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Last Updated On December 5, 2019

It’s the end of the year (and decade!) which for marketers means it’s time to start planning campaigns and strategies for 2020. With the world of marketing changing vastly over the past decade, it’s important to plan ahead so you don’t get left behind in the next one. Here are some of the best ways of advertising for 2020 and beyond…

Think about new platforms

Once upon a time there was a holy trifecta of advertising; TV, print and radio. Not anymore. Nowadays people are absorbing content via everything from social media to podcasts and even streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix. The vast array of platforms available also opens up more opportunity for advertising. Do some market research into the platforms that your target market use the most and consider placing your ads here. For instance, if you discover your markets key platforms are podcasts and Instagram then set aside some of your budget to run ads on these.

It is of course likely that you’ll discover your audience very much still absorb content and marketing via the traditional methods, especially if they’re of an older generation. It’s likely though that no matter what age your target market, social media will be in there somewhere.

As we head into the next decade we do so with various social media platforms coming with us but there’s one that clearly stands out from the rest. Instagram. The photo sharing platform has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2010 and there are now 1 billion people with Instagram accounts with more than 500 million using them every day.

With numbers like that it’s clear that Instagram is king amongst social media and if you want your brand to stand the test of time in the digital age, then Instagram ads and campaigns should be an essential part of your 2020 marketing plan.

Don’t forget about search

With so many fancy new marketing tactics it can be easy to forget about the staples. If you think you’ve got your SEO strategy down and you’re ranking well for your key terms, it’s important that you don’t get tempted to take your foot off the gas. Google constantly changes its algorithms so it’s important to keep one eye on what’s going on so you can adapt your SEO plans accordingly.

Google is constantly improving how it ranks results making it even more user friendly. 2020 is also likely to see voice search take even more of a front seat. With more and more people using their smartphones to search over desktops and the majority of these fitted with technology allowing them to say their search rather than type it out, marketers need to make sure their pages are optimised to appear in more ‘colloquial’ searches as well.

Consider creating video (with subtitles!)

People are busy and they don’t necessarily have time to sit and read pages on pages of reviews or click through to various different links. Short videos are therefore a great way to hook people in and pique their interest. Video content continues to be some of the most engaged with on social media and short and snappy videos that take the audience on a journey are the most worthwhile.

If you do utilise video in your marketing strategies then make sure you use subtitles. Research has shown that many people choose to watch videos without the sound (probably because they’ve forgotten their headphones and don’t want to blast it round the bus!) so adding subtitles to videos will reduce the likelihood of people scrolling past or giving up on the video half way through.

Say hello to influencers

If you haven’t already been using influencers in your marketing plans then 2020 is the year to do it. With engaged niche audiences and quick, easy to absorb content, influencers can be a marketers dream. There are various ways you can utilise their skills and audiences from social media campaigns, gifted reviews and back links to your website on their blogs.

It’s important to figure out exactly what you want to achieve from your work with influencers to help you decide the best way to work with them. For instance, if your main goal is to improve the SEO of your website then a link building campaign would be best but if you’re more interested in growing brand awareness and trust then working with them on a gifting basis in return for reviews would suit you both.

No matter what techniques you incorporate into your 2020 marketing plans, you need to make sure that your product or service follows through with its promises. It’s no use blowing your budget on an all singing all dancing ad campaign if the product ends up being a disappointment.

Last Updated On December 5, 2019

Blogger outreach is the buzz term of marketing at the minute and if you aren’t clued up on it, your marketing plans may well suffer. Bloggers have been around for a while but in the past couple of years they’ve made the step into the mainstream with everyone having a favourite Instagram star whose feed they love to scroll through or a top website to spend their commute consuming.

Blogger outreach is a great way to utilise the popularity of influencers to help your brand grow and there are various different ways that a brand can work with bloggers that’s beneficial to all. From gifting them products in return for a review to gaining backlinks in their posts back to your site and full blown advertising campaigns, whatever your budget you can find a way to incorporate blogger outreach into your marketing strategy.

Why should you spend some of your marketing and advertising budget on blogger outreach though? It’s all very well seeing someone has a high number of followers but will working with them really do anything for you? Here’s a few things your business could gain…

Improves brand visibility

Working with bloggers who have a large following will help to get your brand in front of more eyes. Imagine how much you’d pay for an advert in a magazine whose readership was 700,000 people. Convert that into 700,000 engaged Instagram followers and you can see why influencer marketing and blogger outreach can be a big money game.

Many bloggers and influencers have built up an engaged and niche audience who are interested in similar things to them. Therefore if you can find a blogger who fits well with your brand and target demographic then the likelihood is their audience will too. Increased brand visibility in your target market can only help with boosting sales.

Gain customer trust 

Fancy marketing tactics and big budget ad campaigns are all well and good but one of the most important things to help your brand grow is gaining customer trust. You need people to trust in your products and services and a fancy TV advert isn’t always going to help with that.

People trust personal recommendations from friends and family or at least from people who have first hand experience with the product. How many times do you read reviews of a hotel before you book it? Of course the hotel will say it’s the best in the area and use the nicest pictures but the only honest feedback you can trust is from people who have already stayed there.

If people are engaged with a blogger they follow then it’s likely that they trust their opinions and reviews, so if you can secure positive feedback on your products and services on a bloggers platform, their audience are also likely to have a positive impression of your brand meaning they are much more likely to turn to you over a competitor.

