Category Archives: Content

Web Copy Is Like ‘Show and Tell’ for Your Readers

Web Copy Show And Tell For Readers - Eminent SEO

Content needs to shift almost as fast as lightning, almost. But lightning never strikes in the same place twice.

Web content does, daily. At least that’s what every business owner hopes – to have multiple hits on their web presence from the same user. Content trends indicate that the possibility is more than likely.

The Content Marketing Institute-Marketing Profs study in 2016 showed that most North American business-to-business marketers planned to increase their content generation. How they will develop content strategies going forward will be representative of a difference in today’s web copy mindset. It’s all about the storytelling – and then some.

Web Copy Plays Show and Tell with Your Business and Its Customers

Whereas content was once looked upon as food for thought to fill a blank web screen, content is now deemed more serious than ever. The disdain for “fake news” and Snopes-worthy stories (that are rumors at best) has borne a new kind of web consumer: the truth seeker.

The demand for solid, substantive web content is not only echoed from businesses and consumers alike, but from Google analytics as well. Why?

Effective and Efficient – Either It is or It Isn’t

Google has reset the way it values content. Content optimization is still important, but the quality of content versus quantity of SEO indicators has been brought back into balance.

Consumers aren’t just hungry for great content: They want to be able to bite their teeth into it, leaving them chomping at the bit for more. It’s a business’s dream come true.

Today’s content needs aren’t just about having accessibility to all things information. It’s about time: the value of our time – and not having it wasted.

We want the right information on the first click or swipe. Content needs to possess effectiveness and efficiency. No bait-and-switch copy. No guts-without-the-glory gab. It should be “just the facts, ma’am” with a little entertainment on the side.

Scroll, Stop and Share

According to an article last year in Adweek, more than 82 percent of video views come from mobile devices. More than 65 percent of consumers make purchases online through mobile as well.

When creating web content, most digital marketers struggle to have their desktop content translate well to mobile devices. It’s not an easy task.

Content strategists mull over this dilemma, looking to find alignment between effective messaging and efficient delivery. It’s now all about the scroll, how to get the user to stop and share your story. Results matter. Don’t they?

Content Breeds Opportunity

Web copy, on a company site, can effectively do two things: establish a brand presence and execute sales enablement. Sure, there are other sub-categories within each, but brand presence and sales enablement are the large-scale objectives.

Your web copy strategy should also involve:

  • Prospecting
  • Lead generation
  • Customer retention
  • Nurturing relationships (with customers and affiliate partners)

But before you can go there…

…Your web copy has to start here:

The Audience Says, ‘Are You Talking to Me?’

Ayn Rand Contradiction Quote - Eminent SEOWhether your online audience is a specific niche or broad-based, your web copy must speak their language – literally and figuratively. The story told should be compelling, yes, but it should be laden with texture and color.

With words? Absolutely. Here’s how.

Great copy should:

  • Create a picture
  • Create an experience
  • Evoke viewer emotion
  • Elicit viewer response

In sales, there’s an adage, “You don’t get if you don’t ask.” Use that analogy for web copy. If you don’t ask for a response, you most likely won’t get one.

Use actionable words that entice the user and drive engagement. Where warranted, use the talents of industry experts to help create pertinent content to generate authenticity, which speaks volumes to your business community.

Southern-Fried Chicken Ain’t for Yanks

In marketing and in life, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Once you’ve got a good grasp on who the audience is, remember it with every breath of copy exhaled. It is the crux of web success.

This was evident in an online creative campaign I once worked on for an assisted-living company located in the Southeast. They wanted to appeal to three audiences: those who need in-home care, loved ones of those needing care, and potential health care partners.

In an effort to position this company as an industry resource with empathy for its audience, we created a vlog and blog strategy based on a character named Grace who spoke eloquently with a Southern drawl, of course. Going on about “fixin’ to eat bean pie” may not appeal to a viewer in New York or Arizona, but it didn’t have to. We were targeting the South.

Expectations Are Like Opinions, Everyone Has Them

Now that the importance of audience identification and language, tone and manner has been established, let’s delve into the realm of expectations.

Web copy directly and indirectly sets up the following expectations about your business:

  • Culture
  • Brand
  • Experience
  • Products or services
  • End result

Take a web walk through your site to ensure that the above-listed expectations mirror what your content speaks.

Words Can Over-Promise and Under-Deliver

Copy can be overzealous in approach, dialect and rhythm. But at the end of the consumer web experience, did the copy tell a good story for story’s sake, or did it pitch the truth?

Put a filter on self-serving creativity. It might get you an entry into The Webby Awards, but that doesn’t mean you’ve attracted your viewers, much less represented your product or service honestly.

The No. 1 Question in Web Copywriting

With every piece of content you put out there to support your business, ask yourself (from the reader’s perspective), “Do I care?” The answer should be an unequivocal, “Yes!”

The Best Web Copy Show and Tell Safeguard

To stay a head above your competitors’ web positioning, think hats. Your brand positioning is one hat, and your audience is another hat. With the right web copy, you can show and tell your company’s story in a manner that resonates with your audience and reflects your brand.

And then your two hats effectively become one. Isn’t that the point of your website?

Let Us Create a Better Brand Experience for You

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Be Careful Not to Choke on Your Aspirations, Content Writers

Are there any audiences less forgiving than readers on the web? Many content writers ask themselves this question on a regular basis, and their assumptions aren’t far off.

According to data collected by publishing intelligence firm Chartbeat, a majority of users (55%) spend less than 15 seconds on a web page before moving on to the next one. Dang! Talk about the importance of a first impression.

After reading this report and reflecting on how hard it can be to hook and engage online readers,  I was reminded of another audience with even less patience than readers on the web: the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, Darth Vader.

After all, who could forget how quickly the iconic Star Wars villain dismisses information he deems inconsequential or subordinates who have lost his confidence. If you equate “bounce rates” to “being strangled to death with the Force” then the parallels are actually pretty hard to ignore.

It’s important to note that much like Imperial officers, content writers are enthusiastic about providing their audience with valuable information. Unfortunately, our eagerness to please and grand designs for our copy sometimes can get in the way of providing the audience with the answers they are actually looking for.

So let’s take a closer look at how a handful of Star Wars characters meet their demise at the hands of Darth Vader and see what their deaths can teach us about the wrong ways to engage with a demanding audience.

Don’t Mislead Your Reader

Capt Raymus Antilles Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOThough technically a member of the Rebel Alliance, Captain Raymus Antilles has the distinction of being that very first person we see being throttled by Lord Vader in the opening minutes of “A New Hope.” He is quite bold in telling Vader that his ship is merely on a harmless “diplomatic mission,” considering the last scene of “Rogue One” features the Sith Lord watching them jettison away from the docks of Vader’s personal flagship. And to be fair, he isn’t lying, from a certain point of view.

However, his word choice certainly isn’t intended to guide his audience to the truth. In this way, Captain Antilles provides a great example of what happens when you underestimate the intelligence of your audience.

As a content writer, you may sometimes feel tempted to quote data or a report that doesn’t entirely support your argument. You may be in a rush to meet a deadline or feeling frustrated with the research process, and settle on quoting evidence that, at best, has some tangential relevance to the point you are making in your copy. This is the way of the Dark Side.

Taking this approach assumes that your reader not only knows less than you about your subject, but also lacks the presence of mind to check your references. If you’re found out, your credibility with your audience is shot for good and your reputation as a writer is put into jeopardy.

While this outcome may be less dramatic than your trachea being crushed by Darth Vader’s prosthetic metal hand, the consequences of misleading your audience are very real.

Don’t Get Personal or Political

Admiral Conan Motti Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOAdmiral Conan Motti gets choked about 30 minutes into “A New Hope” during a debate among Imperial officers aboard the Death Star about how to deal with those dastardly rebels. Ignore the fact that Admiral Motti’s extreme skepticism of the Force makes absolutely no sense given that the Jedi Council was the galaxy’s most influential nonprofit just 20 years prior. Instead, focus on his obvious misstep in anticipating the experience of his audience.

