Long-Term eCommerce SEO Strategy: 11 Tips To Help

Long-Term eCommerce SEO Strategy: 11 Tips To Help

Long-term e-commerce SEO Strategy isn’t as straight forward as it used to be. There’s more at stake, there’s a lot more competition, and you just have to put in more now than ever. Ashley is back with a comprehensive post on tips for your long-term eCommerce SEO Strategy.

SEO used to be very straight forward and less complicated until 4-5 years ago. The landscape was not very competitive, and getting some basic practices right meant quick gains could be made.

Now, with Search Engines constantly rolling out updates to their algorithms and ranking systems, and SEO getting more competitive with every passing day, every brand needs a solid long term SEO strategy to not just get to the top but also to sustain their gains.

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Here, you will read 11 reasons why your E-commerce business needs long term SEO today:

SEO is a long term process

You can’t take the short route when it comes to e-commerce SEO. Organically ranking your webpage higher takes several months and require patience. Search Engines are getting smarter at identifying unfair practices and penalizing those who use them.

As an e-commerce business, you are in it for the long haul, which means you should aim to achieve higher rankings for a sustained period. You can do this with an in-house team or with the help of a credible SEO agency.

You need to constantly learn and adapt

Search engines are constantly changing their algorithms to improve the quality of search results. This means that if businesses want to stay in the game, they need to match the pace.

E-commerce businesses need to stay on top of these changes and quickly evolve their strategy as new changes are rolled out. This is only made possible by placing long term emphasis on SEO strategy and keeping it at the forefront of all online decision making.

Better page speeds

One of the most important factors for SEO is page loading time. It is crucial for e-commerce businesses to focus more on improving the user experience.

Around 40% of users leave the website if the page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. By designing pages that load faster, e-commerce businesses are not just helping their rankings but also holding potential for longer, increasing their likelihood of conversion.

This makes having fast loading pages a perpetual business goal for any e-commerce business.

Read: 10 Ways To Increase WordPress Website Speed (12+ proven Platforms)

Mobile optimization

Mobile friendliness of webpages is one of the major factors affecting SEO. No e-commerce website can expect a good ranking if all their pages are not optimized for mobile users.

By 2021, nearly 54% of all e-commerce shopping will be done on mobile phones. No serious e-commerce business can afford to ignore their mobile user base.

Businesses that constantly optimize their websites for mobile, and make it a long term goal, ensure they tap into the growing m-commerce segment and maintain a good search ranking.

Get a higher number of visitors

Every e-commerce business wants to attract new visitors to their website. One of the best ways to achieve this online is by ranking higher for search queries, relevant to the products they sell.

When it comes to users’ searching online, nearly all of the traffic goes to the results showing on the first page of the search engines. Even, on the first page, the top 5 get nearly all of the traffic.

Inevitably, e-commerce businesses that intend to stay in the business clan shouldn’t consider SEO as an afterthought.

Read: 5 Super-fast Ways to Get Traffic to Your Website

Build User-friendly websites

One of the basic requirements of SEO is making your website easier to navigate and more user-friendly. Visitors are more likely to stay on and shop from websites that are easy to navigate and.

Ensuring user-friendliness of the website over the long run is something e-commerce businesses cannot ignore.

Avoid Overwhelm. Get Straight to Building e-commerce Stores that are mobile-friendly, fast, and compliant

Higher perceived credibility and trustworthiness

People normally correlate trustworthiness with ranking and popularity. A business that shows up consistently for users’ relevant search queries will automatically make its place in the people’s mind.

It is the psyche of human beings, what gets more visible is what stays in their minds.

If a business appears in the search results, time and again, people are most likely to trust it. Moreover, they consider that very business as an established one.

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Get insights about your website

Owners of physical stores can see how many customers visit their stores, at what time they visit, and how they behave in the store.

For e-commerce stores, websites are their storefronts, and it is critical for them to know how people are engaging with their website.

E-commerce stores that follow good SEO practices also closely monitor user traffic and user engagement pattern on their websites.

By using simple and free tools such as the SEMrush SEO Toolkit, for instance, you can achieve keyword Analysis, Backlink audits, competitive analysis, site audits, and so much more.

