[This post originally appeared on Quora]

Building backlinks takes time and perseverance. You can no longer just throw a link to your site on any site you find. Instead, you need to be thoughtful about where the links come from.

I recommend a few tactics to build backlinks to your website.

1. Write a guest post on a respectable website in your industry or niche. It is common practice for guest bloggers to add a bio with a link back to their site in the blog post. However, don’t reach out to every single blog or website you find in your industry, take the time to make sure it is a good fit for your business. If the website targets a market similar to your own, it is a good bet that not only will you gain a backlink to your site, but you will also reach a new audience.

Additionally, when you are deciding which websites to reach out to, make sure their website has a higher domain authority to yours. This again will be helpful for SEO.

You can even try submitting content to larger businesses and content curators. The Google Analytics blog accepts guest contributors, Huffpost and Business Insider both have an easy to follow process for article submissions, and I’m sure specific websites in your industry also would love a well-written article.

2. Use infographics or shareable media to build backlinks. Readers LOVE diverse media in your content. If you take the time to design a great infographic that contains well-researched data, you may be able to grow your backlinks in no time! Once you have the infographic, write a blog post with more in depth information regarding the stats and data you represent. Then, within the blog post, include a Call to Action to SHARE the infographic from the site and provide the code for someone to copy and paste to their own site. Siegemedia.com has an easy to use embed code generator.

In addition to writing the blog with your call to action to include the infographic on external sites, reach out to influencers in your niche and other websites talking about similar topics to see if they would like to use and share the infographic, as well. Again, these individuals reach a different network than your business, so not only will the backlink be great for SEO, but the new eyes and introduction to your brand will also be beneficial.

3. Find Niche forums. Forums that are very specific to your business and industry can also be great ways to increase backlinks to your site! Many forums do have No Follows, so these links won’t necessarily be great for SEO, they will, however prove useful for directing people to your site. As with all these techniques, make sure you are providing great value rather than just Spamming.

4. Start participating in a Subreddit. Reddit will add a no follow to your links until you post something that gets numerous upvotes. The trick with getting SEO-friendly backlinks on Reddit is to find a subreddit, monitor the discussions, comment and upvote other posts, and then alternate between sharing your links, links of other resources or stories, and commenting and upvoting others’ posts. Users on reddit HATE marketers, so you really need to make sure you are being authentic and useful when you participate.

5. Get interviewed by someone else in your industry. Using the same list you created earlier of influencers in your niche, propose an interview. For other businesses to jump on this, you do need to have authority yourself in the field, but once you do, interviews create a great way to build backlinks and to showcase your expertise.

My number one suggestion as you start building your backlinks it to provide high quality content so you do not come across as SPAM. Best of luck!

If you want to learn more about how to grow your traffic, please join my free email list on digital marketing.

How to Build Backlinks | SEO and building backlinks | what are backlinks | Website SEO how to

 

Hello everybody! I’m Caitlin McDonald with Boundless Marketing. Today I want to talk a little bit about SEO or search engine optimization.

Search engine optimization is even more important now than ever has been in the past. The reason is because article creation in general has shifted over the past year or two years. Basically there are so many different players out there, which is phenomenal, but in order to stand out you have to work even harder than you had to in the past. Especially if you’re just starting out, these blogging tips are really going to be helpful as you are making a position for yourself.

I have a couple of tips for you. The first ones we have talked about in the past, but then I’ll go into more detail, as well.

The first tip is that when you are writing those blog posts, don’t shy away from writing longer blog posts. We used to always emphasize splitting longer blogs up between part one, part two, and part three so that in one piece of content you’re going to be linking to different pages.  Now it’s actually a lot more important to have longer blog posts. I recommend going up to 5000 words within a single blog post. This is because when you’re really writing that depth about something you’re providing very valuable information to your clients and to your readers.

