Category Archives: SEO

Lessons from an SEO entrepreneur

I recently read an article on Forbs.com about Brian Dean, the CEO of Backlinko. The article was based on his past faliures & how he became one of the most successful SEO entrepreneurs of our time.  It was an interesting read, so I decided to list the main lessons I learnt from it.

Beginnings are only the start of what you will become! 

Brian was a PHD student who studied nutrition. He became a diatritian and after reading a book by Timothy Ferris – the 4-hour workweek,  it encouraged him start out on his own.

He started writing an e-book about back pain and hired freelance writers to help him. Unfortunately, he wasn’t impressed with their writing and thought he could do a better job writing it all by himself.

If not for his experience with the freelance writers he wouldn’t have uncovered his passion for writing. Coming to the realisation that he could do a better job  with writing the e-book himself he started taking steps to make it happen.

Brain decided to quit his full time job and started his freelance writing career. He wrote 12 articles per day for Livestrong.  From there he started creating his own ‘niche -exact match domain sites’.

Anyone can learn SEO! 

Brian became interested in SEO to help his websites flourish.  I can imagine that during this time he started reading blogs about SEO, watching tutorials and implementing all he learnt on his niche websites.  As a result,  his websites became a success and he started generating a lot of traffic.  He started making some passive income from them.

Always learn from your mistakes! 

At the time,  these types of websites were really popular.  A lot of webmasters used to create niche- one page sites to generate traffic and earn money from Google AdSense. But in 2010, along came one of the most  pivotal havock wreaking SEO updates,  Google Panda!

The Google Panda update targeted sites that used black hat SEO techniques in order to rank highly on Google.  Sites that had poor content and practiced keyword stuffing techniques were penalised and lost a lot of traffic as a result.  Unfortunatly, one page websites that used exact match domains bore the brunt of this!

Brain’s websites were among those that were affected by the Google Panda update. He recalls how it all happened: “My traffic was completely wiped out overnight. After I got wiped out after Google Panda, I never evaluated why I failed. I just thought, OK now you need to create websites that won’t get hit by Google Panda. But, the real reason I failed was because I created crappy websites. It took me almost two more years to realize that fact.”

Google’s panda update got Brain thinking.  As a result, he started his own SEO agency and now gives advice on how to go about SEO the right way!

Read more about Brian’s experience here.

Now To Break The Silence

I have been very silent on the blogging front for a while now and since my new year resolution is to blog a lot more, I will be taking that into action today! Yay!!. I have written a lot of drafts which have not even made the publish button and I am very annoyed about that. Anyway,take a look at the way I have decided to revamp this blog and increase my content marketing efforts.

big time blogger

I will be covering the following areas in my next couple of posts;

A broader aspect of onsite and offsite SEO; This will include a lot more about SEO updates to Google Analytics,  algorithm updates,  Google Webmaster Tools and much more.  There have been a lot of updates on this front including the changes to Google Analytics keyword provided.

Predictions on what people have said about this year with SEO and whether it is happening or not. There have been many predictions on what is in store for SEO this year. I will be blogging on whether these things are likely to happen or not especially when there is announcement of some sort that matches the prediction.

thinking face

An interview blog post series with some influential people in the industry.  So for those with your own independent blogs and have a passion for the digital marketing industry, contact me for more information.

Updates on strategies from SEO and Digital Marketing seminars and events I’ll attend. Attending SEO and digital marketing events makes me feel like the lady in the GIF below;

moretocome

There is something about like-minded individuals learning from each other that makes me so excited. Events led by organiser such as OMN London and Search London have to be one the best I have attended. Have you attended such events before? If so, you will be able to relate to that excitement I feel when I attend.  The last event I attended like this was in late June last year and I wrote a post about PR opportunities and link building that very day.

Last but not least; I’d love to say thank you to all my faithful blog followers who have continued reading this blog in what I call  the dry season (when I didn’t blog often).

Watch this space for more interesting things to come.

interesting things to come

Thanks for reading.

By Ibukun Sodipe

Google Hummingbird Update & Conversational Search

On Thursday 26th of September Google celebrated their 15th Birthday  with a Happy Birthday Google doodle on Google search and coincidentally that same day, they made an announcement about their algorithm which they have updated and named ‘hummingbird’. This is something that has already taken effect since about a month ago.  As Google like to do, they have kept it a secret and just announced it without giving too much detail.  Apparently it wasn’t much of a shake up like Panda or Penguin but this update is just a way of improving conversational search.

Conversational Search

So when searching a lot of people have started using conversational searches instead of just short term phrases.

