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Make Content Your #1 SEO Strategy Initiative in 2018

seo periodic table

Make Content Your #1 SEO Strategy Initiative in 2018 was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

I’ve been in digital marketing for 10 years. It’ll be 10 years ago this January that I first walked through the doors at Bruce Clay, Inc.

I was fresh out of journalism school and studied journalism because I wanted to write truth to the world. By making information publicly available, I thought I could contribute to the greater good. I saw myself educating readers by sharing the stories of the world. Pretty altruistic, right?

I never thought that I was going to work in marketing. Who plans on a career in marketing? What 10 year old says, “I want to be a marketer when I grow up, Mommy!”

Well I’ve learned that marketers play a similar role as journalists but in the private business sector. We’re in the business of communications – crafting messaging and figuring out how to get that message in front of as many people as possible.

We use our storytelling talents and distribution know-how for our companies and our clients. Our job is to get the right story in front of the right audience.

After 10 years in SEO, I’ve learned that SEO wins happen at the intersection of identifying storytelling opportunities and maximizing the visibility of those stories through search.

And yet I think it can be easy for an SEO to forget a critical role they play for clients and for organizations: that of the content evangelist.

SEO’s can fall into a trap of focusing on the technical requirements for making content findable by search engines. And while crawlability and accessibility issues are key SEO responsibilities, big brands today are demonstrating that the competitive advantage lies in the crafting of 10x content and investing in SEO content strategy.

The Job of an SEO

Here’s an infographic you’ve probably seen before. It’s Search Engine Land’s Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. It does a really good job of hitting on every component of an SEO’s domain.

Click to visit SearchEngineLand.com where you can download the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors.

It’s neatly divided into on-page and off-page factors. Of course, nothing in real life is ever so neat. There’s always overlap and grey. There are no links without content. But if we accept this diagram at face value, we can still interpret a lot about an SEO’s top priorities.

For instance, look at the on-page factors. You’ll see content and you’ll see technical SEO. We know that Google has said that the two most important ranking signals are content and links. From that we can infer that technical SEO does not provide as big of a competitive advantage.

content and links seo ranking factors

Technical SEO is more like the barrier to entry for ranking. Is your site crawlable, is all the HTML in the right place, are duplicate pages consolidated with canonical and parameters excluded in Search Console. These technical SEO issues are critical to search visibility. Still I’d argue they are the lowest common denominator. You’re rarely going to climb to the first page or the top 3 rankings with clean, crawlable code. Not having these things will hurt you, but they won’t give you a competitive edge.

Remember what Google says – the most important ranking factors are links and content. And if you have to prioritize one of those things, it has to be content because content is what generates links.

Why Content Should Be Your Top SEO Priority

If you’re not convinced yet, here are concrete ways that you can empower your role in SEO by evangelizing content to your company or your clients.

1. Content is in your control.

When it comes to generating links and content, put the cart before the horse. As long as you’re not buying links, you’re going to need link-worthy content on your site that attracts links.

Who links to you is an X factor. It’s not as squarely in your control. What is in your control? Content.

2. Content has trackable metrics.

What gets measured gets done. While bottom line KPIs are traffic and conversions, those results are the outcome of the effort you put in to make your site an authority with a satisfactory user experience.

Leading metrics you can focus on improving are:

  • The number of thin pages that you make thick.
  • The number of new ranking pages you add to the site.
  • The number of pages on the site or pages indexed.

leading metrics for content

What’s awesome about focusing SEO campaigns on content is that you can truly track your progress when you’re focused on creating more great content.

3. Bigger sites make more money.

When your boss asks you “What’s the ROI of this content initiative?” you can say that big sites make more money.

When Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post in 2013, he brought a new growth strategy to the paper. WaPo grew WaPo traffic 28% from 2015 to 2016. The effort resulted in WaPo surpassing York Times traffic in 2015. How did they do it? By adopting a content strategy around producing a high volume of content aimed at long-tail and niche interests.

