Author Archives: Chris Weatherall

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About Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

How To Be a Better Listener For Business Success

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How To Be a Better Listener For Business Success

Can You Become a Better Listener?

Our fascination with listening – or, more accurately, why we don’t listen – has long been the subject of fascination and rebuke. For example, in a 1957 interview by the Harvard Business Review, executives of a manufacturing plant in Chicago were asked questions about a recent seminar they attended on listening. One of the most prolific comments was:

“Frankly, I had never thought of listening as an important subject by itself. But now that I am aware of it, I think that perhaps 80% of my work depends on my listening to someone, or on someone else listening to me.”

The article goes on to say that many of these executives admitted that the lion’s share of mistakes – including workplace accidents – were the result of miscommunication or failure to listen.

Fast forward 60 years, and the problem has gotten exponentially worse. The human attention span is infamously less than a goldfish. One study found that half of adults could not describe the content of a short oral presentation (10 minutes), even moments after listening to it. After 48 hours, 75% of subjects couldn’t even tell you what the presentation was about.

Another survey of thousands of American workers revealed that we are too distracted to be good listeners. Nearly two thirds of respondents noted that listening has become more difficult as the world becomes more digital.

So, whose fault is it that we’re bad listeners? Technology? Our own laziness?

Bad Listeners in Business Meeting

A little bit of both, with some biology mixed in.

Did you know, for example, that our brains can safely digest 400 words per minute? And did you know that even the fastest speakers can only give rapid fire dialogue around 125 words a minute?

What is the other 75% of your brainpower doing at that time? It’s bored. Hence, it tries to fill that space with other stimuli – emailing, surfing social media, catching up on other digital errands. And listening comprehension goes down.

This issue only becomes compounded with the convenience and demands of living in the digital age. Social media, for example, rewards people who make a lot of noise without listening. The rules of social media dictate that you should:

  • Share a lot of stuff (multiple times a day!)
  • You should publish your own stuff as much as possible
  • When you share other people’s stuff, they share your stuff
  • When you follow other people, they follow you
YouTube, for example, follows metrics like views, subscribers, comments, and likes. When you digitally yell loudly and often enough, you will get rewarded. Even the trolls get rewarded with lots of attention, good or bad.

If you’re in marketing, you’re probably so used to peddling noise that you haven’t thought much about stopping and listening.

Which isn’t necessarily your fault.

Think about it.

When does anyone on social media get rewarded for digital listening? Commenters don’t get their share of the profits or traffic. There is no reward system for showing that you listen, unless it’s a “like.” All the rewards – both the intrinsic (dopamine rush) and extrinsic (profits, if you’re a marketer), go to the person who does the talking.

In this way, we are trained – even professionally – to not listen.

This applies to more than just marketing. As a society, we revere great speakers – if you look throughout history, some of the most highly regarded presidents (based on average approval rating) such as Kennedy, FDR, and Eisenhower – were great orators.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

These sayings have become part of the American cultural lexicon. Now, can you name three American leaders who are known for their penchant for listening?

Bring it down closer to home. How many of your work meetings involve everyone taking turns and digesting what everyone is saying – and how many of them are people talking over everyone else, eager to have their own voices heard? Why is this?

We Desire to Be Understood.

Desire to be Understood

Humans are looking to be understood. That is, at least, a core argument in the book that made Steven Covey famous, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, he says that most people have an intrinsic desire to be understood. This is the foundation of human connection. Unfortunately, in doing so, you may neglect the other party completely, pretending to listen but only hearing parts of the conversation, which can lead to misinterpretation of intent altogether.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Here, you might be getting a little defensive and thinking “I’m a GREAT listener!” Maybe you even count good listening skills as one of your biggest assets.

Science says you might be wrong there, too. In fact, in a study about listening comprehension, only 18% of people could answer simple questions correctly about a dialogue.

Maybe you belong in the 18%. Maybe you think that you could easily repeat something back that someone told you. But that doesn’t make you a good listener.

It makes you a good hearer.

Hearing is the act of listening to noise; listening is deriving meaning from those noises. To be a good listener, you must interpret and understand what people are saying.

In other words, in modern society, what Simon and Garfunkel feared has come to pass: “People hearing without listening.”

How do we resolve that conundrum?

Hear my words that I might teach you:

Listening Is One of Our Most Meaningful Experiences.

Take a moment to consider how listening impacts our life and relationships.

A baby can cry and hasten the soothing touch and murmuring of her parents.

A lonely millennial in the midst of a professional crisis can hear a song on the radio and be instantly transported to a fond college memory.

An elderly patient in a nursing home can experience instant happiness at the sound of a friend or family member on the telephone. There is even some evidence that familiar music can trigger a lucid moment in a patient with Alzheimer’s.

Listening, when performed with understanding, forms the basis of some of the most precious moments and relationships. Who wouldn’t want to hone that skill for themselves – both professionally and personally?

Now, comes the bulk of this conversation: how can you become a better listener? How can you pivot from being a person who makes noise to a person who makes sense of the noise?

There are a lot of different tips we’re excited to share with you, but the bulk of it goes something like this: to become a good listener, you must be an active and engaged member of a conversation.

In a study published by the Harvard Business Review, two CEO’s analyzed the behavior of nearly 3,500 participants in a development seminar designed to make managers better coaches. Of this cohort, they identified the top 5% (who were deemed the best listeners) and asked others to describe what made them good listeners. The results were insightful:

  • Good listening involves more than just being quiet while another person talks. In fact, many people interpret silence throughout talking as not paying attention. Rather, the best listeners are those who periodically ask questions that drive the conversation forward or promote insight. Nodding silently does not tell the speaker that the other party is listening; asking thought provoking questions tells the speaker not only that the other party is listening, but cares about what was said. Good listening, therefore, is active.
  • Good listening does include interactions that help improve self-esteem. People who are deemed good listeners make the experience of having a conversation positive. Creating a safe environment, making a person feel supported, and conveying confidence in the other party were all tenets of good listening.
  • Good listening could also be described as “cooperative conversation.” In other words, good listeners help make a conversation flow. Even when differences in opinion arise, a good listener will not put the other party on the defensive. By contrast, poor listeners are often perceived as competitive and wanting to win an argument.
  • Good listeners tend to make suggestions. Finally, those perceived as good listeners provided feedback in a manner in which the other party was more likely to accept. Authors of the article found this surprising, as it is not uncommon to hear, “But they didn’t even listen, they just jumped in and tried to solve the problem themselves.” This tells us that execution in providing feedback matters.

Good listeners tend to make suggestions

In other words, don’t assume that being silent is the key to good listening, either.

Now, you might be thinking: Why is it important for me as a marketer to be a good listener? Aren’t I literally in the business of “making noise?”

Yes, you should make a little noise, but it is also essential to know how to listen. Here’s why:

When we listen to our customers, prospects, and readers, we can find innovative solutions to our business problems. For example, after hosting live customer interviews, Moz saw more than a 50% increase in conversions. Other practical applications of listening for business include:

In a sense, you could argue that your job as a marketer is actually to listen. Know what your customers want. When you listen and understand a customer, prospect, or reader, you make a connection. And that connection does pay out dividends.

