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Why & How to Tackle Technical SEO Before Link Building

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Why & How to Tackle Technical SEO Before Link Building


When you consider a link building campaign, you may not be completely reaping the benefits of your SEO efforts if you ignore technical SEO.

The best results happen when you consider all the points of your website’s SEO:

In fact, there are situations when you must tackle technical SEO before ever thinking about getting links.

If your website is weak in technical SEO areas, or extremely confusing for search engines, it won’t perform as well regardless of the quality and quantity of backlinks you have.

Your top goals with technical SEO is to make sure that your site is:

  • Easily crawled by search engines.
  • Has top cross-platform compatibility.
  • Loads quickly on both desktop and mobile.
  • Employs efficient implementation of WordPress plugins.
  • Does not have any issues with misconfigured Google Analytics code.

These five points illustrate why it’s important to tackle technical SEO before link building.

If your site is unable to be crawled or is otherwise deficient in technical SEO best practices, you may suffer from poor site performance.

The following chapter discusses why and how you should be tackling technical SEO before starting a link building campaign.

Make Sure Your Site is Easily Crawled by Search Engines

Your HTTPS Secure Implementation

If you have recently made the jump to an HTTPS secure implementation, you may not have had the chance to audit or otherwise identify issues with your secure certificate installation.

A surface-level audit at the outset can help you identify any major issues affecting your transition to HTTPS.

Major issues can arise later on when the purchase of the SSL certificate did not initially take into account what the site would be doing later.

One thing to keep in mind is that you must take great care in purchasing your certificate and making sure it covers all the subdomains you want it to.

If you don’t, you may end up with some issues as a result, such as not being able to redirect URLs.

If you don’t get a full wildcard certificate, and you have URL parameters on a subdomain – using absolute URLs – that your certificate doesn’t cover, you won’t be able to redirect those URLs to https://.

This is why it pays to be mindful of the options you choose during the purchase of your SSL certificate because it can negatively affect your site later.

No Errant Redirects or Too Many Redirects Bogging Down Site Performance

It’s easy to create an HTTPS secure implementation with errant redirects.

For this reason, an eagle eye’s view of the site’s current redirect states will be helpful in correcting this issue.

It can also be easy to create conflicting redirects if you don’t keep watch on the redirects you are creating.

In addition, it’s easy to let redirects run out of control and lead to tens or many more redirects per site URL, in turn, leads to bogging down site performance.

The easiest way to fix this issue moving forward: make sure that your redirects are all created in a 1:1 ratio.

You should not have 10-15 or more redirect URLs per URL on your site.

If you do, something is seriously wrong.

Example of correct redirects

Content on HTTPS & HTTP URLs Should Not Load at the Same Time

The correct implementation is that one should redirect to the other, not both.

If you have both of them loading at the same time, something is wrong with the secure version of your site.

If you type in your site’s URLs into your browser, try and test https:// and http:// separately.

If both URLs load, you are displaying two versions of your content, and duplicate URLs can lead to duplicate content issues.

To make sure that you do not run into this issue again, you will want to do one of the following, depending on your site’s platform:

  • Create a full redirect pattern in HTACCESS (on Apache / CPanel servers)
  • Use a redirect plugin in WordPress to force the redirects from http://

Instead, this is an example of exactly what we want to display to users and search engines:

How to Create Redirects in htaccess on Apache / Cpanel Servers

You can perform global redirects at the server level in .htaccess on Apache / CPanel servers.

Inmotionhosting has a great tutorial on how to force this redirect on your own web host. But, for our purposes, we’ll focus on the following ones.

To force all web traffic to use HTTPS, this is the following code you will want to use.

You want to make sure to add this code above any code that has a similar prefix (RewriteEngine On, RewriteCond, etc.)

RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTPS} !on
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/[0-9]+..+.cpaneldcv$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/.well-known/pki-validation/[A-F0-9]{32}.txt(?: Comodo DCV)?$
RewriteRule (.*) https://%{HTTP_HOST}%{REQUEST_URI} [L,R=301]

If you want to redirect only a specified domain, you will want to use the following lines of code in your htaccess file:

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/[0-9]+..+.cpaneldcv$
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^/.well-known/pki-validation/[A-F0-9]{32}.txt(?: Comodo DCV)?$
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^example.com [NC]
RewriteCond %{SERVER_PORT} 80
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ https://www.example.com/$1 [R=301,L]

Don’t forget to change any URLs in the above examples to what is the correct implementation on your domain name.

