About the Blog

Choose the layout that’s right for your site. The theme includes 4 styles: Grid, Rows, Image Above and Image Left. Each blog can have any of these layouts and there is no limit to the number of blogs you can create. Setting up your blog is easy. You can fully customize the styling for your website including image sizes, excerpt lengths, post format icons and a lot more.

Image Above Posts

This layout provides space for large images, long post titles and lots of post details. These features make blogs easy to maintain and very consistent. Each post shows on one line and image sizes can be specified or you can allow the height to adjust automatically for each image for variation and a more natural look.

Grid Display Posts

Specify any number of columns for your custom grid. The posts in fluid grid layouts automatically shift into position, fitting together like a puzzle and maximizing screen space. Any blog layout can be customized for your site by adding sidebars, breadcrumbs, paging, custom headers, custom footers, and a lot more.

Image Left of Posts

The most popular layout style for high profile blogs showing the blog image on the left. The advantage of this layout is is uses less space than having the image above the content but still allows for long titles with a large font size. This layout also provides space for longer excerpts without extending the page length.

Rows Display Posts

A clean and organized series of posts in an aligned display. Each row is the same height making it ideal for items with similar content allowing the viewer to quickly scan the page. The uniform presentation in rows also allows multiple posts on each row instead of one per line like  a traditional blog layout.

Default Settings

Blogs can be enabled as the default home page, from a page template or by inserting a shortcode. The blog settings let you configure each option exactly as needed. When using a blog shortcode you can specify the options for each blog individually.

Configure the default blog settings from the “Settings > Blog Options” area of your admin.

Example Blogs

We’ve created a series of example blogs so you can see the results. These demonstrate just a fraction of what you can customize and the variety of layout variations possible. Customize the blog to fit your website with sidebars, widgets, headers and footers. With all these options the potential is virtually endless. Check out some of the example blog pages.

Content Builder

The theme has a custom interface for the Visual Composer plugin (included) to make it easier to setup your blog shortcode.

Shortcode Attributes

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A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquisite sense of mere tranquil existence, that I neglect my talents. I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now.

When, while the lovely valley teems with

vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and flies, then I feel the presence of the Almighty, who formed us in his own image, and the breath of that universal love which bears and sustains us, as it floats around us in an eternity of blist.

I sink under the weight of the splendour of these visions!A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which

I sink under the weight of the splendour of these visions!A wonderful serenity has taken possession of my entire soul, like these sweet mornings of spring which I enjoy with my whole heart. I am alone, and feel the charm of existence in this spot, which was created for the bliss of souls like mine. I am so happy, my dear friend, so absorbed in the exquis

I throw myself down among the tall grass

I should be incapable of drawing a single stroke at the present moment; and yet I feel that I never was a greater artist than now. When, while the lovely valley teems with vapour around me, and the meridian sun strikes the upper surface of the impenetrable foliage of my trees, and but a few stray gleams steal into the inner sanctuary, I throw myself down among the tall grass by the trickling stream; and, as I lie close to the earth, a thousand unknown plants are noticed by me: when I hear the buzz of the little world among the stalks, and grow familiar with the countless indescribable forms of the insects and


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Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their place and supplies it with the necessary regelialia. It is a paradisematic country, in which roasted parts of sentences fly into your mouth. Even the all-powerful Pointing has no control about the blind texts it is an almost unorthographic life One day however a small line of blind text by the name of Lorem Ipsum decided to leave for the far World of Grammar. The Big Oxmox advised her not to do so, because there were thousands of bad Commas, wild Question Marks and devious Semikoli, but the Littl

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Copy Writers ambushed her, made her drunk with Longe and Parole and dragged her into their agency, where they abused her for their projects again and again. And if she hasn’t been rewritten, then they are still using her.Far far away, behind the word mountains, far from the countries Vokalia and Consonantia, there live the blind texts. Separated they live in Bookmarksgrove right at the coast of the Semantics, a large language ocean. A small river named Duden flows by their plate.

Rise of ‘dark traffic’ from popular social apps threatens Google’s web empire

Digital marketers are anxious to know more about the web than what Google Analytics is telling them.

Dark traffic – traffic from platforms such as WhatsApp and Snapchat, currently unattributed within Google Analytics – is on the rise and indicates that Google’s influence is waning, claims Dublin-based digital marketing agency Wolfgang Digital.

The company’s 2017 E-commerce Benchmark KPI study, which analysed 143m website sessions and €447m worth of online transactions, found that while Google remains the key driver of traffic, there is an increase in dark traffic.

‘Digital marketers will want greater visibility on dark traffic and cross-device conversions but I expect Google shareholders won’t’
– ALAN COLEMAN

The study found that the search giant generates 62pc of all traffic and 63pc of all revenue from the web.

However, according to Wolfgang Digital CEO Alan Coleman, Google’s influence is declining as consumers’ paths to purchase become more diverse. Coleman explained that dark traffic occurs when Google Analytics doesn’t recognise a source by default, such as people sharing links on WhatsApp.

Marketers seek enlightenment on dark traffic

Wolfgang Digital CEO Alan Coleman Google First Page Rankings SEO Expert Increase Web Traffic Best SEO Company Los Angeles Best SEO Company Increase Web Traffic

In the report, Wolfgang explained that clicks on these links in WhatsApp will appear in Google Analytics as direct traffic.

“Google is constantly playing catch-up with how people share content, tweaking Google Analytics to show sources of traffic properly. Today, you can see Instagram traffic easily but at the start of 2016, this traffic was dark, just like WhatsApp traffic is now.

“Much of what makes up dark traffic is dark social,” the report said. “This can be some Facebook traffic, WhatsApp traffic, Snapchat, any kind of instant-messenger traffic or traffic coming from apps.”

The digital marketing paradox of 2017

Speaking with Siliconrepublic.com, Coleman said that Google needs to move fast to help marketers correctly identify these alternative sources of web traffic, many of which occur within apps on smartphones.

“The paradox at the heart of digital marketing in 2017 is that, although marketers have never had more data, we are still operating in darkness in a number of areas,” Coleman explained.

“Social is currently the victim of this. Lots of social traffic ends up as ‘dark traffic’, meaning Google Analytics can’t attribute it properly and classifies it as direct traffic.

“This underreporting is then doubled down on when it comes to conversion. Google Analytics struggles to track cross-device conversions. Most conversions occur on desktop and nearly all social traffic occurs on mobile. Currently, we can’t see the impact of that mobile social traffic on desktop conversion.”

Coleman said that Google will inevitably bring dark traffic into the light on Google Analytics, but the search giant can’t ignore the reality that much of what occurs on the web is within rival social apps.

“Google is enhancing its Analytics attribution report in the coming months.

“Digital marketers will want greater visibility on dark traffic and cross-device conversions but I expect Google shareholders won’t. How far the enhanced visibility extends will tell us a lot about where Google Analytics’ loyalties lie.”

5 Things That Will Make You Appear on Google’s First Page

Getting a website to appear on the first page of Google is one of the most coveted achievements for any small business owner—and for good reason. About 91% of people do not click past the first page of Google’s search results. This means that if your website isn’t on the first page, you’re missing out on the majority of potential customers.

1 . Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

The first step in getting your business to the first page of Google is to have your website designed and structured with search engines in mind. The way search engines work is that when a user enters in a search query (a word or phrase in the search box), the search engine sends out ‘crawlers’ to find websites that are most relevant to the query.

Many industry-specific marketing companies claim to have the answers, but if you’re going to invest in outside help for marketing, you better make sure they have the results to back up their claims.

Marketing in Action: Local dentist, Dr. Yoon, knew that he needed help to grow his new dental practice. He hired a marketing company specifically dedicated to making dental practice websites. But the results were trivial: “My website wasn’t getting much traffic at all,” Dr. Yoon said. “It turned up on page 3 or 4 of Google, even for common search terms such as dentist + town.” He got a marketing optimized website from ThriveHive. Coupled with a customized marketing and advertising plan, he saw almost immediate results.

Dr. Yoon’s new website moved up from the fourth page to the first page of Google within a few months. It also saw more traffic and new patients started contacting his practice. So what’s the key to getting a website on Google’s first page when it comes to SEO?

A few of the biggest Google ranking factors are:

Emphasizing Location: In order to improve your business website’s Google ranking, your website needs to list your city and/or geographic area. That way when people search: “Your industry” + ”Your city” Google will pick up that information and show your business as a search result. Check out this local SEO guide for more information on other ways to rank higher in Google. With the amount of online research consumers do today to find the best services for them, especially locally, it is crucial that your website includes your location.