This gives them useful insights related to different sections of their websites, conversion rates, and see what is working and what isn’t.

Over time, this information is used to improve the website according to visitor preferences and increase conversion rates for desired actions. This can only be achieved by continuous observation and having a long term view of web analytics.

Market Leadership

Consistently maintained good SEO practices can position new entrants next to already established players in the market within a few months of starting operations.

Generally, the older businesses show up more often on search results. As a result, they also get higher visitors translating into higher sales.

Any e-commerce business that is interested in increasing its sales and market share must implement sound SEO practices over the long term to ensure it stays among the top players in its relevant product ranges.

Better ROI than conventional marketing

Conventional marketing practices like print, radio, and television aren’t cheap. Double-trouble comes when you fail to attract your target audience. Surely, when you go for conventional marketing, your message gets heard by masses, but you never know whether they are interested in your product or services or not.

On the contrary, when you choose ecommerce SEO over conventional means of marketing, you save your financial boat from sinking. With the help of SEO, a business can show itself to the exact people who are searching for their products.

This ability to target the right customer at the right time means the returns on investment are much higher for e-commerce businesses that effectively leverage SEO for their websites.

Take advantage of product snippets

Search engines like Google are continually rolling out new features that impact websites’ traffic and ranking. The Products Snippet by Google shows the most relevant products from e-commerce stores that the user’s search query shows interest in.

These snippets are shown prominently above all results and get more hits than any other organic results on the search results page.

With a targeted, long term strategy, e-commerce stores can optimize their pages for product snippet results and get the bulk of all traffic every time a user searches for their products.

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How to Use SEMRush For Backlink Audits (In 10 Mins)

How to Use SEMRush For Backlink Audits (In 10 Mins)

When you use SEMrush for Backlink audits, you are essentially doing a quick health check on the backlink profile of your website.

Who’s linking to you? Are those links genuine and healthy or are you being bombarded with all sorts of shady links to your site?

When you have too many shady links pointing to your website (it happens without you knowing about it), your overall “toxic score” increases. That’s when you get into dangerous territory.

High toxic link scores ruin your chances of doing better with your SEO and to rank well on Google.  

Backlink audit might sound fancy to you (it does to me).

As your website gains traffic and gets even slightly popular, you get good things happening to your site. Like, other bloggers will start linking to your content. People will mention your brand.

All that’s good.

Using SEMrush, you can quickly do a backlink audit and take the necessary steps to decrease your overall toxicity score. Here’s how to do it:

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Sign up for SEMrush for Free

First, go ahead and sign up for your SEMrush account for free (you don’t need to upgrade just yet).

Create a project

SEMrush has a lot to offer inside, but we are on the clock here so we’ll head straight to the backlink audit tool.

However, before you do that, just create a project for your own site (or for a client if that’s what you want to do).

With the options you’ll be presented, pick the backlink audit option.

Click on Backlink audit and you’ll be presented with a dashboard with all the links pointing to your website, your overall toxic score, referring domains, the number of backlinks analyzed, and domains by toxic score.

Each backlink is awarded a “toxic score”. You can choose to keep (whitelist) the links pointing to your website or delete the links.

When it comes to deleting links with SEMrush, you’ll have two options:

  • Disavow
  • Remove

If you choose to click on delete and disavow, the link in question is added to your “disavow list” (seen in a separate tab in your backlink audit dashboard).

You can later upload your list of disavowed links to the Google Disavow tool manually or through the Google Search Console.

Note: You can also integrate Google Search Console with SEMrush (need to add SEMrush as a user within your Google Search Console account) to allow SEMrush to do it automatically for you.

Check all the links (one by one, if you are the devil with an absolute love for detail like me) one-by-one and take necessary action (keep or delete).

With delete, I find it easier to “disavow” and add the list to Google’s disavow tool.

With “remove” option, you’ll be given a way to reach webmasters to request them to remove links. I don’t want to spend time writing to site owners to remove links. I just don’t have the time for that.

Let’s assume you are with me and you’ll use the “disavow” option.

  • Keep links that have low toxic score and are genuine. Check every link and choose links you want to disavow (the shady ones).
  • Your “disavow” list automatically populates (check the tab that says Disavow).
  • Once you are done, click on “Import Disavow links” as shown below

You’ll download a .txt file (notepad?).