Death Star Other Planet - Eminent SEOAdmiral Motti might have been able to persuade Vader to his side if he had stuck to verifiable claims about the military and strategic value of the Death Star. Instead, he allowed his own personal distaste for Vader’s religious background to color his rhetoric.

As copywriters, we should always be aware of how our personal biases can influence how we write and what we write about.

First and foremost, we must remember that we are representatives of our clients. Part of our responsibility is to make sure the client’s voice and perspective trump our own when producing copy for their website or a digital asset.

We must also acknowledge the potential for our personal biases to color our writing, and that our readers are capable of seeing through our mistakes. After all, an easy way to lose your audience is to make them feel like your copy is antagonistic toward something they hold dear. If that audience includes an evil space wizard, you might lose your audience and get choked to death.

Don’t Expect a Fair Shake

Admiral Kendal Ozzel Darth Vader Dialog - Eminent SEOIf you’ve been writing for the web for any period of time, you’re well aware of the importance of the opening line. Hooking readers is key to keeping them on the page. At the same time, a carefully curated opening line can do wonders to disarm a personal bias that might prevent a reader from fully engaging with the rest of your page.

Admiral Kendal Ozzel demonstrates life-threatening ignorance of these principles in his abrupt conversation with Lord Vader in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Remember that shortly before Vader summons Admiral Ozzel onto video chat, the Sith Lord had been stewing in his personal chambers over the officer’s tactical blunders during the siege of Hoth.

It seems pretty clear that Vader is Facetiming the admiral specifically to choke him to death with the Force and promote his nearby subordinate. If Ozzel had any chance of avoiding his grisly fate, it would have to be with his opening line.

Unfortunately, Ozzel did not anticipate that his audience was entering the conversation under the influence of a powerful negative bias. He led with a bland, predictable opening that probably encouraged Vader to snuff him out that much faster. More importantly, he lacked sufficient familiarity with his audience to anticipate these negative feelings and subvert Vader’s expectations.

We as content writers must learn from Ozzel’s errors if we have any hope of improving bounce rates and user engagement on our pages. The opening line matters.

Don’t Fail to Deliver

Director Orson Krennic Darth Vader Dialog Rogue One - Eminent SEOOrganization and delivery are key to producing high-quality content. These qualities are equally critical when it comes to designing and manufacturing an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet. Director Orson Krennic learns this lesson the hard way during “Rogue One” after reoccurring spells of incompetence lead him to a potentially deadly encounter with the Sith Lord.

Leah Max Vader Spaceships - Eminent SEOAs content writers, we can draw out a few useful nuggets of information by examining Krennic’s near-death-by-Force experience with Vader.

First and foremost, it is clear from Vader’s tone that Krennic had under-delivered in the past with regard to the development of the Death Star. As a result, the trust of his audience (Darth Vader and, more importantly, Emperor Palpatine) had already began to erode.

Content writers can likewise compromise the goodwill of their audience by promising one thing in titles and headers then failing to follow through in the copy.

Second, Krennic’s first reaction when confronted with feedback from his audience was to deny wrongdoing and deflect blame. This course of action results in him being strangled by a mystical energy field that controls his destiny.

Similarly, content writers have a choice when they fail to live up to the standards of their audience. They can either run from blame or take responsibility and commit to improvement.

(Don’t remember Darth Vader’s affinity for choking insubordinate members of the Empire – both by hand and by Force? Watch a “highlight reel” here.)

Trust DARTH

We’ve discussed in detail all the wrong ways to approach your audience as a content writer. But what can we take away as far as positive examples? Unfortunately, the Galactic Empire is such a dysfunctional workplace that it’s extremely difficult to find positive examples within the organization of successful, consistent communication.

Instead, I’ve devised a simple mnemonic device to help fellow content writers remember the lessons we’ve learned from the Empire’s finest:

DARTH Standard For Web Copy - Eminent SEOBy following the DARTH Standard, content writers can feel confident that their copy will meet the needs and expectations of their audience. Writers will have to continue to adapt their tone and style to each client, but approaching this challenge with the right mindset will make it much easier to engage your audience before they make the jump back into hyperspace.

Got some of your own tips for managing your audience’s demanding expectations? Reach out with the Force and leave a comment below!

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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Writer By Day, Writer By Night: 6 Tips for Balancing Digital Marketing and Creative Writing

Tips For Balancing Digital Marketing And Creative Writing - Eminent SEO

During my undergraduate years at the University of Arizona, my writing professors constantly warned me and my classmates about the risk of writing as a day job.

They cautioned us against living a double life as a writer. They told us to stay wary of burnout and losing our way as artists, suggesting that this was a very real possibility if we planned to make our living on SEO and marketing content.

I was an insufferable suck-up in class, so I nodded vigorously in response to these ominous predictions. Internally, however, my gut response to these warnings was akin to the infamous shrug emoji.

I was even less interested in hearing this advice during graduate school, when I was living the double life in full swing. It was hard to nod as vigorously as I did during my undergraduate days: I was already balancing a full-time job producing marketing content during the day with attending class and drafting my memoir thesis in the evening.

Today, as a full-time marketing copywriter and content strategist, I am still tasked with finding the right balance between my life as a marketing content professional and my goals as a creative academic. Is it easy? Certainly not! Is it impossible? My answer is an equally vigorous: No way!

That being said, I can now see that the bleak scenarios described by my writing professors actually helped to shape the very strategies I now use to stay sane and productive. The following tips and strategies are meant to help those content writers who struggle to balance their daily copywriting duties with their passion projects.

1. Use Your Downtime

A common mistake that writers make when balancing a double life is trying to separate creative and content writing into separate mental silos. Anyone who attempts these mental gymnastics for long will find that the effort is worthy of Sisyphus.

That’s because we as writers only have so much control over the creative process. Ideas will come and go with no regard for your convenience. As a result, it’s important to make use of downtime at the office effectively when your creative brain flips on and starts generating good ideas.

Consider keeping a notebook handy during your work day. If you have an idea, jot it down quickly before it leaves your mind and then get back to work. Likewise, make use of your breaks and lunch time to review your notebook of drafts, edit a paragraph or simply brainstorm about your next creative project.

Every bit of creative writing you can sneak into your day goes a long way toward your achieving your goals, whether they revolve around publishing or expanding your audience as a blogger. You might even enjoy your work hours a bit more when you allow your creative brain to churn out creative thoughts throughout the day.

2. Flex Your Skills

As a writer, it’s very easy to see the SEO- and link-focused nature of website marketing content as a restraint on your creative process. I felt this way for years. By the time I was in graduate school, however, my horizons had expanded and I’d come to appreciate the idea of creative restraints.

Consider forms in poetry. The Elizabethan sonnet, with its strict rules concerning meter and rhyme, is a great example. Forms do constrain the writer’s choices but also encourages them to think outside of their own tried and true artistic strategies.

What if you thought about SEO keyword and header requirements the same way you might think about a writing prompt or a formal assignment? Imposing limitations on the creative process not only produces results in your own writing, but can also help encourage you to exceed expectations at the office by producing some truly sublime marketing content.

You also present yourself as a prime candidate for promotion. Take it from my experience: A little boost to your paycheck will go a long way toward making you feel more comfortable about your double life as a writer.

3. Leverage Your Research

The longer you’ve been a writer, the more likely you are to take your inspiration from unlikely sources. Openness to the unexpected muse is a critical skill for those balancing a content marketing job with craft development in their free time.

In order to generate a steady stream of high-level marketing content for the web, one must become a very effective researcher. Most writers have experience doing research from their academic days, but deadlines and large workloads force content producers to become even more efficient at scouring the web for information.

