4 Advanced SEO Blog Tips to Quickly Generate Links, Shares and Traffic

4 Advanced SEO Blog Tips to Quickly Generate Links, Shares and Traffic

In this post, I’m going to share four advanced SEO blog tips to earn you more backlinks, social shares, and traffic quickly. I used these tips on my second ever blog post to score over 100 social shares and two bonus backlinks in a matter of days. Today you’re going to learn how to use them and find out exactly why these SEO blog tips are so effective at scoring more links, shares, and traffic.

Keep reading.

Embed share triggers in your blog post

SEO Factors at play – Social Signals & Backlinks

Simply put, share triggers are psychological factors that encourage readers to share your post. When your post gets shared by others, it gives search engines like Google an early indication it’s popular. Here are 3 of my favorite share triggers you can use to boost social shares on your blog right now.

 

Ego Bait – This is where you create content that makes your readers look good.  To achieve this, you reinforce what your audience already believes. 

Here’s an example. Let’s say you run a blog about everything related to vegetarians. You’d then write a post on a topic you know your audience will agree with. It could be on ‘the health benefits of not eating meat’ or ‘8 reasons why a vegetarian diet is so great’.

An easy way to come up with ego bait topic ideas? Jump on any relevant forums or Facebook Groups related to your niche and ask them “what do you love most about being a vegetarian?” and now it’s just a matter of waiting for responses filled with some great blog ideas you know your target audience already agrees with.

Content length – This share trigger is pretty self-explanatory, you want to write at least 2000+ words in your next post for it to work. Why?

Well, when people see your in-depth post filled with great content, it triggers an emotional feeling of Awe.

SEO

Readers would think “Wow, this is one of the most detailed articles I’ve read on this topic. Impressive!”  And because you triggered an emotional response in your readers, they click the share button. Remember: Use this share trigger only when you’re able to maintain a high level of quality content that provides value to your readers.

Social Weight – This is super powerful, you literally hi-jack the huge audience influencers in your niche have. Here’s how you do it:

Include influencers in your next blog post, either by writing about them, linking out to a relevant article they wrote or directly ask them a question and add their response to your post.

Now it’s just a matter of contacting them to let them know you included them. I actually used this exact tactic in a recent post on link building tips for a new site and it quickly picked up over 100 social shares plus two bonus backlinks. Pretty impressive considering my blog is brand new and I have zero social following.

The reason social weight works is that when you involve influencers, they become an active contributor to your post and this encourages them to share it with their big network of followers.  A single share from the right influencer can result in a tonne of additional traffic visiting your post.

The best part? Because these readers are big fans of the influencer, they’re going to also want to share your post too. 

Write A Killer Blog Introduction

SEO Factors at play – Dwell Time & Bounce Rate

Most people spend the majority of their time writing a catchy headline. And yes, a good headline can boost click-through rates. But you have to think, what’s the point if you can’t keep them on the page? 

Here’s the deal. People have short attention spans, and it’s especially true online.  You literally have 2-3 seconds to spark your reader’s curiosity or they’re gone for good. That’s where a killer introduction comes in. So, here’s how to write an introduction that hooks your reader, lowers bounce rate and increases dwell time.

  • Keep your introduction short – no more than 7-8 sentences and don’t be afraid to cut it back to 4 or 5.
  • Make your sentences short too – aim for a 12 to 15-word limit.
  • Write as if you’re having a conversation with the reader, this is not an English essay or academic paper!
  • Include a call to action. For example, I used the call to action ‘Keep Reading’ in my introduction to this post.

Use Forum Marketing to Drive Traffic – SEO Blog Tips Personal Favourite

Forums and Facebook groups are a fantastic traffic source and probably my favorite of all the SEO blog tips on this list. Simply put, forum marketing is a great way to grow your fanbase especially when starting out. In fact, I used this exact technique on my first blog post to spike my sites traffic and pick up a handy do follow (DA 98) backlink from Reddit.

You can check out the Reddit post here.

Important: If you want forum marketing work, you need to use the right strategy. Why?

People in forums don’t like outsiders and will quickly call you out if they feel you’re not a genuine member of the group and get you blacklisted. So to make this work, follow these steps:

  1. Sign-up to the forum/group at least one month before you plan to share your post.
  2. Become an active community member (ask questions, share ideas and help solve people’s problems). You don’t have to go overboard with this, a couple of helpful answers here and there will do the trick.
  3. If you followed steps 1 and 2, you’re now ready to share your post. Write a detailed summary of your original post in the forum itself and add a link back to the original letting everyone know if they want further details, they can check it out via the link.
  4. Sit back and enjoy the praise you’ll receive from your fellow forum members.

Build round-up links

This is one of the SEO blog tips you should use after your post goes live. Look at it this way.

It makes sense you would naturally attract these type of links first, before other types of backlinks as bloggers post articles sharing the best blogs of the week, month etc. So make round-up links your first link building priority.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how to build round-up links: Use these search operators to find round-up style posts online.

“keyword” + “link roundup”
“keyword” + “best articles of the week”
“keyword” + “best articles of the month”
“keyword” + “Friday link roundup”

Tip: Remember to replace “keyword” with the topic of your blog post. For example, if you write about fitness then you’d want to make ‘fitness’ the keyword.

  1. Contact the site owner of every round-up and send them a link to your post. Here’s an excellent article to improve email open rates.
  2. Wait for the site owners to contact you with the good news of another backlink!

It’s that easy.

Final Thoughts

Now it’s your turn. Which of these SEO Blog Tips will you try first? Are you going to start using share triggers? Or maybe you’ll update your existing blog posts introduction to improve dwell time? Either way, I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments below.

 

About Jonathan Gorham

Jonathan Gorham owns a boutique Geelong SEO company called Engine Scout. He leads the teams business development and digital marketing efforts. Follow Jonathan on Twitter or Facebook.

4 Advanced SEO Blog Tips to Quickly Generate Links, Shares and Traffic was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

A Look at the Newest Google Maps Features

A Look at the Newest Google Maps Features

Google Maps is one of the most reliable navigation apps around, allowing users to be able to travel to their destinations using the best route possible while being able to discover new places along the way. Recently, Google has announced a new set of upcoming updates to the popular navigation app, with the Explore button and Google Lens integrations being the most important of these updates.