For example looking at the screenshot below (I tried this search out on Google Trends) and discovered that more searches for terms such as ‘How to fix a car’ instead of shorter terms such as car fixing and mechanical tips. This means two things to me; the search engines are a lot smarter than they were years ago and people have started to realise this and more people like to be specific with their search queries

conversationalsearch

What does this mean for SEO Practitioners?

Ethical SEO has never been ever more important than it is now.  That means no more phoney ways of getting links and even practising SEO. It does not mean that SEO is dead! With advances such as people searching on their mobile (where you can search by speaking into your phone),  longer tailed searching is getting even more popular.  Google therefore want to show more precise data and here is where content marketing plays a huge role.

I do not need to go into the details of content marketing, as I have already done so before; however I will like to add that ensuring that anchor texts are more precise is a good idea. It would therefore be a good idea to go for longer tailed anchor texts rather than shorter tailed ones.

Content marketing efforts should now include tactics such as being conversational in an effort to engage readers further.  So the sites that will be ranking well on Google with have updated content that people will usually want to read everyday. A great way to ensure this is done successfully is revamping old content..  mentioning them in relevant new posts and adding new things that will be beneficial to readers today rather than last year. If you do have information that is relevant to last year update it and state that the content has been updated to include factors for this year.  Find out more about how to do this by reading an article on Moz.  

Furthermore some of the points I have mentioned have been summarised in the following tweets;  

Did you notice anything spectacular with the hummingbird Google Update? Feel free to voice out your thoughts on it in the comments below. Thanks for reading.

By Ibukun Sodipe

The Scarcity of Women In the Digital Industry

I came across this article a few days ago, it’s about women in the digital industry and I thought to myself I need to respond to it. It is not every time I read something that moves me to the point of reacting so I am going to keep this as brief as I can.  I agree that there should be more women in the digital industry; after all according to the SEO survey by Moz in 2012 only 23% of women are currently contributing to this sector.  I just feel like I should write about my insight offer my encouragement based on the small improvements I’ve seen so far.

When I joined the digital industry in 2010 (on my placement year), I noticed that a there were a lot of men in the office compared to women.  I was used to this anyway because on my course (Business Information Technology) it was dominated by males and I was one of the six girls on my course.

When I completed my course and joined the industry full time I noticed some improvement. My department had a few women but it was still dominated by males.  Over the years there have been many schemes to get women more involved with the digital and technical industries.

Women Making their mark in the SEO Industry

Being in the industry for a while now I have now seen so many inspiring women who are well ahead in the digital industry. Take a look at this article for example. These women are making their mark in the industry. This is the kind of thing that will inspire many more women to make their mark in their respective digital sectors and I am sure this kind of thing will continue.  I will be looking out for the coming years top women nominee for the digital sector.

Mummy Blogs

mummy blogger

In this day and age there are also many mummy blogs out there. They are mothers who blog regularly and often gain an income from it. Some of these mothers also have a full time day job which they manage to juggle alongside running their own successful blog.These women are knowledgeable about digital marketing and use this to market their blogs successfully.

In closing my note to women who may be trying to make their mark in the Digital industry (whether it be in the SEO, Social media, PPC, Display, Affiliate Marketing sector) don’t let the statistics get you down. We may be few but we sure are here! The digital industry is very interesting and you can succeed if you put your mind to it.

By Ibukun Sodipe

Are You Carrying Out Enough Research Before Reaching Out To Bloggers?

Today I am going to be discuss a topic that has been on my mind for a while.  As a lot of you will have gathered from my recent posts, I do a lot of blogger outreach on behalf of my clients. I am  a big fan of finding creative ways to improve my methods and believe me it is not an easy task to put it into practice. The whole process is very time-consuming and can seem a bit crazy at times, but the results are amazing. Carrying out extensive research before approaching site owners, bloggers, editors etc for a link is something that needs to be done. It is essential as you have to know that you are putting in a considerable amount of pressure for something that is actually worth the while. Furthermore, with the recent updates and Penguin refreshes now is the time to perfect the link building strategies you have been using. One has to be on top of their game now more than ever.  Read on for more information on the things that should be checked before reaching out to a blogger.

Relevance

Okay, I have mentioned this many times before on this blog so I won’t go into too much detail. Relevance is key, everyone knows that.  Make sure that the blog you are targeting at least mentions the sort of thing you working to promote.  I have gone into more detail on this topic in my recent post about; effective SEO tactics to use in 2013

Outgoing Links

This in itself is a very important metric when it comes to measuring how effective the links you’ve gotten are. The more outgoing links a page has the less value your link will have. Basically if it’s easy to get a link on the site then you have not earned it,  you’ve built it.  We should all know by now, that in this day and age we have to earn our links not build it.

