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Using real experiences for success

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30-second summary:

  • Link building is one of the most crucial yet most difficult aspects of SEO but testimonial link building can solve that problem for you.
  • Testimonial link building is seen as a great way to harness this raw strength of positive experiences by customers. 
  • Giving a testimonial to a company you have availed service from or purchased from can be a great way to get a link back to your site.  
  • It’s such a simple and straightforward method, which may be one of the reasons why your business should implement testimonials and reviews into your link building strategy. 

In this analytical age, brands are competing on the minutest details. Targeting the right keywords, creating campaigns targeting the right demographic, coming up with effective CTAs, and all those technicalities. However, amidst all that, there is still an element that cannot be measured using an existing tool. That’s where testimonial link building comes into the picture.

Word of mouth from customers can end up making or breaking all the efforts brands put in their campaigns. You as a brand can do everything right but a negative experience by a customer can create negative brand equity that’ll be hard to shed. In the same way, positive word of mouth can boost up your sales manifolds. This why testimonial link building is seen as a great way to harness this raw strength of positive experiences by customers. 

Continue reading below to learn what exactly is testimonial link building, how to get started, and what rules you need to abide by during the entire process. 

What is testimonial link building?

In laymen terms, testimonial link building is using a positive comment from customers that have used your service or product and featuring them on your website. At its core, testimonial link building is meant to provide genuine positive word of mouth for website owners in exchange for a link. In the end, everyone’s happy and it helps brands grow and gain brand recognition. 

There are some finer details involved too such as relevance. Think about it, if you’re a software company, do you want a testimonial from a café from a completely different country? Relevance is key. Just like textual content, you can’t overdo the use of testimonial link building as it’ll end up hurting both parties instead of helping them. There’s no perfect recipe for success in testimonial link building apart from ensuring clarity and relevance. 

Jayson Demers, CEO of Email Analytics says testimonials really fruitful strategy to build links,

“With every testimonial, you will receive Search Engine Crawlers will recognize that your site has an authority” 

Perfection on those true fronts will yield great results for both parties. So, how does it work, and more importantly, how do you get started? Continue reading below to learn more. 

How to build testimonial links 

Without beating around the bush, the whole process boils down to 5 crucial steps that anyone can follow. These are as follows: 

1. Create a target list of products/services

This is where you’ll need to do the most homework. I’d advise you to keep your range of targets as wide as possible but avoid venturing into irrelevant fields. 

Some other things to keep in mind include targeting solution-based products and services. The potential customers looking at this are already at a high engagement point and they’re more likely to convert. I’d also advise making sure you target products and services that you’ve actually used. It would be futile to skip this part as it is a legal requirement. You can still choose to move ahead with this but it’s unlikely any product or service will entertain your testimonial requests if you’re not an existing customer.

Jay Eckert, Founder of Parachute Design also recommends using testimonials for your services,

When you write honest reviews for products or services you are using, it is ultimately benefiting your website’s exposure and visibility in the form of backlinks or through Brand mentions”  

2. Find their contact information 

Once you’ve identified the best possible leads, it’s time to start contacting them. Again, this step requires a lot of elbow grease, so bear that in mind. However, some extensions and tools can help you in this regard and make your job a little easier. 

For instance, ’FindThatLead’ is a tool that  allows you to find your target’s contact details almost at a click of a single button. Just enter the domain you’re targeting and it’ll provide you the details of the right person to contact for your request. Some other similar apps include Hunter.io and Voila Norbert. 

3. Pitch your testimonial via email

This is a crucial part that a lot of people mess up. This is the point where you pitch your testimonial, do not send your testimonial. There is a clear difference between the two and it could save you a lot of time. 

You’re supposed to pitch the idea of giving them a testimonial on the site. While nothing is stopping you from writing up a testimonial and sending it to them, if they reject it, you’ve wasted all that hard work for nothing. 

Write a short and to-the-point email to pitch your testimonial and how it can add value to their overall site. 

