WriterAccess Webinar Archive
Optimizing Your Content - Writes and Wrongs!
Thursday, February 26, 2015 – 1:00 PM ET
Important fact: 93% of all buyers, online or in-store, use search engines prior to making a purchase decision, and 86% of searchers conduct non-branded queries. Are you in tune with the newest optimization song and dance?
Join host Byron White and guest Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures, for a tune-up on what’s working with content marketing optimization, and what’s way out of pitch, wasting valuable time and resources for your team. Learn how to create useful information for buyers. And how to capture market share and mind share in one swoop, delivering the ROI you demand from content marketing investment.
In this webinar you will learn about...
- The most common optimization mistakes
- How to create the optimized content prospects want
- Best types of content to create for search engines
- How to protect yourself from algorithm changes
The slidedeck from this webinar is available for download.
Bryron: Welcome, everyone, to the 58th annual content marketing webinar. Byron White here. It’s a pleasure to be with everyone here today. I’m here with Arnie. Arnie, are you here? (Pause.) I’m guessing Arnie’s here.
Arnie: I am as soon as I un-meet myself. I am here.
Byron: You expected me to have a light soliloquy for about five or ten minutes, I know, which is typical in these situations, but I decided to jump you right in. I’m really honored to be with Arnie today. He’s a training legend among many other things, the leader of a great agency, and we’re just plain happy to have him with us today.
Arnie’s chosen a great topic, and I’m not going to interfere too much with Arnie’s presentation because I want to give him every precious minute possible, but there’s a couple housekeeping rules and thoughts for us all as we gather and as we’re trickling in:
#1: We love questions. I’m going to talk for about five or ten minutes today, and then start monitoring questions when Arnie takes over. I’ll gather all questions and then sort of facilitate some great Q & A’s for Arnie that you can track along with by sending questions in.
#2: Please send Arnie and I some love on Twitter if you would. I’ll show you where a Twitter address is in just a second—there you go. We really do enjoy hearing from people; any feedbacks, positive especially, but lay the negative on us as well. We’re happy to hear it.
#3: I’m super-excited to be part of Content Marketing Conference, of which Arnie is going to be a speaker and is actually going to be running a workshop as well. So, some shameless promotion for Content Marketing Conference. Many of you have already received a question that I sent out asking, “If you were to attend one conference, what would it be?” And I have to tell you, almost a thousand people responded to that with incredible information that I’m putting together. And I’ve actually assembled some of the questions that I’ve got that are sort of a preface to this whole optimization program which I’m going to go through in a second.
So thanks for your feedback, thanks for your support for Content Marketing Conference. It’s going to be a phenomenal educational event like, I think, nothing you’ve ever seen before, complete with some new features like “Tool Talk” which we’ll talk more about in the future, an opportunity for peer-to-peer communication—it’s just really going to be different and exciting and boutique-y and an opportunity to get some real grassroots understanding of how to do things, how to put them to work related to content-planning and creation, optimization, distribution and performance measurement.
Ok. Without further ado, let’s chime in so I can give Arnie the full sense here. But I want to sort of preface with some really good questions that I know all of you have about content and optimization and how the two fit together—the love affair, if you will, I think is a theme we may actually pick up on at the conference.
But you know, the real question is, “Does my content even need to be optimized these days?” I mean, a lot of people are under this, sort of, you know… methodology… that maybe Google is just so smart these days that we no longer need to pepper and scatter keywords in content. And I think it’s that micro-focus on SEO that’s really gotten us into a lot of trouble. SEO is not just peppering keywords in content. It’s in fact developing a strategy built around the incredible intelligence and data we have that search-engines are providing to us; namely, what are people searching for, how good does that content need to be, how does Google understand what content is better than others—that’s really what search engine optimization is really all about and that’s what we’re all trying to figure out.
So the answer is, “Yes, you need to optimize,” but perhaps the definition of optimization is changing, which brings me to my next point. “Should I be optimizing for both readers and the search engines?” I think we’ve always asked ourselves that, but it’s becoming much more interesting these days, particularly as we analyze content marketing to say, “How do we optimize for readers?” How do we really do that? And how can I do more of that?
There is of course this whole “best practice” issue. I was thinking about the concept of “best practice” and how really strange a concept that is. I don’t think there’s one practice for creating content, or optimizing it. I think there are different practices that need to be applied for even different industries, or different stages of the funnel, namely the sales funnel. So I challenge us. I think there are some things that people need to learn about the work-flow and how we create content. And those are some really interesting questions that I think are a good setup for this presentation today.
And also, how do we optimize for readers in different stages of the funnel? I touched upon that briefly, but without question we learn factually these days through looking at analytics and what people interact with as they progress down through the funnel, that there are different needs. At the top of the funnel people are exploring, they’re comparing. At the bottom of the funnel they’re trying to make decisions that need more concrete examples. How do we create content around that? How do we optimize for that funnel? That’s a really big challenge.
Another balance is best tools. What should we be using to optimize our content? Should we be running them through language-analysis tools that give us a sense of grading or score-level of the proficiency of that content? Should we be running them through keyword-density tools? Should we be looking at popularity of keyword phrases? All difficult and challenging questions that we need to think about when it comes to optimization.
And finally, how can SEO help us find the right topics? SEO is really a tool—a methodology, if you will—to find the hot topics, using good solid data on popularity and other such variables that we can learn through analytics. What people are searching for, for example? What phrases are they using? How happy are they when they find things? Do they bounce off pages quickly? Or do they stay on those pages? Are they sticky? Is it sticky content? These are all things that we need to explore and look closely at when we think about optimization.
One of the big things that a lot of people are asking for is, “What if I don’t optimize my content?” There’s somebody that has an interesting application in for Content Marketing Conference that has never optimized any content, ever, in his day. He’s never used keywords in any content he’s created. And he’s actually driven--literally over a hundred-million people have looked at content that he’s published, and he’s never optimized. It’s an interesting concept, and entertaining [to hear] him speaking—he’s actually a customer of Writer Access and a really interesting person. And how much better would his content perform if he did optimize it? That’s an interesting question.
What you’ll hear from him, however, is it’s not about the optimization, it’s about some inner gut instinct that he must have, and/or looking at different kinds of analytics, not necessarily the usage of content. That’s really the secret to his sauce.
So, what if I don’t optimize my content? Will there be a penalty for that? Will I not drive traffic? These are things people want to know. And finally—ok, I said finally before, but I’m saying it now—finally, how can I really empower my team members to prioritize, to make optimization a priority, with all the many things they have to do?
One of the secrets there that I’ve learned, through clients we’re working with, is literally making your content strategist and your creators accountable for the delivery of content. All of a sudden when someone’s accountable for delivering content, rather than just delivering an asset that’s going to be published on the web, I think they have a slightly different view about how that content is going to be created and what methodology they’ll use to drive performance.
