In this week's Episode of Make Money Mondays Special Edition, Greg Gifford, Director of Search and Social at DealerON gives us inspiration on branding yourself. Greg talks about the basics you need to understand when branding yourself on the web. Your most important goal is to stand out from the rest of the crowd and make sure they understand why you are better than your competition. He asks us a very important SEO question, "Why do you deserve to be number one in Google?"
7 Ways to Mix Up Your Auto Dealership Marketing
Give your auto dealership marketing a new look: here are seven ways to shake up your marketing and start attracting more customers
If there is one thing you can count on for marketing, it’s this: there is no one way to do it. It’s always changing. What worked yesterday may not work in a year from now.
Digital technology has sped up the process. Now dealerships have more possibilities to connect with customers.
If you feel as though your auto dealership marketing is beginning to flat line, it may be time to mix it up and try something new.
Shaken not stirred: 7 ways to mix up your auto dealership marketing
- Make your brand more exciting
Branding is the starting point for all your marketing efforts. Without a strong brand name, logo, and message, it’s difficult to catch the eyes and ears of customers. Even an excellent marketing campaign suffers if the brand doesn’t have that extra “oomph!”.
If you’ve had your dealership name for some time, it’s okay to keep it (in fact, that may be a better idea). You canmake your brand more engaging and interesting without a complete overhaul.
- Create a byline for your brand. A short message that communicates your “promise” to customers. That message creates a common theme for the rest of your marketing efforts.
- Hire a professional designer to create a new logo.
- Optimize your blog content
Search engine optimization (SEO) is not a new trend. Most dealership GM’s and managers are familiar with PPC advertising, targeting keywords, and the goal of ranking higher in Google. But, there is another way to marketing your business using SEO techniques, and, believe it or not, it’s all about your blog.
You can target specific keywords within your blog content. Each piece of content you publish effectively turns into a landing page for your dealership, drawing more targeted traffic to your website.
- Hire a professional content writer to write SEO’d content for your blog each week.
- Make your blog content informative and helpful to your readers.
- Keep each post short, visually appealing (use pictures), and easy to read.
- Switch to a CRM for car dealers
If you are using a generic CRM tool, think about switching to one that offers features specifically tailored to dealerships. AutoRaptor is made by car sales professionals, for car sales professionals. Every feature is intuitively designed to help your salespeople work more efficiently.
- Lead assignments within the software tool.
- Send text messages and phone calls with no additional carrier charge.
- Complete mobile capability with unique features, such as license and VIN number scanning.
- Daily workflow reminders.
- Focus on mobile readers
Many of your customers view your website, emails, and inventory with mobile phones. If you haven’t already, it’s time to ensure that all of your digital content is responsive to mobile devices, including tablets. Content that is not easily readable on mobile screens is losing you conversion opportunities.
- Design all of your auto dealership marketing with mobile browsers in mind.
- Think about how your content is read: make your email messages short and to the point. Mobile readers will skim and scan before they decide to read.
- Modernize your website experience
Get your website up to snuff, in other words. In terms of digital marketing (or perhaps all of your auto dealership marketing), your website is the most important piece of the puzzle. It’s the virtual doorway to your dealership. Your leads will pass through to view your inventory, read your content, and get a feel for how you do business. What will they see?
- Create video content to post on your website. Dealership walk-throughs, salespeople spotlights, virtual car presentations, etc.
- Hire a web designer to give you a new, sleek look. Make your website look attractive, fun, and engaging.
- Make sure to build links to all your pages so Google can index them correctly.
- Include pictures of the salespeople with short bios and contact information.
- Build your opt-in lists
Converting your web visitors into qualified leads is a step-by-step process. Gaining an email address is easier if you offer something free in return, such as an e-book, white paper, redeemable coupon, etc. This is one of the main methods of inbound (or permission-based) marketing.
A simplified process would look like this:
- A person visits your website, views inventory, and researches your dealership.
- He watches your videos of vehicle presentations and reads your blog.
- At the bottom of your web page is an offer to download your entire library of video content.
- To download the content, he needs to provide an email address and/or phone number.
- He provides his information and is added to your opt-in marketing list.
- You sent out automated messages (email drip campaign) offering more useful content.
- After a few messages, you sent out a targeted promotion based on his vehicle search and behavior.
- He responds, comes into the dealership, and now your salespeople have a qualified lead.
- Segment and personalize
Finally, if you want your marketing to provide effective ROI, you need to target specific groups and personalize your efforts. The “spray and pray” techniques do not work like they used to. People want to have a personal connection to your dealership. They will not respond to vague, objective, or generic marketing material.
For better results, segment your marketing lists into specific groups and demographics. Use your research and tracking tools to see what they’ve viewed, what vehicles they’re interested in, and what promotion would best attract their attention.
- Break your email lists into specific groups. Create promotional material specifically for them.
- Make sure your emails and text messages are personal. One-to-one conversations are the messages people respond well to.
- Think small: brainstorm ways to target specific groups with engaging, useful, and relative promotions.
Give your auto dealership marketing a regular dose of new ideas and methods
Every dealership needs to mix up their marketing efforts on a regular basis. Of course, if something is working well, there is no reason to try and change it. But, if you see that your “go-to” tactics are starting to flat line, use these tips to diversify your marketing mix. Remember: your internet marketing is a critical aspect of your overall strategy. Give your website the attention it deserves and build up your inbound marketing sales funnel.
What’s your opinion? Do you have any marketing tips to add? Share your thoughts!
Google opens the AMP fire hose
Columnist Barb Palser believes that the broad surfacing of AMP content in mobile search will expose a universe of AMP content that’s been hidden from view.
Google’s expansion of Accelerated Mobile Pages across mobile search results is underway, gradually turning the trickle of AMP traffic to a steady flow.
The September start of the “blue links” rollout, along with announcements from some high-profile participants in the AMP Project, are advancing the open-source initiative on multiple fronts.