If you find yourself short on ideas when you sit down to write at home, try expanding your research process at the office. As you scan the web for data and sources, make sure to scan your results for interesting, newsworthy or inspiring stories. Bookmark these links, then browse them in greater detail after your work day has ended. Fitting in a bit of creative research into your daily workflow will also take pressure off of yourself to put in that time when you get home.

4. Find Your Fortress


Batman has his Bat Cave. Superman has his Fortress of Solitude. Just as a superhero needs a secluded headquarters to retreat to, a writer needs a place to think, reflect and appreciate the quiet.

Considering how much time you’ll spend writing for work, it’s more important than ever to stay productive during your free time. Otherwise, you risk falling into the uninspired rut my writing professors warned about. With this in mind, find a place where you can disconnect from the world, including the work assignments waiting on your desk for the next morning.

After moving back home to Phoenix, Arizona, I selected my old local library as my personal bastion of productivity. Free access to high-speed WiFi, limited noise pollution and a very low chance of bumping into anybody I knew from high school made my local branch an ideal spot to spend a few hours each day reading and writing.

5. Obey Your Schedule

Another piece of advice I heard constantly from my writing professors, especially at the graduate level, was the importance of having a schedule as a writer. No pithy rejoinders here. They were absolutely correct.

This maxim goes double for writers that balance a double life. The importance of meeting deadlines at work is a given for most, but few commit the same focus to the writing they do for themselves. Unfortunately, those who fail to work on their craft consistently are at the greatest risk for letting their work writing consume their lives.

I’m sorry to say that there aren’t any easy strategies for becoming a disciplined writer. It’s something we all have to work on every day. Thankfully, applying some of the other strategies I mentioned above can make this challenge a bit less daunting.

Start by assigning yourself some deadlines. Identify a few hours each day that can be dedicated to writing, whether they be early in the morning or after you get home from work. Do everything in your power to obey your schedule.

You probably won’t get it right all at once, but that’s OK. Just setting a schedule and paying closer attention to how you choose to spend your time (when you should be writing) are major steps in the right direction.

6. Honor Your Process


It’s easy to get discouraged as a writer. After all, we can be pretty sensitive. That’s why it’s important for you to make a habit of carrying your projects to completion. Denying yourself the internal encouragement that comes with finishing a poem or prose piece just makes it harder to stay motivated as a creative writer.

On the other hand, beating yourself up over how long it’s taken to finish a novel in your spare time is not an effective strategy. Your creative process is unpredictable, and it’s not typical for your free time and your feelings of inspiration to line up consistently. This is especially true when you are tasked with a full workload of blog posts, newsletters, email campaigns and content pages during the day.

Just as the style and voice of your work are unique, so too are the strategies you’ll employ to balance a double life as a marketing content professional and a creative writer. As long as you are able to secure a quiet place to work, set a reasonable schedule and stay disciplined, the specifics are up to you.

In short, the double life is one worth living. Just figure out what works for you, stick to it and keep your pen on the pad.

Remy Albillar

As a content writer at Eminent SEO, I specialize in producing high-quality copy for a long list of digital mediums, including websites, emails, blogs and social media. I got my career started right out of college producing SEO-driven content for a marketing agency based in Tucson, AZ. I’ve since worked as a copywriter within numerous industries. I’ve written the first half of a personal memoir and earned my master’s in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA.

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GIF Images Are Clever Tools in the Right Marketer’s Hands

Beginners Guide To GIF Images In Marketing - Eminent SEO

A Graphics Interchange Format image, better known as a GIF, consists of picture files compressed to decrease transfer rate. GIFs possess several pictures in one file to create an animated effect. GIFs are prevalent in modern day cyberspace because the images are quick to download and the animations are often entertaining. For marketers, animated GIFs can be incredibly useful for improving engagement online.

We’re not here to settle the GIF pronunciation debate: Does it sound like gift without the “t,” or should it be pronounced like the peanut butter brand Jif? Instead, we want to offer you a rundown of the types of GIFs available, how you can make your own, and the legal considerations involved in GIF sharing.

Prevalence of GIFs in Social Media

Although GIFs can be used in blog posts (such as this one) and in website content, people primarily think of these animated images in the context of social media conversations. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many GIFs are posted to different social media platforms, according to the New York Times:

  • Tumblr: An average of 23 million GIFs posted every day
  • Facebook Messenger: Roughly 5 million GIFs sent between users every day
  • Slack: More than 2 million GIFs sent between users each month
  • Twitter: More than 100 million GIFs shared in 2015

The Different Types of GIFs

Not all GIFs are created equal. Before you go attaching a GIF on a social media post or your website, it’s best to know the different types of GIF images and to make sure you’re using the right one for the right situation.

1. The Replay GIF

David Tyree Giants Super Bowl CatchThere was a time not too long ago when sports fans had only a couple  of opportunities to watch a replay of their favorite touchdown catch or slam dunk. It was either shortly after the play occurred via instant replay, or later during ESPN highlights. If you missed those windows of opportunity, your last option would have been hoping someone recorded it on VHS.

In the age of YouTube, those days are gone. GIFs, however, let fans replay highlights in a condensed format. The replay GIF changes the game by continuously looping virtually any notable footage – from last night’s game winning field goal to even a memorable scene from your favorite movie.

On Twitter, the official accounts for the NFL and NBA were recently using a high volume of Vine videos for replays. But with Vine supposedly on its way out the door, the NFL and NBA are slowly turning to GIFs and native Twitter video to highlight must-see moments.

Replay GIFs are not limited to entertainment. This style of GIFs can be helpful for the marketer who wants to share current company news or connect a current event to their business.

2. The Reaction GIF

Chris Pratt Andy Parks RecreationEmotions are studied on replay with the reaction GIF, which is arguably the most popular style on social media. Film and TV are the industries most responsible for content you’ll see in most reaction GIFs. Outside of Hollywood, reaction GIFs serve marketing industries by replacing textual replies with animations. For example, a creative GIF could be used as a social media reply.

Reaction GIFs are typically used to enhance whatever comment a user is making online. These looping images express whichever emotion the user is feeling or trying to convey at the time. No matter the emotion, reaction GIFs typically elicit a laugh out of the viewer, especially if the image is used in a clever way in reaction to a particular topic.

3. The Cinemagraph

Chicago Traffic CinemagraphThe cinemagraph is the black-tie affair GIF. More formal than its GIF relatives, the cinemagraph GIF is a still shot-animation hybrid. The viewer of this GIF doesn’t experience one event in a loop, but one event continuously progressing through time. In a cinemagraph, one element of the image is in motion while the rest stay still.

Because cinemagraph GIFs have a limited number of moving parts in the image, the viewer is left with a tranquil feeling. Travel and fashion companies gravitate toward the cinemagraph GIF because of its professional appearance and quiet tone. The visual benefits and complex consistency of the cinemagraph GIF demand advanced editing skills and usually begin with footage captured by a camera on a tripod.

4. Technical GIFs

Sea Level Pressure United StatesBrowsing through the internet for useful marketing data is no longer a painful chore thanks to technical GIFs. Technical GIFs transform boring figures into engaging content. These types of GIFs are especially useful for marketers who want to include statistics, diagrams or graphs for product summaries.

Technical GIFs are interactive, as opposed to a black-and-white graph on a PowerPoint slide. Video marketing combined with a technical GIF creates an even deeper animation experience.

5. The Perfect-Loop GIF

Max Monster Rainbow Loop - Eminent SEOWhereas the cinemagraph GIF is still and serene, the perfect-loop GIF is active and busy. This GIF consists of a seamlessly looped camcorder recording of an event. The final frame of the shot leads back to the initial frame without missing a beat. Even though the viewer relives the same 7-or-so seconds over and over, he or she can lose track of time due to the seamlessness of the GIF.

The perfect-loop GIF can be used to a company’s advantage. Since the loop is inherently nonstop, it can be used to market non-stop service. It can also be used to advertise a customer demonstration’s of a successful product.

