How mobile search can help offline retailers in India

While some might say that digital has opened the doors to online players and has blurred the existence of local retail stores, new research says that the relationship between digital marketing & in-store shopping is far more interconnected than that. Foot traffic & word-of-mouth which were the assets of offline retailers before digital & mobile entered the lives of people, are not anymore the only assets which can be relied on.

Local retailers, in general, believe that online marketing works only for e-commerce websites. But, digital doesn’t just drive e-commerce, it actually gets consumers into local stores.

Connecting offline retailers to the mobile users

We are living in “always-on search world”, where people are always able to search. When they want to buy things or when they do have a query, they turn to their smartphones. Consumers now spend more than 15 hours per week researching on their smartphones.

Impact of mobile on the store visit

There was a time when people would have to get to their computers. But now, searches on the desktop have dropped as mobile is always in reach. It is found that 21 percent of in-store shopping in urban India is influenced by digital and 18 percent is influenced by mobile. If you have a physical store, then mobile search is the new threshold to your store.

Store visits after online research

Most offline retailers in India are not aware of various mobile marketing techniques which they think are only for e-commerce players. This has led to them not making efficient use of the web to provide necessary information to the customer. Whereas, according to research customers are likely to go to an offline store when they find the store they are looking for listed in search results. It is found that 3 out of 4 shoppers who find local information in search results helpful are more likely to visit stores.

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    Image source- https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/

The retailers need to realize that consumers shop digitally before going into the store and they should make sure they provide all the information that customers are looking for online. Thus, retailers should have the right digital marketers as this will help to drive more customers to visit the stores.

Online Advertising Techniques To Create Online Presence

What most offline retailers lack is the right guidance how digital marketing can be leveraged to bring sales. There are many different ways in which the visits to their local store can be boosted.

  • Search Advertising

This is the most effective method to reach out to as many customers as possible as shown by recent statistics. Many big companies engage in Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. This is because PPC ads work in a way that brings best customer attention with minimal expenditure.

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Brand Search Advertising reinforces the brand name, increases brand value and brings about brand awareness. These ads are so effective because they give the customer all the information he/she needs to know about the brand within a few lines. This way the customer does not spend a lot of time reading the ad, but manages to get the required information.
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Also, ads can be shown to the people who search for the products using relevant terms. For example, one who is looking for a laptop store close to his location can be targeted using relevant search terms like laptop store near me, laptop stores in Chennai, which people normally use.

Another advantage of the PPC ads is that they can be targeted to the desired audience of a particular location, preferably places around their stores using Radius targeting. This way the ads are shown only to the people who might be interested in the product or service and more likely visit the store.

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Since the retailer is charged each time these ads are clicked, showing these ads to a targeted audience will result in an increased conversion rate which will in turn result in an increased ROI. Where they appear is chosen by the retailer, but its ranking is decided by Google based on a number of factors.

  • Organic Search Listings

This is the most traditional method by which offline retailers can show up on a customer’s search field below top PPC ads without having to pay a penny. A link to the retailer’s website automatically shows on the customer’s screen when he/she searches for something relevant to the products offered by the local store.

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Where the retailer’s website is listed is again decided by Google based on the relevance of content and other factors. What the retailer should ensure is to provide the right and relevant content on the website of the store so that it shows up higher in the  organic search listings. Hence, by this way the store can get a few more customers to visit its website by making sure it has a user -friendly website.

  • Google Business Local Listings

An important feature that drags customers to stores near their current location is the store locator available on Google. Using this feature the customers can know exactly how far the store is located from their present location and they can head straight to the store with the navigation feature of Google maps. Hence it is essential that all stores add their location on Google using Business map locator.

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When a customer searches for something like textile stores, a list of textile stores nearby his/her location shows up with the address information of each store. By clicking on any of these stores in the list the customer can know exactly how far the store is and how long will it take to get there with the help of Google maps. Hence, if a customer knows that a store is close by to his/her location, then it drives the customer to visit the store.

  • Tracking Results

In order to track the source of the leads that we receive through the above advertising methods, it’s recommended to generate unique phone numbers for each advertising channel. This way we can measure the effectiveness of each channel.

Digital bridges the gap between customers and stores

Today the consumer’s path to purchase is becoming increasingly mobile. Retailers that provide relevant, local information online will increase both reach and sales. While helping to drive customer in-store it will also help to enhance the customer’s experience once he/she has entered the store. Mobile has reshaped the way the people shop, that is in a good way and retailers who make use of this in the right way will see themselves moving ahead.

 

21 SEO Link Building Techniques for 2016

Every brand or website targets ranking on top of search results but achieving the same requires a lot of effort over a period of time. The search engine rankings are determined by a variety of factors. Mobile-friendly nature of your website, On Page SEO, Content quality & freshness, Number of backlinks and relevance to the search keywords are some of them.

According to a recent study by Moz conducted across 150+ industry experts, the top 5 factors for search engine rankings were as follows:

  1. Domain-level link features
  2. Page-level link features
  3. Page-level keyword and Content-based features
  4. Engagement & Traffic/Query data
  5. Domain-level brand metrics

While there are various tools to help you with SEO, in this article we focus on 21 link building techniques that can play an important role in boosting your search engine rankings and website traffic. Though the number of backlinks is important but poor quality or spammy backlinks should be avoided. It can result in a negative penalty for your website by Google.

