7 Problems Stopping You from Improving Your SEO

Most people recognize that anything worth accomplishing takes work. It takes time and energy to get a valuable return on an investment. This principle is one that you can apply to many areas of life, one of them being your search engine optimization (SEO) campaign.

You probably know you shouldn’t expect to improve your site’s rankings overnight. But if you’re going to spend time and money on something, it’s reasonable to expect to see a profit at some point.If you never see any improvement from your SEO campaign, then you are doing something wrong. Here are seven problems that might be stopping you from increasing your site’s rankings.

1. Quitting Because It’s Taking Too Long

Even if you know your results won’t be instantaneous, you still might be expecting to see them too soon. When some people don’t see any improvement within a few months, they decide their SEO efforts aren’t working and give up. This is a mistake.

How Long Does SEO Take?

Skyler Malley of Firestarter SEO in Denver points out that certain variables will impact how long it takes for you to be successful with your SEO campaign. You might see the fruit of your labors very quickly, but they also might take a while to develop.No matter what, Malley says that “the progress you see in the early stages should pale in comparison to the results you see at the end of the first year.”

2. Abusing Keywords

Keywords are essential for you to be successful at SEO, but don’t overuse them. You don’t want to pack a bunch of keywords into your content so that you can rank higher.Keyword stuffing will not serve your readers, and you risk getting on the wrong side of Google by doing so.

3. Not Accounting for Site History

You need to recognize that if your domain or website has been penalized, then your job is that much harder. That’s not to say you won’t be able to get your site to rank. It just means that your job is more difficult.The same is true if you bought your site from a previous owner. Whoever owned the domain before you had a different purpose for it and had different contact info. It will take you time to build your own history. Of course, it will also take you some time to build your history if your domain is completely new.

4. Neglecting Directories

One directory you need to claim right away if you have not yet done so is Google My Business. Google My Business is an opportunity to be listed for free on a site with a high level of traffic and authority.Despite what some think, other online directories are valuable for helping your search engine ranking. The key is to get your business listed on quality directories, not spammy ones.List your business in as many solid online directories as possible. Make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) are consistent across all your listings.

5. Misusing Backlinks

Backlinks are indispensable to SEO. But if you don’t know what you’re doing, they’re also a great way to get your site penalized. Do not include backlinks that are forced, irrelevant, or not educational to your followers.The key with backlinks is to make sure they are relevant to your content and fit naturally within it. They should be instructional and clearly support the purpose of your posts. If they have these qualities and come from authoritative sites, your own site will greatly benefit.

Moz has a few suggestions for getting backlinks without incurring Google’s wrath. You can ask people you know to link back to your blog, so long as they do so in a way that is natural and helpful to users.Look for instances online where people have mentioned your business without linking to you. Then ask them to link to your business. It’s a good idea to search for mentions on a monthly basis.

Something else you can do is use Google’s Search Console to find times when people have attempted to link to you, but the links are broken.Consider doing an event or a promo, especially one that benefits people. Then ask a journalist to write about and link to you. Check out HARO, a platform that helps journalists who need to write a story discover businesses who could help them out.If your company provides a service relevant to a story you find through HARO, you can connect with that reporter and get a link to your site.

6. Creating Poor Content

You do need to optimize your content for SEO, but you also need to create content that is high quality and educational. Creating strong content takes a lot of work, but doing so is important to increasing your traffic.Good content benefits your audience and builds your authority. The more niche your content is, the better your traffic will be.

It’s obviously best if you can choose evergreen topics. But besides having something great to say and saying it well, there are other ways to capture people’s attention. Make sure your titles are eye-catching and that your blog is well designed.Also make sure you’re regularly offering visual content, such as infographics and videos, which get a lot of engagement.

7. Thinking You Can Control Everything

As we said earlier, succeeding at SEO is not a formulaic process. Because certain aspects are out of your control, your results will have a degree of unpredictability.For example, the industry you’ve chosen impacts the level of competition you face. And the level of competition you face affects how hard it will be for you to rank for certain keywords.Some businesses will have a much easier time ranking than you will simply because you happen to be in a more challenging industry.

Guidelines, Not a Formula

How long does it take for SEO to start working? That depends, but you should see results within a year if you implement the strategies outlined above.Don’t neglect these crucial steps for increasing your traffic and promoting your business online.

