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Why You Don’t Need an Instagram Marketing Guide – Seriously!

When a colleague asked on Twitter who has written a brilliant Instagram marketing guide my willingness to help made me start my favorite search engine – Ecosia – and look for one.

Of course I found like a dozen more or less comprehensive Instagram marketing guides – most of them written by tool makers who make money by helping you market on Instagram. Yet before I clicked and compared those my brain finally started working.

I remembered the odd statistics and reports about Instagram. Sure, it’s still one of the most popular social media services these days. Sadly Instagram generates almost no traffic to publishers even when it comes to Instagram’s favorite topics – think fashion and cosmetics. How come?

What is Instagram and How Does it Work?

In simple terms Instagram is a photo and video publishing service. It’s similar to Flickr but it also has editing features like Canva. The combination of those two approaches made it a success possible in the first place.

In the early days photographers would make photos look vintage or low quality by adding some of the filters Instagram offered. By now Instagram is more about showing a picturesque lifestyle that is often too good to be true.

People are faking images left and right to show themselves better, stronger, sexier. Others who can’t keep up with the Joneses get depressed while trying or looking at those perfect travel, beauty and fashion photos.

Unlike actual social networking sites Instagram – owned by Facebook’s billionaire founder Mark Zuckerberg – is not about leading visitors astray to other websites. It’s about keeping them on Instagram from day one.

It’s almost impossible to even link out from Instagram. You can do it from your profile description but that’s about it and most people overlook or ignore that link.

As mentioned above Instagram popularity leads to almost no traffic to your own website:

“Instagram drives very little traffic: under 1% overall across all niches.”


Even compared to other – less popular – sites the traffic is meager. The much smaller Pinterest is far more impactful, especially when it comes to topics like fashion and beauty – the ones that are in the spotlight on Instagram:

One of the main reasons why brands flock to Instagram is because it’s still a cool site among teens and it has like a “billion” of users. Yet these users are not going to visit your site.

You have to create content for Instagram. Ideally you are a photographer who uploads their own photos to the service. That’s who used it when the site started and it’s still their most important use case.

On Instagram you can’t just share things from other people. Instagram is about creating and publishing visual content – think mainly photography. There are other ways to create images for Instagram but most of them won’t suffice by themselves.

Some accounts to indeed take content from other accounts and simply republish it but that’s frowned upon by photographers and copyright holders. You risk a hefty bill for that unauthorized usage later on.

The Best Way to Practice Instagram Marketing – Work with Influencers

The best way to approach Instagram marketing is not to try to create a popular Instagram profile. Instead the only feasible way for most brands is to work with existing Instagram users – some call them influencers and to make them share your products and promote your brand.

How you convince people to spread the word about you – whether involving direct sponsorships – or by trying to become hip among those influencers by others means does not matter as long as you get them to talk about you.

Red Bull is a great example of proper Instagram marketing.

They don’t have to pay Instagram influencers to post something featuring their brand they simply sponsor athletes who are also on Instagram and report about themselves while wearing Red Bull clothing or drinking their drink.

Also Red Bull has a magnificent content creation machine running. They have whole film making teams following extreme sports athletes around the world or staging stunts in attractive locations just to film them.

Most brands that aren’t publishers already do not have something remotely similar. There aren’t even photographers on most teams, even large ones.

Influencers on the other hand literally live for Instagram and treat their whole life as a way to Insta fame. Sometimes they go bankrupt while at it and many influencers are faking follower counts and even engagement but there are still people out there who are indeed successful on the site.

Trying to Be Cool like the Kids?

Many brands are trying hard to become cool on Instagram – often years late – after the service has gone mainstream. I even see visually unattractive industries like Web hosting trying to impress the cool kids and show them that they also belong. Yet it does not work that way.

The coolest kids have moved on from Instagram already.

It’s not just that the site is infamous for spreading unhealthy body images of barely clad teens bordering on pedophilia and among the leading causes of anxiety and depression. Instagram is not that cool anymore for those in the know.

