Category Archives: Marketing and resources

4 innovative tools for driving increased sales

In the world of business, the art of selling is the only art that matters. And yet it’s by far the hardest skill to master.

The challenge in this practice lies in the obvious simplicity; everyone needs customers to succeed. That simplicity is greatly misleading, however, as this is anything but easy.

We see this all across the world of business; there’s a huge predominance of ineffective sales efforts. For example, 44 percent of salespeople fail to follow up with prospects after a single contact.

That’s not how a brand gains a loyal following.

Fortunately, business owners don’t have to rely solely on apathetic sales reps, or even their own infallible minds. Technology is here to help.

In today’s world, entrepreneurs can employ a variety of tactics such as social selling and PPC advertising.

But most brands still need to go beyond these routine practices to generate leads and sales. What is needed is powerful tools and platforms that help businesses get the required cash flow to remain successful.

If you’re in the market for some new sales tools, then keep reading. Here are four innovative tools to generate more sales, today.

1. Meme Video

One of the most prolific ways of generating leads comes in the form of digital marketing campaigns that incorporate a variety of compelling elements like adverts, assorted forms of content, e-mails, and other popular lead and sales drivers.

What can be rather challenging, however, is managing these creatives in a streamlined and effective way that enables a business to understand the impact a campaign is producing.

That’s where Meme Video comes into play.

Meme Video is an innovative self-service solution to managing marketing materials such as video content, display ads, social media shares, and a variety of other video-based elements.

Meme Video’s ad network leverages proprietary software and machine learning technology to deliver powerful video advertising campaigns to relevant audiences by allowing brands to tailor crucial demographic information such as gender, age, economic status, and other personal details.

Additionally, Meme Video gives users the option to customize campaign specifics such as platforms, verticals and various other elements.

Outside of campaign management, Meme Video provides access to a robust set of competitive analysis features that enables brands to uncover rival advertising strategies as a way of topping competitor efforts.

And, of course, no such platform would be complete without a hearty set of analytics features. Meme Video supplies users with live reporting features so that a campaign can be monitored and adjusted in real-time.

The platform’s analytics set also includes benchmark reports, comparison charts, recommendations, customizable dashboards and many other valuable features.

2. Engage

One of the single biggest components to making a sale is having an engaged prospect. Without engagement, you can almost guarantee that they won’t become a customer.

To help engage potential clients and customers, Engage offers a way to interact with website visitors in real-time via an HTML5, browser-based interface.

Through this interface, sales representatives can connect with Web-based visitors from a central location via live text, audio, or video chat.

Through this platform, sales people can track conversations, monitor performance analytics, and manage their online status.

While live chat technology may not exactly be innovative, what makes Engage special is that the platform provides sales reps with the ability to personalize consumer experiences via its re-engagement technology.

This service enables the same agent that a visitor talked to on a previous visit to be tapped again; an important feature for relationship development. No matter if the last conversation took place two hours or two months ago, this element delivers important personalization to the sales process.

Additionally, Engage allows business owners to employ various engagement widgets on the company website. For instance, visitors can select a representative they feel they would be most comfortable speaking with for a list of live team members.

The last helpful feature is this: Engage works across desktops, tablets, and Smartphones, meaning that your brand will never miss a sales opportunity.

3. FollowUp.cc

As mentioned earlier, nearly half of all sales reps only follow up with prospects once. That kind of behavior leaves a lot of money and potential loyalty on the table.

Since this is the reality of many sales departments, your company may want to consider employing a service like FollowUp.cc.

This platform is essential for any business busy chasing leads and forming relationships.

FollowUp.cc connects directly to your Gmail account and provides you with a plethora of prospect information and email-related abilities.

This tools tracks e-mail opens, automatically sends follow up e-mails when you don’t receive a response, enables users to send e-mails at a later time or date, and can create e-mail reminders easily and intuitively.

Each time an e-mail is opened, users are presented with the contact’s info, any reminders attached to them, and any data the tool could pull from online sources such as company information. To set a reminder, simply BCC using a time or date such as Monday@followup.cc or 1week@followup.cc.

Additionally, users can manage all of their reminders via Google calendar, which makes for a seamless and integrated experience.

4. Promo by Slidely

This is one of my favorite tools right now not only because of the incredible boom in video content (which makes video creation a necessity) but because of the simplicity this platform touts.

Promo capitalizes on the fact that 64 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a product video by making video ad creation the simplest it’s ever been.

The most novice of marketers and video producers can create stunning video ads with Promo’s simplistic yet effective editing features. Plus, there is no need for original creative assets; this service houses around two million high-quality video footage clips, thanks to its partnership with Getty Images. These clips are all easily searchable by various categories and subcategories.

Promo also features tons of licensed music so that advertisers can create the perfect ambiance for their videos.

The type of professional grade adverts that come out of the Promo platform are magnificent at driving sales for a brand.

You are only as effective as the tools you employ. If you know your business well, you can easily identify where the gaps are in performance. Whatever it is you see as necessary for success, there’s a tool for that. You just have to know where to look.

Which of these tools is your favorite? Have you tried any of them before and if so, what was your experience?

4 powerful new Adwords interface features

In a recent roundup of how 2017 has changed PPC, we dipped our toes into the waters of the new AdWords interface. Today, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into this revamped UI.

The new interface – which has been slowly getting released over the past year – is in use by millions of advertisers, yet there are still hoards who have yet to get their hands on it. According to Google, “the new AdWords experience” will be available to everyone by the end of the year.

The new interface, while challenging to adjust to, hosts a slew of new features that are well worth the temporary discomfort.

Let’s go ahead and get familiarized with some of the new components now so that you will have some decent footing come December.

Here are the four best features of the new AdWords interface.

1. The Overview Dashboard

This update is impossible to miss; and it’s fantastic.

Here, users can gain a quick, readable synopsis of your account and campaign’s health metrics. Additionally, the dashboard provides a variety of insights, all displayed in a visually compelling and digestible manner.

The top of the dashboard supply’s users with a sizable graph displaying clicks, impressions, average CPC and cost over a given timeframe; although, metrics can be swapped out for others.

Below this, users will find four additional widgets:

  • Biggest Changes: Displays campaigns that saw the highest degree of change for a chosen time frame and metric.
  • Campaigns: Shows a list of your top performing campaigns, along with vital metrics like cost and clicks.
  • Devices: An appealing breakdown of clicks, cost, and conversion for desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
  • Day & Hour: A heatmap showing how ads perform across different days of the week and hours of a day.

If the visual appeal and streamlined nature of the dashboard wasn’t enough, it also dynamically changes to display more relevant information based on the areas of your account that you visit.

