backlink strategies

Backlink strategies are a two-way street. When you do them well, it brings more traffic to your website and you’ll rank higher on search engines. At the same time, you’re doing audiences a grand favor because they’ll find your website faster if that’s the kind of content they’re looking for. In the eyes of Google, links are still their #1 ranking factor. You’re not likely to have success attracting an audience if you’re not using link building strategies. Backlinks link relevant pages together which is what creates “the web.”

Search engines crawl your pages looking for links and if they like the types of backlinks they see, your site gets to move up the ranks. That’s the best reason to get backlinks and use them wisely. 

How to Build Backlinks that Move the Needle

While link building tactics are effective digital tools, not just any links will do. When using links, favor quality over quantity. It’s better to have five high-quality backlinks than to have a low-quality link in every sentence. 

Here are some tips on how to create genuine backlinks. 

  1. Use backlinks from trusted, authoritative websites.
  2. Insert your target keyword in your link’s anchor text.
  3. The topic and site that links to your page should have a connection. 
  4. Be cautious of links with a no-follow tag. 
  5. A high-quality link hasn’t linked to your site before. 

How do you define a trusted, authoritative website? If you show content about a notable person and you could choose a site like CNN or a site that has a reputation for gossip and assumptions, the CNN link is going to have more authority. Your audience will recognize the difference. More importantly, Google will recognize the fact that you’re serious about the sites you link to and they’ll reward you by sending more traffic your way. 

One of the ways I’ve been successful and continue to do well is to become a contributor for well-known sites. This strategy isn’t as difficult as you might think. When you have a great idea, pitch it to editors of authoritative sites. Add an article to your Linked-In page. My best advice is to keep your content interesting and more opportunities to do link building through guest blogging will come your way. 

Earning backlinks takes a little of your time, but if you can land a spot as a contributor for Forbes or another notable editorial, it’s a giant step towards opening doors to other quality sites. Some of the sites have specific rules and policies that you have to abide by, so be sure to read them carefully and stick to them when using guest post backlinks. 

Another way that I’ve found that’s pretty easy to use backlinks is by becoming a source for journalists. HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is the Tinder of public relation sites. Here’s why I like it:

blogging for backlinks
  • It connects people like bloggers and journalists with others like you who need links and exposure.  
  • It has options for free and paid subscriptions.
  • It’s easy to register as a journalist or a source.
  • It works two ways-journalists can find you and you can find them.

Depending on which plan you choose, you’ll get snippets of content that journalists are looking for an expert on, and they’ll be able to find your profile as well.

Everyone has a story to tell and you’d be surprised how many people tell their stories through blogs. As I have vetted writers, I’ve found that some of them have a blogger network. I’ve successfully built links on a certain topic using the writers’ blogger networks which resulted in increased organic growth and backlink acquisition. I can offer these tips:

  • Allow room in your budget for working with bloggers.
  • Stick with blogs that have good domain authority.
  • Dedicate a portion of your marketing time to this effort.

If you’ve ever typed a question into Google, you might get a link to an authoritative site like Quora, where people ask questions and others answer them. The more votes that your answers get, the higher your answer will rank in the search results, and your referral traffic will increase. Try these tips for lots of votes:

  • Dig deep and think about what the asker really wants to know.
  • Provide an extensive, well-thought out answer.
  • Keep your answer relevant to the question.
  • Avoid giving a copied and pasted 1-2 sentence answer with your link.

Before all the Google algorithm changes, digital marketers added their links to as many directories as possible. The new algorithm is more complex which means that marketers need to change their approach to this strategy. Web directories have also changed their format to include more detailed review sites. I’ve created local directory pages and the reviews has helped to boost traffic.  Here are three of the sites that will help direct traffic to your site:

  1. Google My Business
  2. Yelp
  3. BOTW (Best of the Web)

People may be mentioning your website or product without you knowing it. Don’t let this be a missed opportunity for getting more backlinks. I like to use a tool called Backlink Profiler to find sites that mentioned my website. For those that haven’t already linked to my website, I reach out to them and ask them to add my link. It’s one of my favorite backlink strategies for building links to my website. 

One of the great things about using backlink strategies as link building techniques is that they give you a lot of flexibility in your digital marketing planning. Follow the tips and techniques listed here for the best of success. 

using schema markup

In building your set of marketing tools, don’t limit yourself to the things that are fast and easy. One of the most misunderstood tools in digital marketing is schema markup. Schema markup for SEO is a powerful marketing tool. I have a couple of theories on why marketers are missing out on this valuable SEO technique.

  1. Marketers are unfamiliar with some of the terms, causing them to feel like it’s a strategy that’s just out of their league.
  2. Marketers feel that setting up schema markup is more of a developer’s job because they’re more familiar with coding.

While it pays to be somewhat familiar with coding, the program at schema.org does most of the work for you as a structured data markup helper. If you’re ready to venture outside the box, schemas can organize your content in an informative way, attracting internet searchers to your site.

What Is Schema Markup and Why Is It Important?

Over 10 million sites use schema markups to enhance their SEO efforts. The top search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex first started collaborating on the development of schema.org in 2011. Now those same search engines are using schema markups to create rich, extensible user experiences. Schema markups give context to the content for non-human readers as in search engines.

Schema markup for SEO is a code that can be used with three systems:

  1. RDFa
  2. Microdata
  3. JSON-LD

Schema markups respond well to machine learning artificial intelligence systems like RankBrain and Hummingbird. Machine learning is a digital process where computers learn what to do next from things that have already happened, rather than people telling computers what to do. RankBrain is part of Google’s overall search algorithm, which sorts through billions of pages and selects the most relevant sites for various searches. Google implemented Hummingbird in 2013 which is also part of their algorithm. Hummingbird is designed to pay attention to each word in a query to get the whole meaning and direct searches to sites in the fastest, most precise way.

When you add schema markups to a webpage, it automatically crafts beautiful, well-organized content in the search results, which is commonly known as a rich snippet. The result will rank well in RankBrain and Hummingbird.

One of the great things about schema markups for marketers is that you don’t need to know coding to use it as part of your overall marketing plan. I have found that it helps to have somewhat of familiarity with what goes into schema markups.

That’s all you need to get started. When you’re ready, go to schema.org and they’ll walk you through the process.

Different Types of Schemas to Enhance Different Types of Products

To better understand schema markups, it helps to put yourself in the internet searcher’s shoes. For example, let’s say you’re looking for a crowd-pleasing salad recipe for your upcoming Fourth of July barbecue. Things that might be important to you are ratings—you want your guests to love it! You’ll want to know what ingredients you’ll need to buy, how long it takes to make, and how easy it is to prepare. Would you choose a recipe that had all that information in the search result over another result that told you very little about the recipe? Of course, you would. That’s how schema markups work.

The first step in setting up a schema markup is to identify the itemtype. Here are some of the most common schema types:

  • Recipes
  • Events
  • People
  • Products
  • Businesses
  • Organizations
  • Reviews
  • Videos

Schema Markup Format

You’ll need a bit of help from a developer if you’re using microdata or RDFa formats. With JSON-LD, you can do it yourself. Copy and paste the markup provided by Google for the correct item type, and then build on it as you like.

Use the markup to update the information with the relevant information about your business or website. After you’ve completed your markup, you’ll want to view it as it will appear in search engines. You can do this by dropping your JSON markup into the Structured Data Tool by  Google. The tool will highlight any errors in the code, so you can fix them before you publish the schema markup on your site.

I can offer you this helpful tip—if you get an error message, it’s almost always related to one of the following three factors:

  1. Missing a comma-(,)
  2. Missing a square bracket-(])
  3. Missing a brace-(})

Use commas for listed items in your markup. You don’t need a comma for the last item in any list.

Braces are those wiggly brackets. Use them when you’re ending or beginning a list. You will also use braces for nested lists of properties like the separate parts of an address. You’ll also use braces to wrap your whole schema in.

Use square brackets to enclose lists of values. A good example of this is if you’re listing your business’ hours of operation. Enclose the days of the week that you’re open in square brackets.

Once you’re sure that your schema markup is complete, you can ask your developer to upload it directly into of the HTML of your site. If you’re using JSON, you can add it yourself using Google Tag Manager.

If you’re not using schema markups, it’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone and giving it a try. Schema markups are sure to take your marketing strategy to the next level.

SEO Industrial Case Study

Engineering Specialist, INC (ESI) is a metal Stamping company. ESI is in a very competitive industry. The client goal was to increase their metal stamping services leads. It is a huge local and nationwide competition in this industry. ESI traffic has been growing consistently but I need to do more to generate the leads that the client wants. 

The Challenge

Metal Stamping keyword has a Search Volume of 27,100 per month and a Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) of 54’200, 000. To rank, this keyword was very challenging. I needed to get rankings without creating any backlink. I took the Topic Cluster approach for this client because the website already has several articles related to the topic “Metal Stamping” 

  

The Solution 

  

Websites that are authoritative in a topic have more chances to get high ranking in Search Engines. Creating a page that covers a topic completely and having extra resources that explain each part of the topic can help your site to escalate to position #1 in Google. Keep in mind to create great content. I researched the competitors and I created better content on the topic. I knew the steps to follow to get these results. 

It was a big challenge to earn this position because metal stamping is a very competitive keyword, but with a well planned and executed SEO strategy. As a result, I put my client in position #1 on Google in a short time without any backlink. ESI has been in #1 for several months. 

