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Last Updated On December 20, 2019

We know bloggers, we work with them on a daily basis . They’re great. Having a successful blog has gradually become a reality within the internet age we live, as we approach 2020, becoming a blogger is no-longer a naive dream, but an absolute reality for passionate individuals from around the world. Next we explore some of the ingredients necessary to becoming a world-class blogger. Ready? Let’s begin.

Whether it’s integrated into your main website or set up as a standalone site, blogs are a great way of engaging with an audience and adding value to your online profile. But with such a saturated market, how can you ensure your blog is a success?

Here are some top tips, delivered from industry experts, that can help you when you’re setting up your blog…

Establish your brand identity

The first step of setting up a blog is figuring out what you want it to be called. Once you have a name you’ll need to buy the domain (the web address) and it’s a good idea to make sure all of these match up. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to call your blog one thing but have the web address as something completely different.

Be careful, don’t go for something spammy sounding. What’s more, finding the perfect domain / brand won’t be easy, but do spend a little time on this, go for a .com if possible, or your local domain extension, such as .co.uk. It’s neat, makes sense, and easily identified by search engines and viewers alike. You should consider your audience, is it local or international?  For example, a travel blog aimed at the west midlands of England would be perfectly suited to a .co.uk domain, where as a blog about fashion would be ideal for either (depending on your ideal marketing audience – Local or Word Wide).

Creating a strong brand identity is essential if you want people to keep coming back to your blog. As well as a good, relevant name and domain you’ll also need a logo. Having a logo will allow return visitors to automatically recognise your blog. Most web browsers also feature the sites logo in the tab pane so a strong logo will allow your page to be easily found amongst multiple tabs.

We recommend NameSilo for domain registrations; a .com is less than $10 a year, privacy is included for free and renewals remain statically low. Whilst GoDaddy is a popular choice, you’ll be stung with renewal fees, so don’t be tempted with great introductory offers (of which there are many), paying $30 a year on wards for renewals with privacy is a bad deal. If you’re after a .co.uk domain, check out TSO Host.

Choose a blogging platform

Most bloggers opt WordPress as there preferred blogging platform; it’s free, secure, easy-to-use and feature-rich. Most hosts allow a 1-click install, allowing you to get started quickly without any fuss. Thus, we recommend you use WordPress. Next you’ll need hosting (see if they have a 1-click WordPress install, it will be useful for newcomers).

Reliable web-hosting 

A website that loads slow wont just frustrate its readers, but major search engines will also take note, resulting in a poorer presence online. Selecting a reliable web-host can be problematic, so it is important to do your research. Some web hosts make bold promises, yet many are simply over-selling, covering themselves via a hidden but lengthy TOS. One example would be the terminology of Unlimited Bandwidth, from where you’ll unwittingly find hidden in the TOS a usage cap under a fair usage policy. Here are some important features to research when it comes to a web-host:

  • Backups (Type, consistency and reliability)
  • Bandwidth / webspace (Check TOS)
  • Reliability (Read reviews)
  • Data-center locations (Some are better than others)
  • Security (Anti-DDOS technology / firewalls)
  • Longevity (Good host today, bad host tomorrow)
  • Features (You might want on-the-fly blog installs of WordPress, many offer such, so ensure it’s on the feature list)

Make sure your blog is secure

If you want your blog to be a success then it needs to be safe too. The last thing you want is for you or your readers to fall victim of hacking and viruses all because your blog isn’t secure. HTTPS is the sign that your blog is safe and secure and whilst no website is ever fully immune to hacking, this is a pretty good way of protecting your blog as best you can.

If a website URL starts with HTTPS it has a host of benefits including protecting users data and stopping third parties from accessing your server. A secure site will also benefit your SEO as Google aren’t about to start ranking websites that offer a risk to the user. Hosting your website on HTTPS is therefore an absolute no-brainer.

Create social media accounts for your blog

Creating social media accounts for your blog is a great way to get more traffic to your site. First and foremost they help to prove that there’s a real person behind the scenes and that it’s not simply the work of a high-tech robot.

Allowing your readers the chance to learn more about the person behind the blog via social media channels will help to keep them engaged. If they feel like they know a little about you, they’re much more likely to convert into a return reader.

