5 tips to get Google to display the right date in search results

A big factor in whether an internet user will click on your search result in Google is the publication date that’s shown.

The more recent the content, the more appealing it is. Are you sure that your search results are showing the right dates?

Google determines dates for web pages based on several factors, including:

  • Any prominent date listed on the actual page
  • Dates provided by the page publisher through structured markup

Learn more about how Google determines the date on your page for search result display.

Of course, Google won’t always show a date in its search results. It will only show a date if that date is considered particularly relevant to the content itself.

But what happens if you update your content and need to refresh the date from the original publication date? The following are five tips to get Google to display the right publication date in search results.

Confirm the basics

As mentioned above, the best way to make sure that Google has the right publication date to begin with is to state it clearly on the web page (viewable to users) and include it in the structured markup for the page (using the ISO 8601 format for dates).

Keep in mind that Google News is a bit stricter, requiring the display of both the date and the time between the headline and the article text.

You want to make sure that everything is correct from the beginning.

Go beyond superficial updating

Google highly advises against “artificially freshened” content. That means that you only want to take the step of updating your date when you’ve truly updated the content.

Of course, updating content can vary on the type of content you’re working with, but a good rule of thumb is to:

  1. Read through all text and make any necessary changes or corrections.
  2. Add whatever new information likely inspired you to update your content to begin with.
  3. Update existing links and/or add new links.
  4. Change or add visuals.

Specifically, Google says: “Don’t artificially freshen a story without adding significant information or some other compelling reason for the freshening.”

Make the change to your date

Once you’ve officially (and significantly) updated your content, it’s time to update your publication date. 

Of course, this can be as simple as changing the date, but a best practice is to show both the original publication date and when it was updated. You can use “datePublished” and “dateModified” for both AMP and non-AMP web pages to help the algorithms best recognize the change in the date. Also, double-check that you’re in the right time zone if you are displaying a time as well.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to ensure that the date you use is the date for when the web page was published or updated, not a date that’s linked to the content. For example, if you’re writing about an upcoming event, you don’t want to use the date of the event itself. It’s all about the timing of the publication and revisions, not any future dates or other dates related to the content.

Be consistent in usage

Consistency rules. It’s important that you not only maintain the same formatting across all your web pages, but you especially want to confirm that you have the same date (and possibly time) that’s visible on your page as it is in your structured data.

Once you break your consistency in any way, you’ll loose standing as far as trustworthiness with Google and other search engines.

When in doubt, troubleshoot

If you’re doing everything correctly and still aren’t seeing the correct date on your search results, then it’s time to troubleshoot.

One way to start troubleshooting is by identifying if there are any other dates that might appear on your page for any reason. If so, determine whether you can remove or minimize those other dates. For example, you might have dates appearing in a list of related stories.

In conclusion

Remember that while you can set your web pages up for success, you can’t control what Google will ultimately do. If something is getting pulled incorrectly, though, you’ll definitely want to review your structured data and anything else that Google is pulling from.

As you’re reviewing your dates in search results, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

4 tips to boost your click-through rate in Google Search

A lot of efforts to boost your SEO may focus on your overall search ranking for particular keywords that matter to your business. But what are you doing to optimize your Google Search click-through rate?

Your search engine optimization should always keep your CTR in mind.

Granted, a high placement in search results can automatically boost your click-through rate. 

For example, ranking as No. 1 generates a typical CTR of 39.6 percent, which is more than double the CTR for the second position (18.4 percent) and nearly four times the CTR for the third position (10.1 percent).

But what can you do to maximize your own CTR when you appear in Google Search results? The following are four tips to boost your click-through rate in Google Search.

Manage your publication dates

Depending on the topic of the search, internet users are often looking for the most up-to-date information. If your result appears to be eight years old, while the result below yours is only a few months old, you could be sending organic search traffic away from your website.

Evergreen content (which is relevant anytime of year and for a long period of time) is great, but you might notice the search traffic referrals dwindle overtime.

The key is to not only show published and updated dates on your existing content, but to also regularly circle around on your evergreen to thoroughly review and update the actual content itself. (Google will penalize sites for changing an updated date without actually updating the content.)

Aim for intent-based meta titles and descriptions

We won’t call this the oldest tip in the book, but it’s close. Regardless, your meta title and meta description do matter. These are what search engines show to internet users who come across you in results. In other words, they act as your first impression to compel users to click on your link.

Of course, call-to-action meta titles and detailed meta descriptions (with relevant keywords) will help boost your Google Search click-through rate. However, you should always aim to consider (and include) users’ intent.

One way to better understand intent involves logging into Google Search Console. Click on “Performance” and then “Search Results.” You can use the “URLs Containing” filter to find the particular pages and posts that you are optimizing for a higher Google Search click-through rate. By applying that filter, you should then see the search queries that are driving traffic to that page.