Google’s AMP expansion
Since Accelerated Mobile Pages first appeared in Google search results in February 2016, AMPs have been mostly concentrated in the Top Stories area of mobile search results:
AMP Top Stories carousel in Google mobile search results
The current expansion, which was announced in August and started in mid-September, will surface AMPs throughout standard mobile search results, aka “blue links.” When the phased blue links rollout is complete, Google will always present the validated AMP version of a page to mobile users instead of the standard web link.
At this stage, Google is only surfacing a portion of available AMPs; a September 25 query returned a mixture of AMP and non-AMP results in the blue links area. When the expansion is complete, all available AMPs will be displayed.
AMP blue links
Along with the blue links rollout, Google made slight modifications to its AMP viewer. The user interface is now grey instead of blue and employs an “X” button instead of a back arrow to close the viewer and return to search results.
Redesigned AMP viewer
Broader, deeper AMP exposure
For news publishers, the blue links expansion will surface evergreen and long-tail content that wouldn’t have been eligible for the Top Stories area but accounts for a large portion of search traffic.
It also opens AMP exposure to commercial, vertical and non-news publishers. Essentially, any AMP-enabled content that would normally surface in search will be presented to users.
A diverse group of non-news publishers timed their own announcements to Google’s blue links rollout. On September 20, eBay announced that its AMP-enabled product pages were live after a few months of development work to resolve some feature gaps.
On the same day, Shopify announced plans to AMP-enable its merchants and Reddit announced the launch of tens of millions of AMP pages on its platform. These companies join Fandango, Food Network and other non-news publishers on AMP. There’s plenty of content to fill the fire hose.
Non-news AMPs: eBay product page and Food Network recipe.
AMP benefits in Google search
Google has stated repeatedly that AMP is not a ranking factor (at least not yet), but that doesn’t mean AMP content won’t get special treatment.
Most noticeably, Google has been building user experiences to showcase AMPs above standard search results. The “Top Stories” carousel was the first example — and now Google is working on a “Live Coverage” AMP carousel for breaking news, elections, sports and other real-time events.
These modules dominate the top of the mobile viewport, above standard results where non-AMP links appear. It’s easy to imagine a variety of special AMP-based user experiences for all types of informational and commercial content.
In addition, Google has signaled that load time in general will matter in its ranking algorithm going forward — and has contributed to the growing mountain of research establishing load time as a predictor of user satisfaction and engagement. With Google’s data showing an average mobile page load time of 19 seconds and a 53-percent abandonment rate after three seconds of waiting, lightning-fast AMPs should ace any speed-related SEO tests.
Finally, users could begin to reward AMP publishers by favoring AMPs in search results. If users begin to recognize the AMP icon and associate it with a fast page, they may start choosing AMP links (or avoiding non-AMP links) in search results for certain types of content and queries.
Over time, such preferences could manifest in changes to search performance. (In early September, Google was observed testing a darker, more noticeable AMP icon.)
Combined, all of these factors could provide advantages to AMP-enabled publishers over non-AMPed publishers, even if the ranking algorithm for general Google search results doesn’t explicitly favor AMP.
AMP beyond Google
Apart from Google’s use of AMP, new participants are bringing the broader potential of the open-source AMP Project into view.
The eBay and Reddit announcements cited speed and performance as primary reasons for adopting AMP — and opened the door to future AMP-only strategies.
Excerpt from Reddit’s blog post (emphasis added):
AMP pages look great and load fast on desktop just like they do on mobile. Maintaining good performance to pages as they change often amounts to a time consuming game of Whac[k]-A-Mole but we can be confident our AMP pages will always be fast. So, for many kinds of pages, we think the AMP version is the only version we’ll ever need.
Excerpt from eBay’s blog post (emphasis added):
Although both of them [AMP and non-AMP browse pages] are highly optimized, look the same, and share most of the code, updating both versions is still a maintenance overhead. In addition, we always need to watch out for feature parity. In the future, based on how AMP pages are performing, we may choose to have one mobile version (AMP) and serve it to all platforms.
The expansion of AMP to desktop experiences and the potential for AMP to replace standard web pages have been anticipated by the AMP Project from the start — but these are among the first large publishers to talk publicly about it.
A few days later, Bing announced AMP support in its search app for iOS and Android in order to provide a better, more consistent user experience. Like Google, Bing will link to the AMP version of a page when available.
AMP results in Bing Search app
This is something any search engine, social platform or other referrer could do — every standard web page with an AMP counterpart has a header tag pointing to the AMP version. Social news aggregator Nuzzel has been linking to AMPs for some time, and Twitter has taken initial steps to link to AMP in certain contexts.
Google’s promotion of AMP across its products is generating awareness, providing incentives for publisher adoption and driving feature development and innovation.
At the same time, the involvement of diverse participants and non-Google-dependent use cases will be critical to AMP’s long-term success and its mission to improve performance across the mobile web — not just a corner of it. The AMP format was seeded in Google’s environment but was never meant to stay there.
What’s your website doing while you’re not looking?
This week on Think Tank Tuesday, I reveal the steps you should be taking to increase conversion and traffic on your landing pages, and it’s more than just a "Thank You" page. After watching this episode of Think Tank Tuesday, your website will be successful in no time!
The phrase "quality content" has become somewhat of a joke within the SEO and digital marketing community. It's used so often when giving SEO advice--typically without further detail or actionable instructions--that there's no way for a non-SEO to truly grasp the meaning behind it.
But that all changes today!
I want to give you my explanation of quality content to help shed light on any mistakes you might be making with your own content efforts.
Let's dig in!
You Have to Nail the Intent
First and foremost, intent is easily the single most important factor to creating content today. If you don't nail the intent behind your content properly, you're not going to attract the right visitors, and your results will be suffer as a result.
But how do you understand intent?
In order to understand intent, you need an inside look at how people are phrasing searches related to your business/niche. For that, we'll use the Adwords Keyword Planner.
As an example, let's say you're trying to rank for the keyword "used cars for sale." The intent here is pretty simple: the user wants to find used cars for sale (likely within driving distance from their location). But the type of content you'd create for that target keyword would be a lot different from the content you'd create for "best used cars for sale."