An Outstanding and Optimized Website: One of the biggest factors that Google loves is a mobile friendly website. Consumers use phones and tablets to access the internet and search engines more than computers and laptops. In response, Google ranks mobile responsive websites higher than non-mobile responsive ones.

Being mobile friendly isn’t enough for a website—it must also be well designed and user-friendly. A well-designed website is essential for increasing overall traffic by keeping visitors on the site. This translates into more traffic over the long run as Google gives more attention to your site.

2. Use Effective Keywords

The keywords you use on your site are arguably the biggest factor that will determine your place in search engine results pages. The most effective and affordable small business SEO method for boosting traffic and getting you on the first page of Google is effectively utilizing keywords.

Many people have tried to take advantage of this by excessively using keywords within their content. This is called keyword stuffing and is not a good practice. Google is aware of this and will punish websites who stuff their websites with keywords.

There are many ways to have keywords placed throughout your website that will help improve your ranking in Google. For example, using keywords in the following places can have an impact on your SEO:

Title Tags: Title tags are the main text that defines the content of a document. Search engines read title tags to determine what each website page is about when indexing them for search. Title tags are found on each website page and blog post.

Meta Content: This appears along with the title, and serves as a brief snippet of the content found in the link. Your meta content is the information that describes your page to search engines. It is also the blurb that shows up beneath your clickable website address on search engine results pages.

URL links: Google reads URLs when ranking websites. Make sure your keywords or the words that you want to rank for are included in your URL.

Alt Tags: Alt tags are tags on photos that you use to describe photos. Alt Tags are a factor that will increase the SEO of your post and get your photos ranking on the first page of a Google Image search.

These are some of the biggest factors in a search engine’s formula for determining website ranking. It’s critical that these pieces of content contain the same keyword you’re trying to target in a natural, non-keyword-stuffing way.

How to Use Keywords

The keywords that you should use are ones that your customers are going to be most likely to look for. To find this, it’s best to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and figure out what they would search for based on their priorities and experiences.

You can also use online keyword tools such as Google Trends and Google Keyword Planner (the answer to Google’s old Keyword Tool) via AdWords. The Keyword Planner allows you to compare the search volume of relevant keywords. (i.e how many searches on a particular word or phrase are performed per month on Google). Also, if you are using a WordPress site then you should definitely use an SEO plugin. For more information on how to use local keywords and keyword tools, check out this post.

Marketing in Action: Levity Colonics, a ThriveHive user, was able to get her business on the first page of Google on her own. She improved her business’s SEO through a website plugin and the tips in our Local SEO for Small Businesses Webinar. Specializing in colon hydrotherapy, her local business was difficult to rank on page 1 of Google. But, with the proper keywords in place and by using these SEO tips, she did it.

3. Set up a Google My Business Page

Although Google My Business does not have as much popularity as Facebook or Twitter, it is very powerful for small business owners. Evidence shows that “profiles that do well on Google My Business get indexed quicker on Google“.

A Google My Business page will help get your business indexed faster by Google. Additionally, Google My Business reviews enable potential customers to see what clients have to say about your business. As we know to be true in marketing, the more reviews the better, so utilizing Google+ can help get your business on the first page of Google. It’s easy to set up a Google My Business page for your business on your own.

Related Webinar: How to Set up Google My Business, Yelp, and Yahoo Listings

Marketing in Action: Creative Image Associates, a photography business in Delaware was doing well with their business. However, the owner photographer wanted to take it to the next level. He turned to ThriveHive for help learning how to spruce up his Google My Business page. With our guidance, he added some high quality images (important for a photography business). He made his services and mission statement more clear and appealing and added in some relevant links and keywords. His Google My Business listing now stands out from the competition.

In just a few months, Creative Image went from receiving 4-5 calls per month to 20-30 calls from the Google My Business listing alone—stats that he was able to see using a tracked phone line included in the Guided Marketing Platform.

Related: Cheat Sheet to Local SEO

4. Register your business on Yelp

Having a Yelp page (ideally with good reviews) can help you get more business than you can handle. Yelp is essential for having a successful online business presence. People love to see that others are consistently using a business, as it makes them feel more comfortable about trying something new.

Yelp is also good for local SEO. Although Google doesn’t use reviews in its general organic search results it factors into the equation for:

Map Searches: When someone is looking for directions to the nearest business in ‘X’ industry, they’ll be able to see your business featured prominently with great reviews.

Mobile Searches: Websites optimized for mobile search are strongly correlated with ranking high in local search results.

The ‘3 Pack’: Google used to have a ‘carousel’ at the top of search pages for hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues and more. Late last year Google scrapped the carousel and replaced it with the ‘3 Pack’ which features the most prominent and popular businesses with great ratings, including Yelp ratings.

One of the best things you can do to take advantage of Yelp is to get more positive, quality reviews. Don’t fall into temptation for paying for reviews (which is heavily monitored by Yelp anyway). Instead, find a way to encourage happy customers to leave feedback on Yelp. It’s also a good idea to make sure that your Yelp page is fully filled out and is filled with high-quality, alluring photos.

Marketing in Action: SF Custom Chiropractic dominates the San Francisco chiropractic market (see the results for yourself). Not only does this business come up on the first page of Google, but it is featured in the ‘3 Pack’ of prominently suggested businesses.

One of the key reasons for this, as you may notice, is the astounding number of positive reviews on Yelp and Google My Business. With over 100 genuine, positive reviews it’s no surprise SF Custom Chiropractic has done so well in local search results.

5. Run an AdWords Campaign

Developing consistent organic search traffic is perhaps the best way to consistently get new visitors coming to your website. This process takes time, and for the business owner who wants to get more business fast, Google AdWords is a good option.

Google AdWords is a program where you advertise your website so that it shows up on the first page of Google’s search results. It’s a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) method, which means you are charged a certain fee only when someone clicks on the link that directs them to your site. It’s possible to run a Google AdWords Campaign yourself, but unless you’re confident, you should hire someone to manage an AdWords Campaign for you.

Marketing in Action: Dr. Yoon, the local dentist mentioned above, had ThriveHive manage a Google AdWords Boost for him. This jumpstarted his new business while his organic results improved for his new website. With geographically targeted keywords and a reasonable budget for advertising, AdWords worked to get patients in the door to his new dental practice.

While his traffic was growing with paid search, Dr. Yoon started blogging and posting to social media to help grow his organic search terms. After a few months, his organic results were good enough, and he was able to stop paying for the AdWords campaign.

Being a new business can be difficult in a noisy market but, as you can see, with the right help and SEO tips, it’s entirely possible to get your new small business on the first page of Google.

How to Rank Higher on Google Maps in 2018

To get the full benefits of Google Maps, it’s not just about how to get your business on Google Maps, but how to get it ranking higher on Google Maps. “Ranking” refers to how high your business appears in the list of search results when someone makes a search using Google Maps. The first page of a Google Maps listing is a very coveted place to be, as users are unlikely to search farther than the first page of search results. Here are 7 tips to get your business ranking higher in Google Maps.

Google Maps Ranking Factors

While Google Maps ranking used to be based on such things as proximity and industry categories, Google is now including other factors into its calculation of rankings. This is good news for small and medium sized businesses whose listings may otherwise be overshadowed by large corporations and chain companies. There are several things you can to increase your ranking and market your business on Google Maps.

1. Verify your Google My Business Information

The more Google knows about your business, the better it will be able to correctly display your business listing online. Make sure that your listing is complete and accurate, including:

Contact information and website. Include all possible contact information including your address, telephone number, and website so that Google can provide as much information as possible.
Business hours. Google Maps tells users if a business is open or closed and if it’s opening or closing soon. Adding business hours to your listing can give potential customers the impetus to use your business.
No duplicate pieces of information. Google will discredit businesses with multiple phone numbers or locations listed for one actual business. Weed out the superfluous and make sure all information written is accurate.
2. Get Google Reviews

User reviews add another dimension of trustworthiness to a business, and Google has recognized that fact by ranking businesses with a high volume of good reviews higher on Google Maps. Keep in mind that, once you open up your business for reviews, there is no turning back. Like other sites like Yelp, you will not have control over what people say, so your reviews may be both good and bad. Check out this post on how to get more business from Google and Yelp reviews.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Unless your service is truly atrocious, bad reviews, statistically speaking, tend to be far and few in-between. To get started, copy your Google review link. Go to your Google map listing, click “more information” and copy the direct link you find there. Share this link over your social media channels to encourage reviews. You can also create a landing page on your website that leads directly to your Google Maps listing review form.

