Monthly Archives: May 2016

Thursday, 26 May 2016, 05:47 pm Written by 

SEO wasn’t ever dead, regardless of the vespers-blowing trumpeters that have been sounding off since 2008 or so. It just changes form regularly to adapt to whatever adaptation Google or Bing or whatever has come up with to punish them. When Google punishes a given technique, a different one crops up, but the basic concept of ‘drive traffic by creating quality backlinks’ has never changed.

What has changed, in the last 6-8 months, is the number of sites that have more-or-less ‘SEOed out.’ That is to say, they’ve spent enough to reach a top-3 spot for a few dozen potent keywords both short- and long-tail, and they’re basically just in maintenance mode now, to make sure they don’t slip. So what does a website that is already at the top of the heap do with its SEO budget?

They Spend It to Improve The Effects of Their SEO!
Yes — even once you’ve reached the Top 3 rankings, you can still improve the effects of your SEO. Not the SEO itself, but what the SEO does for you. That’s because the profitability of your SEO is measured like this:

Profit = Total Visitors[(Conversion Rate x Profit Per Sale) – Cost per Visitor]

Your SEO efforts are what produces the visitors and what costs the money, so they create the Total Visitors and the Cost per Visitor numbers. Your Profit per Sale is determined by the profit margin on each sale of your product. That leaves the Conversion Rate.

The Conversion Rate is the percentage of Total Visitors that actually buy something when they visit your site. And the process of testing different configurations of that website and seeing which ones result in the greatest Conversion Rate — called CRO for Conversion Rate Optimization — is the top SEO technique of 2016.

CRO has a few variations, but the important thing to know is this: It’s way more profitable to sell 20% of 100 people a thing than it is to sell 10% of 150 people the same thing. If your traffic is already close to peak, switching some of that SEO funding over to CRO is likely to have a far better effect on your bottom line than spending ever-more on optimizing just one part of the equation.

Monday, 16 May 2016, 05:43 pm Written by 

There’s a big argument that’s been plaguing the expert SEO world for the past few years, and it’s one that doesn’t seem to have a clear winner: the argument about content length. Some businesses swear that their best success comes from in-depth, long-form content that goes in depth on a particular subject; others insist on what’s called ‘snackable’ content that can be consumed in 2 minutes or less. Yet more believe that mid-length content like the kind promoted by most WordPress SEO plugins is the way to go.

The truth is simple: all kinds of content can be winners. The choice between snackable and long-form content isn’t a choice between a ‘better’ and ‘worse’ form of content — it’s a choice between attracting different market segments.

In short:

  • Long-form content is most attractive to people who are already experts in the subject, because it offers insight and angles on the topic that they might not already have, and experts crave that stuff. Most SEO-related content is long-form these days, because most people who Google SEO-related topics are experts in the first place.
  • Mid-form content (like this blog post) is most attractive to people who interact with the topic, but don’t live it. The middle management guy who heads the expert’s department, or a student who has yet to get a job in the field, for example. Most customer-service-related content is in this format, because very few people are genuinely “customer service experts.”
  • Short-form ‘snackable’ content has the broadest target audience by far: anyone who is interested in the topic, but doesn’t necessarily interact with it directly (much/yet). Note that this can potentially be anyone if the content itself is provocative, because as the guy who invented TED talks says, “knowledge itself is interesting.”

Why Choose Snackable Content?
Snackable content is the easiest to share on social media, because it’s much more socially acceptable to send your grandma, spouse, and best friend from high school an interesting 2-minute skim than it is to send them a 25-minute in-depth tome.

Snackable content is the cheapest to produce for a few reasons. First, you don’t need an expert to create it. Second, it’s short, which means less cost per-word or per-minute or whatever. Finally, because it’s intended to be super-sharable, you don’t need to spend as much expert SEO time on it.

The best course of action for a comprehensive content marketing/SEO strategy is to mix and match — create bits of content at all lengths. Just do about 1 long-form to 2 mid-length to 4 snackable pieces, adjusted to match your target market segment of course.

Friday, 06 May 2016, 05:41 pm Written by 

There’s a lot of SEO in the world — literally, every single piece of content you put up online can and should be optimized if you intend for people to actually see it. In fact, the SEO world is getting complex enough and deep enough that it’s possible to find people with job titles like Image SEO Specialist, Video SEO Specialist, and so on. The question that business managers the world over are asking themselves is, “are these various SEO specialists worth the cost?”

The answer, being perfectly honest, is “sometimes.” There are three major factors that go into the equation (assuming all SEO specialists are equal in overall talent):

  • The Function of the Content
  • The Placement of the Content
  • The Term of the Content

Every piece of content has a specific function — if it didn’t, you shouldn’t’ve produced it in the first place. Every content deserves some SEO, even the stuff you’re only putting up so that a industry insider who skims your blog can be impressed at your insider expertise. But the only content that really needs the full, in-depth SEO treatment where you hit up the SEO specialists¬†for their unique services are:

  • Content intended to ‘go viral’ on the social scene,
  • Content intended for reputation management (that needs to outrank something horrible),
  • Content that exploded and got more views on basic SEO than you expected, and
  • Content that is targeting a new market segment or announcing a new product/service.

So we’ve just eliminated probably 40%-60% of your content as not needing ‘advanced’ SEO due to function. What about placement? This one’s a bit more open to interpretation, but the basic rule here is that if you’re putting the content on a platform that provides its own traffic and targeting — say, an industry forum — you don’t need the extra SEO. You intend to get your traffic from sources other than Google in the first place, so save the money for a piece of content that is Google-centric.

Short and sweet here: content that is intended to ‘catch’ a momentary wave, like a trending Twitter hashtag or a one-off news item that you don’t expect to start a long-term national conversation, doesn’t deserve the extra spend.

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