How You Can Make GIFs Yourself

Creating a GIF doesn’t take a background in computer science, IT or engineering – nor is it limited to tech-savvy people. For example, if there’s a YouTube clip for which you can’t find a corresponding GIF, there’s an easy way to to turn that video into a looping image. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Find a YouTube clip to make a GIF out of.
  2. Type “gif” before the “youtube” portion of the URL. Press enter. This will transfer you to gifyoutube.com. You can use your originally selected YouTube video to make a new GIF.
  3. Pick the start and stop times and add a GIF title.
  4. Click “create GIF.”
  5. A preview of the GIF will appear. If pleased with the preview, use the new URL to share across the internet. If displeased with the preview, click “go back.”

If the looping image you’d like to create doesn’t have anything to do with YouTube, you can try one of these GIF-making online tools and see which one you find easiest to use:

  • Giphy Create Tool
  • GIFS.com
  • ScreenToGIF (lets you record a designated area of your computer screen)
  • RecordIT (similar function as ScreenToGIF)
  • GIF Toaster
  • GifBoom or GIF Me (for turning phone videos into GIFs)

And, of course, if you have reasonable skills in the Photoshop department, you can use that software to make a GIF out of original artwork, a series of still images, or any video file you’d like to upload into the program. Here’s Adobe’s guide on how to make GIF images with Photoshop.

Sharing GIFs: Legal Considerations to Keep in Mind

Millions Of GIFs Posted To Slack Tumblr Facebook Messenger - ESEO

Legally, individual users are given a lot of slack when it comes to GIF creation and usage. Businesses, on the other hand, are not.

Companies must be aware of the legal restrictions of GIFs. Clashes over a GIF’s origin are judged according the doctrine of fair use. This doctrine allows copyrighted material to be edited and used for alternative purposes if the copy is derived from the original and does not compete financially for copyrighting rights.

The four factors considered in the doctrine of fair use for GIFs include:

  1. The intent of the GIF: Is it for profit or not for profit?
  2. The content of the GIF.
  3. The ratio of GIF used to copyright material.
  4. How the GIF would value the potential audience.

GIFs of well-known people – namely actors, celebrities and athletes – have strict publishing guidelines. Businesses intending to post a GIF of a celebrity should gain permission from everyone in the clip, the copyright owner, and the creator of the GIF.

If a business wishes to use an athletic GIF to show a game highlight or replay, there are high hurdles to clear. The MLB and NFL are fairly strict with their GIF policies. Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee and FIFA do not allow GIFs at all. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act protects social media sites that post GIFs if a reporting structure is in place to eliminate content suspected of copyright violation.

For marketing companies, it’s best to follow these GIF-sharing suggestions:

  1. Obtain a written release. Contact the copyright owner and actors/celebrities present in the GIF for permission to share the GIF.
  2. Provide hyperlinks. Content shared by another should have a link to the original site. This protects the company using an unoriginal GIF and places the original site with the liability responsibility. Give recognition to the creator.
  3. Make your own GIFs. Creating a GIF bypasses the legal trouble. Instead of asking others for permission and risking legal ramifications, you won’t have to ask anyone permission to create your original GIF, and you won’t be under the threat of impending legal action.

We’re not saying you can’t use existing GIFs that involve movie scenes, sports footage, etc., but you’ll run the risk of legal action if you use one of these images with your business’s name behind it, especially if you stand to profit off anything associated with that particular image. Therefore, we advise being prudent with what type of GIF image you plan to use as well as the platform on which you will use it.

GIF Images Have Staying Power on the Web

GIF Laptop Collage - Eminent SEOGIF images can be profoundly useful when used correctly. Clever use of these animations can undoubtedly help a business reach and advance its goals. These images also add a smile and a laugh to a monotonous work day.

The graphics interchange format has actually been available since the 1980s, and tech experts have continually predicted that the format will lose favor on the web soon. Yet, thanks to Twitter and other social media platforms, GIFs have only seemed to become more popular and ubiquitous in recent years.

With so many GIFs circulating the web and even making their way into other mediums, such as text messages, these looping images have been embraced as a new way to communicate. What’s your favorite particular GIF image or style of GIF?

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Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Weighing in on Thin Content: Does Your Website Need to Fatten Up?

Thin Content Ghost Town - Eminent SEO
All you’re looking for is a one stop-shop site to get all the answers to your search. Is that so hard to ask?

But what do you keep getting?

A slew of websites that send you on a wild goose chase, making you frantically click and open new tabs just to get the same insignificant answer over and over again.

We’ve all been there. We just want an easy search!

When They Ask for a Burger, Give Them a Steak!

Eminent SEO - Eat Steak - 7-06-16You don’t want to be a site that overpromises and underdelivers. Consumers want searches to be easy and straightforward, and they hate getting the runaround.

When you provide mediocre, irrelevant or scarce information on your site, you run the risk of losing credibility with your audience, therefore handing over any potential profit to the site that actually delivers.

So, What’s It to You?

The first principle to understand is that search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) have the right to check for quality and the power to set standards for your website to follow.

Google is, by far, the most-used search engine around the world, so it is important to understand that yes, it is your business, but your webpage and its quality and content also represent Google in a way.

The same way a restaurant sets uniform, grooming and tardiness guidelines for employees to follow, Google does the same for any website belonging to a business or individual. It’s not a stretch to think of yourself as a Google brand ambassador. After all, it’s trying to serve up high-quality, relevant content to its search users.

What Is Thin Content, You Ask?

Well, let’s talk about it! In a nutshell, thin content is not giving your drop-in visitors exactly what they’re looking for in search. Additionally, it lacks substantial content or interest. This can manifest in several different ways, so let’s discuss what thin content is and how to detect and prevent it.

Doorway Pages

Do you remember when you were a child going on a scavenger hunt? One clue led you to the next destination, only to produce another riddle to figure out. Luckily, as a child, part of the fun is there’s nothing at stake other than a handsome reward at the end. Well, in the SEO world, doorway pages are very much like leading visitors on a scavenger hunt, except their time and energy are more precious. And for you, time is money.

A doorway page is one that provides minimal content and instead tries to lead the user to a secondary page rather than providing the direct result or answer, aka the handsome reward. This can be extremely frustrating for consumers looking to gather information on a particular subject, product or service. With attention spans decreasing at an alarming rate, it is imperative that you shoot straight and provide a page with “meaty” and meaningful answers that hit the mark every single time.

Little Giants - Pump You Up - ESEO

The best thing to do with doorway pages is to kick ‘em to the curb! They are not necessary and only serve as fillers on your site. They also give the impression to users that you do not have any relevant, informative or original information to share with them, so they might as well go someplace else. You lose credibility, which means your traffic will go nowhere but down.

Spun Pages

At some point, everyone has had that one friend who hears you tell a joke that gets a good laugh, and then they later deliver that joke to someone else in attempt to get the same laugh. You just sit back and give them the “horse eye” knowing that you were the originator and wait to get the credit that’s due – but then you don’t. A great comedian is an original comedian, and although imitation is the highest form of flattery, it is only so when credit is given.

Spun pages are a lot like a bad comedian: They are a watered-down version of the original. These pages are a compilation of information from other sites, reworded (maybe) and renamed as their own. There is no new or interesting insight that makes it stand out, and no relevant contribution to the conversation. In all likelihood, the goal of your site is to build traffic and give your audience a reason to return. If there isn’t original information, you can kiss another opportunity goodbye.

Billy Madison You Blew It - ESEO

The trick to improving spun pages is to generate content from someone who knows what they’re talking about. Finding writers with experience and a certain expertise in that particular area can increase your rankings and can help you avoid being penalized for having a generic page, while also giving your readers something to look forward to. So, even when the topic isn’t all that original, the key is to write it in your own words and add value.

