10 Tips for SEO Content Writing will help drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales

10 Tips to Improve Your SEO Content Writing

Content marketing continues to grow in popularity because of the change in the buying process. Google’s “The Changing Face of B2B Marketing” Study found that 71% of B2B researchers start their research with a generic search. But it doesn’t stop there. On average, those same researchers are performing 12 searches before engaging on a specific brand’s site.

A DemandGen report backed up the findings by showing 47% of buyers read 3-5 pieces of content before contacting a sales rep. Your potential buyers are searching for information. If your company isn’t providing it, they’re obtaining it elsewhere.

Large companies have embraced the importance of content marketing and continue to produce and promote their content.

It’s time for your business to embrace a comprehensive content marketing strategy that provides your potential buyers with current, relevant content, and that will drive more traffic, generate leads, and increase sales.

 

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SEO Content Writing Tips:

 

10 Tips of SEO Content Writing | Content Marketing | Mike D. O'Brien

 

1. Know Your Audience

Everything begins by finding and learning about your target audience. Then, focus on writing for people and not for search engines. Google’s updates over the past couple years have been focused on punishing sites with low-quality, spammy content, which includes keyword stuffing and other black hat practices.

Stop making believe you can trick Google’s bots and algorithms. The best way to rank higher on search results is to find your target audience and create content tailored to them.

The best approach is to create buyer personas and write content tailored to individual representations of your target audience.

 

 

2. Focus on Long-tail Keywords

Your keywords drive your business. All of the various types of content you post online  should be optimized for the keywords important to your company, industry, products and services, and specific points in the buying process.

Don’t waste time targeting vague, short keywords with hundreds of thousands of monthly searches on Google, though it may seem enticing. Most business owners think if they can rank for those terms, the phone will never stop ringing.

The truth is that almost always, those searches are early in the buying process and the searchers are looking to gain more knowledge about specific options to narrow their search. When you target long-tail keywords, not only do you get the added bonus of targeting the embedded short keyword, but also you’re targeting searchers closer to making a purchase.

 

 

 
3. Keyword Density is Dead!

Stop stuffing your content with keywords! This is an outdated method of ranking highly on search engines and if your site hasn’t been punished already, it will be in the near future.

For example, Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress websites, used to recommend keyword density as high as 4.5%. Now, the recommended total is between 0.5% and 2.5%. And, according to HOBO Web, most industry leaders don’t even calculate the percentage anymore.

Instead of focusing your time and energy on keyword density, start focusing on quality writing tailored to your target audience instead. Use synonyms and similar phrases instead. This makes it much easier for your target audience to read, which is what Google’s algorithms are focused on.

Continue Reading to learn the Keyword Research Tools for Success.

 

4. Focus on Headlines (Up to 60 Characters, Ideal = 6 Words)

The headline to your blog articles is one of the most important pieces of the article. According to David Olgivly, on average, five times as many people read a headline as do the copy of the body. Keep that in mind when just posting a simple title.

Don’t forget numbers! There’s a reason why most headlines contain numbers and it’s backed up by psychology: numbers work. Even if you think its cheesy, use that psychology to your advantage.

A good way to see what types of headlines your competing against is to search for your keywords and see what pops up. Or, you can use title generators such as Tweak Your Biz Title Generator or read this article on Social Media Today.

 

5. Title Tags (Up to 55 Characters)

This is similar to your headline for a blog post, only this will be used for static pages. When writing your title tag remember that this will be in blue on the search results page and will be the first thing searchers read.

So, what do you want people to see? This is the first thing they’ll read and you need to write something that will entice them to want to click through to your page. Just like in the meta description below, focus on adding your keyword because it will be in bold if it directly matches a search, but don’t worry if it’s a synonym or a similar phrase. Google’s algorithms look for intent more than exact matches because it’s easier for a visitor to read and comes across less “spammy”.

You still need to make sure a keyword or similar phrase is included in the 55 characters. And remember, entice searchers to click!

 

Content Writing | Content Marketing | 10 Tips for SEO Writing | Mike D. O'Brien
6. Meta Description

Google uses meta descriptions in the snippet on search results, underneath the title tag and URL. You get up to 150 characters, which may seem like a lot (or a little, depending on whether you use Twitter) but you need to use your characters wisely.

According to Moz, a meta description should be a concise explanation of a page’s content for search engines. That means you need to use a keyword or synonym to be found. Instead of jamming as many keywords as possible into your meta description, use a focus keyword or synonyms to tell search engines (and your target audience!) what your article is about.

Don’t just focus on your keyword! It may be a summary for search engines, but it also needs to be enticing enough so searchers will want to read more.

 

7. External Links

You need links!

In case you’re just jumping into content marketing and SEO Best Practices, there are two reasons why you need to link your articles to outside sources:

  1. It shows authority and adds validity to your post
  2. Helps Google organize the information on the web

And, in my opinion, anytime you can help Google, you should do it. By using statistics and linking to sources you will raise your domain authority, which means more sites will want to link to yours, thereby increasing your search results. Make believe you’re back in high school and you need to source all of your information Only now your teacher is Google and your grade is your search result.

 

 

8. Internal Links

Many business owners overlook the benefits of creating a web of backlinks throughout their site when starting out. While it’s not as important as sourcing your stats and arguments, a strong internal linking structure is important for many of the same reasons as external linking.

First, it makes it easier for visitors (and bots) to move throughout your site. It also adds relevance to your focus keywords in the article or page you’re linking to. While it’s an important addition to your posts, make sure to vary your anchor text and limit the number of backlinks per page.

 

9. Longer Content is Better

What’s the average length of blog articles ranking in Google’s Top 10 search results? The answer may surprise you. It’s well over 2,000 words according to SERPiq. It’s supported by a BufferApp blog citing a Medium study that claims an ideal blog post is read in 7 minutes, which roughly translates to 1,600 words.

Many used to believe that shorter articles were better because of our society’s ever-shortening attention spans. It turns out that what people really want is quality, not speed. If quality translates to length, it appears as though people don’t mind.

As we become more experienced web browsers, we’ve all come across enough spammy and irrelevant sites. Now, we can spot the crap quickly. So instead of focusing on short articles, turn your attention to providing quality content tailored to your target audience. That means providing the information necessary for your visitors to make informed decisions.