The next piece is when you’re writing a blog post that this longer, such as 1500 words long, you need to make sure that you’re dividing the content up into different sections. We do this by utilizing heading tags, bullet points, bolded words, etc. Now, heading tags are very easy to implement. Basically, when you’re writing, you’re going through and need to figure out where the obvious divisions are in your content. Are you coming up to a point where you’re going to be talking about five tips to do something, followed by five ways to implement it, and then techniques for follow up? Each of these is a clear division in the content. All you do is you highlight the text, and in the text editor you select the text style for Header 1, Header 2, Header 3 etc.

Which header tag you choose really this depends on how long your content is and how frequently are inserting the breaks in content.

This last piece we haven’t talked about before is using different types of media within your content. Right now, as you can see, I’m doing a video, but I’ll also have the transcript and some images. By creating and including diverse types of media in your blog post, you can help your post rank higher in your industry or in your category for specific keywords.

In general, not every reader is going to learn the same. Somebody who is more into listening and looking rather than reading, is going to be drawn to one type of post rather than another. Additionally, within posts you want to create the images that are going to be shareable. Having those shareable images really helps with the optimization for Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc. If you don’t feel comfortable with filming a video you can also do a podcast. That’s another great way to increase the different types of media that you have on the site.

Now the next piece that I recommend doing is sharing all of your information or knowledge as downloadable resources and freebies on your website. I’ll go into more detail in that in a later post, but these tips will point you into the right direction as you’re jumping into using search engine optimization on your blog posts.

Search Engine Optimization in 2017 [VIDEO] | Blog SEO | Search Engine Optimization in Blogging

Services pages are often thrown together by businesses just because they know they need something to explain what they do. We’ve spoken with hundreds of business owners who “plan” to go back and edit their services, but got busy and just haven’t had the time. Quick, take a look at your services page(s), what do you see?

If your website is like most businesses, your services pages focus heavily on the features of what you offer.

“Each is a feature-a factual statement about the product or service being promoted. But features aren’t what entice customers to buy. That’s where benefits come in. A benefit answers the question “What’s in it for me?,” meaning the feature provides the customer with something of value to them.” – Entrepreneur.com

This is the BIGGEST mistake your business can make on your services pages.

So, how should your services page be written? Rather than thinking about what you offer specifically, think about how your offerings can transform the lives of your clients. To do this, you need to change your mindset.

First, identify the individual who would benefit the most from each service you offer. Think about their pains, their successes, and how your service BENEFITS them. Think about what other services this individual could sign up for rather than working with you. What makes you different.

Second, try to transform the features of your service into benefits. Rather than answering what you are providing, go through the list of everything your service includes, and turn it into a benefit.

Lastly, create a story around your service. Explain what the ideal customer is going through and how you can solve their pains. Try to follow the structure below:

Structure for your Services Pages

Rather than simply listing the features of your services, the goal is to think in terms of the benefits and create an emotional response. Take a look at the answers you just wrote down – is there a way to turn this into a story?

Use Storytelling Copy:

  • Opening
    • Highlight the Pain
  • Conflict
    • The journey as the user tackles the pain
  • Dialogue
  • Solution
    • Share specific results
    • Utilize case studies

Goal: Highlight the benefits & be conversational

Are you Making this Services Page Mistake

I put together the following questions to help you with your Services pages rewrite!

Your services pages should be written in such a way that they speak directly to your target market and show them why they can’t live without working with you.

Instructions: For each service you offer, answer the following:

Who is the ideal client for the service? In other words, what kind of person is the service designed for? Go beyond the easy answer such as defining a market. Instead, look to be as narrow as you can. There may be a slightly different persona for each service.

 

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What is the real value of the service to the client? This one is always hard to quantify. Try to think of this as a benefit beyond the obvious. What can individuals do in their life that they weren’t able to do before? Is there an emotional benefit?

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

What is unique or different about your services vs. your competitors’ offering? These differences could be process related, team expertise related, time to completion related, etc. It’s easy for someone to provide a generic answer such as “we’re more experienced,” so you will have to ask follow-up questions. How are we more experienced? Can we tangibly show how we’re more experienced?