Improve your website’s SEO

Gaining backlinks to your website from a site with a strong domain authority is a great way to improve the SEO of your website. The more high quality links you have pointing to your site the more Google will view your site as one with relevance and authority, helping to boost you up the search results.

One way of working with bloggers is on a link building basis where they write a post based around your product or market area that includes at least one follow link to your website. This allows the links placed to look natural and won’t throw up any red flags to Google but will also help to not only boost your SEO but to direct traffic to your website and, if you’ve chosen bloggers whose audience will be interested in your brand, should help to reduce bounce rate and improve sales.

Boost your sales

At the end of the day, if you’re running any kind of marketing or advertising campaign then your end goal is more than likely to boost sales. It’s no good investing in your marketing if you can’t see any ROI. A positive of using bloggers is not only the fact that they have a ready made engaged audience for you to tap into but because everything is online, they are able to track precisely what sort of impact their posts are having. This means you will easily be able to find out how many people are clicking through to your site or how many sales are being made off the back of their link referrals. Handy, huh?

Bloggers are also a sign of the times. As the digital world continues to grow, traditional mediums such as print and radio are facing a decline with less people likely to pick up a glossy magazine and from those that do, even fewer are likely to actually engage with adverts in there. Meanwhile social media and bloggers are becoming more ingrained in our lives with people choosing a morning scroll of Instagram over a morning read of the paper.

A good marketing strategy will look at how their target audience absorbs information and if for you that’s online and via influencers, then setting aside time and budget in your marketing plan is almost certain to improve your brand visibility and convert into sales.

Last Updated On November 22, 2019

Getting your website to rank highly in search results is a key goal for web developers and marketers all over the world but Google don’t like to make it easy. The search engine giant are constantly changing their algorithms and systems to ensure that the engine runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. With the team at Google known to make hundreds of updates a year it can be hard to keep up. One of the latest ones though is not one to ignore. Google’s BERT update is one of the biggest in 5 years so to help you out, we’ve put together this guide to all things BERT.

What is BERT? 

Google’s updates never have normal names and this one is no different. BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers…we think we’ll stick to calling it BERT!

BERT is the latest algorithm change that Google has made (or the latest one they’re talking about publicly anyway!) and people are already claiming it to be the biggest change in the past 5 years.

To put it simply, BERT will help Google to better understand the intent of users search queries in order to ensure that they receive the most relevant results. For the first time, Google will read each of the words in a search query in the context that they fit with the other words used.

For instance, if a user was to Google ‘visa for US travellers to Brazil’  before BERT the results would have brought up details on visas for people both travelling to Brazil from the US and for those travelling to the US from Brazil. Now, thanks to BERT, the search engine will read and understand the context of the ‘to’ in the sentence, bringing up the most relevant results first.

It’s thought that BERT will affect around 10% of search queries which is a pretty hefty chunk. As peoples computer literacy skills develop and using technology becomes second nature, search queries are beginning to sound more and more like everyday speech. Therefore it’s important that the search engine can understand exactly what the context of the words used is.

When did Google roll out BERT? 

People started to notice BERT was rolling out across the system during the week of October 21st 2019 but that was just for English-language queries, including featured snippets.

It won’t be long though until other countries start to be impacted by BERT. Although there’s no set timeline, Google CEO Danny Sullivan has confirmed that the algorithm will expand to all languages. A BERT model is currently being used across two dozen countries to help improve featured snippets and search results.

What does BERT mean for me? 

Whenever Google rolls out a new update one of the first things you need to do is take a look at your SEO strategy, especially with one as important as BERT. Even if you haven’t noticed a drop in traffic or search rankings yet, that doesn’t mean you’ve escaped without being impacted by BERT.

With every search you make on Google the algorithm will get better and better suggesting that you need to take action now to make sure your website is ready. At the moment, Google has been focused more on short tail keywords and phrases but as we become more and more aware of BERT, it’s likely that this will change.

As BERT begins to understand the context of queries more, that’s where long tail keywords will come into play. People will start to use longer phrases and sentences if they notice that Google can understand exactly what it is they want to find out. Ensuring your websites long tail keyword tags are up to date and relevant is just the first step though.

As BERT focuses on long tail keywords and the users intent, your website should focus on content. Yet again, this update has shown that content is king and by focusing on niche and relevant high quality content, you can help your website to stand a better chance of coming up top in the results. Google will be even more focused on content that is relevant to the search query so by making sure your content is niche and answers the search terms you want to rank for, you may see an increase in your ranking results.

BERT should also have a positive impact on the overall SEO of your website. With Google focusing on bringing up results that are relevant to the user, this should in turn help to reduce bounce rates.

As BERT begins its roll out, now is the time to focus on relevant and informative content. Ensure your content and website is user friendly and focus on long tail keywords to help improve your traffic. Although you might not have noticed any sort of impact from BERT yet, by making some tweaks to your SEO strategy now, you should reap the benefits in the future.

Last Updated On November 22, 2019

You must have been living under a rock for the past couple of years if you haven’t heard of bloggers. Bloggers, or ‘influencers’ as they’re often called, are a whole new group of people who are utilising social media and the internet to build careers, brands and most importantly for you – a following.