You have to know how to listen to do good marketing and copywriting. But how do you achieve that when you know that most of us are inherently bad listeners?

Let’s Start With The Basics of Being a Good Listener.

First, if you want to understand what is currently impeding your ability to be a good listener, do these three things.

  • Put your phone on Airplane mode before engaging in a conversation with someone.
  • Shut the door to the room where you are having the conversation.
  • Focus solely on the conversation that is happening right there, where you are (yep, shut down your computer, too).

By doing these three simple things, you are already doing better. You’re prioritizing the speaker, minimizing distractions, and preparing what could become a meaningful conversation with a fellow human being.

Now, follow these eight tips to facilitate more meaningful conversations with your friends, customers, bosses, coworkers – you name it.

Tip #1: Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

Remember how we said that good listeners didn’t just stand silently by? Show that you are actively listening by periodically asking questions that drive the conversation forward.

Stuck for ideas? Just follow the example of four-year-olds: “Why?”

Asking for more detail does more than just fill silences. It also helps you drill down a customer/reader/prospects/coworker’s intent to a specific level.

Now, to be clear, don’t actually emulate a four-year-old and interject “but why?” at the end of every sentence. Rather, try strategically rephrasing parts of the conversation and asking to elaborate. For example, when talking to a colleague:

I noticed you said that you like tracking metrics with [this tool]. Why is that?”

Now, you cannot drive a conversation forward by asking “why” alone. Asking intentional questions shows the speaker that you heard what they said, understood it, and want more detail.

Some examples of intentional questions include:

  • How did that make you feel?
  • Can you tell me more about that?
  • Why do you think that is?
  • I thought what you said about _______ was interesting. Can you elaborate on that?

Simply put, asking good questions makes you a better listener, better marketer, better friend, better spouse – you name it.

Tip #2: Be Empathetic

Empathy is a life skill, plain and simple. Like many other like skills, some people naturally have more of it than others. Even if you are not a naturally empathetic person, you can hone this skill over time.

Business is, at its most basic form, the act of meeting someone else’s needs. How else will you understand what those needs are without empathy?

Try to understand what your customer’s pain points and desires are – through their perspective. Not yours.

As you try to hone your empathy skills, you may find that you become naturally more curious about what your customers are experiencing. Curiosity is a part of what many experts call “generous listening.” Philosophy professor Milton Mayeroff describes generous listening in his book, On Caring:

“To care for another person, I must be able to understand him and his world as if I were inside it… I must be able to be with him in his world, ‘going’ into his world in order to see from ‘inside’ what life is like for him.”

Being curious about another person’s perspective is more than just good business – it frames good copywriting, it creates better UX, and forms healthier relationships, both professionally and personally.

Tip #3: Take Quality Notes

You might already be a meticulous notetaker. Most of us Type A people in marketing are. However, the nature of your note taking also matters. If you are jotting things down without understanding them and the insights they provide about other people, they’re pretty useless, no?

Take Lots of Notes
Instead of jotting things down at random, be deliberate in your note taking technique.

Sabina Nawaz, CEO and executive coach, recommends trying what she calls the Margin Note technique. Using this method allows you to make better connections, process information more effectively, and ultimately ask better questions to produce healthy conversation. It’s simple, yet effective. Here’s the gist:

  • If using a digital document, set your pages with a wider margin than usual. In the body of your notes, you will only write down what the person is saying (go for larger themes as opposed to verbatim).
  • On the other column, use the margin section to write down impressions, rebuttals, and questions that may arise from each of the points. In a literal sense, you have an opportunity to set your own voice aside and make space for the opinions of others.
When there is time for you to speak, you have the opportunity to talk about the notes from your side of the column. Prioritize them and cross them off as you go. Try it in your next meeting and see the difference it makes in your listening and comprehension skills!

Tip #4: Provide Recaps Throughout the Conversation

Time to bring out your amateur sports announcer. To occupy your restless mind, try restating a customer’s or users talking points as you go.

An infamous Harvard study using an iPhone app found that 50% of people who were supposed to be focused on a present task were actually doing something else.

If you’re in any kind of customer relations, this is not a good look.

One of the best ways to force your wandering mind back to the present is by restating their talking points. Double check their message and intent by using expressions like:

“What I am hearing you saying is….”

“Do you mean….?”

Over time, you’ll find that using this technique helps you:

  • Process what other people are actually saying
  • Pay attention to acknowledge a speaker’s feelings and intent
  • Convey that you understand and hear the other person’s thoughts (which makes them feel more valued).

Want a simple transitional word for these conversations? According to a TED talk by Julian Treasure, that magic word is “So.”

 

Tip #5: Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Cues

Most of us know that communication is so much more than what we say. Crossed arms are a universal sign of defensiveness, for example.

In a world dominated by tools like texting messaging and Slack, it is understandable that we all could use a little work improving our deductive reasoning of body language. Most of us communicate through screens more than we do in person.

At the same time, it’s those little things – the twitch of an eyebrow, a shadow of a smile – that let us know what another person is thinking. Read more about body language cues.

Unfortunately, widespread use of devices has seriously impeded our ability to connect and read emotions. And it is starting to take its toll. A study published by UCLA found that sixth grade children – digital natives — who watched a video on silent and were asked to infer emotions scored miserably.

A note of good news however – when half of these children untethered from their devices for five days and went to a nature camp (where they had to have face-to-face interactions), their scores improved considerably.

What does this tell us? For one, devices are bad for our ability to discern intent. For another, that we can undo some of the damage by actually talking to one another. Weird, right?

Tip #6: Listen To The “Edges”

As humans, we are hardwired with a need to belong. This is one of the most extensively researched motivations in psychology and harkens back to our need to collaborate to survive.

Your customer, your target user, your prospect, your reader – they want to connect with you. Like all other humans, they want to be understood and embraced, even in little ways, throughout their day.

To truly understand a person, try listening to the “edges” of a conversation. These are the tiny details that, when combined, can spell the sum of a speaker’s intent. Edges can include:

  • The pitch, ebb, and flow of a speaker’s voice
  • Pauses in between words
  • Lulls where a speaker might need a prompt to keep going

Note that patterns and where changes occur in a person’s manner of speaking. These are where the opportunities to connect arise.

Tip #7: Make a Conscious Effort to Quiet Your Mind

Be silent, be still. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but, in today’s bustling, technology-laden world, it’s actually difficult.  One of the easiest ways to really experience silence is through meditation.

Meditation is not something that comes to most people naturally. Intrusive thoughts – “Am I doing this right?” “Is it working?” will inevitably occur. You can’t expect to master meditation the first time you try it. Keep working on it with the help of a beginner-friendly app like Headspace or Calm.

Then, try applying what you learned to listening – actually listening – to another person’s conversation. Be mindful, be in the moment.

Tip #8: Pay Attention to the Layers in the Noise

The next time you’re in a crowded space, like a restaurant during a dinner rush, take a moment to appreciate the activity that surrounds you.

There’s the clatter of dishes as a busy waitstaff clears plates. The sizzle of a steak as it hits a searing hot pan. Murmurs of conversation and a big belly laugh. These are the sounds of business, family, connection.