Social media channels such as Instagram and Twitter are also a great way of promoting your blog to a wider audience. By sharing recent blog posts or snippets of content with a ‘read more’ link, you are actively directing people straight to your site. You can also post similar and relevant content that is more ‘short form’ and not necessarily worthy of a full blog post on your social media, giving people an idea of what they can expect from your main site.

Write content that people actually want to read

Content is most definitely king in the blogging world, and no matter how much coding, designing and social media promoting you do, if your content isn’t good enough then your blog will never be a success. Once you’ve figured out your niche you need to start planning your blog posts. Do some keyword research to figure out what search terms people are using in your niche. After all, whatever people are searching for is what they want to read!

It’s also wise to keep on top of blogging trends and adapting your content to what your audience wants. While long form content is still read in droves, listicle style articles and pieces that can be absorbed quickly are becoming ever more popular, especially for those who are reading on the go.

As your blog grows you’ll likely want to enable authors to join, you can also outsource some of your content needs by using a service like we haveperfect for keeping a blog up-to-date.

Optimise your site for mobile users 

It’s all very well having an amazing desktop site that offers the ultimate user experience but these days, more and more people are using their mobile phones and tablets to absorb content online.

Whilst you need to make sure your content is mobile friendly, like we mentioned above, you also need to make sure your website as a whole is too. Think about what it will look like on a mobile device and ensure there aren’t too many pop ups or extra windows that are likely to make it frustrating to navigate.

Allow commenting for reader engagement 

Having a comments section on your blog posts is a great way to allow your readers to engage with your posts and to create a community online. If people are reading your posts it suggests that they’re interested in the topic field and they may want to join in the conversation.

A comment section is also a great way to gain feedback on your posts and, providing you have a clear data policy, also an effective way of collecting information on your audience.

Be careful though, blog comments are often a magnet for bots and spammers, thus you should monitor them and use a secure commenting platform, such as DISQUZ.

Optimise your posts for SEO

Ensuring your posts are optimised for SEO purposes is a key way you can get them to rank in Google search results. Think about what search terms you would want and expect a specific blog post to rank for and then ensure that the content you write is rich in these keywords (don’t go overboard though, your content still needs to natural, truly influenced by your passions). Yoast is a great plugin if you’re using WordPress.

Think about the user journey 

Last but by no means least, you need to make sure you’re always thinking about your user journey. How will your audience navigate around your blog? What pages do you want to direct them to? If someone lands on your blog and it looks a mess, is too text heavy and there is no clear direction of where to go next, the likelihood is they’ll click right back off it.

Make sure you blog looks and feels fresh and clear, ensure your thumbnails have images, use images to break up chunks of text and make sure your hyperlinks stand out from the page, offering users a clear pathway to follow when they land on your blog.

Monetisation

There are many avenues when it comes to monetising a blog, it is also a necessary ingredient for blog owners. Some bloggers may not aim to earn from their blog; they might simply enjoy to write about their passion. However, others will want to turn their passions into a comfortable income, and more. To do so, you need to develop a strategy. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Product Reviews (where you receive products to review and keep).
  • Article Features (payments for brand features)
  • Brand Mentions (payments for brand mentions)
  • Affiliates (commission)

Re-invest; Grow your Blog

You’ll probably feel like an entrepreneur at this point, since you’ll be considering the scalability of your blog; where can you take it next?

Keyword: ROI; Return on Investment.

You’re ready to spend, take some risks, but how can you do so by seeing a profit? This must be key to your plan. Here’s a few ideas:

  • Increase social media presence. (more exposure, more readers, more opportunities)
  • Increase presence using blogger outreach. (better search exposure, deepened brand authority, more traffic, better opportunities). 
  • Improve your content and reach. (make your content better, it will increase the likelihood of having loyal fans). 

What’s your domain authority rating? Check using our domain authority checker – also learn how to boost your authority.

Be Contactable

Your contact form is the one page you need to pay plenty of attention to, why? Because it is where opportunities will arise. If a sponsor notices your blog and wishes to get in contact, they’ll be doing so through your contact page.  It’s easy to add a [short code] and leave it, however, this is how and why so many contact pages break (an update to a WordPress blog or plugin, etc.) – making it impossible for you to be contacted. Thus, keep an eye on your contact page, test it once a month to check it is working properly, also be sure to include a captcha to prevent bots from spamming you.

There’s no sure fire way to making sure your blog is a success but by producing high quality content that fits your niche and following the above tips, you should be well on your way.