4. Write a relevant testimonial

Once you’ve received a green-light to go ahead with a testimonial, you can start working on it. The intent of each testimonial matters a lot, so you must understand what the site owner’s intent is. For instance, if they’re a no-profit organization, they don’t want to sell anything but rather raise awareness. Similarly, a start-up would want to encourage a maximum of new customers. 

Tailor your testimonial based on what the intent of that testimonial on the site is supposed to be. 

5. Create a video backing up that testimonial 

Okay, fair disclaimer, this last step is more of a bonus step. You can skip it if you want but I’d advise against it. There’s a pearl of old internet wisdom to be skeptical of everything you see on the Internet. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. If you’re someone that’s looking at these testimonials, how do you know they’re real. Yes, they all sound convincing and they have the verification mark guaranteeing they’re real customers. However, there will still be an iota of doubt in their minds. This doubt can be the obstacle between a potential customer converting into an actual customer. You can use video or visual testimonial as well. 

Laws and regulations to consider

Even though testimonials present a tremendous opportunity to sell your product and service using your previous sales’ as proof, there are some strict guidelines on how you need to present them. 

The Federal Trade Commission has an entire set of laws on how businesses can use endorsements and testimonials in their advertising. I wouldn’t go as far as to call these to be stifling but they do require some strict criterion to be followed. The entire document can be found and studied here. 

But in case you’re looking for a short rundown of what this means, there are three things you need to be careful about when using testimonials. 

The context needs to be clear. You can’t throw in a testimonial that was given to you for a different version of the service or the app for instance. If you still want to use that testimonial then you’ll have to specify the details. This is primarily why on the App Store when reading reviews for apps, you’ll find reviews marked “review for a different version” 

In case the testimonials were for quid pro quo, you can still use them but you’ll have to provide all customers full disclosure. This means any behind the scenes deals to prop each other up by brands is a big no-no. 

This should go without saying, but all testimonials you choose to use must be genuine. If found guilty of cultivating fake testimonials, your brand can face heavy fines depending on which state you’re in. Steer clear of quantities when it comes to testimonials and focus on delivering quality and earning genuine, organic testimonials that you can use.



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How Gael Breton Escaped Client SEO & Built a Full-Time Income Through Affiliate Marketing

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Who Gael Breton and why should you listen to him? Well, first Gael is a tremendously talented affiliate marketer who specializes in building “authority” websites. Gael got his start in the SEO agency world and transitioned into owning his own properties. In this discussion, you’ll learn: How Gael started and grew his first SEO agency …

Read moreHow Gael Breton Escaped Client SEO & Built a Full-Time Income Through Affiliate Marketing



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Defining value stream management for SEO agencies business owners

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30-second summary:

  • Value stream management is the practice that helps businesses to determine the value of the software development process. 
  • By managing value streams, you can improve the flow of value to your SEO agency and monitor the software delivery lifecycle.
  • Mapping value streams will help you improve visibility throughout the whole software development cycle.
  • You can enable value stream management by defining real-time metrics, creating a value stream map, enabling cross-team collaboration, connecting different processes, and automating the workflows.

With the scope of the competition on the market, the delivery of SEO options is becoming harder than ever. To stay competitive, all processes within the software development cycle must be optimized to their best.

If you’re looking to improve the workflows in your SEO agency, consider implementing value stream management. To help you get started, we’ve created this ultimate guide to value stream management. After reading, you’ll get a better idea of what is a value stream and how you can start managing your value streams by creating maps. 

What is value stream management (VSM)?

To define the concept of value stream management, it’s important to understand the fundamentals. Let’s cover the basics and define key terms before moving further to discuss value stream management for SEO businesses. 

A value stream refers to every step of the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC), from the product idea to the production and tools required to deliver your software to the customers. To help you visualize the concept, here’s an example of a value stream for product (not software) development.

value stream management process

Source: Dragon1

In other words, a value stream is a series of activities that build up the value of your SEO software. Value is defined by something a customer gets, like high-quality software, in a fair period of time for a fair price. 