When Instagram became more than just an image sharing or photo manipulation app I considered to start using the service but quickly realized that it’s a futile attempt at trying to howl with the wolves.

Instead I focused on my hitherto established Pinterest presence. There I could reshare content from other people and spread the word about them instead of stroking my ego and trying to make myself a celebrity or something with the proverbial 15 minutes of fame.

When you are young, cool and sexy you still can get popular on Instagram despite the picky algorithm they use now. As a brand you will always be just “also ran”.

How to Decide Whether to Join Instagram

The decision making process about Instagram marketing for brands goes something like this: “why aren’t we on Instagram yet? Everybody else is! Let’s join the bandwagon! How? We don’t have visual content to post! Then create some!” That’s about it.

Then graphic designers try to come up with shareable content that also reflects brand values. It’s rarely cool though as most brands aren’t and they can’t simply show off almost naked bodies or nearly impossible stunts that usually get traction on the site.

Focus on what you do best and stick to it. Do not just waste money on establishing an Instagram presence when other services are much better suited to represent your type of business.

Approach influencers and make them spread the word about you.

There are many tools that even help you find influencers on social media. Just remember to have a proper budget for influencer marketing and do not contact the same superstars everybody else does. People who have organic reach aren’t into working for you for free and the ones that have lots of reach have no time to deal with you at all in most cases.

For me personally Pinterest is still the best social media site. I get hundreds of visitors from Pinterest while I get a few from Facebook and none from Instagram on my cycling blog that hasn’t been publishing in years. Why? I have lots of evergreen visual content people still share voluntarily.

Pinterest is the second biggest source of social media traffic to publishers’ websites for many years in a row according to Statcounter. It comes right after Facebook.

In the US 30% of social media traffic comes from Pinterest! That’s ten times as much as Instagram yields. Globally it’s still 15%.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Social Media Market Share in the US

Instagram is barely a blip. Sure Red Bull has also millions of followers on Instagram yet they don’t do it for traffic. They can rely on brand recognition as a consumer product when you probably can’t.

That’s also how you can decide whether you or your company can effectively build an audience on Instagram without sacrificing much need resources elsewhere.

  • Do you sell to consumers directly?
  • Are you a lifestyle brand or do you offer lifestyle products?
  • Is your business model highly visual and visually attractive?
  • Do you have people already talking about you and your products on Instagram?
  • Is your direct competition really successful on Instagram or are they just there because “everybody” is?
  • Can you allocate enough budget to Instagram content creation without reducing spend on existing channels or minimizing other tasks?

The last company I worked for decided to go after Instagram instead of promoting content that was already created for the blog wrote for. It was a huge distraction and did not really reach the right audience at the right time. The only goal was seemingly brand recognition.

The blog did not get because of lack of audience building measures. Much needed resources were bound on Instagram.

Meanwhile graphic designers barely had enough time to search for free images on Unsplash instead of creating illustrations or infographics for the blog. Why? The desired Instagram fame required a steady flow of “creative” images.

Instagram Alternatives for Marketers Who Dislike Vanity Metrics

When you are a Web-savvy marketer you will probably be careful when allocating resources to Instagram and consider also alternatives that may be more valuable for your business. Just following hypes may be costly.

Vanity metrics like user numbers aren’t helpful to determine the actual outcome of marketing campaigns. A billion wows you but does it really mean revenue?

I mentioned Pinterest above more than once. You get much more traffic there and need a lot less resources to get traction. You can just multiply other people’s content most of the time and only occasionally add yours.

That’s indeed the best way to get recognition on Pinterest. Purely self-promotional accounts do not get much attention. Also the context you appear in is much better. Pinterest is an inspirational site. Instagram is infamous for causing depression among teens.

When you are into B2B you probably won’t have any use for Instagram anyway. Even though they added shopping features in 2019 you rather won’t sell software there.