Listen in by dividing what you hear into sound layers. Acknowledge the impatient toddler wail at table 5 and the sound of a spoon swirling sugar into a coffee cup at the counter. When you practice identifying and appreciating these layers of sound, you will get better at turning some up, tuning some out, and focusing on what is most important to you. Like all other listening skills, this is something of an art form you fine-tune over time.

How else can you hone these abilities? Brown University auditory neuroscientist Seth Horowitz recommends:

  • Listening to new, unfamiliar music
  • Acknowledging your dog’s barks and whines
  • Paying attention to the cadence and candor of your spouse’s voice

When you pay attention to the details in your world, your listening skills strengthen.

How to get better at listening

Putting It All Together

“I need to listen well so that I hear what is not said.” – Thuli Madonsela

So, the next time you have a conversation with a client, try applying the tips we have outlined above. Think about the intent of the customer, pay attention to details like body language and intonation, and use prompts and phrases to make sure they know you understand them. Being a great listener takes practice. However since communication is the root of all human connection, we would say that it is a journey well worth taking.

Avatar for Chris Weatherall

Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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How To Write a Popular Ranking Blog Post

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How to Write A Ranking Blog Post

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The Dangers of Blog “Selling”

We’ve all read those comments on social media posts, right?

“Clickbait!”

“Don’t read – it’s an ad.”

People don’t like being advertised to, and most can sniff out a promotional article from infinite (cyber) miles away. How is it possible, then, to write a blog post or article that ranks well, but does not come off as salesy? How do we keep posts informative that people find useful, all while moving your SEO efforts forward? This is the holy grail of content marketing, and it’s easier to achieve than you might think. Indiana Jones Time!!!!

Following a specific approach to content writing can help you make the most of your content marketing efforts. Here, you’ll learn how to start a blog and create content that helps improve your online visibility. Can you actually sell your products or services without your prospects calling clickbait foul? We know you can. It isn’t rocket science… much. We’ll lay out the process, step by step.

Step One: Gather Your Content Tools

Like any good recipe, you should make sure you have all the ingredients necessary before throwing everything together. Let’s face it, shortcuts and substitutions rarely work out well, and you likely have memories of failed cookie batches to prove it. Before you just dive into content writing, make sure you have proven quality tools at your disposal that aid in the creation of your content. You can break these tools down into general categories: those for writing and editing, those for finding high quality images, and those for improving the search optimization of the article you’re going to write. We’ll talk more about specific tools later, but, in general, we like tools like Grammarly and Canva to aid in the creation of content, screen captures for images, and keyword research tools like SEMRush.

SEMrush

Step Two: Create a Blog Post Template

To have an idea of what a blog post should look like, it is helpful to have a blog post template downloaded. There are several different places you can find these. Google Docs has one, for example, as does Hubspot. Why use a template? Why not just open up a word document and get to writing?

For a couple of very compelling reasons. First, blog templates force you to plan. Even if you consider yourself a “planner,” you might not do the same kind of exhaustive outlining that comes with working from a template.

Second, it’s easier…. the fields are already laid out for you! Why wouldn’t you make this process easier on yourself? Working from a blog template does just that. Fill in the blanks and move on with your day (it’s not exactly THAT easy, but it does minimize the amount of blank-screen gaping during the content creation process).

Blog templates, at a basic level, force you to take a thoughtful approach to your content creation. Your fields may include keyword research, which focuses your plan on social sharing, internal linking, and more. Just delete sections that aren’t relevant to your particular post and prepare to dive into the creation process!

Now, here is the good news: Eminent SEO has a Google Doc template that you can nab in the link below!

Nab This Sexy Blog Template

Here’s How to Use the Template:

  • Open the template link and make a copy (go to File>Make a Copy)
  • Decide on the type of content you will create (Blog post? Webpage? White paper? Guest post?)
  • Plan your content by using the spaces in between the brackets provided and links to tools we love to use.
  • Fill in the blanks using our tips and add your own touch!

Tips For Using the Eminent SEO Blog Post Template and Content Marketing Plan: 

  • Include your key phrase in the Title, and keep it to 60 characters max (read these tips on writing compelling headlines)
  • Don’t forget a meta description, which should be a single sentence summarizing your piece (155 character maximum), including the main key phrase.
  • Create a shortcut URL with your key phrase (ly)
  • Don’t forget your social media plugs! Share with your inside and outside network using tools like
  • Come up with potential hashtags that will help your content trend. Learn more about hashtag research and development.

We’ll expand on these ideas in later steps, but make sure you are following general best practices for blogging when writing your content (don’t worry; throughout this article, we’ll blissfully highlight what those are).

Tips for Writing the “Meat”

  • Your headline is your <H1> tag
  • Your formatting should feature short paragraphs, lots of headers and sub-headers, bullet points, and bolding to “break up” the content and make it easier to read.
  • You should include images at every scroll depth (we’ll get into image best practices later in this article).
  • Aim to use the key phrase 4-6 times within the body copy. Though Google is not as concerned with key phrase density as it once was, it is still important to mention it a few times.
  • Ideally, your article length should be 1500+ words to rank well.
  • Well researched contributor quotes can help you rank, as long as they are from relevant experts with good social followings.
  • Make sure to include a call to action, whether it is to subscribe to something, follow the blog, or comment on the article itself.

You’ll hear many content writing experts say that great content isn’t written, it’s assembled. What does that mean? It means using a blog template to create a compelling outline for the content that’s to come. Once you have your template copied and assembled, you can progress to the next step: the planning phase!

Step 3: Plan, Plan, Plan Your Content (Sing to Tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Plan, Plan, Plan Your Content

Are you staring blankly at that template we just gave you? This is where the planning phase comes in. Your next step is to fully understand the topic at hand. Every business is different, has a unique value proposition, and has goals they want their content marketing to achieve. If you’re interested enough in improving your content marketing efforts, you likely already have an idea of who your target customers are and what kind of information they are interested in learning about. Hopefully, at this point, you have your first blog topic in mind. If you’re having trouble getting to this point give us a holler. Below, for the sake of illustration, we’ll use this blog topic – how to write a high ranking post – and apply it to narrow down subtopics and questions that should be included in the content.

There are a few of ways to do this. Try using research tools, like:

Answer the Public – Enter your chosen blog topic and related questions will appear. For example, when we enter our topic – “blog posts” (don’t be too specific) – idea trees appear with questions that your audience will want answered. This can help you narrow down your focus or develop subtopics that your audience will find useful.

AnswerthePublic Blog Post Screenshot

Google search. The autocomplete section of Google search can be a boon, as it tells you what people are looking for related to your chosen topic. Just go to Google and type your basic keywords and see what the suggestions are.

Google Autofill Suggestions Screenshot

Keyword.io – The autocomplete section of Google search is great, but this process can also be time-consuming. We recommend using this keyword tool to figure out keyword phrases related to your blog topic from Google autocomplete. In order to get data, you must upgrade to Pro, but for a way to make it easier to copy the top suggestions in a list, this is handy.

KWTool Blog Posts Screenshot

Using these tools can help you develop sub-headings within your content. You can also plug them into the “related words and phrases” section of your blog template, as a reminder to include them in your article as you write. Either way, using these steps helps ensure your content will be relevant to your readers, as well as provide some direction for your writing process. A little upfront research now will make for a higher traffic article later, we promise. Putting the extra effort in on the front pays off dividends (in the form of a higher ranking article$$) in the end.

