Category Archives: Online Marketing

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Tips for Getting Your Audience to Stay on Your Website Longer

Tips for Getting Your Audience to Stay on Your Website Longer written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

You put a lot of time, effort, and money into developing a website for your business. So you want to be sure that it’s capturing people’s attention and giving them the information they need to feel good about doing business with you.

But no one can learn what you’re all about in a second or two. You must hold visitors’ attention long enough for them to learn what they need to learn about your business. And while you can’t control a stranger’s attention span, there are things you can do to encourage your audience to stay on your website longer.

Put Your Value Proposition Front and Center

Prospects are coming to your website because they have a problem. The most important thing for them to learn when your page loads is, “Can this business solve my problem?”

If you make it hard for visitors to determine what you do, they’re going to quickly lose interest. Google turns out thousands upon thousands of search results in an instant. A confused prospect can and will easily find another business who’s clearer about their value proposition and how they can fix the issue at hand.

Your value proposition should be one sentence at the top of your landing page that simply and elegantly highlights what you do. And it should be something that speaks specifically to your ideal customer—it won’t be something that everyone can relate to. For more on how to find your ideal value proposition, check out this post.

Write Better Copy

Part of keeping people engaged is presenting your information in an interesting way. There is a right way and a wrong way to write website copy. Long, jargon-filled paragraphs and wishy-washy headlines are a great way to confuse and alienate your audience.

Stick with short, punchy headlines that clearly demonstrate what a reader can expect to find on any given page. Paragraphs should be no more than four sentences, and those sentences should be concise.

Focusing on how the copy can serve your value proposition and your calls to action on each page can help you to define exactly what you need from your writing.

Create Informative Content

The best way to build trust and keep your audience on your site is to prove that you have the expertise to solve their problem. And the best way to do that is to fill your site with informative content.

Blog posts that provide rich information and actionable steps for readers are a great place to start. Once you’ve created content that’s meaningful for your audience, consider grouping it on hub pages. These pages allow you to centralize information on a given topic, which is helpful for visitors looking for answers, and also boosts your site’s SEO.

Outside of written content, you want to mix things up. Varied content keeps people engaged. Work to incorporate video into your strategy. Think about infographics and other ways, beyond website copy, to present relevant information. People have different learning styles, so creating content in various forms allows you to capture the attention of all your prospects.

Think About Structure

How you structure the information on your website can help to keep your audience around. Think about it from a storytelling perspective. Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. For brands, the beginning of your story is your offer to solve a prospect’s problem. The middle is the specifics on how you do it, and the end is the prospect converting to customer.

When you think about it that way, it allows you to get smart about how you structure your website. Your landing page should address the prospect’s problem. Pages below that in the hierarchy should support your initial value proposition, and provide visitors with more specifics about how you can fix their issue. Finally, this leads them to a place where they can make a purchase or speak to your sales team.

Get Smart with Calls to Action

Calls to action are not only a way to keep your audience on your website for longer, they’re a great way to build trust and drive conversions.

Set a goal for each page of your website, and have a corresponding CTA that drives a related conversion. That conversion could be the collection of an email address to add them to a mailing list or to send them a relevant white paper. It could be setting up a call with a sales rep to discuss your product offerings. Or it could be something as simple as sending them to a relevant blog post on your site.

When your calls to action are tailored to the information on each page, then you’re ensuring a higher rate of conversion because the visitor to that page is interested in the topic at hand. The CTA provides you the opportunity to give them the additional information they crave, proving your authority and trustworthiness as a brand. Plus, you’re able to learn more valuable information about your prospects that you can use to greet them with additional tailored offers in the future.

Don’t Forget Technical Elements

While it’s important that you’re providing prospects with the information and elements they need to see on your website, it’s also critical that your site holds up behind the scenes. Things like a quick page load time are critical for keeping your audience on your website. How many times have you sat staring at a blank page for a handful of seconds before clicking back to Google search results to check out the next site down instead? If you’re worried about how your site loads, check out Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to see how you stack up.

Having a mobile friendly site is also a must. The majority of searches nowadays happen on mobile devices, so if your site doesn’t look good on a phone, that audience will be passing you over quickly.

The longer you can keep your audience on your website, the greater shot you have at winning their trust. When you undertake the steps above, you’re setting your business up to impress visitors and hold their attention, which in turn will have positive results on your conversions and bottom line.

Why You Should Focus on Designing an SEO-Friendly Website (And How to Do It)

Why You Should Focus on Designing an SEO-Friendly Website (And How to Do It) written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Your website is the heart of your online marketing efforts. So it stands to reason that it should be built with marketing, rather than aesthetics, in mind. Yes, there is something to be said for having an appealing website, and you should certainly aim to design one that has both form and function. But the mistake that a lot of small business owners make is focusing on form exclusively, and that is where they miss a major opportunity.

Your website can be the most beautiful one in the world, but if you don’t focus on its function, then it’s all for naught. If you want to build a successful website, you need to start with a solid SEO framework to build a site that is easy to find and works seamlessly with your other online marketing efforts.

Why SEO Matters

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is what gets new prospects onto your site. If someone does a Google search looking to solve a problem that they have, and your business is capable of solving that problem, you want your website to be the first one that they see. Think about your own browsing habits: How often do you look at the second, third, or fourth page search results on Google? If your site isn’t ranking on the first page of results, you’re not being seen by the majority of people.

Start with Keyword Research

Ensuring high rankings on search results is why it’s critical to begin the website design process with keyword research. Start by brainstorming the terms you would search for if you were looking for the good or service your business provides. This can and should be a long list—write everything down and don’t self-edit. Google Search Console can also help you identify the terms that are already driving users to your site, which might help you reframe your own thinking on the list.

Then begin to winnow the list down to 12-20 terms; some that speak to the fundamentals of your business and some that speak to a specific intent a user might have when searching. These keywords will inform all of your website design choices from here on out.

Think Like a Search Engine

The way that a human sees your site is very different from the way Google sees it as it crawls through sites looking for information relevant to a given search. You want to make sure that as much of your content as possible is in HTML text format. Images, Flash content, and Javascript are often not seen by search engines as they’re crawling sites, so if all of the important information about what your business does is displayed on your page within these dynamic formats, it’s possible that Google is skipping right past your website when looking for relevant words or phrases.

