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

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Eminent SEO Newsletter Vol 81 August 2018 Google Medic Update

Google Medic Update Proves User Experience Is King

A Google algorithm update that rolled out at the beginning of this month delivered a major shake-up to websites belonging to health care organizations. Many are calling it the “Medic Update.”

Health care sites began seeing big fluctuations in their rankings at the beginning of the month, and in many cases, the changes were not positive.

Although the algo update affected the health care industry the most, it appeared to affect a few other industries, according to Search Engine Roundtable, such as:

  • eCommerce
  • Business
  • Finance
  • Technology
  • Entertainment

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.

How Do Health Websites Respond?

The best response to Google’s de facto new guidelines for health care sites is to stay the course, meaning keep trying to improve on the quality of your content and user experience (UX). Don’t give up on organic SEO!

Also, if your website is offering medical advice, make sure it’s coming from a medical expert. Or, at the very least, make sure it’s signed off by and attributed to a medical professional. This will help with search engine trust and a little Google concept called “authorship.”

See How Drug Rehabs Can Get Around PPC Obstacles:

Ethical Addiction Treatment Marketing Alternatives

Medic Update Message from Our CEO

“Worried about the ‘medic update’? There is no fix – nothing quick and easy, anyway. The algorithm change didn’t target health sites exclusively; many websites in other categories were negatively impacted, as well. Why? The truth is, people are making better websites these days and Google expects more. If you want to rank with Google, there’s no secret: Continue to work on improving your website, make better content and create a better overall user experience. That’s what it takes.”
– Jenny Stradling, CEO of Eminent SEO

Featured Resources

Creating better content and UX is always recommended, and that’s what we do (for resellers also)! Here are a couple of articles that illustrate what we mean:

Keep Content Marketing Strategy Fresh For 2018 - Eminent SEO

Beware Boredom: Keeping Your Content Marketing Strategy Fresh in 2018

See the Full Article

How News Websites Can Deliver Better User Experience - Eminent SEO

4 Ways News Websites Fail to Deliver the Optimal User Experience

See the Full Article

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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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The Power of Demand Generation for Google’s ‘Zero Results’ Answers

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Google Zero Results Demand Generation - Eminent SEO

Google’s brief experiment with “zero results” answers – where simple queries would only produce a single, Google-provided result in response – struck many as a bad omen of things to come in the world of SEO.

An example from April of the temporary search engine change:

Google Zero Results Search 50 Yards To Feet - ESEOAfter all, how are you supposed to get traffic to your website when the search engine pages for your targeted keywords only display one featured snippet – and perhaps a handful of sponsored links?

While the Google zero results experiment appears to be dormant for the time being, it should serve as a sign of things to come. Here, we’ll take a closer look at Google’s new strategies, as well as how demand generation can help you take advantage of the recent changes.

Google Zero Results Show It Aims to Be a One-Stop Shop

As website owners and content creators, you’ve likely noticed that, in recent years, the amount of space dedicated to organic search results on Google’s first page has been shrinking. Sponsored ads dominate the top results now, and they are increasing more indistinguishable from the organic search results.

It’s not just paid ads boxing out algorithmic search results. Google’s own services, such as Google Flights, receive preferential treatment over similar third-party services like Kayak, Expedia and Hotwire.

Google Flights Search Box Phoenix To Boston - ESEOAnd even when Google does not have its own in-house services to place at the top of a search results page, it’s taking steps to make sure that users have no need to navigate away from a Google property.

For example, during the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, Google users who searched the phrase “world cup soccer” were shown information taken from other websites. Users would find team standings, player stats and upcoming matches, all without ever having to leave the search results page.

World Cup Soccer Google Search Results June 2018 - ESEOYes, this feature might have been convenient for the people wondering which team Brazil would face in its next matchup. However, its mere existence surely ruffled the feathers of website owners who had hoped that their coverage of the tournament would drive organic traffic to their site.

Demand Generation Puts Eyes on Your Brand

It’s clear that the search engine giant is focused on taking a larger and larger portion of total web traffic and keeping it planted right on its own web properties. If it doesn’t have to direct attention your way, it won’t. The only winning move is to build so much demand for your brand that Google has no choice but to defer to you in order to satisfy its users.

Many SEO experts are calling this new strategy “demand generation.”

5 Winning Demand Generation Strategies

Here are five of the most effective steps that you can take to increase demand for your brand. When implemented effectively, these tips force Google to shine a spotlight on your products, services or your website in general.

1. Up Your Content Creation Game

Creating and sharing awesome content is an integral part of any successful demand generation strategy. If you already maintain a blog or publish articles on your website, consider ways that you can make your posts even more valuable to your visitors.

Start by asking yourself if you are providing content with original information, or if you’re just rehashing information that users can find elsewhere. Be the first one to shine a light on new trends and data. Or better yet, be the first one to the party by performing and sharing your own original research.

2. Share Your Best Stuff for Free

A key element in building demand for your product or service is cultivating trust between your audience and your brand. One of the best ways to build trust is by providing consumers with your very best stuff free of charge.