Top 11 Important Directories You Need Your Business To Be On

Despite what some might think, web directories are highly valuable for local businesses. It is true that some directories can be spammy, but they are not inherently poor in quality.There are plenty of solid, well-regulated web directories online. Before search engines became the most prevalent way of finding information, people used web directories to find relevant websites. These listings are still an important way to help people to find your company.

What Does Google Think?

The idea persists that Google takes a dim view of local business listings. The reason why people have this perception is that in 2012 Google penalized several hundred web directories.This move made many businesses understandably cautious about putting their info into local listings. However, it is important to recognize that the reason why Google penalized these sites is that they were poor in quality.Since then, Google has not made a practice of penalizing directories simply for being directories. Google actually focuses on listings that are not adding value for users.

Why Are Directories So Important?

Putting your information into an online directory can be tedious. There are hundreds from which you can choose. And it’s not exactly riveting to enter the same data (your address, phone number, etc.) over and over again. So why do directories matter?What if the major TV networks had advertising space available during the Super Bowl and offered your business a free spot? All you have to do is claim it. You would be out of your mind not to take advantage of visibility that brands are willing to spend millions of dollars on.That example is a little extreme, but the point is still true. There are powerful, high traffic sites that will allow you to claim your listing for free or a minimal cost. Brands will pay a lot of money to be featured on other sites with similar domain authorities.If you’re not claiming your listing on these free sites, you’re turning your back on extensive visibility and consequently, on revenue. The most important site where you need to claim your listing is Google My Business, which has a domain authority of 100 and can certainly help boosting your local search engine optimization strategy.

The Internet Saves Time and Money

Perhaps you are a believer in the power of the traditional yellow pages, print marketing, or radio and TV advertising. Moz points out that, if so, you have every reason to pursue local business listings online.By doing so, you can accomplish the same goals for much less money. Advertising yourself in print, such as in the phone book or through brochures, is expensive. In contrast, while not all online directories are free, you save a lot more through using them than you would by turning to print marketing.Online directories also enable people to solve their problems much more easily. When users do find you online, they can click on a link to find out more about your company and actually talk to you.This is not an ability people have when they discover you by means of radio or TV. The number of people you can reach online is far greater than those you can reach through print or other means.

Protect Your Brand

There is another reason why you need to claim your online listings. If you do nothing, you are leaving an opportunity wide open for someone else to claim your listing and damage your reputation.It’s essential that you pursue local listings order to protect yourself from trolls and underhanded competitors. You need to do so even if you only go after the minimum number of listings.

Top 11 Important Directories

Here are what we believe are the top 11 most important directories on which to list your business.

Business Directories

Let’s start with the human-edited, high quality private directories that are not covered by third party listing services.

Important Search Engine Map Listings

Yellow Pages Type Directories

Communities

More to Know About Local Listings

There is a lot more you need to know about listing your business in online directories apart from what we’re covering here. For example, how do you find directories specific to your niche? What are the directories that are the most important to your business besides those in our top 10?There is advice you need to be aware of, such as the necessity of making your name, address, and phone number (NAP) exactly the same across the internet. You should also know that there are databases you can pay to be in and which can be an enormous advantage to you.Databases partner with directories, saving you the valuable time you would spend entering your information manually. Databases also enable you to manage multiple listings from one location.You can find a lot of the information you need in the post linked above. Don’t neglect your reputation or squander a golden opportunity to increase your revenue. Do what you need to do today to take advantage of online directories.

How to Monetize Your Blog Like a Pro

Last year, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton (Mario Lavandeira) earned an astonishing $15,000 in daily income, as his website gained a value of $2.66 million. Tech Crunch, starting out as a blog, has become a viable brand, worth $10.82 million.

Blogging has become an industry in itself. Once upon a time it was a platform for personal journalling, but over the years blogs have gained legitimacy, visibility and power on the web and beyond it. As you can see, one of the changes has been the fact that you can make real money blogging, even without becoming a major information powerhouse.

If you have thought about monetizing your website, here are some tips to help you get started.