  B2B for the industrial Case Study

  

How I did it? 

  

I created a Pillar page with the long tail keyword “what is metal Stamping” and I used as an internal link from the existing related articles that are part of the metal stamping process. I started crawling the site to visualize the content assets. I usescreaming frog and I filtered the results by Title. I could see that the website already had many blogs about different parts of the process of metal stamping but it was missing a hub – pillar page to introduce the broad topic of metal stamping and explained it indepth. Then, I decided to create the pillar page and do it better than any other pages ranking in the top SERP. 

From the existing content, I reviewed blog by blog and I disablethe internal links that were pointed to other pages, and I only created internal links to the pillar page. I wanted to create a clear path for users and search engines. Furthermore, I not only create a kickass content but I also provided relevant links that users can follow (click) and learn more about each step of the process. This path shows to Search Engines that ESI is a leader company in Metal Stamping and allowed me to earn many other long tail keywords related to the services that ESI offer (metal stamping) 

Google #1  

The Pillar page structure: 

  

  • 2000+ words length 
  • I have used long tail, User intent, and LSI keywords as sub-headers. 
  • I have avoided big chunk of content 
  • I used bullet points across the article 
  • I used images with alt tag 
  • I used Cluster pages as internal links (only related to the topic) 
  • I added Reputable sources (external links with no follow tag) 
  • I have written an SEO Title 
  • I have created a Meta Description 
  • I have added  a White Paper for Lead Generation 

  

  

The Results 

 After a few days that I published the pillar page “what is metal stamping” 

I obtained the following results: 

  

  • #1 in Google in a couple of Weeks 
  • 123% increase in Organic Traffic 
  • 3 min average page-view 

  

SEO Industrial Case Study

The pillar page is the second top page visited on ESI ‘s website after the home page. The page view time has increased almost double the industry’s benchmark. 

  

 

 

I had the opportunity to interview Oleg Shchegolev, CEO of SEMrush.

I could not let pass this opportunity to get to know him better and ask him some personal questions. I am always curious to learn about successful people and the challenges they overcome to become who they are.

 

Interview Oleg Shchegolev with Karina Tama

Talking with Oleg I learned that he and his partner Dimity created SEO quick and after many tests, they realized that people needed more software that is complex. That was the beginning of SEMrush.

Now SEMrush is one of the most popular digital marketing tools around the world.

 

Oleg told me that in order to succeed people should embrace afraid and experiment often. This is his key to success.

 

He also shared with me that in Russia the major Search Engine is Yandex. Search behavior in Russia is the same as in the USA;  people browse for products and services online.

 

Oleg told me that in the next 5 years SEMrush is planning to add more features that will help with content marketing, local SEO traffic, analytics, etc. SEMrush is currently working in updating the Chinese database so that it is able to cover Baidu searchers.

He also revealed to me that the headquarters is now in Chicago and not in Philadelphia.

I didn’t know that SEMrush organized a lot of meetups and worked with the USA and European universities in order to give opportunities to students who wish to explore and learn how to use SEMrush. I am fascinated by this amazing initiative because it is a great support for the new tech generation.

Oleg thinks that formal education is important but it is also important to be able to learn on your own. Technology moves fast and people that want to be part of the industry should be able to be self-taught.

Among the most important qualities of a leader, Oleg considers that intuition, perfect communication skills, and the ability to inspire others are the most important qualities. He said that “leadership is not about personal success, it is about the success of your team”.

Oleg’s day starts early. He usually wakes up at 5 am and gets a fresh cup of coffee, checks his twitter, listens to podcasts, checks his company reports (SEMrush). He multitasks all day. He also reads psychology and science books.

I was talking with Oleg about diversity and I asked him, what he thinks about gender bias in the industry? This is an important question for me because I am a woman and Hispanic. I am a minority and this topic really turns on my engines.

Oleg added that he is aware of the issue but that SEMrush is a company that welcomes people from any race and gender, a company that believes and practices equality. In addition, he told me that 50% of C –level employees in leadership positions are women. He also added that these women are excellent professionals, and they have helped SEMrush to be a leader in the industry.

I know many people want to know if websites should implement Amp pages or not. Oleg’s feedback was that Amp should definitely be implemented because it improves website speed and today users are very sensitive to that.

I also asked him if he thinks that Artifical Intelligence plays an important role in SEO, and how SEMrush is planning to help marketers.  Oleg said that AI will affect SEO but we do not have to worry much about it because AI is as good as the data that it shows. Marketers need to be prepared and be able to adapt to changes. Anyway, AI will not replace marketers for now because as he said before it is all about the data that the AI possess.

We also talked about e-commerce and voice search. Oleg shared with me that website content must be optimized for questions and not for keywords or phrases.