Often with a large and engaged audience, influencers are the latest marketing strategy that brands worldwide are utilising to get their products in front of as many eyes as possible. In the digital age, 2019 has seen many brands step away from traditional advertising models and instead of blowing their budget on adverts in glossy magazines, they’re spending their money on online superstars instead.

Blogger – Fashion Blogger / Influencer

A recent study found that influencer marketing can produce up to 11 times the ROI than traditional marketing and with 94% of marketers finding the strategy effective. If you haven’t already added it to your marketing plan then maybe it’s time.

If you’re thinking about dipping your toe into the world of blogger outreach and influencer marketing then there are various ways that you can do it depending on what results it is you’re after.

If your main concern is improving the SEO of your website and upping your Google rankings then a link building campaign would be best. This is where you work with bloggers who have a website with a strong Domain Authority to produce a relevant blog post that features a follow link to your website. After all, the first lesson of SEO school is the importance of link building!

If it’s brand awareness you’re after and you simply want as many people as possible to see your products in the hopes of upping sales, then gifting campaigns and collaborations are the option for you. This is where a company will work with a blogger, often allowing them to try out their product in return for exposure on their channels. This is a great way to get your brand in front of potential customers without coming across as a ‘hard sell’.

One of the main things that bloggers have going for them is the fact that they’ve built up a large, engaged audience who most importantly, trust what they say. Much like the friend that you turn to for fashion advice or the pal whose opinion on the best local restaurants is the only one you’ll listen to, influencers have become the first port of call for many consumers when they need advice or recommendations. It’s no surprise then, that brands are keen to utilise the unique relationship that bloggers have nurtured with their audiences.

From beauty and fashion bloggers to those who document food reviews, family life or even the latest motors on the road; you’re likely to find a blogger who fits your brand narrative perfectly. For example, if they’re talking about craft beer, then their audience will likely be interested in craft beer too. After all; you’re unlikely to follow someone if you aren’t interested in their content.

This level of carved-out niche-ness and engaged audiences is exactly what makes blogger outreach and influencer marketing such a successful strategy.

But finding the right bloggers for your campaign can be tricky.

If you’re looking to grow trust in your brand then a micro influencer campaign may be better. These are bloggers and influencers who have a slightly smaller following (although their follower count is by no means low!) whose audience truly trust every word they say.

A macro influencer campaign however is the best option if you just want your brand and products to be seen by as many people as possible. Think celebrities and reality TV stars who’ve built up millions of followers; their audience may not necessarily trust their opinion as they would a friends but you can be assured that your products will be seen by the masses.

If you’re still not convinced that influencer marketing and blogger outreach is the best option for you then there are some epic success stories that should help to convince you. Luxury watch retailer Daniel Wellington were going a little under the radar before they decided to put all of their marketing budget on influencer outreach, completely avoiding all other, more traditional advertising options.

By selecting a group of influencers to receive some of their watches and then post about them, the brand relied on the age old ‘word of mouth’ technique, albeit with a social media edge. And it worked. The bloggers produced their sponsored content alongside a discount code for their followers that allowed them to feel like they too were in on a new luxury secret. Over the course of the campaign users uploaded photos of their own Daniel Wellington purchases, with the hashtag #DanielWellington featuring on over 1.5 million Instagram images. In case you were wondering just how much awareness of the brand grew throughout the campaign, they gained 3.2 million followers from start to finish.

Meanwhile camera brand Nikon took a slightly different approach when they worked with a group of bloggers in conjunction with the Warner Sound Festival. Instead of getting bloggers to rave about their cameras, they sent them one to use themselves at the festival. This meant that when they uploaded their festival images their followers were desperate to know how they’d created such great imagery and how they too could emulate this on their own feeds.

In terms of influencer marketing this was a pretty epic team up as not only did it get music fans interested in the Nikon cameras, it allowed bloggers to promote the Warner Sounds Festival to a whole new audience. This approach highlights how seeing something in action, whether that be a camera, lipstick or even a car; can really help to push consumer interest.

With the internet and social media only set to grow, now’s the time to make use of the vast array of bloggers and influencers available to you and your brand.

The online world is ever changing. With that comes a whole new way to connect with your target market. Bloggers and online platforms continue to grow whilst traditional print publications face a noticeable decline in sales – blogger outreach should be a high priority within your marketing strategy, no matter what your goals are.

Last Updated On November 22, 2019

Getting your content to rank well in Google can often seem like a never ending struggle. You’ve written a great blog post, sourced the best images to go with it and then?

Nobody reads it.

Search engines – and Google in particular, are a great way of bringing more traffic, readers and more potential customers to your website, but with Google known to change their algorithm roughly 500 times a year, knowing how to beat it so that your content ranks on the first page is no easy task.

So, what can you do to try and make sure your content ranks well?

Find Your Niche

With so much content out there it’s important that you know exactly what it is you want to write about. Finding a particular topic that you have specialist knowledge on is essential if you want your content to compete for that first page Google ranking.

To start off, have a browse online and see if you can notice any gaps in what’s already out there. Writing blog posts on topics that aren’t widely covered on the web will help yours to not only stand out from the crowd, but rank at the top of the pile too.

Make sure you avoid duplicating content as well. Copying content word for word from another website, even if it was written by you, can have a massive impact on the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) of not just that webpage but your website as a whole. Keep your content fresh and relevant to give it the best chance of ranking well.