Step 4: Plan Some More (Your Sections and Subheadings, That Is)

Now that you have an idea of the questions your target audience wants answered, you can begin to set up the flow of the article you have in mind. Consider using some of those questions you found using Answer the Public to create subheadings, also using the keywords you found in Keyword.io. Since you have a lot of options, you can take some time to prioritize what you think is most relevant. The more familiar you are with the subject matter, the easier this step of the process will be.

This is also a good opportunity to start thinking about what else your blog article needs to flesh it out. Examples? Statistics? Links to useful tools? Here at Eminent SEO, we tend to be data driven (it’s the nature of the business), so we like to include these elements for our readers whenever possible.

Step 5: Research Your Blog Topic

Research your blog topicThe fortunate part of this next step is that you will likely be familiar with the blog topic at hand. If you are looking to establish thought leadership through blogging, you likely already have a general idea of what to say. The research aspect of writing a blog article may not necessarily be the topic at hand, but data to support it and key phrases will help it rank well.

We could tell you, for example, that from our “Answer the Public” query, we found one of the most common questions asked is, “why is blog writing important?” We know, of course, that regular blog writing is important for SEO and improving your online visibility in general. By spending a few minutes researching, we can also tell you:

  • Websites with a blog have an average of 434% more indexed pages (in other words, way more opportunities to rank).
  • B2B marketers who have blogs enjoy an average of 76% more leads compared to those who do not.

Next, do some research to determine which key phrases will rank well. You should have some idea of keywords and phrases to include by looking at Keyword.io. Put these at the keyword section of your template, and open research tools from Moz Keyword Explorer or SEMRush. There’s a lot out there! We’ll get you a list. The best tools will offer ideas for more key phrases, as well as each phrase’s search volume and relative difficulty.

Step 6: Determine Your Main, Target Key Phrase

How do you know what your main key phrase should be? Ideally, it will fulfill three main qualifications:

  • People want to know about it (i.e., it has a good search volume)
  • You have a shot of ranking for it in relation to other sites (how competitive is it?)
  • The key phrase is relevant to your business or content marketing goals.

How can we make sure that a humble key phrase meets all this criteria? How else, but with a handy array of tools! Yes it’s tool fever setting up a world beater post.

YES there are a LOT of tools, apps, plugins and programs that can help you do key phrase research. Too many to detail in this post for sure. In general, we like to use like:

Google. Let’s face it, when is the last time someone said, “let’s Bing it?” Google is the dominant search engine and also a good source of free keyword data – Google Ads Keyword Planner and Google Trends. Google Adwords will suggest phrases and show you search volume so you can determine the value and the competition. Google Trends, on the other hand, will show you how a specific phrase trends over time. Just enter a phrase related to your blog topic and you can get instant insights.

Google Ads Planner Screenshot

You can use MozBar to give you a little more detail about the competition. Open it, search for a key phrase, and you’ll get access to other metrics like external and internal links. It will give you an idea of whether the key phrase you are choosing is a crowded field or less popular and hence easier to outrank.

MozBar screenshot

Moz Link Explorer to determine the Page Authority of the new page. Page Authority, or PA, is a score between 0 and 100 that helps determine how well a specific page (or keyphrase, when included in the URL) will rank. Learn more about Page Authority.

Moz Link Explorer Screenshot

The key to finding the right key phrase is to strike a good balance between competition and relevancy. To rank high quickly, you should pick the least competitive, relevant key phrase. If you want to rank for more competitive terms, you will have to build a library of content related to the key phrase, not a single post.

The final step in solidifying it is to assess the rest of the competition related to your key phrase utilizing a keyword research suite like SEMrush has. Enter the top ranking URL into the search bar, and Voila! You’ll get related terms and phrases that you can include in your content to rank even better.

SEMRush Keyword Magic Screenshot

Remember to never go to heavy on the stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner, while trying to talk your way out of a traffic ticket OR performing writing tasks. (All big no-no’s)

So you’ve chosen a target key phrase, based on exhaustive research. Congratulations! Now you just skillfully weave it within the article you’re going to write and wait to appear in the top page of search results, right?

Nope.

Keep in mind that adding a key phrase (and related keywords) is only one aspect of writing a blog post. Is keyword research important? Yes. Is creating relevant, interesting content just as or arguably more important that making sure that the keywords are in there? Also, yes.

You want your articles to be interesting – or at least as interesting as you can make them. Loading your articles with keywords because you think it will help you rank well will only backfire (and potentially result in penalizations on Google search). Be skillfully engaging first, incorporate your keywords naturally second, pat yourself on the back when completed third. This was a pretty big step…. If you completed it, congrats.

Step 7: Write Your Draft Headlines and Social Posts

Writing headlines and social media can be essential to making a blog post that ranks well. In general, imagine the reader and how they would react to the headline and social teasers:

  • Do you communicate the benefits of reading the article explicitly?
  • Do you put interesting or evocative words or phrases in the front to draw the reader in?
  • Do your headlines and teasers evoke curiosity and kick up the flow of dopamine?

The tricky thing about social media and headlines is that you need to consider both the psychology of the reader and the optimization of the article itself. In other words, you need to include the target key phrase, but you also want the reader to make the click. It’s not easy, and it takes practice. These additional tips can help.

Step 8: Write Your Content and Gather Your Images

Writing the Best Blog Post

Now that the planning phase is done (we told you that planning was the most important part, right?) you can dive into the writing and image collection. Using your template, fill in the rest of the blanks. You should have subheadings picked out already based on all the research you did. Now, use your own expertise and any additional data and support you found to fill in the blanks. And don’t forget the images! Content with images tends to rank better (given certain caveats related to image quality and optimization for mobile). For how-to articles like these, we like screenshots that better illustrate how to perform each step. Keep in mind that original images are always better than stock, but using stock won’t affect your SEO. For this article we picked a creative, illustrated theme to break up the screenshots and lengthy content.

Step 9: Gather Your Contributor Quotes/Quotes From Influencers

One of the best ways to make a blog post stronger is by adding in quotes from influencers and experts. This naturally helps with social sharing and makes for good networking to write about topics both parties care about. Connecting with knowledge experts, sales prospects and social media mavens is always good business and this is a great reason for them to reply back. Contributor quotes serve three essential aims:

  • More Knowledge! Get an opportunity to learn from someone new.
  • Get More Traffic! When social media influencers share your content you get a larger audience reach.
  • Get More Sales! More traffic = more prospects = more conversions = more potential sales (or whichever currency you deal in).

Gathering contributor quotes is a necessary part of the process, but it also requires some planning. Give contributors at least a week to respond, then frame your email request in a way that’s easy to answer. Whether you’re reaching out via DM or email, follow some simple best practices:

  • Keep your subject short and sweet (i.e. “Contributor Quote?”)
  • Keep your request concise, and include, topic, length, and timing
  • Make sure your tone is friendly and no-pressure

Gathering contributor quotes may seem all well and good, but what if you have no idea where to find them? We recommend looking for social influencers:

  • In your competitor’s social media. If an influencer is working with a brand like yours, they will be more likely to work with your organization.
  • In your industry related search terms. Set up Google alerts to see content from people reporting regularly on topics related to your industry, or check Quora for common threads.
  • Look through industry-related hashtags and find influencers who regularly talk about things you care and write about.