It’s not necessarily the length of the blog post that makes it rank higher on SERPs. Instead, the longer the article, the more external links to authoritative sites, more internal links, and will provide quality content and statistics that other blogs will want to link to.

 

10. Whitespace

Even though we want to be informed, we don’t want to be intimidated by that information. That’s why reading ease has become so important and one of the factors in Google’s algorithms.

Included in that reading ease is not only the length of words and sentences, but also the length of paragraphs. Though I understand that length and width are different, the same psychology is behind it. BufferApp says the ideal width of a paragraph is 40-55 characters, which roughly translates to 8-11 words depending on a number of different factors.

Longer lines, and paragraphs, appear as lots of work for readers. This explains why on some sites you’ll see a larger font for the first paragraph of an article. It’s a way to tell the reader, “Hey, it’s not so bad in here. Come take a look.” Give the readers what they want, which is information, quality content, and lots of space. Don’t scare them off with lots of bulky text.

 

Goal of Content Marketing

 

As an SEO content writer, you want to provide the information your target audience seeks. This will develop trust and present your company as an industry leader.

But make no mistake, the goal of content marketing is to generate leads and convert those leads into sales. Providing content and developing trust is just the best approach we have. A DemandMetric study found that content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.

 

 

That means your content should focus on providing information and making your customers act, all while avoiding pitching your products and services, as well as avoiding the treaded “salesy” tone. Maybe in the short term that desired action is commenting, sharing, or linking to your article, but in the long-term it’s about making sales.

Even as the buying process has been extended, the best way to do that is to provide targeted content optimized for specific keywords and tailored to specific points in the buying process.

Don’t forget about the Call-to-Actions either! Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest content marketing strategies and trends delivered straight to your inbox!

Continue reading to learn How to Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy so that you’re business can start driving more traffic, generating more leads, and increasing sales!

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing | Mike D. O'Brien | Content Marketing | SEO Content Writer

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

For decades, businesses have relied on outbound marketing to promote their products and services. They bought up big spaces on billboards and in magazines and newspapers. They spent millions on polluting television and radio with ads. They pushed their product on you over and over until you had nothing left but the desire to purchase it.

Then the game changed.

What the Internet and Google have done to marketing is similar to what television did to radio. It took a little while, but it has nearly made outbound marketing obsolete. Now, inbound marketing services such as content writing and social media marketing have become the best way to attract new customers.

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing, which is better for your company

Not only have consumers become immune to large advertisers and their marketing budgets, but they’ve actually gone and changed the way they make purchasing decisions. There is simply too much information available. Now, we can perform most of the research ourselves. In fact, we are. According to CEB, 57% of the research is complete before a sales rep is contacted.

What does that mean to marketers?

It means you need to pay attention. Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than traditional outbound marketing. More and more businesses are converting, but still others are holding back. Some don’t know how to develop an inbound marketing strategy. Others don’t know the metrics they need to monitor.

That doesn’t mean your outbound marketing strategy is costing you money.

 

What is Outbound Marketing?

 

Outbound marketing is defined by WordStream as the traditional form of marketing where a company initiates the conversation and sends its message out to an audience.

In simpler terms, it’s advertising and cold calling.

Outbound marketing focuses on pushing your product or service onto as many potential customers as often as possible. This makes it hard to track ROI because of the lack of specific data. The easy math of the past was if you spent “X” on advertising, you needed to drive “Y” in sales to make the campaign profitable. But now, instead of wasting money blanketing the whole world, you can focus your energy on your specific demographics and audiences. Then, you can track the relevant data to your KPIs, making it that much easier to track the ROI.

Read this article if you need to find out what is inbound marketing.

 

 

 

Inbound Marketing and the New Buying Process

 

Now, there is simply too much information available to your customers for your marketing strategy to only focus on advertising. Customers are taking the buying process into their own hands. 93% of buying cycles start with an online search. Your potential buyers are performing research on solutions to their problems.

Are you providing those solutions?

The companies that are providing that information are increasing their sales. Why are they giving away information for free?

  1. To be Found (SEO)
  2. To Develop Trust
  3. To Keep Sales Funnel Full
  4. Brand Awareness (Online Presence)

The best way to develop trust with your potential buyers is to provide solutions to their problems by using inbound marketing. This includes regularly blogging about topics relevant to your potential buyers. But it also means developing the different types of inbound marketing content your potential buyers need to make intelligent buying decisions. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  1. White papers
  2. eBooks
  3. SlideShares
  4. Webinars
  5. Podcasts
  6. Videos

To develop trust, you need to be seen by your customers as a source of information. Then, when they do decide to contact a sales rep, they’ll remember which companies helped them get to that point.

 

Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing

Inbound Marketing Outbound Marketing
⇒Pull Customer to You ⇒Push Products on Customer
⇒Customer Comes to You for Information ⇒Seek Out Customers via Advertising
⇒Create, Captivate, and Share ⇒Broadcast and Pray
⇒Done on Customers’ Time ⇒Done on Marketers’ Time
⇒”Show About” Marketing ⇒”Shout About” Marketing
⇒Customer Tunes Out ⇒Customer Engagement
⇒Cost Effective ⇒High Cost
⇒Target Specific Audience ⇒Blanket Everyone

 

Changing from Outbound Marketing to Inbound Marketing

 

Outbound marketing worked in the past because of a lack of technology. As a result, customers spent generations being pummeled by advertising. Now, we’re all immune. Plus, we’ve developed more technology to make advertising even less effective, such as ad blockers and DVRs.

That doesn’t mean outbound marketing is completely useless. It’s important to know your target audience and how to reach them. More often then not, finding a balance between inbound marketing and outbound marketing is the best approach.

Many companies are embracing inbound marketing as their outbound strategies become less relevant. Instead of wasting time and money pushing out noise, focus on developing trust with your potential buyers. That’s why B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

To begin, create buyer personas so that you can always tailor your message to specific people. That will keep you from posting without specific goals. Focus on answering the questions your target audience is asking at the different points in the buying process. Develop trust and provide solutions without selling. There will be plenty of time to sell later.