Do Your Research

If you want your content to rank highly then keyword research should be your first and most essential step before starting your article. Keyword research is the best way to get inside your readers’ heads and find out what terms and words they’re searching for the most. It’s also a great way to know what your competitors are doing and ranking for, knowledge is power after all!

There are a number of tools you can use to help with your keyword research and once you’ve whittled down your list of top words and phrases you want to rank for, you can start to incorporate them as much as possible into your content (try not to overdo it, your content should still feel natural and easy to read!).

Some of the best tools for your keyword research are Google Adwords Keyword Planner and Moz.

Meta Tags

Optimising your meta tags is one of the most important parts of SEO. If you forget this then you may as well forget your content having any chance of ranking on the first page of Google. Meta tags are the tags you can add to a page to tell Google what your content is about, they won’t appear on the page but are instead in the ‘back end’ of your site allowing Google to read them.

Once upon a time when search engines were first invented, meta tags really were the be all and end all of SEO. Nowadays there’s some debate as to how important they are but there’s some that you definitely can’t avoid.

  • Meta keywords tags – this is where you can add all of the keywords you want your content to rank for. Make sure you keep them relevant and don’t go overboard, too many keyword meta tags is known as ‘keyword stuffing’ and can end up having the opposite effect.
  • Title tag – you can give your web page a title tag which is visible to the user at the top of the page, to ensure your users instantly know what the page they’re on is about. Meta titles are also handy for SEO as they simplify all of the SEO information into one key phrase.
  • Meta description – this is the small paragraph of text that appears under your page title in search results. For the best rankings you need to ensure it’s keyword dense, concise (no more than 150 words) and clearly tells the reader what the page is about.

Think About the User’s Experience

Thinking about how the user will experience and absorb your content and website are key elements that are often overlooked when optimising content. Think about how long it takes the page to load, how easy it is to follow the content and how much copy appears on the screen.

You should be aiming to make the user’s experience as pleasurable as possible so that they stay on your site for longer. The longer a user stays on your website, the better effect it will have on your SEO.

Google takes into account click-throughs (how many people click on the content) and bounce rates (how quickly they click away) so try and keep your audience online for as long as possible.

Adding high-quality images to your content will not only improve the user’s experience and break the content up, it can also help your page to rank better.

You can optimize your images by changing the file name, meta tag and meta description to all feature the keywords and phrases that you want to rank for. Don’t forget that Google Image searches are a great way of bringing people to your website. Just make sure the file size of your images isn’t too big as this can impact your page loading speed and response time.

Use Sub-Headings 

Another way to ensure your readers engage with the content is to use sub-headings. These aren’t just great for breaking up the text, they’re also an easy way to get your keywords in. Ensure your headers include the keywords/phrases that you want to rank for and you can quickly up the volume of keywords in your content.

Don’t Forget Links 

Including both internal and external links in your content is a key way to optimise what you’re writing, helping it to stand a better chance of ranking on the first page of Google. By linking out to relevant sites you can help improve the SEO of your content. You just need to ensure that the sites you’re linking to are well-respected and have a good Domain Authority.

It’s important that you keep an eye on any pieces of content you upload that have external links in them to ensure there are no broken links (this can happen if the URL of the page you’re linking to changes or if the page is removed). Broken links can have a negative effect on your SEO so make sure you add this to your checklist of tasks to complete regularly.

Linking to content on your own site is also a good way of helping content to rank. Link to other relevant blog posts or if you’re talking about a specific product or service that you sell, link to its product page on your site.

The more links that direct to your site the better it is for your SEO and ranking position. Internal links are also a great way of keeping readers on your site for longer so consider adding in a couple to each blog post you write.

Unfortunately there’s no black and white answer for making your content rank on the first page of Google and the search engine is always making changes to its algorithm and how it ranks content.

The best thing you can do is follow the tips above and make sure your content is informative – one thing we do know is that Google loves content that gives the reader the information they’re after quickly and concisely!

Last Updated On November 22, 2019

Developing a strong brand identity could be the key to business success. Having a brand identity that people can recognise can help you take your place at the forefront of your field, build and keep a valued customer base and help you to stand out against your competitors. So putting the time in to develop yours seems like a no brainer!

What is brand identity?

Brand identity is all about how your brand portrays itself to its audience. Every brand should have a way of defining and identifying itself, making it instantly recognisable to its customer base. A brand identity covers everything from a name and tagline, logo, colours, tone of voice and personality.

If you think about some of your favourite brands and household names, they are often instantly recognisable just from a logo, colours, specific fonts and famous taglines. By creating a strong brand identity, these brands have been able to infiltrate the consciousness of the consumer allowing them to stand out from the crowd of their competitors.

A brand identity is just like a personal one. We all have a personal style when it comes to fashion, our likes and dislikes, our personality, mannerisms and how we engage with people. A brand identity is no different. A brand identity is how you communicate with your audience on a daily basis and it should evolve as your company evolves.

Why do you need a strong brand identity? 

If you want people to instantly recognise your brand and be able to pick it out as their top choice from potentially hundreds of competitors then a brand identity is essential. For many people when they’re choosing their preferred washing up liquid or favourite bottle of wine for a Friday night they know instantly which one to pick off the shelf just from the colour, logo and even the shape of the bottle.