Step 10: Check Your Work

The key to good SEO writing is to target the topic holistically. Yes, you will have a primary key phrase to guide you, but you will also need to cover any applicable subtopics and questions to rank well. Incorporate the keyword phrases that you found during your research (and ideally should be listed at the top of your blog template). Check your work using Control +F (finding each key phrase within your content and adding it if necessary). Be sure to use all key phrases naturally within your content, which may require adding extra content and answering questions that your readers will find helpful. Using this SEO approach will make you a better writer while naturally appealing to both your target readers and search engines. Simple, huh?

Now that you have written your blog post and incorporated all your keywords, walk away from it for a while. Give it to someone else you trust and let them check your work. Have them check from grammar and semantics as well as readability and detail.

Step 10.2(checking is as checking does): Check the On-Page SEO

Finally, run a simple on-page SEO check to see if you have covered all the topics and subtopics at hand. You can use SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant, which is an add-on for Google Docs that compares your piece to others that are ranking well for your chosen key phrase. Plugging your body copy into this add on will give you insight into the originality of your document, its readability, and strategic use of key phrases and keywords compared to the other well-ranking competition.

SEMRush SEO Writing Assistant screenshot

Relevant key phrases that you incorporate in your document will show up highlighted in green. If you miss an important keyword or phrase, it will show up in white; feel free to try to work it in but remember that readability and intelligibility of writing should trump trying to rank for every phrase. I know this is a lot of SEMrush exampling (not a real word, I know) but feel free to experiment with other quality tools. There’s a lot to chose from and you’ll be able to find what works best for you with a little experimenting.

Step 11: Cut, Print, Publish, Release…. Ahhhh

Now that you have exhaustively researched, written, and edited your blog article, it’s time to publish! Choose where you’ll do this – a post can be shared or published in a number of ways. For example, your company blog, LinkedIn page, Medium, released as a white paper, gated offer such as an eBook, delivered as an email blast, or released on another person’s blog.

With your bad ass content live it’s time to reach out to those quote contributors over social media and email. @ them on Twitter and Instagram with their quotes so they can see and share what you’ve written. The quotes are great for newsletters and just about any other sharing source out there. In time with enough content under your belt you’ll be connected with all the top influencers in your space. Your page needs mentions from other websites to rank well and this is a great way to get those. Keep the content updated and edited based on keywords it ranks for and what the web searchers intent is when landing there. If you write more on the topic make sure to link back to your original post naturally. This helps to show Google that you’re a subject matter expert and they should serve you up more.

Congratulations! By completing all 11 steps you just wrote and published a fully optimized article! How do you feel? It’s more work than it looks like to optimize for the users and Google, right?

Congratulations group - you wrote a ranking blog post

If SEO not your cup of tea, never fear – you can always use the Eminent SEO expert content writing team. Our professional agency will take the guesswork out of SEO by providing you with everything from the research to the content development or post editing and final SEO. It’s really up to you how much, or little, you’d like to be involved. We offer a full suite of content optimization and marketing services. Seriously…. That’s what we’re here for.

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Vol. 95: How Recent Google Updates Affect You and Your Business

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Vol. 95

How Recent Google Updates Affect You and Your Business

Google is continually updating its algorithms to make it more search friendly to the user. A recent update, BERT, stands to affect 10% of all search queries, making it the biggest change in search since Google released RankBrain almost five years ago. Here’s what you need to know about BERT and how it could affect your business website.

BERT Update

What Is BERT?

In layman’s terms, BERT is like a neural network for your search engine that focuses on natural language processing.

The acronym stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers.

Essentially, it is a form of open-source artificial intelligence that allows computers to better understand language. Using BERT in queries will help return more natural results, with context in mind.

How Is Google Using BERT?

In a statement, Google said that BERT helps the search engine better understand nuance of language and the context of words to match the user with more relevant results than ever. In an example to the public, Google said that the search query “2019 brazil traveler to usa need a visa” would have featured results of a U.S. citizen traveling to Brazil because Google’s algorithm was not sophisticated enough to tease out the meaning of “to” in the sentence, which provides important context. With BERT, Google should be able serve more relevant results – getting a Brazil citizen information about obtaining a visa to travel to the U.S. – based on the query.

How Will BERT Affect My Business?

With any algorithm update, there is some concern that businesses will be penalized and their SEO will suffer. However, it’s important to understand that BERT is not an algorithm that will penalize websites. It is focused on understanding search queries and intent, so it does not affect current web pages per se.

At the same time, BERT also highlights the importance of on-page SEO. Providing answers to user queries can bolster SEO tactics. BERT will also affect features snippets in all languages, so crafting thoughtful content with the user in mind will only boost SEO.

Businesses who create meaningful content for their users needn’t worry too much about the impact of BERT. With BERT understanding reader queries better, creating quality, user-focused content with precise keywords will naturally bolster SEO and help customers find what they need more quickly.

Need Help Creating Meaningful Content?

Get in Touch

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Eminent SEO turns 10!

“I came to internet marketing using the same tactics and strategies as many generations before me. I quickly learned that in the online world that just doesn’t work. My goals now are to keep deconstructing the most current and effective tactics of the day. We’re constantly finding new breakthroughs in business and marketing achievements a decade in making Eminent SEO feel like a brand new calling day after day.”
– Chris Weatherall, Co-Founder & President, Eminent SEO

10 Years

After 10 years in business, our starting philosophy is more important than ever…

We Offer Custom Website SEO Audits
to Build an Effective Strategy Catered to You

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From the Eminent Team

Medic Update

Still Relevant Today:

Google’s ‘Medic’ Algo Update Threw Us All for a Loop. Now What?

Google claimed it was simply a routine “broad core algorithm update,” the same as it releases several times each year. But to us, we know this wasn’t a run-of-the-mill algo update, especially since we have various types of health care clients.

Read More

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Online Reputation Management Helps All Three

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How to Deal with Bad Reviews

As a business owner in this day and age, you are likely no stranger to the concept of online reviews. The ability to view constant, updated feedback on the products or services your business offers – including the ease of access your website provides your users – is a great way to gain insight into what you’re doing best. In addition, it helps identify potential areas that need improvement. However, reading a scathing customer review – whether founded or unfounded – can leave business owners second guessing themselves and wishing there was some way to prevent customers from leaving negative reviews.

Should you respond to or remove negative reviews? How can you prevent further reputation issues? Do less-than-stellar reviews affect your business or brand?

Here’s how online reputation management can help you become well-versed in online reviews and know what to do about them to maintain a positive online reputation, for years to come.

Do Consumers Really Read Reviews?

Before we begin to discuss how reviews affect your business, it’s important to point out that the mere ability to leave a review can have a positive impact on your reputation. In fact, according to Forbes, as many as 97 percent of people who find businesses nearby do so while online, A good deal of those (75 percent) say that they wind up patronizing a business they found to be thoroughly-reviewed online.

How can the nature of the reviews your customers leave impact future consumer decisions? Whether your reviews are positive or negative, Nielsen’s most recent Global Trust in Advertising Survey found that 66 percent of people trust the opinions of others who have chosen to rate a business online.