A user searching for "used cars for sale" is probably after a list of used cars available at a dealership, or an aggregate display of used cars in their area. There's no phrase modifying this search, as is the case with "best used cars for sale." Modifiers help us identify searcher intent, allowing us to create content that will match that intent.
For instance, the "best used cars for sale" content should include a list of cars that are widely considered to be the most reliable. We've determined this based on the context of the word "best" combined with used cars. (If we were talking about "best movies ever," we'd be looking at movies that were universally well reviewed.)
I've come to put keywords into different categories based on intent. This helps me identify the right keywords to target on pages, and better craft content to meet the needs of search users.
The first is "transactional" keywords. These are keywords that show an intent to purchase. In our example, "used cars for sale" is a transactional keyword.
The second is "informational" keywords. Users searching these types of keywords are obviously out to be informed on a particular subject. People searching for "best used cars for sale" are out to be informed about the best used cars so they can make a better decision as a consumer. (They're also probably afraid of buying a lemon!)
Get into the habit of thinking about the intent behind keywords. It's really easy when you change your mindset. You've searched Google with the intent of buying, and with the intent of being informed, plenty of times. So take that experience and apply it to the keywords other people are searching for in your arena.
Creating Value for the User
Stay in the mindset of a search user!
Now, instead of applying that information to identifying intent based on keywords, apply it to your satisfaction with the content of pages that rank well.
What was it that separated their content from others? It was probably the value they brought to the subject.
But what does that mean exactly?!
It means they nailed the intent of your query.
For our "best used cars for sale" example, to fully ensure you're going above and beyond for users, you'd be best off breaking your list down into categories, featuring cars, trucks, and SUVs. Some users may have only been searching for sedans, but it's very likely the large majority were just looking for used cars in general.
Now, if you want to target searchers of "best used SUVs to buy," though, you only have to worry about covering SUVs. The only downside is, once you start getting specific you're likely going to see major drops in search volume per keyword.
Whatever your individual situation, the goal is to think of ways you can add more and more valuable information to aid searchers based on that intent. To put this into practice, I employ the Skyscraper Technique.
The Skyscraper Technique is simply building off of the foundation other sources have built in order to create something that's even more valuable to users. For example, you could use used car data from multiple sources, such as U.S. News, Consumer Reports, as well as user-generated data from sites like Car Complaints and True Delta to create a list of best used SUVs that takes more data into account than any other page out there.
If you're going above and beyond your competition while staying on topic, you're creating a lot of great value for users.
Combine Great Writing and Page Layout
Finally we start discussing the actual writing of content! You'd think that wasn't the most important part.
Well, it is and isn't. To truly call your content "quality," you need to first nail the research and planning. As long as you do that and follow through, the only way things could go wrong is if your writing is absolutely horrible. You want to have a little fun, add personality, but still maintain flow for an uninterrupted reading experience for users.
After the writing is complete, it's formatting the page layout that may present you with trouble. You don't just want to leave paragraphs and paragraphs of text on a page. You need headings, images, maybe even contextually relevant video, depending on the type of page you're creating.
Leave the Over-Optimization at Home
On-page optimization is still extremely important for SEO success, but not in the way many of you might think. You do still need optimized headings, metadata, and images, so don't think optimization has been made irrelevant. The difference is you don't need to stuff keywords into every other sentence in order to have Google understand what your content is about and achieve rankings.
Instead, the optimization you do make should be subtle. Look for longtail keywords that can be naturally fit into your content without taking away from the flow or seeming out of place. It's not something you'll immediately master, but it does get easier over time.
Just Remember: Quality is Subjective
While I'd love to tell you that everyone will universally love your content if you follow these instructions, quality is subjective at the end of the day. Not everyone is going to approve, and it's nearly impossible to create "perfect" content.
As long as you're achieving results and utilizing the available data to improve with each new page, you're on the right track!
Originally Posted to Wikimotive.com on August 10, 2015.
One of the problems most individuals and businesses face with content production is the amount of time it takes to create great content. Whether you’re a nutritionist trying to build an incredible blog, or a car dealer that wants to improve your automotive SEO, content takes a lot of time and it can oftentimes feel like there’s never enough of it to do quality work.
In this post, I’ll provide step-by-step details on how you can stop feeling overwhelmed by and start creating better content in less time:
Do Research in Bulk
If there’s one thing that slows down content production, it’s on-the-fly research. You should be gathering resources and taking notes before committing to anything substantial.
Not only will this help you better understand the topic at hand, it will allow you to reference things quickly without getting lost in a sea of resources. You need to have a plan ahead of time in order to efficiently produce content.
In the end, bulk research also helps you better understand the topic. You’re not just reading bits and pieces needed for your content, you’re actually trying to comprehend it.
For example, this would be the difference between reading a textbook and just skimming through for specific details. Sure, you might know dates and names, but you won’t know the deeper significance.
Create an Outline for Every Piece of Content
Content without an outline is like a road trip without a route. You need to know what you want to talk about, what order you’re going to do it in, and how it all flows to create an engaging, informative finished product.
To help you understand exactly what an outline is, here’s a look at the outline I put together for this post:
- Do Research in Bulk
- On-the-fly research slows down production
- You’ll understand the topic better
- Create an Outline for Every Piece of Content
- You wouldn’t start a road trip without a route, would you?
- Provide example outline, explanation
- Advice on using the outline to write more efficiently
- Create a Process for Staying on Track
- Process brings creativity to the surface
- Breakdown of personal process
- Be aware of the time
- Before Writing, Ask Yourself: “How Can I Make This Idea Better?”
- Your content will never be perfect
- Visualize and re-read outline
- Read and Edit on the Fly
- Good habit to get back on track, catch errors
As you can see, the headings featured on this post are my main talking points. Within those, I add specific notes below so that I know exactly what I want to say before I get begin the actual writing process.
Use the outline as a visualization of what you want to achieve with each individual piece of content. Be as detailed as possible to ensure that you’re able to finish a thought and move right into the next part without getting distracted or lost in thought.
