The Wise Content Marketer’s Guide to Sensible SEO

Search engine optimization — SEO — is one of those “you love it or you hate it” topics.
Some get a charge out of the challenge of keeping up with those wily engineers at Google.
Others would rather eat a bug than try to figure out what “headless crawling” means and which redirect is the right one to pick in months that end in R.
I have to confess, I’m in the bug-eating camp on this one.
Fortunately, although technical SEO is still important for some sites, there’s a crazy-powerful optimization technique that people like me can get really good at.
Yes, it’s content. (You already knew that, because you’re smart.) Yes, it has to be good content. And yes, I’m going to talk about what, specifically, “good” means.
But first, I’m going to talk about my most important search optimization rule.
The great rule of SEO
My first and primary rule, when thinking about search engines, is never to do anything for the sake of SEO that screws up the experience for the audience.
That cuts out some downright dumb behavior, like overstuffing your content with keywords.
But it also helps you evaluate new advice that comes along. If it makes your site less useable, if it makes your message less effective, or if it alienates or confuses your audience … you should probably skip it.
Here are nine SEO recommendations that also work to make your site experience better for the human beings who read your content, listen to your podcasts, and actually

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The Difference Between Cheap and Good

You’ve probably noticed how much cheap marketing and writing advice is out there. So many hypey “hacks” … so few results.
We’re much more into the long game. It takes time and energy to produce good content, which is why we like solid, proven strategies that are actually worth your time.
This week, we have some deep dives for you.
On Monday, Beth Hayden shared some thoughts on promoting your content to improve your SEO. (Like all good SEO recommendations, content promotion isn’t just for search engines — its most important function is to find more humans who would love to read, watch, or listen to your content.)
On Tuesday, Aaron Orendorff wrote about one of our favorite things — evergreen content. Instead of trying to chase news (along with thousands of other sites in your topic), with evergreen content, you develop a thoughtful, compelling angle on a subject and put in the extra work that lifts it above the usual noise. Aaron gives 20 ideas you can use to shape content that will work for the long haul.
I have a suggestion for you: Take Aaron’s list of 20, pick the ones that resonate with you, and get one onto your calendar for each month of 2017. They won’t be 12 easy posts to write … but if you put real effort into them, they’ll bring genuine, long-lasting authority to your site.
On Wednesday, I pulled together some of my favorite Copyblogger posts from 2016, with a few words

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4 Creative (and Aboveboard) Ways to Improve Your Search Engine Rankings

Promoting your content has clear short-term benefits — like attracting new readers, social shares, and comments.
But did you know it’s also a critical part of your search engine optimization strategy?
Even the best on-page SEO efforts don’t work as well if no one links to your site, so one of your biggest jobs is spreading the word out about your content.
Think of it this way:
You’ve got to attract incoming links to rank well in search engines, and no one is going to link to you if they don’t know you exist.
In this post, we’ll talk about why content promotion is important for SEO and how to create your own content promotion system.
Why is content promotion important for SEO?
After you publish a piece of content, your next goal is to get people to engage with that content.
When people like your content, they’ll share it on social media and link to it from their sites, which sends search engines a “thumbs-up” signal.
That signal says, “This is high-quality content,” and you want as many of those votes as possible.
People share content from sites they know and trust, and they often visit those sites from their favorite social media platforms and their inboxes — so that’s exactly where you want to show up.
Not sure how to get started? Try these four techniques:
1. Reach out to your network
While I wouldn’t recommend emailing bloggers and editors you don’t already have relationships with, don’t forget about

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SEO that Grows Your Business with John Jantsch

Of all the components of a holistic online marketing strategy, search engine optimization (“SEO”) seems to mystify many the most. And it’s true that years back, the key to ranking well in Google was a form of dark art.
That’s changed in recent years. Google’s algorithm has gotten smarter, and is more distinctly tuned in to what the audience thinks is relevant and valuable for a given search term, rather than what we as marketers would prefer to rank well.

As my friend Rae Hoffman says, “Google doesn’t want to make websites popular, they want to rank popular websites.” In other words, get traffic rich by creating content that people want and value first, and Google will make you even richer.
Another friend of mine, John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, has just co-authored a book called SEO for Growth, and it’s a completely up-to-date examination of what it takes to do well in search engines. I was honored that John asked me to contribute the foreword, and long-time readers of Copyblogger will see the natural evolution of tactics and strategies we’ve talked about for a decade.
Tune in for valuable tips on the modern practice of SEO. More importantly, discover how to execute on an SEO strategy that grows your business, not just your search traffic.
Listen to this Episode Now
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SEO Defined in 60 Seconds [Animated Video]

How do people find what they’re looking for on the web?
Search engines.
And in order for business owners to ensure that their content appears as the most relevant resource for prospective customers, they must optimize web pages to show up in search engine results for specific keywords.
But let’s say you’re a beginner when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO).
What exactly is SEO?
Watch our short, fun video about SEO
With help from our friends at The Draw Shop, we whipped up 12 definitions from our new Content Marketing Glossary into short, fun whiteboard animated videos.
Check out our video for the definition of SEO:
Animation by The Draw Shop
And for those of you who would prefer to read, here’s the transcript:
SEO stands for “search engine optimization.” It’s a process of getting traffic from the “free,” “organic,” or “natural” search results generated by search engines.
Google and Bing are the biggest search engines, and they use algorithms to examine the content on a given page in order to decide what that page is about. Then, based upon more than 200 factors, they decide how relevant that page is to certain keywords.
The job of a search engine, like Google, is to find content that matches your query — or, the basic question you’re asking, like:

How far is the earth from the sun?
Who is the lead singer of Led Zeppelin?
What is a freemason?

Those questions contain keywords. The more your content matches those questions, the better the experience for the user.

