3 Reasons You’re Not Getting the SEO Budget You Need to Be Successful

I have heard digital marketers say that Search Engine Optimization is “free” traffic. I want to help set the record straight by letting you know that SEO is not “free.” Budgets are still needed to write content and have a SEO consultant work on a website.

There have been multiple times in my career that I needed to create a compelling argument for more budget for an SEO campaign. These types of recommendations are often challenged, yet thousands of dollars for PPC can be spent without blinking an eye. Some marketers would say it’s easier to see the ROI on ad spend compared to the SEO campaigns and initiatives that we are also running.

There are a three reasons that SEO specialists struggle to get the budgets they want compared to their digital advertising counterparts including:

  1. SEO is a long-term strategy
  2. Proving ROI for SEO
  3. Potential SEO risks from blackhat tactics

Now is the time to learn how to showcase the importance of SEO and fight for the budget that it needs to make your website successful from an organic standpoint. Below are some top tips for getting the SEO budget that you want and need to show success.

SEO is a long-term strategy

The first step to getting the budget you request is educating your team and decision makers that SEO is a long-term strategy. Of course, there are SEO tactics that you can complete, but SEO takes time to work when done correctly.

By providing education and information, you are able to build trust from the start and setting realistic expectations for all parties involved.

The competitive nature of your industry will also determine how much SEO budget you will need. A competitive industry should expect to pay more money to be aggressive to gain more visibility. Competitive industries usually take a longer time to penetrate from an SEO standpoint and will need a more advanced strategy to succeed.

Most seasoned SEO specialists can provide an estimate on when a website will see an organic benefit, especially when prioritizing tactics. State that from the list of prioritized SEO tactics, you can estimated that the website will begin to see organic performance improvements within a couple weeks to months.

Proving ROI for SEO campaigns

This might be the most important reason you are not getting the budget you are requesting. SEO can be hard to attribute success to if you don’t plan for it. Tracking and monitoring your analytics is crucial to success. Often, SEO teams will report on the wrong metrics like sessions, bounce rate and keyword rankings. Those vanity metrics are important to track but not necessarily to the most essential metrics to share with an executive. Instead, focus on showing how many conversions were generated through organic sessions.

Then, it’s important to come to a consensus on what those conversions normally net for ROI. That way you can show an estimate on revenue from the organic campaigns. ead of monetary value.

SEO teams can also leverage information about what the company is investing in PPC efforts to create a budget and SEO strategy to rank for those keywords organically, potentially saving the company money. Then, that money that is saved can be reallocated to other paid efforts or additional SEO campaigns.

The potential SEO risks of negative tactics from previous SEO consultants

Most marketers are aware of the negative or blackhat SEO tactics from the past (and present). The real issue with these tactics is once discovered, it can be difficult to reverse the impact. More often than not, webmasters who have been hit with a SEO penalty can be reluctant to work with other SEO vendors. Additionally, there a multiple websites online that are willing to charge a low amount of money while providing guarantees that are meaningless. Blackhat tactics and terrible guarantees shine a bad light on the search industry.

When searching for a potential agency or partner for SEO, be sure that they are not implementing blackhat SEO tactics as they can have a long-term impact.

Time to get your budget

SEO is a tried-and-true, cornerstone tactic of successful digital marketing programs. If you’re struggling to get the budget you need, the tips above can help you secure a SEO budget that will help you meet your marketing goals.

If you’re on the hunt for an agency to help you meet your organic search goals, take a look at our Search Engine Optimization services to see if we are a fit for your needs.

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198: 6 First Income Streams Recommended for Bloggers

6 Recommendations to Monetize Your Blog

In today’s episode I want to talk about making money blogging.

More specifically, I want to tackle a question from a reader who has been blogging for a while without monetizing but is wondering which income stream she should try  first.

I’ll suggest 6 income streams that I see bloggers often starting with and at the end nominate my favorite one that I think can be a good place to start for many bloggers.

So if you’ve been wanting to start monetize your blog – whether you’re a new blogger or an established one – or even if you’ve been monetizing but want to add another income stream – this episode is for you.

Links and Resources on 6 Recommended First Income Streams for Bloggers

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Good morning and welcome to episode 198 of the ProBlogger Podcast. My name is Darren Rowse and I’m the blogger behind problogger.com, a blog, podcast, event, job board, and a series of ebooks, all designed to help you as a blogger to grow your audience, to create amazing content that’s going to change your audience’s life in some way and to build profit around your blog.

In today’s episode, in episode 198, I want to talk to you about that topic of making money from your blog, building a profitable blog. Most specifically, I want to tackle a question from one of our readers from the Facebook group who’s been blogging for a while now without monetizing. She has actually built up a bit of an audience, some archives of content, but is wondering which income stream she should try to add to her blog first.

In today’s episode, I want to share with you six different income streams that might be a possibility for this particular blogger. These are six income streams that I see bloggers often starting with. At the end of presenting the six, I want to nominate my favorite one that I think could be a good place to start for many bloggers. If you’ve been wanting to start to monetize your blog whether you’re a new blogger, or an established one, or maybe you’ve been monetizing for a while and want to add another income stream, this episode is for you.

You can find today’s show notes where I will be listing some further reading and listening over at problgger.com/podcast/198. Also, you can join our Facebook group and connect with other bloggers on this same journey of monetizing their blogs. The Facebook group is over at problogger.com/group.

Lastly, if you are in America, in the US, check out our upcoming Dallas event which I will be co-hosting. We’ve got a great lineup of speakers including Kim Garst, Pat Flynn, myself as well as a range of other bloggers and online entrepreneurs. You can get the details of this event which is happening in October, I think it’s the 24th and 25th of October. You can get those details at problogger.com/success.

If you use the coupon code SUCCESS17, you’ll get $50 off over the next couple of weeks but don’t wait too long on that because that discount won’t last long. All those details will be on the show notes today. I think it’s time we go into today’s episode.

I got a message from Danielle who’s one of our Facebook group members this morning. She said in her message and she gave me permission to share this, “I saw your recent Facebook Live on how to make money blogging. I love the idea of adding multiple income streams to a blog.” That’s something that I did cover in that Facebook Live recently. “But as a blogger who’s been blogging for a while and has a medium sized audience but who’s never monetized, what income stream should I add first? Thanks, Danielle.”

Thanks for the question, Danielle. I do appreciate that. If you do have questions at any time, pop them into the Facebook group or send me a message if you would like to do that as well. On the group would be great because that way we can answer I publicly. But there are a few options for you, Danielle, as is often the case with question that I’m asked about blogging, the answer is, often, it depends. It really does depend. There are a number of factors that are going to help us to work out what income stream should work best for you.

Some of the factors that you will need to ponder and I guess you need to think about as you’re listening to some of what I’m about to suggest. Different factors will impact the income stream that you choose. Some of the factors might include your topic. Some topics lend themselves very well to different income streams whereas other topics don’t at all. For example, I found talking to many bloggers who blog about spirituality of different faiths or politics that advertising doesn’t always work so well on some of those, particularly advertising with advertising networks like Google’s AdSense. Your topic is going to come into it.

Even more important than topic though is your reader’s intent. The question is why are readers on your site? If you can really tap into that, why are they there, you will, hopefully, begin to see some opportunities to monetize. For example, if your readers are on your site wanting to learn information, they want information of some type, they want teaching, they want how to information, then that’s going to land itself to monetize by selling information, information products. I’ll talk a little bit more about that.

If people are there because they want to connect with other people who share a similar interest or a similar life situation, it may be harder to sell information but it might be easier to sell them into a membership community. Ask yourself the question why are readers on my site? What is it that they’re there for? Because that might help to reveal the right income stream.

Some other factors that come into play, your audience’s size, whilst you’ll always find that as you grow your audience your income will grow with most of the income streams I’m going to talk about today. Some of them are almost not worth trying if you’ve got a tiny audience. For example, Google AdSense. You’re not going to make much on it at all unless you have a sizeable audience.

Your audience’s location is another factor. Some locations monetize better with Google AdSense, with things like Amazon’s affiliate program. If you have an audience who is all in the one location whether that be in the one country or even the one state or even the one town, I know some of the bloggers in our Facebook Group have very localized blogs, then they will lend themselves to different types of income streams. For example, I know one blogger who has a blog in Melbourne and they monetized their blog by advertising on their blog to Melbourne businesses. That really lends itself very well to that, your audiences’ location.

Also, the source of your traffic, you’ll find that some different types of traffic will monetize differently. Traffic coming in from search engines might do better with Google AdSense but traffic coming in from social media might do better with affiliates. Really, it’s going to depend on your certain situation. I’m generalizing a little bit there. Email, I find, works really well when you’re selling a product, for example. The source of your traffic is another factor to consider.