It is very important to optimize content with questions, such as: where, when, what, etc. Furthermore, talking about Local SEO; it is a priority to claim Google my business and optimize it. Also, to make sure that all the listings and citations are accurate.

I also learned from Oleg that as voice search is growing, it is important to use a more conversational language when we create content. A study from Backlinko shows that 40.7% of answers come from rich snippets. Then we should use question keywords in order to earn the rich snippets and be present in voice search results.

He also told me that to create content for voice search we must use long tail keywords and user intent keywords. SEMrush Magic toll can help marketers find these recommended keywords.

Oleg’s guess about Rankbrain’s next evolution is that Rankbrain will get more sophisticated and it will use AI mechanism. Being able to succeed in the new machine, AI’s challenges will be for the best marketers and professionals. These individuals will be able to provide users the right information.

Oleg told me that the most used SEMrush features are the keyword research tool. He invites us to explore more because SEMrush has much more to offer.

I really enjoyed my interview with Oleg and the collaboration of SEMrush PR team. This interview was very extensive that’s why I have written several articles about it. All of them with different information. You can find other articles about this interview in my Forbes, LinkedIn and Search Engine Watch 

 

content marketing strategy

Early in my digital marketing career, I read something that had a lasting impact on my approach to marketing — an essay published on the Microsoft website by Bill Gates called “Content is King.” Bill Gates is a true visionary. What amazes me is that content marketing has taken many different forms over the last decade or so, but it is still king. Content marketing is a cost-effective way to bring in a steady stream of new leads and keep your customers coming back for more. That essay continues to inspire me to reinvent my content marketing efforts and conquer them like a champ.

One thing that I always make a priority is keeping track of my goals. When I’m not getting the results that I’m looking for, I revisit my original marketing goals so I can reground myself and rework my plan step by step.

Knowing Your Market

Do you know who your company’s audience is? If not, you have some homework to do. Send out a survey, create reader personas, ask for feedback and monitor your content to learn more about who needs your products or services. Use analytical tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Audience Insights or review the demographics of your current customers. It doesn’t really matter which method you use, as long as you do something to find your target audience, so don’t get bogged down with semantics.

I like to think that I know my company’s audience pretty well, but I’ve also learned that audiences can change over time. Even seasoned marketers need to spend some time conducting market research from time to time to keep their marketing efforts sharp.

There’s another reason I like to reassess who my target audience is. Our current clients are already hooked, but I like to continually challenge myself to expand our customer base. In addition, new products and services call for new analysis of the target market.

Establishing Your Goals And Objectives

Two very important steps follow identifying your target market. First, you need to be clear about what they need. Second, you need to learn how to quench their thirst for information. To sum up, relevant content is a valuable commodity.

Once you’ve acquainted yourself with who your customers are and what they need, you’re ready to establish your marketing goals and objectives. Do you want to spark the interest of your current audience? Do you want to build a new audience? Expand your current audience? Promote a new good or service? Increase brand awareness?

It’s important to establish goals and objectives so you know how to move forward. It’s also essential to define successful marketing campaigns. Have you thought about how you’ll know when you have achieved your goals? Think this through before you put your marketing plans in motion. Will you measure it by increased revenue, lower marketing costs, targeted customers or some combination of benchmarks?

Creating The Content Of Champions

Unless you are at the starting gate of your marketing plan, chances are good that you have some existing content to work with. Take a hard look at the work you’ve already done and decide whether you can reuse any of it. Can you update past articles to make them more relevant? Can you add to existing content so that it better enhances your brand or becomes more engaging? Can you beef it up by embedding links to products or services?

Putting The Plan In Motion

With the basic framework in place, it’s time to build on the cornerstone of your efforts. Determine your main formats and advertising channels and develop an overall marketing strategy.

I’ve found that even when my marketing strategy is complete, it helps to leave a little room for experimentation. I like to experiment with a variety of advertising opportunities like sponsored content, social media advertising, infographics and videos. Your marketing plan might include podcasts, e-books, workshops or webinars. Whichever formats and outlets you use, don’t forget to investigate your competition’s marketing efforts to make sure that you’re differentiating yourself.

There are a few different ways that you can manage your content marketing and publication schedule. I like to use a master calendar of what I’m publishing and on which outlet. You can control all the posting and publishing yourself or use an app on which you can load your ads and articles and schedule them to appear at specific times and dates. If you’re working with a marketing team, develop a plan for who will be responsible for creating, posting and publishing content.

Final Tips For Content Marketing Strategy Success

Keep a pulse on how well your marketing plans are connecting to your goals. If you’re not getting the results you want, review your marketing strategy to make sure that you’re following it exactly as planned. You might find that it only takes a few tweaks to get things moving in a better direction. And don’t fret if you’ve made a mistake or two. Learn from them and make better changes moving forward.