Category : Authority Building

Why is Content Marketing important?

What is content marketing and how can it help your business?

Content marketing is the creation and publication of valuable and notable information to a specific audience. Ideally, this information will in turn make your company a go-to resource in your industry. 

Whole Foods Market logoA really great example of a company that’s done this right is Whole Foods Market. They’ve put together a blog with contributors including their management staff, employees, suppliers and partners. Blog post content ranges from how to buy food in bulk, tips on how to get your kids to eat better and of course, mouth-watering recipes for the groceries you can pick up at your closest Whole Foods Market store. If you succeed at doing something like Whole Foods Market has, you’ll have accomplished one or more objectives including brand awareness, lead generation, client acquisition, customer retention and engagement – just to name a few!

Remember that everything that you put forth on your website, social media channels and even in your traditional marketing communications should convince your audience that you are a valuable source of information that responds to their needs or offers solutions to their problems. Instead of continuously selling to your audience, you’re instead teaching them about what they want to learn about– and by doing this, your company will be regarded as a more trustworthy (and likeable!) source of information.

Lego Logo

For example, how does toy giant LEGO continue to engage their young clientele? They offer a free magazine subscription with sneak peeks of new LEGO sets, games, competitions, comics, secret online content and more. This added value easily keeps their young fans coming back!

How do you create memorable and engaging content?

  1. First of all, this might be obvious, but make it relevant to your brand and what you offer. You want to provide value-added information – for example, if your company is in the travel industry, you want to be able to provide advice on having an easy experience booking trips or offer insider tips about cities to visit.
  2. Next, make sure that your content marketing is inspirational and most importantly, relatable. Your readers need to get excited about what they’re reading and not feel like it’s a sales pitch to get them to make a purchase. Be sure that the voice you’re using matches your audience’s – read everything you can online to catch this– everything from your competitors to key industry players’ blogs to absorbing all feedback from current customers – and adapt accordingly.

A perfect example of how a company has generated buzz-worthy content marketing is McDonald’s Canada’s “Our Food. Your Questions.” website. What they’ve done is created a space for Canadians to ask any questions about their famous menu – everything from why their hamburgers don’t rot to why they don’t carry Halal food. You can imagine the amount of interest consumers have in these answers – some of these are questions that have been asked for years! All of the responses are personalized to the individual who asked the question and is written in a manner that’s easily understood – even if answered by their food scientists! And of course, beneath each reply on the website are conveniently placed icons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ so you can share the answer.

Once you’ve become this great source of information, it’s natural that potential customers will start referring to you – just like the McDonald’s example above – using your information to share with their counterparts online and through social media, giving you free word of mouth publicity. This is where Google jumps in and starts to pick up on who has started to share your content via social networks or blogs or other qualified websites, helping you move your way up in search engine rankings. Great content marketing is the key to making your business an authority in your industry and needs to be included as part of an essential marketing strategy to your business’ success.

We hope this has been helpful and we invite you to get started on becoming a voice of authority today!

 

Link Building Page Update

We just updated our page content describing link building for your website. Given the changes in the Google algorithm our approach for link building now also includes an assessment and cleanup of unnatural links to your site. These include any links from spammy sites that were put up just for the benefit of SEO. The benefit of these types of links is gone and to avoid penalizing your position in search results it is recommended to do a clean up of bad links. See the details here: http://www.redcarpetweb.com/link-building.html

Linking is Still Queen

Almost 10 years ago, I wrote a piece called “Linking is Queen”.  The article discussed how linking is essential to the health of a website, but that content was still “King”.

Skip to 2013 and the only thing that has changed is the way we link.  There is no longer any need to solicit links, though it would not hurt to solicit them from appropriate sites (such as clients and suppliers).  Links today come directly from a viewpoint of popularity.  If you are popular, you get discussed and linked to in social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and more.  This in turn makes your site, your brand, and/or yourself a deemed authority on the subject in question.

So how do you become popular? The answer is the same as it ever was: “Content is King”.  Write original, valuable content, and people will discuss it, share it, Tweet it, and make your article or website the most popular one around. You can use tricks like link bait, but that is just another way of confirming to “write content that people want to share”.  It all comes down to: good content generates good links.

So what is good content? Good content is both unique AND adds value to a website.