There are some other things to keep in your mind, your topic, your readers’ intent, the size of audience, the location of your audience, the source of your traffic, these types of things, it’s worth knowing what they are because as I go through these six different income streams that you might want to consider, those factors will come into play.

Let me outline six of the options. By no means are these six the only options. These are just six of the most common things that I see bloggers doing as their first income stream. I’m not saying any of them are the best for you, Danielle. You’ve got to give it a go and I’ll talk a little bit later about trying different income streams because different income streams will have different fits for different blogs.

Number one and by no means am I putting this in order of priority, this is just the most common one that I see a lot of bloggers starting with, it is actually the one I started is Amazon’s affiliate program. Amazon’s associate’s program is what you will need to Google. To find it, I’ll link to it in today’s show notes. Some people are pretty much turning our podcast off right now because they don’t like Amazon’s associates program and I understand why that is. There are a number of reasons that I regularly hear from people that they don’t like it.

For one, in some places it’s just not available. There are some states in America that you cannot join the Amazon’s associates program and it’s got to do with tax and the legal aspect of it. I don’t really understand it because I’m not in one of those jurisdictions. Other people might be from other parts of the world where there’s not an Amazon store. There are legitimate reasons not to do it.

But often, the complaints I hear about Amazon’s program are that the commissions are quite small, they are. The commissions that you make on Amazon when you recommend a product and someone buys that product, you earn a little commission and the commissions are quite little, they’re I think 4% depending on the products. It can go a little bit higher. I have high commissions up to 8% or 10%. It’s not a massive commission that you get, particularly if you’re recommending low priced products. If you’re recommending a $10 eBook and you’re earning 4%, not a lot there, which I understand.

Other people complain about Amazon because the cookies don’t last long. If you send someone into Amazon, if they make a purchase, I think it’s within 24 hours you can get a commission but after that, you don’t. I will need to check how long that cookie lasts today. They’re some of the reasons that I hear Amazon being critiqued and they’re valid reasons but I still like Amazon and I still like to promote on Amazon. If you follow my Digital Photography School blog, you will see that I recommend cameras on Amazon all the time. Every time I talk about a camera, we link into Amazon with our affiliate code.

There are a number of reasons for that, that we choose Amazon even above camera stalls and that is because Amazon’s an incredibly trusted brand. We have a very US based audience. We know most of our audience know, use and trust and like Amazon. They know that brand, they trust it. It’s a safe option for them to spend their money on. Another reason that I like Amazon is that it’s not just books on Amazon. There are all kinds of products. If you have a high value product that you write about on your blog like a camera, 4% isn’t really much when you’re talking about a book but if you’re selling a $2,000 camera, it add ups over time. That’s one of the reasons that I particularly like it.

Another reason I like Amazon is that there’s more than just books on Amazon, there’s products from almost every category that you can think of. People tend, once they’re in Amazon, to start surfing around and I can see, I actually recommended a lens on Amazon yesterday from our Facebook page and no one bought the lens but I can track that people bought other things. I saw people buying books. I saw people buying cosmetics. I saw people buying nappies. I saw someone buying a necklace, jewellery and this was because I linked in pointing to lens. I would say that most people are buying more than one items. They tend to surf around and Amazon is very good at suggesting things for people to buy. Get people in the door at Amazon and Amazon’s very well refined, very well tested and then I will get this out for you.

Another reason I like Amazon as a first income stream, just to begin to learn how to monetize your blog is that it’s so easy to integrate. Amazon provides a variety of different tools and widgets that you can use on your site. You can just create text links but you can also develop little icons and widgets that you can put in your sidebar and even a shop that you can build as well.

Another thing I like about Amazon is that particularly around holidays like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, they are very well optimized and they often have really good promotions on them. If you can get people into the store at those times, people are in a buying mood but Amazon also have a lot of specials and so you can promote those types of specials as well.

Amazon’s not going to be a perfect fit for every blog but I do think it’s worth considering if you want to start out. One of the reasons I do particularly like it as a first one is that it’s so easy. You can be up and running with Amazon within a few minutes, just go to Amazon’s associates program, signup and you can be generating links pretty quickly.

The times that it may not be good for you is if you do live in one of those US states where it’s not allowed or if you have an audience that doesn’t live within one of the locations that Amazon has a store. Amazon has stores in America, they’ve got a UK one, I think they’ve got a German one. They’ve got a variety of different stores and you’d be aware of the ones in your particular area. I think there’s about to open up in Australia as well.

It may not be perfect for you but it’s one to consider. If you want to learn a little more about Amazon, check out episode 53 where I talk about how I made over half a million dollars with Amazon. That’s sounds like a lot but it’s come out of almost the last 15 years of blogging so split that up a little bit. I also have written a really extensive article on the topic called the Ultimate Guide to Making Money with the Amazon Program which is a text based version of that particular podcast in podcast episode 53. I’ll link to those in the show notes today.

That’s the number one, by no means is it the best. Number two that I want to talk about is other types of affiliate programs. This is another option that I think is very easy to do. There’s very little investment that you have to make when you’re promoting someone else’s products and there’s a variety of different types of products that you might want to promote.

Again, just for a recap for those of you who aren’t even familiar with that term affiliate, it’s when you recommend a product and you earn a commission when someone buys that product. You are given a link that has a little tracking code and so the person who’s selling the product knows you referred that and they were able to pay that commission.

There’s a variety of options here. You might want to promote a physical product. For example, Vanessa, many of you know Vanessa, my wife, she has a style fashion blog. It’s called Style and Shenanigans. She has an affiliate link from numerous types of physical products. She’s writing about fashion so she is linking into clothes store, clothes and shoes and bags, accessories, those types of things. She also writes about books so she’s recommending books on online stores. She’s recommending them on Australian stores because her audience is in Australia. She doesn’t do so much on Amazon.

She’s linking and promoting home wear products, vases and paintings and all kinds of those types of things, sheets, duvet covers and those types of things and then gift ideas. Around Christmas, she might do a list of 10 things to buy a guy for Christmas, or a woman for Christmas, or mother’s day, that type of thing. She’s talking all the time on her blog about physical products. When she promotes those products, they work quite well for her.

If you’re talking about physical products on your blog, find an affiliate program where you can recommend those types of products. You’ll find many these days, many normal retailers like actual brick and mortar retailers in shopping centers and malls that you go to. Many of them will have programs already. You could simply do a search on Google for the shop name affiliate program and you’ll probably find that many of them do. Of the shops that Vanessa shops in, there’s only really one or two that don’t have an affiliate program already.

Some of them will have their own affiliate program but most of them will use what’s called an affiliate network. Some of these might be networks like Commission Junction, or Commission Factory, or ShareASale, or LinkShare. I’ll link to those in the show notes today as well. There are networks around as well. The beauty of the networks is that they actually represent quite a few different retailers and different options for you so you might sign up for a site like LinkShare or ShareASale and you might be promoting three or four of their merchants at once which means you’re not getting lots of little checks and lots of little payments coming in. ShareASale will just send you that one payment every month.

Physical products might be a good fit for your blog if you’re writing about those types of things already and you can find products related. The other type of product that you can recommend as an affiliate is virtual products. These are usually more information based products. This is really where I started to ramp up my monetization. I started out with Amazon’s affiliate program and AdSense which I will talk about in a moment but then I very quickly learned that you could earn a higher commission if I was recommending an information product particularly an ebook.

The first ones that I promoted were ebooks on photography. I found that many of the people who are writing ebooks, even 10 years ago, now were paying 50% commission. You’re not looking at a 4% or an 8% commission like Amazon, you can earn a higher percentage. Again, really, it’s going to depend upon the reader intent. If your readers are there to learn something, information products like ebooks, or courses, or even membership sites can be very, very good. If you have people wanting to have community, you might promote membership sites. They tend to be more about where people have a forum and can connect with other people.

If people are there to learn how to do something, you might also want to recommend software products. On ProBlogger, we recommend hosting options, we recommend tools, landing page sites, plugins, those types of things, WordPress themes, they all have affiliate programs as well and they relate to the reason that people are on ProBlogger because they want to have good blogs and these tools enable them to do that as well. Think about that and you might want to do some research and look at what other bloggers are promoting in your particular industry. You might want to Google your topic and affiliate program, or your topic and ebook, or your topic and course. Many of the products you’ll find will have an affiliate program attached to them.

