How to Setup & Use the Yoast SEO Plugin 2017 Guide

WordPress SEO by Yoast, now simply Yoast SEO, is one of the best WordPress SEO plugins on the market for blogging. It offers users both features and accessibility, including a snippet editor, automatic management, and the ability to immediately preview and analyze your page as it will be displayed. The Yoast SEO Plugin is the perfect addition to your WordPress blog to make sure you are optimized for search engines.

Features of the Yoast SEO Plugin

The Yoast SEO Plugin will run a test on your keywords, ensuring you use the input keyword appropriately for SEO to be effective. Their meta box feature lets you optimize your page by seeing how Google will display your content. You can also set styles for titles and meta descriptions for various page types. With a robots meta configuration, you can have Google not index your page or pages, and either follow or not follow your page.

The new readability check will help analyze your page for how well it appeals to the reader. This will help ensure you post real, relevant, and accessible content. Google’s canonical link element allows the engine to properly link to the original page. The downside is that they do not work for categories, tags, or the homepage. This aspect of the plugin solves this problem by correcting these links to canonical. The Breadcrumbs feature lets you have full control over the title and breadcrumb path for posts, pages, and taxonomy.

Yoast SEO offers a primary category selection option so that you can always have a primary, even though you may want more than one category. It will also cleanup your Permalinks so that they appear nice to your users, follow a dashed structure. Yoast SEO also helps you build your XML Sitemap, even featuring a built in generator to do it for you. With the Yoast SEO plugin’s help you can easily and accurately submit sitemaps to help search engines crawl and index your page.

Installation Of Yoast SEO

In order to install plugins on WordPress, you will first need to be using WordPress.org and not WordPress.com. (For more on this click here). You should be able to easily install the plugin by navigating to Plugins from your WordPress admin page, selecting Add New, and searching for WordPress SEO. You should be able to quickly and easily install the plugin in by doing so.

For more details on installation, or if you are having problems, click here to read more.

Setting Up Yoast 

The goal of using the Yoast SEO plugin is to maximize your WordPress site for SEO and make sure search engines find and search your site the way you want them to. It does this by targeting three aspects of technical SEO: crawling, indexation, and duplicate and low quality content.

Crawling is about the way your search engine clicks through your site and finds all of your pages and content. Indexation is how it copies and archives your information. It is important to ensure that crawling and indexation are simple for the search engine to do. They will also search for duplicate and low quality content to ensure they give users the best results. If you optimize for all of these things with your Yoast SEO Plugin, you will ensure your page is running to boost SEO. Therefore, setting up your Yoast SEO plugin is extremely important for it to work best for you.

Data Transfer

If you have never used a WordPress SEO plugin before, then you can skip this step. If you have used a different WordPress SEO plugin like the All in One SEO Pack, or a theme framework like Genesis or Headway, you’ll want to transfer your data. This will help you keep the information before getting rid of the other plugin, ensuring you keep valuable data you’ve gained over time. There are a few programs that can facilitate this, but we suggest SEO Data Transporter.

Your Identity

You will want to add information about you or your company so that the search engine will be able to use this to your benefit. Input the website, title, and alternate information for your page so that search engines can find it with different information. You also want to indicate whether the page is run by a person or company, since you will be given the option to include a company name and logo. The more information you input, the better Yoast SEO can optimize your ability to be searched.

How to properly input all of your website information.

Webmaster Tools

As a site owner, you can register your website with popular search engines like Google and Bing. These webmaster tools give you information on your website relevant to the search engines by adding a meta tag to your site. Since meta tags can be complicated for early users, this feature on the Yoast SEO is great for beginners. Just use the meta code that the search engines give you and it will do the rest.

How to use Webmaster Tools for specific search engines.

Titles & Metas

One of the first things you’ll want to do is ensure your site can be easily crawled and indexed. Go to the Titles & Metas setting and click the Other tab. From here, you will want to select ‘Noindex subpages of archives’ so that the search engine will crawl but not index the second and third pages of your blog. You will also want to select ‘Add noodp and noydir to meta robots tag sitewide’ to instruct the search engine to use your page description rather than the one other directories use. The next thing you want to change is your Archives and Taxonomies to filter out low-quality content. Yoast SEO will let the search engine crawl these pages but not index them, as they appear to be spam and can make the search engine think you are not an authority.

Set your titles and meta descriptions to ensure search engines properly index your pages.

Social Media Links

You will also want to go to the Social settings and adjust those. By adding your social media accounts to the relevant fields, you will make sure your posts appear correctly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. This will help ensure your content and pages are all linked together properly and make your brand easily accessible to both users and search engines.

Input all of your social media accounts to connect them simply with your webpage.

XML Sitemaps

Since the whole reason you’re using the Yoast SEO Plugin is to ensure search engines can find you, you will definitely want to build an XML Sitemap. Exclude any content you don’t want them to search through, such as your Noindexes, and then submit your XML sitemap URL to Google, Bing, and other search engines.

How to get your XML sitemaps.

Permalinks

Another key to increasing SEO is ensuring your domain URLs are searchable. Regular, default Permalinks are unappealing to the user, but they are also terrible for search engine optimization. You will want to ensure you use a setting that will ‘Enforce a trailing slash on all category and tag URLs’ so that your Permalinks will look great and be ideal for search engines to crawl.

How to create a successful permalink structure for your pages.

Using the Yoast SEO Plugin for Posting

Although setting up your Yoast SEO as we’ve said above will help give you positive results, you will also want to use it to benefit you while you’re actually posting.

Meta Box

When you are posting using Yoast SEO, there will be a meta box that appears below the Visual Editor of WordPress. It gives you a Snippet Preview that takes your meta data and shows you how it will appear in Google, including your title tag, your URL slug, and your meta description. It also gets you to put in a focus keyword to help focus your blog post on the topic you’re doing. This is what you are trying to rank for searches and likely the main topic of your post.

By changing your SEO Title, you can make sure it searches better than the title you want people to read. This will ensure that when people search for you they still find you, even if certain terms aren’t in your blog’s title. Altering the meta description works for you as well, helping to make sure you direct and focus your content. You can even use the Yoast SEO plugin to do a quick analysis of your content, which will give you feedback on your content based on the keyword you are looking to rank. You will want to adjust it based on the feedback, but always remember to focus on appealing to the real user.

Meta box data offers a Snippet Preview of what your page will like in the SERP results.

Choosing the Yoast SEO Plugin

If you use both setup and use options with your Yoast SEO Plugin you’ll be sure to see great results. This program is perfect at helping you teach you to do SEO, manage your SEO, and automate a lot of these processes for you. As far as WordPress SEO plugins go, Yoast SEO is one of the bests, offering a range of diverse features with simple functionality.

For the official guide by Yoast go here.

The 10 Best SEO Chrome Extensions You Need to Try

The Top 10 Chrome Extensions for SEO Professionals in 2017

One of the reasons that the Chrome browser is so popular is because of the extensions available for download through the Web Store. Grouped into different categories, the extensions provide users improved functionality and tools while browsing the internet.

As digital marketers we spend a lot of time online and using the best extensions helps us make sure we get the most out of each day. To help you optimize your marketing efforts, we’ve put together this list of the top 10 SEO Chrome extensions.

While some of these extensions do the same thing, each one is worth looking into to see if it can make those everyday tasks go a little quicker.

Our List of the Best SEO Chrome Extensions

Presented in no particular order, these extensions are the best of the best in 2016. They provide insight, functionality, and shortcuts that no digital marketer should be without.

If you have any extensions you like to use, make sure to leave a comment below and we’ll check them out.

Mozbar

The Mozbar Chrome plugin lets you create custom searches, compare link metrics, expose page elements, and highlight links and keywords.

