Friday, December 30, 2016

How to Fact-Check Your Latest Blog Post in 20 Minutes or Less

Nobody’s correct all the time. Your blog posts, on the other hand, should be correct all the time.

Why? Because if your blog gets the facts wrong, your readers won’t take you seriously. Instead of being an authoritative resource, your blog will become a joke.

It’s harsh but true. Assuming you’re not a satire site like the Onion, you need to get your information right.

Truth be told, blogs should have similar standards for their posts as colleges have for students’ papers. Colleges require students to cite their sources in detail, and the sources have to be credible.

While I don’t think blogs should be required to quote only academic journals, I do think most blogs could benefit from higher standards of quality.

That means no poorly researched facts, no half-baked ideas, and no generalizations or assumptions.

It means thoroughly researched points, credible sources, and specific examples and anecdotes.

That’s the standard I keep for all my blogs, and I encourage my friends and colleagues to do the same.

Best of all, it doesn’t take hours to make your blog posts bulletproof.

Here’s how to fact-check your latest blog post in 20 minutes or less. Let’s get started.

Determine which facts to check

You don’t need to be super paranoid to have a perfectly correct blog post. Not every fact needs to be double-checked.

That’s why your first objective should be to comb through your post and determine which facts need checking.

An easy way of doing this is to consider whether or not the fact is common knowledge.

According to Harvard University, “Common knowledge is information generally known to an educated reader, such as widely known facts and dates, and, more rarely, ideas or language.”

For example, the fact that Barack Obama won the 2012 election is common knowledge. But the fact that Obama likes basketball is not common knowledge.

How can you tell whether a fact is common knowledge?

Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab says that, as a rule of thumb, if you can find the fact undocumented in at least five credible sources, chances are it’s common knowledge.


If your fact is common knowledge, you don’t need any source to back it up.

However, I recommend doing a quick yet thorough Google search to make sure your fact isn’t a common misconception. If all looks good, move on to the next step.

Consult credible sources

There’s a huge difference between an authoritative source and a credible source. Unfortunately, most people think they’re one and the same.

For example, most schools don’t allow students to cite Wikipedia because anyone can edit it. Even though Wikipedia is mostly well-maintained, it can’t be used academically.

Wikipedia is a perfect example of a site that is an authoritative—but not credible—source. It’s authoritative because it’s used by millions of people, but it’s not credible.

The Wall Street Journal is an example of an authoritative source that is also a credible source. Most major news publications (e.g., The New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post) count as credible sources.


Besides national newspapers, some examples of sources that are credible include:

  • Personal websites (e.g.,
  • Studies in peer-reviewed journals with citations
  • Academic sites (i.e., sites ending in .edu)
  • Government sites (i.e., sites ending in .gov)
  • Trustworthy institutions (e.g., Mayo Clinic, Department of Justice)

Keep in mind that while some of these sources would be considered off-limits in an academic setting, they’re perfectly fine in our case. For example, using a personal site for a grad paper might be frowned upon, but it works fine for blog posts.

Some examples of sources that aren’t credible include:

  • Forums
  • Social media posts/updates
  • Studies without citations

Ultimately, you have to use your judgment here. If you’re using well-known, widely trusted sources, you’re good to go.

Get help from the watchdogs

There are also plenty of sites and resources dedicated to fact checking.

Usually, these types of watchdog sites cover either politics or urban myths. For example, and are two sites that help you determine the validity of political statements.


One of the most popular checking sites is Snopes. It has entries on all kinds of urban legends and controversial facts.

The team of researchers at Snopes always show their research, making it easy to fact-check Snopes itself.


While Snopes has gotten some criticism for its seemingly biased political articles, it’s a good resource for many other topics.

Last but not least, Google recently announced its new Fact Check tag for Google News. In a nutshell, readers will be able to check the validity of an article by clicking on the Fact Check tag.


If you’re already using Google News, this will be super convenient for you. And if you’re not using Google news, it’s a great time to start.