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What It’s Really Like to Start an Ultra-Successful Company: Meet Moz’s Rand Fishkin

Rand Fishkin is known for founding an incredibly successful company — while keeping an unwavering commitment to his core values.
You may have noticed, if you look around at the general business landscape, that a lot of successful founders are a bit cocky. They tend to overestimate the role of their own genius in their success — and underestimate the hard work of their teams and the luck that went into that success.
(And no, for the curious, I’m not counting Rainmaker Digital founder Brian Clark in that group.)
Rand Fishkin isn’t like most founders.
For example, founders of successful businesses typically play certain cards close to the chest. They’re highly selective about what they reveal about their businesses. And there are some strong business reasons for doing that.
Rand, on the other hand, is radically transparent about the good stuff and the bad in his business.
“Transparency is synonymous with Rand Fishkin, in a fantastic way.” – Brian Clark
Sometimes that transparency has come at a price. But it’s one of Rand’s deepest core values, as well as a foundational value for his business. And while his commitment to extreme transparency has closed some doors … it’s also opened some amazing ones.
Moz’s long, winding path to “overnight success”
Like so many stories of explosive growth, the company now known as Moz started out on a rather winding path.
The company started life as SEOMoz, a side project for Rand while he taught himself SEO. Eventually it became a full-time consulting

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Google’s AMP: The Fun and User-Friendly Guide to Accelerated Mobile Pages

Watch the video. Ignore the copy.
That’s my advice to you once you land on Google’s site dedicated to the new Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project:
“The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.”
If you are not a developer and you read the copy, you will be swallowed alive by jargon.
Watch the video, however, and you’ll almost immediately understand what AMP is all about (not to mention a funny Spinal Tap reference, see below).
Or you could just read this guide because it will be the most fun you’ve ever had reading about AMP and how it affects your content marketing.
I promise.
What is Google’s AMP Project?
Since the birth of Google’s Zero Moment of Truth philosophy back in 2011, it’s been no secret that they want to “dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web.”
And I probably don’t need to tell you that there is a small problem with the performance of content on the mobile web.
Chances are, you have a mobile device. And chances are that you’ve clicked a link on that device from a search results page, social media site, or inside your email inbox … eager to consume the content.
But it never comes.
Well, it comes, but in a convulsing patchwork of lurching, jerky images, videos, and ads as the page loads. You look on in horror, eyes dilated, bouncing around in your subway seat

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Eric Enge on the Art of LinkedIn Marketing

The co-author of The Art of SEO (and one of the leading SEO and content marketing experts in the world) drops by The Missing Link today to share his LinkedIn insights.
Over the years, Sean Jackson has become a huge fan of Eric Enge and the team at Stone Temple Consulting. They are smart, easy going, and always willing to help others.
But what has really set Eric and his team apart is the amount of experimenting and research they do … sorting fact from fiction in the field of SEO and content marketing.
Sean was fortunate to get the chance to interview Eric at Pubcon Austin and discuss his thoughts on using LinkedIn for content marketing.
As Eric points out in this interview, you may be “renting” your audience on LinkedIn, but if you follow his advice, you may be able to “rent to own.”
In this episode of The Missing Link, host Sean Jackson and Eric Enge discuss:

The smart way to publish content on LinkedIn Pulse
Why groups are the best way to build relationships
Are LinkedIn ads worth the effort?
Why you should be marketing on LinkedIn now
The nuances of “nĭch versus nēsh”

Click Here to Listen toThe Missing Link on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

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Giovanni Gallucci on Images as Content and Understanding Usage Rights

Giovanni Gallucci is one of the most generous people Technology Translated host Scott Ellis knows when it comes to sharing his knowledge, and he’s been teaching about image usage and optimization since 2008.
Giovanni is a successful social media consultant and practitioner, videographer, and photographer. He also has a knack for pushing the boundaries of SEO.
He stays on the “light side” of SEO, but by pushing the edges, he is able to find opportunities and gain advantages that most people don’t know about.
Let’s dig in …
In this 45-minute episode of Technology Translated, host Scott Ellis and Giovanni Gallucci discuss:

The importance of images in your content
The image as content
Image SEO and EXIF Data
Where you can find images you can use on your site
Image usage rights
Audience Q&A
Above all else … what’s most important
What constitutes Fair Use
DPI Standards

Click Here to Listen toTechnology Translated on iTunes
Click Here to Listen on Rainmaker.FM
About the authorRainmaker.FMRainmaker.FM is the premier digital marketing and sales podcast network. Get on-demand business advice from experts, whenever and wherever you want it.

The post Giovanni Gallucci on Images as Content and Understanding Usage Rights appeared first on Copyblogger.

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Will Your Website Survive the Upcoming Google Mobile Penalty?

You are standing in a booth. People are lined up, handing you money in exchange for a small book. This lasts, with little let up, for most of the day. At sundown, you tuck your money in a backpack and head home.
This has been your life for the last two years. Business has been good, so there was no reason to suspect anything would be different the next day.
Except there was.
You show up to your little booth, and wait. Occasionally, a customer trickles in, but otherwise you are alone. Around lunchtime, you peer down the lane. A few stalls seem to have a steady stream of customers. But not many.
You look at the calendar. It is April 21, 2015. You scratch your head and wonder if tomorrow is going to be same.
An odd warning about mobile search
The story above is analogous to how Google’s algorithm updates typically unfold. Website and small business owners wake up one day to find the landscape drastically changed.
Panda and Penguin are the usual examples we like to trot out. In those cases, however, those who were caught up in the convulsions deserved their punishments. It was clear they were violating — at least, pushing the limits of — what Google favored.
But Google’s update to their mobile algorithm is different. We actually got an explicit warning that a change to the algorithm was coming.
This was posted on February 26, 2015:
Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness

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