To give yourself a boost, ask a handful of trusted, loyal customers (ones who you know will leave you a positive review) to write a review for you. Just a few positive reviews will be enough to instantly rev up your rankings.

3. Properly Categorize Your Business

When you first create a Google Maps listing, you have the option of adding a primary industry category, or “keyword” to describe your business.

What many business owners don’t know is that you can add up to five additional categories. You should make use of all five of these. Your primary category should be the main classification for your business (ex: realtor, restaurant), while the remaining five categories should incorporate local SEO keywords that act as additional descriptors (ex: Dallas realtor, Paradise Heights restaurant).

4. Embed a Google Map on Your Website

Another way to rank higher on Google Maps is to embed a Google Map on your website. Most businesses place a map on the contact page of their site. Embedding a Google Map is just another way to telling Google that your business is located where your listings says it is. Use the same address that you have on your Google My Business listing.

To embed a Google Map on your website, search for your business name in Google Maps. Click on the three lines next to your business name and click “Share or Embed Map” as shown in the photo below. Copy and paste the link on your business’s contact page.

how to embed a google map

5. Optimize the Listing Description

Your Google Maps listing has a character limit, but instead of putting a superfluous description, you should include local SEO keywords that describe your business. For example, instead of “great realtor offering exemplary customer service” write “Dallas realtor with best rates” or something similar.

Related: Local SEO for Small Businesses

6. Use a Local Telephone Number

Google looks down upon toll-free (800 and 877) numbers because these types of numbers are frequently used for spam. Local telephone numbers show that your business is a brick and mortar location in the area.

For this reason you should be using a local telephone number with an area code that matches your location. It’s ok to have a toll free number on your website, but if you want to have a higher Google Maps ranking, use a local number for your Google listing.

7. Add Photos to the Listing

One of the easiest ways to stand out on Google Maps is to add a photo to your Google My Business listing. Choose a good photo of your business that’s on your website or highlights your business. You can add more than one photo so choose ones that will entice customers to come to your business.

Listings that don’t include photos of the business will show a generic map of your business’s location like this:

google maps marketing

To add a photo to your Google Maps listing, you simply edit your original listing on Google+ (the listing that drives Google My Business and Google Maps) to add photos. Read our post for more information on how to set up a Google+ Page for your business.

If you have a Google listing, check to make sure that you have all of these things in order to get Google putting your business on the first page of Google Maps.

Voice Search Changes Will Make You Change Your SEO Strategy

Who knew our Jetson-like dreams of talking to robots would actually come true? Well it’s 2016, and we can practically have a full blown conversation with digital voice-activated personal assistants build right into our cell phones. Siri, Cortana, and Google can all tell us what time it is, what the weather’s like, and where we should go for our morning coffee, and mobile users are finally starting to take advantage of them.

In the last year alone, the rate of voice search has grown exponentially. With recent advances in voice search technology, and the increasing convenience of simply being able to ask your phone for directions, more and more people are starting to use voice search, and it’s begun to affect SEO.

Don’t believe me? Well what if I told you that in 2014 alone, 55% of teens, and 41% of adults reported using voice search on a daily basis? It’s true, and that number only continues to grow.

Today, voice search now accounts for more than 10 percent of all global search volume. That’s more than 50 billion voice searches a month!

That’s 50 billion searches a month that you could be targeting. Voice search is a major opportunity for SEO writers to take advantage of now, as it continues to grow. It’s fairly simple to target, and optimizing your content for voice search will help you rank for text search as well. What’s more, there’s way more relevant data coming from voice search that you can use to strategize your PPC ad campaigns for higher conversion rates.

So how do you do it?

First you have to understand how consumers use voice search, and then you can tailor your website, and your content to reflect those common trends. Here’s a few specific ways voice search is changing SEO, and how you can take advantage:

Long tail keywords

The first major difference between voice search and text search is how people go about asking for what they want. People using voice search often use more words in their query, than they would in a standard text search. Say for example, you’re searching Arnold Schwarzenegger. Your text searcher is just going to type in Arnold’s first and last name, and then hit the enter key. Your voice searcher on the other hand, is going to say “How many pounds can Arnold Schwarzenegger bench press?” That’s a whole lot of extra words, and all of those additional words are going to affect your keyword strategy.

Clearly, people using voice search through personal assistants like Siri or Cortana are using longer search terms. This means to take advantage, SEO experts need to start focusing more on the long-tail keyword. SEO as we know it is changing, and the rising popularity of voice search means more and more queries are going to be conversational in tone. So by putting an emphasis on conversational long-tail keywords, you’ll be more able to target those consumers.

FAQ strategy

Just as voice searchers are more likely to use conversational, long tail keyword phrases to search, they’re more likely to phrase their query as a question. A typical voice search starts “Hey Google, where can I find…” or “Hey Siri, how do I…” People are looking for information, and when we do that in real life, we ask a question. So it makes sense that Who, What, Where, When and How, are some of the most common words used in a voice search.

For SEO experts, this means that all that work you’ve been doing to draw text searchers in with question-based titles is really going to pay off. We’ve long known that site viewers are more likely to click on a blog post with a question title, and now those question titles are going to help you rank for voice searches.

If you haven’t been incorporating questions into your blog posts, an easy way to start is by thinking of the most frequently asked questions your business receives. By creating a blog post that addresses those questions, you’ll be ranking for people asking that question on voice search, and the people who search by text as well.

Write in a natural voice

In many ways, voice search is actually making SEO easier for content writers. Now, instead of trying to find creative ways to slip in your keywords naturally, you can just write naturally. In recent years, Google has made a few updates, most notably Panda and Penguin, that are penalizing websites for keyword stuffing. While this was initially a big hit for many websites, the end goal was to improve user experience, something that voice search updates also continue to address.

The best way to rank for voice searches is to write in naturally, because people are most likely to say those voice queries in a natural voice. This means when you’re thinking of those long tail keywords, make sure to include the little words. “Where can I find a new camera in the city.” While historically these would have been left out in an attempt to rank for short tail keywords, the rising prevalence of conversational voice search makes those little words increasingly more important. To boost your ranking for voice searches, go ahead and keep them in. It’s good to know that they won’t hurt your text searches, they’ll actually boost your ranking for those long tail conversational keywords across the board.

Tailor PPC Ads based on intent

While a standard Google search from someone typing on their phone might be “digital cameras,” someone talking to Siri might say instead “Siri, where can I buy digital cameras?”

The big difference here is that in the voice search, intent is addressed. When a person searches digital camera on a text search, Google has no idea if they want to buy a camera, if they want to look at different types of digital cameras, or if they’re looking to figure out how digital cameras work. But when a person uses voice search, their intent is clear. They want to know where they can buy a camera, making their position in the sales funnel very clear, and making it a lot easier for you to write content that will convert those leads to sales.

This is a major bonus for your paid search campaigns. You no longer have to guess which keywords are going to get you the highest conversions, because the intent in voice search is clear. Now, instead of bidding on something general like “digital camera,” you can bid on optimized long tail keywords like, “where can I buy a digital camera?” You know for a fact that the person searching this query is looking to buy a digital camera. They’ve made it through the sales funnel all the way to the decision step, and now they just need to click on your ad. Since you know people who search this question are super close to buying, the money you shell out for this term is worth it for the high conversion rates you’ll see as a result.

Importance of local search

Finally, let’s talk about local searches. They account for the vast majority of all voice searches. Why? Because people often use voice search to find nearby restaurants, coffee shops, autobody shops, malls, and anything else you can think of. We already knew local SEO was important, but now that personal assistants like Siri and Cortana are giving out directions, it’s become a necessity for any SEO content writer worth their salt to incorporate location into their blog posts and content offers.

If you want to take advantage of local voice search, you need to get your NAP in order. NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone number, and it’s so important that we wrote a whole blog about it. Once you’ve got that set across the board, start incorporating local language into your site, meta-data, and content. This will boost your text search results, and make you highly visible on voice search results as well.