There are other solutions in that tutorial which may work for your site.

WARNING: if you do not have confidence in your abilities to make the correct changes at the server level on your server, please make sure to have your server company/IT person perform these fixes for you.

You can screw up something major with these types of redirects if you do not know exactly what you are doing.

Secure Site redirect plugin

Use a Plugin If You Are Operating a WordPress Site

The easiest way to fix these redirect issues, especially if you operate a WordPress site, is to just use a plugin.

There are many plugins that can force http:// to https:// redirects but here are a few that will help make this process as painless as possible:

Caution about plugins – don’t just add another plugin if you’re already using too many plugins.

You may want to investigate if your server can use similar redirect rules mentioned above (such as if you are using an NGINX-based server).

It must be stated here: plugin weight can affect site speed negatively, so don’t always assume that the latest plugin will help you.

All Links On-site Should Be Changed From HTTP:// To HTTPS://

Even if you perform the redirects above, you should perform this step.

This is especially true if you are using absolute URLs, as opposed to relative URLs, where the former always displays the hypertext transfer protocol that you’re using.

If you are using the latter, this is less important and you probably don’t need to pay much attention to this.

Why do you need to change links on-site when you are using absolute URLs?

Because Google can and will crawl all of those links and this can result in duplicate content issues.

It seems like a waste of time, but it’s really not. You are making sure the end result is that Google sees exactly the site you want them to see.

One version.

One set of URLs.

One set of content.

No confusion.

Examples of links that should be changed from http:// to https://

No 404s From HTTP:// To HTTPS:// Transitions

A sudden spike in 404s can make your site almost impossible to crawl, especially if the links between http:// and https:// pages exist.

Difficulty crawling a site is one of the most common issues that can result from a spike in 404s.

Also, crawl budget wasted due to too many 404s showing up, and Google not finding pages that it should.

Why this impacts site performance, and why it matters:

While John Mueller of Google mentions that crawl budget doesn’t matter except for extremely large sites:

“Google’s John Mueller said on Twitter that he believes that crawl budget optimization is overrated in his mind. He said for most sites, it doesn’t make a difference and that it only can help really massive sites.

John wrote “IMO crawl-budget is over-rated.” “Most sites never need to worry about this. It’s an interesting topic, and if you’re crawling the web or running a multi-billion-URL site, it’s important, but for the average site owner less so,” he added.”

A great article by Yauhen Khutarniuk, Head of SEO at SEO PowerSuite, puts this perfectly:

“Quite logically, you should be concerned with crawl budget because you want Google to discover as many of your site’s important pages as possible. You also want it to find new content on your site quickly. The bigger your crawl budget (and the smarter your management of it), the faster this will happen.”

It’s important to optimize for crawl budget because finding new content on your site quickly should be the priority, while discovering as many of your site’s high priority pages as possible.

How to Fix Any 404s You May Have

Primarily, you want to redirect any 404s from the old URL to the new, existing URL.

Check out Benj Arriola’s Search Engine Journal article for more information on 404s vs. soft 404s, and how to fix them.

One of the easier ways, especially if you have a WordPress site, would be to crawl the site with Screaming Frog and perform a bulk upload of your 301 redirect rules using the Redirection WordPress plugin.

Otherwise, you may have to create redirect rules in .htaccess.

Your URL Structure Should Not Be Overly Complex

The structure of your URLs is an important consideration when getting your site ready for technical SEO.

You must pay attention to things like randomly generating dynamic parameters that are being indexed, URLs that are not easy to understand, and other factors that will cause issues with your technical SEO implementation.

These are all important factors because they can lead to indexation issues that will hurt your site’s performance.

More Human-Readable URLs

When you create URLs, you likely think about where the content is going, and then you create URLs automatically.

This can hurt you, however.

The reason why is because automatically generated URLs can follow a few different formats, none of which are very human-readable.

For example:

  • /content/date/time/keyword
  • /content/date/time/string-of-numbers
  • /content/category/date/time/
  • /content/category/date/time/parameters/

None of these formats that you encounter are very human readable, are they?

The reason why it’s important is that communicating the content behind the URL properly is a large part of user intent.

It’s even more important today also because of accessibility reasons.

The more readable your URLs are, the better:

  • Search engines can use these to determine exactly how people are engaging with those URLs vs. those who are not engaging with those URLs.
  • If someone sees your URL in the search results, they may be more apt to click on it because of the fact that they will see exactly how much that URL matches what they are searching for. In short – match that user search intent, and you’ve got another customer.
  • This is why considering this part of URL structure is so important when you are auditing a site.