Continue reading about the Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing. Then, contact me today to learn how an Inbound Marketing Strategy can help grow your business!

 

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Keyword Research develops an SEO strategy for your content

Keyword Research Tools for Success

SEO is an ever-changing landscape because Google’s algorithms are constantly changing to improve their user’s experience. In fact, Google’s latest update, though delayed numerous times, Penguin 4.0 is coming sooner or later.

Instead of fighting it, your company needs to stay abreast on the changes to SEO best practices to keep your outstanding organic search results, or improve weak ones.

That’s why keyword research has become such an art. Implementing the right markups, HTML, CSS, and tags aren’t enough. Finding and properly targeting the right keywords for your campaign is an integral part of driving traffic, funneling visitors through the sales process, and increasing sales.

 

Keyword Research lays the foundation of your Inbound Marketing Strategy

 

SEO Best Practices

Keyword Density is Over

Keywords have always been important and always will be, which is why keyword research is so important to your firm. But as Google’s algorithms and AI become smarter, they can understand much more than they could a couple years ago. This includes target audience, searcher intent, and most importantly for SEO copywriters, synonyms.

You still need to focus your articles on specific keywords, but this means the keyword stuffing of yesteryear is no longer as important. Yoast, an SEO plugin for WordPress sites, used to recommend keyword density of up to 4.5%. Now, it’s down to between 0.5% and 2.5%.

More important than density, is writing clear, concise copy for your targeted audience.

 

Relatable Keywords

Because Google’s algorithms understand synonyms, you can focus your energy on more than one keyword. Actually, it’s recommended, as long as the keywords are relatable.

Though you wouldn’t try to have two or more keywords in the same article 22 times each, it is perfectly acceptable to have one 18 times and another 12. Not only is this good for SEO, as now you are able to rank for two keywords, but it’s also beneficial to good copy. When writing a well-thought out article, you will naturally end up using more than one keyword. By going as in-depth in your keyword research as possible, you will find relatable keywords that you can focus your articles on.

 

Reading Ease

The Flesch Reading Ease Test is a way for Google to test the ease of reading a certain article. The more syllables per word and the more words per sentence, the more difficult it is to read. Google’s algorithms do include a reading ease test, which affects your organic search results.

Your goal as an SEO copywriter is to write clear, concise copy for your targeted audience. As an inbound marketing writer, you’re goal is to drive traffic and increase sales. Both of those goals revolve around determining your target audience and writing for them.

Now, Google’s algorithms can understand the intent of an article and the target audience. If you’re writing a serious medical article, there is no way you’ll be able to get your point across intelligently writing simply for ease of reading. Don’t forget, most people don’t like reading articles that are difficult to read. So consider the ease of reading, but don’t belittle your target audience in the process.

 

 

SEO and Keyword Research Tools

When researching, it’s better to focus your energy on long-tail keywords, which are more common in searches. Nobody searches for SEO. They search for SEO best practices or most common SEO mistakes. More often than not, those searching with only one or two words are still in the research phase of the buying process. By targeting long-tail keywords, you’re also targeting visitors closer to purchasing.

There is no magic amount of keywords you need to find which will guarantee success, though most smaller companies and startups should be able to come up with at least 100. This may seem like a lot, but too few keywords can hurt your strategy. By using the tools below, you’ll find the keywords needed to drive traffic to your site.

 

1. Google Keyword Planner

This is the staple of any keyword research because of the amount of data Google has collected on all of us mere mortals over the years. By entering a specific keyword or URL, you can get keyword ideas, search traffic, and PPC competition and cost. You need to set up a Google AdWords account, but you don’t need an active campaign to use the tool.

 

2. Google Trends

This is more of a general tool to research keywords compared to the keyword planner, but it’s still an important reference. Before diving too deep into research on a specific long-tail keyword, make sure people are actually searching for those terms or a similar topic. You can compare the performance of up to five keywords for varying lengths of time, and results show top and rising related keywords.

 

3. SpyFu

This is a paid subscription service, but offers free limited access. The free version, while incomplete, provides keywords a specific URL ranks for, PPC campaigns, and average position of the ads. The results show the top five keywords ranking in the Top 50, and you can enter your own to check the rankings, all for free. This is also a useful tool when performing keyword research to check your own site’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your competitors.

 

4. SEMRush

SEMRush is a direct competitor to SpyFu and offers a similar, but different version of the same data. While SpyFu’s search rankings only go to 50, SEMRush’s go all the way to 100. That means you can get a more complete picture of organic rankings and targeted keywords.

 

5. Keywordtool.io

One of the easiest ways to perform keyword research and generate long-tail keyword ideas is to type the first couple words and let Google’s auto-complete feature show you other common searches. The free version of keywordtool.io shows you the complete list of Goggle’s auto-complete based on a keyword, not just the 8-10 that fits into Google’s small window. With the paid version, you can also get search volume data, as well as cost-per-click and competition for PPC ads.

 

Keyword Research and Your Company

Keywords are an important part of your inbound marketing campaign. They shouldn’t just be related to your products or services (although they are obviously important), but should also target your branding objectives. By promoting your company’s unique story, you can differentiate yourself from your competition.

Keyword research and SEO takes time. You cannot rush the process, nor can you expect to achieve amazing results after only a couple posts. Providing consistent, relevant content is just as important as finding the right keywords to target. By taking the time to research all possible keywords, and revisiting your list and research every quarter, you can make sure that you’re not missing a golden opportunity.

Finding the right keywords are an important part of Developing Your Inbound Marketing Strategy. Once you have Created Your Buyer Personas and your target audience, you can make sure that every blog post has a specific goal. This, along with the Metrics and KPIs important to your campaign makes it easier to track successes and failures.

If you need help finding the keywords that will help drive traffic to your site, or creating the targeted content, schedule your Free Consultation today!

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Flesch Reading Ease Test and Content Marketing

The Flesch Reading Ease Test And Content Marketing

One of the many factors contributing to Google’s search algorithms is a reading ease test. This score rates how difficult a piece of written content is to read based on the number of words per sentence and the number of syllables per word.

Whenever I bring this up to a client, their face twists in concern.

“How does it affect my SEO?”