So how can we magically get all these answers to all these SEO questions that I just asked, and a lot more? I’ve got an awesome discount code for 25% off –my gosh, I sound like a sales person there and I hate sales people—but if you use “WACCESS” then you will get a 25%-off code, for these glorious listeners here that are on board, to the conference. So enjoy that, and thanks very much. So here’s some quick links. Everybody will be getting these links to a couple of books I wrote as well. So without further ado, over to you, Arnie. Thanks somuch.
Arnie: Sounds good. Thanks Byron, I appreciate the setup. Let me switch over to my slides real quick here. Alrighty. So, do you see my slide?
Byron: Yeah. Perfect.
Arnie: I’m off and running. Alright. Again, thanks for the introduction, I appreciate it. Thanks for having me here for about, say, hopefully the next 45 minutes with Q & A. You talked about me real quick—I do run a 50-person search, social, and content-marketing agency in Phoenix, Arizona. Our clients range from good sized local HVAC companies to some of the biggest brands in the world, and I also wrote this book on the bottom left there called Content Marketing Works and I will tell you how you can get it for free at the end of this webinar.
I’m going to dive right in. Obviously, you know, Byron did a really nice job of setting up all the different optimization issues and things that are going to be set up at the conference; I’m going to pretty much focus on the actual…I suppose it would be called “technical SEO”. We have a pretty large SEO team here. My roots are SEO; I was doing SEO 12, 13, 14 years ago before I started to focus purely on content marketing myself and for the agency. So I’m going to talk about the most common mistakes that we see, how to optimize specific types of content that you might not be optimizing well or correctly right now, and then how to make sure you are set up for the future.
So, I know Byron talked about a guy who has had millions of views to his content, but what we do know is that most content is found through search engines, and the last place you want to be is on page two, as I’m sure all of you can imagine. The last time that you clicked over to page two of Google search results page—it was probably a long time ago. Generally we refine our searches. So I went to our team and I asked them, actually a few months ago, as they looked back over the last year, what were the most common issues from an SEO perspective that we found on websites that we were analyzing? So the very first one, that kind of actually surprised me when it came out, was unintentional duplicate content.
Basically what this means—and I’ll cover a little bit as I’m going through these slides—it really means that you have an architectural or a structural issue with your website, and one of the most common things we see is certainlyif you set up a blog on your site, or maybe if you’re using a WordPress platform, or on ecommerce sites—we’ve got a couple of very large ecommerce clients that we work with, and we look at their product pages, and what happens is, if you’re not very careful about how you set things up, you might provide multiple ways for your users to get to exactly the same piece of content.
So for example on a blog you might write a blog post but then you assign it to two different categories and maybe you add four or five tags to that blog post. And of course you’re an author of that blog post. So people might find it by clicking through from your author page, they might find it by clicking through from the category page, and maybe one of those tags, and so now there are multiple URLs pointing to exactly the same piece of content on your website. And what happens is Google finds these multiple URLs and it is not sure which one to rank. So you want to be careful that by using canonical tags—that’s usually one of the best ways to take care of that. The same thing happens with product pages. You set it up multiple ways, you have multiple categories, tags, so on and so forth, and now there’s multiple ways to find exactly the same page with different URLs and you need to take care of that.
The next thing we find, of course, is bad backlinks. It was something that was extremely common for many agencies, many companies, to build backlinks to their site. Google taught us for years and years and years that was the way to get higher rankings, and the anchor text really mattered, and so we’re all out there trying to become number one or number two or number three in our search rankings for all our different keyword phrases, and two or three years ago Google basically cracked down on that. They felt if you were artificially building links, that was now a serious no-no and when they rolled out their update called “Penguin” people paid a price if they had over-done this in the past. So we are still finding that those backlinks need to be cleaned up in a lot of websites.
The other thing is over-optimization or cannibalization of targeted keywords. Simply describing this is that you’ve built many pages, or at least a few pages, all trying to chase that money phrase, that keyword phrase that’s important to you, and again Google can’t figure out which one is the page it’s actually supposed to rank for a certain set of keyword phrases.
Bad and duplicate title tags. Hopefully, this is just a laziness issue. I would hope—and certainly as a part of this webinar you’re going to learn that you need to have unique title tags on every page, so can’t just cut and paste your title tags throughout your website. You need to be very careful about that. Again, you don’t want to confuse Google.
Bad and duplicate meta-descriptions. Same thing. You can’t just cut and paste meta-descriptions. Each page should have its own unique title tag and meta-description.
Poorly optimized images and videos—I’m going to actually go into some detail there so I won’t cover it too much right here but we see that a lot, obviously.
Page-load time is something that’s come up in the last couple of years, where Google with their “Panda” and their “Penguin”, “Hummingbird” updates to their algorithm—actually Hummingbird’s a whole new algorithm—but all the changes that they’ve been making the last two or three years, what they’ve kind of used as their defining thing is they’re making it all about user-friendliness, right? So they want to make sure that they’re serving up really, really good content when people do a search, but part of the factor is, “how fast will your page load?” So if you’re lucky enough to show in the search results and someone clicks on it and they go to your page, how long does it take for that page to load? And certainly if people are bouncing away from that page because it isn’t loading very quickly, you’re going to start dropping in the search rankings. So you do need to pay attention to the images, and ads, and everything else that might be on your page that is slowing down the page-load time.
Poor or thin content. That was really targeted. That’s when this all really kind of hit, where content marketing started to explode from a phrase that’s being searched every day, it’s being talked about. There’s agencies like ours that are totally focused on content marketing. I think that got a huge push from Google when they rolled out the “Panda” update and I believe—I can’t remember the month any more, I know it was 2011, so we’re getting on to the third or fourth year of this, and it targeted what we would call poor or thin content on websites.
I’ll give you a quick description. If you were a realtor and I’m in Phoenix, Arizona and you’re trying to be optimized in rank for “Scottsdale realtor”, “Mesa realtor”, “Tempe realtor”, “Phoenix realtor” and you created four, five, six, ten pages all primarily with exactly the same text except for changing out “Phoenix” to “Mesa”; “Phoenix” to “Tempe”; “Phoenix” to “Scottsdale”, that was considered “poor or thin content” and that’s really been pretty much slapped down by Google over the last few years as well.
Keyword mis-focused. As you can tell, it’s ninth on the list here so we don’t see this too often, but [it’s] where the title tag and the meta-descriptions, maybe even the H1 on a page doesn’t seem to quite line up with the content on the page. It seems as if you’re trying to spoof or fool Google. So we do see that.