When practiced over the course of a few months, it’s possible to create content in half the time it might have previously taken. And that’s all while improving upon the overall quality as well.
Before Writing, Ask Yourself: “How Can I Make This Idea Better?”
Content is never perfect, and I don’t think it can ever labeled as such. But that doesn’t mean we give up and just write whatever pops into our heads without thinking.
Once you’ve got your outline, take a few minutes to look it over and think about how you can make the idea even better. Sometimes we’re in a rush, sometimes we’re not focused on the work at hand, and adding this element can really ground you in order to help create better content.
Don’t force ideas, but visualize the flow of the content and try to fill any missing blanks with pockets of useful information. You’d be surprised at how often just asking yourself if that’s really the best you can do will spark new and creative ideas.
Create a Process for Staying on Track
While there’s some belief that process hinders creativity, you’ll find you can bring creativity to the surface with less effort when you simply create a process and stick to it.
Here’s a breakdown of how I personally work on content:
- Starting Research (keywords, related content search, inspiration)
- Topical Research (links to resources and notes)
- Create Outline
- Go Over Research and Finalize Outline
- Start Writing in the Middle
- Read Through Content and Create Introduction/Conclusion
- Brief Final Editing/Formatting
Having this process laid out gives me the structure needed to stay consistent with the quality of my work. I rarely feel like I’m missing anything, and I always know where I’m going with the work.
Additionally, be aware of how much time you’re spending on certain parts of your process. I like to set a timer and give myself 15minutes per 300-word section. This is just enough time to do great work, but will also let me know that I’ve spent too much time on any particular part.
Read and Edit on the Fly
The final editing process should be easy if you make a habit of reading and editing your work on the fly. When I feel stuck, I like to read through the last 300 or so words to help regain my flow. It’s also a great time to catch any errors that may have slipped through.
By the end, all you need to do is briefly re-read the content to ensure it’s good to go.
If you’re worried you could be doing more to better your content writing abilities, don’t just keep doing the same thing, hoping to improve. Take action now and identify specific problems with your process!
This post was originally published on the Wikimotive blog on July 13, 2015.
While SEO is a simple practice once you learn the basics (and begin implementing strategies and techniques), it's often intimidating to beginners and those who don't specialize in digital marketing.
In order to help more and more people learn about SEO in a simple and organized fashion, Search Engine Land created the "Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors." At a glance, it provides a fundamental guide to the practice, but lacks the detail necessary to go from crawling to walking.
Below, we'll take a look at the content section of the table and dig deeper into the world of content for SEO to shape how you think about content and help you jumpstart your SEO.
Cq - QUALITY
You've probably heard the term "quality content" more times than you care to remember.
To cut out the confusion once and for all, there is no real definition to let someone know what separates good quality content from bad quality content.It's mostly a feeling.
- Did you write enough to properly cover your topic?
- Did you add too much content? (Fluff, irrelevant points, etc.)
- How was your grammar?
- Did the piece flow from one part to another?
- What about relevant images, videos, links?
All of these questions need to be answered confidently before you can truly call your content "quality."
Cr - RESEARCH
Even if your piece is a simple 500-word blurb on a topic, knowing the type of phrases and language people will use when searching this content is extremely important. Break out the Keyword Planner Tool found in Adwords and really take a few minutes to discover keywords related to your target topic.
The most basic optimization may not take a post from zero to hero on its own, but it can give it the extra boost in needs to bring in a good flow of regular traffic.
Cw - WORDS
Did you integrate the phrases and keywords you discovered? How did you add them in? Did it affect your content's quality? (The way it reads and flows naturally.)
While inserting keywords for the SEO benefit is something most SEOs practice on a daily basis, you can't ruin the reading experience for the end user just to satisfy search engines.
Cf - FRESH
Covering topics that are "in" or "trending" is not a new phenomenon, but Google rewards this with what they call "Query Deserved Freshness." The update itself is not new, and has been in action since 2007, but knowing that a certain type of content is treated differently in the SERPs may change how you create content, especially if you're in an industry where there's plenty of news.
For example, I love to take trending topics and turn them into longform content that goes beyond what other sites are reporting at the time.
Because not all readers are able to follow stories that update several times, so answering all of the questions they could have in one epic post is an extra way to add value while attaching your site to the QDF Train.
Cv - VERTICAL
While I mentioned images and video in the quality section, the "vertical" Search Engine Land lists in their Periodic Table of SEO has to do with search engines that are dedicated to a single vertical. For example, Google Images is all about images, while Google News focuses on timely news related to pre-set categories or topics you search for on the site.
In order to have a balanced assortment of content, it's a good idea to try creating content for these different verticals. Whether that means utilizing custom photography or other imagery, shooting videos, or publishing regular news articles, it's possible to gain traction in multiple areas of content beyond just the written word.
Ca - DIRECT ANSWERS
Most sites might think they don't have a lot to provide Google with in regard to its Knowledge Graph, Direct Answers, and other useful information you see when you directly embedded in the SERPs nowadays.
Using on-page markup and structured data, such as Schema, you can optimize your pages to increase the likelihood that your content will be picked up by the Knowledge Graph and used in quick answers.
Many SEOs are against the idea of Google embedding information directly on the SERPs, while others see it as an easy way to stand out from the crowd. If picked up as a source of information, it's also another source of traffic to your site when users click on the source link Google often provides when pulling information from third-parties.
Vt - THIN
While your definition of quality may be different than mine, I like to think most digital marketers truly know the difference between quality content and thin content. It's often something you can spot within a few seconds of landing on a particular page, but some pages disguise thin content with well-designed pages and content templates.
Other terms used to describe thin content include "lacking substance," "useless," and "vague." This doesn't necessarily mean the content was too short, as many confuse thin content with anything under a certain word count.
Unfortunately, content can be thin even at 4,000 words. This is because Google's algorithm can't effectively rate your content based on its merit just yet. The search engine relies mostly on data from users to tell if content is supplying users with answers or not. If the data shows people bouncing from your site at an extremely high rate, it's likely your content sucks and isn't what search users are looking for.