 

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What is the cost of NOT having the signing up for your services?  This is a little more of the fear factor. What can go wrong for a client who doesn’t implement it? What do they risk if they forgo using you?

 

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How is the service delivered? This is a simple process question. What can your clients expect when they work with you with this service?

 

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Do clients typically have other services from you when they come in for this specific service?

 

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[This blog post is updated from March 8, 2016]

Optimizing your website properly is crucial to improving your site’s rank in search engines, as well as driving more potential customers to it.

Are you satisfied with your website’s performance? If not, then we urge to you to try these tips for optimizing your website.

Title tags matter

Title tags play an important role in optimizing your site. A title tag tells both the visitors and search engines what the page is all about.

A title that is highly relevant to the page it refers to will provide better usability and optimization for your search engine ranking. People won’t stay on your site if there’s no relevance and you’ll lose ranking in the end. The title tag should also be unique.

Select common-sense keywords

A search engine’s job is to refer users to websites and contents that are relevant to what they are looking for. If you run a chocolate chip cookie business and you want your website on the first page of Google, then you need to write blogs that are related to this topic. Use keywords like chocolate chips, chocolate, sweets, baked goods and desserts. When incorporating keywords into your content, make sure they sound natural to the reader.

Write great content

Dedicate some time to write content that are useful and engaging for humans. As Google’s algorithm become increasingly complex and intelligent, it is no longer sufficient to create content, stuff it with keywords and publish them to your site. If you want to your content to rank in search engines, you need to provide visitors with relevant and well-written content. Remember, content still reigns as the king in the world of search engine optimization.

Continuous testing and measuring

The process of optimization is not a one-time process. It requires tuning, maintenance, as well as constant testing and measuring. Something as simple as testing the layout of your landing page, the wording of your call-to-action or the images you’re using can do wonders for your click-through rates.

 

This interview with Joe, the owner of Pebble+Oak, discusses the importance of speaking to your audience in both blog posts and on your website. We don’t expect our in-house team to be able to write coherently on every topic nor get the voice of all of our clients, so we rely on other writers to step up and fill in the void. Joe at Pebble+Oak is one of our go to copywriters who’s able to understand the vision of a business and articulate the unique selling points and their competitive advantage of their service.

interview with pebble and oak

BIMS: So Joe, how did you get into the biz?

Joe: I have always had a passion for writing, and after spending 10 years and the technology sector I saw the opportunity to begin working with clients to discover their own voice in an online world.

BIMS: When you write for your clients how do you ensure that you are capturing their voice not your own?

Joe: At the end of the day, writing is simply telling a story. Before I put anything down on paper for a client, I spend some time getting to know them, their company, who they’re trying to serve, and why they’re doing what they’re doing. I find that these conversations are incredibly insightful in terms of identifying and interpreting their voice and their message.

BIMS: How important do you feel it is for business owners to concentrate on SEO in the blogs and articles that they are writing?

Joe: Is SEO important? Yes. But, I found when business owners and writers concentrate too much on specific keywords, the message they are trying to convey gets lost. When this happens the connection with prospects and customers suffers.

I recommend coming up with a topic and outlining your article, then writing it without necessarily thinking about the keywords. If you need to, you can always add these in afterwards to make it a little more clear for search engines. Often, however, just the process of creating an outline for your article will innately highlight your intended topics.

BIMS: If we aren’t necessarily focusing on keywords in articles, what can we do to make sure that we are getting a big bang for our buck when we are writing blog posts?

Joe: There are a few tips that I highly recommend. First, make sure you or your IT person correctly knows how to load a blog or article onto a website. This means utilizing header tags and adding alt tags to your images. It’s great if you can break up the long content utilizing bullet points or numbers! Within your blog post don’t hesitate to add links to other blogs on similar topics or pages on your website that relate to the blog post itself.