Low-Word Count Pages

The concept of “thin” is somewhat intuitive, so you can imagine that “low-word count page” means just that: The page is lacking content. Once a standard has been set, usually 300 words, if you have a page that dips below that line, it communicates to your audience that you do not have enough relevant information to provide them or that the content lacks depth. Once again, this encourages them to go elsewhere, taking potential dollars out of your pocket.

A very simple, yet often missed, solution for low word count is to simply increase it – not with “fluff” or “filler” words, but with fresh, engaging information that adds layers to the foundation you’ve already laid.

Granted, not every single page on your site needs to be deluged with paragraph after paragraph (such as “Contact Us” pages), but for everything else, take the time to make it interesting and helpful to the reader. Perhaps bring some statistics and research into the fold, and use your content to answer all relevant questions the average reader would have about the topic that brought them to your website in the first place.

Do You Need to Fatten Up?

New Girl - Nick Eating Burrito - ESEO

So, we’ve jumped in and discussed just a few basic examples of what “thin” content looks like – although there are plenty more scenarios – and touched on how to fix them. Now, let’s rewind for a moment and discuss how you can detect whether your website is “thin” or not.

It’s Time to Get with the Program

The most thorough way to go about detecting thin content is to take a multifaceted approach and tackle it from many angles. Luckily, there are desktop applications like Screaming Frog or Deep Crawl that start with the basics. These applications can do a word count scan and report pages that may need to be “beefed up.” The caveat is that they do not check for quality within the page, and instead focus strictly on word count, so don’t just stop with one of these tools.

Where Screaming Frog or Deep Crawl may leave off, Google Analytics seems to cover the rest of the ground. Google’s tool has the ability to see exactly how much time a user spends on the entire site, and can even break down how much time is spent on each page within a website, in addition to letting you know your “bounce rates.” Google Analytics can also do a general quality check of content within the website to decipher what appears to be relevant and what needs improvement.

However, relying solely on applications can still leave holes in your website that can only be addressed by doing a manual scan and audit of each and every page. Although potentially time-consuming and tedious, a manual audit is a sure-fire way to cover all your bases and ensure your website adheres to Google’s standards, so long as you know what you’re looking for. Hopefully, all you’ve been reading here has given you a clearer idea on how to identify and rectify your own thin content.

Conclusion

Just having any ol’ website isn’t good enough if you have any hope of building a business and reaching consumers. You must stay in compliance with search engines’ guidelines and stay on top of not only your competition, but SEO standards as well.

Thin content can severely impact your website and ROI if not monitored and quickly modified. First impressions are everything, and with the right attention to detail regarding your website – and a little extra “meat” – you’ll be sure to leave a lasting one.

Need help spotting thin content on your site and with producing high-quality information and media to replace or enhance it? Eminent SEO can help. Learn more about our Website Content Services here, or call 800.871.4130 today!

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Like It or Not, Vertical Video is Here to Stay: How Marketers, Brands Can Adjust

Vertical Video - Upright Or Sideways - Eminent SEO

Trying to watch an entire video that was shot vertically might be like nails on a chalkboard to a design expert or videographer. However, much to their chagrin, vertical video has expanded well beyond Snapchat and isn’t going away anytime soon.

It seems to fly in the face common of sense, but a market has emerged for vertical video. Just a few years ago, most of us were making the switch from 4:3 monitors and television sets to widescreen versions. Now, a significant amount of the media we watch and interact with is being presented vertically, not horizontally.

How did this happen? You can credit (or blame) mobile devices for this movement. As our smartphones have gotten more powerful and as most families own at least one tablet device, we are quickly moving toward a mobile-first world.

Let’s take a look at the arguments for vertical video, why the format will likely be around for years to come, and how advertising and marketing departments can capitalize on the movement. But, before we do that, let’s look at why vertical video gets the goat of so many who claim to be experts in the aesthetics of moving imagery.

Why Vertical Video Sucks

You may have thought we’re living in a widescreen world, but the vertical video movement is pushing back at that notion.

How did this happen? A common complaint about trying to watch a video in this format goes to the effect of, “My eyes aren’t stacked vertically on my head!”

Yes, we naturally see the world horizontally. We generally like to see the full context and background of whatever subject on which we happen to currently have our focus. This explains why television screens and computer monitors have evolved to replicate, as closely as possible, our natural field of vision.

Yet, more and more people are serving up video in a vertical format. You can thank apps like Snapchat and Periscope for this phenomenon, or maybe just blame the orientation of smartphones and perhaps sheer laziness by their owners.

Vertical video has been getting on consumers’ nerves for several years now. Some even claim that the format is evidence of a rise of narcissism in society, since it’s usually one person filming themselves. In 2012, a popular video was released that claims to be a public service announcement on “Vertical Video Syndrome.”

“Vertical videos happen when you hold your camera the wrong way,” the lighthearted, humorous video says. “Your video will end up looking like crap,” it adds.

This so-called PSA came out about a year after the creation of Snapchat. Even then, its creators recognized that too many smartphone users were forgoing turning their devices sideways when shooting video. Today, vertical video is even more prominent, and many former horizontal advocates are finally giving in.

Perhaps the reason vertical video gets on the nerves of so many is quite a few of us think in terms of YouTube when consuming and producing visual content. A vertical video might play well on a phone, but once if it gets uploaded to YouTube, an excessive amount of pillarboxing (empty, black bars on the left and right) accompanies the footage inside the video player.

Why Vertical Video Does Not Suck

Let’s put aside any personal distaste for vertical video for a moment and take a level-headed look at why the format is excelling and why it legitimately has a place in today’s digital world.

Cellphones are getting larger and larger, and they’re getting harder to hold steadily in one hand, even for those of us with large hands. Turning the phone sideways to shoot video almost always takes two hands to operate the device, and there are certain times where that’s a luxury some users just don’t have. Shooting a video with the phone held upright can usually be accomplished with one hand, so there’s little reason to fault people for not being gung-ho about turning the phone horizontally.

Also, sometimes framing a video vertically just makes sense. It works for certain photos, after all. If you really want to get a tight focus on a single subject – a person or an object – then a vertical orientation could work really well. And it’s not just that it can work really well, it is working really well in the current smartphone- and tablet-laden environment, as more and more users are feeling comfortable with watching and shooting such videos.

This tweet sums up the best situations in which to shoot a vertical video:

Several Signs that Vertical Video Is a Legit Movement

You don’t have to look too far to see that vertical video is a viable movement and isn’t going away any time soon. Here are a few examples that extend beyond the realms of Snapchat, Periscope, Meerkat, etc.:

Vervid

Vervid is a website and iPhone app that allows users to create and share short videos with an aspect ratio of 9:16 (as opposed to the widescreen dimensions of 16:9). This company appears to be on a mission to make vertical video a mainstay.

Verly

Verly is an online marketplace for stock vertical imagery, with video clips available across 30 different categories and ranging in price from $15 to $79.

Verly Vertical Video Screenshot

Vimeo

You will see pillarboxing around a vertically-shot video on the desktop version of Vimeo, but the video controls actually fit inside the narrow frame with the actual footage, rather than spread across the entire media player, as seen on YouTube.

Vimeo Vertical Video Screenshot

Vertical Film Festival

The Vertical Film Festival takes place in Austrailia and features short, 9:16 submissions. The festival is actually coming up on its second annual celebration, which will take place on May 21, 2016.

Vertical Film Festival Australia

Photo from the 1st annual Vertical Film Festival in Australia. (Facebook Photo/Vertical Film Festival)

Vertical Video Trailers

A YouTube account named “Vertical Video Trailers” has emerged, where it appears the account creator has just taken the traditional trailers of movies and cropped them to fit a vertically oriented device. These clips will have pillarboxing when viewed on a desktop, but if you take them full screen on your phone, they will fill out the available space.