While more words on the page can contribute to higher time on site, it can't prevent high bounce rates. Whether that means you work on increasing the quality of your content, or begin implementing a more hyper-focused approach to your topics, do your best to think of your target audience and what they want first and then worry about optimizing for Google and other search engines.
As you expand your knowledge of content and how to utilize it for SEO, you should naturally be mindful of ways you can improve your content. If necessary, create a checklist that you can use to go through each element mentioned in the content section of the Periodic Table of SEO. This will help you identify errors in your content, and will bring better content rankings and reader engagement. Good luck!
This post originally appeared on the Wikimotive blog on June 22, 2015.
For many SEOs, content marketers, and writers, generating ideas for content is one of the most difficult tasks to perform, especially as a beginner.
But whether you’re just getting started or simply struggling with a business SEO strategy, this five-step guide will help you shape how you generate ideas and help you focus on your goal of creating the absolute best content on the web.
Step 1: Do Your Keyword Research
Like many SEOs and content managers, I believe the first step in any content idea generation process should be keyword research.
Do I think it’s an absolute necessity to drive organic traffic? No.
Do I think it’s better than not doing any research? Yes!
The reason I do keyword research for most of my idea generation is simple: I want to know what people are searching so I can help answer simple questions, solve complex problems, and entertain readers.
If I decide one day to write a post about the best pens hotels leave in guests’ rooms, how do I know this is topic worth covering if I don’t have any data to back it up? Well, I don’t. So by moving forward and writing that post, I’m essentially walking into this topic blind.
You wouldn’t drive your car blind, would you? Of course not. You want to know where you’re going. Content and SEO are no different, which is why we do keyword research.
Step 2: Mind Map from Keyword to Topic
Once you’ve got your main, generic keyword on the topic you want to cover, put that keyword through Google’s Keyword Planner Tool and make a list of high-volume keywords that are directly related to your main keyword.
For instance, if my main keyword was “Batman,” here’s what a list of my related keywords would look like:
- Batman Movies
- Batman Games
- Batman Costume
- Batman Toys
- Batman Quotes
From here, you want to create a mind map (I use Bubbl.us), starting with your original keyword “Batman” and add your related keywords to start the map.
Step 3: Go One Level Deeper
Head back to the Keyword Planner and toss your related keywords in one at a time. Take a careful look at the results.
What pops out at you? Don’t just immediately run with the keyword that has the highest volume. Choose something with a good amount of traffic, great potential, and fun factor.
While the ultimate goal is to rank for a specific keyword, as well as those semantically similar, you also want your content to be shareable. Social media acts as a huge discovery platform, and can lead to plenty of links if your content is great and promoted properly.
Intent is one of the single most important lessons you need to learn in order to produce great content. You need to put yourself in the shoes of the person searching for “Best Batman Toys” and think about what they would want to click on after searching that query on Google or any other search engine.
The search “Batman Toys” doesn’t tell us much about intent. More than likely it’s half inquires for information on various Batman toys on the market, and half shoppers looking to buy Batman toys.
“Best Batman Toys,” on the other hand, is not too vague. If someone submits that query, they’re looking for the best Batman toys. To be fair, though,they could be looking for the best of all time, or simply the best available now.
You can choose one, the other, or just try to tackle everything in one incredible piece of content.
Step 5: Provide Value to the Searcher
From here on in, keywords don’t matter. You’ve done your research, picked your topic, and now it’s time to take action.
The ultimate goal here is to provide value to the searcher. Whether that be a group of college kids looking for a list of Batman drinking games or a diehard Batman fan in need of motivational quotes from their favorite character, your content should go above and beyond to satisfy them.
Don’t think about how well you can optimize this page; just think about how the search user will react when they land on your page. Will they be dumbfounded by the amount of detail you went into on the topic, or will they simply be turned off by your failure to understand exactly what they were looking for?
There’s no secret formula to this process. It all depends on how badly you want to succeed. So don’t give up if you fail to rank for the first few months. Simply take notes on how each piece of content performed, how you can improve, and follow through to grow as a writer and marketer.
This post originally appeared on Wikimotive's blog on June 8, 2015.
Whether you’re in PR, linkbuilding, or other forms of digital marketing, one part of your job might be reaching out to bloggers with requests for coverage or links. As a veteran blogger, I’ve been sent thousands of pitches and replied to only a small percentage of them.
Recently, I’ve begun reaching out to bloggers with requests of my own and have used many of the tactics that worked on me to win them over.
I should keep them to myself, as less competition will help me ultimately succeed more with more and more blogs, but I will release five of the best tips that will help you increase the effectiveness of your outreach.
Keep the Request Quick and Direct
The problem with most outreach emails I receive is that the sender is trying too hard to convince me to fulfill their request.
People constantly want to set up phone meetings or video chats to rope you into listening to their pitch. If you do this, please stop. The average writer/blogger doesn’t have time for that in 2015. We’re trying to juggle multiple stories at once and anything extra could bring us down like a house of cards.
The solution? Keep it quick and be direct.
The only times I reply to an email pitching me on a product or service is when the request is quick and direct. You want me to write a post about your line of products, link to your site in an older post, tweet that your company is awesome, or whatever other request you have–just tell me that.
I don’t need to know some BS about why I should do it, just give me the details so I can decide whether or not I’m interested. This leads me to my next point…
Do the Heavy Lifting Yourself
If you want a better chance of getting replies and requests fulfilled, go above and beyond for the recipient. Don’t just say, “Hey, would love if you checked this out and did something with it.” Because unless the product or service your pitching stands out as perfect for the blogger or ground-breaking in its industry, the blogger needs to do most of the heavy lifting.
Take the time to give each individual blogger suggestions on how they can integrate your content into theirs. Whether that’s straight up offering a free sample or trial of service to suggest a review or sending a post idea with an outline they can use.
