Archive by Kyle Ross

Backlinks: What are They and How Do I Get More of Them?

21Nov

What are backlinks? Where do they fit into my SEO strategy? How do I get more backlinks? If these questions have been eating you alive and keeping you up at night, have no fear – all your questions are about to be answered. I’m Kyle, Passion Digital’s SEO Manager, and I just happen to know a thing or two (or three or four…) about backlinks. Here’s all you need to know about perhaps the most challenging part of SEO: earning quality backlinks.

What are Backlinks?

Simply put, backlinks occur when websites link to one another. For example, when an outside domain links to a page on your website, you get a backlink.

How Do Backlinks Play a Role in Your SEO Strategy?

Backlinks are undeniably an important part of Search Engine Optimisation and are an important tool in the arsenal of any SEO agency. When you receive backlinks from an external site (especially if they are from quality pieces of content on reputable and authoritative web pages), it’s like getting a vote of confidence for the page that is receiving the link. The more votes the page gets, the more that the Google search engine views it positively, which means it will rank higher in the search results. This will increase your webpage’s visibility, organic traffic and, ideally, conversion rates.

How to Get Backlinks

There are lots of great ways to get backlinks – however, there are lots of bad ways out there as well. It’s important to ensure that you are using the best SEO practices so that Google doesn’t penalise you. Here are five of my top suggestions on how to properly build links in a way that will hopefully have your webpage soaring through the rankings.

If you want links as badly as this kid, listen up!

1. Leverage Partnerships

One of the easiest ways to get backlinks? Just ask for them! Speak to your partners and other professional associates and see if they’re willing to add a link to you on their website. Since they already have a working relationship with you, it’s more likely they’ll be happy to pop you onto one of their pages – especially if they already have a list of partners on their site!

2. Love Your Long-Form Content

Make sure that you have at least one page on your website that is filled with a fantastic long-form piece. This page will have a static URL and will be available all year round. Make sure that it is genuinely useful (you should never create content just for the sake of content), well written and, as the name implies, LONG. If you have a PR or social team, it’s a good idea to get them to focus a lot of energy on promoting this piece. Good long-form content tends to correlate directly with very good backlinks.

For an example of this type of long-form content, check out our Wellbeing at Work page.

3. Create a Blog with Great Content

One way to naturally get backlinks is to write fantastic content that other people will want to reference. Blogs are a great way to do this. Make sure your blog posts are well written, properly structured, relevant to your industry and useful to the reader. You should also post on a regular basis.

Over time, your blog will likely gain authority and a readership and, ideally, you will earn links to your blog posts. When you create useful content, others will want to use it as an authoritative reference and link to it – which means another quality backlink for your page.

Remember that when you get a backlink to a blog post, you should make sure you funnel the authority you receive from the link into a key page (perhaps one of your website’s long form pieces). To do this, edit that post and include a link to a key page on your site. This will give your blog content maximum effectiveness!

4. Try Guest Posting

This one is also related to creating great content – but you will be submitting it to another website. This tactic is called guest posting; many websites allow you to submit content to them that includes a link back to your own website. However, it’s important to note that there are some base rules you should follow when submitting a post:

  • Make sure that the website or blog that will receive your guest post is relevant to the web page to which you will be linking
  • Make sure that the posts you are submitting are well written, useful, interesting and, as always, relevant
  • Don’t just hype up your company – make sure that there is real substance to your article

Be their guest, be their guest!

5. Utilise the Broken Link Building Method

This is a tactic that involves finding broken outbound links, contacting the website that has the broken link and suggesting that they fix their page by updating the broken link with a link to one of your web pages. This technique will only work if the page you’re suggesting to them is a useful, authoritative resource on the same topic as the broken link. In short, it should make sense to the website editor to swap out the old link for yours. Not only will this help a website fix its errors and improve the experience for its readers, it will also get you an extra backlink – a win-win situation for all!

However, despite the mutualistic benefits of the broken link building method, there is one potential hurdle you’ll have to get around: finding the broken links. Luckily there are lots of great SEO tools to help you identify them (such as Siteliner and Ahrefs). Once you compile a list of websites you want to target, all you have to do is pop the URLs into one of those tools and viola – you’ll know where to start your outreach. Just make sure the emails you are sending are short yet sweet. You want to come off as friendly and helpful not just hungry for a backlink!