Seo techniques infographic

1. Create excellent link-worthy content & amplify them

Today, Content Marketing is the buzzword. Brands are churning out content in large numbers. In fact, more than 27 million pieces of content are shared every day. In such a cluttered space, it is important to create content that is discoverable, sharable and informative to your target audience. Moreover, as Moz points out, “good unique content” is not enough – you need content which his 10 times better than the best content out there. Certain content types like How To articles, Listicles, etc. are examples of Pillar posts that can help you garner a large number of references/links from external sources. Read the BuzzSumo report for more details on this.

2. Leverage Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a gaining prominence as an effective marketing channel for brands. For the uninitiated, Influencer Marketing is the new form of word-of-mouth marketing that involves partnering bloggers and social media influencers to talk about your brand – be it on their blog or social media handles. An effective way to leverage influencer marketing would be to get the top bloggers in your industry to review your product / service. Apart from giving you important backlinks, it would also help you create awareness about your product among your target audience. There are many platforms in the industry that allow you to track the top influencers in your industry niche.

The other way to use influencers is to co-create content when you don’t have internal bandwidth to create your content. It’s important to keep in mind the user and find the right influencers who can create content for those users.

3. Broken link building

Under this technique, you track the resource pages in your industry and check for broken links using tools like Check My Link. Once you make a list of the broken links on these pages, you can reach out to the page owners with the list of broken links that need to be fixed along with the links to useful resources on your website can be linked to.

4. Infographics

Visual content grab eyeballs and infographics can be a great format to build your brand and get backlinks at the same time, from people out there are who are looking for informative content in a visually attractive representation. You can also submit your infographics in a whole bunch of infographic submission websites such as visual.ly, infographick.com, bestinfographics.info, etc.

5. Surveys & Industry Trend Reports

If you are looking to create fresh & novel content ideas, Surveys and Industry Trend Reports can work wonders for you. Launch an industry survey in your niche – it can be a simple consumer preference pattern for a consumer brand or an investment survey for a financial services player. Tools like Survey Monkey or GetInsights can let you create surveys in a whiff. They also have many pre-researched survey templates for each industry which can be explored.

Create reports, share it in different industry forums, mail it to top experts for their insights before releasing the report and include the quotes / insights in the report if possible, as it adds credibility to your study. For B2B businesses, releasing industry trend reports can be an excellent way to drive traffic to the site and build authority online. These reports have a strong sharability quotient and can garner a large number of backlinks online. Offline PR can also be activated to create more awareness around the release of the industry report.

6. Skyscraper Content

Skyscraper content creation technique involves finding top performing content in your industry and adding more depth or value to the existing content. Once the content is ready, you can reach out to people linking to the existing content and share the link to your article. In order to find best performing content in your industry, you can leverage tools such as BuzzSumo, Topsy or Google Search to some extent. To read more on building skyscraper content, check out this article by Brian Dean.

7. Writing Testimonials

You can write Testimonials for products / services that you have used for your brand with a backlink to your website that demonstrates how you have leveraged that product. It would be better to write a quick case study to add more value to the testimonial.

8. Content Curation & Industry Round-ups

You can curate the top articles in your industry, take interviews of top experts or compile the insights from the latest industry report & convert it into a case study. Once the post is ready on your website, share the link with the experts and let them know you have linked to their content or have published their interview. For content curation, you can make use of tools like Scoop.It, Feedly, BuzzSumo as well as Google Alerts. Apart from gaining potential backlinks, this would also help you make your property more informative for your audience.

9. Internal Linking

Effective internal linking performs three important functions:

  • It makes your post informative for your readers by providing them relevant information for reference
  • It signals the search engine that you have more content relevant to the topic, thus boosting the site credibility for the topic.
  • Increases discoverability of your existing old content

10. Linking to Expert or Authoritative Sites

Apart from linking to your own content, you can also link out to expert articles which are ranked on top of search results. This way you are linking and connecting content to sites which already have an established authority in your niche. While linking to external sites, do not forget to use the rel=”nofollow” tag. This tag prevents the link juice from passing on to the external site. Even in this article you see we have linked to the likes of Brian Dean, Moz & BuzzSumo amongst others.

11. Leverage Q&A Forums like Quora

Platforms like Quora have rich discussion on varied subjects. You can find topics in your niche and answer relevant questions with reference backlinks to your content articles. This would provide the information to audience who is already looking for similar information and at the same provide you good quality backlinks. Quora also has a blog section where you can submit your existing blog content with a link to the original piece.

12. Repurposing old content

You can repurpose old content in different forms to allow it to reach maximum number of people. You can convert your blog article into a presentation, or downloadable pdfs, Videos or infographics and submit it on multiple platforms. You could even translate the content into different languages if relevant for your brand. For example, a presentation can be submitted on Slideshare. You can also add more juice to your already existing blog content by updating it with latest insights, images, presentation and reference links

13. Guest Blogging

Search and connect with high-quality portals or websites for guest blogging. If done properly, it can be an effective link-building measure. Avoid low-quality websites or duplicate content as part of the guest blogging initiative. It can result in penalty from Google. Even commenting on relevant blogs is still  a good practice in case you are unable to get guest blogging activated.

14. Leverage social media platforms effectively

Build an engaged community on Social Media platforms & share your content regularly to amplify the reach of your content. On platforms like Twitter, it is important to share your content multiple times. To prevent repetitive posts, use different post copies, images and stats for sharing. Your engaged follower community is more likely to share or talk about your content. Linkedin has its own blogging feature and you could repurpose your content and publish it there for increased reach. For ecommerce websites even Pinterest can be a very interesting source for quality backlinks and traffic.

