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5 Honest Link Building Methods

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5 Honest Link Building Methods

Links remain key to search engine rankings.

Without other sites linking to your page, it has 0 chance to rank.

But there’s more to that.

Links generate referral traffic and build your brand.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that links are essential for all digital marketing tactics.

But with that, it is also the most challenging one.

How are you earning backlinks for your website?

I hope you’re not still submitting your site to hundreds of article sites or lame directories. You’re not spamming blog comments are you?

You shouldn’t rely on one single tactic to get links to your site. You’re so much better off building a diverse link profile by getting links from various legitimate sources.

Here are four honest ways you can earn high quality inbound links for your site–the types of links that Honest Abe would be proud of.

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1. Create Content That Is Highly Shareworthy (Here’s How)

One of the best ways to earn inbound links is by creating content that is highly shareworthy. This tactic outranks the others because with one piece of content you can earn hundreds or thousands of backlinks.

This is also an audience research tactic, so much so as a link building tactic. You get to understand what goes well in your niche and what your target audience seems to relate to.

So, how do you create content that is highly shareworthy?

We tend to think about share-worthy content in the context of viral content, like infographics or videos that have generated thousands of views and shares.

In reality, it doesn’t have to be that huge.

You don’t need to create expensive infographics or videos to earn inbound links. You can write a blog post, publish a guide or create any other kind of content you want.

The important thing to remember is that you should have some kind of hook in the content. Something that grabs the reader, applies to a wide audience and makes viewers want to pass it on.

Remember that the best way to create such content is by including:

  • A hero
  • A villain
  • An emotional story arc
  • A super inspiring meaningful message
  • A downloadable asset like a lead magnet
  • The right time and the right place (seasonality)

Use Visuaping to be alerted of something relevant being discussed on Reddit or a bif media outlet, like Mashable. This way you will instantly know when your topic is going hot, and you can join that trend by creating your content. That’s a good way to keep those links coming.

5 Honest Link Building Methods

When you create content that includes one or more of these elements, not only do you increase the likelihood that people will share it via social networks, but also that media outlets will want to publish it earning you high quality backlinks.

This could also be longer-term projects, like hosting a podcast or a Youtube series.

2. Respond to Press Inquiries

One really simple way to obtain new inbound links is to respond to press inquiries.

You can sign up for a free service like Help a Reporter Out (HARO) that will send you a list of inquiries from reporters/bloggers looking for sources.

Once you receive your first HARO email scan it for any topics that fit your industry and/or your (brand’s) story. Make sure to provide answers right away.

If I wanted to obtain an inbound link for my site I would reply to the email address listed and provide my credentials + a quick quote that can be used in the article.

Reporters are often working on tight deadlines and may not have the time to reply to your email if it only says, “Hi, I’m a XX expert, let me know what questions you have.”

You need to make it easier for them to include your quote after just one email. Be factual, detailed, yet concise.

You may not be selected for each inquiry you respond to, but in my experience if you include a well thought out quote in your response to the inquiry you will have a high acceptance rate.

Remember to start your reply with a credibility statement, then write a short but detailed quote that could be easily used in an article (no one likes generic, fluff quotes), and make yourself available for a follow up.

Oh, and of course include your URL if you hope to get a link!

Twitter is another great place to look for link opportunities. Reporters and bloggers are posting their story requests on Twitter using hashtags like #journorequest, #PRrequests, #writingcommunity and #bloggerrequest.

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Keep an eye on those hashtags and tweet back when you have something to say! 

3. Leverage Already Popular Content

Someone has already found something that has gone viral. You can take advantage of that success in two ways:

  • Learn from it
  • Curate it to create your own sharable content

You can search Facebook, Reddit and Tumblr for content (related to your industry) that is getting a lot of likes/comments/shares. Then find a way to make your own content based on what you have found:

  • Create a listicle (Think Buzzfeed for a format)
  • Write a “reaction” article and embed third-party content in there

I would add that if you don’t want to copy/paste directly from other people’s updates, then you should look for viral videos, infographics or images related to your industry.

You can then embed the video/image into your blog post and write up your own story to go around it.

Just make sure that you receive the author’s permission to cross-publish this content.

When using content to build links, focus on community building for long-term success.

4. Create Educational Content

You’d be surprised how high the demand is for truly helpful educational content.

There is a huge community of teachers and homeschooling parents who will gladly link to your content if it provides a good instruction that’s helpful to their users.

Think about content on teaching students to create their own PDF files (ebooks) or to organize their reading lists. Educators are still hungry for useful tutorials teaching their kids something new.

And those links are priceless because educators would never give you links unless it’s well deserved, and Google knows that.

To make this tactic work you need two steps though:

  • Create content that’s truly useful
  • Reach out to your target educators to invite them to check it out and link

Text Optimizer is the tool that will help you create content that really solves problems. It determines niche questions that need to be addressed on a site:

1663536005 832 5 Honest Link Building Methods

For outreach, make sure to create tools like Pitchbox which will find those prospects, organize them by status (whether you got in touch and whether they responded), and automate follow-ups.

You may want to set up a dedicated email address to run your outreach and I think using your primary email address or a free email address (like Gmail or Yahoo) – these both are not good strategies in the long run.

You can grab a cheap domain using tools like Namify to have a well-branded email address for your outreach. And here’s a good guide on setting up your branded email address for free.

5. Check out the Competition

One easy way to identify some websites you can get a link from is by checking out who is linking to your competitors.

You can quickly and easily conduct this spy work using SE Ranking’s competitor research tool.

Simply type in the URL for your competitor’s website and the tool will show you a list of sites that link to them along with the pagerank for those inbound links.

Once you have a list of inbound links you can filter down the list to the sites that you would love to also get a link from and then reach out to each site to start that discussion.

You can repeat this same process for all of your competitors thus increasing your chances to not only gain some visibility on sites that had previously only written about the competition – but also to earn those all-important backlinks.

Buzzsumo is another great way to analyze your competitors’ links. A great thing about using this tool is that it combines link building research and social media research, i.e. for every linking page it would show you social media numbers like Facebook likes and Reddit Engagement:

1663536005 934 5 Honest Link Building Methods

Monitor and Organize Your Links

Good links are hard to get! It’s only natural that you’d want to keep a close eye on the best on those you earn. Link Checker is a cool tool that will monitor your links and alert you if there’s any red flag, like an error status. You can also label your links to organize them better.

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How Are You Building Links?

Hopefully this list of link-building strategies gave you some new ideas for earning inbound links in an honest, sustainable way.

Build a solid foundation with these honest link building strategies rooted in best practice.


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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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