Earn Googles Attention With Demand Generation - Eminent SEO

This might seem counterproductive, but if your audience knows that you create things that add value to their life, they will be sure to view your brand as a valuable resource in the future. Additionally, those who value your free product, tool, resource or service are more likely to share it with others in their extended network. The recipients of your free giveaway thus morph into de facto ambassadors for your brand.

3. Cultivate Client Reviews

When it comes to demand generation, there is perhaps nothing more valuable than cultivating positive client reviews. The reasoning behind this one should be pretty intuitive. After all, it’s easy to hear a business owner’s big talk and dismiss it as empty bluster. A verified client testimonial, on the other hand, is much more credible, for obvious reasons.

Whether it’s a landing page testimonial, case study or customer interview, the voices of satisfied clients are powerful demand generators and should be part of any complete marketing strategy.

4. Guest Posts Get the Word Out

 If you are looking to branch out and reach a new audience, publishing guest posts in popular publications in your space can produce fantastic results. Guest posting is great because you have the opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader in your field while also drawing attention to your own brand.

When guest posting, it is important to remember that publications with a large following will generally only accept content from established writers, so it helps to start by submitting to smaller outlets before working your way up the ladder.

5. Social Media Is King (for Demand Generation)

There are few tools more powerful than social media when it comes to demand generation for your business. By regularly engaging with your audience through channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you can cultivate a loyal following that associates your brand first and foremost with the product or service you provide.

To make the most out of your social media presence, it is important to constantly test which kinds of posts generate the most response. It’s going to differ from industry to industry, so you will probably have to tinker with it for a while until you find the sweet spot.

Reshares, likes and comments are a great metric to measure a post’s impact, allowing you to zero in on your target audience. And once you know what works, you can make use of automation tools to schedule future postings, ensuring that you share content at the optimal time.

Start Generating Demand Today!

Now, demand generation might not be necessary for every industry, but if you want to thrive in today’s search engine landscape, you now have a better sense of how to get started.

Learn How Long SEO Usually Takes

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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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Why You Should Invest in Cannabis SEO for Your Canna-Business Right Now

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Cannabis SEO For Your Canna-Business - Eminent SEO

Are you a cannabis business looking for a smokin’ deal? Cannabis SEO is where it’s at.

For cannabis companies, it’s important to understand where your advertising dollars are best being spent. If you’re a start-up dispensary or product manufacturer, you’re probably wondering how you’re able to get your brand out there to potential customers. A cannabis SEO strategy for your business would be an ideal place to invest.

Organic Search Can Be a Top Lead-Generating Channel

Without the ability to bid on keywords that you’d want to target for conversions through Google AdWords, you can still rank for these keywords organically on Google.

Top Shelf Cannabis Dispensaries Google Search - ESEOFor the search query above, the first few results are organic listings. There aren’t any paid ads or local listings within the first few results, at least for now.

Cannabis Local Search Rankings Google Screenshot - ESEOAs you move further down the page for the same results, Google displays local organic listings and videos.

When performing a local search query, you’ll find that the results are still all organic, but make note that the local listings are the very top of the results.

Cannabis Dispensary In Arizona Google Search Screenshot - ESEOWithout paid ads taking up the majority of the search results, you have the opportunity to develop a website that can rank organically and see traffic from the organic search sources such as Google Maps and Google Organic.

How Do Websites Compete Organically on Google?

There is an array of organic ranking factors that Google considers before a website can organically rank in one of the top positions. These factors include:

  • Quality of website user experience and design
  • How the website functions on mobile platforms
  • Quality of website content
  • Which keywords the website is optimized for
  • Quality of other websites linking to this website
  • Social referral traffic and signals
  • Other referral traffic
  • User engagement on the website (time on site, bounce rate, pages per session, etc.)

By investing in a high-quality website design with optimized content up front, you are investing in your future SEO strategy – one that will bring your company qualified leads.

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The longer you wait to invest in website SEO, the farther you're going to fall behind your competition.

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Cannabis SEO Is Your Best Bet for ROI

Cannabis Search Rankings Are Ripe For The Picking - Eminent SEOCannabis businesses will be required to invest in their own websites because Google, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are being very strict about their advertising policies for cannabis-related content.

Are there some loopholes to get found with paid advertising? Sure. However, don’t count on this for a long-term strategy if you want your brand to grow. It’s only a matter of time before the platform shuts down your ads or your entire page. So, tread lightly…

By investing in your website with cannabis SEO, you are developing unique content that will live on forever with Google. Blog posts can easily rank for years on end for a website as long as the topic is still highly relevant to the search query. This brings a large amount of organic traffic to your website with just one piece of content.

Now, multiply that one piece of content by hundreds of pages/posts on your website that could potentially rank for their own variations of different keywords. The possibilities are endless.

SEO is always a top lead-generating channel for businesses of any kind. People are using Google on their mobile devices to find:

  • Local marijuana dispensaries
  • Top-shelf cannabis strains
  • Legal news
  • How-to videos
  • And more

If your website provides useful information and content that speaks to that audience, you will see month-over-month organic ranking increases.