Some of those affiliate networks that I mentioned previously will have lots of information products in them as well. I find ShareASale has a lot of software as a service products that might relate to your niche. There’s another one called Clickbank that has a lot of more information product. E-junkie also as a lot of affiliate options for information products as well. Again, it’s really important that you not only choose a product to promote that is on topic for you, but you want to also match it to the intent of your readers.

Many of you will remember I had a camera review site back in the day. When I recommended teaching products or ebooks on that site, people weren’t buying those products because the intent of those people on that camera review site was to learn about which camera they should buy. It was much better for me there to link into Amazon because that’s where the product they were researching was. Promoting books on how to take better photos just didn’t work there at all. These days on my Digital Photography School site, the intent of the reader is to learn how to use cameras and so those ebooks do so much better. Again, match the intent of your readers with the product.

I do share more about affiliate marketing in episode 51. If that’s something you want to learn more about, go check that one out. Again, I’ll link to it in the show notes and I’ll remind you of all of these further listenings later as well in the show.

Number three thing that you might want to try and I see a lot of bloggers starting this way, particularly bloggers who’ve already built a bit of an audience and they want to start monetizing is advertising networks. This probably won’t suit a brand new blogger who doesn’t have an audience because this is one of those income streams that does really require you to have traffic. It’s not going to convert at all. You might earn a few cents if that, using an ad network. In fact, you might not even get into some ad networks until you have some traffic.

This is how I got started, but again, I’ve been blogging for a year and a half before I started to monetize. I signed up for Google’s AdSense network. It actually came out about the time that I started to think about monetizing my blog so I was lucky in some ways to get in the ground floor. AdSense is another one of these income streams that gets a bit of a bad rep from some bloggers. Some bloggers don’t like it because they don’t make much money from it and that could be because they don’t have much traffic or it could be that they have a traffic from a location that doesn’t monetize while using Google AdSense.

I find Google AdSense works really well for US audiences but it doesn’t seem to work as well for audiences from different parts of Asia, for example. It really is going to depend upon that location but it’s worth a try if you do have some traffic but you’re going to need a lot of it to really ramp things up.

Another advertising network that I do know a lot of bloggers who are doing quite well from these days is a network called Mediavine. Again, I’ll link to it in the show notes. They do have a few restrictions on who can join but the bloggers I know who get accepted by it say they do a lot better than they did from AdSense. On their page, you can actually go and have a look at some of their guidelines that they say. They say that you have to produce original content so you’re not let to repurpose content from other places and the categories that they say they accept bloggers from are food, parenting, DIY, health, fitness, fashion, travel, crafts, education or entertainment.

It’s fairly broad but there are some categories that they don’t seem to represent like politics, religion, those types of things. Really, if you fit into one of those niches, you might want to have a look it. They do require you to give them exclusive access so you cannot be running other ad networks here. They also say, “It has to be exclusive across mobile and desktop.” You also need to have 25,000 sessions a month, that’s a Google analytics measure there. If you’re getting under 25,000, you may not get accepted into it but it’s something to aim for, again.

They’ve got some requirements. You can check that one out if in you’re in one of those categories. There are other advertising networks around and if you are in another niche and you’re looking for one, you might want to pop into the Facebook Group and ask if anyone else is aware of any that might suit your particular niche. That’s the number three.

Number four is related to that because it’s still advertising. It’s what I would classify as a sponsorship. This is, again, not going to be relevant if you’re a brand new blogger because like ad networks, you do need to have some existing traffic to be able to sell sponsorships on your blog. Danielle seems to have some traffic so it might be a good fit for her. This is where you find a brand that is willing to work directly with you. In some ways, it’s cutting out the middleman like AdSense or Mediavine, you’re going directly to the advertiser.

I’m not going to go into great detail on this one because I think we’ll do a full episode on it in the coming episodes but I did talk to Nikki Parkinson about this in her recent interview in episode 196. There are a variety of ways that a sponsorship can work. Again, it’s only going to really work if you’ve got that traffic but a sponsor may be interested in buying a banner ad on your site, they may be willing to sponsor some content so they might want you to write a review of their product and then pay you for that. They might want to sponsor a series of content, we’ve done that type of thing on Digital Photography School where we might have done a whole series of articles on portrait photography, that was sponsored by Canon.

They didn’t actually do that but that would be an example and it’s not where you’re actually promoting a product but you’re presenting content sponsored by them. A brand might also be interested in hiring you as an ambassador if you’ve got a well-known face or profile in the industry, a brand might want to sponsor a giveaway or a competition on your site or they might want to do a combination of those things. This is what we often do on Digital Photography School, we will sell some banner ads, we might sell a banner ad in our newsletter as well, maybe some social media promotion and it’s a competition as well. We bundle things up.

There’s a variety of ways that you might want to work with a brand. Again, it’s going to only really suit bloggers who have a bit of an established profile and some traffic as well. You want to find a brand who wants to associate them with you. For that to happen, you need to be in good standing and have a good reputation.

The fifth thing that you might want to consider is creating your own products to sell. Up until this point, we’ve largely been talking about promoting other people’s product as an affiliate or working with a brand. You’re sending people away from your site selling other people’s stuff. That can work quite well particularly if you can get a cut from what you sell and that converts. But your own products might be another one.

This is one that I would suggest most bloggers might not have as their first income stream unless they have been around for a while because it does take some traffic but it also takes a lot of work. It’s going to be some investment that you have to make into creating a product particularly if it’s a physical product. You need to get it designed. You need to get it made. Even a virtual product like an ebook, you’re going to have to take some time to create that product.

My first product was an ebook. What I did is turn some of my previously published blog posts into the ebook and then I wrote some extra content that was exclusive to the ebook as well. It took me some time to get it together. It took me three or four months to create that ebook and get it ready to sell. It does take some work. The reason it worked very well for me was that I had a lot of the content already written and I already had an audience who is engaged. I had fans of the site. They’re willing to buy what I was selling. There was trust and relationship there.

This one is definitely more risky if you don’t have many readers or they’re not an engaged reader. If you have a lot traffic coming in from search engines, for example, and they’re people who just come in once and then never come back again, they’re less likely to buy from you because they don’t trust you as much. You have to really work hard on your marketing to convert them because you got to convert them in that one time they’re on your site unless you do some retargeting advertising later. But if you’ve got readers who are coming back again and again particularly if you’ve got email addresses of those readers, I find email is a great way to sell products.

If you got that engaged audience and you’re looking for your first income stream, it might be that selling your own product is the best way in because if you’ve got a very engaged audience, they’re going to be excited about your product and you’re going to actually make it a bit of an event and include your readers in the development of that product as well and bring them on that journey. Let them know that you’re writing an ebook ahead of time. Get them even to crowdfund the ebook using Kickstarter or that type of thing.

If products are something you’re interested in, you could check out episode 67 where I tell the story of my first products and also outline some steps that can help you to work out what product to make and how to make that product as well.

The last income stream that I want to talk about is where you sell your own services. Again, this won’t be relevant for everyone, not that any of them are. This is another way that I see some bloggers monetizing early in their blogging, it’s where they sell themselves in some way. This is obvious, if you’re a professional, you might be an accountant, or a lawyer, or a child behavior therapist, or you might have a business of your own on the side and this is where you use your blog to promote that business. I do know quite a few bloggers who didn’t have an existing business but then decide to sell services that relates to their blog.

Let me give you a few examples. I know two bloggers here in Australia who are fashion bloggers who now sell their services to fashion boutiques and fashion manufacturers, small fashion manufacturers to write copy for their websites and also to manage their social media. Because they’ve built up their profile as a fashion blogger, they’ve got some expertise in those areas, they then offer those services to others in that particular industry. If you’ve got a decent reputation in your industry already, you might do well from that.

Another example is a parenting blogger that I know who writes paid articles for a parenting magazine and for local newspapers. She has a regular column and she gets paid to do that. It may be that you have a service that you can offer people in your industry as well. Again, not going to be relevant for everyone but if you’ve already built up that reputation, it may be something you can do.

When I did a recent survey of full time bloggers, I surveyed about 100 full time bloggers. I found that over half of them offered freelancing services. I was really surprised at that but it makes sense because often when you are selling yourself as a writer, or a consultant, or as a coach in some way, you are able to charge a higher rate than you might able to get from selling an ebook or two. That’s another one to consider.

I’ve gone through six different options there. We started with Amazon’s affiliate program then we talked about other affiliate programs, we talked about advertising networks, we talked about sponsorships and working with brands, we’ve talked about creating your own products and then we talked about selling your own services. But the question still remains, which one should Danielle do and which one should you do if you are wanting to monetize your blog for the first time. Again, it really does depend. But if I had to choose just one, if I just had to choose which one, for me, it would probably be affiliate, it would probably be affiliate marketing.