Click on the link for Google Disawow tool, follow the instructions, and upload your .txt disavow file to Google.


If you are connected, this is how it’ll look like:

That’s it.


Once you are done, you can even re-run your backlink audit again inside SEMrush. If you do, this is how your backlink profile should look like:

Keeping your backlink profile is imperative (whether or not you do SEO).

Heck, you might even think that SEO is overrated (like I do). Yet, you owe it your business to do regular backlink audits for your sanity (and maybe success).

Go ahead and clean your backlink profile with SEMrush for free.

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SEO is Overrated, Yes. So, Keep Your Sanity & Do This

SEO is Overrated, Yes. So, Keep Your Sanity & Do This

As Tim Soulo of Ahrefs writes, Ranking #1 on Google is completely overrated.

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Maybe even SEO is overrated as a whole. I truly believe that the unimaginable energy, focus, resources, and money businesses seem to put into SEO is a little too much.


Maybe it’s just me but all this effort to try to rank on the first page of Google is really taking your focus away from your actual business.

On top of that, you aren’t really doing as much as you should (at least the basics of digital marketing) when it comes down to it.

Focusing on On-page SEO, Off-page SEO, link building, link analysis, and everything else people do for SEO takes time.

Something that most small businesses owners don’t have. I certainly don’t.

I can curate content. I can create content. I can write blog posts up to 8000 words (although I don’t). I even pick a random keyword and try to create content for that keyword (but I don’t overdo it).

I can do all that, but I can’t actually sit here and pretend as if I am an SEO expert. I can’t put in the kind of work that Robbie Richards does or the folks at SEMrush or Ahrefs do.

This blog that you are reading is probably one of those blogs that’s never been optimized as if its pants were on fire (do blogs have pants? Never mind).

All I did was write. Sometimes, some of those blog posts I write have no meaning, purpose, or agenda. Sometimes, some blog posts are optimized for a particular keyword. Like,

Clickfunnels Review was optimized for “clickfunnels review”

Webflow review was optimized for “webflow review”

Optinmonster review was optimized for “Optinmonster Review”

Obvious enough, right?

Most of the blog posts (there are over 280 of them on this blog) are indeed optimized for a particular keyword only because the Yoast SEO plugin demands that I do. So, I do.


Does it get traffic to the blog? Yes.

Does it make any money? Yes.

Is SEO worth it? Yes.

Should you give up your life for it? No.

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With all the hype on the Internet, it’s clear that SEO is overrated.  Here’s what you should do instead:

There’s no SEO without Content. Get that.

There are shady agencies that promise you the moon but have nothing much to show for it. Did you know that some agencies and freelancers still do bat shit crazy stuff like adding your website to general directories, producing keyword stuffed 550-word blog posts and articles, submitting articles to article directories, and more?

None of that bat shit crazy stuff works. Just get over it.

There’s no SEO without being able to produce content that makes a difference to your readers. But if you thought you’d be fine with producing marginally good content, it won’t do.

You’d need to produce content that really makes a difference. Then, there’s all the new age stuff that’s happening with SEO, such as Google leaning more towards Machine Learning to change how search results show up with Google’s RankBrain, for instance.

Get Your Bearings Right

The first thing you’d really need to do with SEO is not exactly ‘SEO’.

It’s what is called a simple SEO Audit. You’d need a way to quickly get your bearings and see how your website stacks up on various parameters that’ll affect your efforts when it comes to SEO.


SEMrush allows you to quickly do an SEO audit for your site, all by yourself. This is your opportunity to look for structural SEO issues on your website such as broken links, missing Alt tags for images, missing h1 or h2 tags, duplicate content, broken links, and so much more.

What? You thought your site would have no issues? You’ll be shocked. SEMrush analyzed more than 100,000 websites using their SEO Audit tool and found the following:

More than 50% of websites analyzed had duplicate content issues (including mine, see below).

More than 45% of websites had images without alt tags (plus 10% of websites had broken internal images).