15. Ask for backlinks

Last but not the least, ask for backlinks from quality source. For example, if you have great content on Personal Finance, look out for portals which list quality content from different Personal Finance resources and reach to them. If they find your content relevant, they might link back to it. Once they backlink, don’t forget to drop a thank you mail with links to other helpful content which might be useful to them.

16. Reclaim your brand mentions

Tools like Google Alerts, Talk Walker and Mention can help to track the mentions for your brand on the web. Track all mentions for your brand and see if these mentions have linked back to your website/blog. If the backlink is missing in the mentions, mail or reach out on social media and see if that can be converted into a backlink.

17. Keep an eye on your competitors

Track and analyze the backlinks to your competitor websites and check the source of their backlinks. Look at content and pages that have got the maximum links to see if you can produce better content on those topics. Watch out for aggregator sites or industry curators that link to their websites and reach out with links to your content.

18. User discussion platforms like Zomato, TripAdvisor

Platforms like Zomato and Trip Advisor drives millions of visitors to their website daily. Leveraging these platforms in the right way can help claim relevant backlinks and at the same time, drive relevant traffic to your website. Partnering with top reviewers on such platforms (for example – see our list of top food bloggers in India) to seamlessly integrate their reviews / posts with links to your products can go a long way in providing quality backlinks. Forums likes MouthShut.com even have a blog section apart from the review section; you can submit your blog content there with links to the original article hosted on your website.

19. Refresh old backlinks

Old backlinks to your website can return a 404 error over a period of time, resulting from a new site or a change in url. Even in case of new backlinking, there is a possibility that the source site might make a mistake in typing the url to your site. You can use online tools to research the broken links to your site and redirect these.

20. Feedback Site Submissions

Highly recommended for product based websites, submission to feedback sites can help drive lot of traffic to your website & also boost the conversion rates. LaunchSky, Valid8or, Product Hunt, Startup Lift and Beta List are some of the websites that can be used for review submissions.

21. Help a Reporter Out

Help a Reporter Out or HARO as the technique is better known as, is an excellent way to get backlinks from news portals. Once you sign-up on the reporter help portals like HelpAReporter, you are likely to get mails with requirements on information the reporters are looking for. You need to respond with the information from your end, along with helpful links if available.

Few Fatal Link-building Techniques to Avoid:

Sometimes, websites, in their quest to achieve quick results, resort to negative techniques which are not seen in a positive light by the search engines. I would like to list out some of those techniques which should be avoided at all costs to prevent any penalty to your website.

  • Do a proper study of the directory where you are submitting your website. Simple submitting your directory to a website for the sake of getting a backlink might not add great value to your site. In fact, Google excludes many such directories from its search engine rankings. Checking the Moz Domain Authority & Spam Score is a best case practice.
  • Never buy backlinks or establish a barter system for backlinks. Google Considers backlinks as votes ups for your website and paying for a vote cannot be seen in a positive light
  • Excessive keyword optimization in anchor texts in articles
  • Spammy comments on 3rd party blogs and forums with links to your website

Hope these techniques can prove handy to generate good quality backlinks for your website. In case you know any other method that works well and deserves to be a part of this article, please feel free to comment and let us know.

Ultimate Guide to setting up Yoast SEO Plugin for WordPress

Search Engine Optimisation SEO is critical for most businesses and especially for ecommerce businesses. We did put up a slideshare on the basics of SEO for Entrepreneurs which covers aspects like on page SEO, content marketing & amplification, mobile responsiveness and link building. We always recommend White Hat SEO so its also important to be aware of how NOT to do SEO.

In this context, there are various SEO tools out there which can help and one which is critical for On Page SEO in case you are using WordPress as your CMS is the plugin by Yoast. It is a plugin recommended even for Advanced SEO by most industry leaders including QuickSprout, Moz & more.

YoastSEO Plugin is the powerhouse for WordPress search engine optimization. Barring structured markup data and schema tags, Yoast can handle most on page SEO elements. However, setting up this plugin might be tricky for some, and a startup or anyone without basic SEO skills, might find it difficult to configure. An incorrect configuration can stop search engine bots from indexing your website, or you might let bots crawl a part that might not be relevant to your business.

The best part is that most of the key features in YoastSEO are free, so let’s get started with the step by step tutorial to set up this free SEO plugin.

Step 1: General Settings

  • Clicking on the SEO icon takes you to WordPress SEO by Yoast’s General settings page. You can take a tour here to learn more about the plugin. You can also reset your plugin to default settings from this page. There is a tracking option, checking it will send anonymous usage data back to plugin author. You can uncheck this box if you don’t want to share this information.

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Step 2: Your Info

This is where you will provide information about your site and the person or company behind it.

  • First you need to provide a site name and an alternate name for search engines to consider. Your site’s name could be your site’s title. If you do not enter anything here, then WordPress SEO will automatically use your site’s title (from the WordPress Settings Tab) as your website name
  • The next option is to choose whether this website is run by a company/organization or an individual person. If you choose company, then you will be asked to provide company name and you can also upload a company logo.
  • On the other hand, if you choose a person, then you can add the name of the person behind the website.

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Step 3: Webmaster Tools

  • If you know a little bit about SEO, then you have probably heard that each of the popular search engines, Google& Bingallow site owners to add their sites using webmaster tools.
  • Webmaster tools let you see insights and other relevant data about your site from the specific search engines. In order to verify your site and see those exclusive data, you have just have to add the Meta code that you received from the search engines in the respective fields.