Your best bet might be LinkedIn instead. The social networking site for business people has become better and better over the years and surprisingly further improved since Microsoft took over.

Mere text ads won’t work well there but genuine engagement driven by content marketing has been proven to show encouraging results for some of the marketing leaders. LinkedIn even favors smaller businesses now.

Just in case you are really after the cool crowd or teens because they are the future literally consider a site or service that is still growing in popularity and hasn’t arrived in the mainstream yet. Snapchat is almost there but it’s still so cool that Instagram frantically attempts to copy their features.

TikTok is an app from China that conquers the West like no other. Even Mark Zuckerberg fails at copying its successful features or formats. Early adopting such services before they are already populated by “everybody” might be a better idea than joining an overcrowded platform late

Always remember that social media are distribution channels and not meant to replace your own publishing outlets.

Imagine the New York Times giving up their website or newspaper and publishing on Instagram instead. Impossible! Why would you do this? Publish on your site first and foremost. Use social media to spread the word about your content right where it belongs – on your own property.

When First Joining Instagram – Where to Start?

Still not convinced? You want to try and invest money into Instagram beyond just working with influencers? You really want to do it yourself, create an publish content on Zuckerberg’s site? Then at least do it right from the start. How?

Hire people who will do it for you instead of tediously learning yourself, several years late! Remember that Zuckerberg bought Instagram back in 2012! It was the next big thing already then.

You will need an experienced social media manager of course but that won’t suffice. As mentioned above you also need content creators who are into visual media – mainly photos and videos. You also consider artists and designers but with photos you will miss the main pillar of Instagram success.

Do not assume that after reading an Instagram marketing guide or two you will become the new kid on the block everybody wants to check out.

As a brand ambassador you can’t just flaunt your body or use irresponsible footage of dangerous stunts. People literally kill themselves while trying to get famous there.

When you arrive late at least acknowledge that fact and act accordingly. Build upon the experience and expertise of those who came before you. Do not start like a newbie. Start with professionals on your side assisting you.

OMG! This article turned into another Instagram marketing guide. Let me summarize my message then: do not join Instagram just because it’s mainstream now. When you need to learn Instagram marketing from scratch in 2020 you are already a decade late. Make an informed decision.

In case you still want to join Instagram and popularize your business there after reading this post at least do it right by getting the right people to implement it. Those unpaid social media interns are probably way better at Instagram than you. You better offer them a real contract.

The post Why You Don’t Need an Instagram Marketing Guide – Seriously! appeared first on SEO 2.0.

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Can a Google Partner Help With SEO?

LEGO stormtrooper an a black background. He looks quite shady as he is half hidden in the shade.

In recent years most former SEO agencies have become Google Partners that is they buy enough Google Ads to be eligible for that badge in the first place.

Can they actually help you with your organic search reach aka SEO though? Aren’t they just “alleging a special relationship with Google”? Let’s find out!

For more than a decade Google has a helpful page for starters called “Do you need an SEO?“. One of the crucial parts of it has been the “No one can guarantee a #1 ranking on Google.” warning:

The “guaranteed rankings” and the “priority submit” expressions are pretty dated SEO lingo by now. They stem from the ancient past. You can ignore those.

Nobody is stupid enough to use such phrases anymore to lure Internet newbies. The “special relationship” – an expression introduced by Google – is more than relevant today though.

In a bizarre twist of events now Google itself offers special relationships to Internet marketing agencies when they buy lots of Google Ads.

How to become a Google Partner? Pay Google!

Google Partner requitements screen shot. Most importantly you need to buy at least 10.000$ worth of Google Ads each quarter.

For many years we were told not to claim to be buddies with Google as that would be misleading potential clients. Sounds like common sense. Yet Google changed that credo.

In recent years this is what exactly happened on a large scale. You can now easily align yourself with the ever growing Google empire.

A few years ago it was still a badge that would say “Google Adwords certified” or something similar. That distinction has gone lost after Google introduced the Google Partners program.