Using this extension helps you see how difficult it is to rank for a specific keyword and lets you create custom searches by search engine, country, region, or city.

SEO Chrome Extensions

This extension has been around so long that it’s become a must-have for a lot of SEOs and a great way to get an idea of how powerful a website is.

Unfortunately, the database that Moz uses is famously awful and they scale DA off the websites with the highest number of links. Still, this is a useful plugin for ranking websites and keyword difficulty.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/mozbar/eakacpaijcpapndcfffdgphdiccmpknp?hl=en” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

Ahrefs SEO Toolbar

The Ahrefs SEO Chrome addon is a popular alternative to the Mozbar that uses its own database, which is a huge improvement over the Moz database.

Featuring an in-depth site and content explorer, as well as a rank tracker, the Ahrefs SEO Toolbar gives a lot of insights into your competitors so you can make more informed SEO decisions.

SEO Chrome Extensions

The downside to this plugin is that it’s more expensive than other extensions on this list, also the learning curve is higher than other SEO tools that perform a similar function. Lastly, you’re unable to export data from the SERPs for further analysis.

[su_button url=”https://ahrefs.com/seo-toolbar” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

Majestic Backlink Analyzer

Another popular link intelligence tool, Majestic’s Backlink Analyzer gives users a fast way to see important backlink information about a webpage.

SEO Chrome Plugin

Using Majestic’s own trust metrics, citation and trust flow, this SEO Chrome extension has three important metric tabs.

According to Neil Patel, these three metric tabs provide the following functions:

The summary tab, which is the only usable tab on free accounts, provides an overall picture of the strength of a website. The backlinks tab shows citation and trust flow, as well as the anchor text and source URL for the 10 strongest backlinks to the page. The final tab called the anchor text tab, displays information about the referring domains and other parameters for the 10 strongest anchor texts.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/majestic-backlink-analyze/pnmjaflneibolacpepklokkjnakmikmg?hl=en” target=”blank”]You can Download Majestic Bar Here[/su_button]

Check My Links

This SEO Chrome plugin is the best extension for finding broken links. It’s a useful tool that is essential for link building campaigns because it identifies any broken links on a webpage information you can use to contact a webmaster to propose an updated link.

Also, this plugin lets you put those broken links into Ahrefs and email everyone who’s still linking to it.

Chrome Tools

Using this Chrome extension for link building is a great time saver because it takes most of the legwork out of identifying broken links and helps you scan a page quickly to figure out where your time is best spent.

The ROI on this tool is out of this world, providing smart SEOs with an expedited way to contact multiple webmasters at once.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/check-my-links/ojkcdipcgfaekbeaelaapakgnjflfglf?hl=en” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

SEO Quake

SEO Quake is a popular Chrome extension that shows important metrics in SERPs. You can use this plugin to get more information about a page’s keyword density, as well as perform a complete diagnosis.

Some of the page factors looked at include the headings, schema, alt attributes, and meta descriptions.

Chrome Plugins

SEO Quake is one of the best ways to get a quick look at a webpage because it pulls metrics from a variety of different sources such as Google, SEMRush, Alexa, etc. This is a great tool that works well with the other extensions on this list.

You can also compare URLs importing the links from a CSV file.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/seoquake/akdgnmcogleenhbclghghlkkdndkjdjc?hl=en” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

Evernote Web Clipper

Although this isn’t an extension designed specifically for SEO, Evernote Web Clipper is a must-have for anyone who spends a lot of their time working online.

The functionality of this plugin goes beyond simply saving notes, providing users with a way to take screenshots, create images, clip articles, add notations, add highlights to articles, and organize emails and other important information.

Chrome Extensions

One of the best parts of Evernote is its ability to sync notes across multiple devices. So, if you’re spending your time on your laptop and save a website or SERP results for later, you can pull up that information on your smartphone or another computer by logging in.

You’re also able to save important documents and emails to the cloud through Evernote, which is easy to do and feels organic the more you rely on the plugin.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/evernote-web-clipper/pioclpoplcdbaefihamjohnefbikjilc?hl=en-US” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

LastPass

The more time you spend working online, the more passwords you accumulate to gain access to various tools and websites. If you’re following smart internet practices, each of these websites is unique and impossible to guess.

This level of security makes it very difficult to remember each login for every website you visit. Having a password manager installed is essential to avoiding being locked out of important accounts and software.

Chrome Extensions

The LastPass Chrome extension is setup and use, with the tool asking if you want to store or update any new information when you enter login information.

Another great feature of LastPass is the ability to share passwords with other people, such as virtual assistants or employees, without revealing them.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/lastpass-free-password-ma/hdokiejnpimakedhajhdlcegeplioahd” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

Ritetag

Although not something every SEO has to deal with, hashtags are an important part of social media which has a critical role in a website’s ranking on Google. This Chrome plugin automatically finds and inserts hashtags based on how popular they are.

Let’s say you’re writing a post for Twitter, Ritetag will scan your tweet, see which words have the best exposure, and turn them into hashtags. It’s a great tool to increase your reach without much effort on your part.

Extension for SEOs

This extension also works with other social networks that rely on hashtags to sort information. Ritetag also alerts you when new hashtags come up for your topics, helping you to group hashtags together easily to compare them.

For SEOs who work on a lot of different social platforms, this is a time-saving tool that generates the engagement that Google is looking for.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/riteforge/flookmlccbimcdpnbblpdjhpmjlblfgg/related?hl=en-US%C3%A8″ target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

Eye Dropper

A small extension that performs the much-needed task of identifying the colour code on a webpage. By right-clicking on the colour you need to code for, Eye Dropper saves the information for you to use later.

Not only do you have access to the colour code, but the plugin also lets you export your colour history to a CSV file.

Chrome Extensions for SEO

Using the Eye Dropper extension saves you time and frustration when trying to find the specific colour code.

While web designers and graphic artists are more likely to take advantage of this plugin, SEOs who work in smaller teams may need to fill in those roles and can use this extension to make this task easier.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/eye-dropper/hmdcmlfkchdmnmnmheododdhjedfccka/related?hl=en-US” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

Meta SEO Inspector

This extension lets you inspect the metadata provided by search engines. The information collected includes schema.org content, Facebook Open Graph, and Twitter cards.

Beyond just the usual HTML meta tags, this plugin also gives users information about XFN tags, various microformats, canonical attributes, no-follow links, and more.

Chrome Extensions

Meta SEO Inspector is primarily aimed at developers that need to verify the HTML of their website so they can follow the Webmasters’ Google Guidelines.

Anyone who’s curious about the contents of their page can use this plugin to reveal important website information.

[su_button url=”https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/meta-seo-inspector/ibkclpciafdglkjkcibmohobjkcfkaef?hl=en” target=”blank”]Download Here[/su_button]

Other Chrome Extension Resources

We hope you found some useful extensions to help you get those little tasks done quicker and easier. For more great extensions check out this list by Perrin Carrell from Authority Hacker.

In his article, Carrell expands his list to include resources for all aspects of digital marketing and includes some great videos from the Authority Hacker YouTube channel.

You can also browse through the Chrome Web Store to find popular extensions grouped into different categories. Make sure you check out the reviews and latest updates to the versions to learn more about the plugin before installing it.

What’s Next for SEO Experts

Now that you have a bunch of great SEO chrome extensions installed, you need to get out there and try them out. Not every tool will suit your needs but by playing with the resources available, you’ll find those little tasks and annoyances become less of a hindrance.

We’re sure you’ll love getting into the world of extensions as you watch your productivity climb.

Make sure to leave your favourite extensions in the comments below so we can check them out too. If we’ve missed an obvious extension, hit us up below and we may include it on an updated version of this list!

