SEO Hero : Impact on Wix brand Awareness

SEO Hero is the Wix buzz of last November. Wix the famous easy website builder launched this new search engine optimisation challenge.

As soon as the announcement of the SEO contest, Wix voluntarily opts for a provocative tone with regard to SEO and prick them in their pride by challenging them to rank better than their platform on and on the keyword SEO Hero.

Successful strategy, since the number of challengers for SEO Hero should pass the 100 bar, but probably not as so risky for the platform than what a lot of search engine optimizers seems to think.

Wix has inevitably taken into consideration the likelihood of losing the SEO Hero contest. Most probably, the team in charge of marketing at Wix after weighing the pros and cons concluded that SEO Hero could only have a positive impact, whatever it would be the final rank.

Many SEO experts who predict a very bad bad buzz for Wix should surely review their fundamentals of marketing, personas and core customer concept.

Our experience shows that globally Wix customers DO NOT have a knowledge in digital marketing and even less of SEO. Their need is, above all, to have a professional website and easy to set up. Wix responds perfectly to this need.

Whatever could be the consensus in the search industry regarding Wix’s weaknesses in search engine optimization, SEO Hero will only creates more brand awareness for Wix… and this 4 months during. No matter if Wix loses the challenge, it will have no impact on the main target. Remember, they need a beautifull website.

5 Strategies for Better Link Building and Improving Your SEO

The digital marketing world has seen more changes in the past two years than over the last 10 years combined, thanks to the release of Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithm updates. Both have changed online marketing best practices, including everything from how sites should be built to how “backlinks” should be created.

Links that go from another site to yours are called backlinks because they point back to your pages. Building these links, which point back to your website, can help improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).

So if you’re still using outdated link-building techniques — such as automated directory submissions or “10,000 links for $10” package purchases — it’s time to devise a new, updated link building strategy. For best results, focus your activities on the following techniques:

1. Guest posting.
The process of guest posting refers to drafting an article that will be published on another person or company’s website. Not only can this technique give you access to a new audience, it can also help you secure at least one valuable backlink pointed at your own site.

To maximize the value of this strategy, work with well-known, highly regarded blogs and send only your best content to these publishing sites. Guest posting is all about the relationship you build with another site and its audience. It’s not a technique that can be automated by sending any old article to any old publishing blog in order to secure a link or two.

2. Creating infographics.
People often like to share infographics — images that share data in a graphic, aesthetically-pleasing way. If you take the time to develop an interesting, attractive infographic, it’s likely to be shared from person to person, resulting in new links every time your graphic is referenced on another site.

To determine whether or not your infographic meets these criteria, ask yourself the simple question, “Would I share this with a friend?” If you can’t answer “Yes” to this question, chances are your infographic could use some tweaking before it’s released.

It can take time and money to develop a worthwhile infographic but, when done right, this investment can pay off in terms of the number of links that ultimately result from your graphic’s distribution.

3. Building links over email.
With Google cracking down on sitewide links — links found in blog sidebars and footers that appear on every page of the site — developing “in-content” links will be a crucial part of the link building process this year. In-content links are ones that are in the body content of the referring site’s pages.

The best way to find these links is through a process called email link building, in which you email potential linking websites and request that your link be placed on a relevant page of content. For example, if you run a local restaurant and encounter a website that lists all the small businesses in your area, emailing the owner of the site and requesting that a link to your business website is a way to generate new, valuable links.

Related: 6 Ways to Make Your Content Go Viral

4. Creating viral content.
You might be surprised that one of the most effective link-building techniques doesn’t involve any type of outreach at all.

Viral content creation refers to the process of publishing highly valuable, highly shareable content on your website and then seeding your links on popular social networks. If you create remarkable content, people should want to share it with others, ideally leading to an influx of backlinks that occurs without your direct involvement in building each and every link.

Although there’s no hard and fast formula for creating viral content online, you can analyze pieces that have been shared widely for clues to what made it so popular. Often times, it is content that captures emerging trends or is simply absurd or entertaining.

5. Analyzing competitor links.
Examining your competitors’ link profiles can be done using simple tools like Majestic SEO (free plan available with paid plans starting at $49.99 per month) and Open Site Explorer from SEOmoz (free plan available with paid plans starting at $99 per month). Both allow you to view the websites that are linking back to your competitors’ websites.