The idea is to make yourself stand out from the crowd of press releases and spam that tend to accumulate in a blogger’s email and make yourself useful!
Don’t Ask to Schedule a Call
Everyone claims to be busy, but bloggers really are busy. So when you suggest a phone call to discuss your pitch in more detail, they start to hyperventilate.
The last thing someone with deadlines needs is to waste time on a phone call when you could simply send them all of the information they need to know via email. It falls under the heavy lifting category, as this is you trying to save yourself time.
You’ve probably also been told that if you can get someone on the phone you’ll have a better shot at getting your request fulfilled. (That’s a sales tactic, and it won’t work on bloggers!)
There’s nothing wrong with sending all of the information they could ever need and also asking if they’d like to connect on a call. The problem comes when the call stands in the way of the blogger getting the initial information.
It may take you longer to complete, but I can guarantee that you’ll have a better success rate if you put all your cards on the table up front, instead of trying to reel a blogger into an unnecessary meeting.
Personalize Your Email to Each Blogger
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to outreach is most people don’t bother personalizing the email to the recipient. They have a template and a list of email addresses, and they blindly blast email after email.
Don’t be one of those people!
Go beyond just adding in your target’s name and get to know them. You may find they hate unsolicited emails, prefer to be pitched at a different email address, or enjoy the convenience of talking on Twitter or other social networks.
You can also discover things about them to mention in your email. You don’t want to stroke their ego too much, as that comes off as disingenuous, but try to make a connection between what they do and your pitch.
Follow Them on Social Media First
This might not always work, but most bloggers are active on social media, especially Twitter. This makes it easy to find and follow most bloggers, get to know them a bit more, and get their attention.
Now, the goal here is to get their attention BEFORE you send your pitch. Make them think you discovered them on social media instead of through their site, as that will make your pitch look less crafted for linkbuilding or press value. This means waiting at least a day or two after following and interacting with them on Twitter before sending your pitch.
They likely go through new followers every day or two, so there’s a good chance they saw you or your brand’s name. If they then check their email and see it again, there’s a good chance they’ll read it to see what you have to say.
Have fun with outreach, and don’t get caught up in the cycle of templates and blasting emails. You can have a ton of success by simply putting in extra work and targeting your outreach to the right people!
Bonus Infographic: The 5-Point Blogger Outreach Checklist
This post was originally published to Wikimotive.com on June 1, 2015.
When someone new to digital marketing reads about link building strategies, it’s likely a confusing and stressful experience. The reason is, most people try to complicate the process to sell services by convincing you there’s something proprietary about their methods.
Now, most businesses should consider SEO or link building services if they want to get results, but the cost is something many small businesses simply can’t afford. But instead of just forgoing link building altogether, you need solutions that fit your business, right?
That’s why I’ve put together a list of five simple link building strategies that small businesses can start immediately. So take notes and start building links!
Sponsor Something Locally or Create Your Own Event
Local businesses are often asked to sponsor events, children’s sports teams, and school functions. And while many see some of these are charitable or simply promotional, most of the organizations looking for sponsorship would be happy to feature you on their website or already do it as a part of the sponsorship.
When looking for opportunity’s, check out the organization or event’s website to see if they link to their sponsors.
Alternatively, you could create your own local event, which will attract plenty of link opportunities from local press, event trackers, and perhaps other local businesses.
Become a Source for Reporters
Local press is huge for small businesses, but there are other ways small businesses can utilize the press to aid in link building efforts.
One of the best ways is by signing up to be a source on Help A Reporter Out (HARO), a service that connects journalists and bloggers with sources that can help them craft the perfect story.
So if you run a car dealership and a reporter was seeking someone with experience in the automotive industry to comment on last month’s national car sales report, you could reach out that reporter directly with an original comment. If the reporter likes it, they’ll quote you and often leave a link to your company.
Offer Products to Industry-Related/Local Bloggers
Bloggers love it when businesses reach out with free products/samples. Whether you’ve got a local shop or sell a retail product, reaching out to bloggers is a great way to get your brand in front of readers, get links, and build relationships.
Take some time to research blogs/bloggers in your industry or local area and simply ask for their shipping details or invite them to your shop at a specific time. When presented with such an easy answer, most bloggers will respond, which will give you an opportunity to pitch them.
Turn Non-linked Mentions into Links with Outreach
Most business owners are happy to receive mentions of their business in articles or on resource pages. Known as “citations” to SEOs, they offer some value on their own, but offer even more as links to your business’s website.
In this guide on getting sites to link these mentions, I break down my own personal method for discovering and reaching out to sites that have mentioned your business but not linked. It takes less than 15 minutes, but can add a ton of great authority that you might have otherwise overlooked.
Create Resourceful Content Using the ‘Skyscraper Technique’
Envisioned by Brian Dean of Backlinko, the “Skyscraper Technique” is one of the easiest ways to create truly amazing content that’s worth linking to more than any other similar piece.
Because one of the realities of content today is that there’s just way too much of it being created. If you’re just throwing more of the same onto the web, no one is going to value it, as it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
To change this, many bloggers and businesses employ the Skyscraper Technique using these three simple steps laid out by Dean:
- Find content that has attracted links
- Make that content even more attractive by building upon the foundation
- Reach out to relevant sites that link to similar content
It’s that simple. You might not hit a home run on your first try, but the pay off of valuable links makes it more than worth the time and effort.
If you’re a small business owner with a few employees but no real marketing budget, turning these ideas into a reality can be tough. But you don’t have to do it all at once.
The order in which these strategies are presented is a great way to get started, meant to build up your comfort level and experience in link outreach.
Like most things in life, you’ll learn as you go. Good luck!
This post originally appeared on Wikimotive's blog on February 16, 2015.
On February 11th, author of "Win The Game of Googleopoly", Sean V. Bradley, CSP went to Outloud Audio Studio in New York to begin recording the audible copy of his book. Check out some of the footage and order your hard copy of the book that helps you dominate search engines today! http://bit.ly/1zROdIL
When it comes to content marketing, there are topics that are thought of as easy to promote and others that are harder to promote. Smartphones are an example of a topic that might be thought of as easy to promote while pest control is on the harder end of the spectrum.