You can then use this intent-based data to adjust your meta titles and meta descriptions.

Optimize your URLs

While the overall look of your URL is not going to majorly impact your Google Search click-through rate, it does play a part in the overall look of your search result listing, which definitely impacts your CTR.

When optimizing your URLs, remember to:

  • Be clear, concise and descriptive with your target keywords.
  • Occasionally audit your URLs. You can use a free tool, such as WebSite Auditor.

Use structured schema markup

In the simplest sense, schema markup is a form of microdata. Once added to a webpage, it creates an enhanced description (commonly known as a rich snippet), which appears in search results. The enhanced description helps your result stand out from other classic-looking search results.

Rich snippets not only boost your search ranking, they also improve your Google Search click-through rate.

The CTR for some high-volume keywords has been seen to increase by more than 114 percent when the results appeared as featured rich snippets.

Some types of schema include:

  • Organization
  • Local Business
  • Person
  • Video
  • Event
  • FAQ

In conclusion

Remember that your Google Search click-through rate is just one metric that you should be monitoring as part of your overall SEO strategy and larger digital marketing strategy. Test as much as you can and quickly pivot when something does not appear to be working.

Check out our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners.

As you’re optimizing for your Google Search click-through rate, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

How to grow backlinks to boost your SEO using HARO

Quality backlinks support any strong SEO strategy, but have you used HARO yet?

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Simply put, it’s all about consistently showing search engines why your website should be shown above other websites when users search queries that are related to your content.

HARO is a website that stands for Help A Reporter Out. It’s a service that connects journalists with a variety of sources but also gives you the opportunity to get useful media coverage for your business.

In other words, by using HARO, you can grow your quality backlinks. HARO distributes more than 50,000 journalist queries from highly respected media outlets each year seeking experts just like you, and you can pitch your expertise in hopes of being a source for any one of them (as it relates to your industry).

The following are five tips to use HARO and submit the best possible pitch as you aim to grow your backlinks.

Sign up on HARO to be a Source

To start using HARO, you must register. Fortunately, it’s an easy process. When on the HARO website, click “I’m A Source,” review the “Rules for Sources” and then click the “Sign Up” button. There are multiple subscription plans available for Sources:

  • Basic, which gets you daily pitch opportunity emails for free
  • Standard, which includes everything in Basic plus keyword alerts for one keyword, a profile that automatically inserts into your pitches, text alerts and the ability to search through possible pitch opportunities online for $19 per month
  • Advanced, which includes everything in Standard plus keyword alerts for up to three keywords, up to three profiles that can automatically be inserted into your pitches and an advanced alert about upcoming media opportunities as soon as they’re approved by the editorial team (but before they’re released publicly) so that you can get a head start for $49 per month.
  • Premium, which includes everything in Advanced plus keyword alerts for unlimited keywords, unlimited profiles and phone/email support from the HARO team for $149 per month

Choose your plan based on your goals and budget. Then, enter your company information, and get ready to begin receiving three emails per day, one at 5:35 a.m., 12:35 p.m. and 5:35 p.m. (Eastern time).

Seek opportunities in your daily HARO emails

The daily HARO emails you receive are only valuable opportunities if you open and review them.

Make sure you monitor available queries on a daily business to find the best ones that relate to your expertise and business. Spoiler: They’re not all going to make sense for you.

Open these emails as soon as you get them if you’re serious about finding a media coverage opportunity. Keep in mind that quality backlinks are your goal, so as you’re reviewing queries, do your research on the media outlets. Are they the type of backlink you’re looking for? Do they make sense to cover your business in any sort of way? It’s OK to be picky.

When you do find a query that works for you, you’re doing to want to act on it as soon as possible. Time is of the essence. If you wait, someone else will beat you to it with a pitch that gets selected by that journalist.

Optimize your HARO pitches

We’ve been mentioning “pitches.” They are key to you obtaining media coverage and quality backlinks on HARO. 

Keep in mind that journalists receive a large number of pitches, so you want to stand out. Aim to:

  • Keep it short and sweet
  • Offer quality
  • Cover all the requested details that are in the query you’re pitching for (and don’t veer off-topic)
  • Include an author bio that has your full name and a short introduction about your expertise and field
  • Follow the stated HARO rules for Sources because if you don’t, not only will your pitch get rejected, but you may also get entirely banned from the website
  • Take the opportunity to personalize your pitch to stand out (which can vary depending on the pitch)
  • End your pitch with a call-to-action that’s directed to the journalist to contact you or even connect with you on social media (so that you can help that journalist find additional sources)
  • Make life easy on the journalist by sharing downloadable versions of your headshot, company logo and bio that can be featured

Watch out for your placement

It’s entirely possible that if your pitch is selected, the journalist will contact you directly. But it’s also possible that he or she won’t. 

To make sure you’re aware of any placements you’re not directly notified about, set up a Google Alert for your brand name. That way, you’ll always be in the loop.

Be patient when using HARO

The success of generating quality backlinks through HARO is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. 

In other words, don’t get discouraged. Consider HARO a long-term strategy that will benefit your SEO over time.

Check out our 12 SEO tips for beginners. In fact, you can level up your SEO skills with any of these 10 free courses online.

As you’re starting your journey on HARO to grow quality backlinks, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

12 ways to optimize your Google My Business profile

If your business has a specific location (or locations), then ranking in local search results should be a priority, especially on Google. 

About 46 percent of all Google searches are looking for local information, while 88 percent of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.

The good news is that there is a lot you can do to boost your local SEO without spending a ton of money, including optimizing your Google My Business profile.

Google My Business is a powerful free listing that acts as a dynamic snapshot of your business that highlights key information and helps internet users learn more about (and engage with) you within Google search results.

Check out our 11 local SEO tips, then review the following 12 ways you can optimize your Google My Business profile, which is commonly underutilized by local businesses. Optimizing your profile will give you a leg up on your competition.

Create your Google My Business account

Of course, if you know you’ve already created your Google My Business account, feel free to skip this tip.

Although it is imperative to mention that your Google My Business account is different from your Google Business Profile. One is used to access and optimize the other. Therefore, confirm that you have a Google My Business account and then tell Google to connect it with your Google Business Profile. 

You’ll want to navigate to the Google.com Business page and log in with your regular Google/Gmail account that you use for your business. Do not log in with a personal account.

Fill out every section of your profile

Be sure to fill out all sections of your Google Business Profile, which will help your business both rank higher in local search results and increase the number of ways potential customers can engage with your profile.

The key fields include:

  • Business name
  • Location address
  • Phone number
  • Website URL
  • Hours of operation

There also are a few sections that you’ll want to put some thought into:

  • Products and services
  • Category and attributes
  • From the business, which is your business description that appears lower than the auto-generated description that Google provides for you
  • FAQs that you create and publish

In the “from the business” field, you can definitely repurpose a description from your “About Us” page or your mission statement. Just be sure to use all available 750 characters, with the most important details in the first 250 characters. (Avoid including any links.) While you do want to include relevant keywords, don’t repeat any information that’s already in the other sections of your Google Business Profile. Instead, focus on what sets your business apart and what customers like the most. 

Then, there are a few sections that are ongoing:

  • Posts
  • Reviews
  • Questions and answers that are generated by internet users

Take the necessary time to fill out all of these sections, and consider what will be the most useful information for someone to know who is coming across your business for the first time.

Be specific with your information

It’s very important that your business name is identical not only to the one you use on your store signage but also to your other listings across the internet.

This can come down to slight differences like “company” versus “co.” 

Pay attention to these details so that your credibility isn’t questioned by Google.

Also consider your regular hours of operation and your holiday hours of operation. These likely will be different and will help avoid any confusion (and potential negative review) from a customer who went to your business when you were actually closed. 

Choose the category of your business

About 84 percent of Google Business Profile views originate from search queries of a related product, service or categorical term, where that business’s profile appeared.

A big part of this is setting your business category on your profile. By doing so, you’ll also be able to access category-specific features that can make your profile more effective, such as restaurants including a “menu” button.

When choosing from available categories, be as specific as possible and choose any relevant secondary categories (since many businesses span multiple categories). Just make sure that you’re not confusing your categories with specific products or attributes you offer. There are separate sections for those.

Pick relevant attributes of your business

Once you choose a category through Google My Business, you get a list of attributes that allow you to further describe your business. 

Attributes are not unique to Google. You’ll find them on various listing websites. They are the features that might interest potential customers, such as “free WiFi,” “public restroom,” “pets welcome” and more.

Select everything that is relevant to your business.

Add photos that showcase your business

Because anyone can add photos to your Business Profile, you definitely want to upload your own photos to help your profile look its best to potential customers. 

Uploading photos to your profile also shows Google that you are actively on your profile, which can boost your local SEO as well. Customers are about 42 percent more likely to request driving directions to a business if its profile has photos and about 35 percent more likely to click through to its website.

And the more the better. Businesses with more than 100 photos get about 520 percent more calls, 2,717 percent more direction requests and 1,065 percent more website clicks than the average business.

But don’t take that as encouragement to spam your own profile with photos. When it comes to photos on your Google Business Profile:

  • Upload your logo for your thumbnail photo
  • Use an image that represents your brand as your cover photo
  • Only include photos that are authentic and reflect how your business is in real life, avoiding anything that could be viewed as a stock image or has special effects
  • Geo-tag your photos
  • Upload any relevant videos as well
  • Strive to upload at least one new photo every week

Get additional photo guidance from Google itself.

Seek out Google reviews

Reviews are a top influence on consumer purchases, so it’s important to seek out reviews for your Google Business Profile. Plus, local businesses with multiple positive reviews get a boost in their relevant search rankings.

To get more reviews on your profile:

  • Request reviews directly from your long-time and loyal customers
  • Create a review shortcut link to make it easy to submit a Google review for your business
  • Ask all customers to write a review because about 62 percent will do so when asked
  • Include a call-to-action on your website that links to your reviews
  • Respond to all reviews, whether they are positive or negative
  • Remind customers that reviews aren’t just for your benefit. They can serve other consumers who are seeking a solution to a need or problem they have

Just remember that you should not incentivize reviews with discounts, gifts or anything else.

Regularly post to your Google Business Profile

Consider your Google Business Profile just as you would your social media accounts. Regular posts about announcements, offers, events and more should be published consistently. 

These posts are created through the Google My Business dashboard and appear in the “Updates” section of your Google Business Profile.

Posting sends positive ranking signals to Google similar to how uploading photos would, and posts increase engagement opportunities with potential customers. 

Consumers also can follow your profile and get notified of any new posts you publish.

Embrace questions and answers

Similar to Amazon, Google Business Profile features a section for questions and answers. Because anyone can ask and answer questions about your business, it’s important to optimize this section to promote accurate information over any inaccurate information.

You can’t turn off this section, so make a commitment to make it work for you:

  • Set up alerts so that you’re notified when new questions are posted on your profile
  • Fill out your own question-and-answer section with the top FAQs about your business
  • Use relevant keywords wherever appropriate without overusing

You can definitely make the question-and-answer section work for your business by staying on top of it.

Add available products and services

When the products or services are not obvious in your business name, be sure to add them in this section of your Google Business Profile through your Google My Business account.

You should include the name, description and price of your products and/or services. The more information you can provide, the better.

Remember, filling out this section provides more content that could potentially be relevant to a local search query. 

Set up direct messaging

You can set up an available feature in your Google Business Profile where searchers can send a text message to your phone directly from your search profile.

Select the “Messaging” tab in your Google My Business dashboard. Then, you can install Google’s Allo app via Google Play or the Apple App Store, depending on your mobile device.

Remember to set up alerts for messages in your dashboard by navigating to settings and then checking “customer messages.”

Pulling it all together with a Google My Business strategy

Google My Business is not a “set it and forget it” platform. Staying on top of the features it offers is one of the best ways to improve your local SEO (and ultimately the overall success of your business).

Plan out how often you’ll publish new information, what type of information and when. You can create a separate content calendar if that will help you stay organized.

See our six best practices for mobile SEO as well.

While you’re optimizing your Google My Business, think about your digital marketing process. Consider DailyStory. Our application features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

What are SEO stop words and should you worry about them?

In your efforts to optimize your website for search engines, you may have come across the concept of SEO stop words. 

But what are SEO stop words? How do they impact your SEO? And should you worry about them in your SEO strategy?

What are SEO stop words?

Stop words are actually common words that search engines may ignore both in search queries and search results. Think articles, prepositions, conjunctions and pronouns. For example, words like “the,” “any,” “in” or “a.” 

See this comprehensive list of SEO stop words.

Stop words typically don’t change the meaning of a query but are definitely needed in your content to properly structure sentences.

Words that Google ignores in search

On the flip side, if you Google “churches in Tulsa” versus “churches Tulsa,” there’s no contextual difference in the meaning of the query. The stop word in this example is “in,” but it is not necessary to perform the intended search.

Of course, as search engines continue to evolve, they likely will use some stop words to better understand the intention of searches. However, Google has not officially confirmed either way their stance on stop words.

Find out how to check your Google search ranking for free.

Where to use (or not use) stop words

As far as your page URLs, a simple structure is best. Often, your CMS or webmaster will automatically pull your page title into your page URL. This can make your URL rather long.

Avoid using stop words in your page titles

Ideally, in this case, it’s a best practice to remove stop words from your page URL to shorten and simplify. Just make sure that what you’re removing doesn’t change the context of the keywords left behind. And Google favors simple and short URL structures.

Don’t optimize page headers

When it comes to page headings and the title tags on search engine results pages, it’s a best practice to not remove these words.

This is because they do show in search results. Removing them makes for an awkward reading experience for users who could potentially click through to your website. So, you definitely want to prioritize the user experience here.

In a similar sense, you should never remove these words from your body content. Yes, you want to improve your SEO every chance you get, but your body content is the meat that users are looking for. Stop words are needed for the best possible user experience.

All in all, you shouldn’t worry too much about these words in your SEO strategy. The primary focus should be user experience first followed by SEO best practices after.

Find out if you’re making any of these 13 common mistakes with your SEO, and check out our 13 tips to get your website indexed by Google faster.

While you’re evaluating your SEO, consider upgrading your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation and audience segmentation capabilities, among others. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): What they are and how to use them

More than 56 percent of the content on the web is accessed through mobile devices, and this number is only growing.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new standard from Google to ensure your content renders as quickly and efficiently as possible on mobile devices.