Most business people who visit agency sites might not be aware of the fact that Google Partners are in no way supported by Google when it comes to organic search aka SEO (search engine optimization).

Yet on most agency sites that’s exactly what is alleged. I have found a good example of this wide spread practice on SEO.com (full disclosure: I have been an affiliate of SEO.com in the past):

SEO.com advertises themselves on their homepage as a Google Partner with access to "specialized" Google tools and to a Google employee.

It’s a win win situation for both Google and Internet marketing agencies. Google gets a steady stream of money and agencies can brag about their special connection to the Internet giant.

The only ones who don’t really benefit are the clients who want to have their website optimized for search engines – which nowadays means mostly Google.

The partial screen shot I have posted above is taken from SEO.com as you can see. It’s the highest ranking search engine optimization company on Google (currently #5 from here).

It’s right there on the SEO.com homepage and the wording they use is strikingly similar to what the Google article asking “Do you need an SEO?” says. I highlighted it in red.

They are in no way an exception though. You see those badges all over the place. Even agencies I considered very trustworthy sport them in a misleading way by now.

You can’t solely blame agencies of course. It’s very hard to place a Google Partner badge on your site without making the impression this partnership also applies to your SEO services.

For Google it’s simply a good way to keep Google ads budgets high and make sure agencies are dependent on them for their reputation.

What are Google Partners experts on? Google Ads.

Screen shot from Google's Partner page. Partners specialize in several kinds of ads. No SEO mentioned.

Aren’t Google Partners more knowledgeable and able to connect with Google employees to fast track their clients to the top of search results? Not really. They can and do buy ads though.

The Google Partners clearly explains the currently five options Google Partners specialize in (see also screen shot above):

  1. Search Advertising
  2. Mobile Advertising
  3. Video Advertising
  4. Display Advertising
  5. Shopping Advertising

What the screen shot does not state is also self-evident. We only talk about buying ads on Google services not with other vendors.

What those agencies mostly do is setting up a largely automated system of taking your money and using it to buy Google Ads on a regular basis. The more it remains intact the better for them.

Star Wars robot R2D" is moving alone on a sandy path which looks like part of a desert planet, maybe Tatooine.

Effectively you just pay the agency for a bot that spends your money on autopilot most of the time. Yet the agency gets a significant amount of the budget itself. On the other hand

It’s about making your website visible and findable on the actual search results themselves. They are called organic because you don’t have to pay Google for such reach.

Also the wide spread click fraud does not apply to organic results. Studies show that more than half of ads are never even viewed by a human being.

No matter whether the click has been done by a human or a bot you have to pay for it. Google claims to ignore fake clicks but it does often not work.

Join the rebel alliance!

In a way traditional search engine optimizers like myself are the rebels who bug the seemingly omnipotent Google empire. We don’t let us dominate by the search engine and its business model.

In the beginning we weren’t meant to just convince people to buy ads from Google. We were striving to allow website owners to exist without the need to pay for traffic.

Personally I consider buying ads and optimizing for organic search reach a conflict of interest – like being your taxi driver and driving instructor at the same.

Why would I shoot myself in the foot and teach you how to drive when you can pay me instead for driving you around on a regular basis? That would be idiotic.

There is no incentive to optimize a website for organic reach when you can get easy money by solely being the middleman between business owners and Google Ads.

I also do not use Google Analytics anymore because I do not want to support Google data collecting and sharing policies. They track you all over the Web using multiple means.

I use the self-hosted open source solution Matomo instead. It’s focused on privacy and you don’t send the data to the actual company at all.

4 LEGO Star Wars rebels are standing there ready for anything, Chewbacca on the right among them.

I am a bit of a radical even among the rebels though. In the early days we didn’t have Google Ads yet and SEO was about helping people to optimize their actual website.

Even later on when Google started pushing Ads it was just a temporary means of getting traffic until the actual optimization worked.

Many search engine optimizers also used Google’s then called Adwords for keyword research to find out whether Google’s keyword tools actually disclosed useful numbers. They often did not.