So if you're forced to work on a topic deemed difficult, or one where there aren't many examples to build upon or inspiration to be had, how do you deal with it?
Well, you have to get creative. Those who can take a "tough" or "boring" topic and make it interesting will be able to take that experience and be even better at creating content for popular and easy topics down the road.
To get started, you just have to ask yourself one simple question:
How Can I Make This Fun and Interesting?
If you've already been sitting at your computer asking yourself, "How can I create fun and interesting content that promotes pest control?" and come up with nothing, you may not be digging deep enough for ideas.
Oftentimes, we get stuck doing things a certain way, which prevents us from seeing the answers right in front of us. For content writers, this generally means getting out of your comfort zone of simple ideas and looking for ways to make something completely different.
Here are three simple steps to making that happen:
- Find a way to connect people to your topic
- Use current events/popular culture to create a fun angle
- Utilize images and video
Finding Ways to Connect People to Your Topic
The success of your content boils down to how you're able to connect your audience with the topic at hand. It doesn't matter how big your budget is or how popular the topic; if you can't bridge a connection that compels your audience to share or any kind of action, you've failed.
Thinking about pest control, it's actually not hard to get people to connect to it. It's likely everyone has dealt with some kind of bug or rodent problem in their home in the past, so we can all relate to the need for pest control.
But our content doesn't need to actually promote pest control directly, it simply has to relate to it. With that in mind, you could create a list called The 10 Scariest Bugs You Wouldn't Want to Find in Your Home.
With pictures, detailed descriptions, origins, and other information, you can create something people will want to share.
When trying to connect your audience with your topic, think long and hard about this example and how you can apply it to your own work.
Using Current Events or Popular Culture to Create Fun Angles
Current events and popular culture always strike a cord with people. If you can utilize them to get your message across, you'll have a better shot at drawing people in with your content.
Sticking with our pest control example, what would be a simple way to connect something from popular culture with our "boring" topic?
Well, superheroes are now ingrained in our popular culture, so that's a good place to start. You could have fun with an article called How Batman Deals With Rodents in Wayne Manor.
As an exercise, try to come up with a similar example and then execute it. Share it on as many sites as possible, reach out to blogs that link to offbeat content, and put some promotional dollars behind it on sites like Facebook and StumbleUpon.
Use Images and Video to Make Your Content More Compelling
Images and video are extremely powerful tools in your fight for compelling content. They keep people engaged, supplement your written content, and help increase a visitor's time on your site.
When creating content like how-tos and lists, be sure each item has a dedicated image. These not only help break up content for better reading, but will make your content more enjoyable overall.
Videos also help break up content, but their main purpose is to help you explain something in a more visual and interesting way than just written text.
For instance, The 10 Scariest Bugs You Wouldn't Want to Find in Your Home post we talked about in the first section could become even better with videos to supplement your pictures, descriptions, and other information.
Take a look at how you're creating content today and look for ways to better incorporate images and video.
Final Note: Work on Improving Quality, Not Producing More and More Content
One of the biggest problems with content today is that there's just so much of it out there. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to stop thinking about producing more content and think about improving the quality instead.
This has been said time and time again, so I realize you might think that statement is worthless. Hear me out with this one simple tip: Put more time into your content. If you're just producing content to see what sticks, how are you supposed to add value to your users' experience?
Instead of thinking about ways you can cut corners to do more, start thinking about ways you can add more value to your content. If this means talking with your boss or client about a revised strategy, create a proposal and schedule a meeting to discuss it.
With as much competition as there is online, the only way you're going to stand out is by constantly out doing them with high quality content.
This post was originally published on Wikimotive's company blog.
Congratulations to our CEO, Sean V. Bradley, CSP! “Win The Game of Googleopoly” is ranked # 1 on Amazon’s new releases; this means that his book was the top seller in the retail section. This is a HUGE deal and could not be more of an honor for Sean V. Bradley, CSP and our team.
Sean has achieved some major career milestones throughout his life, both inside and outside of the automotive industry. He has provided exceptional service to the automotive industry as a trainer, international speaker, and consultant; personally training over 10,000 automotive sales professionals. Sean’s expertise goes beyond training individual dealerships and dealer groups. He has had the honor of providing training and consulting regarding Internet Sales and Digital Marketing initiatives for high powered publicly traded companies. Some of his current clients include Carsdirect.com, TrueCar and Autobytel Inc., to name a few. He has seen success in the music and sports industry as well, and now he’s taking the book world by storm.
Sean’s main objective for this book was to share his digital marketing expertise with all sales professionals, regardless of industry type. The rules of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) are always changing, and following outdated rules can actually work against you, burying you at the bottom of the pile.
The higher you are ranked, the more visibility you have. Optimizing your content whether it be written or visual can help you rank higher in search engines. If you are not on the first page of Google, then you are essentially invisible. This book will change how you think about SEO and gives you the tools you need to craft a strategy tailored to your specific market. If you want to dominate search engines and find out what all the buzz is about, order your copy of “Win The Game Of Googleopoly” today!
Thank you again for making this book such a huge success! We truly appreciate your support and appreciate you sharing this tremendous experience with us.
Digital marketing can be extremely tedious when you add up the time that many tasks take to complete. On top of big projects like audits, copywriting, and promotional work, smaller tasks can add stress to days otherwise occupied by fulfilling work.
Finding ways to get tedious tasks done faster, such as using digital marketing tools, will save you from that stress and give you more time to concentrate on creative projects that drive results.
Whether you work in-house at a business, or manage many different clients for an agency, here are four examples of digital marketing takes you can automate.
Social Media Scheduling
Managing a business's social media activity might not be the most time-consuming task on your to-do list, but if you're not taking advantage of scheduling tools, you might be wasting time.
To improve your efficiency, use HootSuite or Buffer to avoid having to copy/paste messages that are going across multiple social networks. These tools allow you to sync up accounts and schedule posts with one simple action.