Create a strategy

I’ve shared a lot of information so far, but don’t be intimidated. As I promised, you’ll be able to use this info to fact-check a blog post in 20 minutes or less.

Let me take you through the strategy, step by step.

Step 1: Create a fact checking spreadsheet (1 minute)

Open Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets, and create a new spreadsheet.

Don’t worry, you’re not going to make anything complicated. You’ll need only three columns.

Name the first column “Fact,” and enter all the facts from your blog post that need checking. (Refer back to the “Determine which facts to check” section of this article for this step.)

Name the second column “Sources.” We’ll use this in the next step.

Name the third column “Use.” You’ll use this column to determine the validity of your facts.

Step 2: Head to Google (8 minutes)

If your facts don’t fall into any political, social, or mythological categories, Google will be your first step in the fact-checking process.

For example, if you wanted to write about the successful use of Facebook video ads, you’d want to find a reputable source with examples.

Head to Google, and search “Facebook video ads.” One of the top results is this blog post from Social Media Examiner:


The article has lots of outbound links to support its claims, which is a great sign. There’s also a lot of media to help the user follow the strategy.

This is an excellent example of a good resource. This article would definitely back up your claims about Facebook video ads being successful.

Try to find at least two quality articles, studies, or videos to back up each statement. This way, you can go through them at the end and decide which resources will be best for your article.

When you find your sources, paste the links in the “Sources” column of your spreadsheet.

Step 3: Consult other sites (optional, 5 minutes)

If you’re writing about anything political, you’ll most likely need to use, Politifact, or Snopes. And if you need to check any facts related to society, Snopes is a good place to go.

You won’t need to use these sites for every article you write, so this is an optional step. If you do need to use these sites, just run your topic keywords through the search bars.

At this point, you might be thinking, “But what if there’s nothing out there to support my fact?”

A lack of support means one of two things: You either need to support the fact yourself or eliminate it from your article.

Since these are polar opposites, you’ll have to use your judgment here.

For example, if you’re arguing that studying the Renaissance can improve your marketing, you probably won’t find much out there that connects the two. But you can probably make a strong case for why it’s true.

On the other hand, if you’re arguing that the Loch Ness monster’s favorite color is blue, you won’t find anything to support that. And you probably can’t create a convincing case that backs up your statement.

Overall, if you have a hard time backing up a fact, you should leave it out. You are better off being safe than sorry when it comes to fact checking.

Step 4: Weed out the bad facts (2 minutes)

Take a final look at your spreadsheet. If you found at least one credible source for a fact, you can use that fact. Enter “Yes” in the “Use” column.

If there are any facts without sources, you’re better off not including those facts in your article. As I mentioned above, if you can make a compelling case for a fact, go for it, but be careful.

You’ll come across a few duds every now and then, and that’s okay. When it comes to facts, always choose quality over quantity.


There you have it—a complete strategy for fact-checking your newest blog post that only takes about 17 minutes. (And in many cases, even less.)

While this is a quick-start guide, don’t be afraid to spend a little more time on this process. Getting your facts straight can mean the difference between a success and a flop.

And keep in mind that the longer the blog post, the more research you’ll have.

To give you an idea, my posts run anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000+ words, and I typically spend about an hour or so on research per post.

Of course, the most important part about writing a blog post is making sure the content is awesome. Write to solve your readers’ problems, and be passionate about it.

Thanks to the Internet, fact-checking has never been easier. Take a few minutes to double-check everything, and you’ll never have to worry about misleading your readers.

What’s your favorite fact-checking tip?

from Quick Sprout

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How to Crack Google Search Optimization for Your Unique Niche

Search engine optimization sounds great on paper, but when put into practice, it’s a bit tougher. Marketing in your specific niche can be slow and painful, especially if you’re just starting from scratch with a new website.

Although it may feel like every keyword already has hundreds of thousands of competitive results, you can still push through the crowd and rise to the top if you understand how to apply SEO fundamentals to your unique niche.