Second, always make sure that you are sharing your article to external sources. My favorites are LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, digg, delicious, StumbleUpon, and reddit. (In other words, the Internet….)

And third, I always recommend finding external websites to write articles for rather than just your own site. Common examples include LinkedIn articles and Medium.com. Often, however, online publications and niche trade journals have the option for experts to contribute articles and content, as well. Contributing articles to these sources not only increases your reach beyond your current network, but it also helps to position you as an expert in the field. Above all, these articles create backlinks to your website!

BIMS: I know you are very busy, so thank you for your time! I’m sure you will be back for more interviews in the future. Before we sign off, do you have any closing remarks that could benefit new and old businesses alike?

Joe: There are a lot of buzzwords and “Flavors of the Week” when it comes to marketing your business online. It is easy to get lost in the noise and think “I should be doing that!” While many of these new ideas have merit, don’t lose sight of your values and your brand. Trends will come and go, but the companies who are consistent with who they are the ones that last.

60 blogs in 60 days challenge

This post about SEO is focused specifically on aspects of your blog that you can easily adjust to help optimize it’s presence.

Below are 5 tips to increase your blog search engine optimization.

Tip 1: Use Header Tags

Breaking up content and using header tags helps search engines (read Google) understand what content is important and the flow of your blog post.
How to create a header tag: 
WordPress/Squarespace/most other content management systems: highlight text >> in Style drop down (typically the default is Normal or Paragraph) choose H1, H2, H3, or H4 tag. Best practices is to have one H1 tag per page, 1-2 H2 tags, and then for smaller sections have h3-h4 tags.
If you view the html or page source of your blog, these are noted by <h1> </h1>, <h2> </h2>, etc.

Tip 2: Media in your posts

Upload at least 1-2 images in each blog post and be sure to add an Alt Tag to the image.
How to: In WordPress when you upload a media file, there are text boxes for Title, Description, and Alt tag. We recommend copying and pasting the blog title as the alt tag of an image in your blog.
If you want to go above and beyond, insert an audio or video file into your blog post. Diverse media often works well to make your blog post rank higher than others on the same topic.

Tip 3: Internal Linking

We all know that inbound links to your content from 3rd party websites is useful for SEO, but so are internal links. Basically, these are just links between topics you’ve written about previously on your blog or links to services pages, landing pages, or promotions on your site.
Links like these help search engines to better see within your content what pages are more meaningful.
How to: I recommend making a list of the keywords you want to emphasize on your site and the landing page for these keywords (this can be another blog post). The first time this keyword appears in your blog, simply link it to the existing content. Do this for 3-5 keywords within your blog.
There are also plugins to help streamline this process. With these plugins, you’ll need to identify the keyword phrase, what page you can to link to, how many links should be added to each piece of content, and if the plugin should automatically add links to pages or just posts. These plugins can be incredibly useful, especially if you are writing frequently!

Tip 4: Alternate between different lengths of posts

Recent research showed that posts 350-500 words often received the most comments and shares whereas posts 1500 words long ranked the highest in Google. Our frame of thought is to vary the lengths of your blog posts so some are more apt to be “shareable” and others are meant to rank higher on search engines.
How to: If you’ve always only written shorter posts, combine them to form longer ones! We don’t recommend deleting the old post, but write a new message saying you’ve updated the post to include more information and link to the new blog post. When you combine the posts be sure to separate the different original blogs with H2 tags and the subtopics within these with H3/H4 tags.

Tip 5: Share your post!

Though Google doesn’t necessarily count every share to a social media or social news site (Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc) site as a backlink, however, these provide another opportunity for your target market to find your site online!
How to: You can either manually post each blog to these sites or you can use a variety of tools to make the process easier. We often use a combination of sharing directly to the network or website, using automation tools like OnlyWire, Zapier and IFTTT, and plugins through WordPress that link to our accounts.

What other tips do you have to make sure your blog post is SEO friendly?​

5 tips for better seo on blogs

What is the goal of your website?

