Category Archives: Website Linking

Learn from Websites with Above-the-Fold Content

By My Web Writers

It’s amazing how many e-commerce companies don’t offer content in the top half of their web pages.  A picture is worth a thousand words, but an Internet page without words is an opportunity missed and it leaves room for confusion.

When we write content for e-commerce sites, the ultimate goal is to entice consumers to buy the website’s products or services.  Written content is an additional tool in your conversion toolbox.

Let’s see how above-the-fold content successfully reaches out to customers on the following websites:

Starbucks

Starbucks warms its readers up to a cupful of coffee with its content.

Starbucks

The adjectives and story go down smoothly and the font sizes and styles are easy on the eyes.  There’s an obvious call to action that drives the reader deeper into the purchasing funnel.  Starbucks doesn’t confuse the reader with too many choices.

Baby Einstein

Each page at Baby Einstein ties together what you see with how you use it. Baby Einstein

Sharing ideas about how to play with and teach baby using Baby Einstein products is exactly what new parents and Google appreciate.

Fanimation

You can use words to better direct traffic through your site. Fanimation

Fanimation invites customers to take personal tours through the major categories in their fan store.

American Spice

AS Baking Content

 

The content on this American Spice category page marries baking with memories from a certain time of year.  You can create emotional and psychological connections to categories or products with word pictures.  We like the play on the words, “Hot Deals” with spices warming up customers.  However, the link takes buyers to a horizontal category page verses a vertical product page. This link might serve better at the bottom of the baking supplies page, after customers have searched through all of the products, but still are looking for more suggestions. We’d also change the graphic’s wording into two sentences.

Amazon

Amazon isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done and it ranks at the top of search engine results. Amazon tv

Notice that Amazon also moves buyers deeper into television verticals through the content linking.  Some people notice words before they notice pictures.  Don’t forget the words!

White CastleWhite Castle

White Castle has a social media presence to go with their yummy pictures.  They haven’t forgotten to make your mouth-water with words that sell burgers!  Notice they suggest how to freeze and reheat sliders.  Did you know how to do that?  Now, you might buy a few extra just to try a reheated, late-night snack at home.

White Castle offers recipes and videos to sell even more burgers. Show people how to eat and they will eat!

 Your Favorite?

What are some of your favorite above-the-fold content pieces?  Share them with us!


Other Posts:

How do I write content based on buyer personas?

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

Prioritize Your Social Media Channels

10 Content Tips for ZMOT Experts

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases for E-commerce Content

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Filed under Capturing Audience, E-Tail Category Content, Website Linking, Words Which Sell

A Beginner’s Guide to Penguin 2.0

by My Web Writers

You’ve heard of Penguin 2.0, but you feel like you’re living on an iceberg as far as understanding it. What exactly does this Google algorithm update do to your site?  We’re here to give you an overview of the latest on Penguin 2.0, which was launched May 22, 2013.

A Brief History

Penguin 1.0 was launched in April 2012. It targeted sites with inappropriate and/or questionable link profiles and poor anchor text that was too keyword-rich. The goal was to serve Google users with better, more relevant search results. Simple SEO was a great idea at first, but people began to manipulate the system. Google stepped up and created Penguin 1.0 to weed out the good from the bad.

Penguin 2.0 Targets Links

Penguin 2.0 differs from Penguin 1.0 in that it’s more comprehensive. It takes a look at the internal pages of a website and targets inbound shady linking behavior.

What are some common forms of shady linking?

  1. Paying another website to link to yours.
  2. Commenting on blog posts just to leave your exact match anchor text link.
  3. Posting your content on questionable blogs with links back to your blog.
  4.  Creating thin, run of the mill articles with links that get posted here, there, and everywhere.
  5. Receiving malicious, inbound links.  Check your link profile in Webmaster tools to find these.

Content is Still King

It’s simple, really. Your site needs stellar content. Remember, as you’re creating content, to not get “link happy.”  Mix up the anchor text in your links.

