Month 4: Overview



To make your ecommerce business easy to find in search engines, you need to optimize your website for inbound marketing.

In month 4 you will learn inbound marketing strategies that will help your business get more traffic.

The strategies covered in this month are (click on topic for guide):

Download PDF and a Link to 3 Bonus Marketing Videos


Internet Search Engine has been Google's trump card, and ever since its humble inception from a garage setup Google has been continually striving hard to hone the quality of its search results. And the latest addition to this endeavor is the introduction of Authorship Markup. Providing high quality results not only helps Google prevent its users from migrating to other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, but also helps fight scrupulous spammers trying to hack the system to make their low quality content to rank higher over the relevant and quality ones.


What Is Authorship:


Before getting into authorship lets look back at the basics of how a search engine works. When you type in a keyword, what Google does is, it first lists all webpages that are indexed for that particular keyword, then it arranges the webpages in the descending order of quality and relevancy. Quality is usually determined using Page Rank, that is the total number of authoritative external backlinks (votes) a webpage has.



To further bolster a webpage with authority, Google found a way to link the reputation of the author who wrote the content to a particular page. In doing so for a particular keyword the content written by highly authoritative writers might rank better than other authors, and this process by which the web page and the authors gets associated is called Authorship.


Google patented Authorship way back in 2005 as Agent Rank , in which it states,


The techniques include receiving multiple content items from a corpus of content items; receiving digital signatures each made by one of multiple agents, each digital signature associating one of the agents with one or more of the content items; and assigning a score to a first agent of the multiple agents, wherein the score is based upon the content items associated with the first agent by the digital signatures.


Where agents refer to authors and digital signatures refers to an author profile page, which is essentially a Google Plus page.


How Google Authorship will help you as an author?


  • Existing Authoritative authors can retain their authority and expert status and further enhance your influence using Authorship. Authorship essentially helps you to rank better for your niche than those of others who might have used shady SEO techniques to make their page rank higher.
  • One must understand the fact that the internet search is just an algorithm that follows predefined rules and sometimes the algorithm cannot predict accurate results especially when subjective analysis is a better way to analyze webpages, in such cases Authorship can help greatly in preferring one author over the other using social clues, in this case how famous an author is on Google Plus.

  • Since your webpage containing your post is linked to your Google Plus account, it helps readers to both find other articles written by you and also directly find and interact with you on the topic and consequently gain more social authority that further enhances your authorship.

How to Create Authorship To Your Website:


There are two ways to go about setting up authorship for your website.


Linking Your Website Directly To Your Google Plus Page Using A Verified Email Address:


The easiest, reliable and the recommended way is to directly link your website (domain name) to the author's Google Plus page using a verified email address.


  • Creating a Google Plus account: To create a Google Plus account all you need is a Gmail account. If you don't have one create a new Gmail account and the moment you login you could access your Google Plus account by clicking on the +username link at the top right corner.

  • The next pre-requisite is having an email id on the same domain where you are publishing the articles. For instance if you are publishing your posts in www.example.com, then you should have an email address as yourname@example.com. This is first step in linking your name to the website.
  • Always publish the articles with the name that is the same as your email address. Make sure you have a byline with the your name and a link your to Google Plus page on each and every page where your articles are published.

  • The next step is letting Google know that you have set up an Authorship for your website. To do this go to Google's Authorship Verification page and submit your email address for verification. Once verification is done your email address will be automatically added to the work section of your Google Plus profile page. And the website (domain name) you have submitted will be automatically added to the contributor section of your Google Plus profile page.

  • On the Google Plus page make sure you have a good recognizable headshot of yourself.
  • Have a good and concise bio of yourself stating who you are and what is your expertise.
  • And that's it, you've got yourself Authorship for your website. To check if the Authorship has been successfully installed, just copy the link where you've published the article (that contains the byline that speaks about the author) and paste it in the Google's Structured Data testing tool. If you have installed correctly, you'll see the result (sample) with the photograph and a link to your Google Plus page.


Second method of establishing Authorship is for those who doesn't have an email address on the domain name of the website on which your content is getting published.


Since there is no direct way to link the author to the website, we take an indirect method where we manually link both the author's Google Plus profile page and the webpage where his/her article is published.


