Today I am excited to speak at the Femworking Conference in Arlington, VA. I’ll be talking about Link Building and Guest Blogging. Nicole Dash, one of the organizers, shared a list of questions that were submitted. Some of the questions were very advanced and others indicated that some people were just getting started. I’ve put together a list of 10 next steps for both the beginner and seasoned online marketer.
Top 6 Tips for Getting Started with online marketing
1. Use Wordpress with your own domain
Wordpress is the mostly widely used platform which means there is a good market for themes, plugins and services. This is true even if you are building a small business website. Further, it is great for SEO out of the box so you won’t run into issues later on.
Make sure you register your own domain. You trade off a lot of future portability by using a subdomain at Blogspot, Wordpress or Blogger.
2. Understand Key Ranking Factors
You don’t have to be an expert, but put a little time into understanding what makes search engines tick. They really like links. In fact, more than 60% is based on the backlinks to your website. You should also understand that the factors in the algorithms today will change over time. Most believe that social signals will eventually be more important than they are today.
We’ve put together our own methodology for SEO. We call it REAL SEO. It is a good framework for thinking about content marketing and SEO.
Consider your audiences – readers and search engines. In general, topics for content fall into two buckets:
- Evergreen topics
- Newsjacking (interpreting or adding value to recent news)
Once you have some ideas, check the volume and competition using keyword research tools. If you are just getting started pick easier terms (less than 100 monthly searches).
4. End User Value
This is obvious but create great content for your users. Images, infographics and videos make your content more engaging AND shareable.
5. Analyze and Tune
Many people think you start SEO with meta tags and keyword density. Its actually much later in the process but very important. Tune your content for both the reader and search engine.
- Readers like headings, bulleted lists and graphics.
- Search engines like title tags, descriptions tags, keywords, authorship and schema.org.
Make sure you have tracking in place so that you can measure the impact of your content. Use Google Analytics to track entrances to the content and the time spent on each page.
Don’t forget to make your content shareable – use social sharing toolbars.
When you post your content be sure to promote it on social networks and social bookmarking. Studies have found that content that is +1 is more quickly indexed by Google. We’ve been sharing our videos on YouTube and our website to capture the biggest audience possible.
4 Tips for Advanced Users
7. Do competitor analysis for link opportunities
Get a high level picture of how your competitors are doing in organic search compared to you. Use our webgrader to compare your website to several competitors. It will give you a high level look at your rankings and their rankings plus an estimated value of the traffic.
Take it a step further with Moz’s opensiteexplorer.org. You can download the top linking domains and links. You can go through them one by one or put them into a spreadsheet that shows domains where two or more of your competitors have links.
8. Get a higher conversion rate on guest blogging pitches
We’ve found that when we do some keyword research about a blog we want to pitch and come to them with ideas for holes in their content, they are more receptive to our pitches. When we guest post we always promote it and engage in the comments on that thread. The result is that you can gain visibility in search for terms that your site may not be authoritative enough to normally get.
9. Deciding on guest blogging pitches
Nicole mentioned that some of the Femworking audience wanted to know if accepting guest blog posts can hurt your rankings. I should first say that we don't have guest bloggers on our site but accepting guest bloggers is a great way to build more content on your site. I suggest the following guidelines:
- Be aware of FTC guidelines on disclosure.
- Keep a healthy balance of your content and guest blog posts.
- Measure metrics like entrances and time on page. Compare to the rest of your site to understand which guest blog posts are best.
10. Complement organic traffic with paid traffic
Advertising is a great complement to organic referrals and can help prime the pump when needed. We recently reviewed a video that shows that up to 96% of clicks when you are below position 5 are incremental to you organic listing.
To make paid search advertising work, you have to establish a goal and assign a value of it. It can be something very concrete like a person who completes a lead form of something less tangible like a person who follows you on Facebook or likes your content.
In the list of questions I received, a few people asked if running Adwords campaigns helps your organic listings. It does not.