With these tips and tricks in mind, you can easily increase the quality of your backlinks and get some great content on your blog in the process. Good luck in all your future link building endeavours – you’ll be on the first page of the Google search results before you know it.

Want to up your SEO game but not sure where to begin? Passion Digital can help you with all your digital marketing needs… and that doesn’t just go for our clients! If you’re looking for the next step in your digital marketing career, we’re currently looking to hire some new Passionistas – check out our job openings today.

Timeless SEO Tips and Tricks

01Jun

The role of an SEO specialist has gone through many transformations in its relatively short lifecycle. We are at the forefront of technological changes, poised to adapt to the updates of Google’s policies, constantly looking to innovate our techniques in order to get that sought-after page 1 ranking for our site.

However, despite the furiously changing nature of the web, there are consistencies that will always ring true for SEO specialists looking to achieve results in their work. Here are our three we’d like to share with you:

Write for humans (not penguins and pandas!)

We are at the mercy of Google’s algorithms. Adhering to Google’s penguin and panda updates are obviously something we must all take into account…

But – ignore at your peril the fact that everything you’re writing for is for humans. Are your meta-titles and descriptions so stuffed with your chosen keywords that they make the sentence difficult to read? Well, that’s a real problem. Humans are notoriously picky creatures, unfortunately, and will not click on something that does not make sense. We simply do not have time. Instead, write your titles, headings, descriptions, any content at all with the intention of being simple and delightful to read. If you are making sense to people, they will listen.

Experimenting = key


Try new things or be left behind. Quickly. Being dynamic in your work is very important, as you must recognise the techniques that work for you and apply them. Lethargic turnaround times will only make you fall behind on trends and consumer behaviour. A dynamic approach could be testing combinations of keywords on a new page, for example – did you see notable improvement following these changes, or did the results decline? With an improvement, you know you are going in the right direction. Continue refining your work.

For experimenting, it begins and ends with your data – you should be checking Google Analytics regularly to see your site’s performance. Create short campaigns, be vigilant to their performance, and collect the results – you will have tangible evidence to convince your boss that this work is going to good places…so keep it up!

Build them links! (respect the link-building strategy)

A wise (SEO) man once told me that the power of authoritative links is unquestionable. It is still and will always be the most significant factor in determining your site’s rankings in search engines. That is why a link-building strategy is essential for boosting your site’s SEO potential. Effective content marketing and outreach are key to successful SEO. The work itself may be more time-consuming, but you’ll reap the rewards ten-fold if you’ve gained a single, highly authoritative link.

Do you think you can write a guest blog that can gain a link back to your site? Or produce a piece of content that sites will host, sending their link juice back to yours? These are two simple examples of ways to gain a quality link. It may seem an arduous task, but persistence is important with link-building. Respect the process, crack on with the work, and be patient. This is a vital aspect of SEO that you can’t afford to ignore.

In conclusion, these SEO tips have all stood the test of time, and remained the bedrock of a solid SEO approach. There is so much more to SEO out there, however! For the experienced ones out there in the industry – they will know the benefit of each one of these techniques. For the newcomers, always have these in the back of your mind – they will be your platform of success.

The Digital Pond – Digital Marketing Strategy Building Event

17Nov

This past week we sent a member of the Passion Digital team to an event we have never attended before – the Digital Pond. The event was held right on the outskirts of the city in Aldgate, within walking distance of the station and hosted in the fantastic facilities of the General Assembly campus.

I arrived slightly late due to finishing off some important client work so the proceedings were almost under way. The room was full to the brim with excited marketers who were thirsting for the extra knowledge and instructive insights that attending such an event can bring. The following talks did not disappoint.

The digital pond and its speakers delivered three exceptional talks. They were all on varying subjects and were intended to educate, enlighten, and decipher the many aspects of digital marketing strategy.