Even more impressive, multiple studies suggest that a similar number of people trust online ratings as much as or more than an ex-significant other’s opinion. Simply put, most people are reading your business’s online reviews, and the majority of them trust the anonymous reviewers enough to base some of their decision making on what they’ve read online.

smartphone reviews

 

How Do Reviews Affect Your Brand?

How much sway do online reviews have? Enough that the majority of people – 57 percent, according to Brightlocal – will only purchase a product or use a service that has four or more stars. A majority of positive reviews, or at least a positive average of at least four stars, is important for drawing in customers looking for excellent ratings.

Similarly, negative reviews can have a lasting impact on your bottom line. The same Forbes report states that even one negative review can cost you as much as 22 percent of all business revenue. The number balloons to over 55 percent when three or more negative reviews appear on the first page of your business’s reviews.

How Can You Address Online Reviews?+

customer review ratings

While positive reviews can do your business’s reputation a great deal of good, the helpful effects can only keep rolling in once you know about your positive reviews. In the same way, you can only begin to address the circumstances that led to a negative review – and attempt to reconcile with the consumer – if you are aware of the review. It’s a classic scenario we like to call, “What you don’t know CAN hurt you.”

If you’ve crafted a high-quality website for your business, chances are, some of your very best reviews appear right there on your homepage. However, as the internet continues to expand, so does the ever-increasing list of consumer product and service rating pages, most of which you are not able to control directly. Dependent on the nature of your business, you may garner customer reviews on many or all of these sites:

  • Google My Business
  • Yelp
  • Angie’s List
  • Consumer Reports
  • Trustpilot
  • Amazon
  • TripAdvisor
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Choice
  • Foursquare
  • Yahoo! Local Listings
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Glassdoor

Certainly, it is important to respond in some way to all reviews, whether that response be sharing a positive review so your potential customers can see it or reaching out to a customer who left a negative review in the hopes of retaining lost business. However, since this is not an exhaustive list, how do you begin the process of finding and reacting to the reviews your company garners?

Performing a brand reputation audit is an excellent way of rounding up your feedback so you can determine next steps.

What Is a Brand Reputation Audit, and Should Every Business Get One?

At its primary level, a brand reputation audit involves a professional, deep scan of the internet for each and every mention of your business. Once the data is in, experts analyze the reviews and each listing of your certifications and accreditations to ensure that the information reflected is up to date and accurate. This data provides an extensive overview of your business’s online reputation.

Every business should perform a brand reputation audit to build a comprehensive picture of how current and potential consumers view your business, individual products or services, and even your personnel.

Reputation Audit

Once you have a handle on your brand’s current reputation, the information enables you to develop strategies to address and promote the positive aspects found. On the flip side, it also helps you formulate a plan for dealing with any negatives or missing information. Further, a brand reputation audit is a first step toward longer-term solutions that strengthen your business’s reputation through ongoing and consistent online reputation management.

What Is Online Reputation Management?

We’ve already established the importance of customer reviews and the best way to go about locating them. Now what? It’s time to address the reviews and other mentions of your business.

By highlighting the positives and retaining potential losses by dealing with the negatives, this provides the highest chances of keeping your current customers. Keeping firm control of your business’s reputation is referred to as online reputation management.

Benefits of Maintaining Social Control

ORM is a great way to highlight the very best reactions your consumers have to your product or service. Earlier, we mentioned the extremely high numbers of potential patrons who choose to only use companies with four or more stars on a given rating platform. In addition to your overall rating, showcasing some of your most brilliant, concise, positive comments in a prominent location can go a long way towards influencing consumers still on the fence.

ORM takes this strategy a step further and helps you structure your interactions with customers in a way that encourages them to leave reviews.

What about Negative Reviews?

ratings

When a brand reputation audit reveals negative reviews lurking amongst the positive, the common, knee-jerk reaction is to remove them. However, sanitizing your brand’s reputation may do you more harm than good; there isn’t a business in existence that has a perfect, five-star, customer satisfaction rating, and consumers know it. For this reason, a professional response to helpful critical reviews can reassure your potential customers that your brand is trustworthy in a few important ways.

  • You are actively looking for feedback and receptive of both praise and criticism
  • You’re invested in how satisfied your customers are
  • You want to take action to rectify any negative experiences
  • A variety of reviews is substantial proof that your brand is real and not a scam
  • You are transparent and open to helpful criticism

In fact, a recent survey showed that 68 percent of people found online reviews more trustworthy when both positive and negative reviews were included.

Think ORM First

How should you respond to those negative reviews? First, it is important to build an overall ORM strategy that gets you thinking before every action you take online. ORM helps you remember that while every negative review is visible to the public, so is your response. Never respond without first taking a moment to cool off and review your business’s unique ORM strategy.

Then, respond to the review while remaining mindful of your ultimate goal – to resolve the issue quickly; a response lamenting the customer’s poor experience does neither you nor the customer any good.

Conversely, a response resolving the issue actually increases the chances the customer will do business with you again. Depending on your business, resolution may include:

  • Inviting the customer to your location
  • Providing an answer you or an associate may have missed
  • Locating shipment information

After you’ve crafted your response, it’s a good idea to consult with an ORM professional regarding its potential outcomes. Explore the potential positive and negative outcomes of the response, particularly regarding your long-term plans for future reputation management.

At the very least, get another person’s opinion on what you’ve composed. Finally, if the customer responds and continues to raise an issue, invite them to discuss the matter privately – a maximum of two public responses is a good rule of thumb.

review stars

How ORM Boosts Your Business’s Reputation

Managing your business’s online reputation is not a quick fix, but it is an issue you can – and should – take swift action regarding. Moving your business in the right direction by gaining an overview of your brand’s current reputation via a brand reputation audit is an important first step. It’s also the price of doing business in today’s digital age. Think of it as both reputation management and marketing.

Online reputation management strategies can address what’s already out there on multiple review platforms, while building a strategy for improvement moving forward. If you’re ready for more control over your brand’s reputation, Eminent SEO can help. Together, we can visualize your social strategies for tomorrow by reshaping what you’re doing today, by optimizing your ORM.

Talk to Eminent SEO about Your Online Reputation Management Plan

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Vol. 92: Non-ADA Compliance Shuts Websites Down

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Vol. 92

Why ADA Website Compliance Is Being Enforced

Although many more people are cognizant of the challenges faced by those who live with disabilities, not all businesses comply with the necessary guidelines set forth in 1990 by the American Disabilities Act (ADA). But most don’t even know it.

Companies have put focus on ensuring that their physical business aligns with the law, specifically in the changes needed to make accessibility to their premises accommodating to people with disabilities. These include wheelchair ramps, widened hallways, accessible restrooms, and more.

Then where’s the problem? The virtual space. 

ADA Contains Ambiguity that Attorneys Can Capitalize On

Sometimes the law doesn’t catch up with business trends and the escalation of technology. ADA is no different, though the way much of the law is languaged allows for interpretation, and the updates needed to apply to today’s standards. Consider,

  1. How you search online for a business.
  2. How you navigate through a website.
  3. The way you make a purchase online.

These steps in our everyday lives are not always readily available to those with disabilities, especially the blind or visually-impaired. Many web-based business owners never even thought about it.