Many existing sites may be using outdated or confusing URL structures, leading to poor user engagement.

Identifying which URLs can be more human readable can create better user engagement across your site.

Duplicate URLs

One important technical SEO consideration that should be ironed out before any link building is duplicate content.

When it comes to duplicate content issues, these are the main causes:

  • Content that is significantly duplicated across sections of the website.
  • Scraped content from other websites.
  • Duplicate URLs where only one piece of content exists.

This can hurt because it does confuse search engines when more than one URL represents one piece of content.

Search engines will rarely show the same piece of content twice, and not paying attention to duplicate URLs dilutes their ability to find and serve up each duplicate.

Avoid Using Dynamic Parameters

While dynamic parameters are, in and of themselves, not a problem from an SEO perspective, if you cannot manage your creation of them, and get consistent in their use, this can become a significant problem later.

Jes Scholz has an amazing article on Search Engine Journal covering the basics of dynamic parameters and URL handling and how it can affect SEO. If you are not familiar with dynamic parameters, I suggest reading her article ASAP before proceeding with the rest of this section.

Scholz explains that parameters are used for the following purposes:

  • Tracking
  • Reordering
  • Filtering
  • Identifying
  • Pagination
  • Searching
  • Translating

When you get to the point that your URL’s dynamic parameters are causing a problem, it usually comes down to basic mismanagement of the creation of these URLs.

In the case of tracking, using many different dynamic parameters when creating links that search engines crawl.

In the case of reordering, using these different dynamic parameters to reorder lists and groups of items that then create indexable duplicate pages that search engines then crawl.

You can inadvertently trigger excessive duplicate content issues if you don’t keep your dynamic parameters to a manageable level.

You should never need 50 URLs with UTM parameters to track the results of certain types of campaigns.

The creation of these dynamic URLs for one piece of content can really add up over time if you aren’t carefully managing their creation and will dilute the quality of your content along with its capability to perform in search engine results.

It leads to keyword cannibalization and on a large enough scale can severely impact your ability to compete.

Shorter URLs Are Better Than Longer URLs

A long-held SEO best practice has been shorter URLs are better than longer URLs.

Google’s John Mueller has discussed this:

“What definitely plays a role here is when we have two URLs that have the same content, and we try to pick one to show in the search results, we will pick the short one. So that is specifically around canonicalization.

It doesn’t mean it is a ranking factor, but it means if we have two URLs and one is really short and sweet and this other one has this long parameter attached to it and we know they show exactly the same content we will try to pick the shorter one.

There are lots of exceptions there, different factors that come into play, but everything else being equal – you have a shorter one and a longer one, we will try to pick the shorter one.”

There is also empirical evidence that shows that Google ranks shorter URLs for more terms, rather than long and specific.

If your site contains super long URLs everywhere, you may want to optimize them into better, shorter URLs that better reflect the article’s topic and user intent.

Examples of overly complex URLs

Make Sure Your Site Has Top Cross-Platform Compatibility & Fast Page Speed

Site glitches and other problems can arise when your site is not coded correctly.

These glitches can result from badly-nested DIV tags resulting in a glitched layout, code with bad syntax resulting in call-to-action elements disappearing, and bad site management resulting in the careless implementation of on-page elements.

Cross-platform compatibility can be affected along with page speed, resulting in greatly reduced performance and user engagement, long before link building ever becomes a consideration.

Nip some of these issues in the bud before they become major problems later.

Many of these technical SEO issues come down to poor site management and poor coding.

The more that you tackle these technical SEO issues at the beginning with more consistent development and website management best practices, the better off you’ll be later when your link building campaign takes off.

Poorly Coded Site Design

When you have a poorly coded site design, your user experience and engagement can suffer and will be adversely affected.

This is yet another element of technical SEO that can be easily overlooked.

A poorly coded site design can manifest in several ways with:

  • Poor page speed.
  • Glitches in the design appearing on different platforms.
  • Forms not working where they should (impacting conversions).
  • Any other call to actions not working on mobile devices (and desktop).
  • Any tracking code that’s not being accurately monitored (leading to poor choices in your SEO decision-making).

Any of these issues can spell disaster for your site when it can’t properly report on, capture leads, or engage with users to its fullest potential.