As technology continues to improve, voice search will only become more prevalent. Siri, Google, and Cortana are becoming more and more perceptive, and while they can’t predict our thoughts yet, they are a very useful tool for the busy people of the world. It’s important to start taking advantage of voice search today, as these personal assistants become more popular. As you optimize your content for voice searches, you’ll see more conversions, and more leads.

We hope these tips have been helpful, and shed a little light into the continuously changing world of SEO. If you have any questions about your SEO strategy, or if you’re looking to boost your digital conversion rates, make sure to get in touch.

How To Motivate Websites to Link To Your Site for Link Building Purposes in 2018

Without other websites linking to your business’s website, there’s no chance that it will rank highly for any of your chosen keywords. At a rough estimate though, most small businesses need 30-250 websites to link to their site in order to rank highly for 5-10 averagely competitive keywords. Whether you need 30 or 250 links, one principle is important – you need to give others a reason to link to you.

If there’s no reason for anyone to link to your website, then no-one will link to it, and you’ll be left with only lower quality backlinks that you can build yourself. Some links that you can build yourself, like social media profiles and reputable business listing profiles, are acceptable, however, there are probably only 20 or so of those that are worth building, and those links alone won’t be sufficient if you want your site to rank highly.

Getting others to link to your business’s website is rarely as easy as just asking them to do so. You can ask, but if that’s the extent of your strategy, you’ll rarely get. People who own websites largely know that there is value passed by linking to someone else’s site, and they’ve been inundated with such requests in the past, so just asking people, especially people you don’t know, to link to your site is often a waste of time. What you need to do is give them a reason to link to your site.

So, what are the reasons that someone will link to your website?

They Think Your Website Is Unique, Interesting, Engaging, etc.

This is the ideal situation and how Google wants links to be built – someone naturally finds your website (maybe through a Google search, a social media mention or a link on another site), likes the content that you publish, and links to it to let visitors to their site know about it. For this approach to work at all, it’s essential that the content you publish is unique, interesting, engaging, etc. The content on your site has to be better than just ok – it has to be good at least, and ideally outstanding. If your site’s content isn’t at least as good as your competitors’ content, then there’s no reason for people to link to your site instead of theirs. What you can’t do, if your site is new and/or has little to no existing trust and authority, is just publish great content and do nothing else. If you do that, no-one will be able to find your content in the first place to link to it. Therefore, early on especially, you have to actively promote your content too, by letting other people know about it through email, forums, blogs, social media, etc. Once you start getting some links, social media mentions and rankings, this approach becomes much easier, as you then have a steady flow of people coming to your site, some of who will have websites themselves, and some of who will naturally link to your content.

They Know You And/Or Owe You A Favor

You probably know other people (friends, colleagues, partners, suppliers, etc.) that own websites, and if you ask them to link to your site then some of them may do so. The best prospects for this are businesses that you regularly pay money to for a service (online or offline) and so who will be keen to keep you happy by doing you a favour that will take them just 5 minutes to complete and won’t cost them anything. You can also contact people that you don’t know and offer them some advice about their site (maybe they have a broken link or a spelling mistake on their site, or maybe their site doesn’t load properly in a certain browser or screen resolution). If you do them a favour first, then they’ll be more likely to respond positively when you ask them for one. These links, built through personal relationships, are good because they’re difficult for your competitors to replicate – though, of course, they may also build links through their own personal relationships that you’ll be unable to replicate. A relationship based link from any good quality site is an option, however, try not to fill any more than 10% of your site’s backlink profile with links from sites that have no relevance to yours in terms of topic or location.

You Link To Their Website In Return

Link exchanges used to be a common and widespread practice in SEO as they were a mutually beneficial way to improve each other’s rankings. As the practice got widely abused, Google devalued the trust and authority that passes between reciprocal links, however, don’t disregard them altogether as there’s still some value in them, and even if the value of these types of links has reduced, they can still send targeted traffic to your site. If someone says that they’ll only link to your site if you link to theirs, you need to be sure about two things. Firstly, that they have a good quality website, which isn’t involved in spam-like practices (either on-site or off-site). Secondly, that there’s some logical connection between your site and theirs, such as through topic and/or location. If, for example, you offer computer repairs in Manchester, and you’re linking to a florist in Bristol, then the link may look suspicious to Google, and is better off avoided. Also, when engaging in link exchanges, try to ensure that the link to your site isn’t on some kind of links/partners page that’s filled with 10+ links to other sites. Getting linked to from within a blog post on another site is much preferable.

You Give Them Content To Publish On Their Website

If you have high quality content on your website, some people with sites covering similar topics, who aren’t competing with you (for example blogs, multi-topic sites, businesses in other countries, etc.), will be interested in re-publishing your content on their site. This is fine, so long as they link back to your site from the page that the content gets published on to credit you as the source of it. This is benefical for you, as you get a link back to your site and get exposure to a new audience, and also beneficial for them, as they get to publish good content on their site at no cost to them. Google has no problem with sites doing this, and, in fact, it’s quite a common approach, both online and offline, with newspapers, magazines and journals regularly syndicating content from one another. An alternative approach is to provide another site with fresh, unique content, which hasn’t been published anywhere else. This is typically in the format of a guest article or column – either a one-off or part of a series. This takes more time than simply re-publishing existing content from your site, however, it makes a positive response from the person you’re contacting more likely, and the link to your site, coming from a page of unique content, is more valuable than a link coming from a page of syndicated content. A good idea is to use existing content on your site as a basis for the new content – summarise it, present it in a different format, approach it from a different angle, or tailor it towards a new audience.

You Provide Them With A Financial Incentive

Money (or discounts, gifts, etc.) is a strong reason for people to do anything and it’s the one most likely to persuade someone to link to your business’s website. If you contact someone say “link to my website”, then you might be looking at a 2% positive response rate (and only then if you have high quality content and/or link to them in return), but if you change that to “link to my website and I’ve give you £100” then the positive reponse rate will probably increase ten-fold (and the quality of your content won’t matter and you won’t have to link to them in return). The problem with this is that buying backlinks contravenes Google’s guidelines, and the consequences of a penalty can be severe. However, lots of businesses do buy backlinks, and lots of them get good rankings from doing so. Under no circumstances should you consider paying for low quality links, but buying a handful of high quality ones can speed up results. The lowest risk paid backlinks are those created in a way that makes them look exactly like a normal link on a normal site. If the site selling the links sells only a few of them, only links to relevant sites, and only adds sold links within relevant articles (instead of in the sidebar or footer), then Google will probably never realise that the links have been paid for. These types of links are expensive though. You can expect to pay around $30 per month for each one. You should only do this if you’re prepared to accept, and your business can cope with, the risk of your website getting penalised and losing rankings for a long time, or even forever.

Top Headline Words That Will Make You and Your Visitors Read Your Content

It is difficult to overstate the importance of headlines. A good headline can entice and engage your audience to click, to read, and to share your content. In many cases headlines are the thing that is shared rather than the article. So you knew that. But do you know what makes an engaging headline?While there is no magic formula for creating a viral or popular headline, there are many lessons we can learn to improve our content engagement. We shared our findings with a number of content experts to reflect on the implications of the research for writers. We have included their expert thoughts and advice at the end of this post.

Note: This research looks at the most shared headlines on Facebook and Twitter which tend to be dominated by major publishers and consumer content. Thus the insights will be particularly interesting for publishers. We are undertaking separate research on engaging headlines for business to business content which we will publish later this year.

Most Engaging Headline Phrases: The Data

In our survey of 100m headlines published between 1st March 2017 and 10th May 2017, the three word phrases or trigrams that gained the most Facebook engagements (likes, shares, comments) were as follows.Most engaging headline phrases by Facebook Engagement

Why The Data Will Make You Think Again About Headlines

In our sample the most powerful three word phrase used in a headline (by some margin) was:

  “Will make you … “

This phrase “will make you” gained more than twice the number of Facebook engagements as the second most popular headline trigram. This was a surprise. When we started out looking for top trigrams, this one wasn’t even on our list.

So why does this particular trigram or three word phrase work so well? One of the interesting things is that it is a linking phrase. It doesn’t start or end a headline, rather it makes explicit the linkage between the content and the potential impact on the reader.

This headline format sets out why the reader should care about the content. It also promises that the content will have a direct impact on the reader, often an emotional reaction. The headline is clear and to the point which makes it elegant and effective.