Using a tool like Google Cache Checker will allow you to see what your website looks like to Google. If your pages are showing up mostly blank, you know that search engines are missing out on crawling the majority of your content, so you’ll want to restructure your site to be more HTML heavy.

Consider Website Structure

In addition to thinking about the way a search engine will see your site, you want to make sure you’re building a structure that makes sense for SEO and for visitors.

Creating a site map can be a helpful way to think about content and flow. What information do you want to group together? What is the logical path that visitors will take when navigating your site? How can you make it easy for users to get from one relevant piece of information to another? And how can you structure your website in a way that enriches the customer journey and encourages users to move down the marketing hourglass?

Once you’ve thought about the user experience aspect of your site, it’s time to think about structure from an SEO perspective. Creating a site with crawlable link structure is critical to making sure that all of your content is seen by search engines. There are a number of reasons why your links might not be crawlable, including if they’re for pages that are hidden behind submission forms, if the links are within the aforementioned Java content that search engines aren’t able to see, or if there are hundreds of links on a given site (search engines will only go through so many links before hitting a limit).

Create Rich Content

Of course, this effort you’ve put into creating a site that’s easy to find, functional, and appealing will all be useless if your site has sub-par content.

As I’ve said before, the goal of this content should be to establish your business as a leading authority in your field. This valuable content will serve you across the board. It makes prospects come to trust you and moves them to the try and buy portions of the marketing hourglass. When you continue to generate new, rich content, it drives existing customers back to your site for more information, keeps you top of mind with those customers, and makes them more likely to repeat and refer.

Not only that, but when your website is filled with valuable content, and you continue to add more on a regular basis, you generate a stream of information that you can use to drive users to your site. You should be housing all of your content—blog posts, webinars, case studies, podcasts, white papers, and infographics—on your website. Then, as you share links to all of this valuable content on social media or via your newsletter, you’re directing all traffic back to your site.

A website, no matter how good it looks, is nothing without a solid approach to SEO. Your website is the most important piece of your online marketing strategy, and so investing the time, energy, and money in creating a site that ticks all of the boxes for form and function is a worthwhile endeavor.

Four Tips for Creating a Website Users Trust

Four Tips for Creating a Website Users Trust written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

It seems like every day we’re hearing about a new online security breach. From mega-retailers like Target to tech giants like Facebook, online security is a major issue and giant concern for consumers.

Building trust is a critical part of the marketing hourglass for any business, whether they’re a global conglomerate or a mom and pop shop. What can you, as a small business owner, do to build a site that not only engenders trust but also incorporates legitimate security measures? I’ll share some tips below for creating a website that users trust.

1. Looks Matter

This may sound shallow, but the easiest step in creating a website that looks trustworthy is building one that looks appealing. While I’ve written before about the importance of starting with a focus on SEO—a sentiment that I still stand by—there is something to be said for putting eye-catching trappings on top of that solid SEO foundation.

The way your site looks is important because people do judge books by their covers. Think about how you feel when you go to a website that has typos; inadvertently overlapping video, text, and photo elements; or is just plain black text on a white background. It makes you question the business immediately. Is this a legitimate company, or a scam site? Surely a real business would put effort into presenting the best version of themselves online—so why is this site not up to par?

If someone showed up to job interview in a wrinkled t-shirt and ripped jeans, you might think twice about hiring them. Same principle applies in web design: A sloppy-looking site immediately introduces doubt about your business’s legitimacy and competence into your prospect’s mind.

2. Message Matters, Too

Just as important as a clear, consistent visual presence is a clear and consistent message. Part of establishing trust with a prospect is giving them a sense that they really know who you are, what you do, and why you’re driven to do it. These are all of the questions that a good value proposition will answer. That’s why it’s critical that you take the steps to find out what motivates your existing customers to do business with you and hone in on the themes that they indicate are important to them.

Once you’ve established what it is that makes your business unique and have decided how you want to communicate that message, you want to trumpet that messaging everywhere. Your website’s homepage should highlight the value proposition front and center, and then provide visitors with a call to action that encourages them to learn more about your business.

All other online marketing, including paid ads, social media, newsletters, and emails, should be grounded in that value proposition. It is the North Star for all of your messaging.

And it’s not just what you’re saying, it’s how you’re saying it. Each business must embrace a tone that makes sense for what they do and who they serve. A local credit union and a children’s bookstore are targeting very different demographics, and so their marketing tones will be very different. While the credit union wants to convey stability and trust, the bookstore is likely aiming for whimsy and adventurousness.

If your business’s tone is all over the map, this again introduces doubt into your prospect’s mind. If you don’t seem to have a clear handle on what your business does, how can a prospect trust you to really step up and solve their problem?

3. Switch to an HTTPS Site

So the first two steps were about putting your customer at ease by creating a site that seems secure. But with that, your work is far from done; you now need to implement tools to build a site that actually is secure. Your first move here should be converting to an HTTPS site.

HTTPS sites are encrypted and protect you from hacking. This is important for you as the business owner, because you can guarantee that all of your business’s information remains secure. It’s also vital for your customers; if you’re going to be asking them to entrust you with their credit card information and personal contact details, they are going to want assurance that you can keep that information safe.

While in the past you may have been able to sneak by with a regular old HTTP site, starting in July of 2018 Chrome began announcing to users when they were visiting unsecured sites. Users now see a red “not secure” label in the URL bar any time they visit an unsecured site, which is a literal red flag that your site is not trustworthy.

And if that isn’t enough incentive for you, unsecured sites are also punished in Google’s search rankings, so an unsecured site might be lowering your standing in organic search results. Switching over to a secured site is a quick fix to maintain your first-page search results standing.

4. Employ Further Site Security Measures

Once you’ve made the switch to an HTTPS site, there are a few additional steps you can and should take to further enhance your site’s security, which is especially critical if you’re collecting payment or other sensitive information online.

Acquiring SSL certification is a good place to start for those running e-commerce sites. SSL sites establish a secure connection for sensitive information to be transmitted. Sites with SSL also display badges to indicate their added security, which research has shown increases conversion rates.

Aside from relying on HTTPS and SSL tech to boost your security behind the scenes, you should be making efforts from your side to ensure that you’re not inadvertently opening your site up to vulnerabilities. We’ve shared about the role that out-of-date WordPress plugins played in the massive data leak at a law firm, which got international press coverage.