While these updates are still being developed, Google has rolled out an update that would help make commuting and navigation much more comfortable and interactive. Here’s a look at some of these updates, and how it will help make commuting a much better experience.

Music Streaming Integration

Most commuters tend to listen to their favorite music while on the way to work or school and having to switch around music and navigation apps can tend to be a hassle. Google Maps solves this problem by allowing the integration of Spotify, which enables users to be able to access Spotify while using Google Maps.

Spotify Integration

Users can also link to Apple Music or Google Play Music as well, allowing you to be able to listen to your playlists instantly. While this may be a simple update, this is surely a welcome addition to Google Maps, as it is an update that enhances the user experience.

Google Assistant Integration

During your drive or commute, you might need to get to stopovers like convenience stores and gas stations along the way. In other navigation apps, looking for these stopovers means having to do another navigation trip, which means that you might have to reset your map to readjust.

Google Assistant

Google Maps solves this issue by integrating Google Assistant, along with a search menu, to be able to help users look for nearby locations along the way to their destination. For example, I want to look for the nearest gas stations along the way. I just have to say “look for the nearest gas stations” to Google Assistant, and the nearest gas stations would be highlighted on the map. Google Assistant aims to be the smartest AI assistant around and being integrated into one of Google’s most popular apps helps in enhancing its functionality even more.

Sharing Trip Progress

Share Trip Progress

Informing your friends, colleagues, or family on where you are during your trip is important, especially if you are running late, or have an emergency along the way. Google Maps allows this function by adding the Share Trip Progress button. Using this, users would be able to send in text messages emails to their contacts about how near they are to their destination.

Commute and Explore Tab

Initially announced as one of the upcoming updates, the Explore tab can now be viewed on Google Maps. This allows users to view the best nearby locations that are worth a look, like restaurants, gyms, and even landmarks and attractions. One list that you can instantly view from the get-go is the Foodie List, which is curated by Google Lists. This list shows you the best food places near the area, and be able to get directions, and even call for reservations and inquiries.

Commute Button Google Maps 1

To be able to do this before, you would have to do a Google search before going into Google Maps. Having this feature saves more time and allows more actions to be accomplished within a single app, which enhances the user experience much more. The commute tab allows users to view each route and mode of transportation going to their destination. This allows them to see the estimated time, along with routes that might have heavy traffic. This feature comes in very handy, as commuters would instantly be able to asses their options ahead of time.

Key Takeaway

Google Maps remains as one of the best navigation apps around, and with these new features, more functionality allows users to be able to do even more. Traveling and commuting is one of the most regular human actions, and for an app to be able to make this experience much better helps in many ways.

If you have any questions and inquiries about Google Maps or SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

A Look at the Newest Google Maps Features was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

The Best Alternatives to Google Maps That Are Worth Trying

The Best Alternatives to Google Maps That Are Worth Trying

Google Maps has become the most popular location-based service app in the past few years, with millions of mobile devices possessing the highly effective app. The reason for its huge success lies in addressing one of the biggest needs that people have, which is navigation. Need to look for the nearest restaurant within your area? Ask Google Maps. Looking for important landmarks in the country you’re visiting? Take a look at Google Maps.

This simple yet very efficient app has helped put navigation apps in the mainstream and has led to numerous companies launching location-based services of their own. These apps have not only made navigation much easier but also provides other services such as ride-hailing and weather reports just to name a few. Here are some effective location-based service apps that are great alternatives to Google Maps.

Waze

Waze

When it comes to driving navigation apps, Waze is surely one of the most popular and effective apps available, as evidenced by its use by motorists across the world. All you have to do to start is to turn on your device GPS, input your destination point, and let the app guide you to the right path. Waze chooses the best route available and would automatically adjust should you miss a turn.

Waze Icons

Other than the actual navigation, users will also be able to be updated about the traffic conditions in real-time through the use of icons. These updates come from traffic authorities and fellow motorists, you would be able to know if there are some hazards and issues along the way. Simple yet effective, Waze is surely one app that would help get you to your destination safely, and even avoid a few traffic jams.

Foursquare

One of the most popular location-based service apps around, Foursquare is now divided into two apps, with the main app used for navigation, and one for social media sharing (Swarm). With that in mind, let’s take a look at the main app.

Foursquare

Foursquare became a popular platform for finding the nearest food and nightlife places near your area. To start, you can pick a category that shows a list of related places, or enter the name of the place in the search bar. After entering a keyword, you can view a list of places that might be of interest or different branches of the place you entered.

Foursquare Info

You can also use the Near Me search bar to bring up a map of places nearby. Each place has its own profile where you can view information such as address and business hours. You can also view reviews from fellow Foursquare users, helping you to know more about the location. Lastly, you can track the previous places that you have visited in the History section, providing you with a log of places that you have been to. Foursquare has gone a long way from what it was before and has surely become a quality navigation app users can enjoy.

Maps.me

Navigating using Google Maps requires you to be constantly connected to the internet, which can be a big issue when in an area with a poor internet connection. Maps.me prevents this problem from becoming a hassle by providing the option to download offline maps to make sure you won’t get lost.

Mapsme

Using Maps.me is pretty simple, as you would only need to enter the destination point and set up the starting point to begin your journey. You can use the search bar to find places you want to go to or press the discover button to see some recommendations that are closest to your area. Another important feature from Maps.me is the Guides, which users can download to be able to view the recommended locations that locals go to in the area.

Mapsme Guide

Maps.me is a wonderful and simple alternative to Google Maps that provides solid functionality, and the ability to navigate even while offline.

Here WeGo

Another app that can be used for driving, Here WeGo is another app that uses GPS to track your location and look for the quickest and most efficient route possible. The interface is simpler compared to Waze, but its ability to track down the best routes is pretty similar.

Here WeGo

After entering the location, you have the option of choosing your way of traveling to the location, which can be driving, train, biking, or walking. You can also click locations on the map to instantly get directions to your destination. You also have the option of changing the map type from traffic, standard, and transit. This provides you with a more detailed look that helps you find places much better.