Imagine walking into the shop to buy your favourite chocolate bar but when you get to the shelf you can’t find it anywhere. You look again and suddenly realise that it is there, it’s just in a brand new wrapper- it’s changed from blue to red, the logo has changed and the whole thing looks completely different. Whilst the chocolate inside will still taste the same, chances are you’ll feel like you’re eating a whole new bar and it will take some time before you get used to picking up the red chocolate bar from the shelf. A strong brand identity allows your consumers to recognise your brand and products instantly and avoids confusion.

A brand identity will also form the basis of all of your marketing. Your chosen fonts and colours, tone of voice and key messages will run through every aspect from a website to adverts, social media and printed documents. Whether you do your marketing in-house yourself or if you employ an agency to do it for you, your brand identity should be decided on and clear before you begin any other marketing.

How to create a brand identity 

Before you create your brand identity you need to make sure you’ve got a clear brand strategy in place. You need to understand exactly where it is that you want your brand to go in the future, what your goals are and what steps you intend to intend to take to get there. Your brand identity will be with you every step of the way.

The next step is to do your research. Take a look at what your competitors are doing and get an idea of how they are presenting themselves to the world. You’ll often find that similar brands have similar styles and identities so it’s up to you to decide if you want to follow the crowd or do something completely different, making yourself stand out. No guesses which option you would rather…

Another step to help you achieve the perfect identity for your brand is to create audience personas. Think about the type of people who make up your target audience. Are they young, old, male, female? Take some time to research exactly what it is that your audience likes and dislikes, if your brand is already up and running then a great way to do this is via surveys. By discovering exactly what your target audience looks for in a brand, you can ensure that these are key features of your brand identity.

Once you’ve done your research into exactly how you want your brand to look and feel all that’s left to do is create the various elements. From a logo to brand colours, photography and image style, tone of voice and key messages, there’s a lot to think about and tick off the list. What you’re likely to find however is that each element influences the next. So choose your colours first, stick to 2-4 and be specific. Don’t just say ‘pink’ but instead pick an exact pantone colour…you’ll be surprised by just how many pinks there are!

Once you’ve chosen your colours it will be ten times easier to start designing your logo which will in turn help you decide if you’ll use photography or illustrations across your marketing and the style they’ll be in.

Creating a brand identity is trial and error, you’re unlikely to go with the very first logo you design in fact, chances are, your end product will be a million miles away from the one you decide on, but taking the time to research and create an identity that’s right for your brand will prove invaluable.

Last Updated On November 8, 2019

It’s a term splashed around the SEO environment, but what is a PBN? This article explores the benefits and disadvantages of a PBN and will help to explain what it means. Let’s begin.

Private Blog Networks

A PBN is a shorted term for Private Blog Network, just as SEO means Search Engine Optimisation. It already sounds ugly when you mention the term ‘network’, especially within the digital marketing world. After all, search engines are smart and don’t wish to witness unnatural manipulation from where search results are controlled by networks of owners.

Of course, private blog networks are to be avoided where possible, since they can send a negative signal to the likes of Google. However, that doesn’t mean that a PBN is necessarily bad. Ultimately, it means that one owner has a large number of websites, and if operated correctly, they can be very beneficial in a variety of areas.

Invisible PBNs

Savvy Private Blog Network owners will make it hard or impossible for a person to detect that they are the king of the hierarchy of many websites. Bad owners will keep their network easily known – at least from a marketing thought.

Google and PBNs

Whilst Google isn’t able to install law, it can dictate which websites are indexed within its algorithm. Thus, PBNs are clearly an area that Google looks at, especially the poorly created websites – which many are. In fact, I believe this is really where the likes of Google home in on – poor websites that are created for the primary reason to sell links.

Some PBNs are OK, others aren’t

PBNs that offer true value are unlikely to be harmed by Google, websites that have the correct ingredients offer value, who ever owns them; great content that inform a user with the information they searched for. With technology evolving, we still see spun content containing links seeing positive results – something we at iNet Ventures never do, but we believe that it’s worth pointing it out.

As a website owner, you should adapt a natural approach to marketing. Since links play an important role in this, you should think carefully about the strategy you employ. Well crafted content providing a natural mention isn’t likely to cause any negativity in regards to how a search engine views your website – beneficial? Yes.

Imagine for one minute that you are one of the masterminds behind Google and its algorithm, you can hardly blame them from wanting to keep the search results indexed in a manner that isn’t easily manipulated. Once upon a time, website owners could easily manipulate search results by using quick methods from which had zero value for the user.

A PBN, if ran correctly, whilst complying with the policies of Google and such, can certainly have strong benefits, but many aren’t operated properly, and they often don’t comply with the terms outlined by Google. Thus, it can be dangerous to place content on a PBN.

Avoiding PBNs

Many marketing agencies work with PBN owners, or even have their very own network of websites. At iNet Ventures, we avoid outreaching to PBNs, since we know that they do come with risk. So there you go, that’s what a PBN (private blog network) is along with the uses, benefits and negatives that they deliver.

Last Updated On November 21, 2019

Digital content is crucial to successful SEO.

Why?  Because search engines like web pages that are :

  • Credible (experts in their field)
  • Optimised (following SEO best practices)
  • Related (answers the question a searcher is asking)

Let’s say someone types ‘how to make my own website’ into Google.  Here are the top non-paid results:

Google has decided that these companies and more specifically, these articles, provide the most useful, relevant and reliable information based on the keyword phrase.