The Stats Back it Up

If the above examples are a little too anecdotal to convince you of vertical video’s newfound prominence, let take a look at a few statistics provided by Snapchat and Verly:

  • Vertical video ads are watched all the way through 9 times more than horizontal video ads on Snapchat.
  • Smartphone users hold their phones vertically about 94 percent of the time.
  • Brands that are producing vertical video are seeing a 73 percent average completion rate.
  • Viewing of vertical content has jumped 600 percent over the last five years.
  • More than 7 billion video clips are viewed daily on Snapchat, a majority of which are vertically filmed.
  • Consumers use vertically oriented devices 30 percent of the time, up from just 5 percent in 2010. This means desktop, laptop and television screens aren’t dominating consumers’ attention the way they used to.

What About YouTube?

Last year, a Business Insider video producer created a vertical video about vertical video and embedded the YouTube version on his company’s website without any pillarbox showing.

Business Insider YouTube Vertical VideoHowever, if you click to see the video directly in YouTube, a significant amount of pillarboxing fills the widescreen frame.

This indicates that Business Insider must have adjusted the video embed code so the clip shows up perfectly on the page with its accompanying article. In fact, if I dig into the source code of the page, it looks like the width of the video player was changed to 400 pixels and the height changed to 711.

So, while you can manipulate the code of a vertical YouTube video to display correctly on your own site, it won’t look all too great on the popular video platform itself unless you’re viewing it on a phone and you make it full screen. If vertical video creators can eventually convince YouTube to fully cater to their 9:16 content, there’s no telling how far the format will continue to go. But, so far, YouTube is still a little behind the curve, whether intentionally or unintentionally.

How Advertisers, Marketers Can Capitalize on Vertical Video’s Success

Although you can certainly find examples of vertically-shot video and content pre-2010, the format’s viability is currently undeniable in today’s digital climate.

It’s still a rather fresh trend, so brands are still trying to figure out how to capitalize on the format’s success. If you’re in advertising or marketing, keep reading for a few ideas on how to get you started with creating and leveraging vertical video.

Leveraging Snapchat

Many media companies are on Snapchat Discover to provide video and photo content for users on this platform. Your company can try to get on Snapchat Discover, or if you’re a smaller business, you’ll just make a pleas for your Facebook or Twitter followers to find your Snapchat business account. Be sure to hide your phone number, as it will likely be one person whose personal phone will be logged in as the business.

However, make sure your business’s Snapchat Stories can be viewed by the public, not just “friends” of the company. If you can see Stories and individual snaps by users who have friended the company, feel free to interact appropriately and keep your brand on the mind of these users.

Shooting Other Vertical Content

Perhaps, your company periodically shares video to its social accounts, just maybe not vertically oriented clips. You can start changing that today.

Videos shot vertically will play well in Facebook, Twitter and now Instagram. You don’t always have to shoot such videos with a phone, either. You can use a higher-powered camcorder and just turn the device 90 degrees, or find a tripod where the camera mount can tilt and still hold the device sideways.

Better yet, use your camcorder to shoot a video with a landscape orientation. And when you have a single subject within a certain shot, just keep it in the focal point in the middle of the frame. This way, you can always crop the footage to a vertical orientation using video-editing software.

You can then share that video to Facebook, Twitter and such, but you have options if you want to use the widescreen version for other platforms, such as YouTube. Companies like Mashable, Vox and National Geographic are known for shooting videos horizontally but cropping some of them down to appear vertically on certain platforms.

Video Length

Vertical video seems to work best for brands when clips are short – as in 1 minute or less. If you look at the submissions to last year’s Vertical Film Festival, most of those “films” didn’t even linger past 3 minutes. While more content consumers are opening up to vertical video, the clips are still difficult for the average viewer to watch for long periods of time.

If you don’t shoot video too often, you can get started by purchasing vertical content from the aforementioned Verly and then adding graphics or a few seconds of your own footage to the mix. Producing high-quality vertical video can help your company succeed on mobile and open itself up to new audiences.

It’s Good to Have Options

Personally, I find vertical video hard to take in, other than on Snapchat and maybe Twitter. However, after digging deeper into the trend, it’s not hard to see the value and the opportunity the format provides, even though it does take some getting used to.

Are we going to start seeing tall, narrow movie theater screens, desktop monitors and TVs? Not likely, although monitors that can rotate 90 degrees may start gaining popularity.

Now that we know vertical video is viable, it’s just another tool in the arsenal when it comes to how to shoot and produce footage that can be used on social media, a company’s website, a presentation, etc. Whether a video needs to be vertical comes down to:

  1. The device you’re using,
  2. The type and number of subjects you’re recording, and
  3. How you want users to view the final product.

A general design rule applies here: If it’s the right format for the right context, it’s usually a success. User experience can go well beyond a website and now apply to the format of videos as well. Whether you personally like vertically filmed video, as marketers and video creators, it’s time to adapt or get left out of the frame.

Andrew Gilstrap

Content Director at Eminent SEO - I enjoy writing, editing and photography. My goal is to make YOUR website read better and rank better!

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How to Earn Backlinks with Valuable Website Content

Earn Backlinks with Linkbait

In order for any website to obtain any sort of search engine rankings, high quality backlinks are still necessary. Back in the day before Google updated its algorithm to get rid of spammy, manipulative link building practices, website owners could easily place their site in low quality directories or participate in some sort of link scheme to gain high rankings on Google.

Today’s link building has to be much more strategic, and you have to have content that webmasters want to link to on your site. Otherwise, you’re just wasting their time and yours because they aren’t going to link to just any site. It needs to provide their readers with something valuable. In short, the strategy for gaining highly authoritative, .edu, or .gov backlinks is to create content that’s meaningful and considered “link bait.”

What is Link Bait?

Link bait can be characterized as creating content on your website that encourages web users to share or link to, also known as viral content. Since a lot of websites are competing for the top positions in search engines, many websites are beginning to see the importance of content marketing, even for the sole purpose of increasing rankings.

Examples of what link bait can entail:

  • Blog posts
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • Videos
  • Memes
  • How to’s
  • Stories
  • FAQs
  • Landing pages
  • Apps
  • Interactive websites or features
  • Product giveaways
  • Lists
  • Visuals

How to Create Link Bait That Encourages Users to Link to You

Creating link bait can be simpler than you think. Don’t overthink the situation. What you must understand first is your target audience. Ask yourself these primary questions to help you understand your audience and how you can develop content that will speak to that audience:

  • What is their primary problem?
  • What is the solution to their problem?
  • How can you help nurture them to reach that solution?
  • What educational content can you develop to help them potentially solve their problem?
  • What statistics can you provide to help sell your customer into learning more?
  • What is your final offer?

Create Useful Content

Now that you have those questions answered, you should have a pretty clear understanding of what kind of content can be developed on your website that would speak to your ideal audience. It’s important to keep in mind that only useful content is going to gain any sort of visibility online. You have a lot of competition that has already been creating useful content.

If you’re still stuck on the type of content that’s going to attract the right users and be shareable for their networks, think about creating content that is educational and entertaining, such as ways you can add humor to it. Keep the content highly relevant to your industry, but non-promotional. The last thing users are going to want to share is a page on your website talking about your product or your company.