Have Patience with Rankings and Traffic

Keyword rankings lead to qualified organic traffic. As long as you’ve designed your website for optimal user experience, the site shouldn’t have issues converting that traffic into qualified leads.

All of our clients who have invested in an exceptional website and content with ongoing maintenance see a full return on their investment. Sometimes it can take a little longer to see results than anticipated, but the campaign will pay off. Just give it some time.

Related Post: How Long Does SEO Take and Is It Worth Investing In?

How Cannabis SEO and Social Media Work Together

A lead-generating SEO and social strategy will always work together as one unified campaign. For ongoing SEO, you’ll constantly need up-to-date articles or blog posts on your website to keep search engine crawlers coming back to your site and indexing your content.

Social media plays a large role in helping the content you’re generating on a weekly or monthly basis find an audience much quicker. By using social platforms to feed your audience the fresh content they want to read, your content will acquire social signals, user-generated comments and user engagement on the website. Those are three of ranking factors I mentioned above.

Puff, Puff, Pass the Competition

If you’re looking to invest in your cannabis company for long-term revenue increases, SEO can be your best option. We’ve already seen it happen with other cannabis companies. The longer you wait to invest in your website SEO, the longer it’s going to take to get ahead of your competition. Believe me, you’ll be able to smoke out the competition.

Our Cannabis Branding and Marketing Services

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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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The ‘Pay to Play’ Era of Digital Marketing Strategies

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Pay To Play Era Of Digital Marketing Strategies - Eminent SEO
Marketing has been transforming businesses for ages, since way back in the 1960s when advertising strategies stemmed from one simple creative idea that transformed small businesses into huge, recognizable brands today. Back then, creative advertising teams focused less on the research and more on creativity.

1960s Tide Ad:
1960s Tide Ad For Women - ESEOvs. 2018:

Tide Pods Oreos Faux Flavor - ESEO
Needless to say…things have changed. Not that marketing is no longer creative, but it’s just way more complex. And we have to educate kids on not eating Tide pods rather than selling the products. Enough said.

The Evolution of SEO and Social Media Digital Marketing Strategies

The Evolution Of SEO And Social Media Digital Marketing - Eminent SEOWe’ve been doing search engine optimization (SEO) and digital marketing for over 12 years. Our team has been in it since Google and AOL Instant Messenger was all there was. Did I mention dial-up internet too? Yeah that used to be a thing.

Digital Marketing Platforms

When we first began doing SEO strategies, it was a hell of a lot easier than it is now. Back then, you didn’t have to worry about hundreds of different ranking factors or platforms for a website to be visible online.

Now, you have to think about Google Organic, Google Local, Google AdWords, Facebook Organic, Facebook Paid, Instagram Organic, Instagram Paid, LinkedIn Organic, LinkedIn Paid, Twitter Organic, Twitter Paid, and all their different algorithms. Each platform has a paid and organic option which requires its own strategy, since each audience is unique.

Within each platform, there are also different campaign types. With Facebook, you have a variety of options, including

  • Video views
  • Sign up for phone call
  • Messages
  • Website traffic

Devices

Platforms are just scratching the surface when it comes to how things have evolved online. When we first started, we only had to think about desktop computer users and their user behavior.

Now, online users aren’t even using their desktop. They’re on their mobile devices.

More users are searching for local services on their mobile devices than ever before. If your brand isn’t mobile-facing, then you’re falling short with your SEO.

Website User Experience

Back in the day, we didn’t take into consideration the website user experience. The entire website was focused on the keywords and getting as many of them on the site as possible to achieve top Google rankings.

Needless to say, that technique is way outdated, but we still see a lot of SEO companies doing this. A word of advice: These short-term strategies will only hurt your site in the long term.

Today’s digital marketing strategies focus heavily on website user experience and attracting user engagement. When your website content is high quality, personalized and easy to navigate, users will stay engaged with the site.

You Must Be Visible on All Platforms or Your Sales and Leads Will Suffer

In order to really grow your online leads, you need to consider all of these changes as well as all of the platforms your potential audiences live on.

“What if my audience isn’t on social media?”

We hear this so often from business owners. It’s completely inaccurate and makes me giggle every time I hear it.

Yes, your audience lives on social media. Yes, your audience is searching on Google. Why? Because EVERYONE is using social media and Google.

The Problem with Only Focusing on Organic Results

We are organic marketers, so we believe businesses should focus their marketing dollars on organic marketing first. However, with today’s algorithm shifts on Google and Facebook, you have to consider some paid ad budget.

Organic marketing alone takes time to see results. You can expect anywhere from 12 months to several years to see full results from organic marketing.

It’s not that it doesn’t work; it does work. Again, you’re only visible on the organic platforms though. Your business will not be visible in Google’s top paid ads or in Facebook’s newsfeed as often since those platforms allow paid ads to be at the top.

The Hybrid Approach: Organic Marketing Plus Paid Ads

The benefits of utilizing the hybrid paid and organic marketing approach include:

  • Your brand will receive visibility a lot faster.
  • Organic keyword rankings will increase much quicker.
  • Your website content will get much more visibility.
  • Social platforms will attract many followers within your targeted demographic.
  • Your content will be targeted to a specific audience and geographic area.
  • You’ll have the ability to test different landing pages for conversions.
  • You’ll increase your qualified leads much faster, since organic alone will take at least a year.