This is why these things should always be considered and tackled on-site before moving to link building.

If you don’t, you may wind up with weaknesses in your marketing campaigns that will be even harder to pin down, or worse – you may never find them.

All of these elements of a site design must be addressed and otherwise examined to make sure that they are not causing any major issues with your SEO.

Pages Are Slow to Load

Since July 2018, Google rolled out page speed as a ranking factor in its mobile algorithm to all users.

Slow loading pages can affect everything, so it’s something that you should pay attention to on an ongoing basis, and not just for rankings.

But for all of your users also.

What should you be on the lookout for when it comes to issues that impact page speed?

Slow Loading Images

If your site has many images approaching 1 MB (1 megabyte) in file size, you have a problem.

As the average internet connection speed approaches over 27.22 Mbps download on mobile, and fixed broadband approaches over 59.60 Mbps download, realistically, this becomes less of an issue, but can still be an issue.

You will still face slower loading pages when you have such large images on your site. If you use a tool like GTMetrix, you can see how fast your site loads these images.

Typical page speed analysis best practices say that you should take three snapshots of your site’s page speed.

Average out the three snapshots, and that’s your site’s average page speed.

It is recommended, on average, for most sites, that images should be at most 35 – 50K per image, not more. This is depending on resolution, and pixel density (including whether you are accommodating the higher pixel densities of iPhones and other devices).

Also, use lossless compression in graphics applications like Adobe Photoshop in order to achieve the best quality possible while resizing images.

Efficient Coding Best Practices

Some people believe that standard coding best practices say that you should be using W3C valid coding.

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines recommend using valid W3C coding to code your site.

Use valid HTML

But, John Mueller (and even Matt Cutts) have mentioned in the past that it’s not critical to focus on W3C-valid coding for ranking reasons.

Search Engine Journal staff Roger Montti discusses this conundrum in even further detail here: 6 Reasons Why Google Says Valid HTML Matters.

But, that’s the key word there. Focusing on it for ranking purposes.

You will find at the top of Google, for different queries, all sorts of websites that ascribe to different coding best practices, and not every site validates via the W3C.

Despite a lack of focus on that type of development best practice for ranking purposes, there are plenty of reasons why using W3C valid coding is a great idea, and why it can put you ahead of your competitors who are not doing it.

Before any further discussion takes place, it needs to be noted from a developer perspective:

  • W3C-standard validated code is not always good code.
  • Bad code is not always invalid code.
  • W3C validation should not be the be-all, end-all evaluation of a piece of coding work.
  • But, validation services like the W3C validator should be used for debugging reasons,
  • Using the W3C validator will help you evaluate your work more easily and avoid major issues as your site becomes larger and more complex after completion of the project.

But in the end, which is better, and why?

Picking a coding standard, being consistent with your coding best practices, and sticking with them is generally better than not.

When you pick a coding standard and stick with it, you introduce less complexity and less of a chance that things can go wrong after the final site launch.

While some see W3C’s code validator as an unnecessary evil, it does provide rhyme and reason to making sure that your code is valid.

For example, if your syntax is invalid in your header, or you don’t self-close tags properly, W3C’s code validator will reveal these mistakes.

If, during development, you transferred over an existing WordPress theme, from say XHML 1.0 to HTML 5 for server compatibility reasons, you may notice thousands of errors.

It means that you have incompatibility problems with the DOCTYPE in the theme and the language that is actually being used.

This happens frequently when someone copies and pastes old code into a new site implementation without regard to any coding rules whatsoever.

This can be disastrous to cross-platform compatibility.

Also, this simple check can help you reveal exactly what’s working (or not working) under the hood right now code-wise.

Where efficient coding best practices come into play, is doing things like inadvertently putting multiple closing DIV tags where they shouldn’t go, being careless about how you code the layout, etc.

All of these coding errors can be a huge detriment to the performance of your site, both from a user and search engine perspective.

Common Ways Too Many WordPress Plugins Can Harm Your Site

Using Too Many Plugins

Plugins can become major problems when their use is not kept in check.

Why is this? How can this be – aren’t plugins supposed to help?

In reality, if you don’t manage your plugins properly, you can run into major site performance issues down the line.

Here are some reasons why.

Extra HTTP Requests

All files that load on your site generate requests from the server or HTTP requests.

Every time someone requests your page, all of your page elements load (images, video, graphics, plugins, everything), and all of these elements require an HTTP request to be transferred.