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Step 4: Security

  • The last tab in general settings is labeled Security. This has only one option which disables advanced part of the WordPress SEO Meta box. We recommend that you leave it checked. Checking it will prevent your authors from making changes like redirects and no index which could create problem for you later on.

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Step 5: Titles &Metas

Titles & Metas section under WordPress SEO has several tabs in it.

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  1. General:
  • Here you can configure some site wide general settings. WordPress SEO can auto-detect whether it needs to re-write titles or not. So you can leave this as it is, usually it is unchecked. You can also choose the separator used between post title and site title.

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  1. Homepage Title
  • By default you will see these fields pre-filled with title-template. So what is the difference between a title and a title template, you may ask. In instances like your home page, you may want to create a static title, description, and keywords. But for posts, the title will vary from one post to another. Title templates allow you to define a way that the title and other meta information is pulled and organized.
  • Let’s take a look at the image below for the home page settings. By default the template variables in the title field work fine for most website however you’re welcome to change it. The next option is to enter your site’s description. Once you are done, click on save settings button.
  • For example for our Pages Title Template we had put %%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% Social & Digital Marketing in India. So if the page is Content Marketing the Meta tag would become Content Marketing | Social & Digital Marketing in India. The same logic applies for the description template too.

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  1. Post Types Titles &Meta

WordPress SEO allows you to set titles and meta for posts, pages, media, and other custom post types.

  • WordPress SEO automatically enters title template variables for all your post types and leaves your description and other fields blank. We recommend that you change the title templates where you only keep the actual title and one of the critical keywords for your business – example %%title%% %%page%% %%sep%% Social & Digital Marketing in India
  • Remember WordPress SEO plugin also adds an SEO meta box in your post edit area so you can always customize the meta title & description for each page and each post. It may not be posibble to manually edit these, especially if there are multiple authors creating posts on your website. So this automated temple does make life easy in such cases.

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  1. Taxonomies
  • Here you can configure titles and meta for Categories, tags, custom taxonomies, and post format archives similar to how we discussed for Page & Post Title/Descriptions.

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  1. Archives
  • On the Archives tab you have title and meta settings for author archives, date archives, and special pages such as search and 404 pages. We recommended that you check disable author archives for single author blogs. If you are running a single author blog, then your main blog and the author archives contain exactly the same content.

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Step 6. Social

  • One great feature of the plugin is that it integrates your site with Open Graph data for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ platforms so that it tells the search engines that your site is linked to these social media channels
  1. Accounts
  • The first tab under the social settings is for all your social accounts. You need to simply add the URLs and Twitter username for the main social profiles of your business.

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  1. Facebook
  • On the Facebook tab, first thing you need to do is check the box that says add open graph meta data. Checking this allows WordPress SEO to add Facebook open graph meta data in your website’s <head> section. This will help Facebook pick up the right thumbnail and page information when a post from your website is shared on Facebook.

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  1. Twitter
  • As for Twitter, you can add Twitter cards into your site’s head section. You can also choose the card type to use. We recommend using summary with large image.

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  1. Pinterest
  • Pinterest uses Open Graph meta data just like Facebook. Make sure that you have open graph meta data box checked under Facebook settings. After that you just need to enter the site verification code provided by Pinterest. Simply visit your Pinterest account settings to add and verify your site. You will be provided with a meta tag that you need to enter here.

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  1. Google+
  • On the Google+ tab, check the box to allow Google plus related data for posts. The second option for this page is to enter your Google+ Publisher page. If you have created a Google+ page for your business enter its URL here.

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Step 7. XML Sitemaps

  • Sitemaps are essential for any website. While its not a ranking factor by itself it does give clarity to search engines on the pages that exist and the hierarchy of your website. It is also the quickest way to get indexed and notify search engines about new content on the site..
  • Yoast SEO makes it easy to add an XML sitemap. First you need to make sure that the box that says ‘Check this box to enable XML sitemap functionality’ is checked.

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  • After that you need to click on the ‘User Sitemap’ tab and disable author/user sitemap.
  • Lastly click on post type tabs, disable any post type that you don’t want to be included into sitemaps. By default WordPress SEO disables Media Attachments from sitemaps. If you are using a custom post type that you don’t want to be included, then you can disable it here.
  • Repeat the same process for taxonomies. If there is a taxonomy that you don’t want to be included into sitemaps, then you can exclude it here.

Step 8. Advanced (Breadcrumbs)

  • The advanced settings page allows you to configure breadcrumbs, permalinks, and RSS feed related settings.
  • Breadcrumbs are great for internal linking because it defines a clean path or trail to the page you are on. These breadcrumbs also appear in search results giving your site extra advantage in the search.

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Simply check the ‘Enable Breadcrumbs’ box and rest of the settings will be displayed.