“Should I change the way I write?”

The quick answer is yes. Because Google takes the readability of your content into account, and because it does affect your search rankings, you should change the way you write. By calculating readability, Google adds another layer to providing their customers with the best results. People don’t like reading complicated content. If visitors don’t stay on a page for a long time, your bounce rate increases. A higher bounce rate, and Google knows you’re not providing the right content to searchers.

 

Flesch Reading Ease and SEO

Flesch Reading Ease Formula

The Flesch Reading Ease Test calculates the average sentence length and the average syllables per word and inserts them into a mathematical formula. This equation produces a number that dictates how “readable” a piece of writing is.

Flesch Reading Ease = 206.835 – 1.015 x ASL – 84.6 x ASW

  • ASL (Average Sentence Length) = Total Words/ Total Sentences
  • ASW (Average Syllables per Word = Total Syllables/ Total Words

The higher the score, the easier it is to read. The scores are broken down as:

  • 90 – 100:
    • Easy to read
    • Average sentence length is < 12
    • No words with more than two syllables
    • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level:Easily understood by an 11-year-old student (6th grade)
  • 60 – 70:
    • Plain English
    • Average sentence is 15 – 20 words
    • Average word has two syllables
    • Flesch-Kindcaid Grade Level: Easily understood by 13 – 15 year olds (8th – 10th grades)
  • 30 – 50:
    • Hard to read
    • Sentences mostly have 25 words and two syllables
    • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: Easily understood by high school graduates
  • 0 – 30:
    • Very hard to read
    • Average sentences are 37 words long
    • Average word has more than two syllables
    • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: Easily understood by university graduates

The above chart combines the Flesh Reading Ease Score and the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, which produces the average grade level of education needed to read a piece of writing. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level formula is:

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level = 0.39 x ASL + 11.8 x ASW – 15.59

  • ASL (Average Sentence Length) = Total Words/ Total Sentences
  • ASW (Average Syllables per Word) = Total Syllables/ Total Words

Like so many others, I thought this meant that Google was trying to dumb down the content of the Internet. It didn’t make sense that all writing should be targeted to 11-year-olds, especially legal, medical, political, and executive-level business writing.

Is it better to target your audience or the robots? Holly Hartzenberg of Search Engine Journal says that you should always write for your readers and your target audience. If you write for an 11-year-old simply to make it easier to read, then your target audience may arrive at your site, become frustrated, and leave in a huff.

To back up this sentiment, indexsy.com performed a case study where they performed over 3800 Google searches. Not surprisingly, their results showed that Google’s algorithms are smart enough to take your target audience into account when producing search results.

That means, that if you’re writing for doctors, there is simply no way that your readability is going to be above 50. There are too many polysyllabic words and the topic is too difficult to translate in sentences with less than 12 words. As suspected, you should always tailor your content to your specific audience, and not just for branding. Even Google thinks so.

 

 

Readability and Your Target Audience

As with everything else, you need to know your target audience when posting content online. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider the Reading Ease test when editing your work. Your goal should be to make your content easy to read and understand.

People don’t like to read long, complicated articles filled with big words, long paragraphs, and no white space. In fact, Contently performed a study on the readability scores of bestselling fiction and nonfiction books and authors. The results showed that most bestselling authors’ readability scores were 65 and higher, which translates to roughly 8th graders.

While their topics may not be targeted for young teenagers, their style of writing did. That’s because most of us don’t want to expend the energy reading difficult work. This is especially true when it comes to answering our questions about products and services that will make our lives easier. Remember Albert Einstein’s quote, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Spend the time editing your work. Get to the point, and get it to quickly. However, though brevity is important, clarity is even more important.

Continue reading about Penguin 4.0 and other Google algorithm updates. Learn how inbound marketing can help your business grow by scheduling your Free Consultation today!

Reading Ease Test Tools

  • Readability Score
    • Free to copy and paste
    • Connecting URLs: plans start at $16/year
    • Shows totals and averages for words and syllables
    • Provides scores based on many different algorithms
    • Scores for This Article:
      • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level = 6
      • Flesch Reading Ease Score = 69.3
  • Online-Utility
    • Free
    • Copy and Paste
    • Shows total and averages for words and syllable
    • Provides scores based on many different algorithms
    • Scores for This Article:
      • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level = 10.25
      • Flesch Reading Ease Score = 53.43
  • Microsoft Office
    • Included with Word
    • Shows counts for words, characters, paragraphs, and sentences
    • Shows averages for sentences per paragraph and words per sentence
    • Provides Flesch Readability Score and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
    • Scores for This Article:
      • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level = 8.8
      • Flesch Reading Ease Score = 59.7

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Common Content Marketing Mistakes

Most Common Content Marketing Mistakes

As I previously discussed, I believe there is no difference between content marketing and inbound marketing. One is a term coined by HubSpot and the other by the Content Marketing Institute. Both encompass a complete strategy that promotes your business online by providing current, relevant content that funnels your target audience through the buying process. That’s why both inbound marketing and content marketing can help all businesses.

Most Common Mistakes Content Marketing

 

However, that doesn’t mean there is a one-size-fits all approach that will magically increase sales. Each market and industry is different, with different objectives and customers. Before getting started, your main goal should be to develop an inbound marketing strategy that will define your objectives, plan, and timeline.

Besides not creating a strategy with clear, concise objectives, watch out for other common mistakes with content marketing.

 

Top 10 Common Content Marketing Mistakes

1. Not Creating Buyer Personas

When developing your strategy, one of your main goals should be to create buyer personas. Creating buyer personas will help you create targeted content. Without a targeted audience for your content, it can float aimlessly and not produce the desired results.

 

2. Focusing Only on Written Content

Don’t skip video! According to Forbes, 59% of executives would rather watch video rather than read text.

Blogging and other content writing should be important pieces of your content marketing strategy, but they shouldn’t be the only pieces. Video, infographics, and slideshares are just a few examples of graphics your company should be creating, posting, and sharing.

 

3. Not Performing a Keyword Analysis

Similar to number one, your company not only needs buyer personas for targeted content, but specific keywords tailored to specific points on the buying process. When combined with your email lists, you can see where on the buying process your visitors and subscribers fall and tailor content appropriately.