When you incorporate plugins from third-party developers, you open your site up to any errors in their plugin code. These developers are good about checking their work and pushing through updates to correct for any potential issues, but if you’re still running the original version of the plugin, it’s possible that you’ve left your site open for hackers to get in through the vulnerabilities there and then move into other elements of your site.

Creating a website users trust is an important part of moving your prospects through the marketing hourglass and converting them to customers. Incorporating security elements is the key to establishing a site you know will guard your customers’ personal information, which will keep them coming back to do business with you time and again.

How to Build A Website that Generates Leads

How to Build A Website that Generates Leads written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

In today’s day and age, every business owner knows they must have an online presence to be competitive. But not everyone understands how to optimize that online presence. Your website is the heart of your business’s online existence, so ensuring that it’s designed to maximize lead generation is critical to securing long-term success for your company

How do you create a website that is easily found, catches a prospect’s eye, and keeps them around long enough to decide to give your product or service a try? Let’s take a deeper look at how to build a website that generates leads.

Make it Easy to Find

The obvious first place to start is in designing a site that is easy to find. You’re not going to generate any leads from a site that is in hiding.

The first step here is making sure that your domain name makes sense for your business. If you’re not able to secure your first choice, what are your alternatives? Pick a domain name is memorable, easy to spell, and is something prospects and clients will be able to easily associate with your company.

From there, you’ll want to keep track of how people are finding your site in order to understand which social channels are driving traffic and who’s talking about you online. You can then use that information to be more strategic about where you place your marketing efforts in order to drive traffic to your site.

And you mustn’t forget about SEO in this discussion. If your site isn’t ranking on the first page of Google results, you’re missing out on catching the eyes of a lot of prospects. Keyword research is a critical part of ensuring that your business is actually being found by people who are in the market for the goods and services you offer.

You’ll also want to undertake an SEO audit of your website to make sure that your current content isn’t hurting your search rankings. Screaming Frog offers services that allow you to check your website’s current SEO status: find broken links and crawl errors, analyze how existing pages rank for SEO terms, check site speed, and more.

Give Visitors a Way to Reach Out

When a visitor comes to your site and they like what they see, you want to be sure that you’re providing them with a clear, easy way to get more information from your business. Getting strategic about where and how you ask for information from prospects can help you to generate even more leads from your existing site.

The first step is to put forms on the pages that get the most traffic. Make sure that these forms ask for as little information as possible and that they auto-populate; bogging prospects down with a million questions is a surefire way to scare them off.

You’ll also want to be sure that the forms you create make sense in the context of the other information on a given page. For example, if you’re a graphic designer, don’t put a form offering a free white paper on website design on a page that’s about print work that you’ve done.

You should also provide users with as many ways to contact you as possible. Make your phone number and email address easy to find, and consider incorporating a chat function into your site’s design. No one wants to have to go on a search mission across all of your website just to find a way to ask you a simple question.

Build a Variety of Landing Pages

Creating highly specialized landing pages is one of the keys to generating more promising leads. In fact, research from HubSpot has shown that business with 30 or more landing pages on their website generate seven times more leads than those websites that only have one to five landing pages.

The best landing pages are those that keep it simple. Depending on where the traffic is coming from, you can create a specific messaging that speaks to that particular subset of your prospect population. Make sure that your succinctly outline the problem your business can solve, and that there’s a clear way for prospects to reach out—a call to action button or a simple form—and leave it at that.

Landing pages that are cluttered with too much information or that do not clearly demonstrate your company’s value proposition can leave prospects feeling confused and returning to their Google search to consider one of your competitors. If you’d like to see some examples from a variety of industries, HubSpot has some great ones here.

Create an Eye-Catching Homepage with a Clear CTA

While each of your specific landing pages should have tailored messaging and calls to action, you’ll also want to be sure that your homepage has a general call to action that serves as a catch-all for anyone who might want to learn more about your business.

This CTA shouldn’t be for a specific product or service; after all, this is the page on your website that the general population is most likely to see first, so you don’t want to single out only one of your numerous offerings on this page. Instead, give visitors the chance to learn more about your business. A CTA that asks prospects to subscribe to your newsletter or try your service for free are great ways to catch the attention of the widest swath of visitors possible.

Once you get to know these prospects better and have a deeper sense of where their specific interests lie, then you can begin to target them with more specific offers through email marketing and audience segmentation.

Use Content to Generate Leads

Having a website that’s filled with rich, valuable information is what will keep prospects on your site and entice them to come back for more. This means that your website needs to go beyond answering the basic question of how your business can solve a prospect’s problem. It must provide in-depth content on the topic that establishes your business as an authoritative voice in your industry, and provides prospects with the assurance that yours is the team for the job.

Creating valuable content and sharing that content regularly on your site is a critical part of the lead generation process. In order to do so, you need to establish a content strategy. I have advocated in the past for a strategy that organizes your content thematically. If you pick a different area of interest each month and offer a deep dive into related topics on your blog, you’re creating value for your prospects and continuing to offer interesting content regularly that will keep them coming back.

Once your blog has become a go-to source of information for your prospects, you can target them with offers for related white papers or your newsletter that’s dedicated to a relevant topic. This helps to move these prospects further down the marketing hourglass, as you begin to establish your brand as one that they know, like, and trust.

A poorly designed website will do nothing to generate leads for your business. When you begin to think strategically about all of the elements of your website—from SEO and keyword search to blog content and calls to action—you can build a website that is fully optimized to generate leads for your business.

Why You Need Inbound For Outbound Marketing and Vice Versa

Why You Need Inbound For Outbound Marketing and Vice Versa written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

In recent years, outbound marketing has gotten a bad rap. It’s seen as expensive, time consuming, and it feels like a relic of the past. And the numbers bear this out: in 2017, HubSpot’s State of Inbound report found that 71 percent of businesses worldwide are focused primarily on inbound marketing.

But I’d argue that there is real value in outbound marketing, when it’s done correctly. In fact, you can develop a sort of symbiotic relationship between inbound and outbound marketing tactics in order to create an even stronger overall marketing strategy.

Here, we’ll look at why you need inbound for outbound marketing (and vice versa) and what you can do to strengthen your approach in both arenas.

Tailor Your Inbound Approach Based on Outbound Success

Nowadays, people are trained to tune out most traditional outbound tactics. Television commercials are muted or skipped over entirely, direct mailers are tossed in the trash without a second glance, and radio stations are switched as soon as ads begin playing.