A few years ago, SEO’s would match link anchor text with the keyword associated with the link’s page.  Today, too many exact match links flag Google that the site might be over-groomed by spammers.  Penguin is sometimes known as the “over-optimization” penalty because of this action to make content less mechanical.

It is not a contest to see how many times you can link to your site- quite the opposite actually. Linking should occur naturally.

Penalties and Rewards

Google penalizes shady behavior like buying mass links, spamming social media or blogs, or displaying paid advertorials. Sites that follow the rules are rewarded with higher, overall search rankings.

You’ve been penalized. Now what?

If your site has been penalized and dropped in the overall rankings in search, don’t worry that all hope is lost forever. Find out why you were penalized, and fix the problem. Google’s Webmaster tools can help. Make sure your links are relevant.  In some cases, you may need to disavow or content site owners to ask them to remove the links.

As long as you’ve been creating good content with trustworthy and relevant links, Penguin 2.0 likely didn’t change where you rank in search results. If it did impact your rankings, find out what you did wrong and how to fix it. Let Penguin 2.0 be your friend in figuring out what good content is and how you will present it. ~ Natalie

Other Articles about Penguin 2.0 across the Web:

Google’s Penguin 2.0 Algorithm; The Definitive Guide

SMX West Insights

Google’s Penguin Update: 5 Types of Issues Harming Some Affected Websites

How to Identify a Link Profile Susceptible to Penguin

5 Important Link Removal Facts Post Penguin 2.0

Writer Tips for the Google Penguin Penalty

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Filed under Algorithms, Penguin, Website Linking

Internal Linking in Content: Dos and Don’ts

By My Web WritersContent Linking

Now more than ever, links are everywhere! Anything that’s dynamic, from web sites and social media to e-newsletters and PDFs, often contain live links. This is how we reference information and more importantly, how we drive traffic from one place to the next. Internal linking is an especially powerful tool because it keeps visitors browsing a web site longer and helps to strategically direct them to other content. This following guide of Dos and Don’ts will help to highlight the most effective ways to use internal linking in content.

DO use specific anchor text

The anchor text is what is highlighted with the link and made clickable. Most commonly this text tends to be a phrase such as “click here” or “read more here,” but this is considered to be non-specific. When search engines index your web site, they count the anchor text as a keyword. Instead, you should use a specific and strategic word or phrase as your linking anchor to further increase the search engine optimization of your web pages.

DO link to each page at least once

Every page within your web site should have at least one link that directs viewers to it from another page. It’s easy to remember to link to some of your biggest and most popular pages over and over, such as your homepage, about page or contact page. But don’t forget that you created each page on your web site for a reason and so they should be able to flow easily from one other. Additionally, you need to link all of your pages for best SEO results.

DON’T overwhelm your content with links

In an effort to link internally to each page at least once, you may begin to overwhelm your content with too many links. Choose the content carefully and strategically. Make sure it makes sense to visitors as to why you’re directing them to another page within your site. Linking should feel natural and helpful, not misplaced or forced.

DON’T forget to check and double your links

You’ve put the effort into carefully picking out the content and placement for your links; now don’t waste this on directing visitors to a dead or incorrect URL. Check and double check every one of your links to be sure they point in the direction in which they were designed. Capturing a visitor’s interest enough to get them to click on a link is a very valuable thing. If this takes them to an error page, you will likely lose their interest and possibly their business.

 DO make your URLs into links

This may seem like an obvious “Do,” however, this error can still be found on many web sites big and small. Rather than turning anchor text into a live link, web sites will mistakenly list the URL of another page. By doing this, you miss out on the opportunity to index additional keywords, hurting your SEO. Also, this hurts the professionalism of your web site. Listing a “raw” URL makes the content look sloppy and unfinished. Instead, choose strategic anchor text and link this directly to where you wish visitors to go next.

This list of Dos and Don’ts has hopefully helped to provide you with a better understanding of the industry’s best practice of internal linking in content. Whether this is for your business web site or your personal blog, you can better harness the power of internal linking by recalling the information of this quick guide. ~Stephanie


Other Posts:
Seven Local Angles to Address in Your Content

How Can I Better Manage My Company’s Social Media Accounts?