2. Promotion Extensions

Extensions are a powerful piece of the AdWords puzzle. These enable advertisers to pack extra information into their adverts that can be quite effective at driving conversions.

While the new promotion extensions are still in beta, users who have access to the new interface can access this element via the “Ads & Extensions” tab.

Promotion extensions provide advertisers with the means to showcase a sale on their website, saving precious character space.

Additionally, this extension adds a tag icon next to the sale information, amplifying its ability to draw attention and traffic.

3. Extension Previews and Filters

While we’re on the topic of extensions, another useful addon from the new interface is the extension preview. This feature gives advertisers the ability to see a rough version of what their ads will look like with different extensions enabled.

In addition to this awesomeness, Google also employed an extension filter that allows AdWords users to curate the extensions they want to see in the drop-down menu. It is also possible to sort them by account, ad group, or campaign as well.

The combination of these two features makes the ad creation process much more effective and streamlined than the past iteration of the AdWords interface.

4. Additional Demographic Options

Part of how Facebook’s ad platform became a serious threat to Google’s revenue stream was due to its powerful targeting options.

It took the search engine longer than most are cool with to wise up, but back in 2016, Google did finally add demographic targeting features for gender and age.

With the new AdWords interface, the big G doubles its demographic targeting options by adding the ability to refine campaigns by household income and parental status; the latter used to only be available to display advertisers.

Parental status is a game-changer for many industries including baby and children’s brands. This also opens avenues for all sorts of companies during the holiday and back to school shopping seasons.

Household income enables advertisers to drive additional sales by serving up relevant adverts based on pricing. In many cases, this can significantly impact the number of conversions a brand is able to attain.

Under Construction

While these changes certainly are welcomed, it’s not all peaches and cream with the new interface.

As it stands, the new AdWords experience isn’t complete yet. Many of the components from the old interface have yet to be integrated with the new version. This means that advertisers might have to temporarily switch back to the old interface to manage price extensions or display remarketing audiences.

Outside of these examples, there is still a sizable list of features that Google needs to integrate into the new UI for the experience to be complete. But suffice to say, they’re working on it, and this new feature set is extremely valuable. Hang in there until the end of the year at most, and these UIs will merge for all.

The new AdWords interface breathes new life into a decrepit platform that severely needed the update. Even in its unfinished state, the new experience shows promise far beyond what the old version could produce.

When the completed version has reached the totality of AdWords users, rest assured that all the new features and streamlined workflows will bring about an AdWords renaissance.

Do you already have access to the new AdWords interface? What feature(s) do you find most promising/exciting?

Meta Tags in 2018: Why they are important in SEO

If you are interested in knowing more about SEO, there is no better way to start than with Meta tags. According to Wordstream: Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page’s content; the meta tags don’t appear on the page itself, but only in the page’s code.

In short, Meta tags are key components for all search engines that appear in the HTML code of a website page and tell search engines what your page is about.

Meta tags are added in the <head> section of an HTML web page and they are the “Legally” Hide Words on Your Pages for Search Engines.

Every platform has a different solution for adding Meta tags. WordPress, for example, has FREE plugins  to choose from. I personally recommend All in One SEO Packand Yoast SEO. Both are popular and the most used WordPress plugins of all time and you can choose either according to your needs.

Do Meta Tags matter for SEO in 2018?

Yes, they do, but not all  Meta tags can help you in 2018. In my experience, if you want to rank high in Google in 2018, then you also need to focus on high-quality content and user satisfaction. The main goal of this post is to explain which Meta tags are useful and which are unimportant. (See below: There are a few tags which we can call bad Meta tags and should simply be ignored).

“Meta Tags can affect the way that users see your site in the search results and whether or not they actually click through to your site.” John Mueller 2017

How to check meta tags on a site?

If you want to check the Meta tags for any page, just right-click anywhere on the page and select “View Page Source.” You can also use tools like SEMRush (specifically the SEMRush Audit Tool), and Screaming Frog to check the Meta tags on any site.

The Most Important Meta Tags For SEO in 2018

For any startup business or running website, I personally focus on the 8 major Meta tags which can improve the optimization of your site.

 I am sharing my opinions about them all below:

  1. Title tag
  2. Meta description
  3. Canonical Tag
  4. Alternative text (Alt) Tag
  5. Robots meta tag
  6. Social Media Meta Tags (Open Graph and Twitter Cards)
  7. Header tags  
  8. Responsive Design Meta Tag

Title tag

A title tag is the very first HTML element that specifies your web page for search engines and to visitors. The Title element is supported all browsers including Chrome, Firefox Safari etc. 

Add your title tag in the <head> section of your site.

<head>

<title>This is a Title Sample</title>

</head>

Optimal length for the Title tag: Google typically shows 55-64 characters (Keep it under 60 characters) in the Title tag.

Title tags are important for SEO and visitors and it shows up in the SERPs and in Browser Tabs.

Browser Tab Title Tag shown below for SEMrush post:

E.g. SERP Title Tag shown below:

According to MOZ: Title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content

You cannot add more than one <title> element in your web page. w3schools

Key Points for writing a good title tag: 

  • Add “modifiers” to your title tag –
    How to |The current year | Review |Best | Tips | Top |Find | Buy | Easy
  • Embed Long Tail Keywords In Title Tags
  • Add numbers to your title –
    9 Important HTML tags for your website to improve your SEO
  • Start your title tag with your main targeted keyword
  • Don’t stuff your keywords
  • Every page should have a unique title tag.

Meta description 

A Meta Description is an HTML element that summarizes your webpage. Search engines typically show the Meta description in search results below your Title tag. 

Code sample

<head>

  <meta name=”description” content=”This is a meta description Sample. You can add up to 300 characters.”>

</head>

Google does not use the Meta description as a ranking signal but it still it has a massive effect on your page CTR, or clickthrough rate because it shows up in search results.

Optimal length for the Description tag: in December 2017, Google officially increases length of snippets in search results. Your Meta descriptions should be between 50–300 characters.

Google generated Description in Search Result

Key Points to writing a good Description tag:

  • Don’t overly focus on the number of characters because Google might pull description text from your content based on a user’s query.
  • Do not add duplicate Meta Descriptions
  • Add a clear Call-to-action (CTA) in your descriptions like Apply today, Check out, Contact us today etc. Check out  100 Call to Action Keywords for Marketing Campaigns.
  • Add targeted keywords in your descriptions
  • Strategically provide a solution to a problem 
  • Write for your users and encourage them to click with specific and relevant content 
  • Add any discounts or offers you have going on
  • Show empathy while writing your Meta Descriptions

 

Canonical Tag

The Canonical tag is an HTML link tag with the attribute “rel=canonical” and is used if you have a single page URL that has the same content as other multiple page URLS.