Duplicate content issues

Out of the websites analyzed, there were several title tag issues:

  • 35% of them had duplicate title tags
  • 8% of them had missing title tags (applies to my site)
  • 4% of websites didn’t have enough text within title tags, while
  • 15% of the websites had too much text within title tags.

More than 30% of the websites had duplicate meta description issues and 25% of them had meta descriptions missing altogether.

As you can see from the image below, a whopping 35% of websites had broken internal links (leading to 4XX pages) and 25% had broken external links.

title tags issues SEO

Dig deeper and you’ll see all sorts of problems with H1 tags alone. Among the websites analyzed,

  • 20% didn’t even have H1 tags.
  • 15% had duplicate content within H1 tags and titles
  • 20% had multiple H1 tags.
  • 28% had low text-to-HTML ratio on pages
  • 18% had low word count within H1 tags
  • 15% had too many on-page links, and
  • 12% had missing language declaration.
h1 tags issues

Here’s a quick summary of the severity level of issues when it comes to on-page SEO for over 100,000 websites analyzed by SEMrush.

Onpage SEO issues

Convinced? See where you stand. Go ahead and do an SEO audit for free with SEMrush right now

Here’s what the SEMrush Audit Tool spun up for my website:

SEMrush backlink audit tool

The SEMrush Audit report provides you with a quick view over several thematic metrics, issues, notices, warnings, and more, depending.

In my case, I scored 72% with more than 100 crawled pages.

Most of the duplicate content issues came up because of the subdomain https://academy.fetchprofits.com. But you can see how quickly you can get a bird’s eye view of how well your website is optimized for search.

The audit report isn’t cast on a boulder. This report is for you to get your bearings and make improvements, one issue at a time.

You need to keep making changes (as recommended by SEMrush) and then keep checking on this report regularly — like a pilot checks his airplane before flying and like a good driver always checks his car before heading out to the road.

While you are at it, you can also quickly use On-page SEO checker, link building tool, content ideas tool, and more.

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Start with the right SEO tools (Free or Paid, doesn’t matter)

There are several SEO tools in the market. For the last 3 years, there are only two or three tools that I ever used.

  1. Google Keyword Planner (for basic Keyword research and to get an idea for keyword volume). It’s free to use if you have a Google Ads account
  2. SEMrush (for regular SEO audits, competitive analysis, backlink audits, keyword position tracking, and several other use cases). Get a free trial and see for yourself
  3. Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest (for quick checks on volume and keyword difficulty). Free to use

Of course, if you want to dig deep. There are even more tools than you know what to do with.

If you ask me, using too many tools is an overkill. You might even delude yourself thinking that you are investing when you are actually overinvesting in your marketing stack.

Integrate SEO into your content marketing workflow


It’s a fancy way of saying that you should put all your efforts into actually “creating content” and then try to optimize each piece of content for SEO.

Just the basics.

Like, if you are using WordPress as your CMS, just use Yoast SEO plugin, pick one keyword that you think your blog post does justice to (don’t overdo it, don’t stuff keywords, and don’t bother with Keyword density).

Follow all those tips that Yoast SEO plugin will instantly present to you while you are publishing your blog post.

In the end, be sure to get that little green button glowing.

That’s it. For most purposes and given that we all have constraints, that’s all the SEO you ever need to do.

Build links Yourself & always Ask for links

Start with basic backlink analysis of your website. There’s no excuse to not knowing your backlink profile.

Here’s what my site’s backlink profile looked like when I used SEMrush’s backlink audit tool.


Least to say, it was scary. So, I had to clean that up. Read more about how I used the SEMrush Backlink audit tool to improve my backlink profile, remove toxic links and brought down my overall toxic score.

SEMrush backlinks profile auditing

The best kind of link building or backlinking you can do is when you go out there and hustle.

  • Start writing guest posts (but remember that not everyone gets the best out of this strategy. Depending on your case, guest posting might not be the best fit for your business).
  • Go out there and hustle with cold outreach emails. Just be sure to do it right and don’t be greedy, selfish, self-centered, and act bratty. Even if your company name is Apply, Facebook, or Microsoft, I’d never take shit from you.
  • Use SEMrush and deploy their Link building tool to quickly look for opportunities to start building backlinks.

If you get decent traffic to your blog, a few things will start to happen.