Valuable Content for Backlinks

Create a Plan of Action for Your Content

Once you’ve developed a list of ideas for content, there needs to be a plan in place to promote this content so that it can start to receive the visibility it deserves. For example, if your link bait piece is an eBook, there are several things that need to be thought out in order for the promotion to be successful. Here is some additional collateral that can go into eBook promotion:

  • Dedicated landing page with quality content and optimization. This will most likely be what your users will link to, so make sure this landing page is fully optimized and speaks to them.
  • Where the content will be promoted throughout the website. If the eBook is relevant to a specific service or product you offer, promote the eBook on those relevant pages with a CTA.
  • Create link bait with other forms of link bait. Think about other content that is going to promote this offer and where to promote it. If you’re a B2B business, think about B2B social networks that would find your eBook most valuable. Create a meme or statistic graphic to give users something enticing to click on and share when sharing the link to your eBook landing page. Consider other educational content that could be turned into a blog post, and, at the end of the blog post, have the eBook be the final CTA. Do you have email contacts stored that can be segmented into lists? Send an email to those contacts and show off your eBook.
  • Promote your content in the right places. If you’re strictly targeting other business owners, think about where those business owners would spend their time online. What social networks might they be part of? What big brands might they be following? Make sure you have link bait visible to your audience in the right places online.
  • Develop the right messaging for the eBook. You want people to link to your eBook, but you have to create the right message for users to want to link to you. What do you want people to take away from this eBook? This is where those statistics can be a big help with enticing users to share and learn more. Also, this is the perfect time to add a little humor to your message, because humor can really catch someone’s attention.
  • Outreach to the right websites. Develop a list of websites that are relevant, have high authority in Google, and have trusted backlinks. Don’t be generic with your outreach approach, because everyone else is doing the same thing as you: trying to get a link. Don’t be naive and think these websites are just going to link to you when you approach them with a generic email. Be creative with the approach and have some key talking points ready about their website and EXACTLY where you see a fit for your eBook to be promoted. Whether you think a guest post would suffice or if there’s already a blog post on their site relevant to your eBook messaging, have an idea of how you’d like to promote your content on THEIR website. Being thoughtful goes a long way.

Include a Call to Action as a Final Message in the Content

Since the content shouldn’t be about your product or service, you can lead to a final CTA in your content. Every piece of content on your website should have an end goal, which is your final CTA. Make that CTA clear and concise so users are not only sharing your awesome content, but know how to reach an industry expert if they need more help. This works together with your sales funnel, nurturing website users to become qualified leads. Boom.

Boom Backlinks

Creative Link Bait Campaign Examples

There are so many ways to create link bait on your website, and existing brands have already established pieces of content that have gone viral. Some examples of existing link bait from other brands include:

Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors

This content piece went viral because of the visual content developed by Moz’s team to showcase different Google algorithm ranking factors. This spiked the interest of many other SEO companies who have used this content in their own blog posts and articles as a valuable source for understanding Google’s ranking factors.

Moz Search Ranking Factors Backlink Analysis

By developing this valuable piece of content, Moz has boosted the Page Authority, increased social indicators, and increased the total inbound links. You can say this content was pretty successful.

RSS Tutorial

Every blog needs to have a RSS feed. The following How To tutorial walks you through how to set up a RSS feed and why these steps are so important for websites.

Rss Tutorial Link Bait Backlinks

The success of this content lead to 2,403 backlinks, increased social indicators, and a domain authority of 74/100.

Psychology of Color Infographic

Understanding color psychology is important for any website designer or digital marketer to understand in order for websites to convert at a higher rate. showcases different colors and how they can effect moods, emotions, and more in a nutshell.

This specific infographic did better socially by creating more than 2,100 likes, more than 2,300 tweets, and more than 780 Google+1s.

100+ Ways to Conserve Water Interactive Landing Page

This page shows more than 100 tips on how to conserve water usage to help educate the world about excess water consumption.

Water Conservation Link Bait Backlinks

By creating an interactive way to educate the audience, the page authority alone is a 76/100 with more than 4,500 natural backlinks. That doesn’t even count the number of social indicators happening here. There are more than 7,900 Facebook likes, 8,240 Twitter tweets, and more than 5,500 Facebook shares.

Takeaways

Creating viral link bait is not an easy process. It definitely takes a lot of creativity, optimization, content marketing, and strategy development in order to attract natural backlinks. Many times, there is a lot of trial and error that goes into developing the right piece of content in the right form that’s going to attract the right audience. Once you’ve established the type of content users are going to share naturally and webmasters are going to link to without any issues, you can develop out your content marketing strategy to include this type of content more on your website, which leads to more backlinks and higher search rankings. The key takeaway is to create valuable content that users are going to share and want to interact with.

Don’t have time to create a content link bait strategy? Our digital marketing experts can help by developing out a viral marketing campaign tailored to your audience.
Learn More About Our Expert Viral Marketing Services Here

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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The Importance of a Website Content Audit During a Re-Design and How to Do It

This entry was posted in Audit, Content and tagged , on by .

content-audit-dog

Content audits are primarily done before marketing begins and during the website re-design stage. We always recommend doing a content audit on a website BEFORE starting the re-design, especially if it is a larger website that has a lot of history. A content audit is necessary in order to properly keep track of all the content that is going to be included in the new site.

What is Included in a Website Content Audit?

A website content audit involves exporting the pages of the site using a tool and manually going through the pages of the site to get a better understanding of the content strategy, navigation architecture, and on-page SEO. The important information that is needed includes:

  • Navigation Title
  • Page Name
  • All Page URL’s
  • Meta Title
  • Meta Description
  • 301 Redirect Table
  • Keyword Research
  • Comments

This information can be hosted in an excel file. More on the process below.

Website Content Audit Process

Everyone performs their website content audits differently. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to do it as long as all of the necessary information is easy to access and clearly defined.

Step One: Run a Crawl Report

The best way to begin gathering content information for the site is by simply running a crawl report. This will produce necessary elements including: URL, meta title, meta description, and more. Highlight areas of the crawl report that may need improvement such as: missing meta titles or descriptions, long title tags, missing header tags, etc. By keeping this information in a separate tab, you will know if the site needs to be re-siloed, has missing content and SEO, etc. This also allows you to see all of the URLs of the site which can help you with your next step.

crawl report

Step Two: Layout the Navigation

In the same spreadsheet, different tab, begin manually going through each page of the site in order. Gather the title for the top level navigation first. Then begin gathering titles of secondary navigation pages in a secondary column. Include the URLs in the third column. Comments for each page in the fourth column. This makes it really easy to see what the focus strategy is per page at a high level. This also helps create the correct silo architecture each site should have for better rankings.

Step Three: 301 Redirect Table if Needed

When going through the navigation and content of the website, you’ll probably notice redundancies in pages, or find certain pages that are located under the wrong top level navigation. With those, you want to make sure they are properly 301 redirected, so there are no 404 errors created from moving the pages. This also is a necessary if the website has any backlinks pointing to specific pages within the site. 301 redirects are Google-friendly redirects. In the column next to your landing page URLs, create a column next to that titled “301 URL”. Create the new name of the URL so that it includes the proper category names needed to be properly siloed.

For example:

Old URL: www.example.com/plumbing/

You want the plumbing page to be hosted under the ‘Services’ silo.

New URL: www.example.com/services/plumbing/

Pretty simple, just time consuming if you have a ton of URLs that need to be properly siloed.

content audit

Step Four: Keyword Research

In order to properly optimize each landing page of the site, you have to understand how users are searching for your product or service. In a separate tab of the same excel file, you can use the Google Keyword Planner to discover keyword opportunities. This was explained in our recent blog post more in detail: How Content and Links Work Together for Better Organic Marketing

Step Five: Get to Work!

Now that you have all of the content information properly laid out in an excel document, you can get to work. Refer to your crawl report to prioritize which pages need to be re-written and optimized by looking for errors that stand out. Use your keyword research to incorporate the right keywords in each page. Once those errors and pages are complete, you can refer to the new website architecture for any new pages that may need to be written. A lot of re-architecture means writing pages that were missing before. Get those done next or simultaneously with the other pages that have errors. Lastly, implement the new optimized content with the 301 redirects.

Why a Website Content Audit is Necessary for a Successful Re-Design

As you can see, there are many moving pieces to a content audit. Some companies are quick to sell a website re-design and simply move existing content over. The content should be part of the re-design process because it is a huge contributing factor to the overall user experience and how Google indexes and ranks the site. This can easily be overlooked in the re-design process which can lead to issues later such as:

  • Loss in website rankings when 301 redirects aren’t properly implemented
  • Duplicate content issues
  • Missed opportunities for proper on-page optimization with rankings and conversion
  • Technical website errors

These are just to name a few. The website content audit needs to be done in order to catch any errors and mistakes during the process.