By implementing the Canonical tag in the code, we are telling search engines that this URL is the main page and to avoid indexing other duplicate page URLS.

A canonical tag Syntax:

<link rel="canonical" href="http://example.com/" />

Where should the canonical tag be used?

Multiple URLs: 

http://www.example.com 

https://www.example.com 

http://example.com 

http://example.com/index.php


To a search engine crawler the above URLs are considered to be 4 copies of the Home page. The canonical tag was created to fix this problem.

Session ID URLs

These are the automatic system generated URLS and commonly generated due to the tracking URLs, breadcrumb links and permalinks in CMS

http://example.com/properties/villa-331-luxury-rental?partnerID=18 

http://example.com/target.php?session_id=rj3ids98dhpa0mcf3jc89mq1t0 

Mobile URL – when using a special URL (m. example.com) for the mobile version of your website. 

SEMrush itself has 2 versions – one is a mobile version and the other a desktop version.
For the mobile and desktop versions SEMrush  is using the following canonical tag
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.semrush.com/” />

Alternative text (Alt) Tag  

Alt text is important for any images because search engines cannot read images, and you need to add proper Alt text to the images so that search engines can consider your images.

Syntax for Alt Text:

<img src=” http://example.com/xyz.jpg” alt=”xyz” />

In addition, the key points to consider while creating alt-tags for images:

  • Always use a proper description; never stuff your keywords in this tag.
  • All images should have informative filenames.
  • Alt text needs to be short, clear and to the point.
  • Always use the Original, Right type of image, as this is an essential step towards success.
  • Create an image sitemap
  • Use 50-55 characters (upto 16 words) in the alt text
  • Use an Optimal File Size without losing its quality for faster page loading speed

“Adding an alt tag is very easy to do and you should pretty much do it on all of your images. It helps your accessibility and it can help us understand what’s going on in your image.” Source

Robots Meta tag

The Robots Meta tag is an HTML tag that provides instructions to web crawlers either to index or not index web pages.

Meta robots tags have four main values for search engine crawlers:

FOLLOW –The search engine crawler will follow all the links in that webpage

INDEX –The search engine crawler will index the whole webpage

NOFOLLOW – The search engine crawler will NOT follow the page or any links on that webpage

NOINDEX – The search engine crawler will NOT index that webpage

Syntax

<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,nofollow”>  Means not to index or not to follow this webpage.

<meta name=”robots” content=”index,follow”> Means index and follow this webpage.


Note: The robots Meta tag should be placed in the <head> section of your webpage.

Social Media Meta Tags (Open Graph and Twitter Cards)

Open Graph Tags:
Open Graph Meta tags are designed to promote integration between Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and your website URLS that you shared on these platforms. 

Here is a sample of how Open Graph tags look like in standard HTML:

<meta property="og:type" content="article" /> 

<meta property=”og:title” content=”TITLE OF YOUR POST OR PAGE” />

<meta property=”og:description” content=”DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT” />

<meta property=”og:image” content=”LINK TO THE IMAGE FILE” />

<meta property=”og:url” content=”PERMALINK” />

<meta property="og:site_name" content="SITE NAME" />

Twitter Cards: 

Twitter cards work in a similar way to Open Graph except you add these special Meta tags only for Twitter. Twitter will use these tags to enhance the display of your page when shared on their platform. 

Here is a sample of How Twitter card look like in standard HTML:

<meta name="twitter:title" content="TITLE OF POST OR PAGE">

<meta name=”twitter:description” content=”DESCRIPTION OF PAGE CONTENT”>

<meta name=”twitter:image” content=”LINK TO IMAGE”>

<meta name=”twitter:site” content=”@USERNAME”>

<meta name="twitter:creator" content="@USERNAME">


Both these Social Media Meta Tags look like:

Head over to this post if you want to know everything about these tags

Header tags


Header tags are used for headings creation i.e. by using these we can apply font changes.

The heading elements are H1, H2, H3, H4, H5, and H6 with H1 being the highest (or most important) level and H6 the least.

Here is an example of how we can use header tags taken from https://www.semrush.com/blog/9-tips-for-boosting-the-speed-of-your-shopify-website/ 

<h1> 9 Tips for Boosting the Speed of your Shopify Website </h1>

<p>Paragraph of content</p>

<p>another paragraph of content</p>

<h2>Performance Analysis</h2> 

<p>Paragraph of content</p>

<h3>Analyzes the Mobile and Desktop Performance with PageSpeed Insights</h3> 

Important Point to consider: Use as Many H1 Tags as You Want source

Responsive Design Meta Tag

The final important Meta tag is the responsive design Meta tag, which we call “Viewport Meta Element”. By using the viewport meta tag you can turn your web pages into responsive web pages on mobile browsers.

This viewport element is included in the head section of your web page.

Syntax

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width,initial-scale=1">

If you want to learn more about responsive design Meta tags, head over to this nicely written post here

Note: Do not use this responsive Meta tag if your website pages are not designed to be responsive, as it will make the user experience worse.

There are few tags that we can call bad Meta tags and should simply be ignored:

  • Keywords tag- Google does not use the keywords Meta tag in web ranking Source
  • Revisit after – This HTML tag is a command to the robots to return to a page after a specific period. This tag is not followed by any major search engine and has no value in SEO. It isbetter to avoid this tag and leave it to the search engines to decide how to crawl your website. Syntax: <meta name=”revisit-after” content=”7 days” />
  • Expiration/date – This tag defines the expiration date of your page. Personally I would not recommend this. Just remove it.  Syntax: <meta http-equiv=”Expires” content=”Fri, 28 April 2018 23:59:59 GMT”>
  • Site verification- Just Ignore this. You can verify your site using Google search console and the Bing webmaster tool.
  • Copyright- Every site puts the copyright in their web page footer so why would you need a separate tag. A big No for this tag.
  • Distribution – The “distribution” value is supposedly used to control who can access the document, typically set to “global.” It’s inherently implied that if the page is open (not password-protected, like on an intranet) that it’s meant for the world. Go with it, and leave the tag off the page. Source
  • Generator – useless tag.
  • Cache control –This Tag allows web publishers to define how often a page is cached. Generally, these are not required; we can simply use the HTTP header instead of this HTML tag.
  • The ODP Robots Meta Tag – Google no longer follows this Meta tag. 


Google Stops Support for NOODP Robots Directive & Taking DMOZ Description –Source

  • Geo Meta Tags- Google does not use Geo Meta Tags to Rank Pages.