Viewing your competitors’ backlink profiles should give you plenty of ideas for potential sources that should be linking back to your website as well. You’ll want to qualify these opportunities, as replicating a competitor’s spam links won’t do your website any favors. Maintain strict link-building criteria throughout your own efforts that focus on generating high-value links that will appear as natural as possible to the search engines.

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7 Keys to Great SEO for Content Marketers

elcome to the second post in our Contently Labs series, where we answer common questions we hear from current or prospective brand publishers. Today’s question: “What SEO practices are most important nowadays for brand publishers?”

Do a Google search for the term “SEO is dead.” At the top of nearly 45 million results is a post from Copyblogger’s “resident SEO guy” Sean Jackson decrying the acronym.

“The term too often aligns our work with unprofessional practices like link buying and web spamming for article placement,” Jackson writes. He believes that SEO needs a makeover and that, in 2014, marketers should be thinking in terms of “Optimizing Content for Discovery and Conversion,” or OC/DC. Whether or not Jackson’s new acronym picks up steam, he’s not alone. Jackson is just one of many voices calling for the marketing industry to ditch search-gaming tactics in favor of a focus on serving high-quality content that people crave. In other words: Be a publisher, not an SEO-gamer.

That said, publishers do still need to practice sound SEO strategies to get eyeballs on their content. Despite claims that social media has eclipsed it as a traffic driver, search still remains the primary way people find great content. Anecdotal studies from individual publishers have created a sense that social media is eclipsing search as the primary driver of referral traffic, but broader studies tell a different story. While BuzzFeed released data that showed that the site received 3.5 percent more traffic from Facebook than Google, Define Media’s Marshall Simmonds was quick to note that a review of 48 billion pageviews across 87 sites showed that search is still driving 41 percent of pageviews, compared to just 16 percent from social. An extensive study by Shareaholic came to the same exact conclusion.

So how do you optimize content for search today? It helps to first understand how search engine optimization has evolved.
SEO: A brief history

For the past 20 years, search engines haven’t stopped tweaking their algorithm. The goal? Serving users the highest quality and most relevant content possible. And during that time, marketers and publishers haven’t stopped trying to game it, either.

This reached a crisis point in the mid-aughts, when content farms like eHow and Associated Content flooded the search results pages with large volumes of low-quality, highly optimized content. This was a big problem for Google, and in 2011, they responded by implementing the Panda update, which downgraded sites engaging in shady link schemes and implemented algorithm refinements to surface higher quality content.

Google was calling on the publishing world to reevaluate their priorities. “Our advice for publishers continues to be to focus on delivering the best possible user experience on your websites and not to focus too much on what they think are Google’s current ranking algorithms or signals,” they wrote in a still-relevant blog post.
SEO today

Following the Panda update, other search engines like Yahoo and Bing followed Google’s lead, and since then, search engines have continued to get better at delivering high-quality, contextually relevant search results. People, too, have become more savvy about asking for what they want. Voice and conversational search queries are more common and location-based insights have honed mobile search.

With 67 percent of the search market, Google remains king, and as search and discover tools like Knowledge Graph suggest, it’s getting increasingly more sophisticated at not only returning the richest query results, but also anticipating what someone will want to see next.

Content marketers that want to keep up need to ditch stilted practices, like worrying about how to rank for long-tail keyword phrases, and take a broader view of what’s important.

As Cyrus Shepard at Moz puts it, the difference today from years past is the shift from individual keywords to concepts: “If I search for ‘movie about tiger on boat’ Google will likely understand that I am asking about the movie Life of Pi, not about pages optimized for those specific keywords.”

Dan Bray, director of SEO and content strategy at Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, advises clients like Kraft Foods and Lowe’s to take a more contextual view that goes beyond a simple keyword query and considers a brand’s larger reputation on the web. This includes offsite references, reviews, and social links. “All those signals tell Google a lot about you,” he says.

The jury may be out on social eclipsing search as a traffic driver, but it is nonetheless an increasingly powerful sign of influence and authority. When people share, like, engage with, and link to your pages from social channels, it tells search engines that those pages are ones people want to see.