So what information can you glean from an outbound campaign that is successful? If you begin to generate responses to an outbound campaign, you’ll know that you’re onto something. Your messaging was powerful enough to cut through the noise and grab the attention of someone that wasn’t actively seeking out the good or service you offer. And that’s valuable information.

You can then take that knowledge and use it to strengthen your inbound approach. Revamp your call to action on your website to reflect the messaging in your outbound campaign. Create blog posts that are related to the topic you presented in the ads. Adopt a similar tone in your social media posts. Understanding what it was that grabbed a stranger’s attention can allow you to bolster your relationship with those who already interact with your brand or who happen upon it via inbound channels.

Use Outbound to Identify the Strongest Prospects

Tracking responses to outbound marketing can also allow you to gauge who your most promising prospects are. If someone goes out of their way to react to your outbound efforts, it’s likely that they’re very enthusiastic about your business. This is a prospect with a high likelihood of conversion, and if you then open up a dialogue by presenting them with the appropriate inbound tactics, you have a good chance of winning them over.

These are the people you should be reaching out to with targeted offers and discounts. Make sure they’re encountering your paid ads on social media so that your business remains top of mind. Send them a free white paper and ask them to sign up for your bi-weekly newsletter that’s filled with valuable content. You’ll feel confident that you’re getting the greatest return on your inbound investment because you’re going after your most highly engaged prospects.

Catch Customers at Any Stage of the Marketing Hourglass

Outbound and inbound marketing come into play at different stages of the marketing hourglass. Typically, outbound strategies are deployed at the top of the hourglass, where new customers are just getting to know and like your brand. Inbound strategies become useful a bit further down. Because inbound allows you to develop a two-way conversation with prospects, these techniques can be valuable in the trust and try phases of the hourglass. This is where prospects will want to gain a deeper understanding of your brand, and perhaps hear from you or from your clients about what it is that you excel at, and why a prospect should give you a shot.

However, the customer journey is never a straight line, so you have to be prepared for the fact that existing customers will sometimes encounter your outbound marketing efforts and brand new prospects who aren’t familiar with your brand may discover your inbound approach before they ever see one of your ads. This means that you need to be thinking about how to create both inbound and outbound campaigns that are appealing to prospects and clients no matter where they are on their journey.

Your outbound approach should not only be a catchy introduction to your brand, it should also have a voice that aligns with the rest of your marketing, so that your existing customers feel that what they already understand to be true about your brand is just being further confirmed by any outbound efforts they come in contact with. Similarly, your inbound marketing strategy should be accessible enough that a stranger can happen upon any tweet, Instagram post, or paid search item and be able to easily glean what your business does, and what you might be able to offer to them.

Use Inbound and Outbound to Tell Your Story

If you’re only focused on either inbound or outbound marketing, you’re missing out on the opportunity to provide a holistic picture of what your business does, what your value proposition is, and how you stand out from the competition.

Outbound marketing only allows you to present a small sliver of the solutions you can provide to prospective clients. A good outbound campaign can tell a story in a direct mailer or a commercial, but outbound media are by nature briefyou’re limited to a 30 television commercial, one page mailer, or 15 second radio spotso prospects can’t get the full picture. And you can bet that in today’s digital world, even if you’ve gotten their attention through outbound tactics, they’ll be doing some digging on your business before converting.

That’s why pairing an outbound with an inbound approach is crucial. Your inbound marketing efforts, like social media and curated content on blogs or in white papers, allows you to tell prospects a broader story about who you are and what you do. Your social media accounts should have a clear point of view and should demonstrate your guiding vision and principles for your business. Your content should prove your deep industry knowledge and confirm your status as a thought leader.

Prospects want to trust you, and in order to trust you, they have to feel like they know you. The outbound will put you on their radar screen, but the inbound will open up a dialogue between you and the prospect, helping to prove to them that you’re the best company for the job.

A marketing strategy that focuses only on inbound is missing out on valuable opportunities. Pairing inbound and outbound marketing strategies allows you to create the fullest picture of your brand for prospects and clients alike, and gives you the greatest shot at winning new business and maintaining the trust and loyalty of existing customers.

A Small Business Guide to Paid Content

A Small Business Guide to Paid Content written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you’re a small business out in the world today, it can feel like your competition is everywhere. The ubiquity of the internet means that anyone, anywhere, can turn to any provider to get the goods or services they need. In an environment like that, what can you possibly do to stand out from the crowd?

In the past, advertising was the cornerstone of any plan to get your company’s name out there and to attract new business. However, with giants like Google now committing to filtering ads, and with customers being turned off by loud pop-up videos and irritating banners blocking a site’s content, focusing exclusively on advertising is becoming a less sustainable marketing model for businesses.

So what’s the alternative? Here we’ll take a look at paid content: what it is and what it can bring to your business.

Why Turn to Paid Content?

Content marketing is essentially a way for you to create deep connections with customers, establish yourself as an industry expert, and thereby drive sales. This content can be anything from blog posts to podcasts to e-newsletters.

Whatever form the content takes, it’s critical that it’s high-quality, informative, and results-driven content that really solves a problem your potential clients have. If you prove through your content that you understand their needs and that you have a means to meet them, you can become their go-to source for whatever good or service you provide.

The challenge, then, becomes getting that content in front of the right people. You know that old adage “If a tree falls in a forest and no one’s around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Same goes for content creation. You can be turning out some really impressive work, but if no one’s seeing the content you’re creating, it’s not doing anything for you.

Leveraging Distribution Platforms

Getting your content out there to a broader audience is exactly why some companies turn to distribution platforms. These platforms allow you to set a budget and timescale, and from there they work to put your content in front of a targeted audience that will find it the most interesting and useful. We’ve discussed this approach in the past, and while there are a lot of platforms for you to choose from, some of the most popular are covered here.

Content Distribution PlatformDistribution platforms will provide you with analytics, so you’re able to see which content is getting the most traction and can tailor your approach as you learn more about your audience. The greatest downside to these types of platforms is that the content still lives on the margins of web pages. Often located below the site’s content, they look like paid content, which may turn some potential readers off.

Sponsored Content on Trusted Publications

If you’re concerned about the look of content on a distribution platform, you may want to consider sponsored content instead.

While perusing your favorite online magazine or newspaper, it’s likely that you’ve come across a story that’s sponsored by a brand. Perhaps it’s a mattress store that’s written an article about the importance of a good night’s sleep. Or an athletic goods company that’s published a piece about how the proper running shoe can help marathoners beat their personal records.