What Would History Say About Google Authorship Profiles?

Writer Tips for Google’s Penguin

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Content, E-Tail Category Content, Local, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking

What is Bing’s Subjectship and How does it Compare to Google’s Authorship?

UPDATE 2015: Google’s Authorship was scrapped by the end of 2013. We believe My Web Writers was a voice that contributed to this end. In an article, Forbes details the finale. Read My 2013 SMX Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship. About that time, Bing’s subjectship faded into an abyss, as well.

By Natalie

Authorship screen shot

Webmasters are always looking for the next great SEO boost. Google Authorship was launched this past year, so it was only natural that Bing would fire back with its own version, Bing Subjectship. Understanding the two and how they compare can help content writers and other authors and readers decide which they prefer from the world’s two favorite search engines.

Google Authorship

Although just a youngster, Google Authorship is proving itself as a successful tool to drive traffic to websites, especially blogs.  Look at the Google search to the right for “Google Authorship.” The photos you see are the authors of the articles.

Since Google added Authorship to its articles, the click-through rates are much higher than they were before.

Bing’s Subjectship

Bing decided to compete with Google via Bing Subjectship. Instead of seeing a picture of who wrote a specific article or blog post, you’ll see a picture of the subject matter.  If I wrote a popular blog post on a famous singer, my picture would show up next to the search result in Google, but Bing would show a picture of the famous singer and the picture might not be one I even used in my post.  Subjectship appears to be in an experimental stage.

This video further highlights some of the differences between Authorship and Subjectship:

After we contacted Bing for more information about Subjectship, we received the following reply.

It’s me again Docs from Bing Technical Support. We apologize for the delay of our response. We would like to provide you an update from our product group about your inquiry on Bing Subjectship. Allow me to discuss this with you.

Bing Support provides assistance for customers needing help with Bing and the features within Bing. We are unable to provide any additional information regarding Bing Subjectship nor any future plans and releases pertaining to Bing.

Thank you for your inquiry and interest in Bing.
Best Regards,

Docs
Bing Technical Support

So which do you find more appealing- a photo of who wrote the article or blog post, or a photo of who the post is about?

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Blog Writing Tips, Content Marketing, Holiday Blog, Pictures, Search Engine Marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking

6 Tips for Proper Linking in Blog Posts

My Web Writers

Linking to other blogs builds relationships and gets you noticed in the content marketing world. When content generators see they are receiving links from you, they are more apt to visit your site, and possibly link back to it.  But, be advised that linking for linking’s sake is not recommended. Search engines have made it clear that content needs to offer readers value and not a plethora of junky links.link

Consider these six tips to building community by connecting to others when the connections fit your content:

1)     Link to those in your network: Regardless of your industry, you’ll likely have peers worthy of referrals.  Providing a positive endorsement or a link to a colleague or vendor builds community and ultimately drives traffic to your site.

2)      Link to fans: If you have an active readership, linking to their blog or other social media account is an effective way to foster engagement. Plus, it never hurts to thank readers for their loyalty.

3)     Link to supplemental/complementary information: In general, anything relevant to your blog topic is worthy of link consideration. Driving readers to other links can provide context and supplemental information on the topic to your readers. In time, readers will come to view you as an expert in your respective field.  As a word of advice, limit these types of links to five per post.  It’s possible to overwhelm readers with too much content.

4)      Provide link explanations. A good way to encourage visitors to click on external links is to provide a brief description about the content. Readers will be more apt to click than if the link lacks an explanation. No one wants to click on a link to find it’s really a virus or not what they expected. You could lose credibility or trust. And that translates into less traffic, and perhaps a shrinking bottom line.

5)     Make friends. If you’ve found a compelling blog post, why not contact the blog owner and inquire about exchanging links, or even guest posts? If your site is a source for relevant, high-quality information many will be willing to reciprocate to reap the rewards. Another scenario: Link to the other blog, then email the blogger to introduce yourself, mention the link, and ask them to consider linking to you.