Authority

By all means target the blogs that have a high authority and are well-known for that.  Matt Cutt’s recently stated in his video that authority sites will be ranking more highly in the SERP’s and the signals will be getting a lot better at identifying these sites. Of course these sites will have a good rage rank and high domain authority. These metrics are  good way of indicating that a site is good has a high authority. So I am sure you’ll be looking out for these metrics anyway.

Traffic

Is there a way to find out how much traffic this blog gets?  Remember,  it’s a blog and you’d want to get meaningful content on that blog.  The blog has to have some visits after all you are not just aiming at getting a link on a blog that’s not going to do anything or refer readers, right?  This is why looking at the site’s traffic metrics is important.

Tools for measuring Traffic  – Semrush –  now here is a tool that shows how much traffic each site gets from search engines in each country. For instance one blog may get 1000 referrals from Google UK,  whilst it only gets 500 referrals from Google US search engine. I will probably prefer the blog with more visits from the UK search engine just because my client is a UK-based client who can only sell to UK residents.  This is the sort of thing that many people overlook just because they want to get a link at the end of the day. Well link building has evolved too much for that sort of thinking and one has to make sure they think things through before targeting random sites that don’t make a difference to the brand they are representing. 

Blogger Engagement  On Social Media 

Is there person behind the blog?Are they engaging with their followers?  Believe me,  this sets apart a serious blogger from one who isn’t very serious.  A serious blogger writes passionately,  and engages readers within the posts in any way they can. Do they tweet their content? Of course they should.  Do they have a lot of followers and blog with low domain authority?  If they do then don’t push them aside just because they don’t have a high domain authority.  They may not be very big yet but if they have a huge following on twitter then chances are they are working their way towards this. People care about what they have to say, that’s why they follow them, right? It is a well-known fact that ‘social signals are now paving a way for the future of search’,  so you should definitely take it seriously and use it when researching prospects. 

Social media channels to check;  Twitter; Google+, Facebook, Pintrest etc.

Verified Authorship: 

Now this is something that I look at when I am doing outreach. We must have all heard about the verified authorship that comes up on search results.  Right now, I am still waiting for my blog to be verified and it’s taking a while. It helps when you have your own domain. I have explained that in my last post about managing SEO for my blog.  Being a verified author means that your posts will get a higher click-through rate than normal search results and that results in an increased traffic.  So it all counts, doesn’t it?

Domain Age 

The older the age of the domain the more trustworthy it is.  As stated by Jim Boykin: “I’d much rather get a link from a site registered in 1995 that has 100 quality backlinks, than get a link from a blog registered in 2005 with 1000 quality backlinks.”

For more information about link value factors refer to this link building factor guide

By Ibukun Sodipe

ClickMeter – A Great Method To Monitor Link Building Tactics

There are so many ways of doing creative link building and also on a really low-budget.  I mentioned some of these in my last post about creative link building,  however, today  I am going to discuss one of the ways I’ve been monitoring these tactics.

Clickmeter

I recently came across this online tool called ClickMeter   when my work colleague was using it to monitor some of my link building tactics.  I got to know that it was a good way of showing which tactics worked the best and I’ve since started using it on a regular biases.

As can be seen below in the image before starting  to post any information about a deal or discount, just post the original link into ClickMeter and then it would shorten the link.  The shortened link will then be used and refer anyone who clicks on it to the original URL.  The whole point of doing this is so the link building tactics can be monitored.

Clickmeter

So after creating the campaign, I can now post deals on relevant forum sites that accept and refer them to the original url with the shortened link provided from ClickMeter.  I did this and then checked the results and the success of these links by checking which of the forums I got my referrals from.

Clickmeter - Monitoring Campaign Sucess and List Of Clicks

Looking at the stats in the image above (if you can’t see it properly click on the image itself)  you will see that some of the referrals came from the Money-Saving Expert forum. This shows that Money Saving Expert Forum is a great place to add great discount deals. Basically it is a great place to get a link on as there are going to be a lot of guaranteed referrals.  So if you are running a discount deal on at your company be sure to stop by at the money saving expert forum and inform everyone about it in the discount codes section. There are so many people looking for free deals and this is a great way of gaining targeted traffic to your website or e-commerce brand.

Are there any other tools that you have used to monitor link building efforts (apart from Google Analytics)? Don’t get me wrong,  Google Analytic is a great tool that I also use. However,  I was just concentrating on using other  online tools that are also very easy to use.  Feel free to leave your comments below. It’s always great to read your feedback about my posts.