We don’t use geo meta tags at all for search, probably never have. Use hreflang + normal geotargeting – Source

So, these are the few HTML tags which we should consider or simply ignore. Now you can easily use the relevant HTML Meta tags intelligently. Don’t forget to comment below and share your views on HTML Tags. Thanks for reading.

How to choose keywords that really matter

Unlike PPC ads, organic traffic is the gift that keeps on giving. When you diminish your PPC budget, your traffic goes away. When it comes to SEO and content marketing, though, things are much better.

Sure, a website that’s updated infrequently won’t get you too far. But once you’ve gained a solid domain authority and created an editorial calendar that you stick to, the traffic is yours to have and to hold.

Evergreen content has, of course, the biggest ROI in terms of traffic, says this study. It turn out that only one-third of all the views a good blog post will get are generated in the first day (the publish date). The rest of them will come gradually, even over the course of more than one year.

So yes, we can get traffic with content marketing and SEO. But the most important question is not “how much traffic can we get?” It’s “what does this traffic bring us?”

If you’ve read my previous posts here, on Site Pro News, you already know that I advocate against vanity metrics. Who cares about having millions of page views if none of those visitors converts into a client?

For my agency, as well as for every client we work with on copywriting or strategy, we ignore such metrics and focus on what matters: revenue.

And, in SEO, there is no revenue without proper keyword research.

Let me explain:

One of the examples I’m most fond of is that of a client who contacted me after reading one of my articles here. The client needed SEO copywriting for a local business in a small town and wanted to optimize both content and blog posts for generic keywords (like ‘wedding dresses,’ for instance).

We quickly realized the client had little chance of competing with the big names in the industry (which is, obviously, not related to wedding dresses). So we proposed a locally-oriented strategy instead. We were to optimize for keywords like “ivory wedding dress Tampa,” “wedding dress boutique Tampa,” “custom-made wedding dresses Tampa” and so on.

The results appeared in a few short months. And by results I mean revenue, not just traffic.

Here are a few key lessons we can learn from this example:

User intent should be at the core of your keyword research

Before writing even a single word, you need to know to whom your copy should appeal. What type of customers are your targeting and in which phase of their buying cycle do you want to target them?

For instance, optimizing your content for ‘wedding dresses’ targets clients who still don’t know what they want. They might not even have a date set. But who doesn’t like looking at pretty dresses?

This strategy is excellent if you’re a big company in your field and you want to boost your brand awareness. If you already have enough sales and don’t need customers right now, then by all means, optimize for generic keywords.

On the other hand, a query like “ivory wedding dress Tampa” shows that the customers know what they want. They are very close to making a purchase; they are past the window shopping phase.

This type of keyword strategy is ideal if you want clients faster. You appeal to people that you no longer have to educate – they are savvy shoppers. All you have to do is convince them to choose you over your competitors.

Of course, highly targeted keywords won’t bring you as much traffic as generic ones. But they will bring you the right type of traffic.

This is why I always advise our clients to forget about search volume when choosing keywords. Our SEO writers are trained to look for business opportunities whenever they do keyword research for our clients. Fifty queries per month that you can easily direct to your website and convert into customers or (at least) leads are better than 1,000 queries that have no tangible ROI.

Know your competitors

Before you start writing copy for a certain keyword, you should consider more than the Yoast green light. Yes, your WordPress plugin may say your on-page SEO is done correctly, but this doesn’t really matter if you’re up against Internet giants.

At my agency, we rely heavily on tools like BuzzSumo and Moz Explorer to find out what it takes to rank for certain keywords. Your research can start on BuzzSumo to find out which pages rank highest for the keywords you have in mind. Repeat the search in Moz Explorer to double-check your findings. Moz Explorer will also tell you how hard it is to rank for any given keyword.

However, please note that the ranking difficulty is a generic metric. It’s not specific to your website.

This is where another Moz tool comes into place – the Open Site Explorer. Type your website address to check your domain and page authority. Then do the same for the websites you want to outrank.

Do they have higher authority than you?

Then you will have to work harder to outrank them. This means more content, long form blog posts, impeccable technical SEO and a lot of content promotion.

The best part about this is, once again, that it is an investment that will keep on giving. The more long form, well-optimized content you add, the better your page and domain authority will get in time. And, consequently, you will rank higher in SERPs.

Make revenue-oriented calculations

Login to your Google Search Console, navigate to ‘Search Analytics’ (you’ll find it under ‘Search Traffic’) and select the 90 days time frame. Filter your branded results. If your company name is ‘Executive Puppies,’ filter all those that contain it.

Next, export your search terms. You will have a complete overview of the terms you rank for, your CTR and your ranking for each of them.

And now, for the hard part: take a look at those who could rank better. How much effort would it be involved in adding more content to certain articles or pages to help them rank higher?

Most importantly, what ROI will this effort have? Sure, you’ll get more clicks, but will you actually get sales if you rank higher for certain terms?

Make sure to not spread yourself too thin and only invest in those terms that are congruent with the user intent you need, the one that supports your business goals i.e. boost brand awareness or generate sales or leads.

Conclusions

No one doubts that content marketing and SEO yield results. But we should always avoid falling for vanity metrics. Organic traffic is great, but it should be your end goal only if your blog runs AdSense (and you get paid for views, not clicks).

Otherwise, keep in mind that your SEO and content marketing strategies should always be designed to support your business goals. Always go back to your buyer persona template and ask yourself how can you match the type of query they would enter in the search bar.

3 powerfull ways to drive traffic from Reddit

If you have an Internet connection, you probably know what Reddit is.

For those who don’t know much about this edgy community, Reddit is a multilingual social news and entertainment platform that calls itself “the front page of the Internet.”

Reddit is the eighth most popular website in the world, according to Alexa, drives roughly 1.5 billion unique visits a month, and houses more than 250 million active members.

When leveraged correctly, Reddit can be an incredibly powerful source for driving massive amounts of traffic to your website. For instance, Eddy Arza was able to increase his site’s daily visitors from 41 to 4,266 literally overnight. Similarly, Ryan Stewart was able to grow his traffic by 33 percent  by learning the ins and outs of the platform.

It is extremely necessary to become familiar with how Reddit works before you start trying to plug your brand because the community’s members (called Redditors) are sometimes known for ruthless behavior; particularly toward outsiders.

Part of why Reddit is such an effective tool for increasing blog readership, sales, and overall traffic, however, is that the site is essentially one massive aggregator.

For the most part, Redditors submit outbound links to various niche communities called subreddits. There are a seemingly infinite number of subreddits, so I’ll cover this more in a bit.

