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  • How Do Search Engines Work?

    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 by
    how do search engines work

    SEO 101: How Search Engines Work

    So much of your business depends on being visible in the search engines. You’d like to try to understand this thing that has so much power over your success. But figuring out how search engines work can be really confusing. And it’s not just you. There’s a whole industry based around trying to understand which sites rank for which reasons, and even the information we do know is changing all the time. We can’t provide an extensive rundown of how the Google algorithm works for you (no one can), but we can provide some basic information on how search engines work that may help remove some of the mystery. Here are a few of the main things you should know. HostGator Website Builder

    The Search Engine’s Goals

    The first thing to understand about how search engines work is that their priority is providing the best possible results for what the searcher is looking for. When it comes to the natural results, the search engine is not concerned about how much a particular website owner might want to grab those top spots or think you deserve it – they only care about the people searching. By providing the information people need, a search engine can ensure those people keep coming back to use the site again. We know how well that’s worked for Google – many of us use it every day. That primary goal leads into the secondary goal that generates the company’s profits: making money on ads. Businesses pay to advertise on search engines in large part because they know a huge number of people use them every day. As long as Google keeps its users satisfied and coming back, advertisers will continue to keep the company profitable. So the search engine’s main concern is therefore how to make sure the results it delivers provide the most useful information for the consumer’s query. That’s where things start to get complicated.  

    Search Engine Index

    For a search engine to be able to identify the right web page for every possible query (or come as close as possible to such a lofty goal), it has to have a record of all the possible web pages online, along with some understanding of what’s on each of them. To do that, search engines create a massive index of web pages. This index attempts to identify and organize every website and web page on the web in a way that allows it to draw connections between the keywords people search for and the content included on each page. On top of all that, it needs to be able to assign relative quality to different web pages that cover the same topic.  This is tricky since all of this is happening with machines. People have a hard enough time agreeing on what constitutes “quality” content, but search engines have to determine it based on factors that machines can measure objectively.  

    Website Crawlers

    The first challenge of creating a search engine index is identifying all the web pages out there. This part of the job is up to website crawlers. Each time a website crawler discovers a page, it crawls the page, collecting all the relevant information on it needed for the search engine index. With that page added to the index, it then uses every link on that page to find new pages to crawl. how search engine web crawlers work Website owners can speed up the process of getting a website crawled by the search engines by submitting a sitemap and using internal linking. This is the easy part.  

    Search Engine Algorithms

    The second challenge of the search engine index is the much more complicated one: attributing relative value to all of the web pages. If the website crawler finds 100,000 pages that include content on them it deems relevant to a specific term, how does the search engine decide what order to deliver those results in? That’s where the search engine algorithm comes into play. Engineers at each of the big search engine companies have spent untold hours developing a complicated algorithm that uses a number of factors to assign relative value to websites and web pages.  

    Ranking Factors

    While there are many different factors that go into determining exactly why one page will rank over another – many more than we can summarize here, and more even than the greatest SEO expert knows – we have an idea of some of the most important search engine ranking factors Google and the other search engines take into account:
    • Links – Links are the most important ranking factor, especially external links (those that point from one site to another) because every time another website links to yours, it signals to Google that there’s something authoritative or valuable on the page being linked to. When a web page that has a lot of other websites linking to it links to another site, that link is even more valuable because of the high authority the website already has. While everything else on this list matters, a LOT of determining rankings is based on the number and quality of links that point to a website.
    • Website age – Older websites are generally seen as being more trustworthy and authoritative than new ones.
    • Keywords – Search engines are always trying to provide the most relevant results, so they look for terms on the page related to the query of the person searching. The more you use related keywords, the more it signals to the search engine that your content is relevant.
    • Mobile usability – Google has been upfront about using mobile usability as a ranking factor. If your website looks awesome on desktop, but has never been optimized for mobile use, then it could hurt you in the rankings.
    • Page speedPeople are impatient and therefore so are the search engines. A slow-loading page will rank lower because of it.
    • Behavior data – Google tracks what people do once they get to the search engine results page (SERP). If someone clicks on a page and immediately backtracks – that’s a signal that the page didn’t provide what they were looking for. If instead they spend time on the page or even click through to different pages on the site once they get there, then it shows Google that the site provides value.
    Google and the other search engines have provided some information about the ranking factors they use, but they generally keep pretty quiet about how their search engine algorithms work. They don’t want people trying to manipulate the results – something that’s long been a problem with black-hat SEO practitioners.  