And the link must be always established from both ways,


                                                                 Website → Authors Google Plus page.
                                                                 Authors Google Plus Page → Website.
  • First to link the webpage to the author, just copy the link (URL) of the Authors Google Plus page that looks like
  •                                                                     Google

    Now to let Google know that this profile URL is linked to a content that has an authorship, we add a? rel=author parameter after the above mentioned Google Plus URL. So the final URL must look like


                                                                         Google

    And the final link that has to be attached to the byline that talks about the author on the page where the article is published must look like,


                                                                        Author Name

  • Now to link the Google Plus page to the website, all you need to do is go to the About section, and on the Links section click edit and now you can enter the websites name where your articles are getting published by adding it by clicking on Contributor to and add custom links.

  • To check if the authorship has been successfully established, go to Google's Structured Data testing tool. If you have installed correctly, you will see the result (sample) with the photograph and a link to your Google Plus page.


If you've been part of the blogging world for a long time you probably already know that sitemaps are essential for SEO (if you are new, it is high-time you found out). Google and other search engines use sitemaps to index and rank written content better. But did you know that the largest search engines can also read video sitemaps for all of your embedded content?


Google's Video sitemaps provide essential meta-data (including intended audience, running time, category, title, author etc...) about the video. By implementing it you will make it easier for Google to crawl your website and display it in relevant listings within the video search results



There are two ways of categorizing videos. You can either submit them in the regular sitemap, or you can add them in a separate one. If they are found on Google, they will also display a small thumbnail, and content related information which was submitted within the site-map.


The Benefits of a Video Sitemap


SEO experts advise webmasters to create video sitemaps, especially if the content is stored on Vimeo, YouTube or any other platform. Why? Because when an internet user searches and finds the video, they will not be directed to your website, but to the source (which is represented by the video platform). The video site-map will ensure that they are directed to your website.


According to recent statistics, video content is the most appreciated and shared content on the internet. Using it to drive more traffic to your website makes perfect sense. In addition to this, having a thumbnail appear next to the video will surely increase its click-through rate.


Other Benefits of a Video Site-map:


  • Stronger presence on video.google.com searches
  • Good call-to-action with the picture thumbnail will lead to move clicks
  • It makes it easier for Google to understand what your content is

Now that you understand the importance of having a video sitemap, let's find out how you can make one. There are two ways of approaching the problem. You can either create it manually, or you can use a plugin/tool to generate it automatically.


1. Manual Generation for Video Sitemaps


Generating video sitemaps manually is recommended for webmasters that have a newer site, with not too many videos. Have you ever gone through the process of creating a standard XML sitemap? The process is similar. The only difference is that the sitemap crawler needs more data.


Step #1: Creating the Empty XML File


The first thing you need to do is to create a file. The name doesn't matter; just make sure you remember it. Save it in your root directory (example: www.example.com/sitemap_video.xml) . The name and place don't matter very much. The most important thing is to remember where it is stored before submitting your info to Google Webmaster tools.


Step #2: Create your Template


Google has provided webmasters with a useful page about the structure of a site-map . It should contain several attributes, but most of them are optional (we will discuss them below). The required ones are the title, description, play page URL, Thumbnail URL and RAW Video file location and/or the player URL. Most attributes are self-explanatory. You don't have to write the XML file yourself because there are plenty of presets available online. All you have to do is make sure that the information in the XML file matches the one from the video. Save your file.


Step #3: Submit the Sitemap to Google Webmaster


It is recommended to submit your site-map through the Google webmaster tool. Sign into your account, go to your website's profile, navigate to the site settings -> Sitemaps, click Add/Test a Sitemap, enter its name and click submit. One sitemap can provide 50,000 entries (videos). If you exceed this number you will have to create multiple Sitemaps and link them together with the help of a Sitemap Index File.


Another submission method would be by adding this line "Sitemap: http://www.example.com/sitemap_video.xml" to your robots.txt file.