And then last—it does still happen—is blocked pages. Or sometimes we see the entire site blocked. And usually what’s happening here is someone’s working on creating a page, or a subdomain, or an entire new website. Your web-dev team has set up a development server so maybe now your whole website is over on dev.yourwebsite.com, and you finally get the approval to push it live and you do and you forget to remove the “noindex nofollow” tags that you entered so that Google wouldn’t index the site while it’s being developed. And now you’ve pushed it live, and you’ve basically hidden your site from Google. When you see your traffic basically just plummet over a 30-day period and you can’t figure out what it is, that’s what we’ll discover. And it can happen on individual pages or subdomains as well. Those are a little bit harder to determine, because you might not notice the drop in traffic, but you still have this noindex, nofollow on pages you don’t want that on.
So here’s an example. Someone who speaks quite often on the content marketing circuit. He’s become quite famous over the last two or three years; he’s got a system, he teaches workshops and clients how to do content marketing. He was actually in Phoenix about a year ago and I was actually taking him back to his hotel and he just looked at me and he said, “You know, I’ve got this one client that’s been following our system, and it just can’t seem to get any movement in ranking or traffic or anything. It just doesn’t seem to be working. Do you think you guys could take a look at it?”
So we did. It was a very large transportation company in New York City. So he sent us over the link and the client and we reviewed their site, and basically here’s what we found: After they did follow the system, and spent five months of doing the content marketing, creating the content, posting it to their site, making sure they were creating content people were searching for, they still couldn’t see the results they were hoping for. What we discovered was they in fact had a penalty dating all the way back to August of 2012 for things they had done in the past. They had a huge duplicate content issue, so a lot of the same text was showing up on—as you can see here—259 different pages when we looked at it.
They had wide use of duplicate or near-duplicate title tags and page content. And then the fourth bullet here is something we just don’t see very often so it was kind of shocking, but all of their image content and much of their HTML content was actually hosted on another domain. And so of course when Google’s bot, or spider, or whatever you want to call it was crawling their site, it would find this image content and this other text content that appeared as if it was on another host, another domain, and they weren’t getting any credit for it. So we had to get that fixed. And they had lots of spammy anchor text even though they claimed they had never built any backlinks; we saw that there was definitely an issue there.
The good news is, after we did all our research, provided all this data back to them, they spent a couple of months fixing it and after they did that, their traffic more than doubled within about 90 days. And so to me right there goes to showing how important proper optimization is. And you have to be very, very careful. The issue is you don’t want to confuse Google. You may be following the perfect marketing formula or strategy or whatever but there still are real optimization issues that need to be addressed, that need to be followed, or, like I mentioned here, if you do confuse Google you’ll ultimately end up losing.
So the reason I have this screen set up now is to show you kind of what we see typically when we do a search these days, especially any kind of a localized search. You generally see four different kinds of things being displayed on a Google search results page. At the very top is the classic blue links, at the top left corner; below that is images; down at the very bottom is some video search results and the top right is the typical local—the map and so on and so forth. And the reason I put this up here is to remind all of you that are creating content.
If you’re one of the writers with Writer Access—when we work with writers we generally ask them, “Can you please give us also the title tag and the meta-description, and then optimize if you’re including images (the way I’m going to show you to optimize images). When we ask a writer to write for us, or when we’re writing for clients, we want at least two images in every piece of content that we’re creating—you know, when it’s appropriate. Obviously an infographic stands on its own and so on and so forth. But a typical blog post, a typical web page we want multiple images on a page, we want those optimized, we want plenty of text; if you’re going to incorporate video, great. If the page has anything to do with local you want to make sure you’ve got your rich […] in there that’s telling Google you know “this is our phone number, this is our address,” and so on and so forth. So you want to keep that in mind with every single piece of content that you do create.
And that’s the core elements for basically your entire website but generally you’re optimizing pages, right? So one of the things that’s still really, really important today even though link-building and links have really gone through the wringer over the last two or three years is—Google will still say that links pointing to your content are still one of the most important if not the single most important factor to showing up in search results. And these can be links—it could be from Twitter, people linking to a Twitter update, status update, but it also could be links from internal pages. I just wanted to make a special note of that, that when you are creating content, and you’re posting your blog posts, remember to look for really nice opportunities within the content—so, within the text that you’ve written—to link to another page on your website. And you just have to make sure—don’t do it from an “optimization” standpoint, do it from a user perspective. Make sure that when someone does click on that link, it takes them to a page that makes sense and adds value to what they were reading before. But those links will actually help share your overall website’s authority and “link juice” onto the new pages that you’re creating, or even back to old pages that you created long ago.
Again, make sure you focus on your titles and title tags, they’re viewed in the search results, I’ll show you that in just a second. Same thing with your description and meta-tags, your H1 tag, which is the “headline” tag. You can only have one on a page, I’ll show you that detail in a second as well. Optimize your images, worry about page-load times and freshness of content. You need to keep adding new content to a website to keep the Google-bot, the crawler, coming back to your site and looking for new pages to index. If you haven’t put anything new on your website in the last year, odds are Google’s thinking that maybe you’re no longer an authority, you’re no longer valid, and the bot might not even be coming back to look for new pages very often on your website. So you do need to create fresh content.
So now I’m going to take a bit of a deep dive into a few of those elements here. So, first the title tag. The reason I’m pointing this out now in this presentation is that there has been a somewhat recent change: back in 2014, Google changed the pixel- or the font-size of the search results. And most searchers and most people out there didn’t even realize it. I mean, the search results showed up and you didn’t realize that the title tag and actually the meta-description was suddenly a font size larger. So in this example you can see the very top, the Dr. Seuss example there, all of their words—the title tag is the blue part, the blue underlined part, and that’s also the link in the Google search results. All of those words appear.
But after Google made their change, if you look at the second option there, notice that it’s truncated. Where it gets off to the right, “Cat in the Hat—“ those last seven, eight, ten characters are cut off. So now we have clients that are actually going through and checking all of their title tags to make sure that they’re under the 55-character kind of rule of thumb. Anything over 55 characters, there’s a good chance that it won’t show and won’t be a part of your message in the Google search results.
And then moving on to the meta-description, kind of the same thing. The text size or pixel size has actually increased, and where I think we used to have a hundred and—I forget what it was, hundred and thirty, hundred and forty characters to work with, now the rule of thumb is only about 115 characters. And so remember you need to have a unique title tag and meta-description on every page, and you need to think about what it’s going to be because this is a marketing thing. When people see your search results in Google, this is your chance to convince them to click on yours rather than somebody else’s that might be above or below you, because your description, your meta-description, tells them what they’re going to see if they click through to your page.
H1 tags, same thing. They should be very much similar to your page title. It’s like the headline in that newspaper article; you can only have one, it tells the bot what to expect on the page when it gets there. And you can have multiple H2s, you know, sub-headings, and multiple H3s throughout a page but only one H1. Don’t try to fool Google.