Typical headlines include:

  • 24 Pictures That Will Make You Feel Better About The World
  • What This Airline Did for Its Passengers Will Make You Tear Up – So Heartwarming
  • 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You a Better Person
  • “Who Wore It Better?” Pics That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud
  • 13 Travel Tips That Will Make You Feel Smart

See the most shared “will make you” headlines from the last year.

Emotional Headlines Drive Facebook Interactions

In our analysis we found that emotional phrases were consistently effective on Facebook as measured by the number of interactions. For example:

  • Tears of joy
  • Make you cry
  • Give you goosebumps
  • Is too cute
  • Shocked to see
  • Melt your heart
  • Can’t stop laughing

Many of the top performing posts with emotional headlines had image or video content although there were also story posts. Below is an example video post.

melt-your-heart-popular-headlines

Despite the strong performance of emotional posts, content writers increasingly have to be careful in using emotional and sensational language. In May 2017 Facebook announced it will demote “headlines that exaggerate the details of a story with sensational language” and which aim “to make the story seem like a bigger deal than it really is.”

Curiosity and Voyeurism Also Gain Facebook Engagement

Headline phrases that provoke curiosity and a sense of voyeurism also gained a high level of engagement on Facebook. For example:

  • What happened next
  • Talking about it
  • Twitter reacts to
  • Are freaking out
  • Top x songs

Readers are often curious about what is being talked about by people, what the top items are in a league table, or what is being said by people on Twitter about a topic or event. This type of content appeals to a reader’s sense of curiosity and voyeurism. If you are curious, here are the most shared posts in the last year that have “are freaking out” in the headline.

We would caution writers to avoid ‘what happened next’ style headlines. While they have previously performed well, Facebook now categorises headlines that withhold information as clickbait and demotes them. In my personal view this is a good thing and I hope we will see an end to such clickbait headlines.

Other Engaging Headline Phrases

Explanations

  • This is why
  • The reason is

These phrases are also linked strongly to curiosity. For example:

  • And this is why women live longer than men…
  • This is why you should be sleeping on your left side

We all want to feel that bit smarter after reading a piece of content. Explainer articles promise you an extra nugget of insight. In some ways they are similar to the “will make you” phrase headline as they make a promise about what you’ll gain as a result of reading the article.

Here are the most shared ‘this is why’ headlines of the last year.

Quizzes

  • Can we guess
  • Only x in

These phrases are used in popular quiz headlines, for example:

  • Can We Guess Your Real Age?
  • Only 1 In 50 People Can Identify These 16 Grammar Mistakes. Can You?

Quizzes remain an engaging format on Facebook. The first of these headline types is a quiz variation, it challenges you to answer to questions and to see if the quiz can then predict your age, level of education, job etc., based on your answers. These quizzes appeal to our desire to know more about ourselves and to prove we’re smart, we did grow up in the 80s, we are living in the right city, or whatever it might be. These quizzes are like mirrors, it’s hard to walk past with out looking at yourself. They are hard to ignore.

Tribal headlines

  • X things only

These popular headlines appeal to a sense of tribal belonging for example:

  • 25 Things Only Teachers Will Understand
  • 17 Things Only Moms of Twins Understand
  • 9 Things Only Girls Who Grew Up With Older Brothers Will Understand
  • 10 Things Only Night Shift Nurses Understand

Here are the most shared examples of ‘things only’ headlines in the last year.

We have seen a significant growth in tribal headlines, particularly politically partisan headlines. It is almost as if there is a duty on the tribe to share posts that support their viewpoints. We saw this in the US elections and we have seen something similar in the recent UK elections. These tribal headlines tend to gain a lot of engagement and shares, which might be encouraging sites to use polemical headlines more frequently.

 The Worst Performing Phrases

We thought it would also be interesting to examine the commonly used phrases in headlines that receive the lowest Facebook engagement.

Worst performing headlines phrases on Facebook engagement

Note: We only looked at phrases or trigrams that were used on a minimum of 100 different domains. There will be worse performing phrases than those used above but these are the worst performing commonly used phrases.

It was interesting to see how poorly phrases like ‘on a budget’ performed on Facebook. While some individual articles did well, the average Facebook engagement was very low. By contrast the phrase ‘on a budget’ appears to work really well on Pinterest for DIY topics. See the examples below.

pinterest-headlines

This highlights the importance of context. It may simply be that Facebook is not a place where someone is actively looking for tips to save money and that the Pinterest DIY context is better suited to this content. This reinforces the need to research what works for your audience, your topics and specific social networks.  A headline may perform poorly on Facebook but work very well with a different audience on a different social network. The same is true when writing for different sectors, for example a phrase like ‘need to know’ may work well in say health but work less well in a different context. The key is to research what resonates with your specific audience and to test your headlines.

Phrases That Start Or End Headlines

The most popular phrase “will make you” is a phrase that clearly sits in the centre of a headline as it connects two elements. Thus it creates the structure by linking something to an emotional reaction.

This was partly a surprise as previous research has suggested the most important part of a headline is the first three words and the last three words. It may be that using a linking phrase such as “will make you” actually emphasizes the importance of both the beginning and end of the sentence.

We thought it would be useful to look at the top three word phrases that start headlines and the phrases that end headlines.

Below are the most popular phrases that start headlines by number of Facebook interactions (x represents a number).Top phrases starting headlines by facebook engagement

Below are the most popular phrases that end headlines by number of Facebook interactions (x represents a number).

Top Phrases Ending Headlines by Facebook Engagement

Finally, below are the most popular first words that start headlines by average Facebook interactions.

Top First Word in headlines Facebook

 

Two word phrases

In our analysis we also looked at the most shared bigrams or two word combinations. Often these were part of longer three word phrases or trigrams that we have previously identified, for example:

  • ‘Make you’ – part of ‘will make you’
  • ‘Is why’ – part of ‘this is why’

There were, however, a few exceptional two word phrases that gained a high level of average engagements. These included:

  • ‘goes viral’           9,746 average engagements
  • ‘most beautiful’    3,921 average engagements

Both of these align with the high engaging headline types we found when looking at three word phrases. The first is a form of voyeuristic content which provokes curiosity for example ‘High School Seniors Paint Their Parking Spots And Their Art Goes Viral On Twitter’.

The second is a form of emotional content with often an explicit promise of exceptional content. For example ‘Clementinum In Prague Is The Most Beautiful Library In The World’. This particular example, was picked up and reused by Bored Panda with a similar headline ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Library Is In Prague, Czech Republic’. Both posts got over 250,000 Facebook engagements.

Here are the most shared posts of the last year with ‘goes viral’ in the headline.

The Power of List Posts and the Number 10 in Headlines

Many of the most engaging phrases contain numbers, and many use a list post format i.e. headlines that start with a number. It is well known that list posts gain above average social shares. We were interested to see if there was any variation between the performance of different numbers, for example a list post starting with 10 or say 4. The table below shows the average Facebook engagements for different number list posts in our sample.Top numbers to use in headlines by facebook engagement

We can see that the number 10 was the highest performing headline number, which confirms previous research in this area. Our research found that the next three best performing numbers in headlines were 5, 15 and 7.

Many marketers have advocated using unique numbers or much longer numbers for comprehensive articles. Buzzfeed have had a lot of success with the number 23 for example, but on average 10, 5, 15 and 7 are the top performing list posts.

How Many Words Should be in your Headlines? More Than You Think

Let’s look at the length of your headline. Experts such as Jacob Neilson have argued that the best headlines for news sites are very short. Jacob argues for as short as five words or less than 40 characters. Buffer’s Kevan Lee wrote a comprehensive post which suggested blog post headlines should ideally be six words or less than 50 characters. By contrast, research from Outbrain looking at 100,000 posts, suggests that 16 to 18 words and 80 to 110 characters is optimal for driving engagement. When it comes to email subject lines, research by MailChimp suggests that it doesn’t really matter how long subject lines are.

We decided to test these assumptions. with our sample of 100m articles published between 1st March and 10 May 2017.  We analyzed the number of words in article headlines and plotted this number against the average number of Facebook engagements for all headlines in our sample. The results are shown on the chart below.

headline_words_engagements

 

We can see that posts with twelve to eighteen words in the headline receive the highest number of Facebook engagements on average. As headlines get longer or shorter the average number of Facebook engagements decline.