Do you want Google to identify your content as being the best in your niche?  Let’s see how you can use keywords as part of your SEO strategy.

Why are keywords important?

Keywords and keyword phrases are what people type into search engines.

Pro Tip: Traditional SEO methods are for text searches (like below).  If you want your digital content to be optimised for now and the future, you should also consider optimising for voice search.

There are three things to note about the search results we saw: 

  1. Google identified multiple related keyword phrases.
  2. The titles include identified keyword phrases.
  3. Parts of the meta descriptions that include keywords have been highlighted.

So, when you publish digital content:

  • DO embed related keywords into the SEO title and meta descriptions.
  • DON’T be afraid of using different variations throughout your content.

How to decide which keywords to use?

Keyword research tools display metrics to help you analyse how well keyword phrases will perform.  But before you look at these, you need to decide which phrases to analyse.

Step 1  Pretend you are the searcher

The first thing to understand is how your target users search.

Let’s stick to the earlier example of searching for ‘how to make my own website‘.  Start by making a list of different searches your audience may perform.

Here are some possibilities:

  • Guide to making a website
  • Lessons on making a website
  • Free online website making tool

If you are struggling for ideas, use Google.  Type a keyword phrase into the search box and see what alternatives show up:

Step 2  Analyse the keyword phrases

Now that you have a list of related keyword phrases, you can use keyword research tools.

Here are some of our favourites:

All of these tools display metrics for selected keyword phrases.  We have selected the main metrics to consider when choosing keyword phrases for your digital content.

Keyword Difficulty/Competition

The more competitive a keyword phrase is, the harder it is to rank for it.  Our advice is to shortlist keyword phrases that are highly relevant and low in competition.

Search Volume

If you see that the number of people who search for a keyword phrase is low, it may be tempting to scrap it.  But before you do, think again.

Keyword phrases with low search volumes are also low in competition.  That means when it is used, your content has a good chance of ranking high in search results.

 

Pro Tip: As backlinko points out, body and long-tail keywords have lower search volumes than head keywords.  But single words are extremely competitive and do not convert well.

CTR (Click Through Rate)

WordStream offers a detailed insight but in simple terms, CTR indicates how many people are likely to click on your link in search results, rather than see it and move on.

There are two types:

  • Paid – if you are using a service like Google Ads to appear on the first page of Google search results.
  • Organic – how your content performs naturally, without you paying to appear high in search engine results.

Ideally, you will shortlist keyword phrases that have a high CTR measure.

There are more metrics you can use to analyse keyword phrases but we have listed the main ones to consider.

 Step 3  Choose the best keyword phrases for your content

Selecting the right keyword phrases using these metrics is an art.  It is difficult to give you a definite guide on how to choose.

 Embedding keywords into content

Now that you have a list of keyword phrases to use, you should embed them into digital content wisely.

Don’t be tempted to include them as many times as possible.

This is called keyword stuffing and search engines like Google will penalise your content if you do it.

Do focus on writing high quality and relevant content.  If you do, the keywords will naturally find their place.

 In Summary

Keywords only form a part of your website’s SEO strategy but it is an important part.

Here is a quick summary of how to tackle keyword research to boost your website’s ranking:

  1. Make a list of keyword phrases that might be used to find your content.
  2. Use keyword research tools to analyse which phrases are likely to perform best.
  3. Embed the keyword phrases into the natural flow of your content.

Last Updated On November 21, 2019

For those involved in SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), it can be tempting to create links with a keyword-rich anchor, constantly. However, this isn’t a smart move to make – you’ll find out why shortly. After all, Google is a search engine with a unique algorithm, and it doesn’t wish to show results from sites that are simply manipulating their way to the first result. Thus, an anchor text profile can give many clues as to what is going on when it comes to such practices. This guide aims to inform you about the importance of an anchor text profile and why you should examine such like Sherlock Holmes. Let’s begin.

Google is one smart beast and its intelligence increases by the day; what one could get away with before is no longer accepted today. Just like your diet, going organic is a wise move in the digital world too. There were many tactics once used that would see sites rank easily using what we’d label as Black Hat. One such giveaway was the mass-amount of incoming links with a non-banded keyword, such as: “Buy Microwave”.

So, what should a natural anchor text profile look like? Let’s explore below.

Brandable anchor text examples:

These are usable in most scenarios:

  • Websitename
  • www.websitename.com
  • websitename.com
  • http://www.websitename.com
  • Visit website
  • Visit websitename.com

Natural anchor text examples:

  • Click here
  • Learn more
  • Visit site
  • Visit blog
  • Read more
  • More details

Name anchor text examples:

These are often used for blog commenting.

  • Business owner’s name
  • Author’s name

General paragraph anchor text examples:

These flow well within an article.

  • For more information on this topic
  • Read this guide
  • More details can be found here
  • This guide is another worthy read

What a typical website anchor text profile should look like:

Let’s now take a look at how Sony’s PlayStation brand stacks up when it comes to anchor text:

As you can see, it all looks natural and clean. There is no “Buy 4KTV” keywords insight, and if there were, for a smaller site especially, this would raise the alarm bells for the Google algorithm. Of course, there aren’t any issues by having such a keyword, but it’s when the ratio is sky-high – that’s when you could see issues.