  • It is not offered anywhere else
  • It is an original solution to people’s problems
  • Is either interesting, surprising, and/or has a practical use

If you want your content to spread, it should trigger one of the 3 A’s: Anxiety, Awe, or Anger.

Unique content without value may in fact harm your site’s authority.  So don’t regurgitate old ideas, be creative and initiate new concepts.  That is how you will make it to the top.

So, in a decade, everything has changed, and nothing has changed.  Content and links are still the King and Queen that dominate search engine landscape.

Don’t forget to pledge your allegiance.

by Shawn Campbell – February 8, 2013 – www.RedCarpetWeb.com

King + Queen = Royal Success

Ever wonder how or why your competitor gets better search engine rankings than you do? Does he know something you don’t? Well, maybe he actually does…And that’s where I come in. I’m here to unveil the secret tricks of the trade that may be giving your competitor that much-needed edge in search engine rankings and to show you how you can reclaim your position without skipping a beat. Quite simply, I am going to give you the key to unlocking the secret chest of information that your competition is using to get better rankings.

It is not that difficult. There are two main criteria to getting good rankings:
1. Content (which is king)
2. Linking (which is queen)

Content is King

Content is easily viewable and just as easy to measure. It basically includes what you see on the site: the text. If your competition has more text than you, consider increasing yours; if he has more keywords, consider increasing yours; if he has bigger headers, consider increasing yours. By all means, I am not saying to make a carbon copy of his site, but do look at the “on the site” factors that you are lacking and evaluate whether to increase them on your site. A note of caution – make sure that any changes you make actually improves the site and increases its value for your customers. In other words, don’t sacrifice quality for quantity unless you believe that the added text actually serves to better the overall look, feel and quality of your site.

Some ideas to increase quality/quantity of content:

  • Write a monthly article about your topic
  • Write a page about your keyphrase/product/service
  • If your headers don’t have your keyphrase in them, then be sure to add it
  • Make sure the titles on all your pages relate to the content of the page
  • Write, write, write (and then write some more!).

Linking is Queen

Linking requires more research. Look up your competitions site on Google by typing in: link: http://www.competitorsdomain.com/ into the search box (replace competitorsdomain with the URL of your competitor). Now the search results you will be looking at is a list of all the sites that are linking to your competitor. Go through that list, and for each site, figure out how he got that link. Some links might be paid for, some might be link exchanges, some might be directories like dmoz.org or Yahoo, and others might be references or testimonials. Make a spreadsheet with each site linking to your competition, and jot down how he got the link. Then, for each site that is appropriate, get it to link to you. Remember to stay away from link farms and low quality links. Link farms are sites that have nothing but links. Low quality links are sites with little to no content. These sites will often try to exchange links with you: Don’t do it! Only link to a site if it will enhance the user experience of your clients.

For more about linking, see my article entitled Linking is Queen
(http://www.redcarpetweb.com/promotion/0409.html#feature)

Royal Success

Getting links takes time and patience, and writing is not usually done overnight. To top it off, once these projects are done, you then have to wait for the search engines to discover and re-evaluate your site. Both the link campaign and the writing projects should be something done on a regular basis, not as a one-shot injection. Try to create new pages every month, and to get some links every month. That way your site will make the gradual climb to the top. And who doesn’t want that?

Shawn Campbell

Shawn Campbell is the co-founder and Chief Search Engine Optimizer at Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc.
www.redcarpetweb.com

Picking Apart PageRank

Google is currently the darling of web surfers. With robust algorithms such as PageRank, Google helps users find relevant results, quickly. But while PageRank may be a boon for searchers, it is also the bane of webmasters because it is one of the most difficult ranking factors to control.

PageRank is the brainchild of Google co-founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. It is a system for ranking web pages that is based on an assumption popular among academics: that the importance of a research paper can be judged by the number of citations it has from other researcher papers.

The pair simply came up with the web page equivalent: the importance of a web page can be judged by the number of links it has from other web pages.

To find out what a website’s PageRank is, you’ll need to install the Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer.

The Google toolbar sits underneath your address bar and displays a bar graph representing the PageRank of the page you are viewing.

toolbar

How it All Works

When a user visits Google and enters a query, several things happen. First, Google finds all the web pages in its index that match the search term. Next, out of these results, Google selects a subset of web pages that have the greatest relevance to the query.