  • Bloggers, writers, and others will start linking to your content. This is healthy link building, and it’s old school. Truly, this is what you should be hoping for.
  • All kinds of marketers, outreach managers, SEO agencies, and everyone else will start sending you email requesting you to link to their content, to mention their marketing tools, or to mention their brands. This is good too, except that you need to think about whether or not you want to link.

The second point here is important: Should you link to other companies, brands, blogs, and other content because you’ve been asked to?


You may. You may not.

Depends on what you do.

What I’ve noticed over the years is that the world is selfish. Outreach managers, SEO agencies, freelancers who do SEO, or brands want you to add links but they usually don’t reciprocate (they don’t mention).

Like selfish, self-centered brats, they just ask you to link (and they say that it’ll add value to your readers).


Stop doing favours for them. They aren’t asking you for links because they love your content.

When you are requested to add links, assuming you get a reasonable request for linking to good brands or content do this:

  • If you are a blogger, the minimum you need is to have them link back to some of your older content. Or you can monetize the opportunity and ask them to pay you XXX for the favor.
  • If you are a brand or a business, check to see if the link request isn’t from your competition. If the link belongs to your competition, just say no. If not, either link back assuming the deed is reciprocated or get paid for the link.

There will be negotiations. Some people might never get back to you again. But that’s alright. Whatever you do, don’t sell yourself short.

SEO might be overrated but that doesn’t mean you should just forget about SEO. I am lazy and I don’t care about SEO at all. Yet, 79% of all my traffic comes from Google and that’s when I am the last person who’s even interested in using SEO at all.

Imagine what you could do if you were slightly more interested? Go ahead, pick out all your tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest, and SEMrush and start doing what you need to do now.

Get a free trial with SEMrush. Get to the SEO basics now.

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How to learn SEO? Bookmark These 7 Websites Now

How to learn SEO? Bookmark These 7 Websites Now

At the time of writing this, SEO is going through a strange phase. SEO isn’t dead; it’s thriving, but it’s also changing.

SEO is different today than how it was several years ago.

Tons of websites exist that discuss SEO but most of the content you see online is the equivalent of used plastic bags — trash.

The real experts are out there if you look closely enough and I decided to spoil the fun that comes with self-discovery since given below are 7 astounding, simply priceless, deep and informative websites that have plenty of information you can kill for on SEO.


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Backlinko

 

Backlinko

Brian Dean of Backlinko is a monster when it comes to SEO and his blog is one of those things you can’t help but not read. Brian knows his stuff, and each of his blog posts could have been worth thousands of dollars (but he won’t sell; instead he’ll give it all away just like that).

He is so good at SEO that he even made his Youtube Channel — with very few videos — popular already with 127,000 subscribers and millions of views at the time of writing this.

EConsultancy

 

EConsultancy

Emulating success stories is often the regularly dispensed advice on how to become successful online. But then, where on earth would you go looking for inspiration? How about learning from 25 Brilliant Examples of Facebook Brand Pages and doing the same for your Facebook Marketing efforts? Do you run a corporate newsletter?

Wouldn’t you like to know How to Write a Successful Corporate Newsletter? Econsulting is an incredibly rich resource for digital marketing or Online Marketing Professionals. I’d say this should be your first stop for anything to do with Online Promotions.

I had to subscribe to Econsulting the first time I saw it and that’s because:

  • You have access to templates for Internet Marketing which makes my job incredibly easy and perhaps makes most of Internet Marketing much like pushing buttons at cashpoints or ATM.
  • You will be the first to know if there are any jobs within the sphere of Online Marketing Industry.
  • You will be among the first to be alerted to various seminars, conferences and meetings held on specific subjects of Interest pertaining to E-commerce.
  • The reports published on the site ( which could be purchased individually or accessed through a yearly membership) are pure gold.
  • If needed, you could special training and gain access to a world of resources to put your online marketing on steroids.

Search Engine Land

 

Search Engine Land

Video is the best way to force-feed yourself to success –albeit easily and effortlessly– and the Video Archives of Search Engine Land is bustling with knowledge of various sources and experts.

If you are the reading type and prefer to sip a cup of coffee while reading reams and reams of pages, you can access a mind-boggling array of information off the digital shelves of Search Engine Land’s Libray Index.