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 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 October 17, 2019

It’s a fancy term that is throw around on a regular basis, but what does digital marketing actually mean? This article attempts to answer this very question whilst also exploring the different methods and strategies involved. Let’s begin.

You could say that marketing has evolved somewhat, after all, the traditional methods once used are now a neglected force. I’m sure you’ll relate to those older methods, which involved; radio, newspaper, magazine, postal mail, and similar routes to advertising. Of course, this isn’t to say that these older marketing techniques don’t work, but rather, they’re less effective when compared to the modern alternative.

Ultimately, more eyes are in front of screens, whether that be a smartphone, tablet, computer, or TV – digital environments are where people are interacting and engaging, the old-school methods are no longer attracting the masses as they once did. Thus, digital marketing is the area to establish a successful marketing campaign.

The route you take should vary depending on the product or service you’re looking to promote. However, for the majority, a website can act as a magnet for potential consumers – that’s if you get the marketing campaign correct. Therefore, the website becomes the primary source for your marketing campaign.

Social media can become a powerful tool for those wanting to attract people towards their new service, website or product. Having the ability to drill down into the specifics of the target market is certainly one of the attractive factors to this option. With that said, it’s pricey and your budget can easily become exhausted.

Blogger outreach isn’t just an area of digital marketing that we currently specialise in, but it’s also an effective approach to seeing positive results to a campaign. How does it work? The process involves a variety of factors, yet great content is read by many, hence the term – blogger outreach.

Search engine advertising has increased with popularity. Of course, the leader within search has become Google, which has an algorithm bettering that of the current alternatives. Natural listings are displayed under the advertised section on many of the search engines, this includes Google. The problem here is cost; it’s a bidding war, and those with this biggest budget will generally be the companies placed in front of searchers’ eyes. Therefore, if you’re a website owner, it’s important to understand how you can naturally increase your site’s placement without the need of entering an advertising auction.

YouTube is a great platform for vloggers – which translates into video bloggers. Attracting a wide and growing audience, online video opens up plenty of opportunities for marketers wanting to attract attention to their new venture. Importantly, however, it seems worth mentioning that video bloggers would now be breaking the law if they failed to display a disclosure stating that a mention within their content was actually a sponsored endorsement, as per the ASA. Something worth considering before approaching an un-informed vlogger is that it’s actually illegal without telling the watchers about the promotion you might be considering.

The world of digital marketing isn’t set in stone, like most things, it will continue to alter, change and evolve. What we consider the cutting edge of today is sure to be varied or redundant tomorrow.

Last Updated On October 18, 2019

If you’re reading this then you might be confused as to what exactly blogger outreach is. Or, perhaps you want to simply learn more about how our Blogger outreach service could benefit your client, business or brand. Let’s begin…

You’ve got a new website, product, app, business or service, and whilst that’s fantastic, you can’t expect to gather interest without spreading the word. The old fashioned way would be word of mouth, leaflets etc. was usually the best option presented to entrepreneurs.

Of course, we now live in an age where the internet has matured to the point that it’s involved in the majority of people’s lives on a daily basis. The fact is, you’re more likely to read a blog post on the internet than pick up a newspaper, leaflet or magazine.

With that said, blogger outreach is a modern and organic way to help spread the word about your venture; whatever that may be.

What’s more, search engines are constantly watching both incoming and outbound links, and an organic approach should only result in more traffic. Of course, this partly depends on how aggressive your approach and strategy actually is. For example, an organic approach can quickly turn toxic if you are going at it excessively. To extend on this, the better the site, the better the results. So, imagine having a post which features your venture on Forbes, for example. In other words, you don’t want to post your link on any-old website. In fact, an out-dated website full of spammy links could do your brand more harm than good.

Once upon a time, when search engines used a basic algorithm, spammy tactics worked for website owners. But, thankfully, we now live in an age where search engines have become wise to such practices. Gone are the times when 100s of forum spam would gain you a high ranking in a search engine – such a practice could see your brand tarnished and website penalised.

So, how does it work, exactly? Blogger outreach can be quite a time consuming task, and that’s where we come in. After all, you need to find the right blogs, contact the owners, form a relationship, and write an eye-catching and high quality article, the list goes on. This is all too time-consuming for those focusing on their project, however small or big. But, it’s our knowledge and know-how that helps us to quickly and efficiently produce the right results.

Hopefully your understanding of Blogger Outreach is now clear, use our blogger outreach service to begin.

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