Inbound links and brand buzz not only signal influence, but also suggests authority, which search engines have been working hard to establish about the content they serve up. Google Authorship is an increasingly valuable way for Google to gauge an author’s subject expertise and rank the content they produce for a site or blog accordingly. Linking pages and posts to an author’s Google+ profile shows that person’s credentials and can verify their topic authority, when set up correctly. If you find doing so confusing, you’re not alone, says Rick DeJarnette in his helpful guide for Search Engine Land. But don’t let that stop you. Pages showing Authorship markup increasingly show up at the top of search results. Bing, too, is apparently using LinkedIn to prove authorship integrity, as Sean Jackson points out in his OC/DC post.
7 keys to successful SEO

At the end of the day, while it’s important to implement smart tactics to optimize your content, don’t lose sight of the big picture: “People often forget to acknowledge that the people who read our content and the searchers who find things on Google are the same people,” says Trevor Klein, Moz’s editorial director. In other words, don’t just worry about getting them there. Make them want to stay.

1. Original, engaging stories always win. This is the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth most important key to SEO. Publishing stories that people are compelled to share, link to, and write about is simply the most organic path to great SEO.
State of Content Marketing: Europe

Google’s practically begging you to do so. Last August, after discovering that a large share of users were searching for in-depth, original longform content, they gave high-quality, “in-depth” articles a prioritized place in search results.

2. Keyword and audience research still matters. Keywords may be more than the sum of their phrasing, but publishers should still use the available research to help them determine optimal content themes. Keyword tools like Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Bing Keyword Tool, Übersuggest, and others will help you understand the volume of content already optimized for key terms relative to the amount of queries made for them. Google Trends can also help add context around those terms, based on what themes are popular in a given time and place. It’s simply a good way to gauge what content your potential audience desires.

Another way to gain audience insights: Ask for them. Social media can be a great, low-cost way to do this, as Gary Vaynerchuk detailed at a recent AdAge Digital Conference. Create engaging posts, like quizzes and games, that pull information about what an audience wants from your brand, and then develop content accordingly.

3. Great headlines are key. Boring headlines are poison for publishers; at the same time, racy, misleading headlines may bring short-term traffic volume—especially on the social web—but are not a sustainable practice. After the initial clicks fade away, search engines may no longer see the point in driving traffic to your content.

Even headline masters like Upworthy are moving away from the practice of teasing readers toward a more descriptive approach, as The Atlantic reports. The difference between clickbait and a truly great headline is the difference between a one-night stand and a long-term relationship. Marketers that really want to connect with their audience in a lasting way should establish a process for creating smart headlines and test and optimize them continuously (like Upworthy does infamously). As the gateway to your content, and to connecting with your brand, figuring out headlines that work should be an ongoing effort.

4. Better content > more content. Marketers using their budgets to produce a large volume of content at the expense of quality should rethink their strategy. In his weekly Whiteboard Friday, Moz founder Rand Fishkin urges publishers to be honest about whether their content is actually providing meaningful insights against a specific topic or keyword. If your site has multiple pages with variations on the same content, consider consolidating or updating them. Otherwise, the site’s overall authority, not just the rank of a single page, may be devalued by search engines.

5. Optimize on both the page and platform level. All those pesky details like meta tags and descriptions are more than busy work. They help search engines know what’s on your page. Failing to do so can sabotage your content. For example, Buffalo Wild Wings’ otherwise-appealing March Madness-themed Fandamentals content was virtually impossible to find through a basic query on search or on social channels. That’s a big problem—especially since they teased it in expensive prime-time TV slots. (Editor’s note: The Fandamentals content appears to be locked behind an EpiServer… Oy vey.)

And beyond page-level production tactics, intelligent platform technology is the lifeblood for good content. Dan Bray says the biggest misnomer his clients tend to have is that technology isn’t important. By cleaning HTML code, H1 headers, server errors, URL structures, and how code loaded to their pages, they were able to boost natural search results to one client’s site by 1000 percent in 18 months.