These types of posts are imbedded in a publication and are designed to mirror the look, feel, and tone of other articles, but in reality, they’ve been paid for by marketers. This kind of paid content is beneficial in a few unique ways. First, it allows you to target the readers of whichever publication best aligns with the target audience for your good or service. It also provides an air of legitimacy for your advertising; if the reader trusts the publication, they’re likely to also trust your content that they find on its pages.

Facebook Posts and Google Searches

Similar in concept to the sponsored content approach, you may also consider placing sponsored posts on Facebook or paying for Google search ads. This is another form of native advertising, which again allows your content to blend in with its surroundings.

Google Search Ad

If someone happens upon a Facebook ad as they’re scrolling through their newsfeed, or sees a search result at the top of their Google results, they’re less likely to be put off in the same way they might be with a more obvious marketing tactic. Since these ads are intended to look like a part of the larger platform, readers don’t feel they’re being “sold” a product or service.

The New Approach to Influencer Marketing

When you think of influencer marketing, it’s possible that your mind jumps immediately to the Kardashians or another celebrity with a massive social media following. But the trend in influencer marketing is changing, and many marketers are now moving away from the celebrity endorsement.

In fact, in a recent study by Collective Bias, 70 percent of millennials said they’re more likely to buy a product that’s been endorsed by a non-celebrity blogger, rather than a celebrity. This is good news for smaller businesses, who can’t afford the seven-figure endorsement price tag that Kylie Jenner commands.

If you’re a small business, think smaller scale. Target influencers who are important to those in your desired network, and reach out to them. If you have a compelling pitch and are willing to send them a free sample of your product, they just may cover your business on their blog or give you a shout-out on their social media platforms.

There are a lot of small businesses out there, creating content and competing for the attention of potential customers. While this can make the world of content creation feel overwhelming, if you focus on creating quality content that really helps your target audience, and find ways to get this content in front of an ever-broadening audience, you can make the content creation approach work in your favor to drive revenues and expand your business.

EMaaS: How Email Marketing Can Be Your Agency’s Most Profitable Service

EMaaS: How Email Marketing Can Be Your Agency’s Most Profitable Service written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Enjoy today’s guest post from David Mihm.

Thanks to John’s generous promotion of my content over the years, many of you probably know I’ve spent most of my career in search engine optimization.

Although many of my colleagues in the SEO world were surprised when I transitioned into the adjacent world of email marketing a year ago and launched Tidings, I hope you’ll understand why after reading this column.

For a variety of reasons, some of which I’ll detail at the end of this post, I see SEO as an increasingly difficult proposition for both small business owners and agencies serving them. Meanwhile, small business owners consistently rate email marketing as one of the top three performing channels, and unlike SEO, it’s not a black box and isn’t subject to algorithmic fluctuations.

I‘d never really paid much attention to it since I didn’t offer it as a service in my consulting days, nor does my previous employer (Moz) offer it as a product. But from first-hand experience, I can tell you that neither of those is a good reason to ignore its effectiveness!

My own experience sending a newsletter has been eye-opening, and while social media garners most of the mainstream headlines these days, email remains as powerful as ever, and it’s well-positioned to be an effective offering into the foreseeable future.

Here’s just a sampling of the many reasons I’m bullish on email.

Minimal Hard Costs

We all love low-cost, high-value service offerings. Costs don’t get any lower than free, which, conveniently, is exactly the monthly price of a number of email service providers.

Mailchimp, MailerLite and SendinBlue offer free plans, and many other providers charge under $10/month, depending on your number of subscribers.

The minimal hard costs of email are a big contributing factor to its high margin as a service offering.

Minimal Technical Costs

Email has four main technical prongs: capturing email addresses, managing lists and campaigns, “designing” your campaign, and delivering your campaign–all of which are usually included in your Email Service Provider plan.

CANSPAM-compliant address capture and list management are probably the two biggest reasons to use an ESP in the first place.

Address acquisition products like Privy and MailMunch make it incredibly easy to tie your website, landing pages, and social campaigns directly to your email lists at your ESP. The management interface provided by most ESPs is more than adequate. And all major ESPs place a premium on deliverability.

Campaign “design” is potentially the most technical aspect of the bunch. (As an aside, a personal pet peeve is the industry’s use of the verb “design” in conjunction with “campaign.” I see so many businesses of all sizes getting hung up on a campaign’s design and not focusing enough on its content, which is what really drives campaign success. But I digress.)

Given that more than 2/3 of email gets opened on phones, using a responsive email template in your campaigns is essential, and I don’t mean to downplay the technical difficulty behind creating that template.  It’s incredibly challenging to account for dozens of widely-used but outmoded email clients like Microsoft Outlook. And there are a range of new dynamic and interactive technologies that larger brands are using to great effect.

Generally speaking, however, each major ESP offers at least one effective, responsive template (including ours at Tidings), so it’s another zero or near-nil cost.

Minimal Time Costs

Email is also relatively cheap in terms of time cost. Unlike social media where daily or even hourly presence performs best, email allows you to duck in and duck out as you have time.

For most small businesses, a weekly or even monthly newsletter helps you stay top of mind with your customers and drive engagement with events happening around your business or important topics in your industry.  

As simple as that sounds, sending a newsletter is intimidating for a lot of businesses! We surveyed 300 U.S. business owners last fall and found that 50% of small business owners aren’t yet sending one, and for the ones that are, 63% of them spend more than an hour to do so.

While the complexity of the ESP campaign interface is a contributing factor, the biggest hurdle for most businesses is coming up with content.

Regular newsletters are a great opportunity for agencies to solve this problem for small businesses. Chances are that many of you are already doing social media and content creation for your clients. And even if you’re not, many clients are probably doing a solid job with their own social accounts.

But organic reach continues to shrink on major social channels, and fewer and fewer people are seeing that content unless you’re paying to put it in front of people. Newsletters offer an easy way to extend the reach of those efforts on an organic basis.

Tidings’ whitelabel platform offers you a turnkey solution to extend the reach of your social campaigns to email, as well as one-click RSS integrations with any public feed. More people seeing your work or your clients’ work with no additional effort is as easy a win as they come!