6)      Another pro tip: Set your links to open in a new window. This keeps visitors on your site longer, and helps maintain fluidity in reading. For example, if you’re linking to a story about analytics, they might be interested, but want to keep reading your post. Opening the story in a new window allows them to browse to that tab or window–on their own time.

In short, linking is one of the many activities you can do to help better your SEO. The links should literally stand out and entice readers to click them. Make sure the links are relevant to the rest of your content and not too cluttered on the page.  Finally, familiarize yourself with the Penguin update, if you haven’t already, to ensure that you avoid exact match anchor text. When you properly link in your blog, you offer the reader other avenues to explore your topic more deeply.

~Lauren

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Citing Sources, Content, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Website Linking

The Pillars of SEO Every Content Writer Should Know

 My Web Writers

Many business owners find that SEO can be a very daunting task. With so many rules and best practices to follow, it can feel like a full-time job to master this skill. But the reality is SEO is easier than you think.  Consider these pillars, when writing content for the Web.

SEOUnique and quality content – Posting unique content is one of the most important factors in improving your site’s rank. It’s a fact that Google simply will not rank a site highly if there is duplicated content. In addition to originality, concern yourself with the quality. It should be topical, and easy to read. Avoid drifting into unrelated tangents or you might risk losing readers. A blog is a great tool to create conversational content and engage readers.

As a writer, you may be great at providing in-depth analysis or research on a variety of topics, but it’s important to understand the additional pillars that contribute to SEO.  Besides content, there are site speed and coding factors that influence a site’s rankings.

Meta Data –Titles and descriptions can be used to your advantage, as both are viewed by consumers when performing a search for a particular keyword. Here, you can tell search engines what your page is about, and also attract consumers with compelling copy. Use generic keywords, along with specific ‘branded’ keywords. That way you can appeal to both groups: Those who are, and who are not familiar with your product or service. Generic keywords can be used to reach out to prospects. The branded keywords will help you attract traffic of existing customers.

Link Building– Link building is one way to boost your rank. You can do that by offering links to other reputable websites, along with your own links. In this case, quality links matter more than quantity. Have one quality link instead of five low-value ones. You can might want to consider guest blogging, which will allow you to promote your site externally, as well as further your brand.

Social Media – It appears social media is here to stay. Use it to your advantage to boost your search rankings. Links being shared through channels like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ are great tools. YouTube videos are another way to get your message out there, while driving traffic to your site. Also, allow readers to share your content on their social media networks through sharing buttons. In theory, the more value you can offer, the more people will interact with you!

Image alt tags – Google offers image searches, as well as your normal text/keyword searches. By adding relevant alt tags to your images you can drive traffic to your site.

Accessibility –You want to make sure there is a clear structure to your website, so that all content and pages can be found easily. Otherwise, you may risk losing rank on Google searches.

In short, it’s important to realize that ranking on a major search engine will not happen overnight. Rather, it’s a process that takes time. Many business owners take this for granted, and end up frustrated due to a lack of instantaneous results. Hanging around to make the necessary updates is half the battle. If you stick with it, in time you might find you’re at the top of the search ranking for your industry!   ~Lauren

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Website Linking

National Brands without Physical Stores Struggle to Rank for Local and other 2013 #SMX West Insights

My Web Writers Attended #SMX 2013

My Web Writers Attended #SMX 2013

By My Web Writers

How can You Rank for Local, if You’re a National Brand without Local Stores?

Good luck.  There are few alternatives to building physical stores.  When a user types in a qualifying term like “pants Toledo”, he or she is probably looking  for a Toledo clothing store that sells pants.  Often the user is located within 1.5 miles of the store at that time.  In many cases, it’s becoming the norm for national chains, that solely sell online, to fall below the local listings of brands with stores.