And often times you might hire a company or do this on your own and use some proper tools like Screaming Frog or whatever it is to go off and literally and do an inventory of all your pages. And this is a pretty in-depth thing and time-intensive thing, but you want to look at all of your pages and see are you cannibalizing one page over another. You make sure that you have all of your title tags unique and so on and so forth. There’s tools to capture all this data and you just have to sort through it and make sure that each page is as unique as possible.
Alright. So I talked a couple of times already about optimizing images and videos. I want to really emphasize that if you’re not taking a few minutes to optimize images on your page, you really should. The benefits can be huge. Everything I’ve talked about so far might seem a little bit technical, you might say, “Ugh, really? Do I really have to do that?” But if you’re really into content marketing, you spent hours creating a strategy, hours coming up with ideas, hours creating the content itself, and now just before you go to hit that “publish” button, if you would take five minutes and make sure there is a title tag, make sure there is a meta-description, make sure you only have one H1. You know those are pretty standard things to check, but make sure that’s the case, and then take a few more minutes and just optimize the images on the page. The difference can be huge. Just by getting these few elements right, again after you spent hours getting to the point where you’re ready to hit “publish”.
So here’s how you would optimize an image. So the first bullet is to make sure the file size is as small as possible, so it does load quickly, doesn’t slow things down when someone clicks through, and generally jpegs work the best for that. And then here’s two big hints: instead of uploading the default file name that came out of your camera or wherever it is that you got that image, so instead of DL…whatever that is, 00031.jpeg, change it to what the image actually is. You know, “red-sports-car”. And especially if you’re in an ecommerce situation or you are using someone else’s image with permission, don’t just re-use their file name, change it. You know, change it to be unique. And then also, make sure you insert some keywords—not too many, you’re not trying to spam anything—but maybe simply the words “red sports car” or “red Chevy Corvette” or whatever it is into the “alt” attribute. Because Google can’t see images, so you’re going to have to tell Google what it is. So you’re telling it via the file name and then this “alt” tag. Make sure you take a few minutes to enter them there.
And then context matters. There’s not a whole lot you can do about that—the only reason I have this bullet here is, you know, make sure you’re adding the appropriate images with the appropriate information on the appropriate page. If this page has nothing to do with red sports car, well then you might change the file name and change the alt tags or change the image altogether if it just doesn’t make sense to be on that page. Because one of the things Google does do is look at the words surrounding an image to try to determine what this image might be.
The reasons you might want to do this and the reason I have that Facebook “like” button there, is we created a post a few years ago, and I don’t remember the post any more but I know it was about Facebook and we had the Facebook “like” button on that blog post, and we optimized it just the way I’m showing you here and over the next couple of weeks after we posted it and actually for quite a long time afterwards, we literally had thousands of visitors to that blog post because they discovered the image on Google Image Search. Because it was optimized, and it was evidently back when Facebook was really, really starting to race and take off and people were looking for the Facebook “like” button and we had it optimized well and it brought a huge amount of traffic to our site. And here they are reading our blog now because the image, the single image, brought them there.
And here’s another example. I don’t know how many of you on this webinar might recognize this guy but Rand Fishkin’s pretty well known in our industry and one day not too long ago I’m watching my Twitter account and I get a tweet from Rand that says something like, “Proud to be listed,” or “Proud to be ranked, but Arnie got the link.” I could not figure out what he was talking about. I went to this site that’s listing the hundred most influential digital marketers in the world—of course I’m hoping I’m on the list, I’m looking for my name because he’s mentioned me and I can’t figure it out and finally I go and I find this little thing down there. A link to Vertical Measures under his image. And what we figured out was that when these people were writing this article and listing all these digital marketing professionals out there, they were searching for an image of Rand. And they evidently went to Google Image Search, did a search for “Rand Fishkin” whatever, and found our image from an interview I had done with him a couple of years earlier. And of course I had it optimized so it showed, they used that image and we got the link on this pretty authoritative site under Rand’s profile. So years later it paid off.
So, optimizing videos is pretty similar, but I will say unless you are self-hosting most of these tips are going to be for how to optimize it well on YouTube. If you are self-hosting, if you’re using Wistia or some other self-hosting platform, then you can use some of these inside that platform. What I’m going to cover is what most of you are probably doing, which is hosting it on YouTube.
So first of all, again, you do want to have a title and you do want to change the file name, right? So just like I talked about with images and photos, do the same thing with videos. Change the core file name. Now, you upload it to YouTube. Again, you’ve taken all this time to get to the point where you have a video you’re finally uploading to YouTube—take three more minutes, four more minutes and follow the next couple of steps and you can see a dramatic difference in how many people end up viewing your video.
One is to make sure you add a few tags. Don’t overdo it, add a few appropriate tags that really represent the video that you’ve created, and the reason you want to do that is tags are the biggest thing that correlate to suggested videos that show up on the right-hand side when you’re inside of YouTube. You know you see the suggested videos? That’s how most videos are actually discovered, is through that channel on the right side of the YouTube page, and they’re correlated by the tags. So if you tag yours, you would stand a better chance of showing up over there in the suggested video column.
Also, in your description 1) add a description—take the time to add some kind of description of the video, but I highly recommend always starting your YouTube video descriptions with http:// and a link to the appropriate page on your website. So you have a how-to video of how to use one of your products, let’s say, right? So you’re showing how to assemble it or whatever the video might be, but it specifically correlates to one of your products or maybe a blog post you wrote in the past or maybe…whatever it is. So when you write the description, again, start it off with a link to that product page, where that product resides. Because if people are watching that video you want to give them every chance –the easiest path—to get to doing business with you. So if you’ve just got a description there, they’ve got to figure out, “Oh, this is so-and-so’s YouTube channel,” now they’ve got to go find your website. Put the link in there, but it has to start with http:// if you just do www or whatever it will not be a live link. If you add the http it will be a live link and take them right to the page where you want them to go to.
And then the last bullet is really just be careful about the quality and resolution. Most people actually understand we’re shooting video with our iPhones or whatever it might be. So as long as they can see it, the resolution’s good, and the audio quality is good, they’re pretty tolerant. It doesn’t need to be television-grade video that you’re posting. So just again make sure that the audio’s good and it’s not grainy or dark or whatever, the resolution is good as well.
Alright. So if you think you might be penalized, I’ve talked about how to optimize things. Well, let’s just say that you haven’t been paying attention to some of these things and you’ve seen a drop in you traffic, you may have been hit by one of these black-and-white animals. And it’s pretty easy to tell. If you see a pretty big dropoff in your traffic somewhere along the way and if you’re looking at you Google Analytics, that’s a good indicator. You might also just keep checking your webmaster tools, because they will give you a message most of the time. If you’ve received a penalty, you’re going to get something that tells you. This one says, “unnatural inbound links.” But it’ll tell you that you’ve been penalized, and you need to clean it up.