Predictable and Concrete

Back in my SEO days, one of the hardest parts of my job as a consultant was convincing a client to be patient as their search results gradually improved, and proving how successful my efforts were.  More businesses today understand the value of SEO, but most best practices are still hard to feel paying off at a gut level, it still takes time for them to work, and it’s still difficult to attribute success to any specific tactic or set of tactics.

Clients still appreciate seeing themselves rank #1 for a vanity keyword, but it can take years to get them there (if you get them there at all) and with Google’s increasing personalization and monetization of the search results, ranking #1 organically ain’t what it used to be.

Seeing their own newsletter — and the conversations and leads that it generates — resonates instantly that you are delivering a valuable service. In fact, for many clients, it could be your “foot in the door” on top of which you sell other less concrete services like SEO.

Synergy with Other Services

It’s low-cost. It’s concrete. But the other reason email makes such a great foot-in-the-door offering is that it helps make so many other marketing services more effective.

An email address is the cornerstone of customer intelligence services like FullContact, not to mention more robust CRM programs like Hubspot. Retargeting and remarketing via customer email addresses stretch a client’s paid ad budget as far as it’ll go. And an email address is essential to unlock lookalike audiences as an additional paid acquisition channel.

But you have to deliver something of value to the customer in order to capture their email address — buying lists violates most ESP terms of use, not to mention many anti-spam laws.

As I hopefully convinced you above, many of your clients don’t have time or wherewithal to create something of value on a consistent basis, which is where your agency or consultancy comes in!

With the two major platforms becoming largely pay-to-play for local businesses, email offers one of the best remaining opportunities for organic visibility — and actually makes paid visibility cheaper and more effective. Both of which help your client’s ROI and your bottom line as an agency.

Enables Future Upsell Opportunities

Regular newsletter content is a high-value deliverable in its own right. But it’s just the first step in building a complete email marketing program over time — with many more opportunities for deeper client engagement.

Helping your clients craft a welcome email sequence for subscribers, or a drip campaign for prospects, are no-brainer opportunities.

Segmentation and personalization are emerging as two of the easiest ways to improve the effectiveness of content delivered to existing subscribers.

And deeper analysis around which content is most effective and which subscribers are deserving of extra attention or personal follow-ups (our free Email Intelligence Briefing can help with these questions) can lead to even more profitable email programs.

Your Last Best Option?

As I mentioned earlier, Facebook’s ongoing reduction in organic visibility, Google’s evolution of the local SERP, and the shift to voice search will combine to create an existential threat to agencies that serve smaller-budget local businesses over the next 2-3 years.

Agencies simply can’t charge the margin to place paid ads that they can charge for organic work, and while basic SEO blocking-and-tackling such as site architecture, Title Tags, and citation building will always be important services, their impact for local businesses has declined over the past decade, due to algorithmic sophistication, increased competition, and decreased organic real estate.

To grow or even maintain your client base, it’ll be critical for you as an agency to offer additional services that are just as effective and scalable as these techniques were a decade ago.

Email, meanwhile, is not going away as a top-performing channel.  In fact, with a Return-On-Investment of 44:1, marketers consistently rate it as THE top performing channel. That ROI has actually increased since 2015 according to Campaign Monitor, and it’s particularly true for B2B companies.

Email remains a powerful driver of new business and one of the best ways to encourage referrals. But the time it takes to put together an engaging, mobile-optimized email campaign makes it difficult to pull off for many small businesses. If you’re not already doing so, I hope your agency or consultancy decides to step into this arena, help your small business clients take advantage of the power of email, and grow your business at the same time.

To learn more about how email can help to benefit your business, be sure to visit Tidings. (Yes, I believe so strongly in Tidings that I’ve used an affiliate link!)

About the Author

David MIhm

David Mihm is first and foremost an advocate for sustainable digital marketing techniques for small businesses.  In 2012, he sold his former company GetListed.org to Moz, helping over 3 million businesses get better visibility in the local search engines.  He’s a co-founder of the Local University conference series. David now runs Tidings and his weekly newsletter, Minutive.

Why Link Building is the New Networking

Why Link Building is the New Networking written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Link Building

Despite what you may have heard, link building is not some technical SEO-type of under-the-hood tactic. It is the new networking, and no matter what Google does to try to devalue backlinks, they remain an important factor in terms of your site showing up when people search for the things that you want them to find you for online.

The Game Has Changed

Certainly, the game has changed. There are a lot of SEO folks that charge a lot of money and do a lot of “evil things” in the eyes of Google to generate links because they’re so important.

Here’s what you need to remember: People link to things worth sharing. It really is that simple. It’s not some black hat SEO practice or way to trick people into linking to you. You’ve got to work at this.

You’ve got to create something that people want to link to. That’s why I say it’s the new networking because people want to share great content. They want to share it with their audiences, networks, and visitors.

If you give them something to share and target the right people for links, you’re going to acquire the links that you’re going to need to rank, or at least outrank, your competition.

Keep an eye on your competition

The first tactic that I want to talk about in terms of link building is to keep your competitors close. To find the best resources for where you might find great links or people that might want to link back to your content, search and review your competitors, and find out who’s out-ranking you.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be the person in your town that you go head-to-head with as a competitor. This is anybody who is out-ranking you for the search terms that you want to rank for whether that’s locally or nationally.

Find those people. Do some searches on some of the things that are important terms to you and you’re going to find a handful of competitors or other high authority sites that rank already and that have links.

How do you find those links? I use tools like SpyFu and Ahrefs. What these tools do is allow you to go to any website or any URL and see who is linked to this site, who is sending traffic to this site, and who is linking to their content.

I like to look at the last 30 days because you want to look at recent activity. It might not be that relevant if somebody linked four or five years ago. Look at the recent activity and start finding the content they link to and then start thinking about how you could make a pitch to this website or influencer in a way that would make them want to link to you.

For example, if you see that a particular site links to a lot of guest posts or writes guest posts, think about pitching them on a similar idea. Take an article from a competitor that has written something and really expand on it and make it better. Introduce them to somebody in your network that might be a good contact.

There are tremendous relationship-building tactics that you can do once you start identifying some of these sites that link to competitors. In many cases, they’ll be very motivated to link to you if you’re producing good, relevant content.

Get added to roundups

I don’t see a lot of people doing this, but this is one that I think can be quite easy and quite effective as a way to both get links and also get people sending traffic to your content. About once a week, I get a request from a content marketer who is working on something called a roundup-style blog post.