2. Using Plugins for Video-Sitemap Generation


If you are running your blog or website on Wordpress, you might want to create your video sitemap with the help of a plugin. There is a long list of tools that can help you, but we have found a great solution: the Video SEO for WordPress Plugin by Yoast. With this tool you can simply specify the type of posts (with videos) that you want indexed, and the tool will set everything up. Make sure you also have the Yoast SEO plugin installed


There are many other tools available that you can use, like the A1 Sitemap Generator. It's up to you to decide which tool is better suited for your needs. Video Sitemap Required & Optional Elements


The required elements should always be included in your sitemap structure. They refer to the URL of the page that the video is embedded on, the thumbnail image, and the file/player that is embedded. Optional tags are not essential but they add SEO value.

Tag Required / Optional urpose / ExplanationP
<loc> required The information of a page on which the video is embedded
<video:thumbnail_loc> required The image of your thumbnail which should be a .jpg or .png file. Idealy, it should be 1920x1080/1280x720 with an aspect ratio of 16x9
<video:title> required Self-explanatory tag which should be treated exactly like a page title (no more than 70 characters)
<video:content_loc>Or <video:player_loc> required The content_loc tag points to the actual video file URL (.mov/.mp4). If you are referring to an embedded flash player you should use the player_loc tag. Optional elements: "allow_embed" and "autoplay" within the player_loc tag to have it embed directly in the search results.
<video:description> required  
<video:video> required This tag wraps around the <video> tags in your code, referenced per <loc> tag
<video_tag> optional Think of this as the meta tag of your video. The only difference is that you Google actually takes them into account when generating results. 4-5 tags are usually enough.
<video_category> optional This tag, which describes the style of the video, can be easily included, and will boost the SEO value of your videos. It will make it easier for Google to organize your content. One-two words are enough (example: wedding ideas, social media etc.)
<video:uploader> optional It’s always a good idea to claim authorship/give credit to the author of a video. This tag must be mentioned in the <loc> tag). Also add the rel=author attribution to ensure that the video appends to the authorship image
<video:publication_date> optional Adding dates to your videos will help them appear on freshness influenced queries. The format for dates is YYYY-MM-DD
<video:duration> optional It refers to the duration of a video, in seconds. It will be appended in the bottom right corner of the video, which makes it invaluable from a SEO perspective

As arduous and daunting as it may sound to create video-sitemaps, it is well worth the time, especially if your website is heavily reliant on video content. Because video has become so important for the online world, Google rewards webmasters that properly optimize their video sitemaps.




BuzzStream is a great tool that allows you to find opportunities for growing your business. Using BuzzStream you can find bloggers in your niche, find guest post opportunities, find websites to review your business, and much more. BuzzStream creates a database of potential websites and businesses that you can work with to help build your ecommerce business.


How to Use BuzzStream


To create your database of potential partners in BuzzStream, you will have 4 ways on how to find and add them into BuzzStream. These are:


               - Using Link Prospecting Tool
               - Import Websites from a spreadsheet
               - Add from List of URLs
               - Using the Link Buzzmarker tool

Step 1 - Using Link Prospecting Tool


First, you need to create a project. Next, click on the dropdown for "Add Websites" as shown below


Move your mouse over the Link Prospecting section and then click on "Create New Prospecting File"



Enter a profile name and then enter the keywords you want to use for your prospecting Searches. You can enter up to 20 keywords.


Your keywords will depend on what your goal is. You can also include footprints in your prospecting searches.



After you finish, click SAVE and BuzzStream will collect the metrics, contact information, and site information for you. All of this will be added in your database.


FOR A DETAILED TUTORIAL ON THIS TOOL GO HERE


Step 2 - Import Websites from a spreadsheet


Create your project.


Next, click on Add Websites dropdown as shown.



Next, click on "Import from Existing File"



Select from the options provided of where to import the list. You can import a custom CSV file or you can import from Moz, ahrefs, MajesticSEO, and Citation Labs.



Step 3 - Add from List of URLs


Click on Add Websites dropdown as shown.



Next, click on "Add from List of URLs" as shown.



Next, enter the list of URLs of web pages you want to partner with.



Next, click Add Websites



Step 4 - Using the Link Buzzmarker Tool


BuzzStream has a plugin you can add to your browser toolbar called the Buzzmarker Tool.


Go to the Settings section then click on Setup Buzzmarker.



This tool allows you to quickly add websites as you stumble upon them.


It looks like this.



