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Inbound Marketing

backlinks

Five Tips for Earning Top-Quality Backlinks From Major Sites in Your Niche

By | Inbound Marketing, internet marketing | No Comments

In the good old days (or bad old days, depending on how you see things), Google allowed users to sell and trade links in order to boost search engine optimization (SEO). Nowadays, marketers have to do better than just dropping coin to generate precious links on prominent, well-trafficked websites linking back to their own. This in some ways levels the playing field for smaller players without the big promotional budgets, and forces the material, not the money, to earn the nods from big fish.

So why are backlinks so important? Well, for one thing, you’re SEO soars with backlinks from highly trafficked sites. You want your backlink to appear within the actual site content, not in a sidebar or a sponsored link. You also want less competition within the third-party site. Basically, the more useful your information is, the more likely you are to get backlinks. While the old method of simply buying or trading links has been terminated, here are five ways you can get your content linked from sites with high page rankings, few links, and relevance to what you are all about.

Don’t Be a Web Wallflower

Get active on online forums and blogs, by commenting on content, sharing, recommending, and liking posts from sites that you want to earn backlinks from. Find out who your target sites are and get involved in the discussions. You can link back to your own site by popping in your URL, but the more you contextualize why your site is worth visiting in relation to the topic at hand, the more authentic you’ll appear.

Find, and Carve Out, Your Niche

A backlink from a site that shares your niche is better than one that is irrelevant. Do your research to find the target sites you want to honestly acquire backlinks from. Industry leaders, those with great on and offline reputations, and any competitor or peer that appears higher in the search engine rankings than you should be on your hit list of sites to target. Then aim your backlink strategy directly at those whom you determine to be the most valuable to you in order to make the most of your time online.

Taggin’ It Plug-In Style

Paying attention to meta data means you are controlling just how your content appears when shared through social networks. You can install plugins on WordPress sites that allow you to tag your posts and images with your site URL, titles, and descriptions when shared on Facebook and Twitter. When users click through your image or share it, they will be directed back to your website. Getting lots of links back from those big social media sites is SEO gold.

Give Your Content Away. That’s Right—Guest Blog for Success

Providing content for other websites may seem counter-intuitive when what you really want is to drive traffic your way, but think about it. Are you going to capture more eyeballs with an article in a small town newspaper, or with a letter to the editor in the New York Times? Guest blogging for a larger outfit whose SEO makes you green with envy is a great way to ensure backlinks come your way, and builds not only your rapport with that site but your own reputation as a go-to expert in your field. Digg, StumbleUpon, and Squidoo are all great places to post articles, even if you’ve already used them elsewhere, because the search engines track links to these big sites with large communities, in a big way.

Be Everywhere: Social the Hell Out of Your Media

Even if you are only creating a profile, you can generate backlinks from major sites just with business listings and brief profiles. Your listings on Google Places, Foursquare, LinkedIn, and Google Profiles allow you to pepper target keywords into highly visible searchable databases.

All of this takes time and labor, but you can cut and paste keywords and phrases that you have researched as to their effectiveness. Take these steps and Google will have a far wider spectrum of sites to draw backlinks from. There’s a whack of decent backlinking tools out there, but those of us who have been around long enough to see changes in the way Google handles linking will recognize that a backlink, honestly earned, is worth dozens that may be tossed out as spam or slapped with no-follows as the sands shift beneath the SEO landscape. A free consultation with SEO Beaver can put on the path to earning top-quality backlinks. If this is you’re your business needs, fill out the form on this page, today.

Lead Capture Cartoon

Lead Generation 101: How to Properly Use Forms to Get Prospect Data for Follow-Up

By | conversion optimization, copywriting, Inbound Marketing, internet marketing, landing page conversion optimization checklist, Landing Pages | No Comments

Too many online marketers assume that their dynamic content will keep users engaged enough that they’ll make the move to contact, comment, or buy. But it’s up to you, dear seller, to initiate contact for lead generation. Using forms with sensitivity to user needs and objections will land you rich prospect data. Here’s how you can properly use forms to get prospect data for follow-up.