At this point, PageRank is not a factor at all. Google first looks at all the usual factors such as keyword density and prominence to calculate relevance. PageRank only comes into play as a multiplier after all these other factors have been calculated. In other words:

Final Ranking = (score for all other relevance factors) x (PageRank rating).

To determine a page’s PageRank, Google looks at a web page and counts how many incoming links are pointing to it. Google regards these links as “votes”. If one site links to another site, it is essentially casting a vote for that site.

Google doesn’t just count the total number of “votes” or links that a web page receives to determine its PageRank however; it also analyzes the web page that casts the vote.

Votes cast by pages that Google deems “important”, i.e., sites that already have a high PageRank, are given more weight and help to increase the PageRank of the web pages they link to.

The actual PageRank of a web page is calculated as the sum of the PageRank of all the web pages linking to it, divided by the number of outgoing links on each of those pages.

Improving Your PageRank

Improving your website’s PageRank may sound easy: just find sites with a high PageRank to link to your site. In reality however, it’s not that simple.

Many webmasters with sites with a high PageRank, will not link to a site with a lower PageRank; it simply isn’t worth their while to do so. Moreover, even if they do link to your page, if they also link to numerous other pages, the PageRank is divided among all the outgoing links.

Consequently, it may actually be beneficial to propose link exchanges with quality sites with a slightly lower PageRank: competition for links from such sites is less fierce and webmasters may be more willing to reciprocate links.

Click here for additional tips on improving your PageRank.

The Trouble with PageRank

While the premise behind PageRank may hold true within the halls of academia, when applied to web pages, its flaws start to show.

Although it would seem like common sense that a website would only link to another site if it had good content, in reality, websites link to sites with poor content all the time. Webmasters may engage in purely commercial link exchanges, or they may link to a page because they use that website’s counters or banner ads on their own website.

Moreover, affiliate websites that generate revenue through pay-per-click links may artificially inflate their client’s PageRank, thus undermining any notion of a natural PageRank.

New sites are often the worse affected by PageRank. Regardless of their quality, new sites will always have fewer incoming links and therefore, a lower PageRank. Consequently, getting sites with a higher PageRank to link to them will be difficult.

websites with a good PageRank however, have no trouble soliciting links. Because of their good PR, they tend to rank highly in the search engine results pages. Since they rank highly in the results pages, people tend to link to them, creating a vicious cycle.

Final Thoughts

While PageRank is one of the hardest factors to influence, it can still be manipulated. As more and more people discover these strategies, the utility of PageRank will undoubtedly be diminished.

-Julie Joseph

Julie Joseph is a search engine optimizer and copywriter at Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc.

Link popularity to increase your ranking

Link popularity is one of the many factors that can alter your position in search engine results pages. The basic assumption by search engines is that if more sites are linking to your site, then it must be good. This is essentially why Google, MSN, Hotbot, Altavista, Inktomi and other search engines use link popularity as a factor in their ranking algorithms.

The Basics
Links are like votes. The search engines treat a link from one site to another as a recommendation that the second site is worthwhile and of interest to web surfers. When search engines are not trying to increase their income with paid results, their goal is still to actually provide users with the most relevant results. Search engines will take all the help they can get in determining which sites are the most relevant. Therefore, if many webmasters in your industry link to your site, search engines take notice, and use those links as votes towards increasing your search engine rank.

Keep in mind that search engines are becoming very sophisticated in their ranking algorithms. For example, they not only factor in the quantity of incoming links, but also the quality of those links. Below are the main factors that determine a quality link, followed by a step-by-step guide to increase your link popularity.

Authority
A link to your site from an “authorative site” is worth more than a link from a site with less “authority.” An ” authoritative site” is one with a clear and focused theme, with many visitors, and with many incoming links from other sites. The search engines factor in both the relevance and the popularity of the site that is linking to you.

Exclusivity
If a friend tells you “this is my favorite movie” or “this movie is among my top one hundred favorites” which statement makes a stronger recommendation for the film? The first one of course, because the film is a clear winner.