Here WeGo Routes

Like Maps.me, you also have the option of downloading maps for offline use, which comes in handy for long trips to places without an internet connection. Overall, this is a reliable navigation app that helps you find all possible routes to your destination and get there on time.

Key Takeaway

Google Maps may still be the most popular navigation apps around, but these alternatives are able to provide diverse functionality and some handy little features that would make sure that you would be able to navigate safely and find the places you need to go.

If you have questions and inquiries about navigation apps and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

The Best Alternatives to Google Maps That Are Worth Trying was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Technical SEO Audit Checklist for Human Beings: October 2018 Update

GET THE AUDIT CHECKLIST

Updated Oct 1, 2018. Changes include:

  • Changed language on some issues to make it clear how they fit in the hierarchy.
  • Removed several redundant lines.
  • Fixed typos affecting meaning of a couple lines.
  • Added new section relevant to mobile-first indexing.

Updated September 13, 2017. Changes include:

  • Made each line easier to understand
  • Added pointers for going straight to the relevant reports in each tool#
  • Changed which tool to use for some rows
  • Added more Google references
  • Removed a couple dubious lines (site speed, HTTP/2)
  • Removed superfluous timing column
  • Removed whole sections that made the audit less MECE
  • Fixed cases where some cells would say “Incomplete” and others wouldn’t

Thanks everyone who has provided feedback over the last year!

Technical audits are one of the activities that define SEO. We’ve all done them. But audits are only as valuable as their impact. Whether you’re a practitioner or an agency partner, your job really begins when you finish the audit. You must take your recommendations and make them a reality. Distilled thrives on this “effecting change” mindset.

Yet the (long, laborious) audit has still got to be done. We sift through crawls, consider best practices, analyze sitemaps—the list goes on.

But we’re committed to the technical audit. So if we’re going to audit a site, why not do the audit in a way that makes the fun part—making change happen—much easier?

The challenge

With that in mind, we asked “Can we design an audit that helps make real change happen?” The result is an aware technical audit checklist. It considers the underlying problems we’re tackling (or trying to prevent). It makes technical audits faster, more effective, and more impactful.

Read on for more about how to put the checklist to use. Many on our team find it self-explanatory, though, so if you want to get cracking have at it! And then let us know what you think.

Every great audit starts with a checklist!

There are lots of technical checklists out there. A good technical audit inspects many things in many places. Checklists are perfect for keeping track of this complexity. They’re simple tools with lots of benefits. Checklists are:

  • Comprehensive. Without a checklist, you may still discover the obvious technical problems with a site. Using a checklist ensures you remember to check all the relevant boxes.

  • Productive. Working without a checklist takes more effort. At each stage you have to decide what to do next. The checklist answers this question for you.

  • Understandable. Unfortunately an intern can’t osmose your intuition! Rigorously defining your work with a checklist lets you delegate audits.

This checklist is better

Technical SEO has one purpose: ensure site implementation won’t hurt search visibility. Everything we uncover leads back to that point. This defines the scope of the audit.

Beyond that, many folks break down technical to-dos by where they need to look or what tool they need to use. They might look at all on-page elements, then move on to all sitemap issues. That’s a valid way of approaching the problem. We’ve got an alternative.

We look ahead to the conversations we’ll have after we’ve done the audit. Consider this (realistic) statement: “We’re concerned that important content isn’t indexed because URLs aren’t discovered by crawlers. Submitting a sitemap to Search Console might help fix the problem.”

This is a coherent technical recommendation. It explains why to make a change. It has 3 parts:

  1. Outcome – important content isn’t indexed.

  2. Cause – URLs aren’t discoverable by crawlers.

  3. Issue –  we haven’t uploaded sitemaps to Search Console.

That’s the difference: you’ll see this is exactly how we’ve structured the checklist. Take a moment to jump over and inspect it with this model in mind. By now you’re probably getting the idea—this isn’t just a technical checklist. It’s a also a tool for communicating the value of your work.

The structure encourages completeness

Each row of the checklist represents a problem. By including the right problem at each level, we also make it as complete as possible, without adding redundancy. The principle of MECE (“Mutually Exclusive, Comprehensively Exhaustive”) is what makes it work. At each level of analysis, we:

  • include all possible problems, and

  • ensure problems don’t overlap.

Let’s illustrate, using the highest level of analysis. The checklist as a whole is investigating whether “we have a technical problem with our site that is reducing search visibility”. There are 3 reasons we could lose search traffic because of a technical issue:

  • there is a technical reason good content isn’t indexed, or

  • there is a technical reason indexed content doesn’t rank for desired terms, or

  • there is a technical reason site content isn’t well-presented in search.

These represent all the possible problems we could be dealing with (“comprehensively exhaustive”). They also don’t overlap (“mutually exclusive”).

By applying the same way of thinking recursively, we expose all sub-problems in these areas. Then we list all issues that could be causing these sub-problems. This makes the checklist as thorough as possible, without redundant checks that could slow us down.

A few pointers

Getting started

This checklist template is available to the public. When you open it, you’ll discover that you only have “view” permissions for the master document. To use it, you’ll first want to create a copy:

Marking status

Mark each issue with Pass, OK, or Fail:

  • Pass means you have no concerns.

  • OK means the issues doesn’t seem relevant currently.

  • Fail means something appears to be wrong.

When you update an Issue, the grade for the Cause and Outcome will also be updated. If any Issue’s score is Fail, the Cause and Outcome will also Fail.

Find what you’re looking for quickly

People new to search engine optimization can still start using this sheet. We’ve now added a “Start Here” column to make it faster than ever to get started.

For new users of some of these tools, it might not be clear where to find relevant information. The “Start Here” column points you to the exact place you can find the details you need.

Understand what’s at stake

If you’re the person analyzing the audit after it’s done, you want to get a high-level picture quickly. Use the structure of the sheet to simplify that view by filtering the Issues rows.

Filtering for Outcomes and Causes gives you a quick-and-dirty summary of a site’s strengths and weaknesses. This is the first thing I look at when I see a completed audit!