Our Top 10 Blogging Tips for Law Firm Marketing

How to Succeed at Law Firm Marketing

In today’s digital marketing place, no one should be overlooking the opportunities for attracting clients. Practices and lawyers can both stand to benefit greatly from what law firm marketing has to offer, specifically in the areas of SEO. An excellent way to ensure that you market yourself well digitally is by starting a blog.

There are lots of things you need to remember when running a blog as part of your practice. First, you want to establish a solid blogging strategy and plan that suits your law firm. Second, decide on a schedule that sets a routine for writing and publishing your content.

You also need to figure out when your posts will go out and make sure that the pattern works. Consider doing similar posts on certain days and even incorporating modern trends in the media that are getting attention.

The Top Ten 10 Tips for Blogging as a Law Firm

Ultimately, ensure that the purpose of the blog remains to get more web traffic, draw in more clients, and build yourself a better brand. You should make sure you include a short biography and contact information to help people find you easily and quickly. By following our useful tips below, you’ll have a successful law firm marketing blog in no time:

Tip 1: Content

As with any SEO strategy, content is paramount. Without content, you’re dead in the water. The first component of your blog should be about focusing on producing content. Create a plan and strategy for how to do this, including what types of content you’ll include, what style of posts you’ll use, and a schedule that helps you plan your content.

To maximize your law firm SEO marketing, you need relevant, current content. Regularly blogging is the first step. Ideally, if you incorporate content with our other tips, you’ll see how your content bolsters your law firm marketing strategies and brand.

Scheduling your content is extremely useful to ensure your new platform has a structure and to see what works and what doesn’t. You need to plan out what you’ll post at various times throughout the week and decide what keywords you’ll use ahead of time.

Law Firm Blog

Following trends is also an excellent way to stay relevant and gain new followers. You don’t have to go overboard, but a schedule will at least keep you consistent and make sure you don’t forget to post. Since law firms are full of professionals, having scheduled and reliable content is a good way of supporting that reputation.

Tip 2: Accessibility

If quality content is your company’s lifeblood, it’s important that your content is reaching who you want it to. It’s no secret that industry terminology is sometimes confusing; which is why people call it legal jargon. If your goal is to create, build, and support your following, it’s important to make sure that you make your content as accessible as possible.

Although your web page and services will need to have that legal terminology, a blog is a great space where you can use layman’s terms to connect with your audience. Be clear, concise, and to the point with your writing and content to speak with your target audience.

You should also explain what the law means rather than repeating all of the complex terms you use in the courtroom. Ultimately, the entire goal of a blog should be to connect, build trust, and develop authority with your followers and prospective clients.

By being open and trying to make complicated concepts clear to your readers, you’ll have a much easier time building your blog audience.

Tip 3: Relevancy & Current Events

Being relevant is one of the most important aspects of SEO. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure you cover current events to increase engagement. Try relating what is going on in the news to your practice’s specific field and local area. Discuss the impact recent news developments have and how you plan on handling it.

Remember, a blog is a great place to be candid and casual. You can use your content to build authority and a real connection with your following. At the same time, relating to and discussing current trends shows your followers and potential clients that your practice is relevant and current.

Law Firm Blogging

When you discuss these issues, consider covering topics like court decisions, public trends, issues, and developments in the legal. Give your opinion on a current issue or article; review a recent case in the news; or discuss either of their relevance to the federal, state, or local legal systems.

Don’t be afraid to be controversial and think outside the box. Controversial blog posts get more attention and headway since taking a stand shows your opinion, something that law firms tend to avoid. By engaging with content, showing transparency, and reflecting your personality, you can impress your followers and potential clients.

Ultimately, discussing current trends will not only prove your relevancy in the field but will also ensure you’re performing strong law firm SEO marketing.

Tip 4: Laser-Targeted Audience

It’s crucial you make sure your content is optimized to target the audience you want to attract, or despite the best SEO results you won’t be able to get a high ROI. By ensuring you target your market with a laser focus, you’ll ensure you attract potential clients that will want your services.

You’ll want to target audiences based on both your practice’s specific field of focus and geographic location. First, ensure that you specifically discuss issues related to the field you practice in.

Blogging Audience

By narrowing your topics to your specialties, you’re drawing in the people you want to talk to on your website. Talking about this content is an excellent way to ensure you rank for these topics on Google without weighing down your other pages.

Another important part of speaking to your audience is targeting the correct location. If you operate in a particular area, it’s important you attract clients from your community, so you ensure a good ROI. A great way to utilize the blog for location-based results is to ensure you cover news and issues related to your area while trying to compare those stories to your field. 

Tip 5: Always Think Optimization

It’s important always to have SEO in the back of your mind when creating content. This way, you’re ensuring your content is optimized and giving you the results you need. Remember that the point of a blog is to attract clients, not just talk about your day or a random topic.

Your blog is a place to build loyalty and – most importantly – grow your business and customer base. Some simple things to remember to do include; targeting one or two keywords, adding rich content such as videos and images, and sharing posts through social media channels.

Tip 6: Share and EngageBlog Sharing on Social

Encourage sharing, comments, and questions. Engaging directly with your audience is a great way to connect and build trust with your audience. Engagement goes a long way for getting loyal people that stick with you, attracting new clients to choose your business, and ensuring a higher ROI.

The whole point of blogging is to connect with your current and potential audience, so make sure you answer questions and respond to comments. Use multiple platforms and channels to see what works and what doesn’t. Marketing for your law firm is about trial and error, as well as research and study.

Try multiple social media channels, personal and business emails, and industry newsletters. People like different forums, and creating various ways for them to engage helps you connect with all your potential clients. That being said, don’t waste too much time in areas that aren’t showing a good ROI. Bottom line, ensure that you use the blog to engage with your clients.

Tip 7: Use & Adapt to Analytics

I know I’ve mentioned this already but being able to track, monitor, use, and adapt to your analytics is crucial to creating and maintaining an active blog. Try new things and test out what works. Just make sure you use analytics software to track how these new strategies positively and/or negatively impact your following.

Monitor metrics and comments to see where things are changing and think about what differences you made around that time. If you implemented videos and your following increased, then you’ll want to continue that.

Analytic Tracking

If people don’t stay on the page or watch the video, then you should probably try a new tactic. The important thing is to use the analytic results to see what works and adapt. Google Analytics is one of the most popular and well-respected tools for doing this.

Tip 8: Personalization & Transparency

With the prevalence of social media and digital tools, things spread across the world extremely fast. It’s incredibly important in today’s climate to ensure your transparency with clients to build trust.

Blogs create a perfect opportunity to share your personal experience with your audience and open up to them. This sharing includes both successes and failures, tips for your field, and stories to help personalize you and your firm. Honesty and openness both contribute to showing potential clients that you can be trusted and will be open with them. 

Tip 9: Avoid Giving Legal Advice

Considering some of the tips we’ve been giving you, you may be thinking that you’re risking your firm by being candid. That’s not what we want you to do and you should always be aware of your legal obligations.

Some of your audience may consider what you publish as legal advice. You need to make sure you’re careful about what you say, trying to educate and inform your audience rather than advise them on legal matters. Always consider what you’re legally allowed to say, but try to be personal and give an opinion on your pieces where applicable. 

Tip 10: Be Creative!

Law firm marketing provides a variety of opportunities, blogging itself one of them. It’s important to be creative with the content you create to ensure you engage an active community of followers. By targeting audiences related to your field and area, you’re already doing a good job of bringing in traffic. Now you want to make sure you appeal to them and they come back.

Nobody likes the same, boring content. Try to diversify the channels you use on the internet to help build and maintain a strong following. Consider trying creative things to complement – or even include in – your content. You could send out monthly newsletters, start a guest blog, feature guest authors, or even incorporate videos into your content.