Why You Need Digital Assets for Marketing to Be Effective

Paid and organic marketing are essential to growing your brand. However, you still need to consider all of the different campaign types required in order to attract these qualified leads. That’s where quality content and digital assets come into play.

Digital assets are considered:

  • Videos
  • eBooks
  • Brochures
  • Media kits
  • Blog posts
  • Landing pages
  • Quizzes
  • Podcasts
  • Case studies
  • Email series

Your marketing won’t be as effective if you do not have engaging content to promote. Buyers today do not want to be sold. That’s why you develop assets for your ideal buyers and promote those assets through the various digital marketing channels.

Business Owners Are Focused on the Bottom Line: More Sales

If you’re a business owner, you know this is true. You don’t care what the marketing does, but you care how it impacts your business. The end goal isn’t to get more followers on Facebook; it is to achieve more sales to grow your business.

That’s a great goal to have, but where a lot of businesses fall short is considering this hybrid approach to their marketing. They don’t think they need paid ads, or they don’t think they need a high-quality website. Hate to break the news to you all, but that couldn’t be more untrue.

Think quality over quantity. You need to have a quality website with quality content to attract each buyer type within the various stages of the buyer’s journey. Otherwise, your marketing strategy is flawed and you won’t get the results you want.

Final Thoughts on the ‘Pay to Play’ Era

Your business has a huge opportunity to succeed with today’s digital marketing strategies. The tools are literally at your fingertips.

The landscape has changed dramatically throughout the years, and it requires a team of professionals to accomplish this task. It isn’t something to push aside or consider as a small tool for your business; it is the primary driving source of leads today.

Get on board with the changes, or risk not growing your business. It’s up to you, but it’s really that simple.

Stop Spending Money on Marketing That Doesn’t Work

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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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The Pros and Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

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Pros And Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages AMPs - Eminent SEO

First announced to the public in late 2015, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, has reshaped the way we surf the internet and consume content via our mobile devices. Because webpages running on the AMP format load directly from Google’s servers and are built with a stripped-down version of HTML, they consume up to 10 times less data than non-AMP pages. This means that AMPs load incredibly fast compared to traditional mobile pages.

In today’s tech-based culture, users value speed and efficiency above all else. Google knows this and hopes that with its open-source AMP platform, it can provide users with information at record-breaking speeds.

We’ve written on this topic before, but it’s time for an update. In recent months, Google has announced some major changes to the AMP platform – changes that have left many publishers wondering, “Is adding AMPs a smart move for my website?”

Recent Changes to the AMP Platform

AMP is an ever-evolving project that aims to reshape consumer behavior. Here are some recent changes to the platform that publishers should be aware of:

AMP Is Rolling Out More Customization Options

From day one, the AMP project has prioritized speed over style. AMPs may load with lightning speed, but the lack of design capabilities and interactive features often discourage visitors from actively engaging with the content.

Recently, however, there have been some much-needed improvements in functionality and customization options. Today, AMP pages are beginning to look much more like their non-AMP counterparts. Now we’re seeing webpages that load quickly and still look stylish; what more could you ask for?

New URL Displays Are on the Horizon

As it stands, AMP pages display a Google-based URL instead of the actual website’s URL. Obviously, this can be rather frustrating for publishers hoping to build brand recognition.

Fortunately, Google has announced that by late 2018 they plan to display the publisher’s domain in search results sourced from their AMP cache. This is encouraging news for brand marketers, but we’re going to wait until the full plan is unveiled before we get too excited.

AMPs for All Devices

Once exclusive to mobile search results, AMPs have made their way to desktop search results as well. If you want your site to remain competitive, you’ll need to make sure that any AMPs you build are functional across all web-browsing devices. If they’re not, you risk subjecting much of your audience to a clunky, frustrating experience.

Crackdown on Teaser Pages

Some publishers have found a way to work around the AMP project’s disadvantages. So-called “teaser pages” are stored in the AMP cache and benefit from increased speed and priority placement on Google’s carousel.

These teaser pages then link to the publisher’s native non-AMP page through a call to action, such as a “Continue Reading Here” button. Publishers had effectively found a way to have their cake and eat it too.

Google is putting a stop to this workaround by requiring that both the AMP and non-AMP versions of a webpage contain the same content. If Google believes a publisher is using their AMP page as a teaser, it will simply stop directing traffic there.

The Benefits of AMPs

Here are the pros of using AMPs in your digital marketing strategy:

Increased Speed

AMPs have a major speed advantage over traditional mobile pages. The increased loading speed of AMP content comes with a host of benefits, including:

  1. Visitors are more likely to engage with content and make purchases on pages when they know the process will be quick and hassle free.
  2. Shorter load times also mean that visitors are less likely to lose patience and navigate away from your content.