How can a small website compete with a larger one? Who are the major competitors in your space? How many pages do they have on a topic? More pages are more opportunities to rank. More pages demonstrate depth of expertise, making you more likely to rank on a topic.

Just like a company needs to grow to make a profit, so does a website.

How to Set Content Apart as 10x

At this point, you might agree that an SEO has to prioritize content strategy. You may be thinking to yourself, “OK, I get it. I can make the push for my clients or in my group to add good, quality content to the site to see ranking gains.”

That is certainly a worthy goal. But the truth is that good, quality content isn’t good enough. Today’s bar for Page 1 rankings is 10x content.

The skyscraper technique popularized by Brian Dean is the process of looking at the top result for a query you’re targeting and then outdoing that top-ranking page with your own page. Dean calls this content marketing for link builders. See what ranks the best and then shoot even higher with your own answer to the query. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. Of course, smart SEO minds have refined the process.

So what is the process for creating 10x content? For a succinct answer we turn to Rand Fishkin’s Whiteboard Friday “Why ‘Good, Unique Content‘ Needs to Die (And What Should Replace It).”

Research the pages that are ranking. Do that using Google to see the top-ranked pages and using BuzzSumo to see the most shared content on a topic.

Then ask these questions as you’re taking it all in:

  • What are the questions that are asked and answered in these pages?
  • How thorough is the information? What’s missing? HubSpot shared word-count analysis of its blog posts compared to organic traffic and found that a word count of 2500 words gets the most traffic. So you definitely want content to be thorough and comprehensive.
  • What’s the format and delivery mechanism of these pages? You might also call this the user experience. Is it visual? Is it video? Is it rendered well for the device? Is the info I’m looking for on the page or do you have to click to another page? Is it easy to find an answer?
  • What are the sources of the information and is it credible?
  • What’s the quality of the writing?

When you collect all these answers and identify what search engines are rewarding, what people are sharing, now you know what you at least have to do to compete – and then figure out how to better it.

My 3 Best Tips for Capturing Content Magic

Here’s the sucky thing. Generating 10x content requires sweat and grind. But there are some likely sources of 10x content magic that you can mine.

Data-driven content: This is the Pricenomics model. Pricenomics is a content agency that turns company data into content and then tracks the distribution and performance of the content.

If you read the Pricenomics blog, they’re always posting this in action. It’s a really fun blog, if you can check it out. Here’s an example:

A client of theirs is Venngage, an infographics company. Using the Pricenomics content marketing model, they sifted through the data of all Venngage clients to come up with the most popular font types in America. What data can you bring light to that will make people think, “Huh, I’ve always wondered” or “Hey, I never would have thought.”

There’s story in data and people just eat that stuff up.

Expert voice content: This is just journalism 101. You go to the expert source and you name your sources.

Honestly if you can find a good expert, maybe someone on your staff or maybe the biggest name in your industry, and they agree to an interview, this is one of the fastest ways to 10x your content.

You get that credibility factor. You get the network effect of the expert and their followers sharing and reading.

What you want to steer clear of here is the trap of the expert round-up. I think we’ve all seen that. And those aren’t all bad, but they are kind of cheap.

We’re not going for cheap. What you’re looking for in talking to your expert is to bring your page to the next level by bringing something to the forefront that the normal person misses, but that will create that light-bulb moment in those reading it for the first time.

Start your practice of nurturing relationships with experts with this Bruce Clay guide.

Voice of customer content: Writers start by thinking about their audience. You get into the target audience’s head, what they want, what they need, what they know, what they don’t know they need. And then they write to solve a problem in that audience – or persona’s – life.

In marketing we’re matching the pain point with our solution. And what’s really going to resonate with the target audience is hearing or reading the thoughts that are actually going on in their head, or close to it.