And if you want to go the extra mile, try to set time aside to schedule at least a week's worth of social media content out at a time. This way you don't have to rush to fit it into your daily routine, you can create even better content, and you're better able to concentrate on other tasks afterward.
While online reputation management is still in its early days, businesses do need to be taking advantage of their ability to monitor and respond to online reviews, feedback, and other comments.
Online reviews are where people turn before making purchasing decisions, so it's important to take a proactive approach to managing what they find out about your business.
A study from Bazaarvoice reports that shoppers who see a business's response to a negative review are 116% more likely to make a purchase. That means five minutes of your time now could make a huge difference in sales later.
By using a review management service like ReviewPush, you can gather most of the major review sources into one place to make monitoring and responding a breeze.
For SEOs, reporting results can mean a lot of digging through analytics and time spent in Excel. But with the help of automated reports, which come as a part of services like Raven Tools, you can let software create those, and have them automatically emailed to any number of people.
So if you meet with your boss or client each month, you can set the report to be sent to them ahead of time in order to give them a chance to look it over and familiarize themselves with recent developments.
Once you set it up, you don't have to worry about it moving forward.
Successful local SEO campaigns rely a lot on citations. Finding new sources and editing outdated or incorrect listings, however, can take a lot of time if you're just doing searches for your business name, address, and phone number in hopes of uncovering everything.
Instead of going at it alone, sign up for WhiteSpark's Local Citation Finder. It allows you to quickly find listings that feature the information you provide so you can discover which sites have the right information, which sites have the wrong information, and which sites you need to create a listing on.
You can also do research on your competition to find out how well your citation profile is in comparison. That's also a great way to discover sites they've secured listings on that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
What are some of the tools you're using to automate your digital marketing tasks? Is there a certain task you're struggling with? Leave a comment below!
"As an international speaker, consultant, trainer, and entrepreneur, Sean V. Bradley, CSP, is the founder and CEO of Dealer Synergy Inc., the leading Internet sales, business development and digital marketing firm in the automotive sales industry. Sean has personally trained over 10,000 automotive sales professionals. In addition to being hired by approximately 1,000 multi-million dollar automotive dealerships, Sean’s clients include publicly traded corporations like Autobytel Inc. and TrueCar, as well as billion dollar corporations like Internet Brands (Carsdirect.com). Sean’s clients outside the automotive sales industry include major label recording artists and professional athletes". Learn the importance of page one domination on Google through this interview with Dealer PlayBook.
While a blog is a great place to talk about your business and build valuable search engine authority, it can also help you gain a loyal following of customers and admirers that will help you see steady growth for a long time to come.
A blog builds trust with customers, allowing people to better connect with your business. That does not come overnight, and may not come at all, but there's a formula for successful blogging that can help you tackle this new, powerful type of marketing.
One example of a business that embraces blogging and content marketing is Moz (formerly SEOMoz). The software company has no sales staff, puts an extreme emphasis on content and community, and provides truly in-depth industry reports for free. Through all of that, they've built a huge following and have been able to consistently grow Moz as a business because of it.
Sure, Moz has always been a unique company, but there's nothing stopping your business from following in their footsteps.
Want in on their secret formula? Keep reading.
Be Honest and Helpful
When a lot of businesses start blogging, they seem to think that means they need to literally blog about their business. The problem there? Nobody cares about what's going on with your business unless you're one of the world's largest companies or you give them good reason to care. I don't say that to be mean, but it's an absolute truth.
So how do you get people to care about your business? Be selfless.
Give out information like candy on Halloween. But instead of giving out crap from an assorted bag like all of the other houses, give out full-size candy. I bet you'd remember who gave you that and immediately forget about the crap givers, right?
It's the same way with content. We visit sites like Moz, QuickSprout, Buffer, and CopyBlogger because we can count on their content being honest and helpful. In case you weren't following the analogy, those sites give out full-size candy.
Create a Schedule and Stick to It
If you're going to blog, you need to do it regularly. If you let your audience know when you'll have new content (whether directly or indirectly), there's a greater chance that they'll become return visitors.
The only thing you have to do is hold up your end of the bargain and more and more readers will return each time you create new content.
And you don't have to post every single day to be successful, but you do need to deliver great content. When creating your posting schedule, think of how long you need to craft those great posts so you don't feel rushed or overworked.
Create Regular Features/Columns
An easy way to start your blog off on the right foot is to create regular features or columns to encourage readers to come back for similar stories. Moz's Whiteboard Friday is a great example of this, and provides Moz with tons of consistent traffic, links (like the one here), and general buzz about their digital marketing knowledge.
Think of a way you could implement a regular feature into your blog while providing entertainment for your readers. You can always change it up as you and your business evolve; the key is to get started!
Be Extremely Active on Social Media
On both your personal and business accounts, it's important to be extremely active when you're trying to grow your blog's audience. Follow and connect with influential bloggers, be a cool source for industry news, and give people a reason to follow your business.
It's also important to note that you can buy exposure on social media to help throw these efforts into overdrive. With ads that can target only the type of consumer you want to attract, allocating some of your online ad spend to social media is an extremely effective method to grow your business's blog.
The goal for your business's blog is to attract people that will allow you to market to them. By providing them with something of value for their clicks and time, they'll give you permission to be a business without running for the hills.
Win The Game Of Googleopoly Book Signing At Barnes & Noble 5th Avenue NYC February 4th
This is BEYOND HUGE NEWS! It is official, "Win The Game Of Googleopoly" will be featured in the store front (BIG POSTER of my book) of the #1 (LARGEST) BusinessBook Store in the United States!! Barnes & Noble on 5th Avenue New York City, starting February 2nd 2015!! I am so excited and honored. I am planning to do a video production shoot with friends, family, fans at the B&N store and a "Book Signing". February 4th I will be onsite with my Dealer Synergy Video Production team! I am hoping that you all will meet me in NYC to share this AMAZING experieince with me! Afterwards I am taking everyone to lunch! THANK YOU so much for your support and friendship!