Odds are you are reading this page on a mobile device. If you are, you are accessing an Accelerated Mobile Page. You may have seen this icon next to this page and other content when browsing Google on your mobile device:

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Want to see the AMP version of this page?

Why Accelerated Mobile Pages?

The goal of AMP is to make pages load as quickly as possible on mobile devices. Unfortunately, the web is still pretty slow for many people.

AMP limits what you can do in HTML – gone are the ads, JavaScript libraries and other elements. The page is stripped down to the basics in order to render the page as quickly as possible.

You can read more about the AMP project here.

OK, how do I use it?

If you’ve read this far, you’re likely wondering how you can add AMP to your website or blog.

If you’re running WordPress, Automattic has a handy AMP plugin. (That’s what we’re using for our blog).

WordPress AMP

Go to your WordPress Plugins panel, search for “Automattic AMP,” and add it to your site. After installation, add “?amp=1” after any post, and you’ll have an AMP-friendly version of that content. Easy to add and highly recommended!

If you aren’t running WordPress (or feel like doing a little PHP coding yourself on your WordPress site), AMP is fairly trivial to add. You are reducing what the page is doing and simplifying it.

Google AMP Cache

Once your AMP content is published, it is a candidate for Google AMP Cache.

Google will potentially further optimize your AMP content to remove anything that isn’t mobile-friendly and will store your content in its geocache to ensure that it can serve your content as quickly as possible. This cache allows your content to be geographically distributed and ensures that AMP requests don’t take have to go through multiple network “hops” to reach your server.

If you aren’t serving your content using AMP, you should remember that the majority of today’s web traffic is mobile. If your content isn’t mobile-friendly, you are missing an opportunity to connect with your audience.

See our 14 expert tips to optimize your mobile marketing.

More to explore

If you think Accelerated Mobile Pages for your website is interesting, wait until your read about AMP for email.

An extension of AMP, AMP for email aims to improve the functionality of emails. The goal is to create more engaging and interactive email experiences. For example, AMP email recipients can directly submit forms from within the inbox.

That’s just one example of how you can use AMP for email.

DailyStory has built-in support for AMP emails. We’re one of only a handful of email vendors supporting AMP. Other DailyStory features include automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

9 tips and tricks to boost your off-page SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to a website’s organic traffic.

But not all SEO is the same.

There are different types of SEO, with on-page and off-page being the two categories in terms of tactics.

Off-page SEO refers to all the things you can do outside your website to help improve your search engine ranking results, while on-page SEO refers to everything tied to your website directly.

Related: Find out more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO or check out Chrome extensions for SEO.

The following are nine tips and tricks to help improve your off-page SEO and increase your relevancy in the eyes of search engines.

Reach out to influencers

Whether you’re creating content in the form of a website blog, a YouTube channel or another format, it’s important to seize the opportunity to reach out to relevant, well-known influencers in your industry and ask for their feedback, review or more.

Of course, reaching out before you publish gives you the opportunity to incorporate them or their thoughts in your content. Reaching out afterward can still be fruitful, though. If the content is relevant to them, they might share it with their networks or engage with it in another way.

We recommend you go beyond just tagging the influencer in the post. It’s fine to do, but consider that you’re likely not the only one doing it. Go that extra mile and directly message or contact them via email or even the phone. Start the conversation like you’re starting a new relationship. Hint: Because you are. Don’t just start off by asking for what you need and leave it at that. Consider what you can offer to them and how a relationship would benefit you both. More than anything, be a human when you reach out.  

Find out more about influencers and influencer marketing.

Embrace social media

At this point, the importance of social media likely is a reality versus an arguing point for most brands.

Choosing the social media platforms that make sense for your brand, the type of content you’ll be sharing and the audience you want to engage with is just the first step. You’ll also want to develop a full strategy where you decide frequency, timing and the specific content tied to each post.

Remember that social media includes more than just Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There’s also YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, Twitch and more to choose from.

Dig deeper into what social media platform is right for your company.

The more social media users who engage with and click through to your shared content, the better it is for your off-page SEO. 

Google pays more attention to social media platforms than some might assume.

Encourage brand mentions

In the simplest of terms, brand mentions refer to people across the internet talking about your brand. While this typically involves traditional social media platforms, it doesn’t have to. It could be mentions in forums, blog articles and so on.

These mentions signal to search engines that people are interested in you.

Obviously, you can’t force quality brand mentions. However, you can actively engage with social media audiences across platforms. Meaningful interactions grow your online trustworthiness and branding organically.

Invest time in social bookmarking platforms

Similar to traditional social media, there are several websites that would more accurately be categorized as “social bookmarking” in their purpose.

Think Reddit, Digg and StumbleUpon, among others. It’s a place for communities to share links and discuss topics.