Whether that’s Amazon or whether that’s another affiliate marketing relationship with a brand that’s more suited to your audience, I think it could work well. There are a variety of reasons that I think affiliate is the best way to go for many bloggers, not all but many. That is because there’s very low barrier to entry. You can sign up for an affiliate program and some of them will take 24 hours to approve you but many of them will approve you instantly. You can be generating some links that you can then be putting into your blog straight away.

The reason that I love affiliate marketing so much isn’t so much the income that you’ll get because in the early days, you’ll probably won’t earn a lot from it but you’ll going to learn a lot from it. You are going to begin to see what products your audience are interested in buying. You could be promoting a variety of different products. You could be promoting some physical ones, you could be promoting some high priced ones, you could be promoting some low priced ones and you could be doing some information products, you can try few things and then begin to see what your audience response to. This might help you to work out what you should create, what product you could then build.

Creating that product might be your ultimate goal but to work out which one to create and how to market it and how to price it, how to promote it, you’re going to learn a lot by doing some affiliate marketing first. For me, that’s probably the real beauty of it. The other thing you might also learn by doing some affiliate marketing is what type of products you could then be approaching to sponsor your blog. You might find that jewelry does really well on your blog or why not reach out to some jewelry stores or jewelry manufacturers and see if they would want you to become an ambassador or to become a sponsor on your site.

This is what I actually did in the early days of my blog, I did a lot of affiliate marketing and I worked out after a while on my Digital Photography School blog, the ebooks work really well. I didn’t create an ebook till 2009 but I was promoting ebooks since 2007 and I worked out that my audience, they like ebooks and they like them on certain topics and at certain price points. I created my first ebook on the topic that I knew would work and at the price that I knew would work as well. You’ll begin to learn a lot about what’s going to work with your audience.

I also learned on my very first blog, that camera review blog, that Amazon affiliate links were working well on my site. I began to approach camera stalls directly to sponsor the site. Again, you’re going to learn a lot there that can flow onto other income streams as well. If I was starting today, I’d probably identify a few key products to promote on my blog as an affiliate and then start with that.

A few last things to really keep in mind, and I really want you hear this. Making money from blogging takes time. It’s not an overnight get rich quick program. Most bloggers also have more than one income stream and that’s what Danielle mentioned in her question. We’re talking today about your first income stream, it’s not your only one. Most full time bloggers have at least two. Many of them have four or five different income streams. Most full time bloggers try income streams that don’t work for them too. Most full time bloggers have a stream of things that they have tried that didn’t work. Don’t just rely on one. Just because the first one doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean that others won’t as well so hang in there. Keep experimenting.

Another thing to keep in mind is that making money from your blog isn’t a passive thing, it’s not passive income. You are going to need to set aside time to monetize. A lot of people tell the story of my first ebook making $70,000 in its first couple of weeks. I’ve told that story from the stage a few times and I’ve heard other people retell that story. But they tell it as a he got rich overnight type story. The reality couldn’t be further from that truth. The reality is that it took me two years of building up traffic to a site. It also took me three months of working everyday to create that ebook and getting ready for that launch. It took years of developing trust with my audience.

Yes, you can make money quickly but it’s usually built on the foundations of a blog with a great archive of content that has an audience that you’ve worked really hard to build up, an audience that’s engaged. These are the foundations for that profitable blog. Yes, experiment with those income streams but don’t do it at the expense of creating great content, engaging with that audience, and promoting your blog as well. Those things are just so important.

I hope that somewhere in the midst of that is an answer for you, Danielle. Maybe affiliate marketing but maybe as I’ve talked today, something else has peaked your interest as well. I have mentioned a lot of further listening. I just want to emphasize that again. If you do want one of those income streams, here’s a list of a podcasts that you might want to listen. Firstly, episode 32, I’ll list all these in the show notes. 32 is an episode on answering that question can you really make money from blogging. I talked about seven things that I’ve learned about making money from blogging.

Episode 51 is about affiliate marketing, if you do want to explore affiliate marketing, how to do that, how to convert better than just putting an ad in your sidebar for an affiliate product, episode 51 is for you. If Amazon is one that you want to look at, you can listen to episode 53 which really builds on episode 51 so those two might work well in conjunction. If you want to create your first product, go back and listen to episode 67 because I really do talk about my journey in that as well.

If you want to learn a little bit more about working with brands, you might want to listen to that interview that I did with Nikki Parkinson. Just a couple of episodes ago in 196, I think it was. She actually talked there also about how she monetizes in a few other ways as well. It could be a good one to listen to if you haven’t already.

All those will be listed on the show notes at problogger.com/podcast/198. Lastly, if you want to do check out the Facebook group, head over to problogger.com/group where I’d love to hear about how you monetize your blog. There’ll be a thread announcing this podcast in the comments of that. We’d love to hear about your first dollar, how you made that first dollar, and what you would do differently if you’re starting out again today.

Thanks for listening today. I’ll be back with you next week to talk about another cool tool that’s going to help you in your blogging. Thanks for listening. Chat with you soon.

How did you go with today’s episode?

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The post 198: 6 First Income Streams Recommended for Bloggers appeared first on ProBlogger.


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The Danger of Using Grammatically Incomplete Headlines

Our experiments have consistently proven that there is a significant difference between a page that uses a clever but incomplete thought as a headline and one that uses a value-infused headline.

The difference creates friction — enough friction to cause a gap in customers’ minds between value and cost. In that momentary gap, instead of taking time to derive value from your headline, they click away from your offer…and onto the offer of your competitors.

In this Quick Win Clinic episode (recorded live at MarketingSherpa Summit 2017), Flint McGlaughlin provides headline writing and testing advice using WGBH Public Broadcasting’s as an example.

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Holistic Allergy Expert Helps Overcoming Allergies Naturally – Simple And Effective In 12 Weeks

Holistic Allergy Expert Helps Overcoming Allergies Naturally – Simple And Effective In 12 Weeks

Peggy Schirmer, Health and Lifestyle Consultant for Allergies is helping allergy sufferers worldwide with the natural 12-Week Allergy Goodbye Program.

Online PR News – 18-June-2017 – Peggy Schirmer, Health and Lifestyle Consultant for Allergies, offers a sustainable solution to our ever-expanding allergy problems.

Having suffered from allergies herself, Schirmer turned the curse into a gift: first freeing herself and now helping others to overcome their allergies with her recently started online consulting business.

"Often allergies are underestimated when in fact they are an emergency call of the body," said the Health and Lifestyle Consultant for Allergies.

"Allergies are evidence that something you are doing, eating or living doesn’t work for your body to keep its natural balance."

Schirmer developed a nature-based, personally tailored success program that is easy to implement into the busy lives of her clients:

The 12-Week Allergy Goodbye Program supports allergy sufferers to make minimal, but effective diet and lifestyle changes to reclaim health long-term.

"Once the body gets the chance to rebalance itself, allergies will belong to your past," said Schirmer.

For sustaining the freedom from allergies clients learn powerful mindset tools that make establishing new habits easy and hold the focus on the desired health results.

Having started only 3 month ago, the business is expanding internationally and positive client feedback is plentiful:

"I started working with Peggy in order to treat my atopic eczema. I completely stopped using expensive medical creams, even after a bath or a shower. Other aches and pains, such as weariness and headaches, are disappearing too. My whole body feels improved. I feel more balanced, energized and just healthier in general," said client Kerstin Traut, 30, from Germany.

Antonia Bond, 44 from the UK who suffered from several allergies and crohn’s disease said: "Today I am thriving and enjoying life. Making the choices and taking the actions that support and assist my body to do what it does naturally! Thank you Peggy! Your Allergy Goodbye Program is brilliant, it has changed my life!"

More about natural allergy relief and information about The 12-Week Allergy Goodbye Program here: http://PeggySchirmer.com

About Peggy Schirmer

Peggy Schirmer is a certified naturopath, accredited project manager (PMI) and trained in process oriented psychology. She studied traditional and alternative medicine in Leipzig, Germany and Montpellier, France. As a health practitioner she worked for several years in Germany before moving in 2014 to Scotland to work for the Findhorn Foundation (NGO, international learning center and ecovillage).

Following her vocation she now lives in the Canary Islands working online with her allergy consulting business. Her clients come from the UK, US, Germany and France.

Learn more: http://PeggySchirmer.com or find her on Facebook.


“Allergies are an emergency call of the body. If the body gets the chance to rebalance itself, allergies will belong to your past.”

Company Contact Information
Peggy Schirmer
0049 178 1378831
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The Marketer’s Checklist for Establishing a Personal Brand

I remember when having a personal brand was reserved solely for big-name celebrities.