Search is all about supply and demand, and as long as you meet a user’s needs (especially in local marketing), you’ll gain the search traffic.


Local and niche searches make up the large majority of Internet searches (which I’ll cover in more detail later), and you can make a killing if you set up your niche site correctly.

Here’s what you need to know to get started in pushing your website up the search engine ranking pages for your specific niche.

1. Research your niche

According to recent research, 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, and 75% of users never scroll to page 2.


This is a huge user base that leads to 1.2 trillion (and rising) Google searches every year. Grabbing a piece of that market is going to take some in-depth research.

Researching your niche is a step toward improving your domain and page authority. The more you understand a topic, the more likely you are to be seen as a trusted resource, which helps your SEO efforts.

You should always be keeping an eye on industry trends to know what people are buzzing about these days and cater to those searches. The longer you blog, the more important this will become as eventually you’ll run out of ideas.

When you know your industry inside and out, you have a leg up on the competition because you understand the context within which people are typically searching.

You’ll also understand that while not every search and click lead to a sale, the value you bring as an authoritative voice is a branding opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

2. Broaden your keywords

As mentioned previously on Quick Sprout, long-tail keywords are the key to succeeding with a niche website. While you may not be able to rank well with your new vaping website for the keyword “vaping,” you can rank well for “mango flavored vape juice” or “what oils can be used in vape pens,” or even “what’s the best temperature to vape vegetable glycerin.”

While people looking for general vape information or products may not see you, people specifically looking for the best mango VG-based ejuice will see you.

Long-tail keywords have much smaller search volumes than generic ones, but ranking well on them builds your overall web profile and search rankings for other related terms. It’s also important to know that long-tail keywords make up about 70% of all searches anyway.


Using long-tail keywords lets you really shine in areas where people are actually searching.

For example, if you have a black 10-speed beach cruiser, you may draw interest from people looking for bicycles, but you’ll draw much higher interest from people looking specifically for beach cruisers, black bicycles, and a black 10-speed beach cruiser.


Targeting long-tail keywords makes your site visible in the “minor league” search terms that can make all the difference in your site’s brand recognition, traffic, and ultimate ROI.

3. Place strategic links

Quality backlinks with descriptive anchor text placed on authoritative sites is the easiest and most efficient way to raise your website’s search engine rankings.

Here’s a breakdown of the top search signals so you can see how links fit into the equation:


The more links you can get placed in a non-spammy way on popular sites in your industry (or the mainstream media, academic, and government web pages), the higher your page will rank on search engines.

It’s a two-fold benefit: these links drive search traffic as well as direct referral traffic from those who click the links.

Blogging on your website and guest-posting on others are the best ways to get these backlinks, although commenting on forums and blog articles, doing social media promotion, and simply creating great material with sourced statistics and images helps as well.

Some businesses find success hiring an external PR agency to help promote their brand and business on external sites. These agencies often work with social media influencers, bloggers, journalists, and industry professionals to get your business in front of the right people and build a buzz.

Don’t be afraid to contact local outlets, organizations, and businesses in your surrounding area to have your business featured with a possible link on their web properties.

4. Get listed on local sites

Search engines aren’t the only places driving traffic online, especially in today’s age of mobile devices.

Mapping sites such as Mapquest and Google/Apple Maps, business rating sites such as Yelp, Citysearch, and Angie’s List, and social media platforms such as Foursquare and Facebook are all important places to list your business on.


Registering on these sites gives your business credibility and presents you to users who may prefer using niche searching techniques over search engines, which is especially true of travelers.

If you have a business with a web presence, these sites help you show off great reviews, great products, and information about your business and its offerings. It also allows you to be visible in searches even if your search ranking is low otherwise.

Your domain authority on a new site is probably non-existent, but Yelp is an authoritative site, so your Yelp profile may outrank your website for certain keywords. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as long as you have links to your website on all your business listings.

Here’s how to claim your business on Google.

Here’s how to claim your business on Yahoo.

Here’s how to claim your business on Yelp.