Unfortunately, you can only add one website at a time. However, just like all the previous methods, BuzzStream will pull all the information you need to create your database.


Once you have your project and your database, it is time to do some outreach.


Outreach


This is the other half of how BuzzStream is powerful. BuzzStream makes it easy to do outreach. It keeps you organized and makes creating opportunities for your ecommerce business easy. Here are the steps you need to take to make outreach effective.


First, you want to connect your email with BuzzStream. In your settings section, add your email address so that BuzzStream is connected.



By doing this, BuzzStream will keep track of your outreach and replies. Whether you send from your email or from BuzzStream, every communication will be tracked in BuzzStream and you will see the whole history of your communication with bloggers and other influencers.


Next, you want to create templates.


Create Templates

By creating templates you are making it easier to communicate with others. Anytime you find a potential partnership use the templates to shoot out an email fast. This way you don't have to have create a new email every time. Also, BuzzStream will still allow you to personalize the email even though you will be using the template.


Lastly, do not use the templates for all your contacts. Some businesses and influencers will need the extra attention. Keep that in mind as you send out emails. Determine if they need the template or will you need to establish a relationship before working together.


Add reminders

Another great feature when reaching out in BuzzStream is adding reminders when you send out emails. You can add reminders to let you know when to check if your contact got back to you. Here is how the reminder feature looks like.



Add Tasks


You can also add notifications if you sent out the email via the website's contact form or from your email. Since you did not send email via BuzzStream, use the notification feature to manually add your reminder.



Those are some of the powerful features you can use in BuzzStream to grow your ecommerce business.


BuzzStream keeps you organized and keeps all your contacts and database in one place. This makes it easy to track your outreach.


Be more effective in creating opportunities for your ecommerce business by using BuzzStream.




One of the most important, highly effective and also the most controversial process in the realm of Search Engine Optimization is increasing the total number of backlinks a website gets from other authoritative web pages. It has been confirmed by Google and also experimentally verified that the backlinks count is one of the single most important metric that helps a website to gain more authority and hence rank higher up in the search engines.


There are various ways both legitimate (in the eyes of search engines) and shady ways to gain more backlinks, listed below are the some of the White Hat ways of building backlinks,


  • News and PR: Natural PR and news coverage of your website for the product and service you offer is the easiest way to build backlinks.
  • Guest Blogging: Guest blogging about your website in other authoritative websites or blogs has twin advantage of reaching out to people and solving their problem and also getting good quality backlinks.
  • Forum and blog commenting: Getting back links by commenting on various relevant forum discussions or blog comments can be an effective way of building backlinks.
  • Partnerships: This is highly prevalent among online software companies that gets partnered/integrated with other software companies and gets listed on each other's websites.

The fifth most commonly used tactic to increase backlinks is through finding more broken back links in relevant websites.


How does finding broken back link works?


Internet is changing at an alarmingly untraceable speed; every day millions of websites are getting created and thousands of websites are getting closed. A website article or a blog that is referring to a webpage might not be existing now and hence it gets the status of a broken link. Taking advantage of this you can do two things,


  • Lend your help in finding such existence of broken links in websites.
  • Offering them an alternative (in most cases your website) link in the place of the non-existent one.

Why should anyone be worried about broken links in their website?


Broken links are in a way indirectly bad for SEO. The existence of broken links are a sign of negligence and also doesn't help your reader, This might lead to increase in the exits rate and hence increases your page bounce rate and also decreases the amount of time spent on your website (less engagement)


How do I find such broken links spread across the Internet?


Well, basically there are two broader ways to find broken links, they are,


  • Highly relevant keywords.
  • Targeted authoritative websites.

Highly relevant and targeted keywords:


This is a much broader, comprehensive and in some cases brute force method of finding broken back links,


Let us consider a scenario where in you are a CRM consultant who runs a blog and you wanted to find more broken back links. Listed below are the logical steps involved,


  • Find the top 5 niche keywords for your website. You can use Google Adwords keyword analysis tool to do a keyword research on the topic you are interested in. Let us consider a limited scenario where in your are specializing on consulting people with best practices involved in building and managing a CRM software, You can now do a small keyword research and find the top 3 keywords in terms of volume searched.