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 1.Permalinks

  • WordPress by default adds a category base in each urli.e /category/. By checking the first box, you can strip that part from your category URLs. This is something that a lot of people want. But you can leave it unchecked if you do not want your category urls and page urls to conflict if they are the same name.
  • Next feature is to enforce a trailing slash on all categories and tag urls. If you are one of the users, who have .html at the end of their posts, then you probably want to select this option.
  • The next option is to remove stop words from permalinks. Stop words are common words used in plain language. Yoast believes that by removing these, you will create cleaner URLs but its your call on whether to remove these.
  • Next option is to redirect attachment URLs to parent post. WordPress allows you to attach images and other media to posts. But all of those attachments get their own URLs which in most cases are unnecessary. Therefore by checking this box, you redirect all your attachment page URL to the original post URL.
  • The next option on the permalinks page is to remove? Replytocom variable from comment reply links. It disables the links for the users with JavaScript disabled. Most web crawlers when they visit your site have JavaScript disabled, so they do not see the URL and can quickly move on. This increases the crawl efficiency particularly if you are running a site with lots of comments.
  • Redirect ugly URLs to clean permalinks option is not needed in most cases. We advise you to ignore it unless you know what you’re doing.
  • The last option to configure on Permalinks page is canonical URL settings. We would recommend that you leave them as they are.
  • Under clean up the head section you can safely check hide hide RSD links and hide WLW Manifest Links.
  1. RSS
  • WordPress SEO plugin has an RSS Feeds section, which is used to automatically add content to your RSS, more specifically, it’s meant to add links back to your blog and your blog posts, so bot scrapers will automatically add these links too, helping search engines identify you as the original source of the content. So we have added something like “The post %%POSTLINK%% appeared first on Social Beat”

Step 7. Tools

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  • The bulk editor allows you to edit post titles and descriptions in bulk. It makes sense to use it when doing manual edit of all pages, for example when launching a new site or a new set of products/services.
  • The other tool is file editor,   This section is only for advanced users as it gives access to the robots.txt file (which tells search engines which content to index and which not to) and .htaccess file (which allows in speed optimization – but that’s another blog post)

Step 8. Search Console

  • In case you have have given the plugin access to your Google Webmaster Account (which is recommended), you can see all the links that have issues – 404 errors, soft 404 error, server access error; access denied error. These could then be rectified by either upgrading the Yoast SEO Plugin or by using another free plugin called Redirection. You should check these once or twice every month to see & fix all such issues.

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I hope that helps you set up the Yoast SEO Plugin and also gets you started on SEO. Please do follow our other SEO & Content Marketing Blogs here.

Are you going to be hit by Google’s Mobile Friendly Update

Almost a year back we had created a list of top Indian Websites that were not responsive. A lot has changed since then. Myntra has moved to an App Only approach and closed down their mobile site. In the same context, Google’s next update is expected to be rolled out on April 21, 2015 and will concentrate largely on positively impacting sites that are mobile responsive. There will also be a marginal negative impact on mobile search results for websites that are not responsive.

So the question to ask here is, whether you site is mobile friendly? Google has its Mobile Friendly Testing Tool which can help you check. If you get a message “Awesome! This page is mobile-friendly.”, then you have little to worry as you will most likely be on the safer side of the line.

However, for those who haven’t made their site responsive this Google update is going to put in jeopardy the search traffic and eventually ranking. Here are some tips to help you get started on this front.

  1. How to Ensure You Site Is Mobile Friendly 

Creating a mobile responsive site will be the key step towards being in tandem with the Google update. This was Google’s announcement earlier this year which clearly indicates Google’s focus on mobile friendliness. “Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.” 

The main reason behind the update taking this path is Google’s consistent stand on giving users the best online experience. With mobile traffic having significantly overtaken PC traffic in the past two years this update seems all the more relevant. Google even has an extensive guide on creating mobile friendly sites. If you have Google Webmaster they have a new Mobile Usability feature to showcase if there are usability issues that still exist.

If you are using a Content Management System (CMS) To make your site mobile friendly here are a few essential tips:

For Word Press Sites: If you own a word press site you can simply use a plugins available online. The three best plugins available are 

  • WP Touch: This plugin converts your website automatically for mobile devices. The admin panel of the plugin allows you to modify various aspects of the site’s appearance enabling you to provide a simpler yet stylish version of your website. They have a free theme which works wonders but they also have premium mobile themes if you are looking at something more specific. It essentially takes your existing content on wordpress and embeds it into the mobile theme.
  • WP Mobile Detector: This plugin works by automatically detecting whether the browser being used is from a normal phone or smartphone. Once detected it loads a compatible version that suits the particular browser.
  • Mobile Press: Renders a mobile friendly version of the site when accessed via a phone. It also provides options to use other custom themes for better user experience. 

For Magento Sites: Using existing mobile responsive themes is one option that many are considering. If you have an existing theme which is non-responsive then there are plugins to help with this.

  • ShopGate: This plugin allows you to launch your own mobile website or native app with your existing magento installation. The look and feel may not be identical to your existing desktop design but its a quick fix.
  • SimiCart: Another way to handle this issue on Magento is to have a native Mobile App connected with your existing Magento installation. Simicart is an amazing tool to accomplish this.

The last option would be to adapt the existing theme to being responsive, but it requires extensive changes to be made at the code level.

  1. Increase Speed of your Mobile Site

The time your site takes to load plays a strong role in improving your page rankings. Despite the best mobile data connection, sites sometimes take a while to load and the reason behind it could be due to complex codes, slow server and other factors. Analyzing these problems and addressing them quickly can help give your site an advantage.

Using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom Speed Test tool can help give you an insight into the changes you can make in your site to make it speedier.

Once these changes have been made appropriate modifications have to be made in the Google Webmaster Tool as mentioned in the steps below.

  • Sign into your Google Webmaster account and add your site if you haven’t already.
  • Once done click on the crawl option in the sidebar and then click on the ‘Fetch as Google option’
  • Select the mobile and desktop options one by one and click ‘fetch and render’.
  • Once rendered you will then have to click on the ‘submit to index’ button to let google crawl your updated site.