Before we dive into how to drive traffic from Reddit to your site, a quick public service announcement:

You Must Participate Before Plugging!

The first step to leveraging Reddit is the most vital and the most time-consuming: You must participate within communities – a lot – before posting anything about your brand or website.

Truthfully, Reddit hates marketing.

If you just create a new account and try to promote your site, prepare to be eaten alive. Redditors are notoriously suspicious of new accounts and they can sniff out an advertisement like digital bloodhounds.

To gain the trust of Redditors, you need to start off by posting relevant (non-promotional) materials and engaging in various discussions.

Here are three ways to leverage Reddit to drive tons of traffic to your website.

1. Engage the Right Subreddits

As stated earlier, Reddit has tons of niche communities called subreddits.

While not all will be relevant to your cause, you are likely to find dozens that are. Before you start targeting specific communities, however, ask yourself:

  • What is my target audience interested in?
  • What is my expertise?
  • What value can I provide potential followers?

The answers to these questions will help you develop a blueprint in selecting which communities to join. If you fail to conduct this short exercise, you’re more likely to join subreddits that don’t provide you much value to you, and vice versa.

While this may seem to conflict with the above paragraph, you may also want to consider some smaller, more overlooked communities as these folks tend to be highly engaged. This is the exact strategy that Gfycat used to build its audience and become the largest user-generated GIF platform in the world in a mere two years.

To find subreddits that will be valuable for your brand, search relevant keywords that your audience would use to find information about product or service like yours. For instance, if you run a gaming blog, you might join the r/Games subreddit whose goal is to, “. . . provide a place for informative and interesting gaming content and discussions.”

Depending on what your brand does, you might want to join subreddits that are a little more marketing-friendly such as r/dealswhere you can post discounts, coupon codes, and all sorts of other offerings for savvy consumers.

2. Use Reddit As a Source for Content Creation

Content is one of the top Google ranking factors. While creating a wealth of great content is necessary, it certainly isn’t easy.

Reddit provides content marketers with an endless pool of inspiration for great content. By engaging in conversations and mining comment threads for hot topics, pain points, curiosities, etc., business owners can gain an abundance of quality topics to write about and then post back to those same communities, effectively driving traffic to their site.

Additionally, there are often individuals within subreddits who share interesting insights or perspectives on certain topics. Depending on how informative the individual seems, you might want to consider reaching out to them for a podcast or interview that you later craft into a blog post.

Alternately, businesses can uncover some common themes of what users desire and run content within a subreddit, driving traffic to a dedicated landing page on their site. Prizes should be relevant to the community’s wants and needs. You could offer products or services from your business, Reddit Gold, or various other payoffs.

Before utilizing this tactic, however, be sure to reach out to the subreddit’s moderators and gain their approval. Otherwise, you could be banned from the community.

3. Host an AMA Session

This strategy should be saved for after you have developed something of a name for yourself within the subreddits you subscribe to so that users know who you are and that you have value to offer.

AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. AMA’s are essentially interviews where the whole of the reddit community can ask you, well, anything.

These are often a prime opportunity to share information about your business without coming off too promotional.

The key to these group conversations is to provide the community with lots of in-depth, valuable knowledge. Think about things like behind-the-scenes stories, struggles and solutions that most would never consider and other intimate details that only an industry insider would know.

For an Ask Me Anything session, you can target the dedicated AMA subreddit, or you can simply conduct it within one of the subreddits you subscribe to — most will allow for these types of conversations.

Holding the talk within a subreddit that is relevant to your audience might be the best option. This increases the likelihood that you’ll have an interested and engaged audience.

Reddit is a goldmine for generating awareness and traffic for your website. Familiarize yourself with the platform, its lingo, and interact with the right groups before promoting your brand. If you do this prior to leveraging the tactics listed above, you stand a far greater chance of achieving the outcome you desire.

What is your favorite method for driving traffic from Reddit? What subreddits have you found most engaging for your business?

Chatbots: The great equalizer for small business

Chatbots are a major topic in technology and business circles today.

Huge corporations like Microsoft, Spotify, Apple, Google and Facebook are among the many large organizations heavily investing in AI technology like chatbots. Even those you may not consider tech-power players are getting into the AI game.

For instance, Uber acquired two AI startupsover the course of 2016. Even brands like Bud Light and Trolli have implemented chatbots via Facebook Messenger; alongside the other 100,000 bots that exist on the chat platform.

In case you’re not familiar with this technology, chatbots are essentially an AI-powered messaging application designed to handle a predetermined set of tasks. The term “chatbot,” however, spans categories including stand-alone applications, AI, analytics, and many other classifications; not just integrations with existing messaging services.

As far as small businesses are concerned, this technology provides incredible new levels of reach and efficiencies, without having the expenditure of expanding your employee roster.

Here are four ways that chatbots are poised to be SMBs greatest ally.

1. Constant User Support

Most brands today have some sort of presence online; be it through a dedicated website, on social media, or a combination of the two.

The Internet, however, does not have set hours of operation like a brick and mortar store does; this has drastically altered consumer’s expectations on customer service availability and responsiveness.

Using chatbots, however, businesses gain a digital representative that is available to consumers 24/7, without the need for a break, lunch, or even a paycheck.

The interactive experience chatbots provide gives users the same feeling they would get from working with a live agent to place an order, resolve an issue, or acquire information.

This application of AI-powered tools is revolutionary for small business with limited bandwidth.

2. Minimal Barrier to Entry

For years, building a chatbot for a business was a resource-heavy task; it consumed lots of time and money. This ended up limiting the type of businesses that could adopt the technology to large organizations with sizable R&D teams or exceptionally deep pockets.

More recently, however, third-party AI platforms have made creating, buying, and selling intelligent chatbots a financially feasible opportunity for even the smallest of organizations.

MiniApps is an excellent example of one such platform that is helping to democratize AI implementation.

MiniApps is a blockchain-based marketplace that supplies developers with the means to create chatbot templates by leveraging the company’s API, AI, machine learning, and other technological offerings.

Utilizing MiniApps’ Visual Builder, creators can develop chatbot templates by piecing together a visual storyline that’s a simple as building a Lego masterpiece.

Through this paradigm, a variety of chatbots related to customer service, booking, food orders, logistic information, and a plethora of other tasks can be obtained at a reasonable price.

3. Chatbots Drive Sales

Because many chatbots are intelligent and possess learning capabilities, this technology is primed for helping companies drive additional sales by better understanding user preferences. For instance, based on someone’s purchase or on-site browsing history, chatbots could be leveraged to send users coupons or promotional information relevant to that customer.

In fact, there is already concrete data showing that chatbots are beneficial for boosting revenue.