Whatever Doesn’t Work: Get It Right Before You Launch

First and foremost, your form has to function on every platform, every time. It also has to be secure, and your customers need to be aware of how secure it is. A security seal from a reputable company like McAfee or Verisign helps build user confidence, as does the application of Captcha codes. You can use Autocomplete to speed user progress, but beware of auto-suggest on mobile devices, as an intelligent device can quickly become quite the opposite when it offers auto-correct on email addresses.

Don’t Make Them Go Hunting

Your lead form has to be prominent. Hiding it in the margins of the page will result in frustration for both users and sellers. Visibly display the form once a user has spent a set amount of time on the site, as a popup, or have forms appear at the end of articles inviting users who “want more content like this” to subscribe. Basing visibility on users’ behavior works: be conspicuous, make it simple yet rich enough in data that you’ll be able to target your response, and always provide an alternative to simply saying “no” with a toll-free number, “like” option on Facebook, or other social media share prompt gabapentin generic. Forms in and of themselves can be foregrounded as a kind of call to action. If your end goal is to funnel leads into your customer relationship management (CRM) system, inviting people to fill out a form in order to receive a discount, get a free quote, or enter a contest becomes the central ask of the page. Bundling forms with enticing offers does two things: it incentivizes the form completion, and, by dint of having engaged users in an offline conversation, boosts conversion rates. You want to be in their inbox, knocking, in an active sales role rather than waiting for them to come to you.

Navigate Objections With Clear Communication

You are walking a tightrope between gathering useful information and seeming too acquisitive. Users are beginning to understand that if they are getting something for nothing (i.e. information or apps), then the data they give is a form of payment. They may be cheap with data until trust has been built, and you have shown your site and services to be indispensible. Grade your forms accordingly—the less information you demand up-front, the more likely people will be willing to offer it. Being perfectly clear about what happens when a user submits a form is also critical. A button that says “Click Here to Contact Us” is more trustworthy than one that says “Submit User Data.” Use friendly language and make your buttons look like buttons, placed where users expect to find them. If you are asking for data that may not seem strictly necessary to users, add a line explaining why you want it. For instance, if you are asking for birthdate, add a line telling users that your company sends out special offers for customers on their birthdays.

Reap What You Sow: Get Ready to Respond

Of course, once you have that precious form data, ensure that you have a solid offline team to respond personally and at lightning speed to the contact request. Your analytic data will tell you about user behavior (how often they have visited your site, duration of stay, etc.). Your responses should be tailored according to the quality of the prospect. Keep to these guidelines to build and make use of online forms that drive your business. Ensure that you have functionality and security, communicate clearly to users how to use forms and why you are gathering information, and make sure that forms are easily accessible, if not outright in-your-face. Finally, make sure that you are ready for the flow of information once you launch your forms, with a team of responders and a system to grade users into categories for customized responses. If you’d like to learn more about lead generation with a free consultation, fill out the form on this page to contact us today.

How to write good viral headlines

Hey You, Pay Attention!: How to Write a Headline That Really Packs a Punch

By | conversion optimization, copywriting, Inbound Marketing | No Comments

Ip Man, the legendary martial artist and teacher of Bruce Lee, said “Don’t recite mantra. Hit your target.”

A good web headline hits its target. Whether you call it conversion, click-through or meeting a goal, the target in writing a headline is the same: To appeal to a human being. Readers, being human, all want the same basic things — to avoid boredom, frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, and work. The good news for writers is that those things are never going to change. Here’s how you can make your web headlines stand out.

Always Remember: Your Reader is Powerful

Online readers are the most empowered readers around. They won’t tolerate their time being wasted. Since online content is usually free, readers have no reason to stay with content that isn’t giving them what they want, and fast. The moment they start to feel bored, confused, or annoyed, they can click away from you, possibly forever. That’s why it’s critical that you put yourself in the reader’s shoes when you are writing online content. This goes double for a headline, which is the first thing to be judged (and, if judged to be inferior, the only thing that your readers will see).