Making the Most of Your Law Blog

Depending on your practice, you’ll want to weigh some of our tips heavier than others. Try to apply all of these and see what works best within your law firm marketing strategy. Focus on what works for you and avoid things that don’t, but don’t be afraid to try things again later. More than anything, ensure you create content by providing relevant and reliable information.

Law Firm Blogging

By being open and personalizing your content, you’ll make it relatable to your clients and prove you’re trustworthy. In the end, being authentic is the best way to create a substantial and loyal following. By employing some law firm marketing techniques to your practice, you can make the blog much more efficient at drawing in a new audience and maintaining current clients.

Blogging is Just the Start of Law Firm Marketing

These tips are perfect for optimizing the performance of your blog. Applying most of these basic tips should give you dramatic results on both your website and blog. However, a blog is only one part of a law firm marketing strategy.

To make sure that your content is found by your audience, it’s important that you implement proper SEO and social media strategies. We offer a range of law firm marketing services with specialization in SEO and can give your business a focused and customized package.

Located in Milton, Ontario, we serve our community and international clients; whether you’re near or far we’re here to get your marketing campaign done right!

Get ahold of us today to learn how we can bring your law firm more businesses and increase your bottom line through consistent marketing plans and strategies.  

Top-Rated Local SEO Tips for Toronto Businesses

Our Toronto Business Local SEO Guide

Understanding how local SEO works is critical for business owners in Toronto. Your potential customers are looking for goods and services online and if your business isn’t visible to them they’ll just move onto the next one that is. If you don’t have a solid campaign to attract your target audience, you’re missing opportunities to strengthen your business.

To help get you in front of potential customers, we’ve put together this article discussing local SEO tips for Toronto businesses. Although it doesn’t cover every aspect of local SEO, this information goes a long way to improving your ranking on Google and how well local customers find your business.

The Best Beginning Local SEO Strategies  

Today’s customers find what they’re looking for by searching on Google. To decide where your business’ website lands on the results page, Google uses algorithms that analyze your content, links, etc. So, if your business is selling shoes, you want to make sure that when a local resident searches for “Toronto Shoes” your website comes up.

Toronto Local SEO

From properly setting up the layout of your content, to categorizing your business, there are a number of ways to ensure you’re ranking at the top of the first page on Google. One of the best ways to position your business as an authority in your industry within a certain area is to highlight the location you operate within.

Including Toronto in the Posts And Pages

Let’s take another look at that store that’s trying to attract customers looking for shoes in Toronto:

Instead of a web address that reads:

HappyFeetShoes.com/blog-4-383628

You could instead have one like this:

HappyFeetShoes.com/Toronto-Marathon-Shoes

By including the location you want to rank for in the Posts and Pages of your website, Google has an easier time associating your business with the city you operate in.

Another great way to connect your domain to Toronto is by creating pages that relate to the city and linking back to your homepage. A resource page for other components of your industry is another useful strategy that further strengthens your local SEO campaign.

If you decide to make that resource page, make sure that you contact the websites you’ve listed to secure a link back to your page. This link-building strategy is a proven way to climb higher on Google search results.  

Using Title Tags for Local Ranking

Another way to highlight your business’ location is to properly use title tags for the pages and posts you want to rank for. There are a number of different ways you can change the title tag on your website, with the easiest being on WordPress through plugins. By using a plugin like Yoast SEO.Local SEO Title Tags

Because the title of your webpage is supposed to be an accurate description of the content found on it, Google places a lot of stock in title tags.

These titles appear in different places on the internet, including the tabs on your browser and as anchor text when sharing on social and other websites.

The most important place that title tags are displayed is on the Google search results page, displaying as a large blue link.

While you can add the title tag through your HTML section, WordPress users can go into the settings or use a plugin.

The most important rule to remember when writing title tags is to do it for people, not search engines.

According to Moz, “title tags are one of the most important on-page SEO elements.” The following reference is a guideline they’ve created to help businesses use title tags to their advantage:

Primary Keyword – Secondary Keyword | Brand Name

Let’s go back to our shoe store from earlier to see how their homepage title tag should look if they’re trying to rank for best shoe store in Toronto:

Best Shoe Store Toronto | HappyFeetShoes

This title tag works because it includes the primary keyword, best shoe store, followed by the secondary keyword, Toronto, concluding with the brand name, Happy Feet Shoes. It’s also concise and accurate, both of which Google favors over longer title tags.

Optimizing Content for Toronto

As we’ve explained, knowing the keyword you want to rank for is a big part of any local SEO campaign. If you want your website to come up when people search for the goods and services you offer in Toronto, you have to make sure your content is laid out in such a way that Google understands what the page is about.

One of the easiest ways to structure your content is to look at it logically. For example, let’s say that the home page for Happy Feet Shoes looks like this:

The Best Shoe Store in Toronto: Happy Feet Shoes!
Welcome to Happy Feet Shoes, where we put you feet-first into the best shoes for you. If you aren’t 100% satisfied with the shoes you buy, bring them back within 30 days for a full refund or exchange. We love our products and know that you will too!

Our Selection of Shoes
From work boots to wedding heels, we have the right shoewear for any situation. Take the stress out of Toronto shopping with our 30-day money-back guarantee and shoe rental program. We carry the latest styles at an affordable price!

Products for Working Hard and Playing Harder
Our shoes are perfect for women, men, and children of any age. We have the best footwear for the workday and weekend, providing the highest-quality shoes for any time of the week. We have a wide selection of work boots, high heels, flats, running shoes, and dress shoes.  

About Happy Feet Shoes
We first started selling shoes back in 1998, where we began in a Toronto storefront the size of a large closet. As word of our quality and pricing spread, we grew from offering 25 different varieties to over 100. Our store has seen amazing growth thanks to our loyal customers and suppliers!

In the example above, you can see that we have our content organized in a very logical way. Not only do we target the keyword Best Shoe Store in Toronto, but we’re also using header tags in an appropriate way:

H1 – The Best Shoe Store in Toronto: Happy Feet Shoes!
Content
H2 – Our Selection of Shoes
Content
H3 – Products for Working Hard and Playing Harder
Content
H2 – About Happy Feet Shoes
Content

By organizing your business’ website in a way that’s user-friendly you’re also optimizing each page for Google’s crawlers to index your site. Following this structure, while hitting your target keywords, is a huge part of improving your ranking on search engine result pages.

Use Local Listings for Toronto

Another critical step that too many businesses forget about is local listings. By making sure your business is present on websites like Yellowpages, Yelp, Bing, etc., you’re going a long way to having Google identify your store with the area you operate in. You can find a larger list at Bright Local.

Local Listings for Businesses

When you’re creating these listings for your business you should also make sure it has the following information:

  • Photos
  • Hours of Operation
  • Business Address
  • Website Link
  • Contact Information
  • Company Description

By properly filling out local listing directories, you’re making it easier for search engines to find you and place your business. One important key to completing these listings is making sure the information is 100% correct because even small errors can have a drastic impact on your ranking position.

Encourage Local Reviews

There are few things as powerful as the endorsement from a satisfied customer. Whether your business had the product they were looking for, or you went above and beyond their expectations, having a positive customer review improves your reputation and ranking on Google.

You should encourage local customers to leave reviews on your social pages and Yelp. By having testimonials from real people, you’re building an authority for your website that Google will take into account when listing your site in its search results.

Local SEO Reviews

An important part of getting customer reviews is making it easy for them. By using a WordPress plugin, or having a web developer create an easy option to do so, more people are likely to leave comments and feedback on your business. You should try and leave a section on your homepage and social media channels for those reviews.

Configuring your Business’ Website

Let’s face it, how people interact with websites today is a lot different than it used to be. Whether jumping online through smartphones or browsing the internet on laptops, you need to be prepared to offer a website that looks good on any sized screen.