Back in the 90s, you had to be an Oprah-level figure to have your own discernible brand.

But the Internet has changed that.

It’s made personal branding viable for pretty much everyone, provided you put in the time and energy.

That’s why you see people go from relative obscurity to borderline celebrities quite frequently.

A good example of that is Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income.

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I remember the time when he was blogging about basic online money-making techniques and had only a tiny following.

Now, he’s crushing it.

He’s writing books, giving lectures, running a podcast and has a massive following.

Of course, he creates great content, but I’d say his success is largely due to his rock-solid personal branding.

And when you get right down to it, the Internet is your vessel for establishing a personal brand.

You just need to know how to properly utilize it.

In this post, I provide you with an essential checklist for establishing your personal brand.

I’m going to point out specific platforms you can leverage to build your presence and get noticed.

I’m also going to outline the correct sequence you should follow to build your brand step by step.

Let’s get to it.

Establish a brand identity

Before you can do anything else, you need to know what you’re trying to achieve.

How do you want people to perceive you?

What do you want people to associate your personal brand with?

You’ll want to give plenty of consideration to this because it will shape your entire approach.

My entire brand identity is based around online marketing.

My personal brand revolves around helping other businesses grow.

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I suggest pinpointing a few specific areas you want your name to be synonymous with and focusing on them.

Choose your niche

Seldom do you see individuals with huge personal brands having their hands in everything.

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that spreading yourself too thin is often a recipe for disaster.

Instead, you’re better off focusing on a specific niche.

“Niching down” enables you to develop a close association between your name and a certain topic.

Take Marie Kondo for instance.

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She’s known for her unique method of organizing and tidying—the KonMari Method.

She’s written books about these topics, created an app and is a consultant.

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Marie has a very precise niche, and she doesn’t deviate from it.

I recommend taking the same approach.

If you want to branch out later on, that’s fine.

But initially, you want to zero in on a specific niche.

And ideally, it will be something you’re passionate about because this will help sustain you in the long run.

Find your unique voice

Let me preface this by saying it takes time to establish your voice.

I find it’s an organic process that unfolds over time.

But you’ll want to have a basic idea of what you’re going for right out of the gate.

Do you want to sound kind, compassionate and enlightened?

That’s pretty much the voice of Leo Babauta of Zen Habits:

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Or are you naturally a little snarky and cynical and prefer to keep things a bit edgy?

That’s how I would define Ashley Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project:

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I find you’re usually better off sticking with your true personality and letting that define your voice.

This makes it much easier to be authentic, which is one of the top things people look for in a brand.

It doesn’t really matter what type of voice you go for, just stick with it, cultivating it over time.

Design a logo

Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

Your logo is huge and one of the most vital branding elements.

I prefer to keep mine simple, like this:

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But go with whatever makes sense for your brand.

If design isn’t your thing, you may want to find a professional designer.

Or use a free platform, like Canva, to create your own design from scratch.

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You can choose from pre-made templates or set your own custom dimensions.

I also recommend reading this post from Creative Bloq for logo design tips.

Create a website

A professional, functional website is integral to your personal brand.

Don’t skimp on this.

Some people are reluctant to pay for hosting because they can create a basic website with WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or a similar platform.

But I highly suggest you get your own domain.

After all, would you take me seriously if my website URL was neilpatel.wordpress.com rather than neilpatel.com?

Probably not.

Besides, you’ll have limited functionality.

For more on building your first website, check out this post I wrote.

Also, be sure your site incorporates the same color scheme as your logo.

Like this:

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It typically takes five to seven impressions for someone to remember a brand, so it’s crucial that you keep it consistent and make yourself recognizable.

Choose your content mediums

I don’t need to tell you how much I love content marketing.

It’s easily the greatest marketing strategy of the 21st century!

It also “costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads.”

One of the best ways to establish yourself as an expert in your niche (or at least as someone worth paying attention to) is to create quality content.

That’s how I got to where I’m today.

I got into the habit of creating quality content—and a high volume of it.

But with so many mediums available, you need to pick and choose which ones you want to focus on.

For me, long-form blog content has become my bread and butter.

Seth Godin opts for short blurbs:

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A big part of Tim Ferriss’ success (besides his books) has been his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show.

His podcast is one of the top-rated in the world and has helped him solidify his personal brand.

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What I’m trying to say here is you should choose a few different content mediums to focus your attention on.

If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some of the top content marketing trends of 2017.

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Consistently creating great content kills two birds with one stone:

  1. it brings exposure to your personal brand and
  2. it helps create a strong association between your name and a particular area.

Choose your social platforms

Then, there’s the issue of social.

Of course, you’ll want to be active on at least a couple of networks to bring attention to your brand and to network with others in your niche.

However, you don’t want to be active on so many networks that you end up spreading yourself too thin.

Just be sure you choose networks that your target audience is most active on.

For instance, Pinterest would probably be a good choice if you’re in the fashion or culinary niche.

If you’re not sure which social sites are worth your time, here are a couple of graphs that show which networks have been most popular in 2017:

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I’d also like to point out how powerful Quora can be in helping you build credibility and authority.

At the moment, it’s not as big as the juggernauts listed above, but I’ve found it to be extremely helpful.

And it’s absolutely perfect for attracting referral traffic.

I suggest checking out Quora and getting in the habit of providing high level answers to people’s questions.

Choose your social handles

There’s another small but crucial aspect of social you shouldn’t overlook.

Choosing uniform handles.

Ideally, they’ll be exactly the same across every single network so that there’s zero deviation.

Unfortunately, I had to use slightly different handles for my Twitter and Facebook.

For Twitter, it’s @neilpatel.

And for Facebook, it’s @neilkpatel.

I understand it might not be easy to have exactly the same handle across several different networks.

But strive to make them as uniform as possible so you can create uniformity and avoid confusing your audience.

Use a killer head shot

As I mentioned before, consistency is key.

This is why I can’t stress enough just how important it is to have a high-quality, professional head shot.

You’ll want to feature it on your website, your social profiles, email, etc. so that people can recognize you instantly.

Here’s the head shot I’ve been using recently:

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That’s from my Twitter profile.

And here it is on my Facebook page:

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Notice it’s nothing fancy.

It’s just my picture against a plain, white background.

Once again, I recommend keeping it simple.

For tips on getting a great head shotcheck out this post.

Select a branded email address

There’s one last thing I would like to point out.

Your email address should include your name.

One option is to simply include it like this:


The other (and better option) is to use your name in the email domain.

It would look like this:


This looks extremely professional and will help reinforce your brand identity.

Check out this article from ProBlogger to learn how to set up an email account that uses your domain name.


Let me just say that effective brand building is a process.

There is no magic bullet, and it’s going to take time.

Sometimes, it even takes years, depending on the level you’re trying to reach.

But you can streamline things considerably by understanding the formula behind personal brand building and following it.

The checklist I covered here includes the essentials and should serve as a blueprint.

It’s not the be-all and end-all guide, but it will definitely get things going.

What do you think the most important aspect of building a personal brand is?

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Digital Marketing News: Marketing Personalization, Google Website Builder and Bing Ads

Four Steps to Unlocking the Real Power of Marketing Personalization [Infographic]
Personalization is a priority for many marketers to better reach and engage with their audience. This infographic shares statistics and 4 easy steps to create content experiences that resonate with your audience and provide valuable and personalized information. MarketingProfs |6868ea88c8a9d8623d65b73deb9f04dc|
A new tool called “Website”, is a single-page website builder that is free and allows small business owners to create and edit websites in minutes, either on desktop or mobile. This feature is an extension of Google My Business, meaning you have to have a complete GMB listing to use the tool. Search Engine Journal |3b43a5ff8f808ab247bf86ad5b218817|
This is an updated study, originally conducted in 2004, to understand how consumers respond to online advertisements today. Participants were shown different types of advertisements and rated how much they liked or disliked them. The results show the most (and least) “hated” online advertisements for both mobile and desktop platforms, and some of the characteristics remained the same as the early 2000’s. Nielsen Norman Group |05224265c9292e47292db0bdc4ada5e8||f787b75129592496f0fbcde1da6cccd6|
Targeting the right leads at the right time is one of the biggest challenges for B2B marketers, and this report shows you insights on lead generations, how quality data can optimize demand generation programs and ways to shorten the modern sales cycle. Dun & Bradstreet |e752ca89d19b8a360364c0fe92be0586|
Advertisers can completely opt out of desktop displayed ads by now setting their bids to -100%. This is a new feature that is aimed to support mobile-only campaigns and allows advertisers to set negative bids for desktops. It will be available to all advertisers in the next few weeks, and is supported by Bing Ads Web Interface, Bing Ads Editor for Mac and Windows and Bing Ads API. Search Engine Journal |e04cb3a7fc46b65ab48b911410b9c0b8|
Advertisers can now create and purchase their own Snapchat ads via a new dashboard. You can also use Snapchat audiences, which includes lookalikes, Audience Match options and Snap Lifestyle categories which use in-app data and location-tracking to reach audiences with more relevant messaging. Lastly, the Snap Publisher tool allows advertisers to create Snap ads with pre-designed templates, which will be available in the near future. Social Media Today |7c98c32e331b2fcf7ed8be5036f811e2|
Twitter’s new module at the top of a user’s timeline showcase popular events that are occurring, such as sports. You can click on a card to see a timeline of tweets related to those events. This feature is still in experimentation phase, but could be launched soon. AdWeek |eb6dd57eb68bca9bf23ebe6eab98594e|
These insights will appear after the close of every quarter which uses LinkedIn data to examine what content LinkedIn members are engaging with on the platform. Categories included in this report are top topics, top articles, top growth topics and advertising and engagement topics and articles. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog |04d5d84bb8c6ad0d70a22418fe5a1df3| We’ll be back next week with more top digital marketing news! Need daily news? Follow @toprank on Twitter!