  • Type in the keyword in the search engine and find the top 3 blogs that rank for that keyword.
  • Select a website that you are interested in and use tools like ScreamFrog to find the external links that are broken. You can download ScreamFrog for free and once installed you can enter the domain name that you need to crawl. After ScreamFrog has crawled the website you can click on External Links " Filter by HTML " and search for 404 (page now found). Now you have the list of all external links that are broken on the website, you can now manually go to each page and check for a relevant opportunity.



The other tools that you could use to extract broken links are:



Finding Opportunities among the Broken Link List:


Finding the right opportunity among the collected broken links the most important task, you should select broken links that are,


  • Highly relevant or is a direct alternative for the lost one. You can look at the content for the lost page using tools like Web Archive
  • Select only lost pages that can truly add or enhance the value of the page, both for the webmaster and also for the visitor
  • Select only good quality websites, both in terms of quality of the service and the traffic they get. You can easily get the quality by using the Alexa Rankings and you can estimate the traffic to the website using tools like SEMrush.



Creating Valuable Content:


Now that you have found out opportunities for replacing broken links, the next most important and crucial process is creating a top-notch alternative page.


How to create an alternative content?


  • As mentioned earlier use tools like the Way Back Machine to find how the original content was.
  • Create a persuasive and well-researched content that should add value to the page.
  • Add substantial research and statistics.
  • Add sufficient graphics for the content to become more appealing.
  • You can add necessary call to action buttons to boost conversions.
  • Internally link the content with other relevant pages on your website to increase engagement.

First Contact:


Having identified the opportunity and the alternative, the next step is contacting the respective Webmaster to request replacement.


The following are the steps one must proceed to communicate well,


  • K.I.S.S → Keep It Short And Simple.
  • While communicating with the Webmaster always try to answer the question 'What is in it for me?' Standing in the webmasters position. Address what is his loss and what is his gain succinctly.
  • Don't try a shady marketing pitch, just ask him directly and plainly to include yours as a worthy replacement, having stated the reasons at the start of the communication, you'll be surprised that more often than not he'll be more than happy to accommodate your link.

Example Pitch,


Subject Line: A Heads Up On The Broken Link On Your Webpage.


Hi,


This is _______________________ , a research analyst with example.com, I was reading this article on your website www.example.com/post/example , On the second paragraph where you talk about the research, the link to the source is broken, meaning it is no longer found. It looks like they have closed down their website.


Since I too was researching on the same topic, I found this alternative source, www.yoursite.com/post/yourpost that is well researched and supports your stand, and you could very well add them as a replacement.


I thought this might help you and many such researchers like me to find to lead to proper materials.


Thanks,


Your Name.


Target Authoritative Websites


The method discussed above that uses keywords is a bit tedious and mechanical, there is a second method that works like charm in limited scenarios, and in this method, rather than finding the needle in the hay stack, one can how select highly authoritative sites and limit their broken like building to few of those sites.


How does one finds niche specific authoritative sites:


  • Industry experience: If you've been experienced on a specific niche, then you might well know the top websites that cover/follow your industry.
  • Backlinks: Another easiest way is to run and get a backlink report for the industry leader or your competitor. You'll get a list of top authoritative websites that follows them, you could now very well use this a starting point for finding broken links.

Conclusion:


Final words of advise. Tracking broken links and suggesting a replacement is a tedious task. Industry experience states that this method of increasing backlinks might not work for all websites/niche/industry. Before diving deep and allocating time and resources into the project, start with a small team and a small goal and see how it works.



Irrespective of the way that Google, Bing or Yahoo! might change in the future, keywords will always be a major part of search engine optimization. Since the release of the Hummingbird algorithm, long-tail keywords have become more effective and helpful for small businesses. Internet marketers no longer focus on highly competitive keywords because they can win the smaller, easily accessible markets faster. Every website or project should start with keyword research. If it is not done properly it could compromise your entire campaign. The best way to do this is by using tools such as Google Adwords, SEMRush or Hittail.


Today we would like to share with you an awesome tool, developed by an Italian SEO expert. The tool is called Ubersuggest. In many ways it is similar to Google's suggestions tool (from which it draws results), only on steroids. The software can be accessed from its official page, and requires no payment. It is completely free.