And it is possible to recover. It does take a lot of work. We’ve seen it over and over though. Here’s a couple of examples real quick of seeing recovery from a penalty. I’m not going to go into a huge deep dive on how to do it here. If you want—I guess it’s my first plug, but—we’ve created a kit. I’m actually really proud of this. It’s about a 60-page guide. Your “Complete Google Recovery Kit”. You see the link there where you can download it. It’s got a couple spreadsheet templates for when you need to submit things to Google to get things, some of your links disavowed, and all that stuff but it walks you all [through] how to get yourself out of a penalty.
And I will tell you, if you think you’re in a penalty, it is tricky business to get out of it, and it can take many months to do it, it can take many requests to Google. Don’t get frustrated, though. You can get out of a penalty and the recovery can be like the results I showed you in those previous slides. It can be dramatic. You can get back to your previous, if not better, traffic results than pre-penalty.
So. I talked about some of the technical aspects, I talked about if you’re in a penalty and so on and so forth, now I want to talk about you know making sure that everything you’re doing from this point forward is giving you the best possible advantage to show up in Google or Bing or whatever search engine--primarily we’re all focused on Google--but to show upon page one of the search results. And so one of the things that I think you need to understand is that when people are actually looking to make a purchase, to do business online, 93% of us will turn to a search engine—and again, primarily Google—to do research before making that purchase.
Just think how you went out and bought your last automobile. Or pair of shoes. Or watch. Or iPhone. Or whatever it might have been. I’ll bet you went online and did some research. And you might be thinking, “Yes, but I’m in a situation where I’m up against the big brand,” or whatever. Well if you look at the middle there, 86% of the time we’re searching for non-branded queries.
I hike a lot. So maybe I’m going to look for “ankle-high men’s waterproof hiking boots,” right? I mean there’s—whatever I just said, 6 words—and I didn’t mention a brand. But that’s how we are searching today. And then again, the vast majority of us will click on the organic links as opposed to the sponsored ads that wrap around the Google page. So that real estate is really, really valuable and we want to make sure that we give ourselves every chance to show up there.
So the key to keep in mind, and Byron actually mentioned it a couple of times, about creating content that people are actually searching for. That is where it all starts from an optimization perspective. Top of the funnel: what are they searching for? Obviously the buyers are out there, they’re searching for information that helps them make an informed decision. And that’s what we do. And the businesses that get that, the ones that provide that information, they’re winning now and they’re going to win in the long run.
So what I recommend, I’m going to walk through because we get asked this a lot as an agency, “How do I keep coming up with content ideas?” And if you’ve seen any of my presentations at any of these conferences, I almost always cover this phase because this is, again, where people get hung up the most. They might have a strategy, they might have the writers on board, people who are ready to shoot video, blah blah blah, they may even have done their first 12 posts and now they don’t know what to do next. So I’m going to take about five minutes, I’m going to show you some really good tools, every one of them are free, and ways to come up with hundreds of content ideas.
I’m going to go through it fairly quickly. Again, we’re focused on optimization here. So you want to know what it is that people are searching for. And if you’re primarily concerned about Google as your primary search engine, then I would go to Google, and I would do this: I was actually speaking at a conference in Arizona, and we’re the Grand Canyon State, and it was actually a travel conference, so I thought, “Well, I’m going to show them some examples if people were travelling to Arizona, maybe to visit the Grand Canyon, what would they search for?
So you can do this, you can apply this to your business. From an ideation perspective, just think of if someone was looking for your products or your services, and they didn’t know you by brand, what would they you know be searching for? And just start typing things in and watch what Google suggests. Because this is using Google’s own data, contemporary data based on search volumes, to suggest, “hey, here’s what other people are searching for,” when they type in “visit the grand---”.
In this case it’s “visit the grand canyon” and the reason I love this example—I’ve used this many, many times and I realize it almost never gets this good—but you see it says, “visit the Grand Canyon in March.” December. February. May. April. So as a content marketer my first thought is, “Hey, I can write 12 blog posts.” The only word that might change in the title, I’d probably change a little more than that, is the month. I could talk about what time is sunset and sunrise during that month. What is the weather like. What is the average number of visitors. Where’s the best place to shoot photos. Just all kinds of things for each of the months. And they have 12 very unique pieces of content.
And you see they’re also asking about visiting the grand canyon from Vegas and from Phoenix. There’s great content around that if you were in a business that would be impacted by this. You can scroll to the bottom of the page and get more ideas with the related searches. So, “Best time to visit the Grand Canyon.” “Best way to visit the Grand Canyon,” and so on and so forth.
I’m going to show you a couple tools now that actually take that to a whole new level. So it’s keywordtool.io on the right-hand side there. Go there, and you can enter in the same thing I did here, “visit the Grand Canyon,” and it drops down—right here there are literally hundreds and hundreds of search suggestions using Google Suggest as the core to get the results for you. And so use a tool like that and just start writing down all these ideas for content, again, based on what people are actually searching for.
Here’s another tool I just found in the last 30 days, called sg.SerpStat.com. So you’ll have to write that url down or get this presentation later or whatever but sg.serpstat.com. What I like about this is you put in your keyword there where I put in “grand canyon” and you’ll watch it kind of work for a second and now it starts coming back with all sorts of questions that are being asked around the Grand Canyon. You know, “Who owns the Grand Canyon? Who discovered the Grand Canyon?” and so on and so forth. Because remember, people are asking questions online. Here’s a tool that will help produce questions that you can answer with your content.
Another tool that’s been around for quite a while is ubersuggest.org. The only reason I’m taking a minute to show you this slide is oftentimes we maybe struggle with coming up with the best title, and so this is what I use it for. Once I have an idea like “visit the Grand Canyon” that I want to write about, I might go and enter it here and you’ll see these dropdowns with all the green pluses and how it kind of explodes, and I just use it to kind of look at that and say, “Oh, maybe this is a good way to use that title that incorporates this ‘visit the grand canyon’ keyword phrase.” So you know, “visit the grand canyon from Las Vegas in a helicopter” or whatever it might be. And so of course if my business was about that, I’d certainly want to create some content around that.
Alright. I think this is the last one here. Talk about using question-and-answer sites. So one of my favorites is just to use Yahoo. So it’s answers.yahoo.com. And I would go and I would enter in exactly the same question which I did, which is “visit the Grand Canyon”, and in this particular case 410 questions had the phrase “visit the Grand Canyon” in it. Questions and answers. So, right off the bat, on the very first page, and there’s 40 more pages behind this, I see things like, “What’s the best way to visit the Grand Canyon from Vegas?” “Activities while visiting the Grand Canyon,” “I’ve got three days, I’ve got two days to visit the Grand Canyon.” So again, if you were a business that had anything to do with visitors coming—if you’re a hotel in the area, restaurants in the area, travel service, the convention and visitors’ bureau, whatever it is, you could be creating content like this that people are actually searching for.