What they do is they’ll go out and they’ll try to round up a bunch of experts, tools or resources and create a post, because as it turns out, people love roundup posts. They’re like list posts but with more detail and a little more depth. The search engines like them better as well.

They can also draw a lot of shares and links which are two of the main reasons that I think people produce these roundup posts. Let’s say a post features 20 or 30 experts. The hope is that each of these experts is going to spread the word.

It’s a great link building strategy to find sites that routinely assemble these roundup posts, particularly if it’s in your niche or industry. Network to have them quote you, link to a post that you have or include you in their next roundup article.

To find these roundup posts, just turn to Google. If you were trying to find people that do roundup posts, say for link-building, you would just type in Title, Column, Roundup+link building, and you would find a bunch of roundup-type of posts or a list of sites that run roundup posts.

Once you find a suitable list, you’ll want to spend time networking. Don’t just simply reach out and say: “Hey, include me in your next post.” Follow them for a couple of weeks. Read up on them, comment on them and share them.

Do all the things that equate to networking as it’s an effective way for you to start getting noticed and start building strategies. I’m much more likely to link back to a person, pay attention to what it is they’re doing, or in some cases, think about including them in something that I’m doing or sharing a link to some of the content that they’ve written if they’ve shown prior engagement.

Network with local businesses

This is one of my favorites because it’s just solid business content relationship-building and referral building, and it covers so many areas. It’s particularly effective for local businesses and new business owners that are trying to find people in their community.

One of the things you’ll want to do as a business development and business-building strategy is to start networking with local businesses, particularly those that could be potential strategic partners.

Think about also building an online platform with them. If there’s somebody you work with, buy from, or network with that’s local, think about ways that you could link to and from each other.

Let’s say you’ve produced a great ebook. Think about all the strategic partners that you might be able to share that with and let them co-brand it and send it out to their entire network. Think about writing testimonials for each other.

Think about that business that you love and do business with, and write an unsolicited testimonial which becomes great content. They’ll want to put that on their website and in many cases, they’ll give you a link back. If you expand that whole tactic, there’s no reason you couldn’t be doing eight, ten, or twelve of those a month to start drawing links back to your site.

Don’t forget the organizations you belong to either, including:

  • The Chamber of Commerce
  • Your local chapter of your business organization.
  • BNI groups
  • Charitable foundations
  • Alumni chapters

All of these are great ways for you to get links back to your site. One of the benefits of being able to support charities in your community is that in many cases they will create sponsor pages. Those will automatically generate high-quality links back to your site.

Don’t Forget Local Print and Offline Options

Many print publications have online press release portals for local news. Find these sites and learn how to submit press releases to them. Do this every month and you’ll soon start to see some nice links coming from highly relevant, local sites.

There’s no question that link-building has become a hand-to-hand combat of sorts. But again, it is very much like effective networking, if you think a little bit outside the box with some of these tactics. People aren’t just going to shower you with links because you buy them or because you sign up and list your article in a directory. Those days are over.

Today, Google wants to see what feel and look to them like handcrafted, organic links between businesses that support each other through content producers that are writing and producing great content.

Use these three strategies to really ‘up’ your backlink quotient.

If you enjoyed this post take a look at our Ultimate Local Marketing Guide.

 

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What You Need to Know About Google Local Services Ads

What You Need to Know About Google Local Services Ads written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Oh, in my truest Bob Dylan voice, the times they are a changing for local marketing and SEO.

Local search is one of the last places left for Google to wring a little more ad spend out of small businesses.

The local map listing today is pure gold for mobile searches for certain types of businesses and Google knows it so they are expanding their Local Service ads accordingly.

Google recently expanded their Local Services ads (formerly known as Home Services ads) to include 17 cities, with plans to expand to 30 cities by the end of 2017.

Current cities include:

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Riverside, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • San Jose, CA
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Miami, FL
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, ILLocal Service Ads
  • Boston, MA
  • Detroit, MI
  • New York, New York
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Dallas, TX
  • Seattle, WA

The categories that currently qualify include:

  • Locksmiths
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • HVAC
  • Garage Door Services

With the expansion of these ads coming up fast, I thought now would be a good time to discuss exactly what they are so that you can consider them for your business or your client’s business moving forward.

What are Google Local Services ads and how do they work?

Google Local Services

With Local Services, you have the ability to advertise your business on Google and receive leads directly from potential customers. Local Services ads appear at the top of Google Search results (see above) when people search for the services in a given area. Once you click on “50+ plumbers serving Los Angeles,” you will be taken to a separate results page where you’ll see a list of all of the participating local services businesses. You’ll also see a drop-down menu of relevant services next to a zip code search box. We’ll discuss later on how to optimize your chance of getting found in the first three spots on the first page of Google and not just in the list on the full list page.

local services ads

People have the choice to call a business or send a message by clicking on the ad. By using the Local Services app, businesses can reply to messages, manage leads, track bookings, manage campaigns and budget (it’s easy to turn your ads on and off depending when you want them), view an ad’s performance, and review ratings (ratings can come from Google My Business or through Local Services). Businesses can personalize their profile page and select the areas and predefined services where their ad will appear.

To be clear, the ads you run are simply a way to get leads. It’s still your job to turn them into customers.

Businesses that want to participate need to apply and go through a verification process (including meeting certain insurance and licensing requirements) and each employee must go through a background check, so be prepared that you likely won’t be able to get these ads up and running overnight. Once a business is screened and approved, they will receive a Google guarantee badge which builds trust and ensures Google will cover claims as high as the job invoice amount if a customer isn’t satisfied.

Benefits of Local Services ads

Hearing that the beta version of these ads was a success isn’t really a surprise, and the fact that Google is planning to expand significantly by the end of the year suggests the many benefits these ads provide to the businesses who use them. Some of the many benefits include:

  • Increased exposure
  • The ability to connect with customers at the moment they’re looking for services you provide (which, in turn, can lead to higher conversion rates)
  • Access to an easy-to-use management platform
  • Receiving the Google Guaranteed badge (which, along with Google reviews help to build trust)
  • Limited wasted time, as customers choose you (no chasing)
  • Increased odds of turning more leads into customers

How much does this cost?

The beauty of these ads is that you only pay for leads related to your business and the services you offer. The actual costs may vary depending on the type of lead, your location, and the type of job needed. You only pay if you receive a message or phone call through the platform.