There are many possible ways to gather the information used to synthesize VOC: focus groups, individual interviews, contextual inquiries (like on-site surveys). But you’re basically using structured in-depth interviews, focusing on the customers‘ experiences with current products or services. Needs statements are then extracted, organized into useful categories, and then prioritized and used by the business all the way from product development to marketing.

voice of customer data sources

I learned about the methodology around Voice of Customer data from Copy Hackers. User generated content, product reviews and testimonials are essentially forms of Voice of Customer content.

And maybe this is where the altruist in me comes out because when we turn our focus on SEO content, we’re doing something special. We’re not trying to find a loophole to exploit or win on a technicality. We’re sharing stories that will enrich their experience. We’re teaching people about solutions that will make their life better. And we’re making connections between people like us.

SEO has to encompass those 30-or-so factors on the Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors. But the technical, forensic SEO is not the bar you’re holding your work up to. That’s the minimum viable SEO. That’s the ticket to entry.

If you’re actually trying to reach the top, you’re going to prioritize content as the top SEO issue for you to solve.

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This post is based on my presentation “Thin Content Is THE Top SEO Issue” which I shared at Pubcon Las Vegas last week. Check out the full deck below.

Source:: bruceclay.com

How to Optimize for Voice Search – Content Marketing & Technical SEO Tips

User actions by voice search study data from SEER

How to Optimize for Voice Search – Content Marketing & Technical SEO Tips was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

In 2016, Google reported that 20% of the queries it gets today are voice searches. (Source: SearchEngineLand)

Around the same time, Mary Meeker shared a prediction that by 2020, 50% of searches will be voice or visually based. (Source: Recode)

If you’re not familiar with visual search (and I wasn’t in this context), it’s search and retrieval instigated by the searcher “showing” a device or product like the one they’d like to buy (or if not buy, then get more information about). Here’s an example: shop for dog food by showing your device the near-empty bag of dog food in your pantry, and then buy it from Amazon or another online retailer. Go ahead and look into the Amazon Echo Look for a visual-search-type device that’s almost to market.

If we as marketers understand that text-based search is trending-down-to-obsolete over the next two years, and that our customers will be searching with their voices and images, what do we do to evolve our marketing strategies?

Director of Account Strategy at Marketing Refresh, Katy Katz, and VP of Industry Insights at Yext, Duane Forrester, shared their plans of attack for exactly that with the rapt audience at Pubcon Las Vegas this week.

This post covers (jump to section with links):

Eye-Opening Stats and Findings about How Well Voice Search Serves Consumers

What are people trying to do with voice commands today? Katy shares the findings of SEER Interactive’s 2017 study about the kinds of actions people use voice search for:

Look at those top voice-activated actions! They’re pretty personal. Your customers expect personalization. They’re expecting you to know who they are and what’s important to them. They want you to personalize their experience.

Consumers ask questions in a personal way. Artificial intelligence (AI) is now smart enough to answer these questions. Katy’s 5-year-old used Alexa and said, “Alexa, play Darth Vader.” Smart Alexa played the Imperial March.

We can type 40 WPM, but we can speak 150–160 WPM! With voice search, people will articulate their queries more specifically and precisely.

In SEO and content marketing, voice search is making a big impact on strategy in these areas: keyword research, content strategy, and technical implementation. (That’s all. Just like, everything.)

Technical Considerations for SEOs and Content Marketers Optimizing for Voice Search

First, understand the anatomy of a voice query. These are the key features:

  • The 5 Ws: Voice-triggered searches are usually looking for a result that answers a who, what, where, when, why or how question.
  • Conversational: Voice searches are typically conversational (that is, use natural language).
  • Long-tail: Voice searches are long-tail queries by their conversational nature.
  • Mobile: Voice searches are done primarily on mobile devices.
  • Clear intent: Voice searches are performed with a very clear and specific intent in mind.