Here’s how to claim your business on Foursquare.

Here’s how to claim your business on Bing.

5. Start a blog

Once you have everything set up on your account, you’ll still need a separate landing page for each long-tail keyword you researched. The same page is unlikely to rank highly for every keyword, so you’ll need to have a blog to have pages with a variety of keywords.

I say it constantly, but I’m a huge advocate of blogging, and I’m not the only one. Sixty-four percent of PR and marketing pros are looking for ways to increase content marketing and blogging efforts this year alone.


With a 1500- to 2000-word blog posts on each specific search term, you are creating a relevant landing page for that term. In the vaping example above, “how to make your own mango ejuice,” “vape juice ingredients,” and “the optimal vape voltage and temperature settings” would make excellent blog posts to capture the long-tail keywords.

These blog posts are much more likely to rank well on Google for nearly every permutation of the searches than an e-commerce page would unless, of course, you’re searching for “cheap ejuice for sale.”

Yoast SEO is a great WordPress plugin that can scan your pages and posts for readability, keyword richness, and other SEO signals to determine how optimized each page is.

6. Research the competition

Competition is the driving force for entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed in our society. You can’t know how well you’re doing unless you understand how well the competition is doing. Here’s a quick breakdown of a basic competitive analysis tool.


With online tools, such as SEMRush, you can also check a competitor’s page ranking for various keywords and learn which domains they got backlinks on. What you learn may either surprise you or provide data to back up what you already assumed.

That type of data lets you know where you need backlinks and which terms you may be able to undercut the competition on.

This graphic illustration of Porter’s 5 Forces model demonstrates how competition influences every industry and market. Search engine rankings are no different.


The more competition, the more an industry grows, so it’s overall a good thing. In fact, it’s inevitable. No matter what you create, there will be competition.

Knowing your enemy is the first step to defeating it, according to Sun Tzu’s Art of War. For the same reason, wireless providers always reference the size of each other’s LTE networks and coverage areas in their ads.


Successfully reaching the top of search engine results for your particular niche may seem like an impossible dream in this day and age. The Internet has been around for several decades, and you’d be hard pressed to find a search term with only one result (try Googlewhacking if you don’t believe me).

However, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for a newcomer to dominate a niche. In fact, it happens all the time.

By properly registering your business with all online platforms, optimizing your website’s design, and creating detailed content focused on specific, long-tail keywords, you can rank high on Google search as well.

What search engine optimization tactics do you use to rank your page for specific keywords?

from Quick Sprout

Monday, December 26, 2016

5 Proven Strategies to Drive Pinterest Traffic to Your Website

An image is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes.

Sometimes, it can be worth a thousand pins.

That’s the value that image sharing site Pinterest brings to the digital marketing table.

By harnessing the power of visual content through “pins,” which is equivalent to a retweet or like, you can attract lots of traffic to your site.

Pinterest started making waves as a traffic-generating channel in 2014 as it drove the second highest online referral traffic.

With more Pinterest users this year (50% more than the previous year), expect more people to leverage the platform to drive more traffic to their websites.

What makes Pinterest such a great traffic source

Establishing a traffic source outside of search engines is important if you want your site to survive. There’s more to the world of traffic generation than Google, mainly as it keeps changing its search algorithms.

Therefore, tapping into fresh channels like Pinterest allows you to diversify your referral traffic. Even if your site gets hit by a Google penalty, you still have other avenues where you can draw traffic.

What’s truly remarkable about Pinterest is how easy it is to turn your image into viral content.

While it is behind Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter in terms of users, it’s not about the number of users that allows Pinterest to generate referral traffic.

“Over 80% of pins are re-pins, compared to 1.4% of tweets re-tweeted,” says Yohana Petrovic in this post.

She attributes the success of Pinterest as a traffic-generating channel to its stable search functions and category grouping. Both make searching content on Pinterest a breeze, so users can pin the most relevant images on their boards.