Now, websites are getting flagged for non-ADA compliance. But do you know what to do to put your site into a better ADA light?

Steps to Making Website ADA Compliance

Here are some of the ways to support the ADA on your website.

  • Ensure keyboard navigation
  • Add text and media enlargement features
  • Provide alt tags for media files
  • Add content transcripts
  • Optimize header code

To learn more ways to optimize your website for ADA, refer to this ADA blog post here or contact us.

Need Help Making Your Website ADA Compliant?

Prefer a phone call? Dial 1.800.871.4130


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Industry News

If Your Business Has a Web Presence Without ADA Compliance, You Are at Risk

In years 2017 and 2018, a record number of federal-level lawsuits were filed against companies, whose websites did not comply with ADA laws, making it near impossible for those with vision-impairment disabilities to access online businesses. This continues to impact businesses to date. As a business owner, is your digital presence risk-free? Would you even know what to look for?

Read More


From the Eminent Team

What Does It Take to Have an ADA Compliant Website?

ADA Compliance – Is Your Website Up To Snuff?

The visually impaired and other consumers with disabilities seemingly have been forgotten when it comes to website design and accessibility. Where does your site stand?

See the Full Article

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Vol. 91: Business Citations are Not Just for Local

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business citations

Build Locally, Win Globally

For the local business owner, growing a customer base on a global scale may not seem like a smart approach. And for the business who resides on the web only, localizing your market to your business headquarters may seem pointless.

Logic, Google, and search engine rankings will often defy logic. So to stay in the game of this thing we call “the web”, you need to understand the rules in order to play, and win.

What Are Local Citations and Why Are They Important?

Put your internet-user hat on for a minute. Let’s say you’re looking for a specific product, ice-cream that can be created and flavored to your liking. Ice cream customization to the endth degree. As you enter your search for this online, Google will populate listings that have the most relevance related to your criteria. Let’s also consider that this discussion is based on organic search and not paid ads.

If this company has multiple brick-and-mortar locations in the Southeastern United States and you, as the consumer, reside in Hoboken, New Jersey, this establishment may not be a fit.

Local Citations

HOWEVER, this ice cream can be drop shipped via dry freezer. So physical location is not as much of an obstacle.

Here’s where local citations come in. Each time your business has a presence on the worldwide web, it scores ranking points with Google. A local citation of your business includes your business name but can include your physical address, phone number, website, and map to where you can be found.

There are structured and unstructured citations. Structured citations are common and readily found through business listing directories such as Yelp, Mapquest, Facebook and more. Business mentions in online media outlets, wikis, and blogs are unstructured.

The More Local Citations, The Merrier

Search engine algorithms factor in local citations for ranking. It isn’t just about the quantity of local citations that you have but also the quality of them.

Quality local citation assessment includes:

  • Core Search Engines
  • Primary Data Sources
  • Tier 1 – more prominent websites

Local Citations Are a Powerful Tool for Non-Local Sites

Even though many online businesses may not have a physical storefront, the benefits from local citations will still serve them well by increasing their rankings.

Here’s How to Build Local Citations in 5 Easy Steps

Need ideas on where to get started and how to find viable citation sources in your geographic area? Try these.

  1. Do an online search for a competitor but use the results that do NOT include that company’s website.
  2. Search for two local businesses by including their names together in a single search. What will likely pop up are other content sources that list these business names.
  3. Do a location-based search for the city, town, or region that is of interest to you. Those search listings may reveal businesses that would be interested in adding your business as a local citation to their content.
  4. Use geo-targeting tools: Moz has a great one called Link Intersect
  5. Try Google Alerts to find which media outlets are giving these same businesses online exposure. Those may prove to be some great sources to connect with.

Need Help with Building Citations?


Industry News

89% of Marketers Increase Sales by Using Location Data

A 2019 Lawless Research and Factual survey measured the outcomes of marketer participants who used location data in their campaigns. The findings indicate that the primary use of location data was to target specific audiences, gain engagement, hone strategy, and enhance the customer experience. If these aren’t reasons enough to include location data in your marketing efforts, some may call you a dinosaur.


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From the Eminent Team

What Is a Local Citation

What Is a Local Citation?

The more other people talk about your business online, the greater you can rank for local searches. Think of it like web gossip with a purpose.

See the Full Article

 

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Vol. 88: Try These 5 Actionable Tips to Increase Conversion Rates

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Vol. 88

Careful How Your Webpages Lead, They May Not Follow

User behavior in any given target audience is often difficult to define, because consumers are always redefining what they’re interested in and how they act on it. As marketers, it can make us pull the hair out of our heads (that is, if we have any left).

To get a better grasp on digital marketing strategies and how to make websites and landing pages more effective, we decided to dive deep behind the façade of the screen and examine the methods behind the messaging.

What seems to be the crux of many a problem in conversion rates is that the information provided to the user doesn’t convey what’s “in it for them”.

Today’s user experience isn’t just about meeting them where they are in their personal or business sales journey, it’s about convincing them that whatever you have they need, NOW, the tangible and intangible. Unfortunately, this can’t be accomplished by relying on digital intuitiveness alone. This is when creative content creation, design display, and time-sensitive offers come in to play. Do it all right, and you are winner-winner-chicken-dinner!

You might still be convinced that you’re following best practices to increase rates of conversions. But something’s amiss. Remember, what is trending today is gone tomorrow. This is why we recommend basing your web presence on the best of what you have to offer and presenting it in a manner that resonates with trends and tried and true tradition.

When you execute digital strategies in this manner, should the trends change (and that’s what they do) your messaging won’t be completely off target.

Here Are 5 Less Known Strategies That Convert:

  1. Choose Your Words Carefully. Consumers today are natural born skeptics. Just because marketers tell them to do something doesn’t mean they’ll comply. Give them a compelling reason to act. And if you throw in a word or phrase that reminds them that what you have to offer is exciting, fresh, or the next greatest thing to sliced-gluten-free-bread, you’re golden. And the word free doesn’t hurt either.
  2. Use CTAs with FOMO. Call-to-actions are best voiced when it answers the when and why of a campaign. For example, most people won’t come in for a free Dairy Queen ice cream cone just because it’s offered. But, if you are providing this free offer to celebrate the first day of Spring, you give people a reason to blow their weight loss diet plan. And yes, there’s that free thing again.
  3. Start Social Prospecting. As long as you’re putting your best face on social media, do more than wait for followers to come to you. Now you can troll for them. Inbound marketers know this well: by hunting down potential prospects where they live on social channels, you’ll learn how to bring them to your site.
  4. Test Usability. Sometimes it’s what you say that sends a user elsewhere. Sometimes it’s how you said it – the tone, the color, the layout, or even the size and placement of a CTA button. Not sure what’s wrong? Face reality (as painful as it may be) by adding A/B testing to your pages. It’ll help distinguish what small changes are needed to get conversions on track.
  5. Location, Location, Location. Make your landing pages move to where the user is. With dynamic landing pages, your product or service is seen by a web user and includes location-specific information, making the consumer-product connection instantaneously easier, increasing the rate of conversion.

Need Help with Conversions? We’re Here For You!