Twelve plus words may sound like a lot, though if you’re going to make clear the topic, format and use an effective trigram you will need them. Here are some examples:

This Infographic Shows How Only 10 Companies Own All The World’s Food Brands

E-Cigarettes Found to Have 10 times More Cancer Causing Ingredients than Regular Cigarettes

We also looked at the relationship between the number of characters in a headline and average FB engagements. Our findings were as follows:

headline_chars_engagements

 

Not surprisingly the number of characters has a similar relationship to average Facebook engagements as the number of words. In essence 80 to 95 characters appears optimal.

Thus our research findings would tend to support Outbrain’s previous research that longer headlines work better when it comes to engagement.

Headline Phrases That Engage On Twitter

Will a headline that works on Facebook work equally well on Twitter? Not necessarily. We found the headline phrases that gained the most engagement on Twitter were quite distinct from those that gained high engagement on Facebook. The main exception was the powerful “will make you” phrase which was the top phrase on Facebook and also the fourth most shared phrase on Twitter.

What is particularly interesting is the lack of emotional phrases in the top headlines that resonate on Twitter. This is very different to our findings for Facebook.

Top Headline Phrases on Twitter

The top Twitter phrases have a focus on newness such as “for first time” and “is the new”.

The top trigrams shared on Twitter also focus more on explanations and analysis for example:

  • The truth about
  • The rise of
  • Things to know
  • This is what
  • What we know

You can test the impact of different headlines on Twitter by trying different text in your tweets.

B2B Headlines

Update: 18th July 2017. We have now completed our analysis of the best B2B headlines where we reviewed the 10 million most shared posts on LinkedIn in 2017. We found significant differences between the best headline phrases, structures, numbers and lengths for B2B headlines compared to B2C headlines.

You can read the full analysis and post here: The best B2B headline phrases, words and formats based on 10 million posts shared on LinkedIn.

The top phrases in headlines shared on LinkedIn were as follows.

Top-B2B-Headline-Phrases

We also found a significant difference between optimum headline lengths for B2B and B2C content. The optimum number of words in B2B headlines was much lower as we can see below. The red line is average LinkedIn shares and the blue line is average Facebook shares.

fb-linkedin-words

The key point is that there is no simple formula or approach when it comes to popular headlines, you need to research and understand the headlines that resonate with your audience and industry.

Expert Reflections and Advice

We shared our research with a number of content experts to get their thoughts, reflections and advice for content writers. Here is their take on the findings.

Ann Handley
Ann Handley

“I love research that quantifies content marketing success. But at the same time, I will be gutted if businesses take this information and conclude that the best headline to use forever and always is something like 10 Ways That Will Make You a Better Headline Writer (and You Won’t Believe What Happens Next!)

That’s a facile (and ridiculous) interpretation. Instead, the broader messages here are:
  1. Spend as much time writing the headline as you do an entire blog post or social post. Why? Because the headline matters. (Really matters.) (I do this, by the way.)
  2.  Test what resonates with YOUR audience. (Not mine. And not your co-working neighbor’s. And not your dog sitter’s uncle’s audience. YOURS.)
  3.  Burn some brain cells getting a little creative with your headlines. This research hopefully inspires you to rethink headlines, because it tells you what kind of headlines have worked for 100m posts in the past. But of course, it’s just a measure of what has worked, not what will work. Think more deeply: What does it suggest? What might it inspire? Use this data as a kind of guidepost to inspire your own, new, never-before-trodden path.”

Andy Crestodina

andy_crestodina“I’m sure that some marketers will take this research as prescriptive advice and cram every top trigram into a 15 word headline. “This is why these 10 stunning photos will make you cry tears of joy!” I’ll admit, I’d probably click that.

But think for a minute about the cause behind the correlations. This research is telling us to give readers stronger reasons to click.

Every time our readers see a headline, they do a split second cost-benefit calculation. It doesn’t matter if they’re in an inbox, a social stream or a search results page. The psychology is the same. Is this thing worth two seconds of my time?

The headline’s job is to answer this question. Here’s how:

  • Take as many words as you need to make the case that the click is worth it
  • Be specific (this is why, this is how, the reason is)
  • If it’s not emotional, it better be useful (work for you, x simple tips, you should use)

This research holds some very powerful insights. I’m sure it will change how many marketers craft their headlines. For me, the big takeaway is to maximize the perceived benefit of the click. Because that’s the game we’re all playing: we only click when the likely benefits exceed the cost of 2-seconds of our attention!”

Heidi Cohen

Cohen_Heid

“The B2B research reveals an opportunity for marketers and content creators to stand out not by following the pack but by applying the emotional elements that work for posts in general. B2B content and marketing has come a long way thanks to Joe Pulizzi and Ann Handley but it can go further by tapping into the human voice and connection.”

Michael Brenner

michael-brenner“There are three important things to note from the research.

Headlines matter. Maybe that sounds obvious and most of us know this. But do we all spend as much time as we should on headlines? I suggest spending nearly as much time on the headline as on the article itself!

Curiosity drives shares. Captain obvious here again. But the trick is to find a way to spark that curiosity in every headline. It’s why headlines that start with “Here’s why…” or “The one thing that will make you…” work really well. Because they spark instant curiosity. They make us feel compelled to read.

Tell stories. Yes, you can tell a story in a 15 word headline. Hemingway did it in 6 words with his “For sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.” We tell stories to convey emotion. To bring people into our frame of the world. To forget where they are for a moment. To make them the hero on a journey to a better place.”

Larry Kim

Larry Kim “I’m blown away at how hard people work on producing content only to slap on a crappy headline as an afterthought. If you have a great article, don’t sabotage yourself by using a weak hook – there’s nothing wrong with using these catchy phrases. Stop fighting them! Like it or not, click through rates play an ever increasing role in the organic search and social news feed algorithms that essentially determine if your content is seen or not. Why produce content if not to be consumed? Stop shooting yourself in the foot and use this research.”

Headline Review Questions

The danger of this type of research is that people simply look to reuse the most shared phrases or words in their headlines. However, the real value of the research is a better understanding of the formats and principles of the headlines that resonate with readers. The research suggests that the characteristics of engaging headlines typically include one or more of the following:

  • A focus on why the reader should care
  • Clarity and promise
  • Emotional hooks
  • Provoke curiosity
  • Provide explanations
  • Appeal to a tribe

The research also reinforces the importance of context and of understanding what works in your specific context, such as your audience, your industry, your topics and your social networks.

With these points in mind here are some questions that may be useful to ask when formulating your headlines:

  • Why should the reader care about your content?
  • Can you make a promise or claim about the impact of your article on the reader?
  • Can you include an emotional element – especially if looking to gain traction on Facebook?
  • Are you tapping into a trending topic, if so can you call it out in the headline?
  • Can you make it a quiz or challenge?
  • Could you position it as an explanation or answer post?
  • Who’s your tribe – what headlines resonate with them?
  • Will a more partisan or controversial headline appeal to your tribe?
  • Are you aiming for 12-18 words in your headline?

How Did We Decide On The Headline For This Post?

We brainstormed a range of possible headlines including ones such as ‘Headlines That Engage: Insights from 100m Posts.’ When we did further research using BuzzSumo, we looked specifically at large research projects in the marketing sector and found that ‘we analyzed’ and ‘we learned’ worked really well as a structure. For example:

Thus after much deliberation and discussion we decided on using this format for the post headline.

Methodology Note

We looked at the headlines of 100m articles published from March 1st, 2017 to May 10, 2017 and analysed those that gained the most social shares.

We specifically looked at top trigrams (three word phrases) used in headlines. We started by ignoring trigrams that were topics such as  “Game of Thrones”.

We were conscious that popular sites can skew the results, therefore for this analysis we only included one headline trigram example per domain. For instance, “can we guess” is a very popular BuzzFeed trigram thus we would only have included one “can we guess” headline from BuzzFeed in our trigram analysis. From the subsequent list we then removed the three most shared examples of each trigram to remove potential outliers, such as a post that got say 100,000 shares.

For our analysis of the optimum number of words and characters in headlines we included all 100m posts.

How To Analyze Headline Phrases Using BuzzSumo

If you want to do some analysis of headline phrases yourself, you can simply put a phrase in double quotes into BuzzSumo such as “can we guess”. The search will return the most shared articles with that phrase in the headline and display the share counts from each network and the number of linking domains. Here is an example of the most shared posts for “the future of.  You can further refine your search by adding additional words after the phrase in quotes, here is an example: the future of” Elon Musk. This will return the most shared headlines with the phrase “the future of” and Elon Musk. You can do this for multiple phrases or phrases and topics.