Get Your Toolbox in Order

Whichever method (or methods) below you pick, the key is to use the right tools to organize the process well. Here are just a few good ones to consider:

  • Google Analytics is a necessary evil for properly monitoring your traffic sources
  • Register an account at ShareASale. That’s an affiliate marketing network that will connect you to quite a few cool programs
  • If you are going to be creating and selling a product or a service, make sure to use a sales management platform to organize leads properly. Salemate is a good affordable option

salesmate

Don’t Begin Right Away

This is an unpopular opinion with some, but the truth. It might seem like a good idea to immediately start trying to monetize a blog you’ve just started. But in the beginning you won’t have any traffic to drive profit.

The exception to this rule is if you already have a viable brand and are expanding it to include a blog for engagement and social marketing. In which case the traffic will come from your initial site, and monetizing right away makes sense. If not, focus on building that blog before you think about making money from it.

Join AdSense

Google AdSense is an important tool for anyone seeking to monetize their website. They provide both text and image ads, and usually the image ads attract the most attention and lead to the most clicks.

Of course, this is dependent on your traffic, as most people will not click through to ads. But the payout is decent, it adds up over time, and they are a trusted source for such a program. Other ad programs exist, but none come as highly recommended.

Here are some great AdSense plugins that will make the integration easier for you.

Use Affiliate Programs

Affiliates are going to be one of your greatest sources of income. Whether someone is promoting your product, or you are promoting someone elses, even small payouts will lead to a decent payout over time.

The more momentum a program gains, the more passive income you will start to make. You would be surprised by the numbers and the way they build after the first six months, and especially after the first year.

You can also use banners to quickly integrate best-working affiliate programs into your blog. Bannersnack offers a variety of free banner templates you can use for that.

banner templates

You can also offer your blog to companies of products you commonly buy and enjoy. Many will pay several hundred dollars for a solid review on a well established site.

Don’t forget that for both affiliate links and sponsored reviews you should use a proper disclaimer not to lose your readers’ trust and to be in-line with the US laws (and Google).

Optimize Your Search Ranking

You have to come up high in a search if you want to bring in the traffic that will inevitably up your income. Here’s a helpful checklist to get you started.

Since no one goes to the second page of Google, you have to have a good market share on certain keywords, and optimize your blog using that data. Invest in market research to find the best keywords that you can use, both long and short tailed, to improve your SEO.

Open a Shop

Having a shop only works for some people, as often a niche won’t really apply to a product series very well. But even selling mugs to those who might want to help support your site can be beneficial.

Try and create products that relate well to your niche, however, and don’t be afraid to take advantage of inside jokes and references that you have built with your followers over time.

Release an Ebook

Ebooks are big, and they have plenty of uses. They don’t bring in a lot of money, however, which can be a problem unless you have the status in your industry to be able to charge a higher price for a download.

Most people will offer them cheap or free, and use it to improve their visibility and draw people to their blog, thereby improving their other income possibilities. It will ultimately depend on you.

Example: The Lost Girls knew that and wrote an excellent book about their travels that has gotten great reviews. Both ebooks and self publication are potential routes for this goal.

Become a Speaker or Consultant

Are you now fairly well known? Have some street cred in your niche? Then start using your blog as a platform for finding guest speaker or consulting opportunities. You can earn thousands doing this.

Offer Freelancing Services

Your blog can act as a kind of portfolio, showing off your writings skills, nature and passion. That makes it a great opportunity to attract other people who want you to write for them.

Occasionally you will want to write a free guest blog post to promote your site. But otherwise you can offer your writing for pay, advertising yourself both through your blog and on sites like oDesk.

Start a Class or Series

Want something a little more hands on or creative? Then why not run a class or webinar series from your blog? People will pay good money for a well organized class, and you can offer the world your knowledge while improving your own financial stability. Everyone wins.

Udemy is the perfect place to start an online course and you can sell it through the platform too! Another great tool is Google Helpouts.

It might seem like a heavy task, and too good to be true. But you can genuinely turn your website into a profitable one, even if it takes time. You just need to know how to do it. Here are some tips and tricks for people who have managed to boost their regular traffic and are now looking to capitalize on that growing popularity

To get inspired, see this list of indie blogs that pay for a living.

Have some tips for monetizing your blog? Questions? Let us know in the comments

GrowMap
Gail Gardner is the Small Business Marketing Strategist at GrowMap.com