Filtering related tasks

If you’re the one doing the audit, you want to get it done as quickly as possible. Take advantage of the structure of the sheet to group things

Take advantage of the structure of the sheet by showing only the issues you’re inspecting right now. Try filtering by the “Where” column—for “Google Search Console”, for instance. This will let you grade all Issues for that tool at once.

We want to learn from you, too

This checklist is a living document. We appreciate any feedback you have. Feel free to jump in the comments section here or find me on Twitter: @BenjaminEstes.

Interested in working with us?

This audit is an example of the way Distilled approaches consulting. We aren’t limited to SEO—we also help our clients with marketing strategy, content design and production, paid search, and more. If our approach sounds interesting, please reach out!

GET THE AUDIT CHECKLIST

Technical SEO Audit Checklist for Human Beings: October 2018 Update was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

BigCommerce SEO Best Practices: 7 Traffic Boosting Tips That Work

Ecommerce

SEO for ecommerce is do-or-die.

If you don’t get traffic to your site, you won’t win customers. No customers, no business.

And since building an ecommerce store can be an intimidating task all by itself, adding that extra layer just isn’t fun.

But thankfully, platforms like BigCommerce exist to try to make both of those burdens a little easier on you.

In this article, I want to examine the capabilities of BigCommerce and share some tips that will help you get traffic if you decide to use it for your store.

First off, let’s look at why you should consider this platform in the first place.

Why Use BigCommerce?

There are quite a few items in the plus column for BigCommerce, so I’ll try to cover them briefly before moving on to specific e-commerce SEO capabilities.

BigCommerce is an online store builder that allows you to customize and design a presence that can sell products through your site, Amazon, eBay, and even Facebook. So if you’re looking for a multi-channel selling platform, BigCommerce should be on your list.

According to self-reported statistics on their website, the brands that use BigCommerce report an average of 28% annual growth. That’s about twice the industry average, so you know that they’re doing something right.

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As for more generalized benefits, you’ll be able to choose from a wide variety of themes when you build your store. You’ll also have access to a broad spectrum of payment options like Stripe, Square, or Paypal, as well as some rather robust marketing tools.

And of course, BigCommerce offers some fairly intuitive product management capabilities, as well as solid online support if you encounter issues.

As for pricing, it’s hard to imagine a more affordable system that delivers on the promises BigCommerce offers. Out of the box, a new business will only be on the hook for $30/month.

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Of course, if you want better conversion optimization (and SEO), you’ll need to shell out $80/month. For some smaller businesses, that may still seem like a steep price tag.

And on top of that, BigCommerce does enforce certain sales thresholds for each of their pricing plans. While you probably won’t have to worry too much about your price if you’re hitting these thresholds, it’s always good to know that they may upgrade your plan for you.

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But all things considered, BigCommerce isn’t a bad choice when considering an ecommerce platform for your business. You can create a simple, clean, and intuitive store from a centralized system that lets you focus on running your business.

Here’s a look at Toyota’s store that they built with BigCommerce:

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So from a broad view, BigCommerce looks like a great option. But now let’s look at it solely from an SEO standpoint.

Is BigCommerce a Good Ecommerce Platform for SEO?

Out of the box, BigCommerce’s SEO capabilities aren’t bad. Much like Magento, they built this platform with best practices in mind, so you can be reliably sure you aren’t setting yourself back by choosing this option.

But SEO will always require more tools and customization, and BigCommerce is aware of that. To help your SEO efforts, they offer a range of tools to help you optimize your site.

They also provide you with a mobile-optimized site that works with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which means your site will be well suited to your mobile audience. With Google’s recent mobile-first indexing, that’s a huge plus to your SEO.

And of course, like other ecommerce platforms, you have a well-stocked app store that can help you expand both your store’s reach and your SEO capabilities.

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So all things considered, the SEO for BigCommerce is very capable. You’ll need to find ways to help it along if you want to beat your competition, but you’ll have plenty of tools at your disposal for that task.

But that being said, there are still certain SEO blind spots that you’ll need to cover to fully optimize a BigCommerce store. For the rest of this article, we’ll look at some tips that will let you do just that.

Tip #1: Prioritize Keyword Research

For BigCommerce, and for anyone trying to rank on a search engine results page, SEO starts with good keyword research.

Keywords are the basic building block for your SEO. If you’re able to optimize a page for words that potential customers search for, then you raise the chances that they’ll find your site.

One of the best starting places is the free Adwords Keyword Planner from Google. By inserting keywords that are relevant to your product or brand, you can find high-volume keyword suggestions that are more likely to bring in traffic.

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Use this tool to find as many keywords as you can to help optimize your site. Of course, it’s always a good idea to use more than one tool to fully flesh out your keyword research.

Some tools offer different data points and suggestions, so it pays to check out multiple different keyword tools.

This will inform and direct your SEO for content, product pages, and everything else on your site. Just keep in mind that some keywords will be harder to rank for, so create good content and fine-tune your approach over time.

Tip #2: Perfect Your On-Page SEO

Some of the biggest points in BigCommerce’s favor are the native tools on their platform that help you fine-tune your on-page SEO. Many platforms force you to maneuver around baked-in settings that you can’t change, but that isn’t the case with BigCommerce.

So when it comes time to work on your SEO, there are four major elements of on-page optimization that you need to look for:

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And thankfully, BigCommerce makes this simple with dedicated SEO fields that allow you to fill in your metadata for each page. Instead of having to edit HTML, all you have to do is add a meta description, keywords, and title (all on-page SEO elements).

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Aside from creating quality content, this is a one-stop solution that will help you cover the basics of your on-page SEO. You’ll need to do this for each page on your site, but the effort will be worth the payoff in traffic and revenue.

Tip #3: Optimize Your Site for Mobile

As I mentioned in the assessment of BigCommerce’s SEO capabilities, Google has transitioned to a mobile-first indexing. What that means is that your mobile site is going to have a bigger impact on your SEO than the desktop version.

So you can see how essential it is to optimize the design of your site for mobile use.

The best way to do this for BigCommerce is to use a theme that automatically makes your site responsive to mobile devices. That means instead of zoomed-out, hard to use pages, you have a scrollable and tappable page.