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From the Eminent Team

How Dynamic Landing Pages Help Increase Conversion Rates

Find out how to bring your customers closer to you and experience an increase in sales enablement.

How Dynamic Landing Pages Help Increase Conversion Rates

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Optimize Your B2B for Better Website Conversions

Getting the attention of your referring business partners and potential industry prospects differs from consumers. Learn how to capitalize on this ready-made market.

How to Optimize Your B2B Website for Conversions

See the Full Article

 

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Vol. 86: We Made this Guide that Gives You PROVEN Processes that Work

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Vol. 86 - Why Business Structure Won’t Define Marketing Success

Keys to Sustaining Business Growth

It’s uncanny how professionals get caught up in certain words and the way we define them. For example, consider setting up a new marketing campaign to roll out in 2019. Creative and sales-centric people will focus on finding a solution or establishing a process.

Similar to how short-lived a one-off ad can be, a solution implies a single answer that, once applied, is complete in that moment. But business needs and accompanying marketing efforts need to be fluid in order to meet with change in demand.

Economists have touted this year as one that must include agility to reign in success. For companies that keep old school solutions at the forefront of forecasts will watch more progressive competitors blow past them. Why? It’s all in the processes that help you adapt to change.

Our eBook Gives You Proven Processes that Work:

  • Define Yourself. When you’ve decided to execute on updating your brand, make sure to dot all the I’s and t’s. This can be especially difficult with web pages, external links and social campaigns because old posts tend to live on past their ‘prime’. Yes, there’s a process for that.
  • Sales Is NOT Marketing. Marketing gives the message that sales can talk about. Sales takes that message to nurture a lead or follower, present a pitch, and close the deal. One team cannot effectively do both. Period.
  • Do Digital Right. How well does your business gather and disseminate information? When you have systems in place that not only track where a consumer goes but where they drop off your site, it helps understand the user experience, silo your leads, and respond in a more targeted manner. There’s success in that.
  • Lean and Mean. When your initiatives change, staff needs often do too. Revisit key team players as well as ancillary vendors. You could be overlooking overlapping responsibilities that can cost you on consistency and your bottom line.
  • Relevance through Visibility. Maximize your brand wealth by positioning it across multiple media channels, implementing multi-channel and cross-channel platforms. Simply modify design and copy to fit the medium and audience.
  • Selling Yourself Short. This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of business marketing to accept. It affects product/service perceived value which can crunch pricing, create social stigmas, and limit engagement. Market and sell with confidence, reflected in a strong price point. If you don’t value who you are and what you have to offer, why should your customers?

Business That Booms eBook
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Want to Know More About Our Strategic Approach to Marketing?

While PPC is beneficial, we’re entrenched in building business organically. It’s how numbers get real, and grow success.

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Marketing Tip

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@eminentseo

''Establishing or reestablishing your company brand isn’t just about standing out in the crowd of competitors. It’s about reconnecting who you are with where you’re evolving. Stated simply, 'Brand up.''' - Melanie Stern, Creative Marketing Strategist, Eminent SEO #brandup #buildbusinessboom

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From the Eminent Team

We’re still perplexed at how many people interchange the terms “sales” and “marketing”. They are not the same. While these internal teams often wreak havoc on each other, overall success relies on cohesive synchronicity between both.

If your sales force is blaming marketing, and marketing is blaming sales, we can help put everyone on the same page:

Sales + Marketing = SUCCESS - Eminent SEO

How to Align Sales and Marketing Strategies

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Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Vol. 83: Link Building Answers Could Be Right Under Your Nose

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Existing Relationships Link Building Connections - Eminent SEO

Turn Existing Relationships into Link Building Connections

If you’re a small business owner, you’re going to have to lean on existing relationships – personal, professional, etc. – to help get your business off the ground.

Building Business Relationships Digitally And In Person - Eminent SEOThis rings true for launching your own website and trying to get it to rank on search engines. Links from other websites are going to be crucial to helping you achieve the rankings you desire, no matter how great of a writer you might be.

Have you thought about using your existing relationships to land coveted links from other sites? With closer relationships, it could be as easy as asking and receiving.

In other instances, you may have to nurture your relationship with that contact. You might even offer them something – such as a positive online review – ahead of asking for a link from their site.

No matter what, don’t overlook any relationships you already have when it comes to link building for your small biz website.

Learn More About Link Building:

Organic Marketing Services

Additional Link Building Tip

@eminentseo
@eminentseo

''Link building is all about establishing relationships, and if you already have a relationship with someone, then the first step is done.'' - Chris Weatherall, President of Eminent SEO @eminentseo #linkbuilding

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From the Eminent Team

Need some helping with earning links to your website? Check out our quality link building services.

If you want to read more tips on stepping up your link building and SEO skills, look to the following resources from our blog:

How Long Does SEO Take Clock - Eminent SEO

How Long Does SEO Take and Is It Worth It?

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Do PR And SEO Link Building Overlap - Eminent SEO

Do the Fields of PR and SEO Overlap? A Closer Look at How One Can Strengthen the Other

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Avatar for Chris Weatherall

Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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Vol. 82: 5 Quick Tips for Effective PPC Campaigns

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Newsletter Quick Tips Effective PPC Campaigns - Eminent SEO

Succeed with PPC

With all of the changes to the organic search results over the last couple of years, pay per click (PPC) advertising is as important as ever in the digital marketing world. An effective PPC campaign will both support and enhance your overall marketing efforts while helping you achieve a solid, measurable ROI.

Here are some quick tips to help with your PPC marketing:

Tip 1: Don’t underestimate the value of keyword research.
Keyword research is the core structure of the overall PPC campaign.

Tip 2: Write compelling ad copy.
Explain what makes your company different. You have two description lines to explain your offer and the advantage you offer over the competition.

Tip 3: Test landing pages.
Perform A/B or multivariate testing on your landing pages to find out which content converts the best.

Tip 4: Pay attention to analytics and keep testing.
Review CTR and other metrics regularly to be sure you’re not throwing money away on ads that aren’t working.

Tip 5: Use PPC data to aid your organic SEO strategies.
PPC and organic SEO don’t have to, and shouldn’t, exist in isolation. The lessons you learn in one campaign might help you with another.

Get More Details on These Tips and See Additional Ones:

Get Our Free PPC Campaign Guide

More Advice on Effective PPC Campaigns from Our CEO

@eminentseo
@eminentseo

''Most platforms have become pay to play in one form or another, even Google. Do a search for a product or service and look at the types of results you get. More than likely, you will see multiple paid ads first in the results.'' - @dayofjen #PPC.

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Featured Resources

In addition to following the 5 steps listed above and in our free eBook, the following reads will help boost your understanding and execution of PPC campaigns even further.

Pay To Play Era Of Digital Marketing Strategies - Eminent SEO

The ‘Pay to Play’ Era of Digital Marketing Strategies

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8 Tips for Effective Landing Pages

8 Tips for Effective PPC Landing Pages

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Avatar for Chris Weatherall

Chris Weatherall

President and SEO Strategist Chris has over a decade and a half of website development, SEO and organic link building experience. He manages the strategy for each client and drives the search engine rankings and traffic Eminent SEO is known for. When you hire Eminent you hire Chris, which means you have a veteran organic search expert on your team. Oh, and he’s funny too!

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