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SEOI built my first web site in 1996. In those days I just needed to update a meta keyword tag in order to have a site rank highly in the search engines. Today’s search engine algorithms are very sophisticated and you’ve got to have deep knowledge and well-honed skills to win at SEO. SEO is still the most productive and economical way to generate qualified leads and customers. It’s also the one that Marketers say is the hardest to execute. As a result, more and more companies are letting their marketing budgets get eaten up by PPC and switching their attention away from SEO to the latest shiny toys like SnapChat, Pinterest or Vine.

traffic1When we launched our sports network, we faced the same question you that startups face everyday: “How so I drive traffic to my website?”

Sports is as highly competitive online as it is offline. Like you, we were focused on getting noticed by our ideal customers within a crowded and fiercely competitive environment.

In sports, there are teams, leagues, major publications, TV networks and tens of millions of fans worldwide writing about their team and sport. How could we attract visitors to our sports sites when the competition for their attention was so fierce?

I was reading the 2016 Survey on Content Marketing Trends and it reinforced my belief that social media is an increasingly important distribution channel for B2B marketers.

When asked what social media platform they use to distribute content on, 96% say that LinkedIn is their primary distribution channel followed by Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Interestingly, for all the buzz about Medium (6%), Periscope (6%), and SnapChat (5%), these channels are still heavily underutilized by B2B marketers.

b2b content marketing usage

Inter-twitterTwitter is out of favor with investors and Wall Street but I continue to find it is the best social media channel for the sports websites we manage.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter allows us to have a continuous interaction with fans and followers throughout the day, especially on days when a game is being played.

Tweeting 10-20 times while a game is being played is common, and one of the lessons we have learnt over the last five years is that you need to find a social platform that matches your actions.

I was recently re-reading Randall Stross’s book, The Launch Pad: Inside Y Combinator, Silicon Valley’s Most Exclusive School for Startups. Inside is a quote from Y Combinator co-founder Paul Graham about growth rates for start-up

A good growth rate during YC is 5-7% a week. If you can hit 10% a week you’re doing exceptionally well. If you can only manage 1%, it’s a sign you haven’t yet figured out what you’re doing.

A 5%-7% weekly growth rate is extremely aggressive but if you want your start-up to get traction in the market, it’s a good growth number to aim for.

conversion rate optimizationWhen a client says that they want to generate more leads, sales, revenue from their website, the most common tactic is to focus on increasing traffic, whether that is through increasing the PPC and/or social media budgets or adding more content in order to attract more organic search traffic.

One option that is often overlooked is increasing the conversion rate. For example:

  • 1,000 visitors with a 2% conversion rate = 20 sales
  • 1,000 visitors with a 3% conversion rate = 30 sales

That is a 50% uplift in results!

When it comes to driving traffic to your website, there are really only two options: pay-per-click (PPC) or search engine optimization (SEO).

While there are other online marketing channels (social, email, and display), SEO and PPC are likelier to drive large numbers of highly qualified visitors to your website.

Of SEO and PPC, which is better? The answer is dependent on your goals.

Short Term Goals: PPC

PPC is perfect for short-term testing or particular events as you can create an ad campaign in minutes and literally begin driving traffic to your website immediately. SEO, on the other hand, often takes at least 90 days to improve website traffic.

In Your Content Link Worthy?Most link building conversations revolve around how many links will be acquired and from what sites. But in 2016 I believe that the better question to ask is:

“why is this content link worthy?”

For years, link building companies were never concerned about the quality of the page they were trying to get a link to. Instead of quality go link acquired, it was about quantity of backlinks, mainly acquired through an automated process.

SEOIf you listen to Eric Ward, long-term linking strategist, you can begin to understand how 21+ years of experience makes a difference.

In his Q&A Google hangout “Link Building and Linking Strategy”, Eric dissects a Google ranking and a website’s backlink profile. During this brilliant 15-minute section of Eric’s Google hangout, he searches for “Archery Clubs.” Out of 1.6 million results, the number one listing surfaces as The Olympic Arrow.  Eric notes that this website was not optimized from an SEO perspective, and a viewer asks him why this site is ranked so highly.

storytelling-blackboardThere are few purchases in our life that emote more emotion than jewelry. We buy jewelry to mark significant dates in their lives – engagements, weddings, birthdays, anniversary’s, promotions, etc.

Each jewelry purchase has a backstory, which is why I am astonished to find online jewelry stores focus just on the product and not the emotional connection with the piece of jewelry.

Take Blue Nile for example. One of their featured products on their home page is a Aquamarine and Diamond Halo Loop Dangle Pendant which sells for $2,300.

Blue Nile fails to evoke emotion with this product description

These are the words that Blue Nile uses to sell this beautiful pendant: