I think by now, most of the principles of SEO are more or less well understood by people that have done their time in the trenches since 1999, although new platforms and data types arrive all the time keeping the need for ongoing practice or testing even more important than in the past. The need to learn about new entrants like Siri, Alexa, Facebook, Linkedin, and specialist search engines (like Booking.com, for example) will keep SEOs on their toes for years to come.
I have to take my hat off to your content – not just for the tips you’ve given that have helped me with my websites, but for how clearly you can write. May I ask, what books or resources have inspired and influenced your writing and content creation the most? The two best books I’ve read so far to improve my writing are On Writing Well and Letting Go of the Words.
The truth? Today, rising above the noise and achieving any semblance of visibility has become a monumental undertaking. While we might prevail at searching, we fail at being found. How are we supposed to get notice while swimming in a sea of misinformation and disinformation? We've become immersed in this guru gauntlet where one expert after another is attempting to teach us how we can get the proverbial word out about our businesses and achieve visibility to drive more leads and sales, but we all still seem to be lost.
Internet marketing is a number of things. And true success in the field involves an immersion into several skill sets that are required if you really want to succeed at the highest level. That's why I knew I needed to go the top of the food chain of online marketers to get an understanding of what this actually takes. And it's important to note that while there are many hyped-up gurus out there, there are also genuine individuals that aren't just looking to extract money from you.
What a fantastic article! So excited to put these suggestions to “work”! Just a quick observation about #3 “Blogger Review”. As a blogger myself who often charges for reviews, I’d opt out of writing “I usually charge $X, but I’d be more than happy to send it over to you on the house.” No blogger with any klout would pay “you” to review “your” product, little less jump for joy in response to your “incredible” generosity. If someone sent me an email like this, I wouldn’t like it! Instead, I’d offer it up for free right off the bat, mentioning its value. Something like “We’d love to send you our new floor sanitizing kit worth $50.” Then add “All I’d ask is that you consider mentioning it on your blog or writing a review,” which, by the way, is a brilliant sentence to add. It’s a great way not to pressure or expect anything from the blogger (you’re not paying them after all!) + come across as humble & likeable at the same time. You’d be surprised at how many reviews & mentions we bloggers will happily give without compensation, to friendly folks with relevant products we like (even more so if they are local businesses!). Anyhow, those are my two cents! -Cristina

If you've read anything about or studied Search Engine Optimization, you've come across the term "backlink" at least once. For those of you new to SEO, you may be wondering what a backlink is, and why they are important. Backlinks have become so important to the scope of Search Engine Optimization, that they have become some of the main building blocks to good SEO. In this article, we will explain to you what a backlink is, why they are important, and what you can do to help gain them while avoiding getting into trouble with the Search Engines.


Once you’ve chosen a persona and can use that to guide your tone of voice, you’ll need to make sure your video is also targeting the right stage in the buyer’s journey. You should always be trying to help buyers achieve their own goals, or solve their problems, not selling. Yet, depending on what stage they’re in of the buyer’s journey, they may not even even have a name for their problem yet.
As Google becomes more and more sophisticated, one of the major cores of their algorithm, the one dealing with links (called Penguin) aims to value natural, quality links and devalue those unnatural or spammy ones. As a search engine, if they are to stay viable, they have to make sure their results are as honest and high-quality as possible, and that webmasters can't manipulate those results to their own benefit.
Users will occasionally come to a page that doesn't exist on your site, either by following a broken link or typing in the wrong URL. Having a custom 404 page30 that kindly guides users back to a working page on your site can greatly improve a user's experience. Your 404 page should probably have a link back to your root page and could also provide links to popular or related content on your site. You can use Google Search Console to find the sources of URLs causing "not found" errors31.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, consumers spent $453.46 billion on the web for retail purchases in 2017, a 16.0% increase compared with $390.99 billion in 2016. That’s the highest growth rate since 2011, when online sales grew 17.5% over 2010. Forrester predicts that online sales will account for 17% of all US retail sales by 2022. And digital advertising is also growing strongly; According to Strategy Analytics, in 2017 digital advertising was up 12%, accounting for approximately 38% of overall spending on advertising, or $207.44 billion.
The paper’s authors noted that AltaVista (on the right) returned a rather random assortment of search results–rather obscure optical physics department of the University of Oregon, the campus networking group at Carnegie Mellon, Wesleyan’s computer science group, and then a page for one of the campuses of a Japanese university. Interestingly, none of the first six results return the homepage of a website
To a search engine, relevance means more than finding a page with the right words. In the early days of the web, search engines didn’t go much further than this simplistic step, and search results were of limited value. Over the years, smart engineers have devised better ways to match results to searchers’ queries. Today, hundreds of factors influence relevance, and we’ll discuss the most important of these in this guide.
Today, one of the biggest trends driving the digital marketing world is responsive design. When a company’s content doesn’t perform well on a given device or browser system, the business behind it loses traffic and suffers decreased conversions as a result. Fortunately, video content is fit for consumption on all devices, ranging from computers to mobile phones. This expands video’s reach and makes it more user-friendly and consumer-focused.
Another reason is that if you're using an image as a link, the alt text for that image will be treated similarly to the anchor text of a text link. However, we don't recommend using too many images for links in your site's navigation when text links could serve the same purpose. Lastly, optimizing your image filenames and alt text makes it easier for image search projects like Google Image Search to better understand your images.
Brian, you are such an inspiration. I wonder how do you get all these hacks and then publish them for all of us. I have been reading your stuff from quite a time now, but I have a problem. Every time I read something you post I feel overwhelmed but I haven’t been really able to generate any fruitful results on any of my sites. I just don’t know where to start. Imagine I don’t even have an email list.
Where and When: Plan for the best time of day for lighting in each location, as well as rain dates as needed. Marketing videos are often done indoors in your own office, without a lot of frills. So lighting may not be a factor, but you may want a time of day when they’re less foot traffic and interruptions. Remember to give everyone ample time to ensure they won’t be rushed or panicking to get it right.
Infographics are one of the most popular methods for bringing traffic to your website and gaining valuable backlinks. They're also great because they're easy to understand and share. Everyone loves visual data, right? That's why the demand for infographics has increased considerably. Consider that influential online publications like Mashable publish numerous infographics from all over the Internet.
This broad overview of each piece of the Internet marketing world gives students a firm foundation in the field to help them decide where their interests and talents fit the best. All designers should have an understanding of content creation, while all content specialists should have respect for the design process (See also Content Marketing Specialist). At the more advanced levels of a marketing program, students will hone the skills that are most important to their areas of emerging expertise to create sharp minds and strong portfolios on their way to the workplace.
Video Marketing is a good way to promote your business. However, it’s not that an easy task and sometimes you need a help from your co-workers like graphic designers if you don’t know how to create or draw your own icon or image to be used in the video. Though you can get from free stock photos and icons sites to compile it for your video, I think it’s better if you create your own.
Your YouTube channel is a great warehouse for all your videos and will help Google understand more about your company as a whole. But make sure you embed your videos on your own website as well. This helps Google to see not just the video, but the context of related content. Embed your videos on the appropriate pages of your website to not just enhance the content there, but to make those connections between the video and the point you’re trying to convey.
Just as some backlinks you earn are more valuable than others, links you create to other sites also differ in value. When linking out to an external site, the choices you make regarding the page from which you link (its page authority, content, search engine accessibility, and so on) the anchor text you use, whether you choose to follow or nofollow the link, and any other meta tags associated with the linking page can have a heavy impact on the value you confer.
Thanks to its viral nature, simple accessibility and built-in value, video marketing stands out as a smart way to approach content marketing in 2017 and beyond. Video marketing is an incredible way to create content that is personal and has a real impact on your audience. It has an incomparable ability to create emotion driven sales – and sales are always personal on some level. Buyers want to feel good about their choice, and video marketing, when done correctly, is the best way to create this feeling.
Link text is the visible text inside a link. This text tells users and Google something about the page you're linking to. Links on your page may be internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your anchor text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you're linking to is about.
When traffic is coming to your website or blog, nearly unfettered, it gives you the opportunity to test out a variety of marketing initiatives. However, without that traffic, you're forced to spend money on costly ads before really determining the effectiveness of your offers and uncovering your cost-per acquisition (CPA), two things which are at the core of scaling out any business online.
Search engine optimization (SEO) receives a lot of love from inexperienced marketers. It’s seen as “free marketing” in that you can handle your own SEO work (as long as you follow some rules to do so), and thus all it requires is your time to make things happen. SEO is simply what you do to your website and web pages to make them show up in “organic” (or unpaid) search results on search engines.
An Internet marketing campaign is not an isolated, one-off proposal. Any company that plans on using it once is certain to continue to use it. An individual who is knowledgeable about all aspects of an Internet marketing campaign and who has strong interpersonal skills is well-suited to maintain an ongoing managerial role on a dedicated marketing team.

This last step of the inbound marketing methodology isn’t a stage of the buyer’s journey because technically, this stage happens after a purchase. Yet it’s an awesome opportunity for video marketing. The goal here is to make your current customers so happy that they’ll become brand promoters. Let loose and have some creative fun with these videos, you have a lot less to lose here than in any other stage.
From Snapchat stories and live social media, to the most highly polished corporate webinars, video marketing comes in every imaginable shape, size and format. Think about your other marketing content: blogs, infographics, ebooks, social media updates and more. That same content, turned into a simple iPhone video, gets you into the video marketing game.

The idea of negative SEO is a controversial one. Although the major search engines generally say that it is difficult if not impossible to hurt another site through negative SEO, there are also reports of brands saying that their websites were impacted by backlinking from spammy sites. It is always a good idea to check your backlinks and make sure that they are from reputable sites and can help your search engine rankings. If you find links that are not up to your quality standards, it is possible to disavow them so that Google knows that you do not want this site counted among your backlinks.
But Google has championed machine learning as its future and seems 100 percent focused on growing this segment of the algorithm. Going forward, SEO practitioners will need to be proactive and invest in analyzing data and understanding search behavior across a variety of search and social platforms. This way they can develop the type of content that will motivate and influence user/search behavior which will in turn influence rankings and traffic.
All of the examples above and more could be used as anchor text for the same backlink. Google will index each differently. Not only that, Google will even examine the few words before and after the anchor text as well as take into account all of the text on the page. It will also attribute value to which backlink was first in the page and diminish the value for each following link.

After your site has been built out, creating a social media presence is the best second step for most businesses. All businesses should have a Facebook Page that’s fully fleshed out with plenty of information about your business. Depending on your audience, you can also start a Twitter, Instagram, and/or Pinterest account. Social media is a long-term commitment that requires frequently updating and monitoring, but it’s one of the best ways to build an online community around your business.
Search engines may penalize sites they discover using black hat methods, either by reducing their rankings or eliminating their listings from their databases altogether. Such penalties can be applied either automatically by the search engines' algorithms, or by a manual site review. One example was the February 2006 Google removal of both BMW Germany and Ricoh Germany for use of deceptive practices.[53] Both companies, however, quickly apologized, fixed the offending pages, and were restored to Google's list.[54]

When you comment on a blog post, you are usually allowed to include a link back to your website. This is often abused by spammers and can become a negative link building tool. But if you post genuine comments on high-quality blog posts, there can be some value in sharing links, as it can drive traffic to your site and increase the visibility of your brand.
Conversion rate optimization is all about testing. Many companies get too bogged down in design and what they think looks best and will convert. At the end of the day, you don’t know until you test. At IMI, we have the tools, technology, and expertise to not only build well-optimized web pages but to test them once they go live. Our conversion rate optimization can not only save our client’s money but generate millions in revenue.
And why not? Human beings have always enthralled themselves into one pursuit after another, all with a means to an end of improving our lives. Clearly, the conveniences afforded by the internet are quite literally earth-shattering to say the least. Three decades ago, few could have ever imagined the present state of our on-demand-everything society, with the ability to instantly communicate and conduct business in real-time, at a pace that often seems dizzying at the best of times.
Backlinks are important for both search engines and end users. For the search engines, it helps them determine how authoritative and relevant your site is on the topic that you rank for. Furthermore, backlinks to your website are a signal to search engines that other external websites are endorsing your content. If many sites link to the same webpage or website, search engines can interpret that content is worth linking to, and therefore also worth ranking higher on a SERP (search engine results page). For many years, the quantity of backlinks was an indicator of a page’s popularity. But today algorithms like Google's Penguin update, were created to help with other ranking factors; pages are ranked higher based on the quality of the links that they are getting from external sites and less on quantity.
Ask for a technical and search audit for your site to learn what they think needs to be done, why, and what the expected outcome should be. You'll probably have to pay for this. You will probably have to give them read-only access to your site on Search Console. (At this stage, don't grant them write access.) Your prospective SEO should be able to give you realistic estimates of improvement, and an estimate of the work involved. If they guarantee you that their changes will give you first place in search results, find someone else.
Finally, it’s critical you spend time and resources on your business’s website design. When these aforementioned customers find your website, they’ll likely feel deterred from trusting your brand and purchasing your product if they find your site confusing or unhelpful. For this reason, it’s important you take the time to create a user-friendly (and mobile-friendly) website.
But there is more… there is also the need to blend what is “optimal” with what is “realistically acceptable” in a basket of digital marketing tools. In particular, SEOs have a tendency to think and often work in isolation. They do not appreciate many of the issues surrounding development processes such as Agile, Scrum, and Lean methodologies. Not understanding these wider engineering concepts, SEOs’ implementations continually lose out to other “more urgent” projects.
Deliver value no matter what: Regardless of who you are and what you're trying to promote, always deliver value, first and foremost. Go out of your way to help others by carefully curating information that will assist them in their journey. The more you focus on delivering value, the quicker you'll reach that proverbial tipping point when it comes to exploding your fans or followers.