However, the search function is only indicative of the real reason why Pinterest succeeds in referring traffic to your site. The ability to tap into users to share your images that link to your site is what allows site owners to boost referral traffic from Pinterest.

The anatomy of a viral Pinterest image

It is no secret that people are more receptive to visual content compared to blog posts.

At the same time, it is not easy creating a viral Pinterest image. There are lots of factors that go into creating an image optimized for sharing, which is covered in this PostPlanner article.

Tools like Canva and PicMonkey let you design simple images without any design skills. However, if you want more attractive visual content, you may need to get help from a professional.

Since not all users have the skill to create images, users just search for images that they will re-pin on their boards.

From here, the image reaches a tipping point where a trove of users will re-share the image until it reaches hundreds and thousands of “pins.”

Eventually, the pins could lead to clicks from the image to the page, which is considered referral traffic.

So instead of being the one pinning images other people created, you want to be the one with the image that other people are pinning!

More than just a good image

Creating your image is just half the battle. You need to develop a plan on how to get your image across to your target audience on Pinterest so they can start pinning. Below are strategies that you should apply when using Pinterest to drive more referral traffic.

1. Build a following with curated images on your boards

To increase the chances of your image to go viral, you need to build a following. The more followers you have, the more people will see your pins, the greater chances your images will be repinned.

To build your following, you must create boards relevant to your niche and pin the best images onto them.

You do not have to create all the images that will be pinned on your boards. You should curate content on Pinterest so potential followers won’t be staring at your empty boards.

More importantly, the images you will pin must be optimized for sharing. Below is an infographic from Curalate on the kind of image you should post on your boards.


Hello Society employed this strategy for Business 2 Community in 2013. The agency focused on building the site’s Pinterest business page by creating boards based on topics relevant to its niche, among other tactics.

The boards allow Hello Society to curate images on a variety of topics. Pinning the best images for each board regularly allowed them to impress their audience, who eventually followed their page.

As a result, referral traffic from Pinterest increased four times more than the previous month.

Key takeaways: You should create boards based on your target keywords. There are dedicated tools to help you curate Pinterest images to your boards, so you may need to manually look for images to pin. Aside from its search function, you can try ViralContentBee to find useful content to share on your boards. Once you have built a following, you can pin your own images on the boards for increased visibility.

2. Post your image on group boards

To increase your reach further, you should become a member of group boards related to your topic.

The concept of joining group boards follows the same principles of guest blogging.

The purpose of guest blogging is to indoctrinate readers of a blog you are writing for about your brand. You want to write on blogs with an established readership who are interested in products and services you are offering.

By providing them with useful content, readers will view you as trustworthy and visit your site to learn more about you.

When choosing Pinterest group boards to join, you need to consider the number of followers and board topic. The more relevant the topic and more followers the board has, the more likely you will expose your pins to a greater audience.

You can then convert referral traffic into subscribers or customers, just like guest blogging could!

Joining group boards is a big part of Nick Loper’s plan in establishing Pinterest as his main source of referral traffic.

In fact, he was able to increase his traffic 25x more after two months of implementing this strategy.

Key takeaways: Visit PinGroupie to find group boards related to your niche that you can join. The site shows relevant metrics (number of followers, pin, collaborators, etc.) to help you decide which groups to reach out to. To help you manage the images to be pinned on the group boards, you may consider using BoardBooster. The tool allows you to automatically pin the images for you so you can save time.

3. Create a seasonal campaign

Holidays and special events can have a profound effect on human behavior. For example, Black Friday brings out the buyer in all of us, which is why lots of brands look for ways to piggyback on this day to drive up sales.

By correctly leveraging on the season when to promote your website, you can boost more than just your site traffic.

Since the new year is just around the corner, people are interested in starting the year on the right track by making resolutions.

For people vowing to “get organized,” Taylor Flannery launched the 52 Week Organized Home Challenge by the end of 2011.

He created an image that was shared on Pinterest, mostly in home organizing boards.

Not only was she able to generate thousands referral traffic visitors, but she was able to drive 25,000 blog subscribers in two months, which is even better!