Here’s an example voice search query where we can see how a digital marketer’s work to identify keywords, implement structured data markup, and gain positive reviews come into play when Google is determining result relevancy:

anatomy of a spoken query

To establish a solid foundation for voice search SEO:

  1. Define your goals. You know the drill. Make sure they’re specific and measureable. Help you focus on what to focus on. She probably spends 80% of her time helping clients identify the goals that will give the highest ROI.
  2. ID your audience. Take the time to get to know your audience in audience interviews. You’ll learn about their pain points and goals and the questions they want to answer. There’s nothing else like talking to your customers.
  3. Achieve language-market fit. This term isn’t used a lot but it’s a big deal when it comes to search. It’s qualitative research into the exact words and phrasing that your buyers use to describe your product, service or category. Talk like your customers!
  4. Katy Katz speaking at Pubcon

    Katy Katz speaking at Pubcon Las Vegas

    Map the buyer’s journey. Your customers are working through questions at each phase. If there are gaps in your content you’re missing out on opportunities.

With your foundation in place, optimize for these technical considerations for voice search:

Long-tail keywords. Here are keyword research tools for long-tail:

  • Keyword.io
  • Answer the Public
  • Buzzsumo Question Analyzer
  • SEMRush
  • KWFinder
  • Quora
  • Google autocomplete

Snag those snippets. Design your content to optimize for featured snippets. Google Home and Siri are pulling quick answers for this. Short in nature. Simple, concise. Answers the questions in a way that provides utility for the user. The amount of snippets doubled this year. A snippetable post is short and digestible, fact-based logic; if Google already owns the Knowledge Graph, don’t even try to answer it.

Schema markup. Tell the search engines and AI what information is about. Making sure your house in order with different schema types is imperative for voice search.

Brand optimization. Manage your brand across the web. Off-site SEO and PR is everywhere. Local SEO, social media, off-site SEO, reviews are all influencing your consumers throughout their journey. It takes 6-8 touches for a prospect to convert to a sale. For local SEO, check out Moz Local, Yext, Reach Local, GMB. For reviews, check out Get Five Stars, Review Trackers, Yotpo, Reputation Loop — help you with automated tools to grow your reviews and show yourself as a trustworthy provider.

In sum, your buyers have questions each step of the way. There is no part of the journey that is more important than any other. Own the conversation. Own your brand.

User Behavior and New Technology That Is Shifting SEO

Duane Forrester speaking at Pubcon

Duane Forrester speaking at Pubcon

The media we consume is shifting from the silver screen to our digital devices. With that, influence is shifting and celebrities are losing ground. Today, 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite creator over their favorite TV or movie personality.

And there’s the consumer dependence and preference for their mobile device. Technology companies are investing across the board in assistants and AI. Duane asked the audience, “Who believes in the mobile-first Google index?” Well not only should you believe in it, Duane says that it is certainly live now and in use. He expressed that there’s one index and it’s filtered for mobile. He challenged marketers with the question, “Why would the search engine trust your site for the desktop user when you haven’t invested in the mobile user?”

Another area where user behavior is opening new avenues for marketing is local search. Location search is exploding. Note, however, that the growth in “near me” searches is flattening as it becomes assumed.

Want some more eye-opening stats? Duane shared these ones on local search and map behavior:

  • 76% of people who use location search visit a business within one day.
  • 28% of location searches result in a purchase.
  • Digital maps reduce travel time by 12% on average.
  • Digital maps save people more than 21 million hours per year.
  • 63% of digital map users take advantage of them to plan safe routes.
  • Digital maps have supported more than $1 trillion in sales for businesses.
  • Geospatial services help companies raise revenue and diminish costs by more than 5%.

Hundreds of attributes contribute to local visibility:

local search attributes chart by Yext

Anyone hear about RankBrain lately? No one? That’s because it’s too busy out there learning.

Voice search is an important inflection point for us in the marketing community. Where we saw mobile coming, voice search is now here because all the tech that makes it possible developed independently.

There are 180 companies in China developing voice search speakers. Duane predicts that in a year, North America will be inundated with cheap, accurate voice search systems. The current players will carve out the higher end and the newer players will carve out the lower end that is able to perform nearly as completely.