However, the talks all had something in common – looking to the future. The theme of the night was to look ahead and demystify what 2017 will mean not only for digital marketing but also the marketing industry in general. These are exciting times and the talks of the night delivered exactly this message. Let’s not dawdle much longer – here is our rundown of what took place:

kyle-blog-hero

First Talk

The first discussion came from Dan Bluestone and Sylvain Reiter, CEO and CTO respectively of Cyberduck, the digital agency who helped host the evening. Hardly a warm-up for the crowd, we were treated straight away to the exciting trends that they predict for 2017. The first point, that true marketing is like ‘baby steps’ – it should be fearless, curious, break things (conventions, concepts, theories), always tell the brutal truth, and doesn’t grow up fast but takes its time! I very much enjoyed this analogy, since it personifies exactly how marketing should be – an honest, and sometimes brutal, insight. There is no pretence with genuine marketing, only honest answers.

The speakers then went on to outline their predictions of trends for 2017 – a hotly anticipated subject and we were all listening intently. Trend number one is the increase in the use and application of digital assistants. We are already seeing innovations in this area today, with Google Now, Cortana, Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa all competing against one another. Looking to the tech giants of the world for innovation trends is clearly a sensible option and to see such emphasis by the likes of Google, Apple and Amazon will always direct the eager onlooker. How will this affect your digital strategy, then? Sites will have to be tailored to allow this new technology to be able to understand the content. For example, if you are an e-commerce site, your content must be optimised to be read by these assistants if you want to own one of the top organic search positions. Why does this matter? By 2020, Comscore predicts that 50% of all online searches will be done through voice assistants. That’s significant, and means that the importance of site optimisation has never been greater.

The second trend discussed was the increase in communication bots, which will integrate with existing apps that have a strong user-base and are considered ‘essential’ to a phone-owners app repertoire – like Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp. These are bots that provide automated responses. For example – when you say ‘book me a taxi to the airport,’ the bots will give you options on taxi prices, the ability to choose which one you want, schedule in the ride, and remind you on the day! American Express have a bot that informs you every time you make a transaction, essentially providing an easy tracking system. CNN will serve you news updates on topics of your interest. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘there’ll be an app for that.’ Well, 2017 is different. In 2017, the phrase will go ‘there’s an app for that.’ As marketers, we must be aware of the applications of bots, which will provide a new and exciting avenue for reaching potential customers!

Trend three of 2017 is augmented and virtual reality. Not a shocking revelation – but the importance of this new technology cannot be understated. With augmented reality coming to life most famously through Snapchat and with VR headsets launching on the mass market by companies like Samsung, Sony, Microsoft and Facebook (to name a few) we can expect the technology to take off. In terms of experiences, the shopping industry will see the most tangible benefits. Imagine being able to try on a dress or a jacket, exactly your size, from the comfort of your own living room? The online shopping experience will transform.

bots-image

Second Talk

The second discussion was given by Camilla Rose, an account director of the London agency Cult LDN. She spoke on a very interesting topic – personalising your brand message and how this creates a more authentic and relatable personality for customers to engage with. Burberry is a good example of a brand with this in mind as they aspire for their website to deliver an equally entrancing experience as walking into the store – a personal experience. When promoting the brand, Camilla spoke passionately that the best brand influencers are brand ambassadors. We’re 92% more likely to trust a friend’s recommendation over a company telling you to buy something. So, focus on a creating a beautiful experience that will attract new people and make them sing your praises, not hounding new potential customers to try you out!

Third Talk

The third and final talk was my favourite of the evening. Tash Walker, founder of the Mix, a research company, delivered a truly demystifying insight – that a huge demographic of the population are effectively ignored by marketers – the baby boomers! Those born between 1946 and 1964 are consistently lumped together into one single demographic category and are considered inactive online. This couldn’t be further from the truth she goes onto say. 50% of people born in this time and older are highly active online and very social. This generation are even said to be more adventurous, sharing and interacting with new people far more than generation Z or millennials. Bottom line of the talk – ignore the baby-boomers at your peril. You’ll be discounting a huge portion of potential customers to reach. So do your research and you’ll be much surprised to find the level of engagement with people of that age!

All in all, the evening was truly excellent and the speakers fantastic. I am not able to fully convey their messages, which were in-depth and informative in the minimum, but I hope you get a glimpse from the above. To all those looking for a fun and educational evening, go to the Digital Pond. You’ll come away a notepad full of awesome ideas and a sense of accomplishment.

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