 

4. Producing Mediocre Content

Quality is key. Take the time to produce quality content that your visitors will want to share with their networks. No one shares mediocrity. People read, share, and comment on quality, insightful content that helps solve their problems, or provides a unique perspective.

 

5. Constantly Selling

Your website needs to be a sales rep for your company. However, that doesn’t mean your content should be focused on selling your products. Your visitors want information to make informed decisions. Your content marketing strategy should be based around developing trust and providing solutions for potential customers. Have specific, targeted Call-to-Actions strategically placed throughout your pages, but your content should be focused on providing solutions.

 

6. Not Measuring Data

Just as strategy and planning are important in the beginning, tracking data is important after your content has been posted. Which pieces of content are driving the most traffic? Which are generating the most leads? Where are your visitors leaving your site?

Develop the KPIs important to your goals and objectives before you begin so you know which pieces of content are succeeding and which need improvement. Tracking the data allows you to restructure your strategy as needed.

 

7. Not Using Social Media

Producing great content is only the beginning. Spread the word about your content through social media. Your audience uses social media, no matter who your target audience is. By 2018, the number of worldwide social media users is expected to reach 2.5 billion. Go find them, engage them, and share your story!

 

8. Not Editing Your Blog Posts

Grammar mistakes are more off-putting to visitors than “salesy” writing. Take the time and edit your content multiple times. In fact, the best strategy is to write a piece of content a week in advance, edit it a couple times in the following days, let someone else look at it, and then review the scheduled day of posting. Remember, first drafts are never publishable.

 

9. Thinking Blogging is a Complete Strategy

I’ve heard many businesses tell me, “I have a content marketing strategy. I blog.”

Blogging is an important part of any successful content marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only aspect. Content marketing is about driving traffic to your site, generating leads, and increasing sales. Blogging can help at any of the stages, but is incomplete without other pieces.

 

10. Not Optimizing for Conversions

Developing trust through optimized content is a very important part of your content marketing strategy. But anyone who thinks the point of content marketing isn’t to increase sales doesn’t understand business. The objective is to create sales, so your content, and your website as a whole, needs to be optimized to funnel visitors and leads through the buying process. Landing pages and CTAs should be strategically placed throughout your site. Create premium content such as whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies to generate leads and monitor which pieces of content visitors click through.

 

Create Your Unique Content Marketing Strategy

There is no magic, one-size-fits all approach. Your company is unique and your content should be too. Find your voice and tell your unique story. Provide the relevant information your customers are seeking to gain their trust.

 

1. Research Your Target Market
2. Create Buyer Personas
3. Perform Keyword Analysis
4. Create Content Schedule
5. Create Targeted Content
6. Promote Content on Social Media
7. Determine and Track KPIs

 

Follow these pieces of advice and your content marketing will be a success!

Continue reading on the Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses. If you need help with your inbound marketing, schedule your Free Consultation today to learn how you can drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales!

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing

Marketing has changed. Did you notice? The world has become numb to advertising. And yes, that includes your audience.

Top 10 Myths of Inbound MarketingThat’s why inbound marketing continues to gain popularity. A well-structured inbound marketing strategy will help drive traffic, generate leads, and increase sales by providing answers for your customers. This type of marketing, providing information instead of pushing products, is the business-world’s answer to ad-blockers and DVRs that can fast forward through commercial breaks. Customers are searching for answers to their questions. If your firm isn’t providing those answers, your competitors are. And customers are buying from, and always have bought from, companies they trust.

Inbound marketing is the best way to develop that trust.

However, there are some myths of inbound marketing that have people believing it’s either too difficult or too easy.

 

Top 10 Myths of Inbound Marketing:

1. Quantity Trumps Quality

A couple years ago, you used to be able to post tons of mediocre content stuffed with keywords and rank highly on Google. Now, you need quality. Google’s algorithms now take quality, readability, and intent into account. And their Panda updates filter out and punishes poor content.

Your firm needs to post current, relevant, and targeted content. This will answer your customers’ questions and will keep them on the page longer. This helps your organic rankings because Google also takes into account time on page.

2. Inbound Marketing is Free

Let’s get one thing straight: There is no such thing as a free lunch. Adam Smith said it years ago and it’s still true today.

Inbound marketing is cheaper and more targeted than outbound marketing, where you would buy ad space and hope enough of your potential customers would see it often enough to decide to purchase your product.

Still, that doesn’t make it free. You still need to pay for the content creators, designers, and social media experts. Whether you decide to hire them in-house, or hire an agency, is up to you. Either way, the better the talent means better content, which means better results.

3. You Need a Big Team and a Big Budget

Large, international corporations have big teams dedicated to their inbound marketing. That doesn’t mean that every company needs a big team or a big budget. Aim realistically for your company’s target market, objectives, and reach. Create a strategy and restructure as needed.

4. Can’t Measure ROI

This is a tough one for people to wrap their heads around because they’re so used to completing ROI on old ways of marketing. You spent X amount of dollars on ads and those ads brought in X amount of dollars in business. Easy enough.

But inbound marketing provides the opportunity to see exactly which strategies are working, creating the most engagement, and providing the best ROI. With the amount of data available, it’s easy to see which aspects of your strategy are performing the best and providing the best ROI.

5. Inbound Marketing Doesn’t Work for Everyone

No, a one-size-fits all template does not exist. I’ve searched for it, as I’m sure you have. That doesn’t mean that inbound marketing doesn’t work for everyone. It just means that you have to tinker with your strategy and tailor it to your specific objectives and your specific market.

You need to focus on finding your unique voice and telling your unique story. This creates a connection with customers that can resonate deeper than any ad, no matter how funny. Combine that story and personality with the information you provide your customers and you will develop a loyal fan base.

6. Only Goal is to “Go Viral”

Yes, if something you post goes viral, great. Applaud yourself for posting something humorous enough or relevant enough that it spread like a wildfire. Sit back and reap the benefits.

However, there is a fine line between being funny and being cheesy. If you create cheesy content that doesn’t hit its mark, your brand will be associated with that cheesy content.