In fact, mobile responsiveness is a huge part of Google’s ranking algorithm and an important consideration to make when designing your website.

Responsive Design

Not only does your website have to be responsive for your customer to navigate on, but it also needs to be fast. Another critical factor for Google, the slower your website loads the worse your ranking will be. Not only does a slow website drop in rankings, but people are more likely to turn around and head for your competition.

Optimizing your website for speed is less difficult than it sounds, especially if you’re using software like WordPress. There are thousands of themes available for download, most of which are configured for speed and responsiveness.

Some other ways to improve the speed of your website include compressing images and removing excess plugins and widgets.

If you’re not sure if the images on your website need to be compressed, you can download them and run them through the appropriate software. Some great places to compress / optimize your images include:

Getting Involved in Toronto Community

Not every action needs to be online for you to strengthen your local SEO. By getting involved in your community and local events, you’re increasing your presence in the area you operate in.

The more visible you are to your area and the people living in it, the more likely people are to search your business out. One of the biggest benefits of connecting with your local community online is that you’re going to naturally rank higher for the area.

Everything from blog posts talking about local events to links heading to your community pages helps Google identify your business as belonging to a specific area. If you can get links from local events and pages, that’s even better as it helps with your Geolocation.

Being Active on Social Media

While the connection between social media and rankings isn’t as defined as with other factors, it’s still important for your local SEO campaign that you’re active on these channels. Not only does having the proper business details filled out in your profile pages improve your ranking, but it also helps customers learn more about your goods and services.

Social for Businesses

As we mentioned previously, customer reviews are an important part of Local SEO and there’s no easier place to do so than on social media. From Facebook ratings to Google reviews, there are a lot of ways to encourage customers to leave their comments and feedback, improving your ranking on Google and increasing your authority.

Also, being active on social media is a great way to spend time where your potential customers are, while connecting closer to the Toronto area and events in the community.

Other Local SEO Steps for Toronto Businesses

This is by no means a complete list of actions you can take to improve your Toronto business’ local SEO strategy. However, by following the tips we’ve laid out for you, you’re in a better position to take more advanced actions to further climb in those Google rankings.

Some of the other steps you can take to strengthen your local SEO include:

  • Creating a Google NAP Pack
  • Increasing your Link Profile
  • Properly Categorizing your Business

The success of businesses relies on more than offering a high-quality product at a competitive price. You need to get your goods and services in front of potential customers by being visible where they’re searching.

The life of your business depends on your ability to rank well on Google, and by following these tips you’re well on your way to improving your bottom line and growing your business.

Effective Marketing Strategies You Can Afford

Effective Marketing Strategies on a Budget

Money can be tight if you have a small business. Most of your funds will be allocated to establishing your brand and managing internal operations. When it comes to promoting your product, you will need to rely on more than word of mouth.

Though a lot of small business owners maintain that one client’s good service will result in a flood of new customers, that simply isn’t the case. With a slow spread, limited audience, and potential negative feedback, word of mouth is not a reliable form of marketing. The importance of a solid advertising strategy is the most important plan for any business.

“Using the services of a good SEO company can put your website to the top of Google’s first page.”

To increase your client base and generate more sales, it is imperative to set an advertising budget. Placing money into the right channels can greatly improve your current results. Larger businesses may have the upper hand when it comes to budgeting, but used correctly, your small business can have a successful, and affordable, marketing campaign.

What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Campaign

Having a small business does not mean you can begin advertising your product or services. Other than the necessity of an established website, there are some things you need before starting your campaign:

Understand Your Clientele

As great as it may be, not everyone will need whatever it is you’re offering. The most important thing to know is who you will be targeting with your campaign. Look into your current client list and find connecting factors.

Whether you want to focus on similar demographics, locations, or even psychographics, you can use this information to make the most of your advertising. Once your clientele grows, so will your budget and target audience.

Know What You Do and Do It Well

More specifically, be able to tell someone about your business in a few words. Keep it short, keep it simple, and keep it enthralling. If you can clearly explain what you do, it’ll be easier to get more business.

Once you can define your brand, do something to stand out. Anything from a clever slogan to an adorable mascot, can help your business be seen by potential customers, but it’s your services that will make you be heard.

Find a unique quality or approach, to help you stand out from your competitors. Becoming the best in your industry will not happen overnight. A great way to build your business up to this standard is by offering your customers something truly unique. This will make you stand out against your competition and earn you more sales.

Define Your Marketing Goals

Telling yourself that you “need more business” is not a specific enough reason to start a marketing campaign. You need to establish where and how you’ll be getting this business. Will it be from visits, leads, or sales on your website? Are you going to run a promotion?

Once you have a plan established, you need to have a number in mind. Whether you want one hundred or one thousand leads, your goals need to be as detailed as possible, so you know whether or not your campaign is successful.

How You Can Run an Effective and Affordable Campaign

Now that you have all of the required background knowledge, you can start your marketing strategy. Keep in mind that no matter how you advertise your small business, you will need to have a budget set aside.

It is never a good idea to use spare change to run your marketing campaign. No matter how cost effective your campaign is, having an inconsistent, or insignificant, budget will not help with achieving your goals.

Understanding how to wisely spend your budget will benefit any type of advertisement. Though I will mention free marketing ideas, you’ll notice that budgeting for your campaigns is always an asset.

Up Your Social Game

If you’re running any sort of business in 2016, you likely have social media accounts associated with it. If not, that’s your first step. Social media is an excellent way to connect to your customers and let them know about what you have to offer.

The three core platforms your business needs an account on are: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Without an established social media presence, your small business might as well be nonexistent.

Best Social Platform

Social media is used for more than an immediate way to promote the newest products to your network. It is a direct way to communicate with people in your niche. This includes current clients, potential business, those interested in your company or industry, anyone in a market similar to yours, or even people who are associated with the same circles and hubs as you.

Correctly using your small business’ social media accounts will build strong networking relationships, which can lead to increased business and sales.

At this time, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter offer paid advertising services. One option you have is to run a PPC campaign on one of these social media platforms. When money is tight, running ads on each website is not the best idea.

With over 1 billion daily users as of March 2016, Facebook is the best platform to begin your paid advertisement. You will have the greatest reach, with a higher possibility of conversion. Companies such as JibJab have been effectively using Facebook advertisements in order to generate further interest, and distribution, of their online entertainment production.

Much like with Google AdWords, you can bid on keywords for text, photo, or video ads, and monitor the campaign as it runs. If you prefer, you also have the option of spending money to boost the reach, and impressions of something you have posted. Both of these paid advertising options require a set budget, and constant monitoring to adjust for optimal success.

Get on Google (Maps)

When you have a potential client searching for products or services you offer, they likely want something local. In case you didn’t already know, local clients are loyal clients. Using the services of a good SEO company can put your website to the top of Google’s first page.

An optimized website used in conjunction with Google Places to show up on Google Maps will give you added visibility. Your potential customers will be directed to your business, as searches for listed companies will typically rank higher on Google.

Making the most of Google Places is easily done. By using relevant keywords to describe what your business offers, you can appeal to your target client base. Understanding which keywords are best to use, and how often to use them, can be difficult.

Avoid including empty keywords in your descriptions. You should also refrain from overusing keywords you believe to be important, as it can negatively impact your ranking on Google.

Keywords

Adding up to ten enticing photos, or five videos, at no charge can show your potential customers what your small business is about, and help them identify you. Try to promote genuine client engagement on your Google Places page. The added bonus of having your current clients leave positive reviews about your establishment will further convince newcomers to give you their business.

Connect With Your Community

Feeling like a small fish in a big pond can be overwhelming, and that is exactly what most small business owners endure. Networking with other local businesses can expand your clientele. The best way to do this is by joining the Chamber of Commerce in your current, and surrounding, cities.