Voice search is going to take off because people are lazy. Now we can just talk and get what we want. The next stage is visual search (image-based search) where the Alexa or Home device will show the searcher what they are trying to buy to confirm that’s what they are looking for.

Voice search tech is being embedded into home products like refrigerators and coffee makers. Your refrigerator will ping your phone when you’re at the store and tell you that you’re out of milk.

Tactics to Compete in Voice Search

Google’s not going to tell SEOs via Search Console which organic queries were performed with text search and which were voice search. Look into your site’s organic keyword data and find the queries that brought one visitor, maybe with the stop words removed, and then bundle those up and consider them your voice search terms.

Make sure your site is clean and accessible. Mobile-friendly matters and consumer behavior is happening on mobile devices. PWAs are the future – one code base for all UX and devices. Your developers are going to love having only one code base to manage, but it’ll be a few years for the technology to allow for this.

Secure your site, move to HTTPS. Check out the Wired.com articles where they detailed their move to secure. It was hard.

Today’s consumers want to attach to businesses that reflect their values. That doesn’t equate to donating to a cause, it’s more like getting your whole company to do a 5K in support of that cause and documenting the whole thing. Really invest in developing your brand in terms of its support of relevant and interested communities. Brand loyalty dropped a while ago and now businesses have to demonstrate their mission in their actions.

Skills Required of the Digital Marketer of the Future

This is your future: the digital knowledge manager. It’s a senior-level, cross-functional position. The digital knowledge manager requires a deep, varied career that has spanned many of the traditional core digital marketing competencies.

The digital knowledge manager needs to be able to speak the language of everyone. They will be adept at persuasion and convincing different groups to take on specific tasks. They are an investigator, negotiator, communicator, thinker, and builder.

As always in digital marketing, the future is now.

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Source:: bruceclay.com

Bruce Clay’s Views on Building Links for SEO

35 link earning ideas from bruce clay

Bruce Clay’s Views on Building Links for SEO was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Links are the fabric of the web. And in the SEO world, how we view them and earn them has changed dramatically in the past 20 years.

If you’re in the business of attracting traffic to a website and building brand awareness, you should care about how links impact your key performance indicators. As an SEO agency, we’ve written about how to get high quality backlinks in the SEO Tutorial. That resource covers link building best practices in black and white. But where personal experience and opinion is concerned, we have our own view of how links should be managed.

While we are sure some people will disagree with some of these views, we created this declaration that outlines what we hold true when it comes to web links.

We believe …

Google likes links. Google does not like link building. Links are the “voting system” of the web, and Google believes that they should be earned. They are earned by the nature of the content as a result of it being useful or entertaining to a particular audience.

Links are contributors to expertise, authority and trust. A link is a vote for a website. The more links it has, the more votes, showing Google that the website is one of authority. Within that, there are weighting factors for how strong the signal is. When weighing inbound links, a high expert ranking is a stronger signal than a spammy site.

Content is a link magnet — without it there is nothing to link to. Content is the stuff the web is made of. It’s what people want to link to and share, and it allows you to acquire links naturally when it’s quality.

Content needs to be relevant to your brand. The only way to become a subject matter expert in the eyes of Google is to have a themed website. A themed site happens when a brand contributes meaningful content to the conversation that it is an expert on. Sites that have too many topics all across the board are confusing to both search engines and users.

Content builds trust … over time. As a website adds more and more content on a particular subject, the audience starts paying more attention to it. Do it at the right level for that particular community, and people will start remembering the brand.

Write to high quality, not to high volume. It is far better to write high-quality content than to aim for quantity of content. Follow that rule, and gain readers‘ trust and links. Once you can maintain quality, then you can increase quantity. Maintaining high quality is the only way to “blog often.”

You need standout content to earn links. Millions of web pages are published daily. Content needs to be able to be noticed among all the content out there. Only a handful of web pages are considered relevant enough to make the first page of Google. In addition, create and follow a supportive outreach strategy to inform others of your content. In theory you have already earned the link through great content, but nobody knows about it until you tell them.