    Search Engine Optimization

    While there’s definitely a lot we don’t know about how search algorithms work, everything we do know has come to form the basis of the whole field of search engine optimization. SEO is competitive and you’re limited in what you can do to grab the rankings you most want for the keywords relevant to your business, but there’s still a lot you can control and do. Our series on SEO basics will dive deeper into some of the ranking factors you can control and how to optimize your website to perform better in the search engines. Check back soon for the rest of the series. Don't miss the rest of the articles in our SEO 101 series! Want to boost your website rankings? Get expert help with HostGator's SEO services.
  • How to Write Title Tags for SEO: 5 Best Practices

    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 by
    how to write good title tags

    SEO 101: How to Write Compelling Title Tags

    One of the first things most website owners learn about SEO is how little power you truly have. A lot of what determines where your website’s pages will show up in the rankings is outside of your control. But those limitations make it all the more important to do what you can with the parts you can control. Every business can at least practice good on-site optimization. It’s a relatively cheap and easy way to give your website an edge over the (surprisingly) numerous sites that don’t bother to do it. One of the most important on-page ranking factors you have control over is the title tag. best WordPress hosting

    What is a Title Tag?

    On the search engine results page (SERP), the title is the main part of a site’s listing. It shows up in blue, in bigger font than everything else, and is hyperlinked back to your website. title tag in search results On your website, the title shows up in the tab at the top of the browser (although it’s normal for a lot of it to be cut off from view here). title tag in browser The title tag is the spot in the html where you define what will show up in these places. Generally you add it to the html in the page header with a tag that looks like: <title> Title of Your Page </title> title tag in source code If you use WordPress and have an SEO plugin, you can skip the html and add the title tag to your page by filling in the field that’s labeled “Title” or “Title tag” in your plugin. add title tag with wordpress seo plugin

    Why Title Tags Matter

    Google’s goal is to deliver up results that are relevant to the searches people make. For the search engine to do that, it has to recognize what different pages on the web are about. Google discovers this information by looking at the words used on the page, but it also gives certain parts of the page more weight than others in determining the page’s content. The title tag is one part of the page that’s given a lot of weight by search engine algorithms in determining what a page is about, since it’s a short and simple way for website creators to signal what’s on the page that follows. For that reason, title tags are one of the most important on-page ranking factors. But beyond the role they play in ranking, they’re also extremely important for getting people to click on the link once it shows up in the search results. The title is the first and most obvious part of the listing they see – it’s big, it’s blue, and people expect it to provide the main information they need about what’s on the page behind that link. Ultimately, itle tags aren’t just about improving rankings, they’re about getting people to click once your webpage does show up in the search engine – which what you care about the most. And they do make a difference in that. In one case study, Ahrefs found that improving the title tag of a webpage led to a 37% increase in web traffic to that page. If you aren’t optimizing your title tags, you’re missing a big opportunity.  

    5 Tips for Writing Title Tags

    To make the most out of the space you have for title tags, follow a few best practices.  

    1. Write unique titles for every page.

    Every page on your website is unique and your title tags should reflect that. Make sure you customize the title tags on each page of your website so that they accurately describe what’s on that specific page. You want your title tag to signal to Google what the individual page is about. Plus, having a clear and accurate title is more useful to anyone who sees the page in the search listings.  

    2. Pay attention to length.

    Google will display 50-60 characters of a title tag in the search results before cutting it off, so you should generally aim for title tags that are around 50 characters or less. To be safe, you want the most important or descriptive words in the keyword toward the beginning so they’re less likely to get cut off. If you like to include your brand name in every title tag (which can be a good idea for recognizable brands), put it at the end, behind the words that describe what’s on the specific page. add brand name to end of title tag

    3. Use your target keyword (but don’t overdo it).

    Every page on your website should answer a question or provide valuable information someone will be searching for. Your website will be more useful to those people if it shows up in search for the right term – just when they’re looking for the information you provide.  So for each page, you should have a target keyword (or a few) in mind. Since Google’s algorithm uses the title tag as one of the main ways to determine what a page is about, it’s a good opportunity for you to include the main keyword you’re targeting for that page. That makes it clear to Google that this page is relevant for anyone searching for that specific term.  