During his keynote speech at this year’s F8 conference, David Marcus, vice-president of messaging products at Facebook, discussed several examples of this.

The first came from beauty supplier Sephora. The company reported that its use of a Facebook Messenger chatbot was the direct result of an 11 percent increase in booking rates. Moreover, those who booked in-store services via the “Sephora Reservation Assistant” spent an average of $50 more.

Another example of this sales-boosting technology at work came from Tommy Hilfiger. Using its Messenger bot to assist consumers in purchasing clothing featured on the runway during Fashion Week in New York, the company saw an 87 percent increase in people returning to use the company’s chatbot again.

Additionally, Tommy Hilfiger also noted that 3.5 times more was spent through its Messenger bot than any other of its digital portals.

4. People Love Chatbots

While some still remain quite skeptical about AI technology (looking at you Elon), the vast majority of consumers are open to accepting these AI companions.

This was recently highlighted by a study from NeuraFlash and Bentley University. Through surveying 100 people, researchers found that:

  • “People create first impressions with ChatBots just as they would when meeting people. In both scenarios, people reach into their own experiences to create lasting impressions.”
  • “85 percent of people would rather interact with a ChatBot during a routine transaction than when they are in a hurry.”
  • “100 percent of people feel a ChatBot conversation is preferred if it can show evidence of saving time and making problem solving easier.”
  • “100 percent of people believe a ChatBot will function better if it can predict the pain points of an experience and respond appropriately, offering only those services that are contextual to the moment.”

While the sample group was relatively small, this is still a powerful example of how accepting people are of the technology.

Chatbots have yet to reach the upper echelons of their fullest potential. The abilities and skills that these machines tout is still quite rudimentary to what they will be able to handle in five to 10 years’ time.

Despite that, this technology is quickly becoming one of the most affordable and effective modalities to engaging users around the clock. And in a time where engagement is everything, those who reap the most rewards will be the ones that enter their hat into the AI arena now, not later.

Does your business have any experience with chatbots? If so, how has it impacted your brand?

4 ways SEO has changed fir the better

Ever since the birth of Google in 1997, surfing the web has never been the same. Easily the world’s most notable search engine, its name even earning a spot in the English Oxford dictionary to describe making a search on the internet, Google has also dictated the direction of SEO significantly. By introducing PageRank, Google could rank websites in a more meaningful and accurate way, making SEO an essential part of running an online business.

Yet, more accurate ranking did come with a cost. Over the years, there have been plenty of bad practices, like keyword stuffing and disingenuous link exchanges which led to an abundance of poor content being generated online. Luckily, Google revamped their protocol and now penalizes businesses for engaging in cheap and easy SEO practices. As a result, search engine optimization has become somewhat of an art and it’s getting better every day.

Whether you run a business, or are just enthusiastic about SEO, here are 4 ways that SEO has changed for the better that might inspire your future content.

1. Original is the new black

While this one might seem like a no brainer, there are a surprising number of businesses that have yet to harness the power of original content. To make the most of content creation, it’s wise to invest in someone who knows their way around SEO and also has a good writing style. Many companies initially struggle to find a topic, but it’s a welcome opportunity to get to know yourself as a brand and then transfer that into a blog post. You could consider writing about your personal development as a company, or provide useful tools and tips that readers can benefit from. Content that is original should aim to activate the reader’s imagination and encourage them to engage, which is a great way to gain loyal customers.

2. Guest posting

Remember, guest posting is not link building. Rather than having a guest write a post with the intention of simply sharing a link to your landing page, look for someone who can help make a contribution to your brand in the long run. That means carefully considering experts that are relevant to your industry and also who could make beneficial long term partners. Also, discuss ways that their expertise could be translated into content that will help boost your readership, and if applicable, theirs as well.

3. Looking good is essential

Content isn’t just about the quality of the writing, although that is very important, it’s also important to pay attention to aesthetics. By investing in a designer who can help you create a beautiful landing page that complements your content, you will be able to catch readers’ attention. One important thing to note is that while you want to catch the eye of consumers, you don’t want to go overboard. Much like defining your original content plan, think of design as a way to deliver a message to your audience about who you are as a brand.

4. Making the most of the available tools

Thanks to changes in content creation, for example people demanding more meaningful and personalized messages, there are now a wealth of tools to help you optimize your content creating plan. While there are an abundance of free tools, like Google Webmaster tools, there are many that are worth investing in, like IdeaFlip, which helps you navigate the brainstorming process and is ideal for those who are new to content marketing.

No matter what direction you take in your content creation journey, it’s important that you reflect your brand through your content voice. Understanding the ways in which content has changed will greatly benefit your ability to attract consumers in the long run and also increase your chances of remaining relevant in a competitive business world.

5 tips for positive, large-scale SEO changes

Search engine optimization, at its core, is the process of optimizing webpages and content offerings to make it easily accessible for search engines and its users, in accordance with predetermined ranking factors. To implement successful alterations, webmasters enact specific changes to individual pages or to content management systems.

These alterations target areas of the site like URL structures, headings, various tags, and keyword density. The goal is to improve the relevance of each page for a set of words or phrases.

The process of achieving successful, large-scale SEO changes for a sizable website isn’t that much different than working with smaller destinations. The idea is the same: Update the backend to reflect current best practices, create unique and relevant content, and engender a better overall user experience.

If you aren’t sure how to make large-scale SEO changes successfully, use these five tips as your guidelines.

1. Create More Value

Adding more value to your site may sound simple, but in practice it may prove a bit more challenging.

Creating more value does not simply mean pumping out more content. To add more worth to your site, it is imperative that you intimately understand your audience.

Through the greater understanding of your audience’s likes, wants and needs, additional, optimized content can be developed.

Here are some simple ways to establish how to add more value to your site:

  • Analyze your content using tools like Buzzsumo to find the most popular topics.
  • Survey your fans and followers to uncover questions they need answered.
  • Expand your content offerings into peripheral categories that are still relevant to your audience’s needs.

2. Invest More Time in Your Content

As we have learned from algorithm changes like Penguin and Hummingbird, Google cares more about the effectiveness of your content and less about its optimization.

This means that you can do all the optimizing you want, but if your content is not appealing or doesn’t contain relevant answers to searched queries, your efforts will be in vain.

SEO has changed from targeting keywords to addressing user intent. Through this lens, webmasters must ensure their content is centered on what search engine users seek to uncover when searching your brand, or the terms that might be associated with it.

3. Optimize Your Site’s Visuals

Visual content, particularly video, is more popular than ever; which also means that it’s more important for brands to create or host than ever. Visual content is much more engaging for consumers and can serve to supplement or replace text in various places.