Search Engine Land is a resource to die for if you are looking for authentic, tried-and-tested tactics as far as SEO/SEM is concerned.

Moz

 

Moz

I have been reading the Moz blog for as long as their were publishing and I just can’t have enough of it. Their blog itself is worth a membership and then they have more — a plethora of SEO tools that you could kill for and a handful of expertly written guides all on the subject of Search Engine Optimization.

There are a few free ones for the free members but the really good stuff comes if you are willing to pay for it. Depending on your needs, I highly recommend going for one of their paid plans.

The coolest part about Moz is their “Whiteboard Fridays” feature on their blogs where some of the best information is dispensed each week.

Here’s one I hand picked for you( and for really selfish reasons because it talks about the core of my business): Whiteboard Friday — Outsourcing Content Creation.

SEObook

 

SEObook

You’d stone me to death if I didn’t include this classic of an SEO blog by Aaron Wall. It is purported to have more readership than that for Google’s Matt Cutts (that’s probably because he tends to walk off the tangent sometimes and starts to talk about his return from climbing atop Mt.Kilimanjaro)

While the book is comprehensive by itself, the blog is more like an update magazine that rolls great information out every now and then. I grew up with the “How to Build Links Fast: 101 Tips and Strategies| Seobook.com” post (this is an old one)

You can bet there’s more to take from that one blog alone.

SEMClubHouse Blog — From KeyRelevance

 

SEMClubHouse Blog

One of the other truly respectable sources for insights about online marketing in general but more specifically about SEM(Search Engine Marketing) is the SEM Clubhouse from the folks at KeyRelevance, headed by Christine Churchill.

I remember learning a lot from her articles at KeyRelevance and her seminars, speeches and webcasts on sites like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Strategies and WebMasterWorld.

White

 

White

I devour posts from White, the moment they hit my Feedly and I’ve really learnt a lot from this blog alone.

Tad Chef is a busy blogger and blogs on 3 other blogs as far as I know so he literally has his days filled with some intense blogging.

Each of those blog posts on SEOptimise are filled with priceless information on everything to do with SEO, SEM, Adwords & PPC marketing, Web marketing Metrics and Analytics. For instance, check out 40+ Advanced Web Analytics Tools For Business Use

Subscribe to their feeds now.

What are your favourites when it comes to learning SEO? Did I miss any important links here? Tell me about it.


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Guest Posting Sucks: No ROI, Timesuck, & Darned Hard

Guest Posting Sucks: No ROI, Timesuck, & Darned Hard

Have you been checking the web for guest posting opportunities? Did you honestly think that guest posting — for SEO, traffic, branding, or whatever it was that had you convinced — is the best strategy for your business?

Think again.

Clearly, SEO is too hard to deal with and guest posting has no apparent ROI to show for it.

Imagine this: you spend hours and hours just trying to come up with relevant titles only to write in what most people already know. You’d then want to publish only on authority blogs and publications and most of them don’t even allow guest posting anymore.

Assuming they do, the ROI isn’t that great.

But why does everyone, including my neighbor’s cat “Pummy” want to do guest posting? Why, oh Why?

 

The Power of Transference: Why Guest Posting Is Popular?

 

Apart from well-known influencers who became well-known partly because of guest posting (those were the days), most others fail miserably after marathon sprints writing themselves to death.

But why? Because of what is known as “Transference”.

Sigmund Freud “Transference” was one of the greatest discoveries in human psychology.

It’s a concept that’s not well-understood outside of clinical psychoanalysis. But this the finding that explains why:

* We choose spouses who are just like our parents.
* People behave the way they do in organizations.
* We are influenced by others in so many ways
* bosses sometimes choose to promote other people instead of someone else (while this “someone” almost thought he or she was the best fit for the new role).

Transference, according to Michael Maccoby of HBR, is the underlying essence of leadership. It explains why people stay glued to their leaders (among many other behavioral repercussions).

It probably also explains why Donald Trump was elected.

But my reason to bring up transference is specifically to do with prevailing SEO practices and Guest Posting.

You do guest posting — and you think, believe, and feel — because people like Danny Iny, Neil patel and anyone else who’d have got to fame with guest posting.