I’ll keep on rolling here. What I recommend though, before you create that piece of content, take this last step. Take the title you think you’re going to write about, enter it into Google to make sure that it hasn’t already been written about 38 times. And in this case I did “Visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas” because I saw it show up several times, and what I see here is a perfect opportunity. Yes. On the very first listing there at the top circled in orange is “How to Visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas,” by USA Today. It’s a perfect piece of content based on that search query, but look below it. Nobody else has really created a piece of content, that seems to be highly searched, which is “visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.” So again if I was one of those businesses I just rattled off, I would probably create a piece of content around visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. And if I had a decent domain I would probably show up here on page one of Google search results. I might not bump USA Today out of the way, it’s a nice strong domain, it’s been there for a while, but I’d be thrilled with being number two on this list.
So once you’ve done that, grab all the content ideas that you’ve worked through that process, list them in a spreadsheet. Here’s an example of that, and I’m not going to spend too much time here, but you list those, add notes, decide if you think it’d be a good article, or a good video or whatever. We will go in and add the competitive volumes—is it highly competitive or not, what are search volumes, and we use this to now lay out our content editorial calendar.
So you want to do this on an annual basis. You want to add monthly details. You’ve got to get to this point if you’re a manager or anybody responsible for producing the content and you might be thinking, “What does this have to do with optimization?” Well, it has everything to do with it. Again, I’m talking about creating content, and like Byron said in the very beginning, to make sure it’s hitting them in the right purchase path that they’re in, and that you’ve got a promotion plan behind it. There’s more to it than just publishing the content. Once it’s done, you do need to let the world know that this content is now live on your site. If you want this template you can get it at VerticalMeasures.com/calendar. There are two free Excel templates that you can download, you don’t have to give your name or email or anything, they’re just free downloads. So you just go there to that url and grab these two templates for yourself and modify them for your business of course.
So I’m going to head towards a wrap-up here with a couple of examples. One of my favorites is an appliance store in Boston called Yale Appliance. They worked with Marcus Sheridan, and followed his process for content marketing, which is a lot of what I just talked about, making sure they understood what people were searching for, and this is their home page.
They had their sales people and other staff members just start writing and producing lots of content all around their business. And they knew that people would do comparisons online for appliances, so like this--Maytag vs. Electrolux front-load washers. And we do that, right? Before we go to buy a phone maybe we’re comparing the Samsung to the iPhone or televisions the same thing, Samsung to LG; here’s Maytag to Electrolux.
So if you will here’s the title of one of their posts, if you just pretend you’ve read it and you’re scrolling to the bottom of this blog post, they have these great call to actions. And so here, buy the washing buyer guide. So they created these buyer guides. And they have many of them. If you go to their resource page there are dozens of buyer’s guides, appliance-buying guides, refrigerator buying guide, counter-depth refrigerator buying guide. We call it a hub-and-spoke model. The hub is this free guide and the spokes are all of these blog posts and tweets and Facebook updates and so on and so forth, all pointing back to get someone to download these guides, which becomes a lead for them.
And the result—I actually did an interview with Steve, the owner, a while back, and the results are that following this process, and making sure they’re optimized, their traffic almost quadrupled. The number of leads per month almost tripled. You can imagine how excited the sales people are. Revenue is up 40% since starting their content marketing program, and according to Steve, the owner, their profitability is up way more than that because they were able to eliminate other marketing expenses. It does work if you follow the formula.
So my second-to-last slide here is we will be teaching our full-day content marketing workshop at Byron’s awesome event, Content Marketing Conference, that’s coming up in Vegas, he talked about it in the beginning. I think he’s got one more slide when I’m finished here but it’s May 12-14 in Las Vegas at the Rio Suites, there’s the url for it. I would love to see you as part of the workshop and I also promised to tell you how you can get my book for free and it’s pretty simple. There’s a short url for it; if you just go to vert.ms/cmworks and I believe it all has to be lower case it will take you to a page where you can download that. It’s about a 300-page book following the eight steps that we do in our workshop, and one of the steps is full optimization so it talks about, in greater detail, everything I just covered in the last 40 minutes. And that’s how you can get the book for free.
And I will turn it back over to Byron. And thank you very much for listening.
Byron: Arnie, just fantastic presentation. You can hold right on that slide so people can be sure to copy that while we talk for a little while. The first question that came in is a great one. It’s, “Are blog and/or forum entries on your site counted as new content in Google’s eyes?”
Byron: Blog posts.
Arnie: If you mean a comment on a blog—
Byron: It probably just means blog and/or forum entries. Probably comments, I would think comments.
Arnie: Yeah. Comments, reviews, Q&A, forums, anything new that’s appearing on your site would look as if it’s fresh content, new and relevant content to Google. Comments on a single blog post really help that page.
Byron: And are you seeing actual comments be ever featured in the Google results? I’m curious.
Arnie: They’re probably indexed but I’ve never seen those show up in search results, no. Not the specific, individual comment.
Byron: Yeah, got it. Ok. Another question is, somebody was looking at one of your slides that talked about 90% of—it says, “How is the 90% on organic when Google has made it hard to know the difference?” That’s an interesting point.
Arnie: Yeah. Well that is a good question. Yeah. Well I will tell you, those numbers have been moving. It used to be, I’ve seen it as high as 96% of the time you click on organic. That was three years ago. You’ll notice on that slide, I think I have 90% + because it slides around. I’ve seen studies that are as low as 86, and that is because Google is taking up more and more of that real estate but most of us do know the difference between an ad and the organic listings when we’re on the page, and people just don’t want to click on ads. And so they know they’re there, but they’re looking at the natural results because they’re smart enough and they know that’s what they’re looking for.
Byron: And remember, of that 10%, you know half of that is your competition just burning your pay-per-click dollars. That’s another subject in itself.
Arnie, when you go and do a cleanup of a customer’s site, a client’s site, what lift do you tend to see when you walk through all of your amazing points that you talked about today?
Arnie: What lists do we see?
Byron: What lift in traffic? Does it vary from site to site? It probably does. But in general when you go clean it up—and here I’m talking about, say they had a lot of these problems, duplicate content issues, title tags were a [mess], meta-descriptions, image tags, maybe part of their site had do not follows on it, all the wonderful things that you talked about today, what lift are you tending to see by following this protocol that you talked about today?
Arnie: Well, I’m not sure what you mean by the list, actually.
Byron: Increased traffic.
Arnie: Oh, lift.
Byron: Lift, yeah.