Increased Visibility

At the moment, using AMPs won’t automatically increase your page or domain authority. However, AMPs are eligible to be displayed in Google’s “Top Stories” carousel, which sits at or near the top of search results pages, depending on what you search. While Google’s carousel mostly features news articles, if you create an AMP on a frequently searched or hot topic, your content can potentially “skip the line” and jump all the way to page one of a Google search.

Also, Google’s carousel is no longer the only spot while you will find AMP content. Since 2016, Google has featured AMP pages in the organic search results as well. The AMP logo (a white or gray lightning bolt in a blue circle) can be seen just beneath the meta title of all AMP entries. For certain searches, you may see AMP-only results throughout page one.

Increased Visitor Engagement

The evidence is beginning to show that visitors are more likely to engage with the content on AMPs compared to traditional mobile pages. The minimalist design of AMPs makes it easier for visitors to navigate through the content on your page.

Visitors will be more likely to leave comments, watch embedded videos and follow links when they aren’t distracted by the clutter typically found on non-AMP pages.

 

The Drawbacks of AMPs

Unfortunately, there are a few cons of AMPs that we must mention:

AMPs May Not Increase Site Traffic

Because AMP content has a Google URL and resides in Google’s servers, AMPs won’t directly increase traffic to your website. While Google has announced plans to remedy this problem in the future, clever publishers have already developed effective workarounds.

For example, AMP publishers can add a comment button to the end of an article, but when the visitor clicks it, they arrive on an equivalent page on the publisher’s own site, which is where they’ll actually leave the comment.

Keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if users don’t click through an AMP page to the publisher’s website. After all, just having your content reach the front page of a Google search result will go a long way in building brand recognition, especially if users keep seeing your content again and again.

Coordination Problem

While the AMPs themselves may load quickly, any external content on the page is likely to lag behind. This is a big problem when it comes to hosting advertisements. Visitors are likely to scroll past an ad before it has loaded, killing any chance at conversion.

Google claims to be in the process of addressing this problem, but until it does, publishers need to take this variable into account.

Analytics Leave Much to Be Desired

Google usually sets the standard for quality analytics, but the analytics available for AMPs are pretty unsatisfying at the moment. While you can keep track of basic metrics like visitors and engagement, you won’t have much data to work with to improve your visitor’s experience.
 
For an easy reminder of the pros and cons of accelerated mobile pages, feel free to download or share this image:
Accelerated Mobile Pages AMPs Speed Visibility Analytics - Eminent SEO

The Pros and Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages for YOUR Website

Even though AMPs are most beneficial for news publishers, any business that maintains a blog and publishes timely content on popular topics can potentially benefit from this technology. This is especially true if there is a techie on staff who can learn to build webpages using the AMP code.

On the other hand, businesses that publish evergreen content (or don’t have a blog at all) may find that the time and money it takes to duplicate parts of their website in the AMP format is just not worth it.

Still unsure whether your business should try it out? Contact us today, and our team of expert designers and SEO analysts will help you determine if AMPs are a wise choice for your website.

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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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Vol. 75: No More Wasted Marketing Dollars

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Eminent SEO Newsletter Volume 75 March 2018

Push Your Business Further Toward Success

It’s time to stop the madness!

So many businesses are still entranced with marketing channels that no longer yield a worthwhile ROI. Using outdated and non-data-driven tactics just isn’t going to get it done, whether online or off.

As we continue to get our feet settled in 2018, we are pleading to businesses small and large to stop using marketing tactics that essentially flush money down the drain.

We’re ready to step in. Below you will find actionable tips and links to help your company make smarter decisions on how to spend your valuable marketing dollars.

Spend Your Marketing Dollars Wisely

Inspirational Quote

“We have some good ideas here. But the only way to know if they’re workable is to try to make them fail. If we fail to fail, then maybe we’re on the right track.”

– Orson Scott Card

Website Highlights: Avoid Wasted Marketing Dollars

Businesses Wasted Marketing Dollars Doesnt Work - Eminent SEO

Our own Melanie Stern explains how to not get taken by shady marketers promising hundreds of instant leads. She also covers six channels and tactics you should explore instead.

Read More

Business & Marketing Tip

Is there another site copying your content and passing it off as their own? Try out Google’s in-content search operator.

Find out if someone is plagiarizing you by copying a unique quote or phrase from your own online content and entering it into Google Search like this:

intext:”quote or phrase”

Google Intext Search - ESEO

If sites other than yours are showing up at the top with an exact or near-exact match, then there’s a problem.

Answer FAQ

QUESTION:
What are some of the most effective digital marketing channels for small businesses today?

ANSWER:
All small businesses should invest into these four staples:

1. Website SEO and Organic Marketing

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving your website’s organic (aka not paid) search engine rankings. Not only does solid SEO get you visibility online, but it is also proven to win customers. According to research from Google, roughly half of customers who search for local businesses from their mobile devices end up making purchases the very same day!

2. Content and Brand Asset Development

Want more brand and website visibility? Start by creating high-quality content and visual assets. Branded content includes everything from expert website copy and useful blog posts to insightful videos and eye-catching infographics. Creating valuable digital content will add trust and value to the brand long term.