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One option for this is to use BigCommerce’s default mobile theme, which will automatically make a responsive version of your site. However, if your desktop theme isn’t responsive, there could be issues when BigCommerce makes the transition for you.

A better option would be to use a theme that supports mobile responsiveness from the start. The Stencil Theme Platform comes highly recommended for this, and even has some features that will help with other SEO elements for your store. You can also check out the theme store to find other options that may suit your overall branding better.

Tip #4: Optimize Site Speed

In July of 2018, Google announced that page speed was now one of the top factors in mobile search results. While SEOs had known site speed was important for years, this was the final, official “nail in the coffin.”

That means that from now on, how fast your site loads is a vital aspect of your technical SEO. If you want to win organic traffic, you need a fast site.

To test your speed, you can use one of the various tools available on the Internet.

One solid choice would be PageSpeed Insights from Google. This free tool allows you to input a specific page on your website, test its speed, and get valuable tips for improvement.

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For example, one site we tested came back with a long list optimizations that covered everything from hosting to optimizing images:

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Following this advice will allow you to speed up your site and improve your site’s overall SEO.

Another potential tool you can use is GTMetrix, which works very similarly to PageSpeed Insights.

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This tool aggregates your PageSpeed score and your YSlow score provides exact performance details, and then offers direction on how you can start improving your speed.

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Once you discover how your site performs, your next goal is to find ways to improve the speed. No matter what you’re selling or where you rank, this is always a good idea to improve performance even more.

There are plenty of ways to improve site speed, such as:

  • Use better, faster hosting
  • Switch to a faster DNS provider
  • Use only a few plugins and scripts
  • Make sure you use small images
  • Use website compression
  • Minimalize your site’s code

By lowering load times and improving the overall speed of your site, you’ll be able to see a drastic improvement in your SEO and the organic traffic to your site. Without this step, your product pages may stay at the bottom of the search engine results page.

Tip #5: Use an App to Fill in the Gaps

As previously mentioned, to fill out your SEO you’ll likely want to integrate an app to your store. With any ecommerce platform, this is just a good move, as it gives you a system to fall back on to double check your SEO efforts.

One such app is FavSEO, a well-reviewed and robust SEO platform that audits and scores your overall SEO efforts.

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It also takes care of essential elements like your sitemap and keyword performance, so you can focus on trying to sell your products.

Whatever app you choose from the Bigcommerce app store, make sure that it helps you optimize essential elements like product descriptions and page titles. With the right pieces in place, your traffic will start to increase over time.

Tip #6: Optimize Your Category and Product Pages

When you’re building your site, site navigation is one of the key elements you need to consider for a solid SEO strategy. You want your site to be easy to use no matter where someone enters.

That includes your product and category pages.

The best way to achieve this type of optimization is to first create “silos” for the different types of products you offer. In the image below, you can see how this creates avenues on your site that follow a common logical theme:

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This method has been proven to allow low-authority sites to rank higher than competitors with tons of backlinks. In one case, a site with a domain rating score of 32 was able to beat one of its largest competitors using siloed pages.

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This method starts with solid, optimized category pages. Then, in each silo content should be internally linked up to the category page. This signals to Google that these pages are some of the most important pieces of your site, which boosts their overall SEO.

But that isn’t all you should do. You need to ensure that these category pages and the product pages beneath them are completely optimized. That includes headings, solid content, a good user experience, and keyword targeting.

When all of these elements come together, it’s a powerful SEO strategy.

Let’s look at an example of how this works in real life. Here’s an optimized category page from the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day website:

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When you click one of this category page from the homepage, related products are laid out, and when you click on one it will take you to a product page.

And here’s an example of one of their product pages, which includes a healthy amount of copy, solid imagery, and a variety of options that customers can select.

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Each of these pages display adherence to the on-page SEO guidelines we saw above, and then go the extra mile by optimizing images, copy, and other technical elements behind the scenes.

And since they’re in a single silo, each of these product pages help boost the SEO of the overarching category page.

Once again, every category and product page on your site should get the same level of optimization. It increases the overall SEO of your brand, and improves the possibility that you’ll rank for your targeted keyword.

Tip #7: Strategize Your Internal Linking

I briefly mentioned in the last tip that internal linking helps your SEO when you silo your category and product pages. Let’s dig deeper into how you can approach this strategically in each silo.

Years ago, when Google PageRank scores were still visible to brands, SEO experts discovered that you could shuttle value between pages using internal links. This concept became referred to as link value.

While we can’t see those PageRank scores anymore, it’s still clear that internal linking can be used strategically to boost the SEO of high-value pages on your site.

And when paired with a silo architecture, your internal links can become much more powerful.

The ultimate application of this is to link to best-selling or other relevant products in the copy of your product pages, blog posts, and landing pages.

With proper internal linking, you can pinpoint which pages need the most emphasis for SEO, and thus improve their position on a search engine results page. Here’s an example of how you can execute this from Rocky Mountain Soap:

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As you can see, the page provides internal links that attempt to upsell or cross-sell products. It also acts as a signal to Google that other pages may be more important to the brand than this particular product.

The takeaway is to use internal links carefully and deliberately to enhance your SEO for important products and pages. Your SEO will have more direction, which is much better in the long-term.

Conclusion

Ecommerce may be do-or-die, but platforms like BigCommerce make it easier to stay ahead of the competition.

With plenty of customization, benefits, and growth potential, BigCommerce is a good choice for any business looking to sell online. And with solid SEO potential, it’s easy to see why many businesses are using them.

But as with any platform, you still need to put in some effort to get to the top.

Start by performing some basic keyword research to help inform and direct your overall SEO strategy.

Then, use those keywords and BigCommerce’s dedicated SEO fields to optimize every page on your site.

It’s also in your best interest to design your site for mobile-first indexing, as that will be the biggest signal Google looks for moving forward.

You should also take steps to optimize your site’s speed, as that will directly impact how users interact with your site.

Also, be sure to supplement your SEO with a solid app from the BigCommerce app store. This will help ensure that nothing falls through the cracks, and will start generating traffic over time.

Take the time to work on the SEO of your category and product pages. They need the same effort that your homepage gets.