The content audit also helps set up opportunities for future months of marketing. When a site has a fresh design, fresh content, and fresh navigation, it will be clear if anything is missing from the content. For on-going marketing, you can collect ideas for new landing pages that can be developed in future months which will help with the organic SEO and the overall user-experience, leading to increased conversions.

When the new design is live there is also a final step, which is to review the work for accuracy. Even though you laid it out all pretty in an excel file, things still may be missed. Run a new crawl report to find any missing elements and manually go through each page to see if anything stands out. Refer to our website checklist to make sure everything is cohesive with your strategy and you’ve addressed everything found in the initial audit.

Bottom Line

In order to reduce organic traffic downtime, increase organic traffic from the re-design, and set up future months of content strategy for the website; always start with a content audit. The content audit works hand in hand with the overall sales funnel of the website. If the website is hard to navigate, missing important content, and not properly optimized per page – you’re losing money.

Learn more about how we can help you with your re-design by auditing your site here, or call us today: 800.871.4130

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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How Content and Links Work Together for Better Organic Marketing

This entry was posted in Content, SEO and tagged , on by .

content and links

Link building has dramatically changed in the past couple years with all of the Google algorithm updates. With the changes a lot of people started thinking that content marketing is the new SEO. That isn’t true, but SEO has changed to include a lot more content in the strategies. Both are needed to build a strong organic marketing strategy.

The Difference

Content marketing and link building work together, however, they are totally different techniques. Link building includes seeking out relevant websites and sources related to the primary keywords that the website should rank for. Content marketing is more of an inbound marketing technique used to attract target customers and guide them through the sales funnel through content..

How They Work Together in Your Organic Marketing Campaigns

Quality content can acquire natural backlinks, while quality backlinks can create conversation and more content. Same goes for each landing page on your website, the content needs to answer the end user’s problem in order to have a high conversion rate. Here are some more ways these two work together:

It All Begins with the Right Keyword Strategy and Website Content

Keyword research is is a must if you expect to attract the users who are looking for a solution your company can offer. Whenever we put together a custom strategy, we always include an initial research phase that helps set us develop the on-going organic marketing strategy and that phase includes keyword discovery and research.

After researching appropriate keywords and laying out a sold strategy, the keywords need to be implemented in the website content and on-page SEO.. Each page should have a primary root phrase along with supporting phrases that are integrated into the meta data and throughout the content so that it flows naturally.

Once the page of the website is optimized for the selected keywords, it is appropriate to write a blog post to promote that page and link to it internally, also using the same keyword strategy.

With today’s link building tactics, it looks unnatural to have only anchor text links pointing to a specific URL within a website. This is why the keyword strategy within the content of the website is so important. Links still need to point to the page for it to rank, but the content is how search engines are going to determine the keywords that page should ran for.

Users Naturally Share and Link to Quality Content

Another way you can get content and links work together is by producing quality content that users will link to. In-depth content pieces are typically linked to the most, which can include: infographics, eBooks, webinars, case studies and blog posts. If the content is suitable for the buyer persona you are targeting, this is also a great way to increase leads. Capture their information with a landing page form that is required in order for them to receive this beautiful piece of content. Encourage these users and leads to share and link to your content by having social sharing icons readily available on the content and landing page.

Leverage Social Media to Target Other Top Influencers

Content marketing isn’t only blog posts and eBooks, it’s also social media. Social indicators can help build exposure and rankings for a piece of content. For the in-depth content pieces, utilize Twitter and tweet it out to others in the industry. Don’t spam people, but target a few influencers who you know would be interested in your content piece specifically. More retweets and shares means more social indicators. Social indicators not only build exposure, but they help other linking look more natural to the search engines. You really have to have social presence and other links coming in regularly if you want your linking to appear organic. One type of linking only can look spammy.

Link to Your Content as a Primary Call to Action on Blog Posts

When there is a specific blog post that is ranking high in the SERPs from links and shares, you want to make sure you capture those users. A huge part of SEO is user behavior. You want users to stay on your website longer, so having a primary call to action at the end of each blog post will keep users interested and wanting to learn more. This tells search engines that your content is relevant and high quality. Adding a button at the end of your blog post that links to the landing page where your eBook is hosted will not only capture leads, but keep users on your site longer. Blog posts can attract users through high rankings from links, while the call to action will nurture them through the funnel and help turn them into a qualified lead. This is just another great example of how content and links work side by side.

Takeaways

Content and links work together to produce increased website viability. Search engines LOVE fresh content and so do users. When a piece of content is keyword-rich and has quality links and shares pointing to it, it not only increases your organic presence, but you can capture leads at the same time. The other perk is people will naturally link to and share content that is high in quality and useful for them which, in turn, helps build your organic presence naturally. And let’s face it, that is ultimately what the search engines want anyways.

Need help with content creation and organic marketing? Call today and we can help: 800-871-4130

Lacey Chic

Account Manager at Eminent SEO - Passionate About Digital Marketing. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, and learning.

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Content Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

content marketing tips

Content marketing has been the talk in terms of online marketing for quite some time now. It’s an important piece to your overall digital marketing presence. If done right, your company will have more traffic, increased conversion rates, and more leads! If you’re a marketer who’s struggling with content marketing and asking the question, “How do I do good content marketing for all my clients?” Stay tuned…

Don’t Constantly Sell Your Product or Service

Do you find it annoying when companies only talk about themselves? In terms of social media content, this can turn away a lot of followers. It’s okay to talk about your company but not 24/7.

Do Stay With the 50/50 Rule

The 50/50 rule is simple. Share industry related content such as news, interesting articles, funny memes, etc. 50% of the time. The other 50%, you can share what’s going on with your company such as completed projects, specials, and interesting facts about your product or service. Find what separates you from competitors and show it in your content here.

Don’t Wing It

When you have a new client or new industry that you’re writing for, don’t wing the content strategy! Not knowing the industry can create a lot of research on your behalf, which is fine, but to speed things up, have a plan in place.

Do Use Editorial Calendars for Social Media and Blogging

In your initial research stage for a new industry, you’re going to come across a lot of potential writing topics that you should keep in mind. Jot these topics down and then create an editorial calendar each month for blog topics. This way topics are still fresh in your mind by doing these monthly.

Start a social media editorial calendar for Facebook and Twitter so you have an idea what to post on certain days. This can really help speed up the process when you have ideas on what to research already in place. You can also send these editorial calendars to your client and get feedback on the topics you chose. This will open up the door to conversation which can lead to more topics! Still having trouble with content ideas? Here’s some tips on how to find blog ideas.

Don’t Be Too Broad With Website Landing Page Content

If you’re utilizing landing pages for lead generation, don’t be broad with your content. Your landing pages are your sales tools that should be clear and concise with the message you’re trying to portray. If the terminology isn’t clear on your landing pages, your conversion rates will be lower.

Do Test Landing Pages for Higher Conversion Rates

If you’re unclear on what terminology is going to work for specific pages, test them! A/B testing can really help you dial in that content on each page. Even if you’re only changing the layout or a few words, you can see which page produces higher conversion rates and make content changes as you’re tracking.

Do Use Clear Calls to Actions Throughout Your Website and Blog

This is extremely important because people need to be shown what to do next. After reading a blog post there should be a clear call to action telling the reader where they should go for more information or what to do next. Be relevant with these calls to actions. They should clearly state what your offer is; otherwise your bounce rate will go up if your call to action isn’t relevant to where the person lands next. Same goes for the website. Each page should provide a next step for the visitor and walk the visitor through your website.

Need content marketing help?

Don’t worry. We’re here to help you. Contact one of our content marketing specialists for more information or leave your feedback below! (800) 871.4130

Team Eminent SEO

Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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