3. Social Media

Small businesses must have a social media presence. Social platforms are a great way to connect with your customers directly. If you’re just getting started, remember that less is more. Stick to the platforms your customers are using the most. Share valuable content, but also identify and engage with key influencers in your space.

The goal is to get other pages to share your content, but before you can do that, you must spend some time building relationships.

4. Email Marketing

Often overlooked, email marketing is still a great tactic for small and large businesses alike. Grow your list organically by offering valuable information in exchange for an email address. You can also run contests, host a quiz or offer a monthly newsletter. But remember: No one wants to be spammed.

Instead of promotional-only content, offer valuable information to your subscribers, such as industry news, how-to guides, tips and other helpful advice.

Customer Survey

The more avenues you have to receive a payment from a current or prospective client, the better.

How many payment options do you provide?

How Many Payment Options For Clients - Eminent SEO

Take the Poll

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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The Power of Online Video for SEO and Brand Trust

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Power Of Online Video For SEO Brand Trust - Eminent SEO
There is some truth to the phrase “seeing is believing.” And in today’s world, skepticism isn’t just for the paranoid. Business owners and clients believe they aren’t as gullible as they used to be, thanks to Snopes.com, E-Verify and a social culture that’s never heard of doing business on a handshake.

To provide a visual of what the initial interaction with a potential customer looks like, picture a stone-faced man or woman seated with arms crossed on the chest, void of emotion, waiting for the next round of B.S. to present itself.

Think about most of the marketing pitches you get online, whether through organic search or pay per click. Expecting a bait and switch? How often is that delivered? Right. No wonder we’re so distrustful.

Marketing Without Video Is as Reliable as Online Dating

YouTube Second Largest Search Engine Behind Google - Eminent SEOWith much of our business-to-business and business-to-consumer relationships made across local, regional and national borders, any opportunity to engage in face-to-face communication is essential to building trust.

Remember when the idea of having your photo on your email signature was introduced? The reason behind it is the same. But it’s anticlimactic to have a conversation with a photo.

If you’ve ever engaged in the online dating process, it’s easy to get the message about why marketing with online video is such a powerful tool. You begin by conversing online with photos being the visual that entices.

You have no idea what these people sound like, how their mannerisms dictate the way they move, how they react to the unexpected or what drives them as human beings. And yes, you really can’t authenticate whether that photo is really him (or her).

Apply this to your business. If your online presence only includes the use of static imagery, there is no dimension to your brand and you’re missing a key opportunity to increase the reach of your SEO.

Every Business Is in the Business of Telling Stories

Now that social media has superseded print and physical collateral for marketing agency and business owner spends, as well as footing heavy competition for the television space, how your company represents itself is dictated by the stories it tells.

Breaking Down the Art of Storytelling

Whether you are a brick-and-mortar operation or solely online, the moment customers enter your facility or website, they are expecting a story. The visuals need to speak to them. The words need to engage emotion so that they stay long enough to purchase or at least remember who you are and why they should come back and/or share the experience with the people they know.

This is relationship marketing; it’s based on the ability to create a story that has dimension and depth. Nothing does that for you better than online video.

Salespeople Are the Biggest Storytellers of All

Business Video Marketing Spend 2018 Statistic - Eminent SEOThere remains an ongoing, friendly feud between creative marketers and salespeople. Salespeople generally have a disdain for marketers and believe that marketing content is nothing but fluff.

On the other hand, marketers know that a good story is needed before a salesperson ever gets the chance to tell their own story.

Marketers and salespeople aren’t that different. Here’s why:

  • Marketers – Devise a story, direct or indirect, meant to get the attention of a prospect and lead them to the sales department or immediately convert a sale.
  • Salespeople – Listen to the prospect and, based on what they hear, create a story that will resonate to convert a sale.

Online video supports marketing and sales initiatives because the story can be retold over and over again. Just hit play.

Video: The Next Best Thing to Being There

Marketing in motion (that’s what video is) provides a unique layering of flexibility to your creative campaigns. You can adjust the tone, the language, the lighting and effects on the fly. If it’s realism you want to convey to your audience, this is how it’s done.

For a more polished look, high-end equipment and professional videographers are the way to go as they better understand the mechanics behind the machinery and how to maximize the production to get better results. Make sure to create your own YouTube channel to post the videos, and incorporate keywords to help boost views and increase organic rankings.

Remember that Google sometimes chooses to show videos on page one of a user’s search, and that YouTube itself is the second-largest search engine on the web. Leverage your videos accordingly.

Why Video Is Business Marketing Royalty

According to a 2017 video marketing survey by Wyzowl,

  • On average, 90 minutes per day are spent watching online video.
  • 15% of those who watch online video do so for three hours or more daily.
  • 99% of businesses who already use video will continue this year.
  • 82% of businesses plan to increase their marketing spend on video in 2018.
  • Two out of three businesses that do not have an online video presence will start in 2018.

Where does your business stand? How are you capturing audience, brand awareness, SEO and conversions? If you’re not doing video (or creating the right kind of video), you virtually don’t exist.

What Does Online Video for SEO Do for Your Business?