Finally, build a strategy for your internal linking and stick to it. You’ll be able to direct your SEO and see results over time.

And with that extra traffic, you’ll be much closer to the growth and success that all ecommerce businesses hope for.

BigCommerce SEO Best Practices: 7 Traffic Boosting Tips That Work was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How Neural Matching Can Change the Future of SEO

How Neural Matching Can Change the Future of SEO

Google has just celebrated it’s 20th anniversary, which signals another new milestone for one of the world’s largest technology companies. During this milestone event, the company was able to make big and important announcements as well, with announcements like Google Lens being integrated into Google Images, a rebranding of their news feed, and the introduction of activity cards.

These new features aim to make Google an even more versatile search engine that is able to deliver informative and comprehensive results. Google has been launching numerous updates this 2018, and with more bound to arrive, expect the SEO industry to create new strategies and techniques to help make search work better for websites.

Another new and important feature that was announced by Google is the usage of the Neural Matching algorithm. Much of Google’s algorithm is still a mystery for a lot of people, even SEO professionals, and for Google revealing information about it is always big news in the search world. This new piece of information not only expands people’s knowledge about how Google works but also how SEO will be in the future. Here’s what you need to know about the new algorithm and how it shapes the future of SEO.

What we know about Google’s algorithms

Google has never fully disclosed their search algorithm in public, only providing partial information about which part of the search it affects. Some of these algorithm updates over the years include Google Vince and Venice, Google Panda, and Google Penguin. These algorithms have helped us understand Google more, and find out which websites are affected by these updates.

While this new algorithm allows us to find out more about Google’s search engine, it is also a new kind of algorithm, as it uses AI technology to generate and diversify search results for users.

What is Neural Matching?

Neural Matching is an algorithm that utilizes Google’s latest AI technology to be able to generate more diverse search results. This AI technology allows Google to understand and analyze the language much better. One example that was used to demonstrate this new algorithm is the sample query “Why does my TV look strange?”. Google will be able to process the question to provide a result that answers the question properly through understanding it better.

Neural Matching Search Result

AI technology has been one of the things that Google has been putting more focus on this past year, with their demonstration of Google Assistant showing that their technology is able to perform human-like conversations in phone calls and be able to perform tasks independently.

Along with this sophisticated new AI system, Google also published Deep Relevance Ranking using Enhanced Document-Query Interactions. This research paper explains how Ad-hoc Retrieval works, which helps us understand how Neural Matching is accomplished on Google’s search engine. This system uses Document Relevance Ranking, which allows Google to rank documents and be able to track down the best search results and avoid spam other irrelevant results.

How will this shape the future of SEO?

With the implementation of AI into the Google search engine, this would mean that online search becomes more personalized than ever before, as the new algorithm understands search queries much better. This also means the development and implementation of new SEO strategies that will allow Google’s AI technology to allow our websites to be able to rank better in search results.

This makes question-based and exact search terms even more relevant than before, as Google can now understand these questions more deeply, and would be able to generate results that you would not have been able to find before. With voice and visual search becoming more important, having AI technology will surely bring about “smarter” results that would benefit more users and websites.

Other new features

Activity Card

Along with Neural Matching, Google has also introduced Activity Cards, which allows users to be view previous content relevant to their current search query. This will help more users revisit content that they might need, which comes in handy for people using Google for research. Search Collections is another new feature that helps in tracking down previous content. Users can collate articles, images, and videos in a single location, and access them at a later time. This comes in handy when doing content research and guest posting, as it helps gather up different ideas that can be used to create compelling content for a website.

Key Takeaway

AI technology has slowly been improving over the past few years, with AI assistants showing that they can perform multiple tasks, with the potential to do even more in the near future. With the Neural Matching algorithm becoming a part of Google search, we can expect new SEO strategies and techniques that would help future-proof our SEO, and keep our rankings up.

If you have questions and inquiries about Google Algorithms and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

How Neural Matching Can Change the Future of SEO was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Marginal losses: the hidden reason your SEO performance is lagging

Without a structured testing program, our experience shows that it’s very likely that most SEO efforts are at best taking two steps forward and one step back by routinely deploying changes that make things worse.

This is true even when the thinking behind a change is solid, is based on correct data, and is part of a well-thought-out strategy. The problem is not that all the changes are bad in theory – it’s that many changes come with inevitable trade-offs, and without testing, it’s impossible to tell whether multiple small downsides outweigh a single large upside or vice versa.

For example: who among us has carried out keyword research into the different ways people search for key content across a site section, determined that there is a form of words that has a better combination of volume vs competitiveness and made a recommendation to update keyword targeting across that site section?

Everyone. Every single SEO has done this. And there’s a good chance you’ve made things worse at least some of the time.

Dramatic drop from keyword targeting update

You see, we know that we are modelling the real world when we do this kind of research, and we know we have leaky abstractions in there. When we know that 20-25% of all the queries that Google sees are brand new and never-before-seen, we know that keyword research is never going to capture the whole picture. When we know that the long tail of rarely-searched-for variants adds up to more than the highly-competitive head keywords, we know that no data source is going to represent the whole truth.

So even if we execute the change perfectly we know that we are trading off performance across a certain set of keywords for better performance on a different set – but we don’t know which tail is longer, nor can we model competitiveness perfectly, and nor can we capture all the ways people might search tomorrow.

Without testing, we put it out there and hope. We imagine that we will see if it was a bad idea – because we’ll see the drop and roll it back. While that may be true if we manage a -27% variant (yes, we’ve seen this in the wild with a seemingly-sensible change), there is a lot going on with large sites and even a large drop in performance in a sub-section can be missed until months after the fact, at which point it’s hard to reverse engineer what the change was. The drop has already cost real money, the downside might be obscured by seasonality, and just figuring it all out can take large amounts of valuable analysis time. When the drop is 5%, are you still sure you’re going to catch it?

And what if the change isn’t perfect?

The more black-box-like the Google algorithm becomes, the more we have no choice but to see how our ideas perform in the real world when tested against the actual competition. It’s quite possible that our “updated keyword targeting” version loses existing rankings but fails to gain the desired new ones.