    4. Be descriptive of what’s on the page.

    When your web page does show up in search, a lot of people will decide whether or not to click based on your title tag. If they click and come to a web page that isn’t what they expect based on the title, they’ll likely click that back button right away and look for another result to try. You want your title tag to provide an accurate description of what people will see when they choose to visit the web page. When people’s expectations match what they see on the page, it means a lower bounce rate and a longer time spent on the site – metrics that signal to Google your page is valuable and should keep ranking high. More importantly, it creates a better experience for your visitors. You want every visitor to like what they see and hopefully come back for more.  If your title tag isn’t clear, that’s less likely to happen.  

    5. Make a (brief) case for what’s on the page.

    You don’t have a lot of space for this, but use what you have to differentiate what makes your web page so great. Often this can be accomplished by adding an adjective in front of the descriptive keyword or additional description behind it.  For blog posts and articles, a good title tag often looks a lot like a good headline, so you may be able to use the headline you’ve already written. Make sure you really think about what on the page is most valuable or important to your target audience. Your title tag should emphasize the value your page provides to them.  

    Title Tags: Short, but Powerful

    Title tags are a short and therefore deceptively simple part of SEO. Just because they don’t require writing much, don’t assume they’re something you should treat as quick and easy. Take some time to really think about the best words to use to signal to Google what the page is about and to communicate to potential visitors what’s valuable on the page. Your title tag has to do both at once. If you get it right, it can improve your rankings and increase your click-through rates. Don't miss the rest of our SEO 101 series! Want expert help improving your SEO rankings? Get in touch with HostGator's expert SEO services.
  • How to Write the Best Meta Descriptions for SEO

    Tuesday, July 17, 2018 by
    how to write good meta descriptions

    SEO 101: Writing the Best Meta Descriptions

    In our first post about SEO Basics, we talked a bit about the different search engine ranking factors. Now we’re going to go a little bit in a different direction to talk about meta descriptions.  

    What Is a Meta Description?

    Meta descriptions are the most important part of SEO that technically don’t have anything to do with rankings. On the search engine results page, every result is made up of at least three main parts:
    •      The linked title of the page
    •      The URL that shows up under it in green
    •      A line or two of text that describes what’s on the page
    example of search result with meta description That text is the meta description. In most cases, you can make sure the description here says what you want it to by using the meta description tag in your html. This looks like: <meta name=”description” content = “Your meta description”> and you can see it in the html for the website below: meta description in source code If you use a WordPress site and have an SEO plug-in, you can skip dealing with the html entirely and simply look for the “Description” field when filling in SEO information for each page. add meta description to wordpress page When you add a meta description to all your pages, it makes it easy for Google to decide what to display in the description section of the SERP for your webpage. It’s important to note that Google doesn’t pull from the meta description you provide 100% of the time. In some cases, it will pull from text on your webpage instead. Nonetheless, providing your own meta description is still a valuable part of on-site optimization for the search engines.     

    Why Meta Descriptions Matter

    As we established before, meta descriptions aren’t given any weight in how search engine algorithms decide which websites to rank for certain terms.  Getting that meta description just right won’t make any difference in terms of the search engine algorithm – so why is it still so important? Because your ultimate goal isn’t rankings, it’s clicks. The whole point of getting a good ranking in the search engines is to drive more clicks to your website, and your meta description gives you the opportunity to persuade searchers to click on your website instead of your competitors'. A good meta description can increase your click-through rate (CTR). And while Google doesn’t admit outright that CTR is a ranking factor in the search results, most SEO experts are convinced that CTR does influence rankings. If that is the case, then a strong meta description can directly increase traffic and indirectly increase your rankings – both goals that make spending time on your meta descriptions well worth it.   best WordPress hosting

    8 Tips for Writing the Best Meta Descriptions

    You don’t have a lot of space to work with for your meta descriptions, so you’ve got to make what you have count. Here are some of the best rules to follow to write meta descriptions that will get the job done.  