You should also note that Google loves brands. Having a brandable domain name sends a strong signal to Google. For example, “buyblackmicrowave.com”, this unbranded URL sounds ultra spammy and appears to be designed for one purpose. That’s not to say keyword domains won’t rank, they just don’t like they once did, and you could be asking for trouble further down the line.

There isn’t an exact science when it comes to an anchor profile. But there are areas you must avoid. Each industry might adopt a different approach, and the anchor profile could look somewhat different as a result. For example, a great way to attract natural anchor text is by utilizing local citationsblogger outreach and other such natural methods of digital marketing.

Messy Anchor Text from Big Brands:

Your anchor text profile could look messy for no fault of your own. The sad fact is, a competitor might decide to pump a number of foul anchor text based in-bound links, in your website’s direction. What’s more, robots are constantly creating unwished for anchor, take the following example:

Imagine an example where the anchor text includes some strange keywords, such as “get free high-quality HD wallpapers”. Let’s be clear, the marketing team of the website isn’t responsible for this, and it’s a common occurrence across any website that hosts good quality images. Simply put, a vast network of wallpaper websites is linking to a variety of that website’s images as a ‘wallpaper’ and this is creating a mass anchor text issue as a result.

The more brandable links you have, the less exposure any dirty anchors will have, that’s how a ratio works.

Avoid using too much commercial terminology within anchors, such as:

  • Buy
  • Cheap
  • Sale
  • Service
  • Invest

Other methods for anchor text creation:

  • See [Article Title]
  • Read this: [Article Title]
  • Find more details about [Keyword] for a better understanding.
  • Want to learn more? Visit [Keyword] for more information.

Digestive Summary:

Ultimately, get creative, adopt a natural approach. After all, it isn’t illegal to make a link, and it too doesn’t violate Google’s policy (if you follow their guidelines). Without links, we wouldn’t have a functional internet; that’s just how powerful links have become – they allow an individual to get from A to B to Z. Like with anything, there are foundations that are put in place to help a user gain the best experience possible.

Final Tips:

  • Generate plenty of brandable anchors
  • Avoid too much commercial terminology within anchors
  • Don’t follow general rules, be creative
  • Keep things organic; clean is the future
  • Be aware of dirty-anchor text and how to counter it

Last Updated On November 7, 2019

Are you unsure what a specific term means? Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. The world of digital marketing involves many different terms – this jargon buster will take you over three of the important meanings. Let’s begin.

Blogger Outreach

It seemed important to begin with Blogger Outreach for obvious reasons. Blogger Outreach is the process of developing a rapport between blogs, bloggers, authors and websites. From here, steps are put in place to create genuine, high quality content that also allows for the mention of a service, website or product. It also falls under the umbrella term of influencer marketing – since influencing is one of the factors involved.

Example: My blogger outreach campaign is proving to be very successful.

 

What is Trust Flow?

Often abbreviated as TF, Trust Flow is a metric designed to measure how trustworthy a webpage is, this is done by analysing the in-bound links. This is how a Trust Flow score is determined, and it can change on a regular basis, all determined by those sites linking to the page in question. Provided by Majestic, Trust Flow is a reliable metric to determine the quality and weight of a specific page of website.

Example: My friend’s website has a trust flow of 50, that is very impressive indeed.

 

What is Domain Authority?

Regularly abbreviated as DA, Domain Authority is a scale from 0-100 which is designed to measure how important a website is. Various factors involve how the score is calculated, specifically, the number of high quality in-bound links plays a major role. The scoring system was developed by Moz, allowing for a better understanding of what weight a website or page (Page Authority) link actually has.

Example: My website’s domain authority has increased from 22 to 35.

 

What is Citation Flow?

Another measuring score developed by Majestic, Citation Flow, also known as CF, is a score which ranges from 0-100. It is designed to measure the strength a website or link has. Both Trust Flow and Citation Flow work together, both using the same algorithm, providing a clearer picture when attempting to understand the weight of a specific link.

Example: I’ve just checked my website metrics, and to my delight the citation flow appears to be 40.

 

SEO

Short for Search Engine Optimization – it is a word that is used in general towards the elements involved with making a website friendly towards a search engine. From attracting links to making a website mobile compliant, these are two examples that would fall under the term – SEO.

Example: I have hired a digital marketing agency to help prepare an SEO strategy for my website.

 

Blog

Often run by an individual or group of people, a blog is a website that can stretch to any niche. The views of those involved with the blog provide regular updates, these might include photographs or written content.

Example: My blog is growing, I am really happy.

 

Blogger

An individual who routinely keeps a blog up-to-date with written content or photographs. The induvials(s) often have a passion for the subject at hand – this can range from fashion and technology to gaming or golf (no topic is out of bounds).

Example: Dave is a blogger from England who has a passion for food.

 

Ranking

This word helps to describe where a website ranks within a search engine, including the position and page for a given keyword.
Example: My website is ranking well this month on Yahoo.

 

Black Hat

The strategy of mass-link building often through dubious means, such as forum spam, for example. Black Hat tactics ignore search engine guidelines with the primary aim of ranking a website.

Example: Black Hat isn’t as effective as it once was.