Not only that, but rankings are only a part of the question (see: why you can’t judge SEO tests using only ranking data). A large part of PPC management involves testing advert variations to find versions with better clickthrough rates (CTR). What makes you think you can just rattle off a set of updated meta information that correctly weights ranking against CTR?

Our testing bets that you can’t. My colleague, Dominic Woodman discussed our ODN successes and failures at Inbound 2018, and highlighted just how easy it can be to dodge a bullet, if you’re testing SEO changes.

We’re talking about small drops here though, right?

Well firstly, no. We have seen updated meta information that looked sensible and was based on real-world keyword data result in a -30% organic traffic drop.

But anyway, small drops can be even more dangerous. As I argued above, big drops are quite likely to be spotted and rolled back. But what about the little ones? If you miss those, are they really that damaging?

Our experience is that a lot of technical and on-page SEO work is all about marginal gains. Of course on large sites with major issues, you can see positive step-changes, but the reality of much of the work is that we are stringing together many small improvements to get significant year-over-year growth via the wonders of compounding.

And in just the same way that friction in financial compounding craters the expected gains (from this article of the effect of fees on investment returns):

Impact of fees on investment returns

If you’re rolling out a combination of small wins and small losses and not testing to understand which are which to roll back the losers, you are going to take a big hit on the compounded benefit, and may even find your traffic flatlining or even declining year over year.

You can’t eyeball this stuff – we are finding that it’s hard enough to tell apart small uplifts and small drops in the mix of noisy, seasonal data surrounded by competitors who are also changing things measured against a moving target of Google algorithm changes. So you need to be testing.

No but it won’t happen to me

Well firstly, I think it will. In classroom experiments, we have found that even experienced SEOs can be no better than a coin flip in telling which of two variants will rank better for a specific keyword.  Add in the unknown query space, the hard-to-predict human factor of CTR, and I’m going to bet you are getting this wrong.

Still don’t believe me? Here are some sensible-sounding changes we have rolled out and discovered resulted in significant organic traffic drops:

  1. Updating on-page targeting to focus on higher-searched-for variants (the example above)
  2. Using higher-CTR copy from AdWords in meta information for organic results
  3. Removed boilerplate copy from large numbers of pages
  4. Added boilerplate copy to large numbers of pages

Want to start finding your own marginal gains? Click the button below to find out more about ODN and how we are helping clients find their own winners and losers.

CONTACT US TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ODN

Marginal losses: the hidden reason your SEO performance is lagging was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

Google Lens Coming to Google Image Search: A Look at the New Features

Google Lens Coming to Google Image Search: A Look at the New Features

Introduced in 2017, Google Lens is one of the newest visual search tools that enable users to be able to receive information through the images that they take. Compared to other visual search engines that are currently available, Google Lens stands out as one of the best. With Google celebrating its twentieth anniversary, one important announcement that they have made is that Google Lens will be coming to Google Images.

With the update scheduled to be launched on September 27, this update aims to provide more functionality into Google Images and make it an even more reliable and versatile visual search engine. With the integration arriving in a few days, here are some of the features that you should know about.

Featured Videos

Google Images aims to provide more quality visual content to its users, and this means integrating video to allows users to have a better context of what they are searching for. Featured videos will be able to show videos related to your image. This comes in handy when it comes to important locations such as buildings and historical landmarks.

Google Images Featured Video

These videos can come from streaming sites such as YouTube, Dailymotion, and Vimeo, with Google ensuring that only the best quality videos would be shown. The addition of featured videos provides another avenue in which users would be able to discover relevant video content, which makes YouTube SEO even more important. This is surely a handy feature that will bring in more traffic to video streaming sites and provides an even more comprehensive amount of information to the users.

Google Image AMP Stories

The Story feature has become more popular due to apps like Instagram (which can be integrated into Facebook) and Snapchat. Providing users with a way to post temporary updates on their profiles became a sure-fire hit, which Google aims to replicate using their new AMP Stories on Google Images. This works in a similar way that Instagram and Snapchat stories would work and helps provide information in a more dynamic and interactive way.

Google Images Stories

Publishers would be able to create their own AMP stories to provide information, while Google AI is also being planned to provide them the ability to create their own as well. These stories will be created for search results related to notable personalities such as athletes and celebrities and would have the same kind of functionality that can be found on other platforms. This means that stories would also have links to more content, which can include images and video.

AMP Stories allows Google Images to become a platform similar to social media sites while providing the users with a more diverse and creative way to access and interact with content.

New ranking algorithm and tags

Another new change that will be arriving at Google Images is a change in the image ranking algorithm. The new algorithm will take into account factors, such as image location, size and prominence, and the authority of the hosting site. This would help prevent users from finding unrelated images, along with being able to find images within a website, which addresses the long-time issue of missing images when users access a website. Website authority ensures that the website is trustworthy and has quality content, which means that you will be getting what you have searched for.

Image tags will also be included, which allows users to be able to look for product images that they might be interested in buying. This can be a big help to e-commerce sites, as they now have a location where they can discover businesses and stores related to their products. Users will also have the ability to create image Collections, which allows them to group certain images together, which Google would take into account in your next search queries. These new features help create a more personalized search and ensure that your image search results would be more on point than before.

Key Takeaway

Google Images is one of Google’s most widely used tools, and with Google Lens integration, it becomes an even more effective visual search tool that provides quality content that us beyond images. With this announcement being a part of Google’s twentieth anniversary, expect more big announcements and new features on Google’s other tools and services.

If you have questions and inquiries about visual search and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

Google Lens Coming to Google Image Search: A Look at the New Features was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How Not To Get Screwed By Google’s Mobile-First Index

How Not To Get Screwed By Google's Mobile-First Index

Mobile usage has drastically increased over the past few years, with more and more users accessing websites through their devices. This led to Mobile SEO becoming much more important than before. Recently, Google has increased their focus on mobile search, with the Google Speed update adding mobile page loading speed as a ranking factor.

With Google going into a more mobile-first approach, mobile optimization has now become a priority for a lot of websites in order to attain or retain their search rankings. With so many people accessing the internet using their mobile devices, not doing this will lead to poor results, which can definitely screw up your SEO strategy. With that in mind, here are some of the best mobile optimization strategies that will answer your questions.