With the update coming out today, it would be prudent to make these changes to your site as early as possible. Making changes sooner will help your traffic remain higher after the update. If you are having difficulties in making these changes, hiring good developers to make them is always a recommended option.

We would love to hear from you if you have seen any positive or negative mobile traffic from today. Please do share it in the comments below.

13 Content Amplification Strategies to promote content

Content Amplification Strategies

Why content promotion is essential

Good content can go a long way in effectively building brand recall and trust with a brand’s target audience. This has made content marketing a key ingredient in every business’ digital marketing strategy.

With all marketers the world over dishing out content to reach, inform, engage, educate and connect to their target audience to build their brand, the amount of content produced on a daily basis has grown exponentially. Sure, the internet population has grown as well, but content creation and publishing is growing at a rate much faster than the growth in internet connectivity. In fact, as per a recent AOL and Nielsen report, over 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared everyday! Even if we assume that only 1% of this content is great content, that’s a really huge number of great content pieces being published everyday! In such a scenario, it is critical to ensure that content cuts through the clutter and reaches the audience it has been created for.

Content amplification strategies

Simply ideating, creating and publishing content does not work anymore and content distribution requires as much, if not more, effort as content creation. A word of caution here though – content amplification works best for content that has been ideated and created keeping in mind the interests and needs of the target audience. So, here are 13 content amplification strategies you can use to effectively promote your content:

If there are any content distribution channels which you have tried that could be added to the list, do let us know in the comments below.

Top 20 Free Tools for Search Engine Optimisation – 2015 Edition

In today’s digital world the key for your business to perform well online is to reach the top of the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages) and for this to happen your website must deserve to be at the top (We have a slideshare on basics of SEO from an entrepreneurs’ perspective which may be of interest to you).

With Google’s smarter algorithm the need for unique content along with SEO strategies has become a necessity. So has the need for your site to deliver best user experience in the particular niche. Fortunately there are a lot of free SEO tools online that can help you assess the work done thereby helping you achieve your SEO (and business) goals.

Tools for Keyword Research

  1. Google keyword planner

Google Keyword Planner

The keyword planner tool in Google Adwords forms the basis of most SEO strategies today. This free tool from Google can be used to search keywords, ad group ideas and also get an understanding of how a particular keyword might perform. You can also get help in choosing competitive bids and budget to go with your SEO campaign. While this is a free tool it requires you to setup a free account with Adwords before accessing the tool.

  1. Keyword Eye

Keyword Eye

Keyword Eye is a free tool for keyword research and helps mostly in PPC/SEO campaigns. This tool can be effective during brainstorming of keywords.

  1. keyword.io

Keywordtool.io

Keywordtool.io, provides about 750+ suggestions for every keyword you enter. Thereby enables quick identification of top keywords in less time.

  1. Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest

One of the most used free tool in the industry today, Ubersuggest provides a neat and organized list of keywords that many other tools fail to do.

  1. Incognito google.com search

Incognito Google Search

This one though not a tool, goes a long way in helping identify top keywords that are being searched worldwide. When searching for a particular keyword the suggestions provided by google gives an insight as to what users are looking for in the particular field. Simple shortcut to Incognito is Ctrl + Shift + N.

Content

  1. Siteliner

Siteliner

The site helps identify duplicate content within the site, be it in the meta-tags or content within the site. In today’s scenario where Google algorithms strictly check for duplication Siteliner is very beneficial.

  1. Copyscape

Copyscape

A special tool to check for copied content from other sites. More often than not bloggers are seen referring content from other sites and using them without any modification which is strictly against SEO rules. Copyscape can help detect any copied content to be placed within the site.

  1. Anchor Text Over Optimization Tool

Anchor Text Over Optimization Tool

Once you have created your meta-tags, it is important to check the optimization levels of the keywords used in them. Google has penalized several sites for over optimization and hence using Remove’em over optimization tool to check the same is highly beneficial

Technical Tools

  1. Google & Bing Webmaster tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Google and Bing have their own respective Webmaster tools that can help keep your site optimized and also help check the site’s indexing. Apart from this the tool also provides insight on website traffic patterns, reach, visibility, speed-metrics and authorship statistics.

  1. Moz open site explorer

Moz Open Site Explorer

Moz is considered to be one of the pioneers of SEO and their open site explorer sites will help you understand the various off-page SEO techniques. With Moz open site explorer ou can gauge site’s influence, view subdomain, inbound links to the site, root domain and analyze the link pages.

  1. Google Developer PageSpeed Insights

Google PageSpeed Insights

The tool helps analyze the performance of a webpage. Based on the speed at which the site loads you can quantify and estimate the performance on all devices.

  1. Pingdom Website Speed Tool

Pingdom Website Speed Tool

Pingdom Website Speed Tool helps check the time your website takes to load. It provides ample details on average load time and also provides suggestions to help improve the speed.

  1. robots.txt generator

robots.txt generator

As the name suggests, the tool helps create a robots.txt file which can be used to instruct the search engine about pages in your site that are allowed to be indexed. Apart from generating the file you can also enter pages that you want the search engine to not crawl without having to do manually.

  1. Ahrefs – Backlink Checker

ahrefs site explorer

Ahrefs is a site explorer and backlink checker and is probably one of simplest yet effective tool available. It is well known for its ability to filter backlinks and referring domains. Can be useful in analyzing online strategies to compete with your competitors.