No matter what you post, stay consistent with your brand and provide the content that matters to your target market. More than likely, it won’t go viral. But that doesn’t mean your strategy is unsuccessful.

7. My Buyer Persona Isn’t Online

Baby boomers are spending more time online. Now, 78.6% of people in North America have Internet access and, according to Pew Research, 64% of American adults own a smartphone, as of October 2014.

Your target market is online, even if you don’t think they are. And as the population continues to age, and as Internet access becomes more accessible, if your buyer personas aren’t online now, they will be soon.

8. Inbound Marketing Takes Too Much Time

This ties directly into another fear, which is that inbound marketing is too overwhelming. But neither the myth, nor the fear, is enough reason for you not to create an inbound marketing strategy. In fact, that only means you should begin sooner rather than later.

A well-structured inbound marketing strategy does take time, but that means the longer you wait, the longer it will take for you to see the positive results.

9. Inbound Marketing Immediately Leads to Tons of Leads

The opposite of above is another of the most prevalent myths and the answer is similar as well. Inbound marketing takes time. Even if you do everything right, it will take more than a week or even a month for you to see results.

That doesn’t mean that it isn’t working. Don’t stray from your strategy. Focus on building a content library, promoted through social media, that will help answer the questions your target audience is asking. This provides a solid foundation upon which you will continue to build and generate traffic and leads.

10. Content is Simply Advertising Under a Different Name

Do not advertise through your content!

Content is about providing answers and developing trust. You do not build trust by shoving your products and services in the reader’s face. Backlinks to other articles or to the services you provide is one thing, but openly promoting your product or services taints the validity of the entire piece of content and works against you.

There is plenty of other space on your website to advertise. Don’t do it through your content. Have enough backlinks and targeted Call-to-Actions and you’ll gain more trust.

 

Developing an Inbound Marketing Strategy

Your inbound marketing strategy is unique to your specific industry, business, and target market. But it’s also specific to your unique story and what makes your firm different. Embrace that story and use that personality to provide the information your customers need to make intelligent decisions.

Creating an inbound marketing strategy can be intimidating, especially from the ground-up. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Do your research and take the time and effort to create a strong strategy with buyer personas, a keyword analysis, and a targeted content schedule. Then, promote your content through social media and restructure the strategy based on the performance.

You can create an inbound strategy that will drive traffic and generate more leads for your company. Schedule your Consultation today to learn how an inbound marketing strategy can help your business grow or read about the Benefits of Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses.

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Inbound Marketing | Create Buyer Personas | SEO Content Writer | Mike D. O'Brien

How to Create Buyer Personas

One of the keys to a successful inbound marketing strategy is targeting your content to specific audiences and tailored to specific points in the buying process. You’ve been putting it off for far too long, and you know it. Don’t fear! Creating buyer personas isn’t as difficult as you think, and will help solidify your content marketing moving forward.

Creating Buyer Personas is the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy | Mike D. O'BrienBy creating buyer personas that represent each of your target markets, you can learn more about their motivations for purchasing your products and services, and their most common objections during negotiations. This knowledge allows you to create content to your targeted audience, answering their questions, and ensuring your content has a defined purpose.

When creating your buyer persona, it’s key to understand what information is important to your firm. Creating too many personas or too many unnecessary questions can be just as detrimental as having too few questions or no buyer personas.

Steps to Creating Buyer Personas:

1. Develop the Right Questions

Without the right questions, you won’t get the right answers, so don’t overlook this step and its importance. Below are recommended questions, but personalize it to fit your company’s needs and objectives.

Questions to Consider:

  • Role in Organization
  • Goals of Role: Primary and Secondary
  • Challenges of Role: Primary and Secondary
  • How do you overcome those challenges?
  • What is your buying process to overcome your challenges?
  • Education Level
  • Age Range
  • Household Income
  • Common Objections
  • Relevant Background Information: Hobbies, Family, Values, and Fears

 

2. Develop Answers to Your Questions

To properly obtain the information you need to develop your inbound marketing strategy, you need to ask your current customers the questions from your buyer persona forms.

Most companies simply send a bland email questionnaire, but to create the strongest buyer personas you’ll need more information. Take the time to engage your customers with questions about why they chose your company over your competitors and ask follow up questions to get the in-depth information you need. Don’t forget to ask members of other departments, such as sales and customer service, for their insights and opinions.

Analyze website traffic and social media to support the answers you’ve received with data and to fill in the blanks. This also helps when first starting out or when expanding into new target markets and you don’t have any customers to survey.

 

3. Create Your Buyer Personas

Take the data you’ve collected and turn them into the buyer personas your company will need moving forward. This means disseminating the information you’ve collected into the categories and questions you’ve deemed necessary. Comb through this information and use only what you need.

Don’t overdo it! Keep your persona to one page. The likelihood of you referring to one any bigger is next to none. This is supposed to be a tool for your organization moving forward, not an encyclopedia that looks good on the shelf. Take the information you’ve collected and put it in a useful format you can easily reference.

Creating Buyer Personas for Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Buyer Personas are the foundation of your content strategy. Without personas, your company will be guessing at what content your target audience deems important and will end up posting with no real objective. By creating content that targets to specific points in the buying process, targeted to specific buying personas, and tailored to specific keywords those personas would be asking, your website will work for you.

Remember not to create too many buyer personas. Too many can be just as detrimental as having none at all and can bog you down. You want to create one persona for each of your target markets to represent what its important to them so your content is specifically tailored to your target audience. Normally, 5-10 will be plenty, but each business and industry is unique.

Don’t forget to name your personas! Naming them will put a personal touch that will help you remember these are actual people and not just a compilation of data and numbers.

Continue reading for more information on the difference between inbound marketing and content marketing or schedule your consultation today!

 

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

SEO Content Writer | Single Page Website | Mike D. O'Brien

Single Page Websites and SEO

More businesses are designing single page websites because of how easy it is to maintain and the ease of use on mobile devices. The problem is that Google likes pages, links between pages, and site density, which is one of the main contributing factors responsible for the rise in blogging by businesses.

However, Google’s main concern has always been, and will continue to be, the user (that is, besides making money). And, with the increasing use of mobile devices for web browsing and searching, there is no doubt that Google will take that into account moving forward.