Nothing creates a sense of believability and credibility to online users like video. It allows you to craft a message and deliver it in a way that keeps you in control.

If you like the response it generates, you can build other videos around it for a full-bodied campaign. If the response is not what you’d hoped for, you can repurpose some of the content, add new footage to shift direction and monitor audience reception from there.

Remember these numbers when it comes to video marketing:

  • 57% of online viewers feel more confident about purchasing a product or service after watching a video.
  • 74% purchased a product after seeing a tutorial video.
  • 78% of businesses who use online video realized positive ROI.

Love it or hate it, Google runs the online SEO show. Might as well make friends with the virtual giant. By the way, Google adores video. If your website doesn’t have an embedded video on it, you’re missing out on a 53 times greater chance of showing up on the first page of search results, according to Moovly.

Optimize Your Optimization

If you already have a strong online video presence, your business no doubt is already receiving the benefits it brings. But if the back end isn’t working just as hard, your videos aren’t reigning in what you justly deserve. The right long-tail keyword phrases, headlines and descriptions also add value to your SEO positioning.

If you want (no, you need) to learn more about how the right online video marketing strategy can bring big changes to your business, ask the experts in digital marketing and brand strategy: Eminent SEO.

Read More About Refining Your Content Marketing Strategy for 2018

Keep Your Content Marketing Fresh

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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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Vol. 74: We Will Power Your Brand in 2018

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Eminent SEO Newsletter Power Your Brand in 2018

Time for a Brand Boost

As your business is getting its feet settled in 2018, ask yourself these two questions:

  • How do I know if my current marketing is producing quality leads?
  • What types of additional marketing might I need?

If you don’t have clear answers to these two questions, Eminent SEO can help. We’ll start with a brand audit to let you know what’s already working and where you can make improvements.

If you want to move forward from there, we’ll develop a multi-channel marketing strategy to give your brand a boost on several fronts in 2018. This will help your business in the following areas:

  • Website Traffic and Conversions
  • Organic Search Rankings
  • Paid Ad Conversions
  • Email Blast Opens and Clicks
  • Social Media Interaction
  • Backlink Quality

Explore Our Complete Marketing Services

Good to Know in SEO

There are several pertinent SEO developments that we must share. Net neutrality certainly must be addressed. Keep your SEO knowledge current by perusing these three articles:

Business & Marketing Tips

It may be one of the older digital marketing channels, but it remains one of the most fruitful for businesses. You’ve got to do it right, though. Check out this email marketing tip from our CEO, Jenny Stradling:

Jenny Stradling Email Marketing Quote - Eminent SEO

Highlights from the Eminent SEO Blog

A recent survey revealed just how many businesses are currently trying their hand at content marketing. The number is only going to grow, so here are 3 tips on fine-tuning your strategy and setting it apart from the competition in 2018.

Read more…

Keep Content Marketing Strategy Fresh For 2018 - Eminent SEO

As for one last SEO development, our very own Zach Ankeny wrote about a recent change he noticed in Google’s search engine results pages, specifically pertaining to rich snippets and knowledge graphs. Will these changes affect your website?

Read more…

Google Neon Lights - ESEO

Happy new year from the Eminent team! Until next month’s newsletter, we invite you to visit our blog or stay in touch with us via social media (see the icons below) .

Avatar for Jenny Stradling

Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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What You Should Know About Inbound Marketing Before You Hire an Agency

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What You Should Know About Inbound Marketing - Eminent SEO

Inbound marketing has been hailed as one of the most successful types of marketing strategies, boasting such enticing benefits as:

  • Stronger customer loyalty
  • Higher sales conversions
  • More repeat customers
  • Trackable marketing ROI

In the information age, inbound marketing is seen as a smarter, more modern way of marketing, as opposed to mass-market advertising that tends to focus more on brand-building than satisfying prospects’ needs.

What Is Inbound Marketing?

Also called permission marketing, inbound marketing gets its name from the fundamental idea it’s based on: attracting customers by enticing them inward with valuable information, and getting their permission to communicate with them.

This is the opposite approach of traditional mass media-based outbound marketing, in which the goal is to bombard potential customers with marketing messages in the hopes that a few will be interested.

Inbound marketing is often used synonymously with content marketing because inbound marketing uses content to build and nurture relationships with prospects and customers on channels such as:

  • Blogs
  • Email
  • Social media
  • Optimized websites and landing pages

Because of its focus on attracting customers and building a relationship with them, inbound marketing is a more targeted, precise type of marketing. Choosing the right audience and communicating to them in the right way can yield substantially higher 1) conversion rates, 2) repeat customers and 3) customer loyalty. However, this is also what makes inbound marketing more difficult to succeed at than outbound marketing.

How to Do Inbound Marketing Successfully

Marketing is based on a naturally self-serving motivation: The company wants to sell its products and services to people. There’s nothing wrong with this, per se. Sales are a necessary part of the business cycle, and good marketing can help match up customers with things they truly need. But it’s easy for marketers and salespeople to go overboard in their attempts to get leads and sales.

No one likes to be sold to. But everyone likes to buy things they want and need. What’s the difference?