“Unicorn” content gets a lot of shares, links and traffic. Publish content and pay attention to the popularity and traffic, visitors and shares. If it does well, then publish on that topic again, perhaps with additional content. Keep hammering on what people are excited about versus blindly following an editorial calendar. Know the competition and watch for their unicorns, too.

Cheap content doesn’t perform. “Cheap” content can end up being expensive in the long run. You get what you pay for when low-quality content doesn’t perform for a site. As the saying goes, “The cheaper you want it, the cheaper you get it”– and that hurts quality. Hire true professionals, optimize the content, then publish. And remember that content contributes to a brand’s key performance indicators, brand awareness and ROI.

Optimize articles to match the links. Make sure that your content uses keywords and is clearly relevant to linking anchor text for greatest positive SEO impact. While building links is a natural process, too many “click here” links could indicate that there is too much complexity to your page. Content, once written, needs to be reanalyzed and its inbound links evaluated.

Opinion pieces, once you are an an authority, get links. Establish your brand and its people as subject matter experts. With credibility in place, opinion articles become very valuable.

Certain types of content get links. Articles showing the results of worthy research will get links; detailed and lengthy research articles do well. “How to” articles, because they are searched on a lot, also get links.

Looking for inspiration for content worthy of links? Check out these 35 link earning ideas.

Evergreen existing content; don’t allow content to become stale. Content that was once great can age, leaving it less useful. Refreshing those pages, and linking to them from somewhere else on a website can renew interest and perhaps, links.

Keyword and topic analysis drives content. Identifying opportunities to create content based on active keyword queries, social media topics and “unicorns” the competition has can drive important content for a website. If it is useful to others, determine if it is useful to you.

Choose guest blogging partnerships wisely. Posting to other authority websites may make sense, but if the site is not considered “expert,” adding content may be a waste of time. Choose carefully when vetting and strategizing your guest blogging opportunities. Google’s official stance is that guest blogging for links is against their guidelines.

Link spam kills rankings. Google’s link scheme guidelines state: “Any links intended to manipulate PageRank or a site’s ranking in Google search results may be considered part of a link scheme and a violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.” This includes paid links, unnatural links, low-quality site links, off-topic links, widget links, footer links, run-of-site links (links in a template placed on many pages across a site), unpoliced post sites, reciprocal links, links from pages of all the same PageRank, many links from the same IP or sharing the same WhoIs, and links with the same anchor text. Google fights this link spam.

Domain authority, however measured, helps. The domain authority of the linking site, while it’s not pure “PageRank,” does indicate expertise. In an ideal world, expertise and authority is what domain authority is all about. If a high-domain, authority site is linking to a website, in theory, that site will have elevated domain authority because an expert links to another expert most of the time.

Link relevance to a website and query are big ranking factors. The relevance of the page that’s being linked to should match the relevance of the page it’s coming from. But it shouldn’t just be about the target page, it should also be that the words should match how people search. When a link points to a page, that page and the anchor text pointing to it should contain keywords with high search volume that matches the content of that page.

The theme of the linking site is important. If you have a link coming in from an unrelated site, Google will take that into consideration when evaluating links. Links need to come from sites that are in the same realm of topics as the site being linked to.

The linking site’s quality counts. Google looks at the quality of sites linking to a website, and takes that into consideration when evaluating the site’s authority.

Internal linking matters. Siloing is a way to theme the content on a website through links, and it helps the website become a relevant source on the topics it publishes. It helps search engines better understand what the website is about through the strategic organization of content.

It is wrong to say that links make up a certain percentage of the algorithm, since the algorithm changes for every query. In 2016, Googler Andrey Lipattsev said the most important ranking signals were links, content and RankBrain. It’s still wrong. however, to think a third of the Google algorithm is based on links for every query. For every keyword, based upon the intent and geographic location of the searcher, the algorithm itself will vary the percentage in weight of inbound links.