Long story short SEO has never been is still is not about buying traffic from Google. Pay Per Click ads are just a means to make Google rich and to remain dependent on the gatekeeper.

When you decide to buy traffic from Google you actually waste funds you could have used on search engine optimization. Like a drug user you will always have to pay to stay high on Google.

You can optimize your website to make it rank instead. When investing in SEO you could actually improve your

or create content in the first place. Your product descriptions are not content. Something that has value by itself is actual content not simply packaging. Think bottle vs liquid inside.

Live by the Google, die by the Google!

LEGO Darth Vader kills a storm trooper by applying the force.

Search engine optimization the way I practice it not only helps you with search but also with social media and direct traffic.

It’s also important to make sure that the people who arrive on your site actually find what they seek and do what they should do like

  • subscribe
  • sign up
  • buy

When you solely rely on Google Ads you may end up broke sooner or later. That’s one of the main reasons startups fail. They mainly buy traffic from the gatekeepers Google and Facebook.

They fail to establish their brand, build an actual audience of regular users because they trick themselves into believing that they can ask Google and Facebook to deliver fresh traffic forever.

Your “target audience” is finite though in many cases, especially when you offer a highly specialized SaaS (Software as a Service) product.

When you push your ads to the same people over and over you’ll get ignored after a while. You need to establish

  • authority
  • credibility
  • trust

by sharing, engaging and outreach or in short SEO. Yes, that’s the explanation of the modern SEO acronym to me. I’ll elaborate on that in another post.

The same thing applies to small businesses that have only a local reach. After a while everybody knows you in one way or another.

Who are you in the eyes of search users? Are you that company that has to use ads to get people to visit them or are you a company you already like and others recommend as well?

When I use search I tend to click familiar sounding names in the results. The same applies to ads on a side note. I’m not alone, even Neil Patel relies on brand building.

Reliance on fresh traffic from Google is a recipe for disaster in the long term. You live by the Google and you die by the Google.

For many small business the “1000 true fans” business model is perfectly sufficient. You don’t always need a steady stream of new people.

Of course I refer to faithful customers. For example I am with the same barber for more than a decade. I don’t need to look up Google every time I want a new haircut.

Are you a friend of the Google empire?

Search results for [google partner seo] showing many companies claming they are Google Partners when it comes to SEO.

In general it’s not a good sign when someone’s main selling point is being a friend of the Google empire. In the middle ages it was called nepotism.

Nowadays it’s a bit like being a doctor who is partnering with the pharma industry. Who is s/he really working for? What’s her or his goal?

I’d rather look for someone who is truly independent and does not have to resort to such alleged relationships. It’s self-evident really isn’t it?

Of course there are still some knowledgeable SEO experts working for agencies that are Google Partners but you can never know as on outsider.

Also the incentive to keep a client paying for ads for years might be more tempting than ensuring the long term success of organic SEO efforts. Thus

some ethical agencies have stopped offering both Google ads and organic reach optimization at the same time.

They have either split and run two separate agencies now depending on the business model – just like you would split up a company offering taxi fares and driver’s licenses.

Some agencies simply offer only Google ads by now. This way the wrong impression of being buddies with Google does not mislead potential SEO clients.

Others simply focus on organic reach via search engine optimization and alternative ways of improving your organic reach. Think social media and direct traffic.

You might want to consider such a step when you won an agency or work at one before your online reputation might suffer.

Do you depend on Google Ads?

Ideally one day you can run your website yourself without continuous ad spend and only occasional or low level SEO activity unless you pay for

Those tasks can be performed by your team though without an external agency once you have taught them social media and content best practices or they’ve read the above linked guides.

Your website is well optimized and the evergreen content is good enough to earn links when the SEO is done holistically and with due diligence.

I had clients a decade ago who still benefit from my link magnets to this day. What did I do? I just created evergreen content and well optimized pages that still rank high.