The post Digital Marketing News: Marketing Personalization, Google Website Builder and Bing Ads appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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What is the Link between Social Signals and Your Search Ranking?


This is a guest post from Shane Barker

We all know that factors like backlinks, keywords, and bounce rates are important search ranking factors. But there’s still a lot of confusion about social signals, and their impact on a website’s ranking.

Reputable sources like Moz and Backlinko have reported that social signals are among the top Google ranking factors. While this is technically correct, it’s important to note that there is no direct impact of social signals on your ranking.

Google’s Stance on Social Signals as Ranking Factors

According to the previous head of Google’s Web Spam team, Matt Cutts, there may be a correlation between social signals and search ranking. But Google doesn’t use these signals as a direct ranking factor. This is mainly because there are several limitations that prevent the search engine from crawling and indexing social media content effectively.

Here’s how Matt explained it:

  • Limitations in Access – Matt stated that Google can’t always crawl every single page on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. And sometimes, they may even get blocked from crawling these sites. This prevents them from accurately ranking websites based on the performance of their social media pages (individual social media posts).
  • Limitations in Accuracy – Google may have limited abilities to extract accurate data from social profiles and pages. The data on these pages could change at any moment. For example, a user may change their employment information. This would then deem their previously-collected information inaccurate.Matt also stated that Google doesn’t use signals such as the number of social media followers for search ranking. This is again because of limitations in accuracy. A user’s following size could change at any moment. They may block another user, or gain several new followers at any time. And because Google cannot actively keep up with these changes, these numbers do not factor into search ranking.

Based on these statements made by Matt, you can see that there’s a good reason why Google doesn’t use social signals as a direct ranking factor. But again, that doesn’t mean that social signals have no impact on your search ranking. We’ll be talking about this in the next section.

Social Signals and Search Ranking: The Correlation

Another big question is whether there’s proof that social signals impact a website’s ranking in search. Cognitive SEO conducted an extensive study which found that a correlation actually does exist. They analyzed more than 300,000 pieces of content and their social signals.

What they found was that there is a correlation between having a strong social media presence and better search ranking. In other words, those who rank towards the top of the search results pages tend to also have a stronger presence on social media platforms.

Image Source: Cognitive SEO

There’s also a correlation between a high amount of shares on social media and a higher search ranking. In other words, pages that rank high in search results also tend to have a higher amount of overall shares. This is especially true in the case of Facebook and Google+, but not as much with Pinterest.

The Cognitive SEO study also found that, on average, the top 4 ranking positions normally have more activity on Facebook in terms of likes, shares, and comments. And the top rank has a significantly higher amount of Google+ shares. This suggests that activities on both Facebook and Google+ have a massive impact on search ranking. But activities on Pinterest and LinkedIn do not have the same correlation with search ranking.

Image Source: Cognitive SEO

Although there’s a disparity between how activities on various social media channels affect search ranking, you already know that your social media presence does affect your ranking. And this proves that there is an important correlation between social signals and a website’s search ranking.

Why the Correlation?

You may be wondering why the correlation between search ranking and social signals even exists. How could your presence or activity on social media possibly affect how you rank in search results?

The easiest way to explain it is that social signals could impact other aspects of your website or webpage, which could then result in better search ranking. Here are some of the possible ways that your social signals can impact your ranking:

  • Link Signals from Social Shares – You already know that link signals play a crucial role in search ranking. The quantity and quality of links to your website or webpage can directly affect your position in the search results pages. And social shares count as link signals. The more people who share your content across various social media channels, the better your ranking could be.
  • Impact on Site Traffic – Another important search ranking factor is website traffic. The more traffic you get, the higher you’ll rank. And with more activity on social media, the content you share could gain more visibility. Higher visibility also means that there’s a better chance of reaching more people, and getting them to click on your links.These click-throughs will result in a boost in your site traffic. This can then translate into better search ranking. Which suggests that social activity could significantly affect your position in search results.
  • Impact on Domain Authority – A high Domain Authority (DA) can also result in higher visibility in the search engines. Although there are many metrics that could determine a website’s DA, social signals could have some impact as well. For example, one of the metrics used for calculating DA is your link profile. And with social shares improving your link profile, there can be an indirect impact on your Domain Authority. Which, in turn, can impact your search ranking.

How to Improve Your Social Signals for Higher Ranking

The previous sections have established that there is a correlation between social signals and search ranking. Now let’s get to the most important part – what can you do to improve your social signals and boost your blog’s visibility.

Here are a few ideas:

#1: Use Relevant Keywords to Optimize your Profiles

The previously-cited Cognitive SEO study found that social media presence plays a major role in search ranking. But to improve your presence, you need to gain more followers. And to gain more followers, your profile needs to be more visible. In other words, you need to make sure potential followers can easily find you. And you can do so by using keywords to optimize your profiles.

If you look at the top results for the keyword “food blogger,” on Twitter, you’ll find that most of the accounts have optimized their bios with relevant keywords. As you can see in the following screenshot, these profiles all have the word “food” in their bios. And most of them also include the word “blog,” “blogger,” or “blogging.”

Pick a keyword relevant to your niche – whether it’s technology, politics, finance, travel, or fashion. Then use that keyword to optimize your social media bios and descriptions. This can improve your chances of getting discovered by potential and relevant followers.

#2: Create Share-Worthy Content

If you produce good content, and have enough followers, there’s a good chance you’re going to generate a lot of social shares. You may already be writing useful and engaging content. But there’s always room for improvement. You need to create content that is not only helpful to your audience, but also captivating.

Get your existing subscribers involved to determine what they like to read. You could conduct a poll, and ask them what they’d like to see more of on your blog.

For example, maybe they want you to produce more how-to articles, and less list articles. Or maybe they’d like you to cover certain topics that you hadn’t thought of before. Either way, this can help you understand what your audience is looking for, so you can create content to meet those needs.

In addition to this, you could also research trending topics and popular articles in your niche. BuzzSumo is an effective tool for this. Using this tool, you can find out which topics are performing well recently. And you can also find your competitors’ most popular articles.

This will help you with new content ideas. Perhaps you can write a more detailed and more helpful piece on the same topic one of your competitors covered. Or you could repurpose an article into visual content.

As you can see in the screenshot below, you can find the most shared content or articles that are currently trending. You can also filter the results based on the content type, date of posting, etc. This can help you jump in on a trending conversation, or create valuable, evergreen content to engage your audience.

#3: Use Relevant Keywords to Optimize Your Posts

In addition to optimizing your social media profiles with relevant keywords, you should also use them to optimize your social media posts. The goal is to make sure that your content is easy to discover by relevant social media users.

You can use the keywords in the captions and titles of your posts. And you can also use them as hashtags to further improve the post’s discoverability.

For example, if you search for the keyword, “money saving,” on Facebook, the top search results will be posts that include the keyword. As you can see in the screenshot below, one of the top search results has used the keyword. This post has about 22,000 likes, 200+ comments, and about 1.6 million views.

#4: Include a Call-to-Action

When you share a blog post on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform; you’re doing so in order to get people to click on it. You want them to visit your blog, and read the post.

Some people may click on the link without any additional incentive. But there’s no harm in giving them a gentle nudge. To do so, include a call-to-action to tell people what you want them to do.