As annual membership fees can range between $300 and $1,000, you may want to begin with joining the Chamber of Commerce of the closest city with the largest number of businesses.

Joining community events, such as ones sponsored by a Chamber of Commerce, will do more than allow you to leave your workplace. You can increase the on and off-line exposure of your business from the people you interact with, as well as links to your business on the chamber’s website. Involving your establishment in professional and trade organizations can also benefit your business.

Entering these expositions as a contributor will allow other businesses to take a look at the products or services you offer, in an environment where you are surrounded by like-minded professionals.

You can also check out the shows as a visitor, and use the opportunity to see what your competitors are doing, while reaching out and offering your business to other professionals. Costs will vary per organization, as well as whether you’re an exhibitor or visitor, but the contacts and business you can make will be invaluable to your growth.

Go Mobile

It’s fairly evident that in this day and age that nearly everything is mobile. If you work with an SEO company for your website development and optimization, they will outline the importance of having a mobile-friendly website to accompany your desktop version. When looking at different marketing tactics to grow your business, creating an app is best done sooner, rather than later.

With 80% of internet searches coming from smartphones, it’s no wonder that over half of small business owners are considering creating an app by 2017.

Mobile Internet Use

With the ability to connect your credit card to your smartphone, there has been a shift from online shopping to mobile shopping. If you want the chance to offer your clients a way to purchase your products, a mobile app is much more efficient than a mobile-friendly website. A good app will do more than increase sales by allowing a convenient way to facilitate efficient checkout.

Developing a mobile app for your small business will allow your customers to easily browse your products. Meanwhile, you have the chance to alert them of new promotions, events, or other notices related to your business.

Creating an app for your small business will also give you a competitive edge in your specific market. By adapting to the changes of the industry, you are upholding a strong presence on the devices your customers want you to be available on. When implemented correctly, you can increase the efficiency of monitoring your business’s operation. Including features such as customer loyalty programs, social networking, push notifications, and easily accessible payment systems in your app will be valuable in reaching your marketing goals.

The cost to develop your mobile app will vary depending on your needs, but tools such as this one can give you an idea of how much you need to set aside to create the app.

How To Use These Strategies To Your Business’ Benefit

When it comes to marketing techniques for your small business, you need to do more than rank well on Google. Having the right resources available to create new, informative website content, while understanding what your clients need before deciding to give you their business is key.

Taking advantage of keyword research, and optimization, done by your SEO company will help with your visibility, but will not always be enough to achieve your goals. That is why you must set money aside for advertising. Spending this budget wisely on campaigns where you can control your daily cost will be the best use of marketing strategy.

By leveraging your funds in a way to help your business grow, you can enhance your website’s conversion rate. Don’t spend your marketing budget on strategies that won’t work for your small business. One thing you can’t afford is to lose money on a campaign that will lead nowhere.

Take the time to understand what your customers want, need, and search for, before you attempt to target them. If you don’t know who will benefit from your products or services, how will know the best way to market what you have to offer?

It is common to see a low conversion rate in the first couple months of your marketing campaign. Having a 20% average lead rate measured from converted sales, can be considered successful. Though you may want your small business to fall under the less-than-one-percentile of instant triumph, this will likely not be the case.

Using the first month of your marketing strategy to closely monitor your progress is the best way to improve your technique.

If you have the right mindset and means, monetizing through your marketing can be simple. Allocating your resources to the specific channels listed in this post will allow your business to thrive. Your customers will be more inclined to give you their business if you give them a taste of who you are.

Doing whatever you can to have a bold, unique, advertisement that people will respond to will give you the best results. Show your current and potential customers what it is you are made of, and what you can accomplish for them. 

For more information about marketing campaigns that get results, head over to our services pages. We offer social media strategies, search engine optimization plans and website development services to small business and entrepreneurs across North America. Contact us to learn how we can help your business grow with an increased reach and revenue.

You’re Doing it Wrong! How to Blog in 2017.

Forget Everything you know About Blogging

With over 78% of consumers stating that they trust brands who provide customized content, it’s no surprise that so many businesses are searching for creative writers that can deliver results. Between finding a relevant topic to naturally optimizing your writing, the process of content creation is difficult. Yet, it can also be the most satisfying part of any marketing strategy.

Content creation takes many forms. From social media to blog posts, businesses and marketers distribute information in different ways to reach as many people as they can. Today, I’m going to talk about blogging and provide strategies of how to maximize the impact it can have for you. I’ll also provide examples of people who are using their blogs to produce amazing results.

The goal of any content marketing strategy is to move people from awareness to conversion. As you learn about the new direction of blogging, you should remember that it’s only one part of content marketing and should be considered as a single piece of your marketing efforts.

Blogging has been around for a long time. Yet, it’s clear that the platform isn’t going anywhere. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) 2016 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, 81% of content marketers include blogging in their strategies.

Recent shifts in marketing practices and consumer behaviors, as well as advancements in technology, are changing how blogging fits into content marketing strategies.

Write Longer Posts filled with Quality Content

If you’re familiar with Google Panda, the company’s content-focused algorithm, you know how important quality over quantity is when it comes to blog posts. The general rule is that your content should offer value to your audience while avoiding hollow articles and self-promotion.

This emphasis on quality doesn’t mean that blog posts should be short. Andy Crestodina from Orbit Media Studios writes “Longer pages have more opportunities to indicate their relevance. Google sees longer pages as more likely to contain the answer to the searcher’s question.” Crestodina continues by explaining that a serpIQ report found that more text correlates with high rankings.

Ideal Length Guidelines

Longer content is also more likely to be linked to, which further increases the opportunity for the blog post to rank higher on search engine results and reach a larger audience. While there are no set rules for content length, studies have shown that aiming for 1,500 to 2,000 words improves the chances of it being read.

Case Study: VioletaNedko

In 2015, HubSpot published a post written by Nichole DeMere called 8 Great Marketing Blogs You Probably Don’t Follow (But Should). On this list, DeMere included VioletaNedkova.com, a marketing blog she describes as “impossible to put in a box” with a combination of industry savvy and creativity.

Nedkova’s blog takes lengthy posts and fills them with fun and interesting content. Furthermore, what she writes can be understood by both marketing professionals and casual readers. She also has a clear tone that can be easily identified through her writing style and how she interacts with her audience in the comment section.

Her down-to-earth communications blend perfectly with the creative nature of her blog. She uses white space and graphics to break up her text which makes it easy to read. You can learn a lot from browsing through her archives and studying her blogging techniques.

Stop Posting Content to Your Blog Every Day

Between meetings, projects, and other small tasks, finding the time to create and publish content for a blog can be challenging. According to CMI, there was an increase in 2015 over the previous year in the number of bloggers who posted daily to their platforms. However, the majority of writers are still publishing content less than daily but more than monthly.

Dries Cronje, from Productive Entrepreneur, recently wrote an article for SmartBlogger that he titled Why Posting Every Day is a Silly Strategy (And What to Do Instead). In the post he explains that publishing new content to a blog every day has three negative effects:

  • Reduces the time a post has to acquire social proof
  • Increases unsubscriptions because of flood of content
  • Damages the bond with busy readers who can’t keep up

Instead of publishing new content every day, focus on planning and promoting what you do post. Put all of your energy into creating content that has tons of useful information that people will value. Take those posts and use them to connect with other professionals, building your reach and reputation in the process.

Guest Blogging Isn’t Going AwayGuest blogging vs regular

Even though less than 10% of bloggers publish the majority of their original content as guest posts, blogging on other websites is a great way to gain a larger following and increase your authority on a subject. Guest blogging can also help secure backlinks from influential and authoritative websites. 