You also won’t waste time with spammy leads because if one of your leads isn’t legitimate, you can dispute it with Google (you may not always get your money back, but it’s worth a shot!). The other nice thing about this payment plan is that you’ll never exceed your monthly maximum budget. If for whatever reason you get leads that exceed your monthly budget, they will be credited back to you.

Your cost is easy to manage. You can set a weekly budget based on the number of leads you want to receive, and you can always track your progress in the app by viewing your payment and charge history.

How to get the most out of Google Local services

Google won’t say specifically what factors go into their rankings, but there are some speculations out there that could help. I’m a big fan of building up your total online presence, so if you’re like me, the best practices below shouldn’t be all that surprising and should be things you’re already considering in other aspects of your marketing:

  • Focus on quality
  • Focus on increasing your 5-star ratings and reviews
  • Respond immediately to your messages and phone calls (failing to do so may lower your ad ranking)
  • Maintain consistent NAP (name, address, phone number) across directory sites online
  • Optimize your Google My Business Listing
  • Stay in good standing with Google. If they receive numerous complaints about your business, it will likely work against you.

In addition, Google is a business after all, and they want to make money, so increasing your weekly Local Services ad budget isn’t the worst idea. Your proximity to potential customers’ locations may also impact your rank (Google wants to provide a good experience for the user, not just your business).

Only time will tell what these ads will become, but if you fall into one of the categories and locations, I’d recommend testing them out.

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How to Claim Position Zero on Google

How to Claim Position Zero on Google written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

For businesses today, reaching that coveted #1 spot on Google is still a main goal, and as ideal as that position is, there’s now another spot that marketers should strive for that is referred to as “position zero” or a Google featured snippet.

You may have seen the Google featured snippet appear in search results and have just not been aware of what exactly it is, so I wanted to take the time to not only walk through it but also give some helpful tips to help you get there.

What is a Google featured snippet and why should you care?

The point of featured snippets is to engage the user on search engine results pages (SERPs) and provide the best answer to a user’s questions. The way Google does this is that they have the ability to detect pages that can answer the user’s question (I mean, it’s Google, what can’t they do?). Google will display what they believe is the top result on page one of search results, above organic search results, in the form of either a paragraph, list, or table. The snippet will also include a link to the page, a page title, and the page’s URL.

While snippet information is often pulled from the first page of Google, that isn’t always the case, as sometimes answers can be pulled from page two, three, or even further down.

The image below is an example of what I’m talking about. When you type in “effective social media plan” into Google, the below snippet will appear and will aim to answer your question without you even having to click through to the website where the answer lives.

effective social media plan

If you haven’t guessed, these snippets provide amazing opportunities for marketers to get ahead of their competition. It allows businesses to:

  • Increase their brand’s visibility
  • Increase the click-through rate of the page the answer lives on
  • Increase traffic to their website
  • Boost credibility and authority
  • Increase exposure on mobile devices (these are the results that show up in voice-activated inquiries)

Here’s one we landed for a client.

Jackson Tree Service

Now, the real question is, how do you get there?

Tips to appear in a Google featured snippet

My tips below aren’t necessarily the only assets that can get you to position zero, but they can certainly help.

1. Know your audience

Now, this tip should be at the root of all of your marketing efforts. You must know your audience inside and out in order to effectively reach them. As part of that, you need to have a good understanding of what they’re searching for online and the types of questions they’re asking so that you can properly address them.

2. Do your keyword research

Back to SEO basics. If you’ve never conducted keyword research, this is a good excuse to begin (as is anything related to search results, really). It’s believed that the majority of featured snippets are triggered by long-tail keywords. Since the purpose of featured snippets is to answer a question, I’d recommend starting your keyword research with question-based search queries, as well as queries with an informational intent (like the “effective social media plan” example above).

To brainstorm keywords to get started with and an idea of what your audience is looking for, I often recommend:

  • Exploring online forums or Quora
  • Reaching out to your sales or support teams to see what types of questions they get asked
  • Browsing Google and looking at “searches related to ‘search term’” at the bottom of SERPs or “People also ask” questions that you’ll find in other snippets. Additionally, as you type search terms into Google, it will start to auto-fill related search terms that people have typed in, which can also provide good topics for brainstorming.
  • Interviewing existing clients and prospects and jotting down the types of questions they ask
  • Monitoring questions on social media

3. Create high-quality content that answers questions

If you’ve already honed in on a solid content strategy, then chances are you’re already writing posts that cater to your audience’s problems, wants, and needs. But when it comes to content creation with the intent of getting to position zero, you may want to go more in-depth with the answers and make it clear that you are answering a question.

In terms of going in depth, you are not the only person writing about your topic online, I can almost guarantee it. So, to stand out from the crowd, don’t just skim the surface of an answer. You must go in-depth because that’s what will make your answer the best out of all others out there and will increase your odds of getting the snippet.

The feel of the content shouldn’t differ much from your standard blog posts. They should still be high-quality, entertaining and/or informative, and focused on your audience.

I can’t stress the importance of your audience enough. At the end of the day, the content is for them. While getting featured in a snippet is great and all, don’t make it too obvious that that is your intent with the post.

Q&As seems to be a popular format for getting Google’s attention. They’re user-friendly and clearly and concisely address common questions. This is by no means the only format to consider, but it may be a good starting point.

4. Don’t neglect SEO best practices

While not all of the snippets are pulled from page one of Google, the vast majority of them are, so you can’t neglect SEO best practices.

  • Implement on-page SEO tactics – Understand on-page ranking factors and be sure to implement them on your site. Don’t forget about schema markup as well. This is still an often underutilized tool.
  • Enhance your total online presence – Pay attention to inbound links, your citation and directories profile, social media profiles, online reviews, and of course, your content creation.

5. Focus on formatting 

The name of the game here is to get Google to easily find your excellent response, so formatting your content appropriately can play a big role in getting chosen for this spot. Consider using:

  • Numbered lists
  • Tables
  • Bullet points
  • Charts

The list goes on, but remember the three ways a snippet can appear (paragraph, list, or table) and try to format your text in a way that would fit those categories.

With all of this being said, even after all of this hard work, it may not guarantee you the position zero spot. Even if you don’t reach that position, do not look at it a loss. You’ll still gain a ton of value by working through these processes, including upping your content game and improving your SEO efforts overall, which is a big deal. Position zero would simply be icing on an already awesome cake.

Are you working to get to position zero for your company? What efforts are you implementing?

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