Major ranking signals include mentions. Online mentions are important for search engines because it helps them to determine that people have an interest in what a brand is about. Social updates may not generate very valuable links to a site, but they signal to the search engine that people are talking about a brand.

Social media works well for links; fish where the fish are. To catch fish, you have to use the right bait (what the fish are eating) and fish where the fish are. Write what the audience wants, and then put it in front of them. Social media puts the bait in front of the fish and gets links and traffic.

Influencers with a large following can generate both links and traffic. Think of creative ways to engage the influencers in a space, whether it’s co-marketing, collaborating on projects, interviews or having them write for the brand’s website. Including their opinion in “roundup”-type content can increase the content’s visibility by leveraging the influencer’s audience.

Links from within your expert community are great. Every industry has a pool of “experts”—sources that are known as subject matter authorities. Links from other experts to a website show a brand’s authority. You can also partner with non-competing experts to gain PageRank and links.

A competitor’s links are a gold mine. Identify sites that link to the competition and determine why those sites link to them. Then, reach out to those who link to the competitor, and offer them a better page to link to.

When trying to get a link from journalists, put yourself in their shoes and their audiences‘ shoes. Journalists respond to their favorite topics and news. The only good way to get a link from a journalist is to understand what they like, what they normally write about, and understand that they are writing for their audience. You don’t only want to pick a topic that a journalist may like; you also want to write about what their readers will like as well. In other words, target the journalists and their audience.

Videos are link magnets. Make relevant videos and keep in mind duration best practices, then host them on a website and YouTube to drive links and traffic. Videos also contribute to a brand’s expertise.

Use testimonials for links and conversions. A testimonial on a website helps with conversions, and it also helps with links. Give a testimonial to another site, and they will often publish the testimonial and link to the source (the site the desired link should go to).

Good online reviews generate traffic and conversions. If you have a positive review, the sentiment is positive and it will be considered to be a testimonial by Google—whether or not it’s passing PageRank.

Email as a way to get links has been overdone. Using email as a way to try to get someone to link to you is played out and ineffective. My advice is not to bother.

Advertising drives traffic, not link equity. If you are buying advertising, expect no link equity or PageRank. If you’re buying advertising to get a link that passes PageRank then expect a penalty. You should not be able to buy links, and advertising is often a purchased link. If buying ads, make sure they are “nofollowed.”

Broken links on your site are bad, but it’s worse if someone is linking to your site with a broken link. When a site has a broken link to another site, the user will arrive at the new site and see a 404 error page. The majority of people will have an immediate perception of a low-quality site when they land on the linked-to website. Identify incoming broken links and recover the link equity and traffic with 301 redirects.

Broken links to competitors is an opportunity. Determine who has a broken link pointing to a competitor, and contact that website publisher and ask them to consider replacing that broken link with a link to your desired website instead to improve user experience with current and updated content.

Local links are absolutely needed for local businesses. A company cannot be an expert in their region without having experts in their region link to them.

So there you have it — my linking view. We urge you to follow these guidelines and hope your link building journey is one of safe travels.

Do you identify with my views on link building for SEO? If so, share it with a friend or post it anywhere.

Source:: bruceclay.com

Stock Content Wanted: Plus Size

The stock industry is an ever-changing landscape that continues to evolve and change with the times. We’ve seen the shift from stereotypical, staged images to more natural and relatable images. Another need we are seeing in the marketplace is the demand for diversity, both in terms of racial representation and more varied body types.

These images reflect the realistic majority of female body types as opposed to an idealized minority. As a culture, we are moving beyond this traditional perception of women, and as image suppliers to the marketplace, our goal is to ensure that the Adobe Stock collection supports positive body image and celebrates women of diverse body types and ethnic backgrounds.

We encourage photographers, videographers, and illustrators to depict models of different ethnic backgrounds and body shapes. If you have this content in your archives, submit them today!

We’re looking for naturally posed, beautifully lit images of plus size models in everyday situations – images that celebrate our differences and reflect the real world.