    1. Write a unique one for every page.

    Don’t write one meta description for your website and copy-and-paste it on every page. While that might be easy, it would mean wasting opportunities to sell what’s on each individual page to the people searching for precisely the information it provides. Commit time to writing a unique description for every page on your website based on the content that’s on it and the primary keyword the page is targeting.  

    2. Pay attention to length.

    In late 2017, Google increased the number of characters it displays for meta descriptions on the SERP from around 160 to 320. Then, in May 2018, they shortened them back to 160. That’s the maximum number of characters you should use, or part of your description will inevitably be cut off.  For each page, consider the most important message you should convey to get people to click through to the page. If you only need 100 characters to really sell what’s on the page, then don’t awkwardly prolong your meta description to use the full space. But in a lot of cases, having 160 characters to work with will give you more room to say what you need more persuasively, so take advantage of it where needed.  

    3. Use your target keyword naturally.

    When you look at the meta descriptions  in the Google search results, you’ll notice that anywhere the words included in your search show up, they’re bolded. meta description with keyword For the person searching, this can help you more quickly spot which results are most relevant. For the websites showing up in the results, that bolding is a way to stand out and draw the searcher’s eye to your result. While you can’t predict every specific term your website may end up ranking for, you can increase the odds of having bolded terms in your meta description on the SERP by making sure you include your target keyword in your description. But make sure you use it naturally – don’t force it. Keyword stuffing can make your meta description more confusing than helpful and end up hurting you.  

    4. Emphasize the value on the page.

    The whole point of your meta description is to work as a sales pitch for the web page. For each page on your website, carefully consider the biggest benefit it provides to visitors. That’s what you want to emphasize in your meta description. Make sure you think about it from the visitor’s point of view here. What problems does your web page content solve for them? What questions do they have that it answers? And importantly, what makes your page better than the similar results they’ll see alongside you on the SERP?  

    5. Represent the page accurately.

    Make sure your meta description accurately portrays what visitors will see when they click through. Gaining a click because you oversell or misrepresent what’s on the page is never worth it. You risk losing the visitor’s trust and will likely gain an increased bounce rate out of the deal. So make sure that your webpage can deliver on any claims you make in your meta description.  

    6. Use an action-oriented CTA.

    Calls to action often work best when they encourage people to do something active (hence the name). Use some of the characters in your meta description to urge people to click with action terms like “learn how,” “read more,” or “discover.”  

    7. Use schema markup when appropriate.

    One of the biggest changes to the SERPs since Google started has been the rise of rich snippets.  While they don’t show up for every search, for a number of types of searches, you’ll now see additional information included in the SERP listing, such as pricing for products or calories for recipes.
    meta description for ecommerce site with product schema meta description for recipe schema
    Get familiar with the different types of rich snippets and make a habit out of including schema markup on any web pages where the extra information is relevant and valuable to searchers.  

    8. Proofread!

    Hopefully. you already know to proofread all your web pages and content before they go live, but make sure you remember to do the same for your meta descriptions. If you’re writing dozens or hundreds of meta descriptions, it can be easy to forget this simple step, but if your big sales pitch on the SERP includes an embarrassing error, it could lose you clicks and hurt your reputation. Meta descriptions are important, but they’re just one small part of doing SEO well on your website. To strengthen your website’s chances of landing those coveted top spots in the search rankings, check out the rest of the articles in our SEO 101 series: Contact HostGator's expert SEO team for more ideas on how to improve your website's SEO.
  • 7 Tips For Creating Landing Page Content That Actually Converts

    Tuesday, July 10, 2018 by
    how to create landing page content that actually converts

    How To Create Landing Page Content That Actually Converts

    Creating a well-optimized landing page for your company website, eCommerce store or blog can be tricky. Depending on your niche and the audience you built up, chances are that your landing page already has a stable design solution. However, you may find that even if your landing page is functional, it’s still not bringing in enough new conversions. The main reason for a landing page to exist at all is to present your site to would-be customers. With only a short timeframe available for dazzling each visitor, what are some tips and tricks that can help your landing pages convert more easily? best WordPress hosting

    1. Limit Distractions

    The number one mistake of most websites is that the landing pages rely on a bombardment of information and options. Your landing page is often the first contact your potential customer has with your brand. Remember that it’s almost impossible to fix bad first impressions, so why squander the opportunity? Create a list of essential information, visual elements and hyperlinks that will go onto your landing page. Every link or piece of information irrelevant to the presentation of your brand and product should be left out. This is one of the most elemental rules of visual design – the proper use of negative space in web design. The fewer elements you have present, the more attention will go to the ones present.  