For now though, there hasn’t been an algorithm update that’s changed Google’s reliance on multiple pages, links, and keywords to rank pages and websites. Google’s Matt Cutts has said that single page sites can work for Google, but according to Search Engine Land, most SEO experts still believe that Google relies on multiple pages and off-site links to determine website credibility.

 

Just because Google’s rankings like multiple page sites better, doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around optimizing a single page site. It simply takes more creativity.

Advantages to Single Page Websites

-Simple, Easy Design
-Linear Design
-Great for Mobile Devices
-May Lead to Higher Conversion Rate
-Visual Narrative

Disadvantages to Single Page Websites

-Conflicting Keywords
-Difficult to Blog
-Slow Load Time
-Too Much Information, Too Little Space
-Have to Remember to Update

How to Optimize a Single Page Site:

1. Create Clear, Distinct Sections
By dividing your single page website into clearly defined sections, you’re helping the user experience by telling them specifically what each section is about and what they can expect. This also helps Google because you can target specific keywords in each section by using alt tags, headlines, and other SEO best practices.

2. Use Multiple H1 Headers
On a multiple page site, more than one H1 header per page is detrimental because it confuses search engines on what the main topic of a page is. However, a single page site requires multiple H1 headers to distinguish sections, as mentioned above, for both users and Google.

3. Use DIVs to Paginate Content
DIV tags will allow you to set the different sections in the HTML just like the H1 does it on screen.

Examples:

<div id="home">Content</div>
<div id="services">Content</div>

Remember that these will not count as keywords, as CSS tags are not considered for SEO purposes. To do that, you need to rely on anchor links.

4. Anchor Links
Anchor links optimize your site with internal links for Google purposes. Do not confuse anchor links with anchor text, though they are similar. Anchor text is the phrase that contains a URL that links to another page or a site. Anchor links take you to a specific point on a webpage.

You will link your anchor link to your DIV id.

Examples: (using DIV id from above)

<a href="#home">Inbound Marketing</a>
<a href="#services">Social Media Marketing</a>

5. Adding Current Content
Google loves current, relevant content, which is another reason why blogging has become necessary to every business’s website. The problem with a one-page site is that you are more likely to put your information up and never check it again.

According to MDMP Consulting, you should update your portfolio, testimonials, and content based on new projects and services. This provides you with the opportunity to post new content and gives Google’s searchbots another opportunity to crawl your page. Another trick is to sync your Twitter feed so that it is continuously updated.

Single Page Website Solutions

As of right now, single page websites are not optimal for your business. I believe that Google will lean more in this direction in the future because of the rise and influence of mobile devices, however, we are not at that point yet.

Personally, I never recommend single page sites and have, for the reasons listed throughout this article, talked clients out of it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t done it. If it works for your business and in your industry, then you should proceed with your single page website as long as you are aware of the SEO problems you will encounter.

I advise most small businesses to keep their sites around 3-5 pages with a blog containing regularly scheduled and relevant content. However, you must remember that there is not a single, across-the-board solution for all companies and all industries. If you’re still confused, schedule your Consultation today to learn how to optimize your site, drive more traffic, and generate more leads.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Inbound Marketing Helps Financial Advisors | Mike D. O'Brien

How Inbound Marketing Helps Financial Advisors

Financial advisors are at a bit of a crossroads. They provide a valuable service, but since the Great Recession, trust in Wall St. and financial advisors have plummeted. In fact, one study showed that only 20% of investors fully trusted their financial advisors.

In an industry that relies on trust to acquire new customers how does a financial advisor develop that trust?

One of the best ways is to provide potential customers with answers to their questions for free. Yes, that may seem counterproductive. If you provide too much information for free, why will they need financial advisors in the first place?

Most people are too busy to be on top of every aspect of their financial future, including keeping up with trends, stocks, and savings. That means they need answers, but also guidance. As customers are performing more research before making a decision, the buying process has been extended. Are they more likely to buy from companies that provide the information they are seeking, or from a company that is constantly pushing their own products and services?

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is marketing for the Internet age, when customers are ignoring advertisements and performing research on their own. That means companies that provide information, answer questions, and develop trust are more successful than those that don’t. At it’s core, inbound marketing is the creation of content specifically tailored to different points along the buying process, the promotion of that content to generate leads, and the analysis of the data to double down on what aspects are working and restructuring those that aren’t.

 

 

Inbound Marketing for Financial Advisors

Inbound Marketing takes time, but the results are more sustainable. When you release a television or radio ad, at least 90% of your audience doesn’t care. Another 5% changed the station. By providing potential customers with information they are seeking, you are targeting warm prospects already searching for similar services. The ultimate goal is for your website to be a sales rep for you, increasing traffic, funneling visitors through the buying process, and generating leads. Best of all, according to Hubspot, inbound marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates three times as many leads.

However, because inbound marketing doesn’t provide immediate results, it is imperative to create a strategy and stick to it. You are laying the foundation for continued success, embracing a strategy that may not create record-breaking results in the first quarter, but will allow your company to continue growing for years and years.

 

How Financial Advisors Benefit from Inbound Marketing

Target Market:

  • Create Buyer Personas
  • Analyze Buyer’s Journey
  • Develop keywords and pain points

 

Create Targeted Content:

 

Develop Trust:

 

Promote Content:

 

There’s no magical formula for your website to rank highly for all, or any, of your targeted keywords. However, by leveraging social media to drive more traffic and CTAs, landing pages, and premium content to generate leads, your website will funnel visitors through the buying process.

Financial advisors are faced with a serious issue when it comes to developing trust, especially amongst millennials who are now the largest demographic in the country. To regain that trust, more and more financial advisors are using inbound marketing to create content, promote it, and analyze the data to restructure as needed. Though it is not going to provide immediate results, those financial advisors who don’t provide this content to develop and nurture leads and relationships, will continue to struggle obtaining new clients.

Stay ahead of your competition! Subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest inbound marketing trends and techniques delivered straight to your inbox!