By Ibukun Sodipe

Old SEO Tactics That Are Still Effective When Done Naturally

I have been coming across some really good examples of link building tactics that I just had to record down here and use in my post. I am about to dedicate a whole entry to this one example that I found and here is why;

A Change in SEO Tactics

Since the SEO algorithm updates, some people have been shook up so much about it that they have abandoned forms of link building that was done at the beginning but seems spammy when done in a bad way. For instance forum posting, commenting on blogs and much more.  Well, these things are effective when they are done naturally, so if the purpose of leaving a post on a relevant forum in your niche is just to get a link back to your site, then don’t do it, as it will surely hurt your rankings.  However,  if you are posting on a relevant forum and would like to share a competition that you are running then by all means post the link but only post these in the giveaways, competitions and discounts section of forums. This can be an effective way of gaining increased traffic to your website and although the link may be a nofollow link, the fact that it brings in a lot of traffic will be worth the while.

Bloggers want meaningful feedback in blog comments

Now I am going to move on swiftly to blog commenting on relevant blogs as I myself get a lot of spam comments that I delete immediately.  It’s very irritating when one spends their time and effort to blog about topics from their heart and in return, instead of getting some valuable feedback on what people think about the topic, there is a lot of spam content instead on things that are not even relevant to what the blog is about.  Bloggers want to know that their voice is being heard, they need some meaningful feedback in comments. This is why it is important to comment properly and really take the time to give something insightful back, other than just for getting a link back to your site.

Now the example I’d like to show is shown in the image below;

Blog comments for Charity

The person writing the comment is clearly targeting food bloggers and has left a message about a Fairtrade event, that she hopes the blogger can mention on the food blog.  Now although a direct approach, this method is very good especially with the fact that its not for a commercial reason  and its for charity.  This is a great way to of getting the right person’s attention.   If it was a car blog that this comment was left on, there are high chances that  it would not have been as effective.  As we can see in the image the blogger has replied to the comment and even agreed to post something about the event.  Which brings me to the conclusion that blog comments can an effective link building technique when done properly.

Do you have any more ideas of old link building tactics that can still be effective when done properly.

By Ibukun Sodipe

Increasing Content Marketing Efforts by Practicing Ego Bait Link Building

Since part of my day-to-day tasks is to run blogger outreach programs on behalf of my clients, I come across some really good examples of blogging and partnership via ego bait link building.

In case you are unsure of what ego bait link building is, I’ll just go into a brief explanation of what it is about by showing a really good example of the one I came across this week. In the example shown in the screenshot below, a food blogger used her blog post to mention a similar blogger who she also follows on twitter.

ego bait link building example

Following from this she also tweets about this and mentions the blogger in the tweet and as can be seen in the image below;  she has also gotten a lot of positive responses from the blogger who was mentioned.

ego link bait twitter mention

This is what ego link building is all about.  It’s about using your content to get the attention of like-minded people or otherwise influential people in your niche.  It’s a great way to get noticed and increase the amount of shares, incoming links and traffic to a website or blog.

So what do you think about ego bait link building? Have you done it before? Did it work? Think about the methods you can use to get through to other like-minded bloggers and influential people in your niche.

I too can use this blog post and tweet at the food blogger mentioned to let her know that I have mentioned her in my blog post.  So in a way I guess this very blog post is also an ego bait link building attempt.

By Ibukun Sodipe

Bloggers Outreach And Guest Blogging: How To Do It Right

As a link builder, it is important to be able to run a successful bloggers outreach program, by knowing exactly how to approach bloggers. Writing guest posts on niche and relevant blogs is a great way to reach a targeted and relevant audience. So getting it right, by knowing what to say and how to persuade a blogger that your content is just right for his or her blog, is very vital.

Suzanne owns a travel blog and gets a lot of traffic to it daily. This no doubt attracts many people who are looking for guest post opportunities. Here is Suzanne’s view on guest blogging, what it should contain and the reasons why;

Hi! I’m Suzanne and I own the blog Travel Addict. I’m a massive fan of travelling so thought it only made sense for me to start my own blog, giving my travel tips to others.

How I got started with guest blogging

After just writing my own content for my blog I decided to contact a few travel bloggers whose blogs I’d been keeping up with. Instead of just writing a mass email, which I pretty sure most bloggers are used to and can easily spot, I decided to show that I actually read the blog by referring to one of their posts. I then proposed three content ideas relating to their blog and let them choose their favourite. Most bloggers were happy to let me guest post and some even thanked me for writing an emailed tailored to them.