Of course you still depend on Google when solely relying on organic traffic from the search giant but you can embrace other means of gaining traction as well.

Optimization for search, social media and direct audiences is not mutually exclusive. Often it’s the same people using different tools.

Buying ads sadly often means not optimizing your site at all. At best dedicated landing pages will be created that are just trying to convert one time visitors.

Visitors who return and thus so called retention are the ones to look for and after. Forcing new people down the sales funnel can ostracize them for good.

The post Can a Google Partner Help With SEO? appeared first on SEO 2.0.

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Part 1: Grow Your Business and Leads With SEO

This is a 2 part series written in conjunction with Aktify.

Part 2: How To Revive Dead Leads To Increase Business Growth

Growing one’s business and leads are two of the top goals of every businessperson. Lead growth and business growth go hand-in-hand. You won’t get one without the other. Many business owners, particularly start-ups think business and lead growth begin with the salespeople making phone calls. This view of building a business is outdated and unsuccessful.

While the good old telemarketing phone calls are still around, most communication happens online. Computers and smartphones grant people 24/7 access to information and each other. If your sales team isn’t complimenting their phone calling with online communication via email, social media and SEO, you won’t be growing your business or number of leads well any time soon.

The acronym SEO in the last sentence may have caught your attention. What does search engine optimization have to do with leads and growing one’s business? In short, a whole lot.

With the readily accessibility to the Internet, users expect to find information and answers to their questions immediately. Websites provide the content containing this information users are hurriedly looking for. However, there are millions of websites out there on the Internet and not all of them appear in search results. Only the ones deemed most relevant and credible appear. After all a user is in a hurry to get specific information so they don’t want to waste their time reading irrelevant website content.

This is where SEO, or search engine optimization, comes in. Behind every search query typed in by a user, a Google SEO or search engine robot indexes and collects data from every website published on the web. Spiders crawl websites looking for keywords that match or are related to the words used in a user’s search query. The search engine robot uses a formula to then rank certain webpages in the search results that are seen by the user.

In search engine marketing, ranking is important. Every internet marketing company strives to get their own website and the websites of their clients to the coveted #1 search result position.

Why is ranking important? Well, going back to the previous points of 24/7 Internet access and people’s expectations for immediate answers and information, the first handful of search results will be read while those on the following pages will likely be ignored. After all, who is going to click through multiple websites when their time is precious and short?

It is only through implementing  a good online marketing with SEO optimization of one’s website that there is a greater chance of your website receiving one of these top rankings and thereby increased website visitors and possible leads and customers.

SEO not only brings more traffic to your website, but it also attracts quality leads who are interested in your brand, product or service.

Start tracking your keyword rankings with a serp ranking tool to monitor the results of your SEO efforts.

If search engine optimization is a foreign concept for you, it can be overwhelming as to know where to start and what to do. Here are some simple SEO tactics you can start to implement in order to catch the attention of search engine robots and gain a higher, more visible search results ranking:

  • Utilize Keywords

An excellent starting point for an SEO strategy is the implementation of keywords. When you set up an account with Google Search Console, you  can access a handy keyword tool where you can find which industry or niche specific keywords, keyword phrases and keyword groupings to target and implement throughout the content on your website. When determining which keywords to target, look for ones with lower search volume, but high monthly searches.  Those with lower search volumes mean they aren’t as competitive so your company has a better chance of ranking for them.

You may be tempted to go after broad, short keywords and phrases, but so will everyone else. When you decide to target long-tailed keywords (keywords or keyword phrases that contain more words that are also more specific), your website’s chances of getting ranked increase and the people who find and visit your site will be more likely to be interested in your product or service.

  • Write Good Meta Descriptions

The meta description is the one or two line blurb that appears under the clickable web page heading. It gives a brief description of what that specific page is about. The length of the meta description has been lengthened  from 160 to 300 characters. Meta descriptions longer than this are truncated, which is something to avoid. Meta descriptions are to be short and concise. They are also prime places to insert some of your targeted keywords. When writing meta descriptions, think of the web user and the questions he or she may be asking when they are conducting a search. Let your meta description be your answer to one of their questions.