Is it to work as a brochure for your business, to tell the story of your brand, and to ultimately help sell your services? Now stop to think for a moment. When you wrote your services page, did you think about your company (and personal) values or did you just start listing off what you offer?

So often when we are reworking websites for clients, we see their services pages simply stating what they can do. These pages get lost in the shuffle of competitors’ websites and don’t leave a lasting impression of the benefits of working with you, only the features.

Definitions.

Features vs Benefits: What is it vs what is it for ME.
  • Features are defined as surface statements about your product, such as what it can do, its dimensions and specs and so on.
  • Benefits, by definition, show the end result of what a product can actually accomplish for the reader.

If you aren’t listing all of the features, what should you do?

Rather than starting the writing process with the service in mind, start with your customer. Paint a picture and be as specific as possible. What are their fears? What problems do they face in everyday life? Actually write down their narrative and start telling their story. Through your writing, show this individual that you understand what they are struggling to accomplish and try to make an emotional connection with them.

Validate how they feel and ask how they would envision their life or business if this stress was taken off the table. Take the time to write out how their life could change if they were no longer held back by their fears. Again, focus on the emotional aspects of the journey.

Now, how do your services help to solve these issues and what is your process? How is working with you different from working with your competition? What is the cost of staying in the now versus signing up for your services?

At the end of the page, add a call to action to entice your reader to take the next step.

Take a look at what you’ve written. Have you listed off the features or are you actually telling a story that your prospects will relate to? The process of forming your services pages as a story can help you attract the people with whom you want to work rather than just anyone who could benefit from the services. It is a way of showing your values and the value you bring to your clients while at the same time coming across as your authentic self.

Give this exercise a try and let me know what a difference it makes in your business!

What is the goal of your website? Is it to work as a brochure for your business, to tell the story of your brand, and to ultimately help sell your services? Now stop to think for a moment. When you wrote your services page, did you think about your company (and personal) values or did you just start listing off what you offer? So often when we are reworking websites for clients, we see their services pages simply stating what they can do. These pages get lost in the shuffle of competitors' websites and don't leave a lasting impression of the benefits of working with you, only the features.

A lot of business owners say they’re too busy managing their business that they don’t have time to write blogs. Others put off blogging because they think it’s just a waste of their time and effort. What they fail to realize is that blogging is a great tool that can provide a wide range of benefits for their business. This is especially beneficial for small businesses.

If your business doesn’t already have a blog, we encourage you to create one today. Here are 4 reasons why your business should be writing a blog. Hopefully, these benefits would encourage you to start a blog for your business.

Establish your business as an industry leader

Blogging allows you to share your expertise. Here, you can post how-to articles, tutorials, trends, industry news, your thoughts or opinion about relevant topics and more. If you run out of ideas to write about, we suggest that you listen to questions customers and prospects usually ask, and answer them in your blog. By providing them with helpful information, people will eventually look to you as a reliable source for information in your industry.

Let your brand’s personality shine.

Blogging gives you a chance to reach potential and existing customers. Through this platform, you can share your business’ story, provide more information about your products and services, as well as future events. Every post you publish helps increase brand awareness and provides more insight into your company. Through this platform, you can show people what your business is all about.

Drive traffic to your website

Writing blogs is one of the most effective ways to attract prospective customers and bring traffic to your website. Most people go online when looking for answers or when they want to learn more about certain topics. If you can provide them with content that are interesting, informative and unique, they’ll keep coming back to your website. Once you gain the trust of your target audience, it would be easier for you to turn them into paying customers.

Boost search engine optimization

Blogging is an effective way to improve your site’s SEO –if you do it right, that is. When people research about specific topics, most of them would only visit websites on the first page of search engines. Some would only check out the first 3 sites.

Search engines like Google reward websites that produce great content. By taking time to create good quality content and publishing one on a regular basis, your website is likely to rank on search engines. But if you write poor quality content or just copy someone else’s blog posts, Google will penalize you by placing your site on the last page.