6. Get inbound links. Even if you’re creating engaging, original content, it’s still important to find other ways to get links to your site from reputable sources. In recent years, guest blogging has been a popular way to grow inbound links, but it was recently declared “done” by Google’s head of Webspam, Matt Cutts, after the practice was plagued overrun by spammy pay-for-play schemes. On the other hand, guest blogging can be an effective way to build brand awareness and identity; check out this case study of how Buffer used the tactic to grow a massive audience. Is guest blogging right for your brand? Like all link-building efforts, intention counts. If guest blogging adds value and authority, this will be readily apparent, to audiences and to Google. Just don’t do it to get inbound links at the expense of quality.

Content delivery (or distribution) networks (CDN), like Outbrain and Taboola, are another much-used way to spark a large volume of traffic. This type of automated, data-driven service places a publisher’s content on sites that reach its desired audience. Bray has had good success with CDNs for his clients; not only do they drive highly targeted inbound links, the broad reach can also means greater likelihood of social shares. Sharing content in communities on platforms like Reddit can have the same impact.

7. Social matters to search, in more ways than one. Google and others are non-committal on the exact role social media plays in their complex set of considerations. But if considered beyond Facebook likes and links, social’s influence on search can’t be ignored. Personalized search results are a good example. The results a person logged into Google gets are different and more targeted than someone not logged in. An author in one’s Google+ circle is likely to rank higher in that person’s search results than not. Search, too, is not just about Google, or Yahoo and Bing, for that matter. People search all over Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and other social networks. The circle of influence between social media and search, including and beyond the traffic it drives, is indisputable.
Closing thoughts

The moral of the story is, well, tell great stories. And do the work to get them discovered. Stay up to date with best practices, but don’t freak out and take desperate measures to drive up your page rank. Be patient. Call it SEO. Call it OC/DC. Call it whatever you want. But as one successful brand likes to say: Just do it.

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The best seo practicies for next year

SEO, or search engine optimization has been a much discussed and debated topic. IMO, I think it will continue that way, for as long as there are search engines and most importantly when users continue to make use of them. There are studies all over the place, where results indicate that when someone is looking for something, they start generally by “searching for whatever it is” online. SEO is not dead as many would like you to believe, but it is constantly changing and as new factors come into play, others go. In addition, SEO is just a piece of the puzzle, now included in a much larger scale called “inbound marketing” (more on that later).
Best SEO Practices For 2012

As I mentioned before, the best SEO Practices have not really changed that much, as the most important ranking factors pretty much remained unchanged. At its basics, you need to know that there are only two essential elements for good SEO, on-page and off-page. On-page SEO are those that you as a publisher/webmaster can control directly, while off-page SEO essentially relies on user behavior, social engagements, visitors, and other publishers, although there are some cases where you too can control part of it.

Now and understandably, you might be a complete newbie to this whole SEO thing. If that is the case, I strongly suggests you to read the following, before anything else. While these material may have been published for a while now (not entirely – new updates included), they all provide a lot of information that are valuable. It will definitely introduce you to the basic concepts of content optimization for search engines and a bit more :).

Google Webmaster Academy (new update: June 2012)
Another Step To Reward High Quality Sites (new update: GWT Official Blog April 24, 2012)
Google’s SEO Starter Guide
Google’s SEO Report Card
Best SEO Tips and Practices for 2011
Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO
How to Fix On-Page SEO Problems using Bing Webmaster Tools (new upated June 2012)
On-Page SEO Ranking Factors and Important Elements

Essentially, you will need to address the following – Content, Code and Site Architecture. Let’s put aside the need for quality content as that is the only one that is a given.
Best On-Page SEO Practices For…

Content Creation

Quality content is really what you should aim for, as this is what it takes to enhance or improve users experience. I won’t be discussing posting frequency as it depends a lot on your topic or niche and how often you can generate good content. If you ask me, it is way better to post a great article 2 –3 times a week than shooting for useless and low quality daily content. That won’t cut it. You should know however that search engines, and in particular Google, is now looking for “fresh” content. Obviously, if you are talking about something that is “hot” or trending , the more updated the information is, the better. Otherwise, find a frequency that suits you best and stick to it.
Is freshness an important signal for all sites? (Update 10/2012)

To clarify a bit what QDF or Query that Desrves Freshness is all about, Matt has published this video that porvides some helpful tips and advice about “content fresshness”. Note to what he mentions about “evergreen” content.

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