Newbie bloggers and internet marketers will find this tool particularly useful because it quickly pulls out an impressive list of relevant keywords for their niche. It is true that there are other hardcore keyword research tools out there, but this one will appeal to individuals who prefer to focus on high-quality content, while also being mindful of SEO.


Ubersuggest uses Google Suggest to find keywords. Rand Fishkin mentioned its importance on "Whiteboard Friday"



Here are a few ways that the software can help you:


  • It can help you generate keywords for your PPC campaign
  • It can help you optimize your pages and blog posts for search engines
  • It can help you come up with ideas for guides, profitable niches or topics to write about

How to Find Relevant Keywords with UberSuggest


Keyword research is extremely important for bloggers. It may not be the most exciting thing on the blogging checklist, but lucrative SEO techniques are essential if you want to take blogging as a profession. The Panda algorithm punishes websites with thin content and irrelevant keywords severely, and the best way to maintain authority within a niche is by writing niche related articles. (The Panda 4.0 refresh rolled-out a few days ago).



After you have brainstormed 30-50-100 ideas it is time for the UberSuggest tool to do its magic number. Some people never quite manage to wrap their head around hardcore keyword research tools that show keyword traffic, competition, CPC etc. The UberSuggest tool will simply search through relevant keywords and give you the best results. Here's what you should do:


  • Go to UberSuggest and type in your target query. We will use "luxury car brands" and select a target country and market. These fields are invaluable because they will make it easier for you to write for your audience.
  • Hit the suggest button and wait for the results to appear. Each keyword can be expanded further (by clicking on the key-phrase). Each key-phrase provides 4 additional results. This will provide you with more long-tail keyword ideas for your article/website.
  • Once you have found a relevant keyword you can use the plus to add it to your list. Add as many keywords as you need to your right sidebar.
  • When you have enough keywords simply press the "Get" button, and a Copy & Paste pop-up will appear. With it you can transfer your keywords to a neat XCEL document.

  • UberSuggest works best when it is used with other keyword planning tools. Once you have found the desired key-phrases you should upload them to another tool. Overlay your data with the following metrics: monthly global & local searches, average CPC, monthly traffic volume you currently receive, competition and position on SERPs

Note: The UberSuggest tool could be used with GoogleDrive and Excel files in the past, but since it has introduced Kaptcha protection the data can no longer be imported automatically. Nevertheless, the Copy & Paste Tool will make importing data extremely easy.


How to Find Long-Tail Keywords with UberSuggest & Google Keyword Tool


All SEO experts know that their efforts would be futile without the help of some incredible tools. A handyman needs his handy tools, but he should also know how to use them. If your SEO campaign involves quick wins, productive work, and finding longer, targeted keywords for which you can rank easier, and convert better, the UberSuggest tool is an ideal choice. Here's how you can find relevant long-tail keywords with the software:


  • First you must find ideas. For this step you will be using the Google Suggest tool. Open your browser and type a relevant phrase. Google usually autocompletes them with the most-searched phrases. It is a great starting point if you are not sure what you are looking for.
  • You can also hit the search button in Google, go to the bottom of the page and choose from the Searches related to section.
  • Now go to UberSuggest and type in the same phrase. Unlike the Google Suggest tool, which only shows a few results and is, therefore, time consuming, the UberSuggest tool will automatically extract the best key phrases and suggestions related to your query.

  • When you find a relevant result press on the plus to add it to your "basket". You can also compare these keywords with the ones on Google Suggest.
  • Click on the "Get" button, copy your desired results and paste the contents in another keyword planner tool.
  • Search for your long-tail keywords data "traffic volume, competition, monthly searches etc."
  • Download the results and save for later.

Wrapping Up


Considering that it is a free tool, UberSuggest is an extremely powerful keyword planner. It will help you find keywords for your blog and website in no time. The great thing about it is the fact that it displays results according to what people are searching for on Google. This means that you will actually bring targeted traffic to your website, and make money in the process. There are many great keyword tools available online, but none of them seems as intuitive and user-friendly as Ubersuggest.


Next Step: Learn How to Measure Your Marketing Success

Learn how to measure the most important numbers that will show you how your eCommerce store is performing.