Key takeaways: Keep in mind that Pinterest was fairly new when the image went viral. Replicating the same campaign now will be much more difficult due to competition. However, coming up with the right campaign for the right season could still help boost your referral traffic. It would even be better if your niche is popular since you can reach out to more people with your campaign.

4. Approach visual content creation with a plan

Once you have built a following from your Pinterest boards by pinning other images, it is time to create your own images that others will pin.

As mentioned, creating images can be difficult to non-designers. However, there are ways around a successful visual content creation plan that even non-designers can do.

Taking Constant Contact’s Pinterest page as an example, you will immediately feel the deliberate approach to curating and creating content.

The page shows almost 100 boards that consist of subtopics about marketing. The multiple boards allow them to pin great content on a variety of topics, thus helping showcase their knowledge about their niche.

For their content and landing pages, they designed feature images for each that was pinned on their respective boards.

Constant Contact has added boards about inspirational quotes, infographics, and humor.

The first two are standard boards that you would normally see in a good Pinterest business page. The last one depends on your branding since humor is not common among businesses. However, Constant Contact makes it work because the humor is related to marketing, which is in line with their branding.

Taking the seasonal campaign strategy, Constant Contact prominently shows holiday marketing tips on the top page. Showing seasonal content teaches their audience how to promote their products and services effectively.

Constant Constant considers Pinterest as a secondary network that drives lots of referral traffic to their site. Based on the effort and thought put into developing and executing the visual content plan, it’s not at all surprising.

Key takeaways: Replicating Constant Contact’s Pinterest strategy is a great way to jumpstart your Pinterest page. Doing all of the things they are doing, however, may eat a lot of your time. Therefore, it is best to find the right people and tools that will help you build a Pinterest page that will result in thousands of referral traffic.

5. Use Pinterest Analytics

Even if you are observing the best practices to drive more traffic from Pinterest, it is important to track and measure your performance.

The problem with “best practices” is that they don’t necessarily apply to all niches. There are some that require a different approach to get more pins and traffic.

To be informed with how your Pinterest campaign is doing, you need to use Pinterest Analytics.

The tool offers a wealth of data to help you gauge how your Pinterest campaign has fared and what needs to be done to improve it.

Pinterest Analytics will draw the following metrics from your profile:

  • Impressions – The average number of impressions and views of your pins
  • Repins – The number of repins your images received
  • Clicks – The number of clicks your images got
  • All-time – The list of the best-performing images you have pinned

The factors should help you assess your Pinterest profile. For example, if users repin a particular image from your boards, you should consider pinning more of those image types.

Also, Pinterest Analytics reveal boards with the most pins, clicks, and impressions. If your group boards are getting lots of repins and clicks, then you should consider doubling down on these boards to maximize your reach.

Key takeaways: Pinterest Analytics is a fairly new feature in the platform. If you want to learn more on how to use it the right now, this post by Danielle Zeigler will get you started.

Additional experience + conclusion

Pinterest is indeed an excellent way to generate traffic to your site or blog.

Someone in my network recently helped come up with an infographic that was repurposed from an existing blog post. Unfortunately, the blog is no longer available so I cannot show you the actual post.

However, looking at the infographic that was pinned on a group board, it has received 15.4 thousand pins and counting!

When done correctly, a simple infographic based on an old blog post can boost your referral traffic in a big way.

Looking at the other examples above, you can drive even more traffic even if you don’t have a Pinterest page for your business yet. By taking the calculated approach of building different boards, repinning images, and joining group boards, you can tap into the power of this social media platform.

More importantly, you will no longer have to rely on Google alone for organic traffic.

Have you had any success with Pinterest?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

The post 5 Proven Strategies to Drive Pinterest Traffic to Your Website appeared first on Niche Pursuits.

from Niche Pursuits

The Beginner’s Guide to Optimizing for Bing Search

On the surface, it doesn’t appear Bing gets much search traffic, but when you consider it also powers Yahoo, you start realizing that perhaps optimizing for Bing isn’t such a bad idea.