They are leaders. They practice what they preach. They became famous for what they did and it’s very inspirational.

For every blogger who just launched, these are the stalwarts they look up to.

Guess what? They’d just follow.

That’s bad because the results aren’t pretty. You’d just need to read Tim Soulo’s beast of a post that shows you what happened to the show after 273 posts on sites like Inc, HubSpot, Entrepreneur, and Business Insider.

If Guest Posting Is a Numbers’ Game, What’s The Point?

 

Neil Patel explains that Guest posting is a numbers game. Look into the guest posting story behind every entrepreneur or blogger, and the fact that it’s a numbers game becomes evident.

If it is indeed a numbers game, then it doesn’t make sense anymore; not from an ROI standpoint. Do guest posting for branding, exposure, credibility, and for riding on all those elephants’ backs.

Just not from an ROI standpoint.

Here’s a screenshot from Neil Patel’s blog post on guest posting and the lessons he learned from it.

neil-patel-guest-posting-lessons

Here’s another snapshot of results That Ryan Robinson got for his part of the hustle:

ryans-guest-posting-results

If that’s the kind of referrals and traffic you are looking for, well, you don’t need to do guest posting at all.

Even Native Advertising beats results you get from guest posting, and that’s before you get to compare regular PPC Advertising with guest posting.

 

PPC, When Done Right, Gets You More Than Guest Posting

 

I ran a short experiment with native advertising with Outbrain a few months ago, and here’s what we got:

Native Advertising Examples

That certainly beats my efforts with guest posting.

Consider this, native advertising proves to be a winner.

In 2014, Taco Bell’s Native Advertising campaign for the Live Mas Campaign with the Cantina Bell menu was targeted at millennials, and it just rocked.

Taco Bell managed to get 18% life in purchase intend than banner ads.

Also,

Carly Stec of HubSpot thankfully curated a list of stats for native ads, banner ads, and paid advertising.

1. Native ads are viewed 53% more than banner ads. (Source: Dedicated Media)
2. A retargeting campaign from Magoosh Online Test prep generated $58,608 in attributable revenue. At a total cost of $11,000 the campaign resulted in an ROI of 486%. (Source: Retargeter)
3. Users who are retargeted to are 70% more likely to convert. (Source: Digital Information World)
4. Heineken Light reached 54% of audience — 35 million people — in just three days using video ads on Facebook. (Source: Facebook)
5. Airbnb achieved an engagement rate of over 4% for one of their Promoted Tweets. (Source: Twitter)
6. 32% of consumers said they would share a native ad with friends and family, versus 19% for banner ads. (Source: ShareThrough)
7. Native ads that include rich media boost conversion rates by up to 60%. (Source: Social Times)
8. Julian Bakery saw a 35% increase in conversions and a 330% increase in impressions on the Google Display Network. (Source: Google)
9. 71% of publishers received no major complaints from readers for featuring native ads, while 29% received minor backlash. (Source: Digital Content Next)
10. After one year of leveraging Targeted Status Updates on LinkedIn, ADP’s Company Page followers doubled to 85,000. (Source: LinkedIn)

And we aren’t even getting close to the real power of PPC:

Here’s some data from live campaigns we are working on right now (last 30 days data)

Client 1: Spent $1,342 in 30 days. A total of 4010 clicks and 57 conversions (sales).
Client 2: Spent #207.23 in 30 days (low search volume business) and got 8 leads. 75% of them converted (since this business is more like search and rescue thing).

Client 1, for example, has an ROI of 108%. The client’s campaigns run even without them ever having to bother with writing a single blog post or guest post. The client, in fact, has zero SEO strategy.

 

Guest Posting Is a Timesuck, Without ROI

 

Most entrepreneurs and bloggers don’t even take “time” into the equation.

All those snapshots of results you saw — of Neil and Ryan — just take into account a few blog posts published elsewhere, and the resulting traffic out of that effort.

They then measure how many email subscribers they got (but no one tells you how many of those subscribers actually converted into sales).

All that is fine and dandy, but what about the time it takes to publish, say 273 blogs like Tim of BloggerJet did?