Guest posts are a perfect way for me to reach out to more people and let them in on my tips and experiences. I end up reaching people who I normally wouldn’t reach and hopefully they will then start to follow my blog.

How bloggers approach me

Each week many people stumble across my blog and quite a few of them approach me with a guest post proposal so I have to decide which ones to accept. I only ever agree to reciprocal articles so we’re doing each other a favour and everybody wins! Most have their own blogs so we’ll decide between us how many links we’ll include back to our sites and how many photos are appropriate.

I also get guest post requests from SEO companies who don’t have an own blog, but are willing to pay to feature their article on my site. I don’t accept money for articles though as my aim was never to profit financially from my blog, it was just so I could have a place to write what I’m passionate about – so I have to politely decline these offers.

My own content vs. guest content

Although I try to please everyone by getting their posts up as soon as possible, I don’t want to have my site full of guest posts one after another if I’ve not had time to post on it myself. If I have a build-up of guest posts I’ll schedule them and tell the blogger when they can expect to see their article live. I then make sure to spread the guest posts out and write an own post in between to keep the flow – I want to make sure I’m writing the majority of content for my blog, of course!

Checking over the guest articles

When I write a guest post I really take my time over it and only send my best work. I even get someone else to read over it for spelling/grammar errors. I also expect to receive posts of the same caliber as I wouldn’t like to feature an article full of errors.

I sometimes receive posts from SEO companies which have obviously only been written to get a link in and they don’t make for very good reading so I have, on a few occasions, asked if they could be written a bit more organically. Luckily the second attempt has always been a lot better and I’ve then used it on my site. I’m not against accepting links from SEO companies as long as their link is something to do with travel. I am open to anyone who writes a good articles with informative content.

Photos please!

guest post requirements

I always add photos to my guest posts as we all know the saying ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ and seeing as I write travel posts I can’t exactly gush about how beautiful a place is and then not post a photo to prove it. Plus who just wants to read a wall of text? Photos help to spruce up the article and be more appealing to the reader. If the blogger doesn’t provide or have any photos then I’ll find some for them and ask if they think they’re suitable for their post.

What next?

After the posts have been made live I’ll then share them on Twitter and hope that the other blogger will do the same for some extra visibility.

I’m really glad that I decided to accept guest articles on my blog because as well as it providing varied content to my readers about places which I’ve never had the chance to visit, it also gives a sense of camaraderie in the blogging community.

Author Bio:

Suzanne Southall also writes for hungryhouse, the UK’s favourite online platform featuring takeaways across the country including restaurants in London, Nottingham and Glasgow.

Effective Link Building Tactics To Increase Traffic For eCommerce Websites

We all know that link building is not an easy task,  and with the constant search algorithm changes,one has to practice effective link building tactics in order to increase traffic. I have been doing some research into some of the effective ways to get increased traffic through effective link building and I mentioned some of these in recent blog posts about SEO tactics and creative link building. Below are some more link building tactics that guarantees  a significant amount of traffic to your website and many of these tactics do not take too much of your time.

Competitions

Try placing a few competitions on your website and posting these on relevant and authoritative competition sites such as Hot Deals and Prize Finder as these website gets a lot of traffic daily. If done well then you could be getting loads of visits from those who will be interested in entering the competitions.

Targeted Forum Submissions

I recently submitted a few special offers to Loquax.com on behalf of a client and the client’s website received a lot of traffic from this forum because it was a relevant and authoritative one that gets a lot of traffic daily.  I then looked back at the stats of how many views the forum post received and I was astounded at how many people thanked me for sharing the special offer on the forum. Try out forums like Loquax and you should get some positive response.  Don’t forget to include a link back to your website which will preferably be one of your product pages on your e-commerce site.

Event Submissions

Whenever you are hosting an event for your business and you want to spread the word you can always post these on a relevant website like; Time Out London  who  also gets thousands of visitors a day.

Picture Submissions

These are one of the sites that you can submit the picture of your product to and even list your website on.  For instance websites like wanelo.com allows you to submit products that you’d like to buy from websites.  As an e-commerce site you could also list your site here if your website is in the home, fashion, design, or even technology products and accessories market. In short, it’s a great way to promote online products.

Shopping Website Submissions

Submitting your e-commerce website to  a shopping comparison websites such as Price Runner is free and all you have to do is submit a data feed with your entire product catalog. Don’t think of it as stressful, instead think of all the results you’ll be getting. A lot of e-commerce sites have benefited from services like this and as a result get thousands of referrals from niche shopping comparison websites.

I hope you have found these very useful.  If you have any more effective link building tactics please feel free to share them in the comment section below.

By Ibukun Sodipe