While success can be an instant boost to your website traffic (and a good off-page SEO signal), some effort is required.

For instance, Reddit is guarded against potential “link dumpers,” whom are considered to be spam-like in their effort to post links without engaging in any conversations. 

A good rule of thumb is to be a true user of these sites before you post your first link. Reply to comments with your thoughts. Ask questions. In other words, (again) be human. Then, when you do post your first link, it’s seen as coming from a community member, not an “outsider” trying to get clicks. Then, balance each time you post a link with at least 10 times that you’re just commenting and replying without any links. That balance will keep you in good favor of those communities.

Commenting on blogs

While commenting on another website’s blog will no longer give you more backlinks, that doesn’t mean that there is no value to commenting in general.

As long as you’re commenting in a relevant way and engaging the right audience, you’ll ultimately build a relationship with that website and other commenters.

Again, it’s about interaction with others in meaningful ways.

Dive deeper into content marketing.

Participate in forums

Forums are still a viable platform where you can find and engage with others who could be interested ultimately in your products and/or services.

Locating forums that are related to your expertise and then offering advice or helping to solve problems is a great signal to Google, which loves discussions. There also are question-and-answer-specific websites, such as Quora.

Depending on the forum, make sure that you complete your profile appropriately in addition to including an anchor in the signature. That means that whenever you comment, the signature displays with your anchor.

Also consider looking for forums that offer “do-follow” links, which are a signal to search engines.

Guest blog on other websites

If you’ve never done it before, guest authoring on other websites is easier to achieve than you might assume.

Try a few of these Google searches to find potential opportunities for you and your brand, where you include a relevant keyword and:

  • “Contribute”
  • “Guest blogging”
  • “Write for us”
  • “Become a contributor”

Then you can reach out and apply. Just remember to include a link in your author bio that goes back to your website. This is more a signal to search engines (in the sense of backlinking), but it can also throw some referral traffic your way as well.

Focus on backlinks

This method of off-page SEO is considered fairly critical to improving your search engine ranking. However, it’s definitely about quality over quantity.

Backlinks are when other websites link to pages on your website. The more this happens (especially from trusted, highly visited websites), the more trustworthy your website appears to Google.

From seeking out broken backlinks on other websites so that you can suggest your own as a replacement to guest blogging (like we suggested above), there are a number of ways you can help grow your backlinks. Check out our seven specific tips.

Send email newsletters

Having a weekly (or other timing frequency) email newsletter not only packages your best content and delivers it to an engaged audience of subscribers, but it also can help encourage those subscribers to click on links and visit your website regularly.

This, as we definitely know by now, is a good signal to search engines. 

Remember to keep your newsletters clean and direct in their design and content. Give the recipients a reason to click on your links. In other words, don’t give away the entirety of your content in the email newsletter. The reader should want to find out more.

See our eight tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts.

While you’re improving your off-page SEO, consider what your digital marketing process could be doing for you. DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

11 free SEO keyword research tools you should consider

Keyword research is an important element of any successful SEO strategy or pay-per-click campaign.

The right keywords can help improve your ranking on search engine results pages (generating more organic traffic to your website) or attract the right visitors through your PPC efforts.

But what’s the best way to research keywords? Online tools, of course!

Related: be sure and check out these Chrome extensions for managing SEO.

The following are 11 free keyword research tools that you should consider trying.

Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner is known as being one of the most accurate sources of keyword data since it comes directly from Google, the biggest search engine on the market.

Cost: Free

Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool features analysis for multiple search engines, including:

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Bing
  • Amazon
  • Apple App Store

The application also uses Google Autocomplete and generates up to 750 long-tail keyword suggestions for every search term.

Results can be exported to a CSV file.

Cost: Free (for the first 750 keywords)

Moz Keyword Explorer

The Moz Keyword Explorer gives easy-to-use keyword suggestions. It’s known for the uniqueness of its suggestions.

It also features an organic CTR score (shows the number of clicks you’re expected to attract on the first page of Google search results) and a priority score (mixes all the individual factors to help you select the best terms).

The priority score keeps keyword research simple and can be a helpful one-stop-shop type of metric to show you the value of a particular keyword without getting overwhelmed with lots of different metrics.

Cost: 10 free queries per month when you sign up for a free Moz account

Soovle

Soovle immediately generates suggested keyword ideas from various search engines, including (but not limited to):

  • Google
  • YouTube
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Amazon

You’ll see them all appear on the same web page. It’s a great way to brainstorm because you can slowly start typing in your ideas and see it auto-generate its own ideas.

Cost: Free

Google Search Console

Using the Performance Report, you can easily gather keyword research and inspiration from the Google Search Console.

The report includes a list of the web pages on your website that get the most clicks from Google, as well as the keywords that drove that traffic.

Check out our full guide to using Google Search Console.