A typical Guest blogging process:

  • Identify host blogs with good DA
  •  Reach out to bloggers with topic ideas and pitches
  • Follow-up with bloggers who don’t respond.
  • Write up “Epic Shit”.
  • Edit, proof-read, and Edit again.
  • Send the post to the host blog.
  • Wait for the blogger to publish.

If a typical blog post itself takes hours, days, weeks, or even months (as in Tim’s case when we wrote his 6000-word beast of a post that examines Guest posting ROI), how much time did you really spend in total?

Assuming this is an ongoing exercise for your business:

  • Identify host blogs with good DA: Everyday, 1 hour.
  • Reach out to bloggers with topic ideas and pitches: Everyday, 2 hours.
  • Follow-up with bloggers who don’t respond: 30 minutes per day.
  • Write up “Epic Shit”: 5 hours per post.
  • Edit, proofread, and Edit again: 1 hour per post
  • Send the post to the host blog: 10 minutes
  • Wait for the blogger to publish: Unknown (but we can leave this out of the equation and presume that the blog will be published eventually).

The actual cost (in hours) for a single blog post: 9 hours 40 minutes.

Round it off to 10 hours.

If your hourly price was even $30 per hour, you spent $300 for a guest post?

The Cost of 50 guest posts would then be $15,000 in total.

You better be selling a couple of Boeing Business Jet 2 A.K.A “the Flying Hotel” to make this work for you.

I am not throwing guest posting out with the bath towel. All I am saying is that you should stop obsessing about Guest posting in particular, SEO in general.

Anyway, it’s never a good idea to put all your eggs (and time, and hope, and your business) around one, super-hyped marketing channel

I hope you have a better way to spend your marketing dollars.

What do you think?

How to Make Local Search Work For Your Business

How to Make Local Search Work For Your Business

Local marketing is almost untapped, as is. It’s, however, one of the biggest opportunities for businesses today. It just makes sense for businesses to be positioned in such a way that they are easily found when customers seek. The trends are telling. The opportunity is here. As a business, you don’t need to lift boulders or run marathons. You’d just need to show up.

The signs are all here.

Work on the wrinkles

It’s time for a little housekeeping on your website. The number one negative local search ranking factor is “Incorrect business category” and “listing detected at false business address”, according to Local Search Ranking factors report by Moz.

Get the NAP (Name, Address, Phone) right, remove the presence of any malware on your site (or get good hosting), stop stuffing keywords in, and get glowing reviews on your Google+ page.

List for Local search = Footfalls

If you are a local business, know this: local searches lead to 50% of mobile users to visit stores, according to Jessica Lee of Search Engine Watch .

It’s plain common sense: users won’t whip up their mobiles and “search” for your business out of boredom. They do it with intent, local intent that is. These people, according to Google’s new study, are ready to buy once they are in your store.

Read Moz’s Local Search to find out more, and visit Google My Business to list your business now.

Consumers seek a variety of local Information. Give them that

It’s not just “Which store, where” intent that comes with local search. Consumers look for a variety of information such as business hours, directions, address, availability of products, reviews, and more.

Local search

Local store visits

Their decision to purchase grows stronger if they knew they were close to a store, if they could get to the product quickly, and if they see a reason enough to believe that pricing was better.

Make ads relevant to local search

Be it search optimization, content, or PPC ads, keep the ads localized. The more the ads are optimized for customers’ location, the more effective your ads are.

About 32% of customers who clicked on optimized local ads visited stores or made purchases. Another 19% made unplanned visits to the stores.

Use location optimized ads, build landing pages matching these ads, keep the flow going, capture the lead. Period.

Those extensions matter

Help customers find you. Make it easy for them to look up your information online (and on mobile), add location extensions, provide a number for them to call, have them “click to call”, and provide a map for directions.

If you are using paid local ads on Google, use radius bidding or locale-based bidding to reach customers near stores to build an attribution model for local searches.

Have Multiple locations? Flaunt it

Some fortunate businesses have multiple locations nationwide or even globally. Use that to your advantage. Bring in a tool like BullsEye Locations which makes it easy for you to setup a store locator in minutes.

If you have multiple offices, a dealer network, or a directory of agents working out of various locations, put that to good use.

Are you using local search to your advantage yet?

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