Arnie: I’m sorry, I thought you were saying “list.” You know, that’s all over the board. Like the example I gave you, the transportation company in New York, their traffic more than doubled. It was like a 220% increase. That’s obviously a pleasant thing to see. I would say if they had problems and they got cleaned up, rarely do we see—and this is just me guessing, but—rarely do we see anything less than a 20% lift. And two or three hundred percent is pretty rare, so I don’t know if that would help give a range of probably at least a 20% lift and somewhere between that and a 100% lift.
Byron: Got it. Perfect. Sean has a great question. “Any difference in B2B that I should know about in all of this great knowledge?”
Arnie: Yeah I’m glad you pointed that out. I gave a pretty much B2C example with all that Grand Canyon and the travel and so on and so forth, and when we do the workshops, of course, we go into much bigger detail and I have several more examples on how you would do that for B2B. So even from an ideation standpoint one of the things we recommend is go to LinkedIn and go to the groups you belong to and see what questions people are asking in those groups and where the conversations are heading. It’s a great way to come up with ideas for content. From an optimization perspective it’s all the same. Google doesn’t know if you’re B2C or B2B. So you want to get all of those optimization elements straight regardless of what your market is.
Byron: Here’s a question from Jerry: “What are the best practices to use in social media posts to help with your site’s SEO,” and then, “Will group pages with your site name help?” Not sure what that last part means, but let’s go to the first one first. What are the best practices to use in social media posts to help with your site’s SEO?
Arnie: As of a year ago I am positive that social signals were not a part of the Google algorithm, and I was told that by Google. I believe now that, especially since they two, three weeks ago restarted their relationship with Twitter and are now indexing tweets, the Twitter stream, I do believe social signals will help with SEO but maybe not from the way you’re thinking.
The problem that Google has had is that there’s so much noise, there’s so much data in Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, just so much coming at them that they can’t really sort good from bad. But they do have an idea that look at—if this got re-tweeted 378 times or showed up, you know, two million views on YouTube, or on Facebook or whatever, it probably means it’s a decent-quality piece of content, and it’s probably going to show higher in the search results.
We don’t know what the cause and effect are just yet, it could just simply be that you know there’s a lot of traffic hitting this blog post so there’s all these signals being sent to Google that this piece of content evidently is authoritative and we’d better rank it highly, and people are not bouncing away from it. So from a social SEO perspective, you’ve just got to make sure that you’re using those channels. You don’t have to use all of them, and we concentrate on the big ones—Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, I’m probably missing one but there’s five. There’s SlideShare. So when we publish content we push it out through those channels and we work hard to get them shared. I think that answers the first part of the question. What was the second part again, if you remember? Oh, the page grouping.
Byron: It was would group pages with your site name help.
Arnie: I don’t know what that means. Do we have some—
Byron: I’ll come back to it.Sarah had a quick question. Does WriterAccess have a topic suggestion tool? As a matter of fact yes we do, thanks for the question. If a customer goes to “content tools” you’ll see we have a very similar tool, Arnie, to the tool you had listed which was that sg.SerpStat--
Byron: Which lists questions that people answer that all start with how, when, where, who, why. It lists priority, and we actually show search volume as well as the price, so we show a couple of other stats along with those to kind of help you find really good topics.
Arnie: And by “the price” you mean pay-per-click price.
Byron: Exactly right. Just to give people a sense of potential price versus popularity, which can, strangely, be different sometimes. Let’s see…another question. Jerry’s just going at it hard here. “If your site is already listed in the top of the search engine ranks for your keyword, what do you need to do to keep it there?” Maintaining rankings, Arnie.
Arnie: If it’s true what you said, congratulations, that’s awesome; and to keep doing it, the first thing that came to my mind is you have to keep producing content. You don’t ever want to rest on your laurels, you want Google to keep understanding that you are still relevant, you’re still fresh. So the best thing you can do is keep adding blog posts and tweet out a post that was a year old if you need to, whatever. Just keep traffic and stuff coming to your site.
Byron: A great question here. You didn’t talk about the length of content on a page. Do we still need to follow the rule of 300-400 words on a webpage to optimize? I don’t want to talk about this for an hour, maybe take like 30 seconds and then I’ll kind of put my opinion in as well.
Arnie: Well first of all I would never have said there was a rule of 300-400 words, I think that was a target a few years ago. There’s been studies done that show the average piece of content that shows in page one of Google is 15,000 words. I have slides in the workshop that talks about some of these things, but—I’m almost being a smartass, but—content should be as long as it needs to be to cover the issue without fluff. Sometimes that’s 100 words, and sometimes it’s 5,000—well, it’s never 5,000, that would be an ebook—but sometimes it’s 2,500 words. But I would say the more thorough, without fluff, the better.
Byron: I wouldn’t change too much, other than saying sad and sorry things are happening when writers continue to be forced to write to word count. You know, it’s just awful what happens to the quality of the content either in a pinched mode, where there’s not enough words there to create the content, or in the reverse where you’re filling and fluffing to hit a goal, you know to hit your income goal on that asset. So it’s just sad. But I’m certain that Google, as it continues to pound content with clearly an entire building full of linguistic Ph.D.’s that are looking much closer at content than we could ever possibly imagine, I think the days of selling word counts is going to go away, just like we are really seeing stuffing keywords go away. It was interesting, Arnie, that you didn’t really talk about that, and I would like your opinion on it. I mean, optimizing content has got to be healthy and of course using keywords or related keywords, contextually relevant keywords is obviously important, or how is Google going to understand that you deserve a top listing for that phrase?
Byron: It makes sense, but the stuffing element days are over, don’t you think?
Arnie: Oh without a doubt. Yeah you’re right. I don’t talk about stuffing, I don’t talk about density, keyword density, anything like that. What I tell our writers and our clients, or people in the workshops is yes, optimize the title, the actual title of the article. The title tag and the meta-description, those are where you want to make sure your keywords are showing, but other than that, write the content for the reader. Just write it for the reader. And I guarantee your keywords will be in there somewhere, but don’t worry about whether it’s in the first sentence, the last sentence, how many times it appears, just write really good stuff and it’ll optimize itself naturally from an on-page factor.
Byron: Super question here from Scott: “We have a blog where we review games. Is it bad to have a blog title that says, “blah blah: a review of ___?” Is it bad to have, “a review of” in many blog titles? What’s your take on that?
Arnie: Oh I see.
Byron: It’s a really interesting question.
Arnie: No, I think that’s fine, as long as the blah blah blah after the colon is all different. I mean, if you’re a review site, and it says, “A review of,” or whatever it is over and over again, but only, say, 30% of the title tag is those same words, that’s fine. That’s not the issue. That kind of thing is fine. You just don’t want to keep cutting and pasting.