The more HTTP requests you have, the more these extra plugins will slow down your site.

This can be mostly a matter of milliseconds, and for most websites does not cause a huge issue.

It can, however, be a major bottleneck if your site is a large one, and you have hundreds of plugins.

Keeping your plugin use in check is a great idea, to make sure that your plugins are not causing a major bottleneck and causing slow page speeds.

Increased Database Queries Due to Extra Plugins

WordPress uses SQL databases in order to process queries and maintain its infrastructure.

If your site is on WordPress, it’s important to know that every plugin you add will send out extra database queries.

These extra queries can add up, and cause bottleneck issues that will negatively affect your site’s page speed.

The more you load plugins up, the slower your site will get.

If you don’t manage the database queries well, you can run into serious issues with your website’s performance, and it will have nothing to do with how your images load.

It also depends on your host.

If you suffer from a large website with too many plugins and too little in the way of resources, now may be the time for an audit to see exactly what’s happening.

The Other Problem With Plugins: They Increase the Probability of Your Website Crashing

When the right plugins are used, you don’t have to worry (much) about keeping an eye on them.

You should, however, be mindful of when plugins are usually updated, and how they work with your WordPress implementation to make sure your website stays functional.

If you auto-update your plugins, you may have an issue one day where a plugin does not play nice with other plugins. This could cause your site to crash.

This is why it is so important to manage your WordPress plugins.

And make sure that you don’t exceed what your server is capable of.

This Is Why It’s Important to Tackle Technical SEO Before Link Building

Many technical SEO issues can rear their ugly head and affect your site’s SERP performance long before link building enters the equation.

That’s why it’s important to tackle technical SEO before you start link building.

Any technical SEO issues can cause significant drops in website performance long before link building ever becomes a factor.

Start with a thorough technical SEO audit to reveal and fix any on-site issues.

It will help identify any weaknesses in your site, and these changes will all work together with link building to create an even better online presence for you, and your users.

Any link building will be for naught if search engines (or your users) can’t accurately crawl, navigate, or otherwise use your site.

Summary

Timeframe: Month 1, 2, 3 and every quarter

Results Detected: 1-4 months after implementation

Tools needed:

  • Screaming Frog
  • DeepCrawl
  • Ahrefs (or Moz)
  • Google Search Console
  • Google Analytics

Link building benefits of technical SEO:

  • Technical SEO will help you get the maximum performance out of your links.
  • Technical SEO like a clean site structure and understanding of PR flow is very key for internal link placement.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
In-post images/screenshots taken by author, July 2019



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WordPress’ Parent Company Acquires Tumblr for Shockingly Low Sum

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WordPress’ Parent Company Acquires Tumblr for Shockingly Low Sum


Automattic Inc., owner of WordPress.com, has acquired Tumblr for what is reported to be very low sum.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Tumblr was acquired for an “undisclosed sum,” however, it was soon revealed the sum was “well below” $10 million.

Dan Primack, business editor at Axios, broke the news about the acquisition price. He tweeted an update after publishing the story, saying the sum is actually below $3 million.

To put this in perspective, Yahoo acquired Tumblr for $1.1 billion in 2013. Yahoo later wrote down Tumblr’s value by $230 million in 2016 after it failed to generate significant revenue.

In 2017, Verizon gained ownership of Tumblr through its acquisition of Yahoo. Now, Verizon is reportedly selling Tumblr for a fraction of what it was valued at 5 years ago.

Despite what is considered to be a low sum, the acquisition of Tumblr is largest ever for Automattic in terms of price and head count.

As part of the acquisition, Automattic will take on Tumblr’s 200 staffers, so no one will be losing their job.

Another thing that will stay in place is Tumblr’s controversial porn ban. Matt Mullenweg, chief executive of Automattic, tells WSJ: “We’re not going to change any of that.”

Going forward, Mullenweg says that executives will look for ways to share services and functionality between WordPress.com and Tumblr.

In the meantime it sounds as though there will be no immediate changes to either service.



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101 Easy (& Cheap) Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website

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101 Easy (& Cheap) Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Website


In the modern-day landscape of saturated online content, it’s no longer enough to just build your site and wait for people to visit it.

You must be proactive at promoting your site and your brand online.

Admittedly, this is much easier said than done, especially because not everyone has the financial capability to throw into paid ad campaigns and corporate sponsorships.

The good news?

There are several things you can do to promote and drive traffic to your website, all without having to spend hundreds of dollars.