According to an article published on Moz, guest blogging is one of the most powerful ways of building strong, high-quality relationships. You should never use it as just another way to build links because that mindset promotes poorly written content with the wrong goals in mind.

Guest blogging has a number of benefits that can improve your writing and content creation skills. From learning to write for different audiences to creating unique formats, guest blogging is a great way to step outside of your comfort zone.

One of the most important parts of writing for someone else’s blog is building relationships with other professionals in your niche. Submitting a single post isn’t enough to do this. You need to follow-up with the owner of the blog to see how it performed and interact with the website’s audience.

Promoting the post, as well as the blog it’s published on, is an important part of guest blogging that benefits everyone involved. Sharing the content you’ve written is a great way to improve your chances of being asked to create more for the website.

Other benefits of guest blogging include improving your authority on a subject within your industry. If people see your name attached to a blog post that’s been well-researched and published on an authoritative website, there’s a better chance they’ll look at you as an authority figure on that subject.

There are some guidelines you should follow when considering which websites you should write for. First, you need to make sure that it’s an active website that has a good reputation. The last thing you want is your name attached to a blog that isn’t well received online. This will damage your credibility, especially if the content you write is shared through social media channels.

Secondly, you should be writing for a blog that’s in your niche. If you’re experienced in creating content that focuses on technology, you shouldn’t attach your name to a post about food. It’s important for your online presence that you remain consistent in order to create an identity that people can trust. This is especially true for businesses and marketers who are targeting a specific audience.

Last month, Shoutmeloud updated their popular article which lists over 50 high-quality blogs that accept guest posts. It’s an excellent resource if you’re not sure where to begin. Some of the categories include technology, SEO, social media, and marketing. Even if none of these subjects interest you, there are a lot of resources available online to help you find the perfect blog to guest post on.   

Resources and Tools for Bloggers

The important part of posting content on a blog isn’t how often new information is published, but making sure that enough is being created to produce your desired results. As Cronje explained in his article, more isn’t better. In fact, having a consistent content schedule is more important to your growth than a flood of new posts.

By using an editorial calendar, you can plan the posts you’ll be creating so that you have a set schedule that your audience can rely on. Whether you publish weekly or monthly, creating that consistency lets people know when to expect new content.    

Finding an editorial calendar that works for your marketing needs is as easy as heading over to Google. In case you want a place to start, the following is my list of favourites calendars and organizers:

Sometimes the best tool isn’t the most expensive or complicated. To figure out which option will help with your content creation plans, you need to identify the size of your team, as well as your scheduling and writing targets.

Editorial calendars aren’t the only tool you’ll need to create a blog people will flock towards. If you follow our advice and post less frequently, the content you do publish needs to be incredibly useful for your readers. Here are some steps to writing the perfect blog post: 

perfect blog post2

Never to be outdone, HubSpot published an article that featured a list of free content creation tools and resources for readers. Written by Lindsay Kolowich in 2015, the post is separated into different groups depending on the interested person’s role in the creation process.

From editors to writers, there are a ton of useful tools to help make the process of creating unique and compelling content easier. The following is my list of resources and tools that I find myself using every day.

Evernote  

I take advantage of Evernote in every stage of my writing process. From researching topics to saving notes on the go, this application is the foundation of my blogging habits. The automatic syncing between platforms is a useful feature that I haven’t seen duplicated as well in any other tool I’ve used.

Grammarly

Learning to write without grammatical errors takes a lot of time. Grammarly takes a lot of the guesswork out of writing so that you can focus on creating amazing posts. While other tools check for grammatical errors, Grammarly also looks for plagiarism. This free tool works across the internet and within most word processing applications.  

Hemingway App

The first thing I do after writing an article or blog post is copy the content into the Hemingway Application. I use this free app to make my writing easier to read. Because my biggest weaknesses are writing with a passive voice and complicated sentences, I rely on Hemingway to highlight those problem areas so I can identify them easier next time.

Headline Analyzer

According to an article published on Slate.com, only 62% of people who click on an article read past the headline. Beginning with newspapers and evolving into online content, creating a headline that encourages people to continue reading takes practice and skill.

I use Headline Analyzer to create an emotional headline that will encourage my readers to move past the beginning of my posts. For more information about how to create a catchy headline, read this article posted on HubSpot.

These are just some of the tools I use on a daily basis. Some of these may not work for you, and that’s okay. The most important thing is to find a system that you’re comfortable with and become familiar with it. While there’s an endless supply of lists available online, these are the ones that stand out to me:

If you have resources and tools that you can’t write without, leave the links in the comment section below. I love trying out new software and programs that can improve my writing and focus. In fact, if there’s a tool or resource that you’d like a complete tutorial on, feel free to leave your request below and we might create a post dedicated to the topic.

Conclusion

Thanks to big changes in the marketing industry and how consumers engage with content, blogging is undergoing a drastic evolution. Writing longer posts that are filled with useful content is more important than trying to get a short article out every day.

As Google’s algorithms become increasingly sophisticated, it’s the responsibility of marketers and content creators to write posts and articles that address the needs of their audience. Outdated practices such as keyword stuffing and hollow content are quickly being rejected for organic content that helps readers.

For more information about the latest changes in content creation or digital marketing, stay locked into our blog. While not every post will be this detailed, we’re going to do our best to provide you with all the information you need to create strategies that have a lasting impact for your clients.

Make sure you let us know if you have any requests for topic ideas or want to understand a subject related to digital marketing better. Leave your comments below or on our social media channels.

Learning PPC Beyond the Basics

Welcome to PPC 101!

To start off, PPC stands for Pay Per Click. They’re those yellow ads you see on the top of result pages on Google. You know, the ones you may or may not have a tendency to avoid clicking. From a business standpoint, PPC can be a great tool to advertise your company.

A PPC campaign can bring your ad to the top of a result page and, if done well, increase your revenue. No matter what your business might be, running a PPC campaign is a great way to generate clicks to your website, that will lead to sales.

What’s The Point?

When starting a business, you need to make sure that you are doing whatever you can to drive traffic to your website in order to generate sales. Though you can use SEO services to help your website rank well, running a PPC campaign can generate traffic faster. Your brand will be more visible to your target audience, and you will be able to track the campaign every step of the way.

Having your ad on the top page of Google (or any other search engine) means that your business is seen before your competitor’s, and has a better chance of creating sales over them too.

Before You Start

If you’re so inclined, you can set up a PPC campaign while your business is starting up. But you’ll just end up wasting your money on an unsuccessful advertisement.

The most important thing you need before spending the money for PPC is a completely developed website. I know, it seems obvious, but it has to be said. It’s not enough to have a landing page that looks good. Generating sales requires a solid website that potential customers can go through in order to get a better feel of what you can offer.

Next up, you’ll have to set your budget. You should know what you can and can’t afford for your advertising. What you need to keep in mind is that a successful PPC campaign will require at least three months for you to see a return on investment. If you’re considering a PPC campaign, you need to ensure you have the funds to maintain the ad for as long as it will take for you to see results.

Know Your Target

When you’re first starting a business, any customer is welcome. But creating a campaign to appeal to a wide selection of possible consumers can just lead to more wasted money. It’s okay to be selfish, and cater your campaign to the people you want to target. If you find out that your demographics need to be altered, then change your course of action.

The entire first month of your PPC campaign is generally your trial and error portion. By paying close attention to the keywords and landing pages that work, or even noting which ad phrasing is generating the most interest, you can find out what you’re doing right in bringing in an audience.

Even checking your campaign once a week will help you identify where your target audience spends their online and offline time, why they clicked on your ad, and even what will make them decide on your business.

target

Then What?

Once your website is optimised, and your budget is set, you need to set the goals of your ad. Do you want to promote your brand? Sell your products? Increase downloads? Whatever your goal is, you need to focus on what aspect you want to advertise.