Continue reading to learn how inbound marketing can help small businesses.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017

Penguin 4.0 will punish sites and businesses that don't adhere to white-hat link-building practices

Everything You Need to Know About Penguin 4.0

Penguin 3.0 changed the search engine world when it was released at the end of 2014 and punished sites that had acquired a large number of spammy links and had benefited from those links with better search results. Even though it only affected <1% of US- English search queries, some businesses were completely removed from Google’s results and were told they’d have to wait until the next Penguin update for a possible return.

Penguin 4.0 looks to build upon Penguin 3.0 by working in real-time. This is a potential game-changer because it means that it will always “be on”, constantly updating and punishing sites based on their activity.

While it has been rumored for at least a year, expected release dates have continuously been pushed back. First, it was by the end of 2015. Then there were big rumors that it had been released in the middle of January. Then it was definitely by the end of the first quarter. Now, with still no release, Google’s Gary Illyes says he’s given up estimating a Penguin 4.0 launch date because he’s been wrong three or four times.

Goals of Penguin 4.0

The main purpose of Penguin 4.0 will be to continue punishing sites that obtain a large quantity of spammy links to drive up their Google search results. That means, if you’ve been practicing white-hat procedures, you have nothing to worry about. However, if you’ve delved into some black-hat techniques in an attempt to improve organic search results, you had better start undoing them and quickly. According to Google, when Penguin 3.0 was released, those sites that had changed their techniques up to three weeks before the official release were still affected by the update. And, some were completely removed from Google’s results.

What is Penguin 4.0 going to focus on?

1. Real-Time Version of Penguin 3.0

Penguin 3.0 had serious ramifications for a number of sites, including a number of small businesses. Some knew what they were doing, and were looking for quick results and continued to acquire spammy links from spammy sites, hoping for a shortcut to the top of Google results.

Others had hired an SEO agency and trusted them to do what was right. However, looking to achieve and brag about quick results, that agency went the way of the dark side and tried cheating the system.

Either way, those sites were punished and were told they had to wait until the next update to regain eligibility on Google’s search results, with no guarantees. When Penguin 4.0 is released, it will always be working, indexing, and crawling, which means your business needs to start cleaning up both internal and external links now, and continue these white-hat procedures or constantly risk getting punished by Google.

2. Focus on Link-Building

Originally, Google creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin had named their search engine, “BackRub.”

What Can You Do Now?
-Take the time to clean up your site-Check all internal links, long-tail keywords, and user experience on your site

-Check all of your external links and that they lead to relevant, operational sites

-Check all of your backlinks

Resources to Check Links and Backlinks:
SpyFu

SEMRush

Dead Link Checker

Yes, BackRub. Why? Because their search engine was going to focus on links when ranking pages. And that’s still true today.

While content is important (current, relevant, unique content drives traffic to your site) and keywords help tell the search engines and users what your page is about, links drive the increase in organic rankings. But, it’s not just how many links you have. One link from CNN or ESPN means more than 100 links from sites with no influence.

Knowing how difficult it is to get legitimate links form legitimate sites, some businesses have tried cheating the system by buying links, creating multiple sites and linking between them, and other tactics. These are the sites Google is after.

As Google’s algorithms become smarter, link building will have less of an impact. That’s still years away though, which means links still matter. Google and their Penguin updates have focused on penalizing sites that acquire a high number of illegitimate links.

3. Ramifications

As stated, some sites punished after Penguin 3.0 faced precipitous drops in their rankings and others were completely removed from Google results for an indefinite amount of time. Now that Penguin 4.0 is going to be operating in real-time, that means it will continuously be updating and checking sites.

Can Google drop your site from their rankings for only one blemish? Of course they could, but it’s highly unlikely. Mistakes can be made, but Google is attempting to make their user experience the best possible. That means driving away sites that are pummeling users with advertisements and irrelevant content and shooting up the SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) by acquiring a number of spammy links.

Difference Between Panda and Penguin

Google's Penguin 4.0 update will punish websites and businesses that don't practice white-hat link-building techniquesYes, Google chooses adorable names for their updates, but that’s only so they don’t create the panic that Chaos 4.0 or Destruction 4.2 would (remember the fear “Mobilegeddon” caused?). That doesn’t mean they are any less intimidating. However, Penguin 4.0 should only be intimidating for those using black-hat techniques to increase their rankings. Every business owner should understand the benefits of white-hat practices, and be able to have the long-term patience to stick with them.

The main difference between Panda and Penguin is that Panda is a tweak to Google’s search algorithm. These updates can affect your site, but you can recover from them. On the other hand, Penguin updates are a game changer. You need to prepare for and adapt because those punished with Penguin 3.0 are still waiting for 4.0 to be released from prison.Google's Penguin 4.0 update will punish websites and businesses that don't practice white-hat link-building techniques

The main point is simply follow Google’s Best Practices. They are focused on their user experience, as should you. The best way to increase traffic to your site and increase your organic search results is to publish current, relevant, unique content regularly, promote that content through social media, guest blog for other sites that allow you to include a link in your bio, and analyze the data to see what aspects of your plan are working and which need improvement.

 

Panda vs. Penguin

Panda
-Focused on Content-Create Brand Awareness through content, promotion

-Reward high-quality sites that produce current, relevant content

-Smaller sites can recover from

Penguin
-Black-hat tactics severely penalized:

-Spammy Link Building

-Keyword Stuffing

-Irrelevant Content

-Long-term Punishments with Few that Recover

 

Worried about Penguin 4.0?

Nervous your digital marketing agency may have used black-hat techniques to help improve your organic search results? Schedule a Free Consultation today or continue reading about the how to choose the best digital marketing agency for your business.

Schedule Your Consultation Today!

Tired of constantly trying to rank higher on Google without success? Been burned by snake oil salesmen promising 10,000% percent growth in only a matter of weeks?

Inbound Marketing is a long-term strategy that drives traffic, generates more leads, and increases sales.

B2B companies that blog only 1-2 times a month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t.

Content Marketing provides 3 times more leads per dollar.

Do you have an Inbound Marketing Strategy?

 

 

Create Your Story, Promote It, and Perfect Your Strategy

Mike D. O’Brien
732.570.1502
Lincoln Park, NJ
[email protected]
@mikedobrien

 

 

 

 

 

Generate more leads through properly structured content. © Mike D. O’Brien 2017