Know Your Audience and Write Accordingly

While there are some rules of thumb for writing headlines, first you have to know who your target reader is, and write to that person. Is he interested in fashion and celebrity gossip? Then your headlines can be light and slangy (“Brangelina Head Down Under for Epic Australian Circus”). Is she a no-nonsense professional in a serious field? Don’t annoy her by getting cute – stick with straightforward headlines (“Researchers Find Causal Link Between Caffeine Intake and Memory”). In general, it’s a good idea to keep the headlines as interesting as possible without sacrificing clarity and professionalism.

Methods for Crafting a Good Headline

Headline structures can vary greatly, and there is no magic formula for perfection beyond ensuring your spelling and grammar are correct. Here are just a few ideas for writing a headline that will capturing the hearts and minds of your readers, and get them clicking on your post.

1) Just Tell the Whole Story

Example: A Soldier Went Overseas to Fight, Never Dreaming he Would Adopt an Orphaned Girl

This type of headline is very effective. Its strength is in giving away the whole story up front. On a deep level, the reader will appreciate being trusted with it right out of the gate. You are showing confidence that this story is worth going deeper to get the details, and your reader will probably agree with you.

2) Move From General to Specific

Example: California Dreaming: How to Plan Your Perfect Napa Valley Vineyard Tour

This is a tried-and-tested classic headline structure.  Its beauty is that the first half can be pretty impressionistic, because the second half will drive the subject home. In this example, “California Dreaming” taps into the power of a highly recognizable phrase and song title. You draw the reader in and give them a hint – this will be something about California, and it will be something pleasant. The second half confirms this hint, giving the reader both a feeling of satisfaction and more specific information.

3) Paint with Words

Example: A Polar Bear in the Cathedral

This method is pretty tricky, so don’t try it at home unless you know that you can pull it off. It will only work if your reader is creative and not easily frightened. Also, you need strong words to work with. In this example, the writer was talking about a piece of music based on the composer’s visit to the Arctic, which premiered in a massive cathedral. Rather than write a headline about a “new choral work premiering this November” (boring), she grabbed her readers with the most powerful words at her disposal: polar bear and cathedral.

4) Lead with Love

Example:  Stylish Vancouver Oyster Bars you will Love

This is pretty straightforward. People are interested in the idea there is something out there that they might love. The industries of food, art and film criticism are  built on this fact. Love feels good, no matter what form it takes, and we all want a piece of it. Boldly make a claim that the readers will “love” something, and chances are they will investigate to find out if you’re right.

5) Cash in on Shock Value

Example: Small-Town Mayor Caught in Bizarre Love Triangle

Humans love to be shocked. If you have an article about anything shocking, make sure your headline conveys this up front.  Don’t bury shocking content deep in the piece – put in the front window. There’s a reason it’s called shock value – it’s valuable.

6) Make Time for a Rhyme

 Example: Flirty Shirtsleeves: A Gentleman’s Guide to Spring Fashion

Rhyming is powerful – witness centuries of poetry and decades of pop music, ad jingles and Dr. Seuss. Why? Because rhyme is extremely memorable, and it asserts a subconscious claim that whatever rhymes must be true. Tap into this power by including rhyme in the headline.

7) The Almighty List Post

Example: Nine Early Signs Your Date is a Dud

The strength of the list post – and the headline that announces it – is that nice, concrete number. The reader knows exactly how many fragments there will be to read, giving them a handle on how much attention will be expected of them. The very fact that they know the article’s length going in will often spur them to read – whether the list has four items or 78.

The ability to write a good headline for the web is critical. Unlike with print media, where the eye of the reader might scan down into the article and keep them reading, online headlines often appear all on their own. The reader must often decide purely from the headline alone whether to click through to the article. After you’ve nailed down your technique with a few of these structural ideas, put away the mantras and just hit your target. After all, they’re only human.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

By | Inbound Marketing | No Comments

So what exactly is Inbound Marketing?

And why is it better than outbound marketing?

The shift from outbound to inbound marketing can be summed up in three words: Times have changed. A huge behavioral shift on the part of the consumer has taken place. This shift from offline to online is a revenue hungry company’s wet dream. We have more data now than ever and can quickly test, deploy, write, engage and scale massive online marketing campaigns. All that reach can be had for a fraction of the cost of offline marketing. Welcome to inbound marketing. Times are good.

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