The various BuzzSumo paid plans allow you to review the most shared headline phrases over the past five years and to export up to 10,000 examples of each phrase with share and link data for further analysis. You can also:

You may also be interested in our previous post on how to create viral headlines.

How to Use Landing Pages to Convert More Visitors to Leads in 2018

What Are Landing Pages?

Most people assume, “If I’m going to have advertising or I’m going to send an email out, why can’t I send them to my home page?” The challenge with the home page is that there’s often a disconnect with the messaging. If you send out an email about The Best New Houses in Your Market, sending visitors to the home page isn’t giving them the content that was promised.

Why Are Landing Pages Important?

What landing pages allow you to do is speak to specific audiences. So you might make a landing page for a specific neighborhood or a specific type of buyer – whether that be a first-time home buyer, a vacation home buys, or a second home buyer. Those alone are three different communications that you want to make sure aren’t distracting for different audiences. If I’m looking for a second home, for example, I don’t really need to know how to get a mortgage, because I’ve already done that numerous times – that’s content you would gear toward a first-time buyer. So, you really want to use different language on each landing page.

How Do I Use Landing Pages?

I like to use some landing pages to convert visitors to leads. What you do that with is either called an exchange, or a bribe, or a promise. You’re going to give them something of value in exchange for permission to contact them. So, what you’re trying to do is have a lead capture form that’s going to ask for their name and email. Remember, if you ask for too many things, that may cause some people to be cautious about giving that information to you. You’re going to promise to deliver something and you really need to deliver something of value. So that might be a housing evaluation, a home report, a pricing report, an ebook, a guide, neighborhood insight, some videos on how to best sell your house, how to sell your house by yourself. All of those are just examples of things you could offer to someone. Remember to align that offer with the specific type of audience that you’re trying to attract.

What Makes a Good Landing Page?

Anatomy of a good landing page learn how to create a landing page to get more clients in 2018
The first thing is the headline. That’s really the thing that’s going to grab their attention when they land on that page, because you really have about 3 seconds. Your lead came from some other link, email, or Google search and landed on this page. Your headline is going to tell them whether they’re in the right spot.

Then you want some very concise and very compelling copy. What are they going to get by staying on this page?

Next, a really strong image. It can be a beautiful image, it can be a small graphic, but it has to relate to the reason why they landed there and, general, from where they came and what the promise was.

Finally, you want to have a call-to-action and a lead capture. The lead capture is really that ability to ask for some personal information and what you’re really asking for is permission – permission to contact them in some way, give them the information, and continue to contact them. You’ve gotta build trust to do that. So, make sure that your all of your copy isn’t too salesy. But, you do have to make your offer compelling, because otherwise they aren’t going to fill out their information.

How Do I Drive Traffic to My Landing Page?

There are three ways to deal with driving traffic. One is paid advertising: Google, Bing, or Facebook advertising. The next is SEO, which is really search: creating content and information that gets discovered via the search engines that drives folks to your site. The last way is your email list – we’ll assume you have one. If you don’t, I suggest that you start building one because that’s readily-made permission with your potential clients to contact them on a regular basis. Then what you can do is message them in a way that shows the value of what you’re offering and drives them to particular landing pages.

Where Do I Get Started?

Look at a couple of services out there that are really easy to use, very inexpensive, and allow you to create landing pages on the fly. One of them is LeadPages.Net – a really simple service that integrates with your WordPress or any other type of site. You can generate a landing page using the templates that they have. It’ll connect to your email service or CRM and allow you to capture those leads and funnel them into the tool you already use.

The other one is Unbounce.com, another really fantastic tool. It has a few more bells and whistles in the form of A/B testing, so you can try two different versions of a landing page and see which one converts better.

Get started today; it’s a really simple process and it will help you increase the conversion of visitors to leads so you can get more business.

How to use Images to Boost SEO Google Search Rankings in 2018

What is Geo-Tagging?

Geo-Tagging tells the internet where the photo was taken utilizing GPS technology. It is commonly used on mobile phone devices and social media apps. What you may not know is that you can manipulate this data and embed code that tells the web that the image was taken somewhere else, namely whatever local business or venue you are want to increase ranking and visibility for. Add to the mix the proper description of the image and alt description and you’ve got a formula for Google first page ranking success.

Benefits of Geo-Tagging Images include:

Search Queries. Search engine users typically add in location-based information when typing something into a search bar. For example, someone might very well type in “Accountants in Los Angeles, Ca.” Therefore, you want your company to be associated with this location so that you pop up in that search.

Image Search. You can’t forget that photos also show up on many SERPs, often at the top. If you can geo-tag your images, it will help search engines determine which images should show up on that SERP.

Check-Ins. Being a part of social geo-tagging on Facebook or Yelp, is a great way to get your company name out there on a platform that is familiar to millions. If you can show up on a list of suggested businesses in the area through these platforms, you have a great chance of improving your business.

When is geo-tagging not a good idea? The idea of geo-tagging will help businesses in a very geographic specific market be found by relevant consumers, as well as helping companies gather data about a local audience. Therefore, if you are a regional company or business, geo-tagging is incredibly important; if you are a national or international business, it won’t do much to help your cause.

Three Ways to Get Started Geo-Tagging Your Website Images for Local Search

1) Online Tools. The most popular way to do this is to use an online tool to geo-tag and add the GPS coordinates of your local business or city you are ranking for to the image. Flickr the easiest way to make this happen. Our favorite tool is GeoImgr because you can geotag multiple photos at once. You simply upload a photo, fill in title tags, descriptions, and GPS coordinates.

2) GPS Camera. This will likely work best for bloggers who take their own photos. If you buy a GPS enabled camera, all of the information you need will be saved for you on the actual camera.

3) Use your Mobile Phone As the cameras on mobile phones now rival those of professional stand alone cameras, it is possible to use your mobile phone to take professional images of your business or local venue and use on your website. These photos from your phone will automatically be geo-tagged. However this can be very cumbersome, especially if you are trying to rank for multiple cities.

Properly Naming Images for SEO Rankings

Don’t go this.

Most images on the web use their file name similar to something like “img175437.jpg” or some variation of an automated file name. People then upload these images onto their site.

Do this.

Prior to uploading the image or media file onto your site, take the extra time to rename the file for what it applies to and what your are ranking for. This is why there are times when you Google an image about a babe, you get images that can vary from a pig to a baby to a scantily clad woman. Be as descriptive and specific as possible in your file names.

At first it will feel weird as your file names may be longer than usual, and that’s okay. Remember that Google is a search engine-not a human being and its job is to simply provide the best search experience for its user. You are not manipulating the system, inasmuch as you are assisting it to deliver better results.

How to use Alt Descriptions

For any image on your site, the alt tag should describe what’s on it. Screen readers for the blind and visually impaired will read out this text and thus make your image accessible.

The alt and title attributes of an image are commonly referred to as alt tag or alt text and title tag even though they’re not technically tags. The alt text describes what’s on the image and the function of the image on the page. So if you have an image that’s used as a button to buy product X, the alt text would say: “button to buy product X”.

The alt tag is used by screen readers, the browsers used by blind and visually impaired people, to tell them what is on the image. The title attribute is shown as a tooltip when you hover over the element, so in the case of an image button, the button could contain an extra call-to-action, like “Buy product X now for $19!”.

Each image should have an alt text. Not just for SEO purposes but also because blind and visually impaired people otherwise won’t know what the image is for. Again, it does take a little more time to fill out these descriptions and titles, and this is is what separates the visibility and ranking of one site to another.

Local SEO 2018: Why it’s Important and How to Start

Local SEO 2018: Why it’s Important and How to Start


When you first start a website for your business, search engine optimization will undoubtedly be among the first things you discuss. After all, it provides exposure, drives traffic to your site, and increases sales. If your business also happens to have a physical location or storefront, you should also be trying to rank for local results.

While many of the standard SEO practices we know and love benefit local SEO, there are a few other steps to take so you can start showing up in the local results for your area. There’s huge potential here, and the competition is only getting more intense as time goes on. Today I’ll show you why SEO is important and then we’ll look at an infographic that will teach you how to start optimizing for local today!

Ranking in Local Results: How to Make Your Business Stand Out

So, you’ve set up your website and you learned how to start a business blog. The next step is to start optimizing for both organic search and local results. Luckily, many of the former practices benefit the latter. That being said, there are some things you’ll need to do for your local optimization:

Create a Google My Business Page

  1. Place Your NAP (Name, Address, Phone Number) on every page
  2. Earn backlinks and citations from other local businesses
  3. Encourage and earn review on Google, Yelp, and other sites

These basic steps will put you on the path to better local results, and your business will thank you for it. In fact, a study by Google found that over 50% of local searches result in a visit to the store that very same day!