    2. Focus on Benefits, Not Products

    Instead of featuring a load of products right there on the landing page, why not go easy on your visitors? Make sure to include the benefits of using your products as the main selling points. Your landing page should convince a user that your brand and services are worth their time and money. In the words of Jason Chase, head of content writing for TopWritersReview, “The benefits you offer your clients are what separate you from the competition.” Once you create a need for your products in your visitors’ eyes, it will be easy to convert them into customers and followers.  

    3. Keep Your CTA Short

    Landing pages should feature short-form text that doesn’t take long to read but carries a powerful message. Calls to action (CTAs) can play a huge role in your conversion rates and site performance overall. Focus on creating short-form content without going into details of why your products are good and what differentiates them from others on the market. Information such as this should be featured on additional pages that are specifically designed to go into details of who you are and what you do. As for the landing page itself, direct, short-form content with clear messages should always take priority. Even if someone is only remotely interested in your brand and products, they will still manage to read your CTA in a few short seconds. Once they do, it might be too late to turn around and forget your site.  

    4. Feature Testimonials

    Testimonials are considered some of the best conversion rate boosters on the internet. This is because people trust other real-world people more than they trust stock photos with smiling faces. Gone are the days when it was enough to come up with a quote and put it on a staged photograph in order to drive your business forward. Make sure to ask your customers for a quote and a picture that you can use on your website. If they can get a picture of themselves while using your product, even better.   

    5. Use a Friendly Tone

    Your audience is human just like you. You should use a casual, friendly tone in addressing them while still maintaining a sense of professionalism. Be respectful in your writing but don’t be afraid to let your guard down and use a small joke or a funny line here and there. People like coming across websites with quality services that manage to maintain a sense of humor while still delivering on their promise. Your landing page should represent the mentality and mindset of your employees and office culture. In short, be yourself when creating content for your landing page and don’t try to simply copy what the competition might be doing. What works for one business doesn’t necessarily work for the other – be original and it will come back to you in spades. If you don’t have in-house content creators, you can refer to a professional writing service for such assistance. Using services such as RewardedEssays, SupremeDissertations, FlashEssay, GetGoodGrade, or HotEssayService will get the job done. Each of these services offers a distinct type of writing depending on individual project needs – make sure to check them out.  

    6. Use Numbers

    Numeric data is always a good selling point to feature on your landing page. No matter what data you include, the fact remains that people like seeing numbers and statistics when browsing the internet. You can add things such as the percentile of your satisfied customers, the number of products you sold the past week, email subscribers you have on account, etc. Make sure to use the data that works in your advantage and would likely convince someone to pitch in with your business. Once you establish trust through data, there is very little that can stand in the way of your conversion rates going up.  

    7. Make It Easy

    Lastly, the most important task you have as a website owner is to make the conversion process as easy as possible. People don’t want to verify their identities two or three times just to create an account on your website. Mistakes such as these can easily be avoided. The same rule applies for purchases, discussion participation and interaction with your content overall. Make it as easy and obvious as possible to make contact with your brand and products to maximize your conversion rates. You can always refer to web design color theory and create a color pattern that will identify interactive elements from those that are decorative. Find a method that works for your specific niche and stick to it.
  • 12 Link Building Ideas for eCommerce Sites

    Monday, July 9, 2018 by
    link building for ecommerce

    12 Link Building Strategies for eCommerce Sites

    Link building is hard. That statement is simple, but the truth behind it is complicated. You know you need to get links from other websites – high-authority, relevant websites, no less – for your website to do well enough in the search engines for your customers to find you. But how do you convince the strangers running other sites that your website is worth linking to? It’s not their job to help you out. Asking someone else to give you a link is asking for a favor – which is awkward and very likely to get met with a “no” if you don’t have some kind of prior relationship with the person you’re asking. The best strategies for link building are about finding ways to make the relationship more reciprocal. You want other websites to want to link to you because there’s something in it for them or their readers. Here are a few things you can try in order to do that. best dedicated server hosting