 

White Hat

Unlike Black Hat, White Hat is regarded as the clean and natural methods employed to a marketing strategy. These include blogger outreach and social media marketing.

Example: My digital marketing strategy is White Hat, it is natural and effective.

 

Google PageRank

Now deceased, Google PageRank was a tool that provided a simple insight into a website’s authority – it ended on April 15, 2016. Ranging from -1 to 10, the higher the rating, the more potential weight a website would have as an authority. Domain Authority is now one of the major metrics that website owners use, since it is more accurate.

Example: My website once had a Google PageRank of 8.

 

Nofollow Tag

The Nofollow Tag can be assigned to link by using HTML. Ultimately, this tag tells a search engine not to influence the ranking of the link of which was given the tag. Affiliate links are often made nofollow by a website user, since there is little point in providing them unnecessary weight.

Example: I recently made all of the links on my website ‘nofollow’. 

 

DoFollow Tag

The opposite of Nofollow, the Dofollow HTML tag tells a search engine to flow weight across to the given link, helping to add influence, thus, potentially improving ranking and authority.

Example: I recently decided to make links within comments ‘dofollow’ to help allow the passing of link influence to those who spend time to garner discussion.  

 

DMOZ

Once highly respected within the digital marketing community, DMOZ was an authoritative web directory. However, over the years, directories lost the appeal with other advancements, such as deeper accuracy within search engine results. Google began to penalise a variety of directories that were regarded as link farms – created primarily to manipulate search results for those listed. DMOZ continued to appeal to many, but in as of Mar 17, 2017, dmoz.org deceased.

Example: My website was once listed in the DMOZ web directory.

 

Algorithm

Search engines, such as Google, use a variety of complex mathematical rules that help to provide accuracy when listing websites – this is known as an algorithm. As search engines continue to evolve, so does the algorithm.

Example: Google’s algorithm is far better today that it once was.

 

We will continue to add more subjects and definitions to this digital marketing jargon list. If you have any you feel should be added, be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Last Updated On November 21, 2019

It was March the 8th when website owners suddenly noticed plenty of movement with rankings and traffic. We thought that it would be appropriate to visit this topic as many are still looking for answers nearly three months later. Thus, this article looks over what the update was about and some tips to incorporate into your website and marketing strategy. Let’s continue.

Anyone with a website will have a love/hate relationship with Google and its algorithms. Capable of delivering spectacular returns for those that get it right, staying up to date with what Google demands is a mammoth task just on its own. 

Since 2000 Google has been constantly streamlining and revising its algorithms, a move that has kept every site owner on high alert. The introduction of Panda in 2011 was a giant change, with many forced to make wholesale changes to avoid sweeping penalties.  

Fred is the latest Google update, a joke name attributed by the tech company’s Gary Illyes. However, despite the comedy moniker, if you’re concerned about keeping your site at the top of the rankings there’s not too much to laugh about with Fred. Here’s the facts that you need to know.

What exactly is Fred? 

First released on 8th March 2017, Fred is the latest change to Google algorithms and it’s one that’s seen a number of sites plunge in the search engine rankings. Closely linked to Penguin, it seems that Fred is homing in on the sites which have lots of adverts and penalising them accordingly.  So, position ads in user-friendly positions, and don’t have too many. 

If you’ve got a site which is primarily to drive revenue and is ad-heavy, you’ll have been seriously affected by Fred. These are the types of sites that the latest Google update is targeting and penalising in the rankings. Too many affiliate links, adverts that make it difficult for users to navigate your site and a particularly high percentage of adverts, particularly in a prominent position are the types of flags that Fred is looking out for.  

With this latest update, Google is putting the emphasis firmly on quality content and if your site fails on this single factor, you’ll be hit hard. Google wants the high ranking sites to have been created specifically for a human audience, rather than solely designed to score well on the algorithms (nothing new here). This means if you’ve just filled your site with what you think will rank top on Google and also bring in revenue rather than thinking about what your customer actually wants, there’s a good chance you’ll be in trouble with Fred.  

How to avoid being penalised by Fred 

Not all sites that have been affected by the Fred update are shams or aggressively monetising, but it only takes a couple of bad decisions for Google to dismiss you as irrelevant. The good news that that you can take some pretty simple steps to avoid the Fred factor.  

Without question the single most important aspect is quality. Google wants to see content and design which is well thought out, adds value and is of genuine use to the audience. Creating a blog purely to add backlinks or for SEO services is no longer sufficient to score you big points and conversely, you’ll now be penalised for having this.  

What you need is a blog or other content which shows that there’s expertise and skill that’s been expended in the creation, together with a well-crafted site that is geared towards users not adverts. The page should be well maintained with no faulty links, and a layout which loads easily and without errors. It should also be easy for anyone to immediately see what the website is about and also who owns it.  

You can earn extra brownie points for having high quality backlinks, positive feedback in user reviews, industry recognition or awards and expert testimonials.  

If your site contains adverts you might need to have a serious re-think about how many you have, and their placement on the site. The Fred update doesn’t mean that you can’t have any ads or affiliate links but they shouldn’t be of primary importance.

Right said Fred…. 

The attributes that Fred is looking out for shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise as Google has been focusing on quality content of real value for some time. This latest update just intensifies the need to keep ads relevant and to a minimum while delivering information to the internet audience which is meaningful, relevant and up to date.