  • Make Your Website Mobile Responsive

More people now browse the Internet on their smartphones than on a desktop or laptop computer. You likely have noticed the difference in screen size between a smartphone and a computer. Websites that aren’t mobile responsive will fit the screen size of a desktop or laptop computer, but won’t shrink to fit the small screen of a smartphone. The result is an ugly, hard to navigate website when a user uses his or her smartphone.

Search engines, like Google don’t like unhappy Internet users and since mobile responsiveness is a big deal  for user experience that it is now a ranking factor in its search ranking algorithm.

By having a website that is mobile friendly you not only satisfy search engines and possibly get a boost in search results rankings, but you’ll also give your site visitors a pleasant experience.

  • Get Active on Google Business Listings

Google My Business (GMB) is a great way for local businesses to get listed online. With GMB, businesses are listed on Google maps with directions, a summary of the company’s products and services, the company’s address, telephone, hours of operation, pictures, reviews and a link to the company’s website.

To take advantage of GMB, one must “claim” their business. The provided business summary section is another prime place for inserting keywords. Here, however, try and implement local keyword phrases like “hair salon in X city.”

Reviews are also crucial. Aim to generate as many positive reviews as you can. With people conducting more business transactions online without interacting with the company, reviews are an invaluable way to gauge whether someone should work with a company or make a purchase from a business. Online users making their first purchase from a business will automatically read reviews about the company first.

  • Regularly Produce Quality, Optimized Content

While it is great to include keywords in the URLs, titles, meta descriptions and images used on each page of your website, a blog where one regularly publishes fresh, informative content is the sweet spot to implement keywords. Search engines also look for fresh, new content that would provide users with useful information that they are looking for. Blog posts provide users with relevant, informative, interesting content as well as places where you can implement keywords and links. Consistent blogging also shows web users and search engines that you’re a credible  and reputable source of information which goes a long way in boosting your website’s search results ranking.

Your blogs should be written in a way that is easy to read and understand and be free of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors and contain a call to action or some form of engagement with the reader. When blogging, some things to be aware of include link bait and buying, keyword stuffing and plagiarism. Only insert relevant links from other credible websites into your blog posts, don’t excessively use the same targeted keywords and make sure your blog content is 100% unique and original. Website visitors and search engines will thank you.

  • Share Your Wealth of Knowledge Through Guest Posting

With guest posting, you write a blog post which is then published on another website. This is a great way for your blog content to get more exposure and more visits to your website. If your blog post is published on a reputable site within your industry, the credibility and reputation of your own website will get a boost which will catch the attention of search engines who in turn may reward your website with a higher search results ranking.

Ideally, guest posting should go two ways where you agree to publish someone else’s blog post on your site in exchange for them posting your blog post on their website. This is the best, and most ethical way to exchange links as well.

  • Improve Your Website’s Speed

Web users expect to get what they’re looking for almost immediately. They are not going to sit around and wait a minute or two for a website to load. Instead, they will immediately go to another website. Site speed is also a factor search engine robots use in awarding search results rankings. Some ways to improve the loading speed of your website include allowing caching, compressing the size of images and videos, remove unnecessary plugins and scripts and have a reliable web host.

  • Optimize Your Images

While most visitors to your website will have no problem seeing your images, those who are blind as well as search engines will be unable to view them. Search engines are computers and only read text and numbers. Blind visitors can have a description of the image read to them. To make it possible for everyone, including search engines to “see” your website images, an ALT tag is used. These are brief descriptions of a few words telling what the image depicts. It is a good idea to implement keywords in the ALT descriptions. With keyword rich ALT descriptions, your  website will appear more relevant to search engines.

Implementing SEO onto your company’s website can greatly grow your business and leads. It can be tedious and take time to see an improvement in search results page listing rank. The algorithm, or formula used by search results robots change frequently so it is important to constantly monitor your website’s SEO tactics and to continually adjust them.