Byron: It gets interesting. Whenever I see monotony and repeated action over and over again, with any content being created, I wonder if there’s a missed opportunity. I’m thinking now of the actual search results, where these reviews would potentially show up. You know, I’d be a little bit more enticed to click on, “Savvy review of ___” than I would on “Review of ___”—
Byron: --and seeing some variation, some excitement, or digging down into that game and seeing what is really juicy about that game and surfacing that back up into the title. Or an essentially contested concept within the review itself, like, “is Maytag better than…” you know, “washer review”, or “Maytag washer review. Are they really better than GE?” That’s digging down into a hint of what’s the story you’re going to tell. Does that make sense?
Arnie: I totally agree. I was trying to just quickly answer from a Google and optimization perspective. The sexier and the better you can make each title, you should do it, because what you just said. It might take two or three minutes to figure out, “Oh, ‘savvy’ is a great way to start this specific title,” then do it. Because it’s going to live forever, right? Once you’ve hit “publish”, you’re probably not going to go back and change it. But it could be out there for five years. So make sure you do what you just said. Think about what’s going to grab that person when they see it in the Google search results.
Byron: Here’s a really tough question, even for me. “What’s your view about purchasing blog posts from sources that will write and post weekly for you?”
Arnie: I’m not sure what you mean by that, but if you mean purchase—
Byron: I’m [...] off-site. I’d want to know is that on-site or off-site.
Byron: Purchasing fake blog posts that are written—supposedly reviews about your website, that point back to your website, that are not genuine reviews, is clearly spam, right?
Arnie: Right. Absolutely.
Byron: [..] is coming right after you. Now, having content created for your blog, and outsourcing the services to do that are quite commonplace, at least for […] thousand customers that […] at WriterAccess. Now what you do with that content is interesting. Many people want ghostwriters to write for them. I think they should have an obligation to look at the content being created for them, and put their spin on it, their stamp of approval if it’s going to have their name on it. Welcome to the real world on how people very often author books—they often hire ghostwriters to write those books for them. There are professional ghostwriters in this fine country of ours, the United States, that write books for a living. So there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s an art. But it is, at the end of the day, up to the author whose name is on the content to certify and put their stamp on it, that their name is at stake for what’s being published. Those are the rules of the game.
Arnie: Right. Perfect. I think that’s exactly right.
Byron: So have at it. What we’re also learning from Arnie is, hey, you need to train the search engine bots to come back to your site and see that steady stream of content.
Byron: It’s interesting one your examples, if you haven’t updated your site in a year—I’m thinking, if someone hasn’t updated their site in a year, a) they’re probably not alive right now, because they’re out of business, but b) I think that people are beginning to realize that even this concept of a couple blog posts a month, it’s just not what your readers want.
Forget about the search engines for a second. I think if you care about the wants and needs of your customers, you will want to give them information more than once or twice a month. That’s the bottom line. You want to give them a portfolio of information that allows them to pick what their pain point is, what their problems are and be directed to that specific content. And if you look at—what? 50 blog posts a year, once a month, that’s not a lot of ground to cover with the problems your customers likely have. That’s my take.
Arnie: Yeah. Our rule of thumb, our goal for any client is at least 12 new pieces of content a month, and we try to get 15 if we can. But I will say, you’d be surprised how many sites we have run across that haven’t added any new content in a year. You’d be surprised. And a lot of it is like professionals, maybe an accounting firm, or a dental clinic, you know whatever. They think, “Ok, I’ve got everything up and this is it, this is good.” And they haven’t changed it. They haven’t updated anything. And it happens.
Byron: Yeah. Martha has a nice follow-up to this. She’s saying, there are marketing companies that offer this service to law firms. You can buy this service. They will upload blog posts to your website every week. That sounds great to me. If someone is solving their content problem in a creative way and they’re happy with the service and the quality of the content, I think that’s fine. And there are some companies actually physically going into the blog and uploading the post. That gets a little dangerous from a legal perspective, which is why we don’t do it here at WriterAccess. To give the reins of your publishing engine to someone that you don’t necessarily know is tricky stuff in my mind. I think that you need to, almost by law and definition, be the person or a representative of your company that hits the “publish” button. I just feel like that’s an interesting case in point.
Arnie: The only thing I’d add to that is if you are hiring a service like that, you need to make sure that they’re not giving the same exact piece of content, or very very similar, to 30 other law firms at the same time.
Byron: Yeah. Exactly. We’ve seen that a lot, actually, with big huge conglomerates of content creation empires creating content for hundreds of different sites. It’s do-able, don’t get me wrong, but you have to have very good structure in place to make sure that the writers aren’t talking to one another and they’re not from one source, they’re all individual orders.
Here’s a good question. By the way, great questions, everyone, with Arnie. Your topic is fielding lots of interest. People are hanging on here.
Arnie: I should seriously just hang out. We’re 12:11 or something, in Arizona anyway.
Byron: GoToWebinar may shut us off here in a minute but anyway, so be it. Thanks for tuning in, everybody. But until then, if you ask about reputation management companies that create multiple directories online, to build inbound links for websites, to improve SEO, what are the pros and cons?
Arnie: Well, I hope that that is not still happening these days. There’s some directories that make sense for you to get listed in, if you consider, like, Yelp a directory, or whatever. But those directory moves that people were using a few years ago—most of those directories are wiped out. They might still exist on the web, but Google doesn’t even recognize them. So I would think, if your reputation management firm, if their only strategy was to build directories or find a lot of directories to link to, it’s probably not the best approach.
Byron: Yeah. That’s a real tough business, both to be in and to have to hire. I think that content and content marketing is the answer, Arnie. You nailed that question pretty right. Link-building is dangerous stuff, and it can get you, frankly, in more trouble than some bogus post about your company or yourself online. Not being listed at all in the search engine because of a link-popularity problem, now that’s a problem.
Byron: It can take an educational institute down. Literally. So I think the risk is too great there to hire somebody building false links offline to suppress negative listings. That’s my take—
Arnie: I totally agree.
Byron: In fairness to those listening on the recording of this, let’s close this out, Arnie and just thank you for an amazing presentation here. I really greatly appreciate it.
Arnie: I enjoyed it.
Byron: Right on. Until next month. Arnie I can’t wait to see you out in Vegas, it’s going to be exciting. Let me just tell everybody once again that discount. Let me do this so that we can see this one more time.
Arnie: I think you need to switch over to your—there you go.
Byron: So, yeah. Please tune in next month. Arnie, always a pleasure. Feel free to sign up at Content Marketing Conference for more of Arnie and more of our presentations at the show, and you can use the code WACCESS to get a 25% discount, which is awesome, off of whatever early-bird rate you’ll see published on the site whenever you’re able to sign up. So thanks for tuning in everybody; Arnie, thanks again.
Arnie: You bet. Thanks, Byron.
Byron: We’ll see everybody next month. Thanks.