If you have a limited budget, try starting out with just one ad campaign. From there, it’s a matter of finding the keywords that can be best associated with the advertisement.

To do that, you have to outline what will make your campaign successful. Find out what keywords will work, and limit them to what your target audience will search for. Starting broad, and narrowing down keywords can help bring more awareness to your business. As soon as you have all of that down, you can set up your ad campaign. Just be sure to regularly monitor it, and adjust whatever needs adjusting.

Understanding the gist of how PPC works is just the start. You should now know if your business is ready for a PPC campaign, and how you can begin.

For more information on PPC and how Caseo can enhance your online PPC campaign click here, or contact us today!

Digital Marketing: Empathy, Understanding, and the Human Approach

Empathy, Understanding, and the Human Approach

Whether you’re an experienced digital marketing professional or beginner, you’ve probably heard about the online disinhibition effect. This psychological process is the tendency that people have to be more negative in online forums than they would be in person.

While the online disinhibition effect has caused countless arguments over social media, it’s damaging when experienced in a marketing atmosphere.

In an attempt to gain support for their client, some digital marketers use immoral tactics. Before we explain how to deal with these tactics, it’s important that you understand what we mean by the term immoral and how it applies to digital marketing.

The State of Online Marketing

With so many websites being created every day, it’s not surprising that so many internet users have had a negative experience on the sites they frequent. These negative experiences include clickbait articles or websites, spam-filled pages, and misdirection or lies from the website owner in the hopes of securing revenue.

Even as you read this post, you’re likely recalling a negative experience you went through on a website. These tactics damage the reputation of companies and their brands, causing their audience to avoid their websites and products.

These negative experiences provide marketers an opportunity to reach this frustrated audience through quality content and website practice transparency.

People don’t like to be tricked into performing an action against their will and are more likely to return to a website if they have a positive experience on it. This is obvious through direct traffic, social signals, and the bounce rate of a website.

Immoral Digital Marketing Behaviour and How It Is Received

While the internet gives users an excellent channel to exchange information on, it can’t replicate the human experience. A large portion of our daily interactions relies on visual and emotional cues that have evolved over millions of years.

That’s why it’s much easier to delete a spam-filled email but is difficult to turn down someone in front of us. Our empathy has determined that we live by social contracts which are mutually beneficial.

People expect to be treated as fairly online as in face-to-face communications. Some of the common behavioral assumptions include:

  • We expect to have opinions heard and respected
  • It takes time to create strong relationships
  • Trust has to be earned and can be fragile
  • We frequent business we like and avoid those we don’t

We all relate to these statement. The questions is, how we optimize our marketing approach to coincide with our professional goals?

How To Practice Empathy and Understanding

Empathy is a natural part of our consciousness. It’s why people prefer cute animals and feel pride when their sports team wins a championship. Empathy powers our need to be accepted by social groups and affects our willingness to enter into business partnerships.

The easiest way to use empathy in the digital marketing industry is to look at human psychology as a topic of study. Using established social norms, here are some tips to maximize your reputation in your specific industry:

We expect to have opinions heard and respected

If you have a valid point you want to get across, there’s a good chance that someone else in your industry has an equally valid point. Engage with them and try to understand what they’re saying from their perspective. This isn’t always possible, but you’ll be surprised to learn the response you get if you’re willing to listen to them.

It takes time to create strong relationships

Using sales tactics and strategies is important when you need to increase sales numbers in a short amount of time. Even if you find yourself under a time constraint, you should always reach out to your clients and stakeholders. You don’t have to swamp your clients with phone calls or messages, but quickly connecting to touch base is generally appreciated.

Also, if you say you’re going to do something, you need to follow through. Clients and stakeholders rely on professionals who stand by their word and produce the results they promise. By providing them with a positive impression, you’re cementing a relationship that will help you in the future.

Trust has to be earned and can be fragile

When you’ve earned the trust of a client or stakeholder, do whatever you can to retain it. Trust doesn’t come easily and is one of the most valuable things you can receive from a professional contact.

No matter how long you’ve worked with someone, you should never take your clients or stakeholders for granted. You need to show them through your actions that you’re reliable and trustworthy.

We frequent business we like and avoid those we don’t

Referrals are important for any business strategy. They’re a vital component of sales and digital marketers need to leverage them as much as possible. If you take the actions we’ve listed above, you’ll see the benefits of referral traffic for yourself.

On the other hand, the opposite is equally true. If you’re known for your gruff attitude and sandpaper personality, you’ll be unlikely to see many referrals coming your way.

If you had a first date with someone and immediately told your friends that you were going to marry them, you would get confused looks. This is because we know that a trustworthy relationship requires time to develop. We also know that we’re more likely to trust someone who has come to us by way of referral, or is an established figure in our industry.

That’s why your reputation is so important and why empathy, understanding, and a transparent approach are so valuable for effective digital marketing.

Back To Basics: Empathy and Understanding

Whether you work for yourself or an agency,you’re constantly being watched by your clients and stakeholders. This is normal in any social setting and shouldn’t intimidate you into attempting to conform to a professional norm.

There are an infinite number of approaches suggested by business gurus, but most tend to focus on the need to drive sales numbers up using mathematical formulas and applying them to interpersonal interactions.

For example, you may have heard about a sales tactic known as the elevator pitch. The idea behind this technique is to generate an interesting conversation within the time it might take to ride an elevator. While this approach may work for a small percentage of the population, it’s very rare to come across anyone who will trust you within the time it takes to ride an elevator.

To learn more about digital marketing and the services we provide, head over to the homepage on Caseo.ca.

How Search Rankings Work

Learning About Search Engines

Over 85% of all purchases come from major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. They’re central to any company’s marketing strategy. Since Google has the majority of volume, SEO campaigns use their ranking system as a baseline.

Varieties of Search Rankings

Google has three distinct ranking modules; organic, pay per click, and local. Each of these modules uses different ranking criteria. They can also feature varied results depending on your SEO strategy.

Organic

Organic search results are what we associate with Google. These are the websites that populate after a search is complete. Google lists the websites according to the relevance and authority they hold. These results gather 80% of clicks on Google. They don’t cost business owners anything to rank.

Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay per click rankings is identifiable by their ‘Sponsored Ads’ tag. They sit at the top and to the right of the organic search rankings for a keyword or phrase. Pay per click ads is paid advertising that is administered through Google Adwords. The number of clicks generated through search results is one factor in the cost of this service.

Local Search Results

Local search results use a ‘Map Pack’ to generate relevant information. The results that populate from these searches are usually local businesses or destinations. They also feature a map and knowledge graph which includes relevant information.

Local search is becoming more important as Google attempts to tailor its results to the individual. As an example, it wouldn’t make sense for the results to display a business far away if there’s a closer alternative for the user to visit.

How to Choose the Best SEO Agency

There are a lot of factors to think about when hiring an SEO agency to handle your online visibility. Some of the important considerations to make are:

Industry Experience

An SEO agency with experience in your industry is a huge benefit. They’ll know the complexities of your business and the challenges it’ll face. They’ll also be able to develop an action plan suited for your specific needs.

Flexibility

A lot of SEO agencies provide generic solutions to their clients. These campaigns generate results but take longer because the agency is forcing your ranking progress. A more streamlined approach is always the smarter choice. Don’t settle for a universal solution to address your unique situation.

Upfront Attitude

A professional SEO agency will always be transparent with you about their tactics. They’ll also be clear about the costs and duration of the campaign they’re planning. If they’re unwilling to explain these details using layman’s terms, you should avoid using them.

Realistic Expectations

An SEO agency that can tell you what is and isn’t possible is invaluable. You shouldn’t use an agency that says they can meet all of your expectations without any problems. There are difficulties with any campaign and a good agency will tell you what they are.