Value stream management flow

Source: Maaw info

Value stream management (VSM) refers to the process of optimizing processes from the very point when you conceptualize an idea to the time when this idea is in production and generating revenue. To put it simply, VSM allows you to manage your SEO software development process from idea to cash. 

The benefits of value stream management for your SEO agency

Value stream management enables SEO software companies to deliver higher quality products faster and more efficiently than their competitors while significantly reducing risks. Besides, proper implementation of VSM enables the following benefits. 

  • VSM helps you find and address the limitations of your workflows. By mapping out all stages of the software development process, you can identify potential limitations and blunders. 
  • VSM enables you to deliver higher quality SEO solutions. By optimizing development processes, you can deliver better quality products. 
  • VSM allows the continuous development of your agency. By investing in optimization and VSM, you can guarantee the success of your business in the long run. 
  • VSM helps you to make the overall flow of information across the entire process visible to people who normally manage separate functions, processes, and departments. 

How does value stream mapping work?

By now you should understand that value stream management allows optimization of all development processes, from the first time an idea of a product is conceptualized to the moment when the product is produced and launched in the marketplace. 

Within value stream management, many capabilities feed that process. Value stream mapping one of these capabilities. 

A value stream map refers to the visualization of all critical steps in the SEO software development process. Value stream maps include a description of each stage and information, like the time, the volume of work, and spendings dedicated to each of the stages. 

By creating value stream maps, you can analyze the current state of your processes and improve your product based on the series of events that take your SEO solution from the initial concept to the finished product your customers receive. To put it simply, value stream mapping allows you to identify where you’re adding value and where you’re wasting it. 

Besides, creating value streams allows you to categorize activities into high priority vs. low priority items. This way, you can prioritize and triage some processes in favor of others. 

How can you enable VSM?

In order to optimize your SEO software development practices and tools, you need total visibility throughout the whole development cycle. Likely, you can achieve this by mapping value streams. 

Not particularly sure where to start? Follow these five steps to enable value stream management for your SEO agency. 

1. Defining real-time metrics and objectives

Defining real-time metrics is the first step toward enabling value stream management. Unfortunately, many businesses fail to define metrics which leads to misleading results and inability to assess the effectiveness of their VSM efforts. 

Choosing the right objectives allows you to understand what’s happening in the development and identify where value is “leaking” in the process. 

Here’s a list of metrics to help you get started: 

  • The development cycle time 
  • The overall volume of change (before and after VSM)
  • Lead time (LT)
  • Process time (PT)
  • Percent complete & accurate (percept of time when the software is received by users in the correct and ready-to-use form)

Collecting these metrics is paramount for the successful evaluation of your VSM efforts. 

2. Creating a value stream map

After you’ve defined the key metrics and objectives, you can start studying your workflows. Create a map (either physical or digital) that explains each step of the software development process, from conceptualizing an idea to delivering the final product to customers. This way, you can see the distribution of resources within your software development cycle. 

Here’s a great example of a value stream map. 

Value stream management map example

Source: ipinimg 

3. Enabling cross-team collaboration

Value stream management requires you to enable cross-team collaboration. Rather than testing business analysts separately from developers and other teams, you want to optimize the workflow across all of these teams. 

4. Connecting multiple processes, teams, and tools 

Now, as you’ve created opportunities for all teams to work together, you should find a way to answer the following question. How do you make sure that all of the work that your employees are doing, the value streams of their development, map to your priorities? 

To answer this question, you have to evaluate the workflows and roles of each team regarding your objectives and priorities. 

5. Coordinating and automating workflows 

VSM tools allow you to embed governance into existing system development cycles. In other words, some platforms allow you to automate the value stream management processes. 

Tom Hayes, a VSM advisor at the Guerrilla Agency shares his expertise,

“By coordinating and automating workflows, you can continually improve your SEO solution and ultimately achieve better results.”

The bottom line

Value stream management is different from other approaches because it’s focused on the idea that everything that happens to your customers, from the idea to the delivery, is important and needs to be managed in a holistic manner. 

By implementing VSM in your SEO agency, you can better understand your system development cycles and workflows. 