  1. Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO

A complete SEO service tool that shows results specifically on link building and domain-based metrics. The free services provided include Site Explorer, Backlink History tool and Keyword checker.

  1. Schema Creator

Schema Creator

This site will help you create a schema based on which Google and other search engines make sense of content in your HTML. For people new into SEO creating a schema might be difficult to grasp and Schema Creator will turn out to be a huge help for them.

  1. SEO Chat

SEO Chat

Useful in developing new SEO strategies. This tool shows how search listing will appear in Google and this search list can be downloaded for further analysis.

  1. Xenu’s Link Sleuth

Xenu's Link Sleuth

This is a spidering (crawling) software that will show broken links in your website. It validates text links, images, maps, backgrounds and frames in your website.

  1. Yoast Plugin for WordPress

 Yoast for WordPress

WordPress has become an extremely common platform to submit content online. The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin goes a long way in taking care of all the technical optimization and helping write better content in terms of SEO.

Tracking SEO Results

  1. Google Analytics

 

Google Analytics offered by Google, is a service that provides detailed statistics about a website’s traffic and its sources. It also keeps track on the conversions and sales. You can look into our article on Google Analytics for more insight into using the tool.

Are there any other free SEO tools you use that you feel should be on this list? Do let us know in the comments below.

Influencer Marketing–Final nail in coffin for traditional marketing?

Voice of the Brand or Customers?

Social media marketing has brought about a quantum shift in the way marketing is done. It has moved the focus from “The Voice of the Brand” to “The Voice of the Customer”. The balance of power in the purchase funnel is now more skewed towards the customer & his peers, slowly changing the way brands market themselves. Earlier, the entire focus used to be about roping in a brand ambassador and roll out your story. Today, your story is okay but what really matters is the story that’s going on between the millions of bubbles on the social cloud. Add to that, the “bigger bubbles”- the social media influencers, and you are in for a different game altogether.

Word-of-mouth results in 200% sales in comparison to paid advertising

Yes, the above statistic is true, according to a McKinsey study. To delve deeper, they also result in 37% higher retention rate of customers1. Riding this trend of word-of-mouth/recommendation marketing, a form of marketing has gained prominence – Influencer Marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

The term “Influencer” in itself can be defined in 10 ways by 10 different people. And, each can be vindicated. A 2014 study by Augure2revealed the following:

  • 79 percent say influencers are able to mobilize opinions and create reactions
  • 73 percent say influencers have large online communities focused on specific topics
  • 62 percent say influencers have a significant share of voice on a given subject

In simple terms, it means shaping the opinions about your brand using the most influential people amidst your potential customers. If you are a brand, you make friends with the most influential people at a place where you want to sell. Now, they talk about your brand and recommend you to their followers (potential customers).

With the explosive growth of social media, the process explained above happens digitally. The influencers talk about your brand on social media channels like Facebook, Twitter or on their blogs, which impacts the purchase decision of their followers.

How do you get to know if he/she is the “right influencer”?

Who knows, he might be! Okay, so a brand wants to engage with influencers to talk about the brand and their product / offerings. But, who to connect with? It can be quite tempting for a brand to connect and partner with an influencer with large number of followers but is “number of followers” the right metric?

Brand Influencer selection is very important step for a brand before jumping in. This has to be dealt with in 2 steps:

1.  Qualitative Filtering

The first step is Qualitative Filtering that allows you to filter out the “Social media influencers” who cannot be “Your Brand Influencer” no matter how many followers they have. The parameters to be considered here are:

  • Content Relevance & Quality – Look at the domain of the influencer and whether the domain matches your brands requirements and the quality of the content being churned out is right for your brand to be associated with. Example- A sports blogger cannot be the right influencer for a packaged food brand)
  • Audience Relevance & Quality – The followers of the influencer might or might not be the audience you are looking out for. Example- If you are a lifestyle brand, targeting a premium audience, then it would pay to target influencers with a similar audience following.

2.      Quantitative Selection

Once you have a shortlist of Influencers you can associate with, comes the next step of finalizing the list of Influencers you would like to reach out to. This can be done based on the following formula:

Influencer Influence = Audience Reach*Audience adhesiveness*Quality Score

Audience reach: calculated by the no. of followers

Quality score: a relative scale of 1-10 for the expertise & credibility of the brand

Audience adhesiveness: Engagement with his audience; can be based on the number of retweets, likes and replies over the period of last 2 months

This approach can provide you a decent shortlist to kick-start the influencer marketing efforts for brand-building and lead generation. There are umpteen case studies that showcase how brands have been able to amplify their marketing efforts. Most importantly, it has not been the case only with the medium/smaller brands but the bigger brands too, are laying focus on influencer partnerships.

Miss Malini makes Cadbury ‘Glow’- a case study!

When Cadbury Glow was launched in India by Mondelez International, it turned to social media influencers to create buzz around the offering. It roped in Miss Malini and other Twitter Influencers to talk about Cadbury Glow, its special features like personalization with notes, songs, photos or videos. For example- Miss Malini’s friend did a video of her and uploaded on Cadbury website. The link was then shared and tweeted by Miss Malini.

Start building influencer relationships before need them – it’s a coin with 2 heads!