A purchase may have been made, but there’s still a lot video can do to leverage the post-conversion stage of your flywheel. During the "delight stage" of the inbound methodology, your goal is to continue providing remarkable content to users that makes their interaction with your product or service as incredible as possible. It's also in hopes that they’ll tell their connections about their experience or up-sell themselves. Therefore, the goal of this type of video is encourage your customers to embrace your brand and become brand evangelists.

Now that you’ve attracted video viewers and website visitors, the next step is to convert these visitors into leads. With most inbound marketing content, this means collecting some sort of contact information via a form. Video can aid this process by visualizing a solution to the buyer’s problem, whether that’s before the form on a landing page or as the offer itself. Overall, the goal of this kind of video is to educate and excite.
Social Media is constantly growing its popularity in the internet marketing industry. Much like the internet as a whole, social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter bring together millions of people. Using social media fan pages and business pages you can have your business put out there and recommended to thousands of locally targeted people in an instant. With that in mind, there are various other ways social media can be used as part of an internet marketing campaign.
Youtube videos can often rank high for many keywords. Search some of your industry keywords and you will for sure notice some Youtube videos in the Top 10 or Top 20.  This is a great way to get rankings. If you do not have videos, do not worry, we can create them for you.  We will optimize your videos to rank high in Google and get you additional rankings. This will result in additional traffic to your website.
If you’re using SEM as a strategy, you’ll need to test and evaluate your keywords. A good rule of thumb is that for every 100 clicks you get, you’ll get between 3 and 10 enquiries. So, to conduct an efficient test, you’ll want to test around 1,000 clicks. That means setting your budget for Adwords at 1,000 times the cost of the click. If you find that this is going to cost too much, you’ll need to find other keywords or a different marketing strategy.

Brian, just wanted to start off by saying great informative article, you had a lot of great of insight. I see it was mentioned a bit in the above comments, about the infographic, but I thought it is a great idea to include a textbox under the infographic with the coding that could be copied to be pasted on blogs (thus, earning additional backlinks from other websites). I’ve also noticed many infographics that have “resources” or “references” included in the image. My understanding is currently it is not recognized by google, because of the image format, but I foresee one day Google may be able to update their algorithm to recognize written text inside of an image, and thus potentially adding value to the written text in the image. What are your thoughts on that idea?

Although online marketing creates many opportunities for businesses to grow their presence via the Internet and build their audiences, there are also inherent challenges with these methods of marketing. First, the marketing can become impersonal, due to the virtual nature of message and content delivery to a desired audience. Marketers must inform their strategy for online marketing with a strong understanding of their customer’s needs and preferences. Techniques like surveys, user testing, and in-person conversations can be used for this purpose.
We help clients increase their organic search traffic by using the latest best practices and most ethical and fully-integrated search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. Since 1999, we've partnered with many brands and executed campaigns for over 1,000 websites, helping them dominate in even highly competitive industries, via capturing placements that maximize impressions and traffic.

Just think about any relationship for a moment. How long you've known a person is incredibly important. It's not the be-all-end-all, but it is fundamental to trust. If you've known someone for years and years and other people that you know who you already trust can vouch for that person, then you're far more likely to trust them, right? But if you've just met someone, and haven't really vetted them so to speak, how can you possibly trust them?

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