Implementing value stream management is easier than it may seem. You can start by mapping value streams and defining your main objectives. Moreover, there are many platforms that will make the VSM process easy and personalized for your SEO agency.

Connie Benton is a chief content writer, guest contributor, and enthusiastic blogger who helps B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively. You can find her on Twitter at @ConnieB34412379.





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How to Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube (FAST!)

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Gotch SEO Academy is now open! Learn how to get more consistent first page rankings and free traffic from Google (step-by-step).

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to get 4,000 watch hours on YouTube.

Since I began my journey on YouTube in 2017, I’ve accumulated 59,000 watch hours:

And if I was able to do it with my cringe-worthy videos, then you can too.

So the first question is:

What Happens When You Get 4,000 Watch Hours on YouTube?

There is one simple reason why every YouTuber wants to reach 4,000 watch hours: to make money online.

According to YouTube, you need 4,000 watch hours in the last 12 months and 1,000 subscribers to access the YouTube Partner Program (YPP).

Once you reach that threshold, you can apply for the YPP. Then you can start showing ads on your videos if you’re approved.

Now you’ll need lots of subscribers and views to make a full-time income from YouTube ad revenue. However, it’s an excellent supplementary source of revenue.

For example, I’ve made $5,596 from ads since getting monetized.

That equates to about $303 per month or $10 per day. The best part is that it’s a 100% passive form of revenue. You get paid every time someone watches one of your videos.

It’s not a massive amount of money.

In fact:

It’s dead last as far as revenue sources in my company.

But it’s “passive,” which it’s pretty awesome.

Now the truth is: There is no such thing as passive income. You still need to produce quality videos consistently.

Otherwise, your audience will lose interest, your engagement will drop, your views will drop, and ultimately, your ad revenue will fall.

There’s nothing passive about the work you have to do to maintain and continue to grow on YouTube.

Now I want to let you in on a little secret:

The real reason why you should aim for 4,000 watch hours isn’t just for ad revenue. You should do it because you’re building an engaged audience.

As Grant Cardone often says, “money follows attention.”

So remember when I said YouTube ad revenue is a small part of my company’s revenue? That’s true.

However, YouTube traffic is now my third biggest source of revenue for my training course, Gotch SEO Academy.

So with that out of the way, here is a 7 step process to reach 4,000 watch hours on YouTube:

1. Find PROVEN topics

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Instead: you can find proven content ideas and then put your twist on it. Here’s how:

Go to YouTube and enter a keyword related to your industry. In this example, I’ll use “fashion.”

Take note of the topics that have produced lots of views. Now open a few of the channels.

If the channel has a lot of subscribers (> 30,000), then click on the “Videos” tab.

Then sort the videos by “Most Popular” to find topics that are proven to work:

Repeat this process for every channel in your industry until you’ve built a nice database of topics.


2. Qualify (and Prioritize) Your Topics

You need to be strategic with what types of videos you create if you have a new channel. If your channel is established, then you can target more competitive topics. There a few ways to qualify topics, but VidIQ will do most of the work:

Step #1: Download VidIQ

Step #2: Go to YouTube and search the topic you’re interested in.

VidIQ will show you a “Score” for the topic.

Ideally, you should only target topics with a high score. A high score is when the topic has substantial search volume but low competition.

I recommend adding the score next to each keyword in your database. Then you prioritize your topics by score.


3. Develop Your Strategy

At this point, you should have selected a keyword target. Now you need to develop a video strategy.

Here are a few questions to ask when developing your strategy:

How long should your video be?

Examine the top 10 videos for your topic and create an average. You should then aim to exceed the average length.

What are some commonalities and differences among the top videos?

I recommend watching the top 5-10 videos and taking notes.

  • What do you like?
  • What do you dislike?
  • What are some unique things they’re doing in their videos that you can incorporate into your videos?

This is the most critical part. Dedicate time to studying their videos because that’s the first step to beating them.

What’s your title?

Did you know that 80% of Internet users don’t read past the headline? That principle applies to YouTube as well.