Search engines use the same logic. Basically, if a site has one outgoing link, that vote will be worth more than if it is one among a hundred other outgoing links on the same page. In fact, on Free-For-All (FFA) links pages and link farms, the link to your site is so diluted with other links that it is worthless. This is one of the reasons why you should avoid using such services. Another is that search engines try their best to exclude such pages from their databases.
Besides, you will never get a qualified visitor who discovers your site from such a page.

Recognition
For a link to count, search engines have to know it exists. Consequently, only links from pages that are in search engine databases increase your link popularity. A link from a site that the search engines do not know about, may still be advantageous however, because you may get actual visitors who discover your site via that link, and because search engines may find and index the site in the future.

It is easier to secure incoming links from sites that are less popular than your own if you are willing to do a link exchange, because the recipient will benefit more than you will. My advice is to choose sites that are relevant to your site, and then solicit them all regardless of their popularity.

Tip #1
If you offer good resources and useful content on your site, people will visit it and other sites will endorse it by linking to it.

Tip #2
Use the reverse link search feature in search engines to discover other sites that have linked to yours. Most search engines have instructions in their “advanced search” or “search tips” pages.

Tip #3
If there are many links to a site using a specific keyword in the hyperlink, it will raise that site’s ranking for the keyword. This is how keyword rich domain names can make a difference, because sites often use the domain name as the link button. Keep this in mind when providing others with text links to your site.

Apart from link popularity, you should also keep in mind that following links is a common way in which websites are found. By getting more incoming links to your site, you will be directly increasing your traffic from visitors clicking on those links.

Suggested process for a link popularity campaign

  1. Make sure that your site has useful and original content. Give people a good reason to link to your site based on the content you provide. Create credibility with quality content and writing.
  2. Create an outgoing “links” page. One way to get incoming links is to offer reciprocal link exchanges.
  3. Create a “link instructions” page on your site. Provide instructions to other webmasters on how to link to your site. Provide URLs, banners, text links and code to link to the most relevant pages on your site. Also provide the means and linking criteria for other sites to submit a request for a reciprocal link.
  4. Submit your site to search engines and directories. A link from a directory category can make a big difference in your traffic and link popularity because such sites have “authority.”
  5. Create lists of sites that are relevant to the theme or subject of your site but are not in direct competition with your business. Search for your keyphrases then pick out sites to add to your list. Keep track of the URL, keyphrase, phone number and email address on a spreadsheet.
  6. Include the people you already know. This includes professional organizations, industry partners, suppliers and customers who can also link to your site.
  7. See who is linking to your competitors. Use the reverse link search feature with your competitors’ URLs then add those sites to your list of companies to contact.
  8. Contact the person who is in charge of online marketing. For small companies it will be the webmaster. For larger companies it will be the marketing director.
    1. Avoid form letters. You can write them, but others do not like to receive them. So start with a base letter that you personalize and send separately to each company.
    2. Each letter should include:
      1. the URL of the page that you are requesting the link from,
      2. the text for the link (it should fit within the context of the site),
      3. your URL,
      4. your contact information,
      5. a concise reason why they should link to you. This reason should be related to the content of your site or to some other benefit that you are offering. Be creative yet realistic.
    3. Make it easy for them to link to you. You may know how to add a link on your site, but you cannot assume that everyone whom you contact has the authority and skills to add a link on theirs. Provide code, be available for calls, be patient and be convincing.
    4. Follow up. Do not be discouraged if no one responds to your initial e-mail. Remember that it is unsolicited, and that most people throw out unsolicited e-mail. It is essential to follow up with another e-mail one or two weeks later, as well as additional phone calls. Do not risk ruining an existing or potentially important relationship by being too bothersome.
    5. Document the process. Keep track of when and how each company was contacted and keep close track of responses. Also note the name of the contact person whom you are dealing with. I recommend adding this information to the same spreadsheet as your original list of sites.
    6. Follow up on the follow up. Getting quality incoming links is an ongoing task.
    7. Keep adding sites to your list.
    8. Thank others for linking to your site.

More on Link Popularity:
www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2160121
www.highrankings.com/linkpopularity.htm
www.searchenginewatch.com/searchday/article.php/2159391

Jason Campbell

If you have any comments on this article, please respond to news@redcarpetweb.com.
Jason Campbell is the co-founder and President at Red Carpet Web Promotion, Inc.