Maybe you could encourage users to, “try this easy recipe,” or “use these tricks to save more money.” Or you can make it even shorter by using CTAs like, “check it out,” or “click here.” In addition to encouraging clicks, you can also write CTAs that encourage more shares, likes, and comments on your post.

The following Facebook post by Digital Photography School is an excellent example. It doesn’t just invite people to click on the link to read the tips. Instead, the caption asks whether people have tried what the article is talking about.

The article provides readers with tips on how to capture photos of bursting bubbles. And then the caption encourages people to show their best results. This makes for an excellent CTA, as it is indirectly encouraging people to try out the tips.

#5: Include Images in Your Social Media Posts

Images immediately grab attention, especially on social media. People may aimlessly scroll through their news feeds, but seeing an eye-catching image could make them linger on the post longer. And this could improve your chances of driving click-throughs. Even if some users do not click on the accompanying link, it still improves your chances of driving more engagement.

Neil Patel discovered the importance of images on social media when he experienced improvements in his traffic. Neil regularly shared the latest Quick Sprout blog posts on Twitter, which would normally just include the article headline, and a link to the post. But once he started adding images with a link to the new blog post, he saw that his traffic from Twitter increased by 108%.

Image Source: Quick Sprout

So instead of relying on the automatic preview, accompany your posts with a relevant image. For infographics or studies, you can even include a photo that will give people a brief idea what they can find learn from the post.

The screenshot below shows a Twitter post in which the user shares a link to healthy food for busy people. She has included a photo of one of the dishes to attract a larger audience.


We’ve thoroughly discussed the correlation between social signals and search ranking. Now you understand the actual impact of your social media marketing efforts on your blog’s ranking. And you also know exactly what to do to improve your performance. But if you have any doubts or questions, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.

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Don’t Skip Leg Day: 7 Content Marketing Must-Haves for Healthcare Marketers

Never skip leg day.

That is, when you’re working out, it’s important to change it up. Vary your routine and work different sets of muscles. It’s the difference between looking incredible, and looking like Mr. Incredible.

Your healthcare marketing needs just as much variety as your fitness routine does. Different types of content will appeal to different audiences, or the same audience in different ways. Stick with a single content marketing strategy—whether it’s white papers, webinars, or trade events—and you may see gains in one area. But you’re skipping leg day, and you’re going to end up top-heavy.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of variety to be had in healthcare content. With the content types below, you can build a well-rounded workout that will improve your content marketing’s overall fitness.

#1: Data Stories

Modern healthcare is all about data. We’re looking for more efficient ways to capture patient data, make it more widely available across the health system, and use that data for better-informed patient care.

Healthcare marketing is similarly data-driven. We don’t have to wonder how many radiology scans a certain hospital does, or how much cloud storage hospitals need—all that data is captured and available. Odds are your organization is sitting on a wealth of data. But it’s not just the data; it’s how you use it.

Strive to bring context, narrative, even emotion to your data. Don’t just list the stats and figures. Say your solution increased efficiency in the Emergency Department by 5%. What did that mean to patients in the ED? What do the physicians that work there say about it? What can the hospital do with that 5%?

Data provides the logical proof for your solution, but tying it to emotion makes it far more likely to inspire change.

#2: Infographics

If your marketing is mostly white papers and blog posts, odds are your audience could use a little visual stimulation. Infographics are a compelling way to present data for any B2B audience. Healthcare audiences are no different; we’re all people, and we all enjoy a good infographic.

Good graphic design can help your data shine. This 2017 trends infographic is a good example of a clean and simple presentation of a metric ton of information.

healthcare marketing trends

Keep these tips in mind for creating your own infographics:

  • Keep the design simple – one or two colors is enough
  • Organize your data left-to-right, top-to-bottom
  • Optimize your image for mobile – avoid blocks of tiny text & huge file sizes
  • Include a logical CTA – they’ve seen your data, now what should they do?

#3: The Patient Perspective

In B2B healthcare marketing, it’s easy to get overly focused on the hospital or physician’s perspective. On one level, that makes sense. You’re selling to radiology department leaders, or the hospital’s C-suite, so the majority of your content addresses them directly.

However, as in all B2B, it’s important to keep your customer’s customer in mind. Our client McKesson Medical Imaging realized their target audience was hungry for that patient perspective and we helped create content to meet that demand. The resulting blog post and infographic, A Tale of Two Patients, is one of the top-shared articles in the blog’s history. It continues to drive traffic nearly a year after it was posted.

When you talk about the difference your solution can make to a health system, take it a step further: How does your solution improve patient care? You can make it a mental exercise, or even better, find patients who can share their experience with your audience.

#4: Your Customers’ Voices

There are few marketing forces more powerful than a customer’s rave review. That holds true for anything from the latest trendy restaurant to a multi-million-dollar PACS system. Your satisfied customers hold tremendous potential to persuade their peers and colleagues.

How do you get your customers’ voices in your marketing? Ask them! Ask for an interview for your latest case study. Feature their expertise in your blog content. Include them in your latest eBook, or grab a quote for your snazzy new infographic.

In short, treat your customers like the influencers they are. Help promote them, celebrate their successes, and ask their opinions. Not only will you get more compelling content, you will strengthen your relationships with your most valuable customers

#5: The Latest News & Trends

It’s ironic that as the healthcare industry moves towards holistic patient care, healthcare marketing still struggles with tunnel vision. Creating content that doesn’t directly address your business’ solution can be a tough sell to both the marketing team and management. There’s a definite preference for bottom-of-funnel content aimed at matching your solution to specific pain points.

Healthcare marketers should follow the lead of health systems and treat the patient, not just the problem. Content that may seem irrelevant to the buyer’s journey is actually crucial, provided it meets a potential customer’s needs.

Include news and trends in your content to keep your customers informed, establish your organization’s thought leadership, and raise brand awareness. Provide the insights your buying committee needs to succeed at their jobs, and they’re far more likely to consider you when the committee convenes to make a decision.

#6: Interactive Content

B2C healthcare marketers already understand the benefit of interactive content. There’s no shortage of calculators, quizzes, and social media challenges to engage healthcare users. It’s high time that B2B healthcare marketing joins in on the fun.

Interactive content is yet another powerful way to tell stories with data. A calculator or quiz can help personalize your marketing to each potential customer’s specific use case. User-generated content campaigns can help you surface and promote compelling client stories.

#7: Influencer Content

What does influencer content even mean for healthcare marketing? Is it Kim Kardashian posting your latest MRI machine on Instagram? LeBron James posing with your Vendor Neutral Archive? The glamorous world of influencer marketing and the less-glamorous reality of B2B healthcare marketing may seem like an odd fit.

The key is that influencers are those who are influential to your audience. Taylor Swift won’t convince a hospital CEO to buy your solution. But there are people in the industry who that CEO respects and trusts, and they might. Your influencers might not have millions of followers, but their hundreds (or dozens) of followers are the people you want to reach.

Unlike sports stars and pop musicians, your potential influencers may not immediately see the value in creating content with you. Start by recognizing and promoting them, as we did in this healthcare marketer roundup. Follow them on social media, share their content, and then reach out with a small request. Continue to build the relationship, and you can move to interviews, guest blog posts, even full co-creation on a major content asset.

Give Your Healthcare Content A Full-Body Workout

Is your content addressing the diverse needs of your diverse audience? Or are you still skipping leg day? Expand your audience, and better engage your existing followers, with the different content types in this post. You will be better equipped to engage at the top of the funnel, develop relationships, and ultimately drive purchase decisions with a holistic content fitness routine.

For more healthcare content marketing advice, check out our recent interview with Amanda Todorovich.

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BizBash Announces The Most Innovative Event Professionals And Most Innovative Brands Of 2017

BizBash Announces The Most Innovative Event Professionals And Most Innovative Brands Of 2017

American Express, Google, and Nike, along with event professionals from Adobe, Charity: Water, Goop, and more are celebrated for redefining the event industry.

Online PR News – 14-June-2017BizBash, the leading trade media for the event industry, has announced its 2017 list of the most innovative people and brands in events. On the list are event leaders from across North America working across industry sectors. These include media and technology companies, lifestyle brands, the hospitality industry, and beyond. These individuals and brands are redefining the future of meetings and events and are the bright lights leading the way.

“As more brands see the value of live experiences as a part of their marketing mix, these companies and forward-thinking event professionals stood out,” said Beth Kormanik, executive editor of BizBash. “Their creativity, use of technology, and strategic choices are helping them reach key audiences to spread their messages.”