To help you do just that, here’s a list of 101 tactics you can try, grouped by strategy.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) & Link Building

1. Find the core keywords that match your website’s goals, your industry, and offering.

2. Optimize your website and all of your on-page content for search engines.

3. Focus on Google, but add peripheral search engines like Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo, to your list.

4. Claim your Google My Business listing.

Google My Business

5. Submit your site to online directories like Yelp, Annie’s List, and TripAdvisor, among others

6. Scour Q&A sites like Quora and look for relevant questions you can create content about.

7. Optimize content with relevant keywords, particularly long-tail keywords signaling intent

8. Get news websites to cover your business and link to your site.

9. Invest time in blogger outreach to see which influencers and industry thought leaders you can reach out and link to your site.

10. Join relevant online discussions on sites like Quora and Reddit.

11. Monitor Google Trends for keyword ideas and trending topics you can write about.

12. Write killer headlines that grab people’s attention and encourage them to click on your article links.

13. Link internally so other pages in your site get attention and a bump in traffic.

14. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile to increase your mobile search rankings.

15. Optimize your site for local search, that means including your city or state in your target keywords.

16. Consider using remarketing on Google Ads for brief periods to drive traffic and sales on your site.

17. Use HARO to look for opportunities to appear on roundups, similar to the one below.

Roundup Link Building

18. Optimize images on your website with alt tags to improve their discoverability on Google Images.

19. Optimize your meta descriptions and title tags so they’re easy to read and aren’t truncated in the search engine results pages.

20. Add your local address to the footer of every page on your site to make sure local searchers find you.

21. Improve your website’s page speeds by following Google’s guidelines and recommendations.

22. Use rich snippets to make your entry on the search engine results pages more clickable.

Content Marketing

23. Start a blog if you haven’t already.

24. Create content that’s useful, valuable, and shareable.

25. Create free and paid resources such as case studies, reports, survey findings, etc.

26. Look for guest posting opportunities to get high-authority blogs to link to your site.

27. Create infographics that feature a roundup of industry statistics to increase their likelihood of going viral.

28. Start a regular content series, such as “Did You Know?” or a “Tip of the Day” that your audience can look forward to.

29. Update your blog regularly to get a boost in rankings and traffic.

30. Interview industry leaders and feature the conversation on your blog or YouTube channel.

31. Host a webinar or podcast about topics you’re passionate about and align with your business.

32. Create e-brochures that your audience can share, with links to your site and blog.

33. Invest in video content and upload your videos to YouTube.

The State of Video Marketing in 2019 [New Data]

34. Write an online/offline column for your local paper, magazine, or community website.

35. Create a press kit you can share with influencers, bloggers, and even other businesses.

36. Comment on other blogs relevant to your industry.

37. Launch a free ebook to generate interest in your brand. Offer it as a free download for users who sign up for your newsletter.

38. Start a blog on Tumblr. This is a great content platform, especially if you have a young audience.

39. Have a healthy mix of evergreen content and trending content to increase your website’s discoverability, particularly on search engines.

Social Media

40. Promote your content on social media channels.

41. Obviously, you want to go big on Facebook. Create a page there if you haven’t already.

42. Join discussions on Facebook Groups to generate visibility.

43. Leverage social media contests on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to drive traffic to your website.

44. If it’s relevant to your audience, create an online presence on Snapchat and Pinterest.

45. Use Pinterest to upload high-quality images of your products.

46. Use relevant trending hashtags on Twitter to drive users to your site.

47. Try promoted tweets to fast-track traffic to your site.

48. Start an Instagram account and make sure your bio is filled features your website URL.

49. Use Facebook and Instagram Stories to engage your audience and raise brand awareness.

50. Let your employees control your Stories for a day. This will encourage them to share your social media account (and website) with their personal network.

51. Start an official YouTube channel. Use it to share videos of your brand, your products, and services.

52. Use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ads at short bursts to boost traffic to your site.

53. Leave comments on other social media pages.

54. Link your official social media channels with one another. Make sure all pages/profiles have a URL to your website.

55. Take advantage of Facebook and Instagram’s live streaming platforms. This will give you a chance to show your brand’s personality and encourage website visits.

56. If you serve a B2B market, double down on LinkedIn. According to a report, 63% of marketers rated LinkedIn as the most effective B2B social media platform.

Top B2B Social Media Platforms

57. Use SlideShare to create your own high-quality slideshows. Optimize your slideshow for keywords and add your website URL to the final or beginning slide.