Organic SEO drives traffic to your website, and local SEO drives foot traffic to your local business. Together, they spell success for your company. Today’s infographic will help you understand local SEO, and what ranking factors are used to determine which companies top the local results.

Not only that, it gives you everything you need to start optimizing your content today! Take a look and let us know how your business is capitalizing on local SEO in the comments.

Local SEO: Why it’s Important and How to Start Egghead SEO

10 Ways to Optimizing Your Google My Business Site For More Traffic

10 Ways to Optimizing Your Google My Business Site For More Traffic

10-Point Checklist for Optimizing Your Google My Business Site Best SEO Company Egghead SEO First Page Google Rankings 5


They might even be the biggest boost. Local search comes out ahead of any other marketing technique for local businesses in terms of ROI. At least that’s what BrightLocal’s recent survey reveals:

10-Point Checklist for Optimizing Your Google My Business Site Best SEO Company Egghead SEO First Page Google Rankings 1

Clearly, we’ve got something here that’s worth the time of even a time-pressed small business owner. And just to back that statement up, here’s another chart from the BrightLocal survey. Small business owners were asked if could choose only one digital channel to drive traffic to their website, which would it be? A third of them said local search. That’s more than any other channel got.

10-Point Checklist for Optimizing Your Google My Business Site Best SEO Company Egghead SEO First Page Google Rankings 2

While it may be effective – and even a favorite for many small business owners, Google’s local search products do have some downsides. First, because Google tends to want to improve things all the time, they’re also changing things all the time. This drives some small business owners crazy. They have a really hard time keeping up with the changes.

Another downside is that Google can shake things up, and not always in a good way. In 2012, Google erased tens of thousands of online reviews that small businesses had worked very hard to get. Google hasn’t done it again since, but some owners still hold a grudge.

How Google My business fits into the other Google properties

If you’ve used one of Google’s older products – Google Local, Google Places – the new rollout of Google My Business might have been confusing. Basically, Google created the new product – Google My Business – to combine the dashboards of their other local “products” so everything was more streamlined. Now information from your Google My Business account can appear on:

  • Google Plus
  • Google Maps
  • Google Search

So it’s kind of like an information hub for those other products, sites, and services.

Did you have a Google Places or a Google+ Page for your business, but haven’t logged in since the update last year? Then your account has been automatically migrated to Google My Business. This is a fairly common situation for busy owners, especially if they aren’t that into online marketing. In this case, you definitely need to go in and make some tweaks so your business looks good on the new site.

You should also know that if you haven’t verified your business in the past, you’ll need to do that when you set up your new account. That involves waiting 1-2 weeks for a postcard with a special code to arrive. You will be able to set up most of your account before then, but it won’t appear on Google until that postcard arrives.

10-Point Checklist for Optimizing Your Google My Business Site Best SEO Company Egghead SEO First Page Google Rankings 3 Google My Business Postcard Pin

If you’re still murky on how it all works, and why you need to do this at all, Google has a one-minute long video that walks you through why Google My Business matters and what you can get out of it. You can view it here.

Your fast-track Google My Business optimization guide

If you’re reading this, you’re probably one of the more advanced small business marketers, especially when it comes to digital. You’ve probably got a website (49% of small businesses don’t!). And if you’re on the GetResponse blog, odds are good you’re using email, too.

And you probably also have a presence on Google and Yelp. But you might not be getting everything you can out of them. So we decided to run this post on Google My Business to give you an efficient way to optimize your Google My Business Site fast. If you can find just an hour or two this week to do some marketing, you can end up with a better-optimized Google My Business account.

I know you’re short on time, so let’s go:

1) Confirm your address is correct and consistent.

I know, I know. This sounds way too obvious. But it’s the consistency part that’s critical. Because of the way local search works, it’s critical to have all the listings for your business use the exact same address. And I mean down to using “St.” or “Street”. It matters.

Don’t have an address? No problem. Follow Google’s instructions on how to handle it.

2) Check your business hours are correct.

Many businesses shift their hours once or twice a year. If you haven’t logged into your Google My Business account even in a few months, consider logging in now just to confirm those hours are still accurate.

3) Make sure you’ve got the right category listed for your business.

For most businesses, this is easy as pie. For others, it’s a puzzle. If it’s a puzzle for you, contact me at Paul@EggHeadSeo.net

4) Add at least 3-5 photographs.

Consider adding:

  • A photograph of yourself
  • Photos of key staff
  • Photos of the checkout area or the reception desk
  • Photos of your facilities or your retail area
  • 2-3 photos of customers being helped
  • 2-3 photos of what you’re really known for. Make an awesome bagel? Shoot that. Got the best detailing service in town? Take a photo of a car getting that service.

Photos make a big difference. They telegraph a lot of information about your business. If you aren’t getting any results from your Google My Business page, and you don’t have any pictures (or few pictures, or so-so pictures), that might be the first thing to fix.

5) Add a 360-degree view or a “virtual tour” of your business.

If you know Google maps, you’ll be familiar with “street view”, which lets you see a location through a 360-degree photograph. That’s exactly what business view or virtual tour is, except it’s a view of the inside of your business. You can add a business view by hiring a Google-approved photographer and having them come to your business and take some photos. You’ll see a link to find those approved photographers in your account.

Virutal2

6) Write a complete and thoughtful “Introduction”.

This is where you describe your business. You can include links in your Introduction. Using a few carefully chosen keywords might be smart, too.

Follow the rules of easy-to-read web copy:

  • Use subheaders
  • Use bullet points wherever possible
  • Keep paragraphs short

7) Include the types of payment you accept.

Thoroughness matters with Google My Business accounts. Fill in everything, no matter how unimportant it seems.

8) Ask for reviews.

Unlike Yelp, where you can be penalized for asking for reviews, Google lets you ask customers for reviews. This helps you with the search engines because it can improve your rankings. It also – of course – helps you with real people. The more reviews you have and the more positive they are, the more people will feel comfortable doing business with you.

Not getting many reviews? Just want more of them? Read Phil Rozek’s exhaustive post, “60+ Questions to Troubleshoot and Fix Your Local Reviews Strategy”.

9) Respond to the reviews you already have.

Say thank you for the nice reviews. But pay particular attention to the negative ones. There’s a great article here about how to respond to negative reviews and why it’s so important. Negative reviews can actually have positive business effects, if they are handled correctly. They’re an opportunity to improve your business.

Reviews

Online reviews can show you some valuable – and missed – insights about your business. The last review shown here also demonstrates how important it is to update the hours in your Google My Business account.

10) Post to your Google+ page when you can.

Your Google My Business page has a lot of overlap with your Google+ page. Because of that, it’s a real good idea to post to it at least once a week.

Consider posting:

  • Photos
  • Sale announcements
  • New employee announcements
  • Questions from customers/clients
  • Industry news
  • An event in your town (Smithville gets ready for Christmas)

With the automation plugin we found, it’s even easier. And while Google + probably won’t deliver the results that Facebook will, having a presence there sends another positive signal to Google. It might give your website a boost in rankings.

Enough to get you started

Those ten items are enough to make your Google My Business page stand out and attract new customers. You could continue by adding a few videos, hooking up Google Analytics, and checking your Google My Business Insights (their version of analytics) every so often.

Are you getting traffic and sales from your Google My Business account? Are you getting any sales from any form of local search? If any one tactic has worked particularly well for you, we’d love to hear about it in the comments.

The blog shortcode can be added manually or using the content builder integrated into Visual Composer. When manually inserting the blog shortcode you can use the parameters below to customize the output.

Attributes
posts_per_page
Optional. The number of posts per page.
template
Optional. The template style: blog-image-top, blog-image-left, grid-rows, grid-rows-filtered, grid-staggered, grid-staggered-filtered
post_type
Optional. The post type source. Default: post
post_excerpts
Exclude this parameter for no excerpt. Value: true
excerpt_length
Optional. The length of the excerpt.
columns
Optional. The number of columns in grid templates.
image_width
Optional. The image width.
image_height
Optional. The image height.
paging
Split results into multiple pages. Value: true, false
read_more
Optional. The text for the read more button.