With all the benefits listed above, now is the best time to start a blog for your business. If you need help writing them, please contact BIMS today. We can help you create blog posts that are informative, unique and relevant to your business.

You wrote a blog… now what?

We often are asked, “I wrote an article, what happens now?” This checklist provides an overview of the steps to publish your blog or article and how to share it as part of your digital marketing content strategy.

Prepare for Publishing

  • Write an effective post title that includes keywords and is persuasive
  • Divide text into smaller sections with headings
  • Deep link to past posts
  • Add a question at the end to encourage discussion
  • Add on-brand, SEO-ready images
  • Add “alt text” to your images, which will be used as your Pinterest pin description
  • Add a featured image (on WordPress)
  • Make sure your blog contains keywords and header tags

Share your Blog

  • Pin your post image onto Pinterest
  • Schedule it to be pinned to any Pinterest group boards that are relevant
  • Share your post on Facebook and Twitter
  • Create a LinkedIn Group Discussion from your Blog Post
  • Post your blog to your LinkedIn Company Page and Personal Profile
  • Schedule your post for Twitter 3-5 more times over next few days and weeks
  • Share an excerpt from your article to Medium.com
  • Respond to comments
  • Check the analytics of your post to see how much engagement it received. The worksheets in our Blogging eBook offer one place to store this information.
  • In 1-2 months, repin your post onto Pinterest and re-share on other social media channels

We often are asked, “I wrote an article, what happens now?” This checklist provides an overview of the steps to publish your blog or article and how to share it as part of your digital marketing content strategy.

Creating an editorial calendar for your marketing collateral is often an overlooked piece in designing your small business’ web strategy. These calendars create a easy to understand reference for your blog topics, newsletters, social media posts, and promotions. They allow you to keep ahead of upcoming holidays and make it so you don’t feel like you are always playing catch-up.

Because many of us wear different hats within our business, it isn’t unexpected that some things just fall through the cracks. Unfortunately, however, sticking to a content calendar really is an income-generating task that should garner a space in your list of top-priorities. It is also something you can outsource if it makes sense for your business.

What should your Editorial Calendar include and why is it important for your business?

Your editorial calendar should be broken down by quarter, month, week, and even day. Additionally, it should include a column for blogs, newsletters, promotions, social media posts, videos, etc, and a column for results.

When you put together your calendar, think about what you can commit to. Realistically, can you commit to writing a fresh article once a month, or every day? Do you have the systems in place to post daily to your social media networks or only a few times per week? Is there a social media network that you are most passionate about? Perhaps you should just focus on building this up rather than getting burned out trying to tackle too much at once.

The next step is figuring out which topics to discuss. To brainstorm this, I recommend the following process:

  1. Your products and services
  2. Your background
  3. Your clients and their success stories
  4. Common questions you receive
  5. Topics that interest your target market
  6. Following the topics trade journals (or even your competitors) discuss
  7. Holiday or seasonal topics
  8. National organizations and their promotional schedules
  9. Topics you are passionate about
  10. Other news outlets and articles

For each of these topics, brainstorm a short list of specific topics you can discuss. Add any necessary links in your notes or bullet points to provide more context.

Now, think of the context for posting these. Can you post once per month on certain topics while only quarterly for others? Are there natural sales promotions that go along with the topics? What about videos? We have one client who has committed to filming quarterly reports rather than taking the time to write and format his analysis.

Now it is time to add these to your content calendar.

We’ve put together this workbook to help you organize your topics and ideas.

Why follow an editorial calendar?

Editorial calendars make it easier to stay consistent and keep yourself from being reactive. Consistency can truly transform a business as prospects come to know what to expect and trust you before taking the leap to being a paying customer.

Additionally, being proactive about the content you need to put out allows you to be more mindful about your business and messaging.

Stay tuned for more information on how to build your social media posts into your content calendar for your business!

Blogging Your Business