    1. Guest Post on Relevant sites.

    This is a tried and true tactic, if you do it well. When you write a really good guest post for a website, you’re providing them something of value. Most websites that accept guest posts therefore expect and are okay with letting you include a relevant link or two back to your website in the posts you submit (but don’t overdo it, just stick with one or two). In addition to earning you links, this tactic gives you a chance to reach a new audience that may not be familiar with your website or brand yet, potentially bringing you new traffic and followers. For guest posting to work, you have to be strategic about it and do some real work. You should be careful to find blogs that are targeting the same audience that you want to reach and that are relevant to your industry or products.  A guest post on a completely unrelated blog isn’t worth your time. Also look for blogs that have readers and authority. A guest post on a blog that no one visits that doesn’t have any real SEO authority isn’t worth your time either. Once you’ve identified blogs that are worthwhile targets for guest posts, take some time to research the topics they cover, the style they write in, and who’s reading them. Any topic you pitch needs to be valuable to their audience for them to accept it. And while it does require a lot of work, make sure the post you write for them is top-notch content. At worst, lazy content won’t get published and you won’t earn links after all. But even if it does get published, it won’t convince anyone in their audience to come check you out.  

    2. Create Content Partnerships with Relevant Sites.

    There are brands out there that provide something similar or complementary to what you sell, without being direct competitors. These are good brands to consider for content partnerships. You can work out a deal to create content for them (with some links back your website), while they make content for you (with links back to theirs). On both sides, you have to make sure that the content created makes sense for the other brand’s audience and is relevant and fits in with their overall content strategy. Or you can think of ways to create content together, like joint webinars or working together on a research study. By working together, you can tap into the talent and resources that you both have to offer and expand your audiences by reaching all of the people both of you have attracted. And you’ll both get some new external links in the process.  

    3. Partner with Local Businesses.

    When you’re an eCommerce business, “local” doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as it does when you have a business with a storefront. Even so, your business is based somewhere. There’s a local community you can get involved with to create new connections and opportunities. Get out to local networking events and get to know some of the businesses in the area. The connections you make in your own business community can turn into partnerships that benefit both of you, including in the form of more links to your website. If you join local professional or industry organizations, you can get links in their directories or by participating in their events or marketing. A local business owner selling complementary or related products to yours can become a promotion partner. If you sell dog collars, the local business owner that sells homemade dog treats could promote your collars in a blog post, while you promote her treats in a giveaway that raises her profile while benefiting your customers as well. Turning local relationships into partnerships that benefit you both (and earn you links) can require some creativity, but it can be a useful way to increase awareness of your brand and earn some valuable links at the same time.  

    4. Look for Sponsorship Opportunities.

    There are definitely events and organizations in your industry that seek sponsorships. Becoming a sponsor will cost you money, but the money pays off both in good will from the community that appreciates those events or organizations, along with links back your website and mentions of your brand in any materials associated with the event or put out by the organization in relation to your sponsorship. This is a good way to earn karma and good PR along with links.  

    5. Offer Free Products for Review.

    Look for websites that do product reviews for items similar to what you sell and reach out with an offer to provide them with a free product in exchange for a review. Obviously, this idea only works if you’re confident in your products (which you should be!). You can’t demand good reviews, you can merely hope for them. But if you make the offer specifically to website owners you’re confident are a good fit for your product, getting reviews raises (hopefully positive) awareness of your product and will usually earn you a link back your website as well.  

    6. Host PR-worthy Events.

    Branded events can take a lot of different forms. You could host an awards dinner for your industry, put on a concert, or create a workshop. Whatever event you come up with, if it’s interesting, exciting, or helpful, then it’s PR-worthy. You can promote it to relevant publications and writers to drum up interest and get coverage of it around the web. With that coverage will inevitably come links. Be aware that putting on an event is costly. It will probably be more worth the cost if you have goals for it that go beyond earning links – such as larger media attention, new customers, or some other benefit to be a part of your overall goal. But it’s definitely a good way to earn links as well.  