Cost: Free

KeywordTool.io

KeywordTool provides many keyword suggestions, as well as the ability to filter and expand results to find the perfect keyword you’re looking for.

You can also use it to learn what keyword ideas generate based on the content of a competitor’s website.

Cost: Free

Google Keyword Planner

The Google Keyword Planner is another tool from Google that can help you discover keywords. The value is there since the data again comes from Google. 

With this tool, however, there is the “top of page bid,” where you can see how much advertisers are bidding on a keyword. The cost shown is cost per click.

In that sense, Google Keyword Planner is a bit more useful for PPC-campaign planning than SEO keyword research.

Cost: Free

WordStream Keyword Tool

WordStream’s Keyword Tool works for both SEO and PPC keyword research. With it, you can target groups of related keywords that will give you more suggestions.

When searching, you also can include your industry and country for better results.

Cost: Free for the first 30 searches

Google Trends

Google Trends enables you to see overall search-term trends and whether a keyword is growing in popularity.

This is a great tool to use when you’re debating between two keywords. You’ll be able to see if one is rising in popularity while the other is declining in popularity.

You also can see if a keyword is growing in popularity on YouTube, the world’s second-largest search engine.

Cost: Free

Ubersuggest

Ubersuggest will take your keyword and generate nearly unlimited alphabetized and numerical keyword variations in return. Content ideas are also generated related to your keyword.

You also can register for free for daily rank tracking and personalized SEO suggestions.

Cost: Free

Source code exploration

This is less of an official tool and more of a free tactic.

The idea is to go to your competitor’s website, right-click somewhere on the web page and select “View Page Source.”

Within that coding, locate the keywords to see what they’re optimizing for.

Just be aware that your competitors might not be using the best keywords, or they might not have meta keywords enabled.

Cost: Free

No matter what tool or tools you decide to use, the value of understanding the best keywords for your SEO or PPC is critical.

However, SEO does go beyond keyword research. Find out if you’re making these 13 common SEO mistakes.

7 tips to grow quality backlinks and boost your SEO

Ask any SEO expert, and a top recommendation you’ll likely hear (after researching your keywords) is going to be building up your backlinks.

Backlinks are hyperlinks that point from one website to another. About 91 percent of all web pages never get any organic traffic from Google, and that’s mostly due to the fact that they don’t have backlinks.

Don’t be one of those pages.

We all want to improve the search engine ranking of our website, but when it comes to getting others to link to you, it’s easy to feel lost. Plus, you don’t want just any backlink for your site. Quality (meaning that the backlink is coming from a trusted website) is important as well.

Here are seven tips that can help you grow quality backlinks for your website and improve your ranking.

Submit a pitch to guest blog

Instead of reaching out to websites and publications to ask if they will backlink to you for any number of reasons, you can switch up your pitch to vie for a guest blog or article spot on their site.

Why? Because as part of your byline and/or author bio, a backlink can be included pointing to your website. You also could have the opportunity to include a handful of backlinks to your site within your content, depending.

But a successful pitch requires a bit more than offering free content.

First, you’ll want to do your homework on the website you’re pitching to. Who is their audience? How would your content address something that not only appeals to that audience but also isn’t already being covered by the website itself?

Know who you need to reach out to and how. Many websites actually have “how to pitch to us” directions available that include what email address you should send your pitch to, as well as any other expectations they have of pitches.

Regularly conduct backlink audits

You can find websites that others are getting links from by conducting regular backlink audits with tools, such as SEMrush.

These websites are the most likely to accept pitches and add backlinks to your site’s content.

Create more visual content

Quality backlinks truly stem from quality content on your end. One of the highest engaging types of content is visual, and of that, infographics easily draw in an audience (and backlinks).

People following directions with text and illustrations do 323 percent better than people following directions without illustrations.

In short, infographics are simply an effective method of visual communication.

Converting some of your blog/article information into a helpful infographic raises the value of what could have been a text-only post. Other websites will more likely share or refer to your infographic via social media or backlinks.

In addition, videos are a great form of engaging visual content.

About 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support.

Depending on the video, other sites could see a lot of value in adding backlinks to you.

Post more interactive content

Just like with visual content, interactive content is more engaging and more likely to generate backlinks.

Interactive content has a wide range from quizzes to slideshares.

Because interactive content is not used as often as you might think, its uniqueness can help draw backlinks.

However, beyond backlinks, interactive content can increase a user’s time on page, which is also a positive signal for your page’s search engine ranking.

Mention (and link to) industry experts

As you’re creating content, consider quoting (and linking to) what the experts are saying about your topic.

It might take a little research, but it will raise the quality and trustworthiness of your own content.

The better the content, the more likely others will link to it themselves.

This can also be done first hand by interviewing an expert for your blog or article. Again, a bit more effort is needed on your part, but the payoff is that the expert could then share and/or backlink to your article as well.