Offline Marketing

58. Participate in events and talk about the event experience in your blog.

59. Collaborate with local academic institutions to get your brand’s name out in the world of academia.

60. Look for public speaking engagements in your industry.

61. Add QR codes to your print collateral (e.g., posters, post cards, flyers) to drive people to your site.

62. Design beautiful business cards and add a QR code directing people to your site, lead form, or social platforms.

63. Support local organizations to ensure your community knows your brand and site.

64. Place stickers and/or decals on your personal or company cars to promote your website.

65. If you have the budget, pay for local ad placements in your newspaper, benches, sporting events.

66. Organize events such as concerts, poetry nights, garage sales, flea markets, and workshops.

67. Make sure your website URL is visible on company merchandise.

68. Send direct mail and place your URL on letters.

69. Include your website URL on company uniforms

70. Look for free press release opportunities on magazines and newspapers

71. Add your website URL to office signs.

72. Join networking events in your city or out of state.

73. Take advantage of classified ads in your local paper.

74. Support a local charity by sponsoring a fun run or donating part of your proceeds to a cause.

75. Contact your local news station to submit yourself as an expert in your field or industry resource.

76. Join your local Chamber of Commerce or other business groups.

77. Appear on a local radio program as a resource guest, which will let you promote your site as well.

Sales Promotions

78. Entice customers with an exclusive deal that can be redeemed on your store. According to one study, 57% of shoppers are motivated by coupons to make first-time purchases.

79. Offer free gifts to in-store customers and add material to promote your site.

80. Start a loyalty program requiring users to fill out a form on your website.

81. Offer freebies that can be redeemed on your site after shoppers make in-store purchases.

82. Start a referral network and encourage users to refer your website to their friends in exchange for discounts/deals.

83. Send thank you cards or emails to your in-store customers, placing a URL to your site.

84. Take advantage of seasonal offers (e.g., Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween) to increase your likelihood of being found during these occasions.

General Marketing

85. Remember to market your website across all online channels you own — social media, newsletter, blog.

86. Create an official email signature with your website in it (and most recent blog post if applicable).

87. Don’t neglect email marketing. Start a newsletter and incentivize signups with offers and discounts.

88. Encourage customers to leave reviews on your social media pages and website.

89. Take advantage of user-generated content through contests or competitions. Have users submit entries to your website.

90. If your website has been around for a while, consider a redesign to drum up interest when relaunching it.

91. Add social buttons to your blog content and landing pages to make sharing easy.

92. When looking for influencers, look for those who are relevant to your brand and have an engaged audience. The number of followers isn’t a reliable metric for an influencer’s influence.

93. Educate your audience instead of selling to them.

94. Talk and listen to your customers about what they want from your brand. Use this information to improve products and/or create content.

95. Sell yourself and your site wherever you go. You are your greatest ambassador.

96. Use strong calls-to-action in your social media posts and blog content to drive audiences to your website.

97. Look for opportunities to appear on other people’s podcasts or webinars.

98. Make sure your website looks great on all devices to maximize its discoverability.

99. Make sure your internal stakeholders are encouraged to spread the word about your brand and website.

100. Pay attention to what your competitors are doing on their website and do something they aren’t so you stand out.

101. Want visits? Ask for them online and offline from the people you meet every day.

Over to You

This list of tactics only scratches the surface of what you can do to promote your website.

Nevertheless, these tricks should get you off to a good start.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Screenshots taken by author, August 2019
In-post Image #1: HubSpot
In-post Image #2: Content Marketing Institute



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10 Best Readability Tools to Check Your SEO Content

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10 Best Readability Tools to Check Your SEO Content


Content strategy is a science and every detail matters.

Those details include:

  • The reading level of the content.
  • Word count (especially in relation to top-ranking content).
  • Format and correct use of subheaders.
  • Keyword distribution.
  • Use of phrases related to the keyword.
  • Grammar.
  • Sentence structure.

In fact, details like these can mean the difference between a No. 1 ranking (or answer box!) vs. content that doesn’t even make it on Page 1 of the search results.

Competitive content writers will use every tool at their disposal as they create content.

That’s why we’ve rounded up the 10 best content writing tools for SEO that specifically help you improve readability.

Add your keyword phrase (and related keywords if you like), and the SEO Writing Assistant will give you an aggregate score based on factors including:

  • Readability
  • Number of hard-to-read sentences
  • Long words
  • Word count and reading time (compared to top-ranking content)
  • Tone of voice

Notably, with the SEO Writing Assistant is the one tool on this list where you can set the preferred readability level you’d like your content to have.