How do you get around the local problem if you’re a national chain without physical stores?  Some panelists suggested building local pages on your website, while others suggested empowering affiliates to drive traffic for local, long-tailed keywords. Local landing pages are required and must have phone tracking, pricing, transparency, an adoption plan, and ensured alignment with the national PPC campaign.

Balihoo.com, which offers a free download of going local ideas, suggested starting with 4 – 5 affiliates and empowering them with incentives in local markets.  My Web Writers also published a post on going local back in 2012.

For those businesses that do have physical stores, Scott Nickels of Home Depot shared a story of a map pin to a local store that ended up in the wrong place. Traffic kept flowing to a residential home before the resident finally called to complain about the headlights in her back yard. Store managers have to be aware of the postcard process required for validation of the physical addresses and Maps needs to better hone in on the locales.

Home Depot’s word for 2013 is “local.” Nickels suggests creating one page per store and localizing social, too. He somberly shook his head when an attendee asked, “Do you mean if I have 53 stores, I have to optimize 53 Facebook pages?”

“Yes, yes you do,” he replied.

2013 #SMX West Insights

There are already so many, insightful, #SMX West 2013 recaps floating around the web from various attendees, but here are a few more insights as well as a list of the recaps.

Random Notes from Watching Sites Get Critiqued:
  • Put Java Script and CSS in external script.
  • Don’t use disavow if possible. Don’t tell Google you have a problem unless you have a PhD in understanding linking. You don’t want to accidentally remove links that are actually working for you.
  • Submit articles to Reddit.
  • Canonicals- make sure all products are given credit.
  • PR can build legitimate page links.
  • Shopping cart pages should be optimized with what the latest coupon codes are. Remember to 301 redirect expired coupons.
  • Experiment with Google Plus to get juice for search-ability.
  • Don’t blog just to blog. Consider putting monies toward PR opportunities.
  • Schematag.org – a plugin for WordPress
  • Enrich your Google Places ranking.

Take-aways from other SMX West sessions are as follows:

  • Authorship and identity will matter more over time. False identities will be found.  Do authorities and brands have rank? Individuals have their own brands and should use authorship to maintain them.  Big brands are still struggling with this, which makes it a good time for small companies to utilize Authorship.
  • “Links still have many good years ahead of them.” ~Matt Cutts
  • Social interaction helps to determine SERP’s.
  • Mobile is going to surprise a lot of people. It’s a critical factor.  Isolate mobile in Analytics. There’s a web page test tool that @AnneCushing likes to use to watch a video of how long it takes to load a client’s page.  It helps clients to see the importance of improving site speed- http://www.webpagetest.org/.
  • “SEO is no longer about tactics, but more about strategy.”
  • “Keep the company focused on metrics that matter to the company and not ranking reports.”
  • Duane Forrester says the most important SEO factor for next year is “usability.  It’s more important than h-tags.”
  • Ann Cushing said to “focus less on keywords and more on landing pages.”
  • Matt Cutts reiterated that the “global view is the same as in other years. Give the user what they want.” Annotate your web pages with ‘about of’ markup for Chrome users. You can also disavow at a domain level.
  • Rae Hoffman encouraged SEO’s to “Let go of how easy it used to be.”
  • Greg Bowser said, “Embrace the big data.”

Looking for additional #SMX 2013 Recaps and Insights?  Read these excellent posts:

SEO Success in 2013 & beyond: Matt Cutts & others’ insights at #SMX

Matt Cutts, Duane Forrester talk ‘Adventures in SEO’ at SMX West

SMX West 2013: Top Tips, Tools & Takeaways

Insights from a Conversation with Matt Cutts about Google Authorship

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day Three

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day Two

Live Blog Recap: SMX West 2013 Day One

My SMX West 2013 Takeaways- Sugar Rae’s blog

What ideas do you have for national brands that want to rank for local search terms? Is there a #SMX 2013 blog post that I missed that you like?

~Jean

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Filed under Algorithms, Analytics, Business Strategy, Conferences, Content Marketing, Facebook, Google Plus, Keywords, Marketing, Panda, Penguin, Queries & Articles, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Twitter, Website Linking