Building relationship with influencers and leveraging them, works on a foundation of quality offerings and superior customer experience. In cases of mismatch between expectations and offerings, social media easily amplifies negative sentiments about your brand. This not only puts your brand at stake, but also marginalizes the credibility of the influencers associated. It is possible for some brands that at this point you may not require influencer marketing. But, as the proverb goes – you don’t dig a well when you are thirsty. Drawing an analogy, this is the time to build a strong influencer network. Moreover, influencer partnerships act as a validator for your own content marketing campaigns. So you see it’s not a zero-sum game. One of the few ones that give you a win-win hand! Whether this rings the death bells for traditional marketing, only time will, tell but what’s for sure is that marketing shall never be the same again.

References:

  1. http://tribalmedia.co.uk/blog/2015-online-influencer-trends/
  2. http://www.augure.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Influencers-marketing-Report-2014-Augure.pdf

 

Basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for Entrepreneurs

As part of our in-house knowledge sessions we have created a slideshare on the basics of Search Engine Optimisation from the perspective of entrepreneurs. It include insights on creating content for users, site speed, creating good quality links as well as influencer marketing & blogger engagement.

We have also added our insights on how to track the results & ROI of your SEO & Content Marketing efforts.

You may also be interested in reading our earlier blog posts on How not to do Search Engine Optimisation & 10 Free Apps for SEO, Productivity & Social Media.

2014 Review of The Indian Blogosphere

Content-Marketing Social Beat

Content is King

In the age of content marketing, blogs form the major chunk of content on the web. One of the oldest forms of social media communication is still going strong. They are the fastest growing medium on the web in India, with a growth rate of ~48% in the last calendar year. Apart from providing necessary information to potential customers, active bloggers are a brand in themselves.

The IndiBlogger & BusinessWorld Study 2014 – A Review

IndiBlogger & Business World studied the Indian blogosphere in Dec last year and came up with interesting statistics. The survey in itself was one of the largest of its kind, done across 1059 responses to a questionnaire, 318,059 blog posts submitted on IndiVine and 35,464 blogs.

Unsurprisingly, English is the primary blogging language for 88% bloggers with Hindi being a distant second at 5%. The study reinforces the fact that blogging and social media is essentially a young generation phenomenon with approximately 80% of the bloggers under the age of 35 but what surprises is the fact that 75% of active bloggers are male.

Blogs on Healthcare grew at 90% in 2013

Food and Drink, Travel, Movies & Technology seems to be the preferred blogging topics but healthcare has seen the highest growth last year. Twitter & Facebook were the top-2 social media network but with LinkedIn now jumping in the competition with the blogging platforms with its “Create A Post” feature; it will be interesting to watch the impact of LinkedIn in 2014. Currently, with 63% share, BlogSpot is the hot favorite.

Bangalore, Mumbai & Chennai are the top-3 cities in terms of blogger base

It’s the metros that rule the roost currently with 12% bloggers from Bangalore & Mumbai each. 86% bloggers monetize their blog in some way or their other & 56% of the blogs influence buying decisions. With a steep rise in the usage of social media by brands, blogs have become an integral part of the marketing & brand-building strategy. Hence it’s not surprising that guest blog posts stand at a high of 35% among all posts.

 

Google’s war against low quality or thin content: Tips for search engine optimization

Social Beat Google’s war against low quality or thin content

Our never-ending quest of being slim does not always serve the purpose. Especially when we are talking about search engine optimization. More than anything, thin content has proved to be a curse for digital marketers and search engine optimization specialists.

What is thin content?

A thin content page is a page that exists for the sole purpose for building traffic and no other purpose whatsoever.

How do I know if my website has thin content?
Your website has thin or poor content if in case of any of the following issues:

  • Doorway pages – Number of poor quality pages created to funnel visitors to a single destination
  • Huge number of images on one page – Only images & minimal text content on your website
  • Automatically generated content – Automatically generated paragraphs of keywords that contain no sense but stuffed with keywords
  • Article syndication – Pushing your same content for publication across a large number of sites
  • Scraped content – Taking content from other websites and publishing on your website
  • Affiliate stuffing – Having too many affiliate links on the pages to boost traffic

Any of the above factors can be a signal for the existence of thin content pages on your website. And mind it, in 30% of the cases it might not have been intentional yet you can find yourself at the wrong end of the spectrum.

I am still not sure if my website has thin content. Want to re-confirm?

  • Google Webmasters: It is another reason to start using the Google Webmaster tools. You get notifications from the Webmaster if your website suffers from the thin content problem.
  • Google Analytics: Is your website or pages on your website having very high bounce rates – 80% or more? Then, it’s probably time for you to review why the content on these pages is not making the visitor’s stay for a longer time.
  • Review back links: It pays to have a check to confirm the source of the back links coming to your site and the quality of those back links.

Okay I have thin content on my website. So, how do I fix it?

At this stage of the game, you have got two choices to make –

  • You can either close the game – If you are confident that the page is not adding much value to the website, then it’s a better idea to do away with the page rather than keep it and invite trouble.
  • Take a power-booster and play on – If the page can add some value, then it might be a great idea to think through and come up with ideas to spice up the page so that it can engage visitors and make them spend more time to spend on the page. It would be a good idea to try and have more than 250-300 words on the page (obviously good & unique content), combine pages with similar content and last but not the least, avoid having thin or low-quality content in the future.

The answer to how to do search engine optimization is not rocket science obviously. The above tips for search engine optimization will go a long way in helping out. At the end, just a couple of words: Give every webpage a value / role to serve for you. And indeed, this would value to your business in the longer run.