    7. Start Charity Projects.

    There are a lot of websites that are happy to amplify any charitable projects. It’s an easy way for them to feel like they’re helping out. If you set up a charity drive through your business, start a scholarship, or choose a week to donate a percentage of all your profits to a notable cause – those are all things that other websites are likely to cover or promote to their own readers. Again, this is a strategy that will have a cost for you and is best to do for reasons other than just getting links (like in this case, helping other people), butit can be a good way to earn links as well.  

    8. Do Original Research.

    Buzzsumo’s research into the what types of content most consistently earn links found that original research is one of the most reliable ways to build links to your website. If you wonder why that might be, just look back at the beginning of this paragraph. Whenever someone cites a statistic or finding that comes from your research, they’ll link back to you. Creating original research isn’t necessarily easy, but it’s very effective and can be worth the resources you put into it. Consider questions that your readers and other businesses in your industry have that you could help answer with a survey or analysis. If you see an opportunity for statistics or research that hasn’t been done (or that you can do better), take it!  

    9. Look for Brand Mentions Around the Web.

    Anytime someone mentions your brand around the web, it’s an opportunity for a link back your website. First you want to find websites that have mentioned your brand. You can use Google for this, but can probably find more websites faster with a paid tool like Fresh Web Explorer. You should also set up a Google Alert for your brand name so you’ll get an email every time a website mentions your website anew moving forward. moz fresh web explorer Then, try to identify information on who’s running that website so you can contact them to ask them to add a link to your website where they mention your brand. For this tactic, you take time to visit the webpage before you contact anybody to make sure that:
    • The website is actually mentioning your brand and didn’t just happen to use a phrase that included your brand name (this is especially important if you have a brand name that includes words people regularly use); and
    • The mention of your brand name is positive. Chances are, a website owner that doesn’t like your brand or product isn’t going to help you out with a link.
    You’re still asking a stranger to do you a favor here, so there’s a good chance a lot of people you contact will ignore you or refuse to make the change. But since you know these are websites where you’re on their radar and they’ve already mentioned your brand, they’re more likely to add your link than someone with no connection to your brand at all.  

    10. Look for Relevant Broken Links Around the Web.

    Broken link building has become a pretty big subset of link building in recent years. The idea is that if you can find examples on another website of a link that no longer works that previously went to content similar to something you’ve created, you can contact the website owner to recommend they change the link to your resource. You’re doing something helpful for them by finding a broken link they don’t know is there yet and suggesting an easy replacement, which means they’re that much more likely to take your suggestion and add your link to their website. Finding relevant broken links can be time consuming, but there are SEO tools that can help make it a little easier and faster. You can start with this tactic by looking for examples of broken links likely to match content you already have, but you can also expand this strategy to begin creating high-value content that can would make a good replacement for broken links you find.  

    11. Feature Influencers.

    People tend to link to websites they know, and they’re that much more likely to link to a website that mentions them in a positive light. Identify some of the most important influencers in your industry and consider if there are some good ways to collaborate with them. You could ask them to provide a quote for a blog post you’re working on or if they’ll be the featured guest in a webinar you’re setting up. If you can offer them something that serves to help them promote their brand, they’ll be more likely to participate and to promote the content you’ve featured them in. This can be tricky to do well because the more well known an influencer is, the more often they’ll be getting requests like this from other people. You don’t want to be one more annoyance in their inbox, but you do want to start a mutually beneficial relationship with them. Make sure you really think about what you can offer them here and consider reaching out to people and brands that aren’t super well known just yet.  That person in your industry with 1,000 followers is going to be quicker to help you out then the guy with 1 million, but still provides an opportunity to expand your reach.  

    12. Feature Customer Stories.

    This is good marketing advice in general. When your potential customers can see positive stories from your current customers, it makes them more likely to convert. But it can also be helpful for link building. A good customer story can serve as a case study to demonstrate principles someone might point to evidence of in a blog post. For example, that writer claiming that a good pair of running shoes really does make a difference would link to your customer story about someone who increased their running time after buying your shoes. If you’re able to capture a particularly moving story, it could inspire people to share it due to the emotion it evokes. The couple that found each other through their shared love of your products and got married in spite of great odds could leave people feeling inspired and wanting to share the tale. People relate to people, so creating content that features the people your brand exists for and because of can give other people something to connect with. It’s those connections that often lead to shares and links.