When a company offers you exactly what you want or need at the moment you need it, at the right price, you’re happy to spend your money. In this case, it doesn’t feel like you’re being sold to, it feels like you’re being helped.

“Being sold to” is that yucky feeling you get when someone is pushing something on you that you don’t want or need (at least not right now). We’ve all encountered overly aggressive salespeople, annoyingly persistent pop-up ads, and intrusive emails we never remember signing up for.

For customers, what’s so enticing about successfully implemented inbound marketing campaigns is that they feel like the company is helping them – even though, in actuality, they are being sold to. Inbound marketing is based on the idea that customers should be sold to how they want to be sold to, not just how the company wants to sell to them.

For companies, inbound marketing done right means that their marketing efforts are garnering a higher ROI and providing a steady stream of leads and customers.

However, the business world is littered with marketers who attempt inbound marketing, but are really just doing outbound marketing disguised as inbound marketing.

Let’s look at the key factors you need to be aware of to do inbound marketing right.

The All-Important Trust Factor

Building Trust Is Foundation Of Successful Inbound Marketing - ESEOYou’ve got to give to get.

Ask first how you can help.

Be of service.

Those who are the most successful in marketing, sales, networking and leadership understand that the most powerful way to build influence and get what you want is to first be of service to others.

These leaders don’t just sell people their product, service or idea. They build relationships with people and create a sense of community and social belonging.

There are two ways that human beings interact:

  • Transactional – In a transactional relationship, each party is simply trying to get something from the other.
  • Relational – In a relational relationship, the relationship is more important than the transaction.

Inbound marketing is based on the principle of relational marketing, in which the relationship with the customer is more important than any individual transaction.

The company begins by giving the prospect helpful information for free, and asking for the prospect’s permission to communicate with them directly (usually via email). From there, the company continues to provide timely and helpful information and resources in order to build the relationship with the prospect over time, with the goal of eventually winning their trust – and the sale.

Because inbound marketing is a customer-centric, permission-based relational model, building trust with prospects and customers is the most important goal.

However, any practical marketer must ask questions such as:

  • How much can I really afford to give away for free?
  • How long will it take to build the relationship with the customer until they buy?
  • What if they never buy?

Investing the Right Amount of Time and Resources

Because inbound marketing is based on building relationships, it is a long-term nurturing strategy.

As a marketer, it’s important to make sure you have a long-term plan and can dedicate the resources to give it time to work.

It’s like planting a seed. You must:

  • Plant the right seed,
  • Plant it in fertile soil,
  • Water it appropriately,
  • And wait.

Unlike with plants, we often don’t know the exact germination period of a marketing campaign, so marketers and business owners are always making their best guess as to how much time and resources to dedicate to a campaign.

You want to give to a campaign enough time to be successful, but you don’t want to keep investing in a plant that is a dud either.

This is why it can be a good idea to have multiple campaigns running at once, in case some don’t pan out. But, you don’t want to have so many that you can’t do all of them well, either.

Targeting the Right Audience and Message

A critical factor to the success of inbound marketing campaigns, and the marketing strategy as a whole, is ensuring that you’ve matched the right audience with the right message.

One of the biggest mistakes that new inbound marketers make is making assumptions about who their ideal audience is and how to communicate to them. This is an area that requires research and experimentation in order to get it right and achieve the impressive conversion rates and customer loyalty that you’ve heard so much about.

Even when you know your ideal audience, it’s essential to make sure you are communicating to them how they want to be communicated with (as opposed to how you want to communicate to them).

Why You Can’t Afford NOT to Invest in Inbound Marketing

In many ways, outbound mass-marketing is much easier than inbound marketing. All you need is a big budget, and you can blanket the airwaves (or internet) with your message. You can focus on the transaction instead of taking the time to build a relationship.

But in an age where technology is making people feel more disconnected than ever, they are craving relationships more than ever.

Customers seek out companies they can be loyal to, because when they have their trusted providers, they can ignore the overload of marketing messages coming from other sources.

Yes, it takes skill to be a permission marketer. But in an age where everything is moving towards personalization, can you afford to be left behind?

What to Know Before Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency

The No. 1 thing you need to know about hiring a marketing agency to handle your inbound marketing actually has nothing to do with the agency and everything to do with you:

You must give inbound marketing adequate time to work.

Many companies hire agencies in the hope of a quick ROI on their marketing dollars. While this might be possible with other types of marketing, it’s not possible with inbound marketing. Wise professionals create inbound marketing plans that are 18 months and longer.

You also need to make sure that your agency actually understands how to do inbound marketing well. Some agencies specialize more in outbound marketing.

Make sure your agency knows how to:

  • Help you identify the right messages for each audience segment
  • Build relationships and trust with customers over time
  • Tracks marketing metrics that actually matter in relational marketing
  • Can integrate inbound marketing with traditional marketing strategies where appropriate

While inbound marketing does require a substantial investment up front, it pays off big in the long term. Don’t waste any more time – get started right away!

If you’re ready to partner with an experienced inbound marketing agency, contact Eminent SEO now.

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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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