While the basic search engine optimization tactics make for a good foundation and are easy to implement, it can be a challenge to keep it up. SEO isn’t a “one and done” thing. It requires constant maintenance and adjustments over multiple years. For many small and medium sized businesses, this can be more than what they can handle while also trying to manage the day-to-day operations of their businesses. As a result, many choose to hire an experienced, outside digital marketing company to handle and oversee their website’s SEO.

If you’re in this latter group and need help with your website’s SEO, be sure to check us out at SEO.com. We are an SEO company made of experienced internet marketers in the areas of web development, PPC, SEO, social media marketing, remarketing and content marketing. Contact us today to learn more about our services and how they can help your website’s SEO generate more leads and grow your business.

SEO can help grow your business by attracting leads to your website. Once the leads are obtained, the sales team must take them through your sales funnel to convert them into paying customers. Some leads, however, become stagnant, or dead. These dead leads, however can be revived through products and services that help with sales funnel management like those by Aktify. SEO combined with platforms to revive dead leads like Aktify can help your business grow by leaps and bounds.

Part 2: How To Revive Dead Leads To Increase Business Growth

The post Part 1: Grow Your Business and Leads With SEO appeared first on SEO.com.

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Homepage SEO: Does it exist?

A homepage serves many different purposes. It is your welcoming page and your main user guide for your website. There is, however, one purpose that I feel a homepage doesn’t have and that is ranking for keywords other than your business name or brand. We have had quite a few questions about that, so it’s something certain website owners think about. The question is: should they?

Homepage SEO

The process of optimizing your homepage for Google, or any other search engine, could be called homepage SEO. Let me make a bold statement right after naming it: I don’t think that homepage SEO exists – as such. That might not be what a website owner wants to hear, especially if they have been trying to rank the homepage for years.

If your website is set up right and you have a nice number of backlinks, your homepage will probably rank for your business name or brand anyway. However, there is an exception to that rule. These days, a lot of websites have keyword-based names like ‘Christmas Cookies’, ‘Grow Trees’ or ‘Cute Socks’. If your ‘brand’ name is a keyword people could use in Google, it becomes somewhat different. There will be more websites targeting these keywords, so all of a sudden you’re facing competition for your site name.

Cornerstone content

This post about homepage SEO is actually triggered by a support question from a customer that couldn’t get his site to rank for such a site name. He did try to optimize his homepage’s SEO for that. Briefly, I emailed him my thoughts on homepage SEO and explained the concept of cornerstone content.

As you probably won’t try to rank your contact page, neither should you try to rank your homepage. That also means you don’t need to bother setting a focus keyword for these pages, let alone spend hours trying to get that green bullet.

However, we must make a huge side note. At Yoast, we believe that SEO, in general, will only work when other things like speed, user experience, and social media are taken into account as well. And you could optimize your homepage for that.

Optimizing your homepage: SEO style

Although you don’t have to optimize your homepage for a keyword, there is still work to be done. We have mentioned a few in this article, but there are more. These are the things you can do to optimize your homepage for SEO related things:

  • Make sure the page title focuses on your brand name or main product;
  • Add a clear, recognizable logo in the upper left corner for branding;
  • There should be a clear call-to-action that draws attention;
  • Don’t forget to structure your menu;
  • Provide OpenGraph and Twitter Cards for better social sharing;
  • Make sure the meta description is filled out, that it mentions your USPs and invites the visitor to your website;
  • Product images are inviting, but the page needs textual information or a great tagline as well;
  • Don’t clutter your homepage with a million links. Keep it focused and don’t flood your footer or menu with these links;
  • Contact details should be available on most websites, including social buttons and perhaps a newsletter subscription;
  • If applicable, add a search bar (prominent or as an extra).

This is a small checklist every website owner could use to analyze his own homepage. Have you thought of all of these?

Read on: Homepage optimization »

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