Visual content also can affect SEO in significant ways, assuming it is optimized properly. Many marketers and site owners forget or outright neglect optimizing visual content for search engines. Fortunately, however, the process is rather simple and only takes a few minutes.

The first thing you’ll want to do is add a relevant title that leverages an applicable keyword targeted for that page. Moreover, add applicable alt text, metadata, and other keywords.

It is important to pay attention to the file’s size as well because this can slow down your site’s load times and have an adverse impact on your rankings. If you are hosting videos on your website, add a transcript — it will likely be packed with keywords that can boost your site’s SEO.

4. Create a Stellar User Experience

Google is pretty much obsessed with creating the best user experience possible for its users and expects webmasters to do the same.

User experience (UX) is a critical component to SEO, thus continually testing various elements of your site’s experience should be a priority for your business; especially on large-scale sites where many things can go wrong.

When optimizing your website’s user experience be sure to:

  • Test all of your site’s links and fix any that appear to be broken. The Screaming Frog SEO Spider tool is excellent for such tasks.
  • Consider your content’s visual appeal and readability for users and search engine spiders.
  • Verify that all navigational elements work properly and are intuitive.
  • Test your site’s load times using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
  • Consider experimenting with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages to possibly receive a boost in speed and rankings. This is likely to become more important with the mobile-first indexunderway.

5. Ensure the Entirety of Your Web Presence is Current

Many marketers and business owners tend to overlook how far beyond a dedicated website a brand’s online existence goes. For instance, many businesses will opt to try out a new social platform, only to realize that it isn’t fruitful for its goals and abandon its profile.

While not sticking with social media sites that don’t work for your brand is fine, you do need to keep them up-to-date with your business’ current information.

This means making sure your brand’s website, address, phone number, and other pertinent details are all current so that users don’t have any trouble interacting with your brand or finding your site.

Even after you have implemented all of the above advice, your job is not done. The truth is, it will never be. SEO is an ever-changing process that is constantly in flux. Outside of its fickle nature, you can always find further improvements to make on your site.

Commit to continually learning and evolving alongside SEO best practices, and your rankings will reflect your efforts in the long-term.

What are your biggest hurdles with large-scale SEO changes?

The top 10 tools for getting an insight into your website analytics

Your website’s data matters. By tracking your site’s most important metrics, you can get a valuable look at how well your SEO strategy is working; what a typical customer does on your site; and even what your competitors are doing differently. To understand your web analytics, you need the right tools – and there are plenty of powerful tools out there. Here’s a round-up of ten analytics tools that you may wish to consider using.

1. Google Analytics

A display in Google Analytics

When it comes to web analytics tools, Google Analyticsis the gold standard. It’s simple to set up, customizable, and provides all the basic information you could want about your site. With Google Analytics, you can collect data on your audience (such as age, location, and devices), and observe how visitors find, interact with, and leave your site. As it’s so popular, Google Analytics tends to be easy to integrate with other platforms. If you aren’t sure which web analytics tool is right for you, you can’t go wrong with this one.

Price: Google Analytics is free for most users. Businesses that need a large amount of data can also look into Google Analytics 360, the paid enterprise version of the tool. Cost varies based on each company’s individual needs, but expect the price to be steep – third-party sources estimate that GA 360 starts at $150,000 per year.

2. Crazy Egg

Crazy Egg’s heatmaps and scroll maps make this tool popular among data lovers.

Crazy Egg is a comprehensive but easy-to-use web analytics tool. One of its most useful features is its ability to generate heatmaps and scroll maps. These show you exactly how people are scrolling through your site and where they’re clicking most frequently. You can also use Crazy Egg to run A/B tests on your site.

Price: Crazy Egg offers four pricing plans. The most basic costs $29 per month, while the pro version goes all the way up to $189 per month. You can use Crazy Egg for free for 30 days before you commit to a plan.

3. Clicky

Keep an eye on your data in real time with Clicky.

Clicky is a powerful, flexible web analytics tool that’s often compared to Google Analytics. However, Clicky has a few features that GA doesn’t. The Big Screen feature lets you see exactly what’s happening on your site – how many visitors you have, what they’re doing, and when they’re leaving – in real time. Clicky also has a Twitter analytics feature that lets you search for mentions of your business on Twitter.

Price: You can use Clicky for free, but to unlock all the features that make this tool unique, you’ll need to spring for the paid version. Prices start at $9.99 per month or $79.99 per year.

4. Kissmetrics

Capture all the customer data you need with Kissmetrics.

If you want to gather data on each customer’s journey through your sales funnel, Kissmetrics might be the perfect analytics tool for you. This people-focused tool tracks individuals through multiple visits to your site (something Google Analytics doesn’t do), which helps you understand how and why they make purchasing decisions. Kissmetrics also has email marketing functionality built in, so you can send automated emails to leads based on how they behave on your site.

Price: Kissmetrics starts at $500 per month.

5. Chartbeat

Chartbeat is designed to capture and track data related to your content.

Chartbeat is an analytics tool that monitors how people interact with your content. If you publish a lot of content of any type, Chartbeat might be an ideal way to gather all your data into one place.

Price: Chartbeat doesn’t disclose their prices on their website, but third-party sources estimate that their pricing starts at $7000 per year.

6. Optimizely

Optimizely helps you improve your site through experimentation.

Testing your site is crucial for good UX, but running experiments without the help of specialized software can be slow, unwieldy, and error-prone. Optimizely was created as a solution to this problem. This tool helps you easily run A/B tests on your site so you can optimize based on data, not guesswork.

Price: Optimizely doesn’t publish prices on their site, so you’ll need to contact their sales team for a quote. However, other sources estimate that their prices start around $36,000 per year.

Participating in the conversation: 10 ways to generate traffic WITHOUT Google

Back in 2014 my colleague Chuck Price published The 10 Best Ways to Generate Traffic WITHOUT Googlehere at Search Engine Watch.

Much like the world of search and the perpetually updated algorithms of Google, the landscape of non-Google marketing sees techniques, platforms and priorities change over time.

What hasn’t changed is the importance of understanding how to generate traffic without Google. Google is big, but it is not good to concentrate all your efforts into just one referrer.

Recent data (from Shareaholic) sees search engines account for around 40% of website referrals. This compares to around 20% for social media – a smaller but notable chunk of potential traffic. These percentages are always fluctuating. And, of course, there’s more to non-Google traffic than social.

I thought I’d use today’s post to update Chuck’s 10. As you’ll see, some methods are still around, some are absent, and others are more important than they were four years ago.

I also want to throw in a new over-arching theme, by way of a question I believe is more important for content and search marketers now than it has ever been:

Am I participating in the conversation?

