turning to Google on their phone while the speaker is still going.
Having your content at the top of search results to explain “What is X” at that moment can be critical.
Here’s the great thing: Most conferences post the titles of their sessions in advance and after the fact.
Make a list of the top 2-3 conferences in your industry and check out the session list from last year and the upcoming year. Read through the session list with a watchful eye for topics/keywords.
Create content explaining the basics for the keywords you’ve noticed. Note that conference session titles are written sort of like social clickbait – with a captive audience in mind – as opposed to like an SEO title that is designed for research and findability.
The conference attendees are going to attend some session, sort of like the reader of an airline magazine is going to read some article.
This incentivizes “clever, creative, and humorous” titles – I use scare quotes here because it is quite rare indeed to find actually clever titles in these settings.
Write About What Is Discussed on Podcasts
Podcasts are another great place to look for content ideas. Come up with a list of top podcasts in your industry and browse the list of past titles and guests.
Suppose a regular listener to the podcast is going to turn to Google to find out more about or a different perspective on the core topic of an episode.
What content can you create to show up when a person is researching further?
People who are on the podcast circuit as guests are just like people who are on a conference circuit as a speaker, or the people who are on a book tour. They’re out there pushing certain ideas and concepts constantly reinforcing their ideas.
It might take 2-3 times of hearing about some new concept that a podcast guest is pushing before a web user decides to Google it.
If an SEO blogger can gain a top position for a topic that someone else is out there promoting in the world, your chances of success rise dramatically.
You are catching someone else’s wave.
Write About What Is on the Hype Cycle, or What Analysts Are Pushing
In the world of IT, the Gartner Hype Cycle is a great tool for quickly seeing where the analyst first stands on a variety of topics.
When Gartner, Forrester, or another analyst firm decides to put their weight behind a new topic, rest assured search volume will follow.
A great example is “AIOps”, which is a term coined by Gartner to essentially replace what had been previously known as predictive analytics for IT operations.
Gartner originally defined it as “Algorithmic IT Operations” but later changed the meaning to “Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations”.
No matter the definition, it’s been an arms-race for IT Operations software vendors to create the best content on the web to explain this new topical area.
Using Google Trends we can see how “AIOps” has grown as a result of Gartner’s efforts:
Going a step further, a smart SEO professional can prepare for long-tail content based on phases of the hype cycle.
When a topic is still in the Innovation Trigger stage, creating content on “What is X” is sufficient and necessary because that is what users are looking for.
Once a topic moves to the Peak of Inflated Expectations, a blogger can start creating content designed for the Trough of Disillusionment.
Nobody is searching for “Is AIOps Dead” yet but give it a year or two and they certainly will.
Write About General ‘Trends’
Researchers love data about trends. It is possible (and often difficult and expensive) to create your own high-quality original research, with trends year over year.
It is relatively easy, though, to create content that discusses trend data in your industry compiled from other sources and compared/contrasted to create a more holistic view that from any single source.
For example, within Enterprise IT, these are common queries that people might be looking for.
In the linked example above, the software vendor blog I work on has the #1 organic position, outranking Gartner, Forbes, Business Wire, and MarketWatch.
People researching this topic might discover the brand for the first time – and consider it as or more credible than the websites it outranks.
Part of the power of organic search is the perception that a brand must be trustworthy and legitimate in order to have achieved a top ranking for a competitive phrase.
People generally trust Google’s ability to surface the most credible content first, so appearing above known trusted brands is in implied endorsement, the Google seal of approval.
Writing About Research
Every year there are highly anticipated research reports coming out from many organizations.
- DORA (now part of Google Cloud) publishes their annual “Accelerate State of DevOps Report”.
- Gartner publishes their annual “Magic Quadrant” for various types of software.
- BMC publishes the world’s largest survey of mainframe professionals.
In each instance, people know to look for information about these reports.
Bloggers and SEO pros – along with reporters, podcasters, and other media creators – can be prepared for this and develop content that analyzes and reports on the findings of the research.
Consider what are on the benchmark industry research reports coming out annually for your niche.
Then, create content analyzing the most recent version of the report and plan to update your analysis once the next batch of research is released.
This is a perfect use-case for a durable URL. Since the name of the reports don’t change often if ever, a blogger can release an updated version of their “Mainframe Survey Analysis” on an annual basis while accumulating links, likes, and shares on a single URL.
Writing About Specific Conferences
A great way to get in front of the right audience, when they aren’t in buying mode, is to help them plan and research upcoming industry conferences.
For example, Google Cloud Next is a huge and important conference in the IT industry.