If your headline (title) doesn’t drive any curiosity, it won’t do well on YouTube.

You need users to click through on your video. And your title is a big piece to that puzzle (along with your thumbnail).

I recommend writing out at least ten different headlines. Then, run each headline through the AMInstitute headline tool.

There are many frameworks for producing curiosity-driven headlines. However, the ones that tend to do the best include numbers.

What will you need to produce the video?

Not all videos are created equal. Some require big budgets, while others will only need your phone.

The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you use to produce your videos. What matters is the quality of the content you’re providing in your video.

Ensure the audio and video are at least at the level of your competitors, and you’ll do just fine.

What’s your deadline?

Deadlines make projects real. Set a deadline and stick to it.


4. Create the Video

I have a simple process for creating videos that you can steal:

Script out the entire video

I know. Some people hate this idea because they’re afraid of being robotic.

However, most people go off the rails if they don’t follow a script.

Scripts keep your videos efficient and easy to consume. The goal isn’t to waste the viewer’s time.

You want to give them the information they need in the fastest time possible. A script is that solution.

I recommend including some of these key elements into your script:

  • Mention your target keyword in the first line and last line of the video.
  • Use open loops at the beginning of the video. An example of an “open-loop” is when I say, “Make sure you read this entire guide because tip #6 is fundamental to your success on YouTube.”
  • Insert pattern interrupts (like I did above).

Did you know that video editing experts recommend changing shots every 3-10 seconds?

Watch any TV commercial. Notice how frequently the shots change. You should do the same.

Why?

It’s super hard to keep people’s attention, so you need to use every tool at your disposal.

Watch this video under tip #6 to see pattern interrupts in action.

Record your video

If you’re doing a talking-head video, you’ll need a teleprompter. Now just turn the camera on and record.

If it’s your first time, it’s going to feel like hell. That’s okay. It gets easier.

Just remember that no one is watching you.

That camera is no different than speaking to a wall. It has no emotions and no judgment.

So that means you have permission to be yourself without any consequences. The cool part is that YouTube users like people who are themselves.

So, hit record, be yourself, and add value.

Edit your video

You can do it for free with iMovie or a paid editing software like Premiere Pro. You can also hire a video editor on UpWork.


5. Optimize Your Video

Before you upload your video, you need to optimize it. I recommend including your target keyword in the filename. Now upload your video, and it’s time to optimize it for YouTube’s organic search.

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Include the keyword in the title and first sentence of your description.

  • Write an in-depth description. Aim for > 100 words for your description. Make sure to include variations of your primary keyword as well.
  • Include your keyword in your tags. VidIQ will give you tag recommendations based on the topic.

I also recommend looking through the top videos for your keywords. Copy the tags they’re using.

Add an end screen. You should always try to get users to watch more of your videos.

This will quickly grow your watch time.


6. Promote Your Video

What I just showed you is about 50% of the process. The other 50% of the process is to promote your video.

Here are a few quick tips:

Leverage your email list.

Your email list is the most valuable asset for growing ANY channel—especially YouTube. If you don’t have an email list, I HIGHLY recommend you start building one. It is the most crucial marketing channel online (in my opinion).

Leave thoughtful comments on other channels in your industry.

Take note of when popular channels publish in your industry. Then, be there to drop an intelligent comment on every new video.

This will help you build a relationship with the creator. And it will also help drive users to your channel.

7. Repeat

I showed you a simple process for creating an awesome YouTube video.

But here’s the deal: creating one video isn’t enough.

In fact:

There’s a high probability that your first video won’t do well. That’s why you need to stay the course and keep publishing.

You will get to 4,000 watch hours as long as you keep producing.

That’s It!

The key to reaching 4,000 watch hours on YouTube is to GET STARTED. Then, it’s to keep producing valuable content.

There are no secrets.

Well, maybe some.

That’s why I created a brand new training program called YouTube SEO Academy. I’ll be opening enrollment soon.

In the meantime, download our free YouTube video promotion checklist.

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