Remember to include a model release when submitting photographs and videos that feature recognizable people. If you are submitting images through the Adobe Stock Contributor Portal, our integration with Adobe Sign lets you send and receive model releases directly from the Adobe Stock Contributor Portal.

See more inspirational images on Fotolia that embrace all shapes and sizes.

Source:: blog.fotolia.com

Contributor Spotlight: Anne Bracker

Anne Bracker is a Kansas-city based graphic designer and vector artist who is artfully balancing a full-time design gig and a successful stock career. We caught up with her to learn more about her background and why she decided to get into stock in the first place.

Fotolia: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Anne Bracker: My name is Anne Bracker and I’m from Kansas City. I’ve been in the design industry for about 15 years, doing everything from prepress to production to agency work. Right now I’m a full-time graphic designer, and I also create vector artwork on nights and weekends to make extra money. I love being creative all the time, not just at work, so it’s a great outlet for me.

Fotolia: Did you always want to be a creative professional growing up?

AB: I always loved art and drawing as a kid, but I was a little worried about pursuing a career in just ‘art,‘ because I’d always heard it was hard to make a living as an artist. Then I found out about graphic design, so I decided to major in that in college instead of painting or ceramics. I am so glad I chose graphic design, because the internet has really opened up tons of career options in the design field.

Fotolia: Why did you decide to get into stock?

AB: I started working at a small agency in Kansas City a few years ago, and they used a lot of stock photos and vectors in their work for clients. I was usually the person searching for these, and that’s what really got me thinking about becoming a contributor. Now I have over 1000 images in my portfolio. It’s been really great having my work online – and I’m able to reach a way bigger audience than what I’d be able to do on my own.

Fotolia: How do you balance your job at the office with creating content for the stock marketplace?

AB: It can sometimes be a little rough. I have a commitment to create at least one new image every day, and sometimes life can be crazy! But I get it done, even if it means ‘making up‘ days I missed. Plus, with stock, I can create whatever I want wherever I want. I can put a movie on and sketch ideas, head to a coffee shop and work from there, or even meet up with other designers for a ‘freelance and stock images night‘ where we bring our computers and work on projects while catching up. So at the end of the day, it doesn’t really feel like work at all!

Fotolia: What types of images tend to sell the best for you?

AB: I’d say the best-selling images have been ones that target a specific industry, like healthcare or business. I like to do icon sets, because pretty much every business has (or needs) a website, and that means the web designer will probably need icons. I generally just try to guess what my end user, the designer, will be looking for.

Fotolia: Do you have any images that you can share from your Stock portfolio?

AB: This is a graphic I made for the eclipse. It’s not even ‘correct‘ for what a solar eclipse looks like, but it still resonated with people as an eclipse graphic, so it sold fairly well. Images for upcoming events or holidays can sell really well.

Sometimes I try to focus on a concept and make a few images around that concept. I also try to keep graphic designers in mind when I’m making these since they’re my target market. This graphic provides a designer with an already-made book template and download button that might save them 30 minutes or more. And the book and button can be separated easily – I try to make sure it’s easy for the designer to add or remove elements from my designs.

Fotolia: Do you have any advice for people trying to build up their stock portfolio?

AB: I would recommend having a weekly or daily creation goal and sticking to it. My goal is to create one a day, but of course you have to do what works for you. If that’s 3 per week, then great. But if you’re only able to create only one piece a week, you’re probably not going to see the kind of revenue results you want. Also, make sure your keywords are on point – that’s how people are able to find your images. It’s important to have relevant and specific keywords rather than trying to fill up all 50 slots.

Fotolia: What are some projects or skills you’re excited to develop in the new year?

AB: I would love to learn Premiere and After Effects inside and out. I think video is going to continue to become a more important part of a designer’s required skill set as time goes on, so I need to jump on that trend!

See more of Anne’s work on Fotolia.

Source:: blog.fotolia.com