A quick Google search for this phrase today shows that Google itself occupies the top 4 organic spots (as it should). But the next (and last) 4 organic spots are held by other entities: TechCrunch, ZDNet, Quartz, and BMC Software.
These websites which aren’t controlled by Google are riding the wave of excitement Google is creating for their event.
Consider what events are critical to your prospects and people in your industry.
Create content to help users plan for the upcoming event, or to cover what was announced or happened recently at the event.
Writing About General Industry Conferences
Writing about specific conferences can be a great tactic. Another great tactic is writing about general industry conferences.
For example, someone looking up [DevOps Conferences] is either a conference organizer themselves, or is trying to decide what conference to attend themselves.
Either way, creating a roundup post of Top Conferences for your industry can be a great way to get in front of your desired audience.
Writing About Books, Podcasts & Influencers
Many smart and influential people read books. Getting in front of those people when they’re researching a book to buy can be a great tactic. (Not to mention, books are a great source for general content ideas.)
You can write about individual books, like in this review of Gene Kim’s influential DevOps book, The Phoenix Project, or you can write about general types of books.
At BMC Software, we do not sell books, but anyone searching for [digital transformation books] is an opportunity to get our message and brand in front of future prospects and influencers.
Similarly, when someone is searching for [IT Podcasts] or [DevOps Influencers], we want to appear in search results because although the searcher isn’t in buying mode, they might be one day in the future.
Every industry has an ecosystem of books and authors, podcasts and podcasters, and various other influencers that can be written about.
Hopefully, these examples provide a starting point for your own planning and research.
Consider how you can create content that will get your brand in the path of prospects when they aren’t looking to buy – so that when they are looking to buy, they already know and trust you.
Think about what you can create that will be found by content creators and industry professionals.
All screenshots taken by author, August 2019
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.
Why SEO is important for your online success?
A famous saying about SEO is, ‘Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first’. There are some SEO importance statistics which resonates the same.
A famous saying about SEO is, ‘Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first’. There are some SEO importance statistics which resonates the same. According to a popular report, about 93% of online experiences commence with the search engine. But even then, for a lot of people, SEO is an afterthought, which should not be the case. Instead, SEO is the base, unlike a mere topping on the pizza. Whether you are looking at the importance of SEO for small businesses or a bigger business, the rule of the thumb is to have an SEO strategy right at the beginning. The reason is SEO is all about improving user experience. While you design your SEO strategy, do not forget that search engines measure the overall user experience and decide whether a particular site can go up the search results.
What is SEO?
Before you understand the importance of SEO for small businesses and all the hype that is created around SEO, you would like to understand more about SEO, right. Let us see if we can develop a fair idea about SEO and the important SEO factors.
Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the method of optimizing your content so that a search engine likely shows it up as a top rank after users search for a specific keyword. As per Neil Patel, SEO is that magic that you must perform on your content so that Google includes it as one of the top results when someone performs a keyword search. The SEO importance statistics are enough to highlight the essence of SEO to survive in an online venture.
Why SEO is Important for Online Success?
Now that we have a fair idea about SEO let us understand why SEO is important for online success? In simple words, amateurs might say that it offers greater searchability and visibility, but the truth is it provides a lot more value than that.
SEO helps to get targeted visitors: Among important SEO factors, bringing in targeted prospects plays a critical role. With SEO, you can attract the exact audience you are looking at. Along with apt keywords, quality content, and good backlinks, SEO helps bring in the target audience to your website. The chances of conversion are higher.
Good SEO also ensures a better user experience: Most often, it is seen that businesses want more visibility and higher rankings, but they forget about optimal user experience. Google, which holds a 75% market share in the search engine market, can differentiate between a good and bad user experience. When you invest in quality SEO, you are investing in good user experience.
SEO impacts the buying cycle: The importance of SEO for small businesses is that it affects the buying cycle. With good SEO, you can convey your messages about the great deals that you are offering to your customers or the uniqueness of the products or services that you are selling to your customers. If done right, it can have a positive impact on the entire buying cycle, thereby contributing to the online success of a business.
SEO is cost-effective: Running a business in itself is a costly affair. To add salt to the wound, marketing costs add to the daily expenses. However, if you are thinking to stretch your marketing costs a bit, then SEO is the economic way to go about it. SEO is a long-term strategy wherein you will get the results after investing the time and effort.
SEO builds brand awareness: If you are looking at brand building, then SEO has a crucial role to play. One SEO importance statistics : 33% of the average visitors share the first organic search result that Google brings. Few go to the second and from then the numbers dwindle. Ranking high on the search engine helps you build a brand amongst your customers as well as competitors.
Are you still wondering if SEO is essential for online success? If you are, then the answer is, yes it is, Period! People need to find you first to buy your product or services, right?
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