Update your evergreen content

Evergreen content is content that is not necessarily time bound and is relevant either on an ongoing basis or repeatedly (seasonal content, for example).

Types of evergreen content include (but are not limited to):

  • How-to guides
  • Suggested tool lists
  • History breakdowns (possible timeline formatting)
  • Industry term glossary
  • Infographics

While evergreen content is highly valuable for your website and the potential for backlinks, it’s all too easy to forget about it and not regularly update.

Freshening up your evergreen content is critical to keep up its relevance for others.

Offer a fix for broken backlinks

This method can be time-consuming and is not as commonly used. However, it can be incredibly effective.

Identify a few relevant, trusted websites in your industry and see if you can find any broken links. (These are more likely to happen the older the content.)

Then, contact that website to offer your own relevant link as a replacement.

While you can speed up the process of discovering broken backlinks by using a free tool, such as Dead Link Checker, you may have to invest time in content creation if you don’t already have a relevant page to offer.

While these tips can help you grow quality backlinks, remember that there’s much more to great SEO than backlinks. Check out these 13 SEO mistakes you could be making right now to ensure you’re doing everything you can to rank well in search results.

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What’s the difference between on-page and off-page SEO?

If you’re just starting to dive into SEO, you might be surprised that there are both on-page and off-page types.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is critical to help drive organic traffic to your website. Even more than that, with the right SEO, you should be driving more quality traffic as well.

In the simplest sense, on-page SEO involves everything that’s on your website, while off-page is what’s happening outside of your website.

Let’s dig a little deeper.

On-page SEO

This involves some of the more basic SEO tactics:

  • Keywords: Not as important as they used to be, keyword optimization is still typically the first tactic thought of when considering SEO strategy. Make sure you do your research and consider the terms and phrases that potential customers could be searching for in search engines.
  • Meta descriptions: These short descriptions are the summaries that appear as part of your search result to give more context to users (and a shot at compelling them to click). You’ll want to keep each one to no more than 160 characters ideally but still include relevant keywords. Check out these eight tips to write effective meta descriptions.
  • URL structure: Easy-to-understand URLs have two benefits. They help search engines crawl (and then index) your website, while they also lead to more clicks overall. This means that the end of a URL includes words that describe the content (hopefully with a keyword) instead of a string of numbers, for example.
  • Internal linking: Linking to other web pages within your website makes your website that much easier for search engines to crawl. It also keeps your website visitors engaged for longer.
  • Quality content: Remember the goal of search engines—to provide the most relevant search results for every query made. Relevant equates to quality content from you. Your content should answer questions and/or solve problems. You also want your content fresh and skimmable for visitors.
  • Structured content: Speaking of skimmable, this translates into structured content. Make sure you have headings and subheadings with the appropriate tags (H1, H2, etc.) for easy search engine crawling.
  • Title tags: These are the titles of your web pages that you can see on search engine results pages as the clickable result title. Ensure that these are concise, unique and descriptive (with a keyword included).
  • Headings: Similar to title tags but are headling the content on your webpage.
  • Alt text: This is the word or phrase that describes an image file in order for it to be indexed for search engines. It also helps users (who can’t see the image) know what it is about in general.
  • Page security: Enabling Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) security technology places you in the “preferred” category of websites by Google. Using SSL means that a third party can’t come between your web server and the user’s web server. This secures the information exchanged between the two.
  • Page speed and performance: Pages that are slow to load or don’t render correctly will lower your website’s search engine ranking. This is because frustrated users will almost immediately abandon your site, increasing your bounce rate. That is a huge signal to search engines that your website is not a valuable search engine result for users. About 47 percent of users expect a website to load within 2 seconds. Be aware of your mobile optimization and any overuse of CSS or Javascript that can slow your load time down.

In other words, on-page SEO is anything you can do on your website to help its search engine rankings.

Off-page SEO

Perhaps not as well thought of, off-page SEO refers to the search engine ranking factors that happen off of your website. This includes:

  • Backlinks: The more websites linking to your content, the better you can be ranked by search engines since this signals your trustworthiness and authority.
  • Domain authority: Admittedly, domain authority is a mix of on-page and off-page SEO. It’s measured on a scale of 1 to 100. A higher score reflects the strength of your website in the eyes of search engines. How long you’ve had your domain name, the number of backlinks and the number of 404 error webpages all factor into your domain authority.
  • Local listings: Adding your business to local directories can help you appear higher in more search results as well. Just make sure that all your information is consistent across sites, such as Google My Business, Yelp and more.
  • Social media promotion: Social media posts do not directly impact your search engine ranking. However, search engines will notice and boost content that generates engagement (clicks and shares).

In conclusion

Ultimately, you need to nurse both your on-page and off-page SEO to improve your search engine ranking. 

Unsure if you’ve got your SEO right? Check out these 13 common mistakes you could be making right now.

As you’re evaluating your SEO strategy, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.