In short, you should be. The key to succeeding with the following 10 non-Google traffic sources is by honest participation and engagement, as opposed to spamming and dropping links to your website around the internet. It is a question we’ll return to throughout.

1. Blogs

Blogging?! Nothing new here! I hear you say.

Perhaps, but I want to deal with blogs first because for me they are the first step to ‘participating in the conversation.’ And, today, there is more to blogging than simply having a part of your website dedicated to regularly updated posts.

Onsite

Blog posts on your site are great for non-Google traffic of course. You can publish at will and with more authorial control than you might get from an offsite blog. You can then use that content to entice visitors to come and read your posts via social channels etc.

Guest posts

Blog-writing is not a skill that only serves your own blog, though. Guest blogging is still a good way to further establish authority in your industry and to potentially get visitors of those blogs to click through to your site.

Offsite blog platforms

Offsite blogging platforms such as Medium are ever-improving the ways they promote articles (via email digests and at the foot of article pages) to users depending on the topics they choose to follow. Follow authors related to your niche and participate in the communities that exist there.

Comments

Don’t have time to write a full post? You can also ‘participate in the conversation’ by adding to blog comments. Be sure to prioritize adding value to the page over merely leaving a link.

The commenting engine we use on SEW, Disqus, allows commenters to have a weblink visible within their user profile when readers click their username. I’d argue it’s better practice to use this than dropping a URL in the comment itself.

2. Facebook

So you have a great piece of content – perhaps a blog post – on your website. Where are you going to share it?

Facebook is still the biggest social referrer online. According to Shareaholic, more than 18% of website referrals were from Facebook in the latter half of 2017. This is a drop from the year before, but the wedge is still huge. There are more than 2.1b monthly active Facebook users globally.

As Chuck notes, useful and fun content is the best type to share on the platform. And the best time to share on Facebook traffic-wise is around 12:00pm according to Revive Social.

3. YouTube

Although not as big on the social referral numbers as Facebook, I’ve included YouTube because it is still the second biggest social networking site globally with 1.5b monthly active users.

Like Google, YouTube uses a vast number of factors when deciding how to rank videos. These include keyword relevance in titles and descriptions, number of views, comments, likes, shares, and backlinks.

Going back to our participating in the conversation mantra, our ‘best practice’ aim with any YouTube content needs to focus on ensuring videos are valuable to those interested in your niche – whether from an entertaining or an educational standpoint (or both).

Traffic-wise, it is expected for users to be able to click-through to additional relevant information via links in the description under YouTube videos. And it can be a great referrer.

4. Instagram

I’m highlighting Instagram because in recent years it has risen to become the third most popular social channel (800m monthly active users) and it is still growing significantly as a referrer (up 890% between 2016 and 2017 according to Shareaholic).

Of course, Instagram really lends itself best to brands with the potential to produce strong visual content.

There is a heap of truth in the cliché that the platform is awash with pictures of food. It is an ideal place for chefs and restaurants to show-off their skills, use hashtags to align their posts with similar images, and to persuade viewers to click through to their website to find full recipes or directions to their establishment.

It works for other brands too. And is a great platform for inviting your audience to participate.

5. Pinterest

Pinterest, like Instagram, is highly visual.

Again, for certain niches it can drive a lot of traffic. Shareaholic actually ranks it as the second best social referrer with 7.53% share in the second half of 2017.

A majority of people who come to Pinterest are looking for shopping ideas – including for fashion, events and holidays. So it is a great platform for ecommerce sites in particular. You can even incorporate buy buttons directly into pins.

From a traffic perspective it is clearly working too. Brands can embed URLs at the top of their profile page. Participation is also fundamental to the mechanics of the site, with users re-pinning each other’s pins to their own curated boards.

6. Twitter

Twitter still holds its own as a leading social network and a key referrer of traffic.

It remains a great place to follow and converse with others who occupy your niche. If the tweets you send are a valuable mix of insight, retweets, links to other relevant content and occasional links to your own site – then you should find yourself able to generate good traffic when you do the latter.

But, again, valuable participation is key. Users will not follow you if your timeline is simply a stream of URLs to your site. Add to the conversations that occur there. And be sparing with self-promotion.

7. Reddit

Reddit continues to be a great place to interact with relevant communities related to many sectors.

How accepting the site is to redditors’ own links depends on the relative rules of each community and their moderators – with some being fairly open to it, others accepting a percentage of posted content to link out, and others not allowing it at all.

I’d argue that the best subreddits are those that are more strict about not letting users flagrantly post links. I prefer the conversational/forum elements over the bookmarking aspect.

New users need to devote time to adding to these communities and learning how they operate before even considering posting links back to your own site. But traffic can certainly be obtained from Reddit, particularly if the content you produce appeals to the unique wants of its users.

8. Forums

Like Reddit, forums are also great places to share your knowledge and to participate in the conversation.

And like Reddit, you need to spend some time engaging with other users and learning about the protocol for linking out to relevant content before tentatively offering links to your own site.

That said, forums can be great for gaining traffic. Fundamentally, users are not visiting such sites to be sold and marketed to – but many conversations do occur around looking for more information on products, services and answering questions. Does the content on your site offer such information?

9. Quora

Of course, questions and queries posted by web users can be a good opportunity for you to participate in the conversation and to offer up your expertise.

Users aren’t just asking questions on Google and Facebook. Specialist Q & A sites such as Quora see users ask hundreds of questions and the community offer even more answers.

See if your niche is being discussed, set up a profile page with a link to your site, and if you start answering these big questions knowledgeably and honestly, you might see users wanting to click through to know more about what you do.

Again, participation should be the priority. Authority and visibility in your niche is a great win, and any traffic is a bonus.

10. Email

Email remains a significant traffic source and is continually improving as a way to let your most engaged customers know about products, services, and new content that is increasingly tailored to them.

It differs from some of the other methods already mentioned because if users are already signed up to your mailing list, it is likely they are more engaged with your product or brand – especially compared to, for example, someone you might be chatting to in a forum or on Twitter.

Of course, you still need to offer value – and it’s best practice to do so at the outset of your message to not waste their time before enticing them to click through to your freshest and most relevant content.

And this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still be…

Participating in the conversation

All the methods I’ve listed are great opportunities to share value with the online ecosystem. It is very likely that your business has a niche of followers online chatting and seeking information across a range of platforms.

It is also very likely that you may have some unique perspective or insight about that industry which others will find of value.

Participating in the conversation is good practice for ranking in Google, as well as driving traffic from other sources. And the more diverse the platforms you use, the more visibility you have across the board.