You can customize the tone of voice you’d like your content to have, ranging from casual to formal, and check whether any content in the document is plagiarized.

It will also show related questions you should consider posing/answering within the content.

Personally, my favorite aspect of the SEO Writing Assistant is the recommended keywords – the tool will automatically show about 20 phrases that are present in the top-ranking comment.

Yoast is a free WordPress plugin that many digital marketers use to check the basic SEO of their content, but it can also give you a content readability score.

Within the content readability score, you’ll find a report that breaks down:

  • Flesch reading ease
  • Use of passive voice vs. active voice
  • Subheading distribution
  • Variety of sentence structure
  • Paragraph length
  • Sentence length
  • Use of transition words

Like most of the tools on this list, the Content Experience provides scores pertaining to your content’s word count, sentence structure, keyword coverage, phrase repetition, etc. based on your keyword target.

This is one of the more robust content marketing tools on this list, and provides insights into user intent, keyword selection, and even the best time of year to publish a piece of content.

As the name suggests, the Readability Tool focuses primarily on the readability of your content.

You can input content you’re working on directly into the tool, or you can use a URL for content that already exits (yours or your competitors).

The report will give not one but six readability scores, including:

  • Flesch reading ease.
  • Flesch-Kincaid grade level.
  • Gunning Fog Score.
  • SMOG Index.
  • Coleman-Liau Index score.
  • The Automated Readability Index score.

It will also show you:

  • The number of sentences
  • Number of words
  • Number of complex words
  • Percent of complex words
  • Average words per sentence
  • Average syllables per word

With the Text Optimizer, you can pop in a webpage and this content readability tool will check the health of your content.

If you’re new to SEO or content strategy, this is a good tool to start with, given that no technical knowledge is required to wield this tool and create great content.

In addition to assessing your content’s word count, sentence length and verb use, this tool will give you suggestions of words to add to your content and words to remove from your content to increase your potential to rank.

According to Text Optimizer, 70% of their users achieve better SEO rankings within five weeks after using the tool.

This content readability tool focuses solely on reading level and gives your content a readability score based on

Not only will it give your entire content a score, but it will also score your content’s individual content.

If writing is not your strong suit, Grammarly is a game-changer.

This tool focuses on the mechanics of writing rather than the science of SEO content – nonetheless, it’s incredibly valuable and belongs on this list.

Poorly written content equates to poor user experience (and high-quality content should be written with the search engines and the user in mind).

Grammarly will address issues in grammar and spelling, but also in tone and structure.

It will flag overly complex sentences and keep an eye out for clarity and conciseness.

You can also set a goal for the content your writing so Grammarly can tailor its recommendations to your project.

Goals are aligned by the type of your content.

You can choose from academic, business, technical, creative, and casual. For most web content, you’ll probably want to choose business.

When working on a piece of business content, Grammarly will flag any use of the passive voice and misuse of pronouns, but allow for some use of informality.

Not only can you use Grammarly for blog posts, site content, and articles, but you can also use it for emails, messages, and social media posts.

Similarly, the free Hemingway app helps you improve the mechanics of your writing.

Copy your content into Hemingway’s desktop app and it will show:

  • The readability of your content by grade level
  • Opportunities to use more concise language
  • Overuse of adverbs
  • Use of passive voice
  • Sentences that are hard to read
  • Places where a simpler phrase could be used
  • Word count and character count
  • The average length of time to read the content

Sometimes content readability isn’t an issue of keyword distribution or poor grammar.

Sometimes, you just may have wild, out-of-hand formatting that needs to be dealt with.

As the name suggests, Bulk SEO Tools will help you take care of formatting issues (that impact readability) in bulk.

Let’s say, for example, your entire text or large portions of your text are in all uppercase.

You can input that text into Bulk SEO Tool’s case converter and switch the case to sentence case, capitalized case, lower case, title case, etc.

Bulk SEO Tools also has text tools to quickly remove any duplicate lines, add or remove line breaks, and even add prefixes or suffixes if you’re working with a list.

You know what else can hurt readability (at least from a user perspective)?

Clichés.

No one likes a cliché – they’ll make your writing seem contrived and contrite.

This free tool will highlight any clichés in your text in red so you can swap that out for a sentence that’s more meaningful.

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