The Most Innovative Event Professionals of 2017 Are:

Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez & Linda Sarsour, Women’s March on Washington
Suzy Jack, Los Angeles Times
Betsy McHugh, Hurdl
Justin Bolognino, Meta.is
Jennifer Heaton, Adobe
Steven Dyme & Jo Dickstein, Flowers for Dreams
Claire Cummings, Bon Appetit Management Company
Faith Smith, Slate
Daniel Arsham & Alex Mustonen, Snarkitecture
Taylor Carlson, Goop
Jeff Stober, Drake Hotel
Charles Melcher, Melcher Media & Future of Storytelling
Jeremy Gocke, Ampsy
Anthony Sargent, Luminato Festival
Cathi Culbertson, Forbes
Aidan Augustin & Aleksander Levental, Feathr
Natalie Angulo, Hyatt Regency New Orleans & 1718 Events
Chiara Adin & Aaron Mason, NA Collective
Richard St-Pierre, C2 Montreal
Scott Harrison, Charity: Water
Cynthia Hornketh, Gartner Summits
Christian Lachel, BRC Imagination Arts

The Top 10 Most Innovative Brands Are:

American Express
National Geographic
Jack Daniel’s

The “Event Innovators 2017” feature, which showcases the full list of innovative people and the “Top 10 Innovative Brands” list, can be seen at www.bizbash.com/innovators-2017.

About BizBash
BizBash empowers event professionals with ideas, intelligence, and resources to create smarter events. Each month more than 225,000 unique users across North America and beyond look to BizBash for venue discovery, event style, technology, and tools for their next event. Visit us at www.bizbash.com. Follow us at @bizbashlive on Twitter and Instagram or www.facebook.com/bizbash.


“As more brands see the value of live experiences as a part of their marketing mix, these companies and forward-thinking event professionals stood out, said Beth Kormanik, executive editor of BizBash. Their creativity, use of technology, and strategic choices are helping them reach key audiences to spread their messages.”

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The Comprehensive List of What Needs to Be Above the Fold on Your Homepage

The majority of people have the attention span shorter than a goldfish.

When it comes to your website, it’s probably hurting you.

According to HubSpot, “55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website.”

You’d better grab their attention in a hurry.

But how do you do that?

By placing the most important information above the fold.


It’s one of the most tried-and-true web design best practices.

And it’s one that has received a lot of debate.

I’ve heard some people say you need to follow the original formula religiously and keep key information above the fold.

I’ve also heard other people say that it doesn’t really matter because most people are willing to scroll.

And this makes more sense as of late, considering the number of people using mobile devices.

Everyone has their own opinion, and that’s okay.

But in this post, I’ll share my take on what needs to be above the fold on your homepage.

I’m going to cover the key elements and absolute essentials and condense them into a comprehensive list so you’ll know precisely what to include.

What exactly does “above the fold” mean?

Before I dive in, allow me to give you a formal definition of “above the fold” so that we’re on the same page.

According to Tech Target,

above the fold is the portion of a web page that is visible in a browser window when the page first loads.

In others words, it’s what visitors first see without scrolling.

Although we usually think of websites when referencing “above the fold,” this term actually originated with traditional print publications.

It was simply the upper half of the front page of a newspaper where the top story was printed.

Like this:

folded newspaper


It’s simple.

  • It’s what people see first.
  • It’s what attracts the most attention.
  • It’s where visitors spend the bulk of their time.

A 2011 eyetracking study from Jakob Nielsen found that visitors spend 80% of their time above the fold.

website content writing statistics

It’s easy to see why people make such a big fuss about deciding what to include above the fold.

While there will always be some debate as to how important placing content above the fold is, there’s no denying that it is important.

And the way I see it, there are a handful of vital elements that need to be included.


Here’s a screenshot of the definition of a USP from Tech Target:


It’s absolutely essential that you include this above the fold.

Your USP is the way visitors get their bearings after landing on your site.

It’s your way of instantly showing them what you’re offering and how they’ll benefit by exploring your website further.

Here’s the USP for Quick Sprout:


Bam! Visitors instantly know what’s up.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re part of or what niche you specialize in, a clear, well-crafted USP is a vital element of your above-the-fold content.


So, your USP provides visitors with an initial orientation.

But it doesn’t usually explain all the details.

This is why you need to include a bit of “explainer” copy that tells first-timers what your product does.

Here’s a great example from the Ahrefs homepage:


It’s brief and concise, but visitors can quickly tell what they can accomplish by using Ahrefs.

In this case, they can learn what’s helping competitors rank high and what steps they can take to outrank them.

Notice that it doesn’t drone on paragraph after paragraph with long-winded copy.

It matter-of-factly elaborates upon the USP and explains what the product does.

In turn, this should raise the interest level of visitors and encourage them to keep exploring the website further.


This is a biggie.

In a world with super-saturated industries, where companies often have to scratch and claw their way to the top, brand recognition is of the utmost importance.

That’s why you want to establish consistent branding across the board and take every opportunity to reinforce your brand identity.

Take a look at the homepage of any major company, and I can pretty much guarantee they’ve included their brand logo above the fold.

Below are just a couple of examples.

Here’s HubSpot’s homepage:


And here’s Dropbox’s homepage:


It’s your way of letting visitors know who you are, and it plays a role in your long-term brand building.


Let’s say a visitor has just landed on your homepage for the first time.

After seeing your USP and explainer copy, they have a pretty good idea of what you’re offering.

And after seeing your brand logo, they associate it with you.

At this point, you’ve piqued their interest, and they want to learn more.

It’s your responsibility to provide them with the framework to explore your site in a streamlined, systematic fashion.

This, of course, is done through simple, intuitive navigation.

Allow me to provide you with a few examples of brands that do this really well.

First, there’s ConversionXL:


Next, there’s Buffer:


Finally, there’s Pat Flynn’s Smart Passive Income:


Pat’s homepage incorporates a feature that I’m a big fan of.

The “Start Here” page.

It’s not necessary for every website, but it’s a great way for some sites to give first-timers a quick and easy way to get acquainted with the site, providing them with the best content to accomplish that.

Notice that all three of these examples feature simple, easy-to-spot navigation.

This way visitors can quickly find what they’re looking for with minimal effort.

This is crucial for encouraging visitors to browse your site in-depth and for getting conversions.


This element is more important than you may think.

According to a web usability report from KoMarketing,

51% of people think ‘thorough contact information’ is the most important element missing from many company websites.

On top of this,

64% of people want to see contact information on a vendor website homepage.


It’s especially important if you’re running an e-commerce store, selling online.

People want to be sure you’re a legitimate business and not a scam artist who’s going to take their money and run.

Having full contact information tends to put your visitors’ minds at ease once they land on your homepage.


The fact that I put the word sometimes in brackets may have made you raise an eyebrow.

I mean, why would you not include a CTA above the fold?

This is the absolute basics of homepage design, right?

But here’s the deal with CTAs.

Several studies have been done to determine the impact of CTAs placed above the fold versus below the fold.

One of the more interesting studies involved The Boston Globe.

The experiment was simple.

They ran an A/B test where the CTA was first placed above the fold on the homepage and then below the fold.

Here’s what the first homepage looked like with the CTA above the fold:

boston globe above fold

And here’s the second version, where the CTA was below the fold:

boston globe below fold

Conventional logic would suggest that the first version with the CTA above the fold would outperform the second version, right?

Not exactly.

In fact, the results were virtually the same, and there were no significant differences in conversions.

This tells us that maximizing conversions isn’t about simply placing your CTA above the fold.

Anyone can do that.

It’s more about nailing it with all the other elements and writing great copy.

If you pique the interest of visitors, many will make their way further down your homepage and ultimately stumble upon your CTA.

That being said, I generally recommend placing your CTA above the fold as long as it makes sense and flows with the rest of your content.

This tends to be the approach of most successful brands.

However, you never want to force it.

Your main priority is to motivate visitors and to write compelling copy.

Also, be sure you’re not overwhelming visitors by stuffing the page wtih several CTAs above the fold, e.g., signup forms, a link to your product, etc.

Instead, keep it simple, and focus on a single CTA.

Like this:



The formula for what to include above the fold on your homepage is pretty straightforward.

Here’s a recap:

  • A well-written USP
  • Some brief explainer copy
  • Your branded logo
  • Simple, intuitive navigation
  • Contact info – especially important if you’re running an e-commerce store

The CTA is optional and doesn’t typically affect conversion rates as much as you may think.

But if you can incorporate it in a seamless, non-disruptive way, by all means, include your CTA above the fold.

While there are other elements you could include, these are the essentials.

By putting them all together, you should be able to entice a sizable portion of your readers to continue browsing and even go through your sales funnel.

What do you think the most important element to include above the fold on your homepage is?

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