Should we implement AMP?

Google has been pushing forward to having AMP implemented in numerous websites across the internet, as it allows for a better user experience. In fact, AMP has been integrated into some of Google’s services and tools, which allows for a better performance. AMP integration might sound complicated at a glance, but thanks to tools like the one we have on WordPress, the process can be done much easier and allows us to craft websites that have better performance.

AMP for WordPress

In one of our previous articles, we have shared the effects of AMP to SEO, along with a simple guide on how to implement it on a WordPress powered website. Adding AMP gives your website more viewable on mobile, and improves the loading speed by a considerable margin, which is a big plus for your search ranking performance.

Should you go for Responsive Design?

Along with AMP, Responsive Design allows your website to be easier to view on various devices, especially for mobile. This means that your website adjusts to the size of the screen, ensuring that you would no longer have to do the tedious process of zooming in and out, which really puts a dent in the user experience. This makes your website look more streamlined and cleaner when viewed on any device, which is a definite plus when you want people to stay on your website.

Should you create a mobile version of your website?

Based on our experience, implementing AMP and Responsive Design allows our websites to be viewable on any device, and this means that creating a mobile version of a website would be redundant. While mobile versions of websites are still common around the internet, this tends to restrict content, which means that users might be put off that they are not able to access the full website.

What are the best tools to track Mobile Optimization?

When it comes to conducting website audits and reviews, we use a variety of tools to allow us to be able to view different kinds of data that enable us to determine how well it is performing. Examples of these tools include Google Lighthouse and Woorank, which are website audit tools that allow us to assess website loading speed, meta tags, and mobile friendliness.

Woorank Mobile View

For Woorank, you would be able to get a preview of how the website would look on smartphones and tablets, which helps you see if your AMP and Responsive Design is working. Another handy Woorank feature is the mobile assessment section, which provides you with the best suggestions to further optimize your website. Woorank would point out features such as font size and touchscreen readiness, all of which are important for mobile optimization. Loading speed and time is also taken into account, which shows if your website loads fast enough for positive SEO standards.

Is Social Media Marketing as important as SEO?

The rise in mobile usage can be traced to the rise in popularity of social media sites. The ability to contact people and share content on the go on your mobile device helped establish the mobile market as one of the most successful and profitable technological industries. With social media an important factor, this meant that some of the biggest brands had to take advantage and create marketing campaigns on mobile.

Social media marketing allows users to be able to find your business and website through their mobile devices and is also the best platform to create viral marketing campaigns. However, while social media marketing is important, SEO should still be your top priority. Having a viral campaign might lead people to your site but leading them into a badly optimized one would waste that investment.

Key Takeaway

Mobile optimization has now become a very important element in SEO strategy. While this is still a relatively new and evolving field in search, the rapid development in mobile technology ensures that more changes will be in store in the near future. By answering some of these important optimization questions, you are guaranteed that your SEO would not be negatively affected by Google’s mobile-first approach.

If you have more questions about mobile optimization and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

How Not To Get Screwed By Google’s Mobile-First Index was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing

How Shopping On Instagram Can Help Boost Your Business

How Shopping On Instagram Can Help Boost Your Business

Instagram has become not only one of the biggest social media networks in the world, but it has also become one of the most effective marketing tools as well. With numerous brands and influencers making full use of the platform, Instagram is one of the best places to grow your online presence.

Recently, Instagram has introduced a host of new features, such as Instagram Stories and IGTV that helped Instagram become a more versatile platform. This month, another new update has rolled out called Instagram Shopping. This new feature aims to implement e-commerce on Instagram, making it another digital marketplace where brands would be able to reach their audience. Here’s a look at how it works, and how it could help boost your business.

At a glance

The concept of Instagram Shopping can be traced to various sellers and businesses using Instagram as a way for users to view and order their products. This led to more and more users buying their products and completing their transactions on Instagram. With this surge in online shops on Instagram, it is only fitting that an actual shopping feature would be introduced to help these brands sell their products, and help their business grow on their platform. With Instagram Shopping finally launching, users would now have a more convenient way of conducting transactions and lead more users into

How it works

When viewing an Instagram profile of a brand you want to buy, look for images that have a shopping bag icon in the top right corner of the thumbnail image.

Instagram Shopping Icon

After tapping on the thumbnail, you can tap on the image itself to view the price and tap on the icon to get more detailed information about the product.

Instagram Shopping Product

On the product image and description, you have the option of viewing and purchasing it on the business website. Tapping on the description allows you to view more detailed information about the product. The information provides details such as product measurements and dimensions, product material, accessories, and even available colors.

Instagram Shopping Product Description

On the bottom of the description, you would be able to view similar product posts that you might also be interested in. This allows users to be able to look for alternatives and new products that they may like.

Instagram Shopping Related Posts

How Instagram Shopping can boost your business

By using Instagram Shopping, users would not be able to view products much easier and with more detail than before. Along with a more refined way of viewing products, users would now be able to access the website where the products are located and immediately make a purchase. This means that you are not only getting traffic on your Instagram account, but you are also getting more traffic to your website as well. Leading users to your website mean getting conversions after purchasing a product, which helps your business grow purchase after purchase.

Social media marketing on Instagram allows for many opportunities for users to be able to discover your business. By using Instagram Stories, utilizing live video, and even creating interesting video content on IGTV, promoting your business on Instagram offers a good degree of versatility. This also means that your content creation team would be getting really busy, as these Instagram features have to be utilized differently to promote your products.

Instagram is one of the most widely-used social media platforms around, and with Instagram Shopping adding yet another function, it opens up another opportunity for websites to gain conversions and boost their traffic.

Key Takeaway

Instagram Shopping may still be a very new function, but its impact will surely be felt by businesses that utilize it. Through this feature, they can expect more people to access their products on Instagram, while being able to improve their website traffic. Instagram is slowly but surely becoming a versatile social media platform, and more businesses should take notice.

If you have questions about social media marketing and SEO in general, leave a comment below and let’s talk.

How Shopping On Instagram Can Help Boost Your Business was originally posted by Video And Blog Marketing