Here’s what Bing and Yahoo’s search traffic looks like compared to Google’s:


Although even combined, they still represent a fraction of Google’s search traffic, that’s still a large audience that should be catered to.

Optimizing for Bing differs a little bit from optimizing for Google. The companies use different proprietary algorithms to produce results, and each weighs various factors differently.

Because Google is the largest search engine on the planet, most SEO guides focus specifically on how to rank for Google. This guide is meant to get you started with the competition, both Bing and Yahoo, which are powered by Bing’s search engine.

1. Claim your business

Just like on Google, you need to claim your business on both Bing and Yahoo to maximize local search results.

To do this, you need to visit Bing Places for Business and create or claim ownership over your business listing.

Yahoo’s local business search results utilize Bing’s business listings instead of its own, which show up as local business listings on a site called Yext. Eric Shanfelt does a great job explaining the complicated business structure Yahoo employs to deliver local business listings here—if you’re interested.

Still, you can register on Yext, instructions for which are included in Shanfelt’s blog.

Once you’ve registered your business with Bing, you’ll need to register your website the same way you did when registering it with Google, by indexing your site.

2. Get your site indexed

Since Bing is now in the driver’s seat, Bing’s Webmaster Tools replaced Yahoo Webmaster Tools, so you have to submit your site to only one place for both search engines.

Here’s what it looks like:


First, you need to create a Bing login. You can use your Outlook (Hotmail if you’re grandfathered in from those days) or Microsoft login to do that.

Then, you can visit the Bing Website Submission page and fill out the forms as shown above to submit your website.

You’ll also need the URL address for the XML sitemap of your site.

Then, you need to verify ownership by copying and pasting the provided code into the proper section of WordPress.

Like anything Microsoft, Bing has an extensive set of instructions on how to do this on the Bing website.

Once you have everything registered, you should be indexed within a few minutes and start noticing traffic trickling in by the end of the year.

3. Tag and categorize your site

Like with any other search engine, tags and categories help make your content discoverable to the right audiences for the right searches.

WordPress makes adding tags and categories easy for each post and page created. These vital labels tell both robotic algorithms and human readers what to expect from the post, much like a title or header would.

Here’s what WordPress’s Tags and Categories look like:


Both the slug and description of a tag help further explain the content’s purpose. These are signals used in sitemaps to identify sections. It’s helpful for search engines to identify content in order to deliver appropriate ad experiences through their platforms.

Of all the SEO tips and tricks, tags and categories are the most important as they give the overall picture of what your website is really about. Without them, bounce rates go up and organic search traffic goes down.

4. Use SEO keywords in proper context

The usage of relevant keywords has proven an important search ranking factor in search engines across the board, and Bing is no different. Here’s a chart of how Bing and Google compare to each other when it comes to keywords:


While factors such as internal links are less important in Bing than Google, relevant, contextual keywords are still vital. This is why blogging is one of the most widely used forms of content marketing in the business world today.

Hire a professional ghostwriter or copywriter to ensure each page of your website is fully optimized with marketing slogans and other ad copy that gives descriptive information around the keywords you want to focus on.

For example, in the vaping industry, you’d want to describe features of your mechanical mod boxes so search engines understand what traffic to send your way.

Bing’s algorithms, like Google’s, take the surrounding 5-7 words for each keyword along with its density within the content into account when determining search rankings. You can’t just spam “Vape vape vape vape” to rank for vape products.

You need to offer “ejuice, mods, wicks, tanks, and other accessories” to really make an impact.

5. Connect to social networks

Another method you should be using to help drive Bing search results is integrating social media into your SEO strategy. This merging of social media and SEO is practiced successfully by 74 percent of marketing departments already.

To link social media accounts to WordPress, you need the Jetpack plugin, which is typically installed by default in managed WordPress sites hosted by providers such as GoDaddy. But it can also be installed manually. Search for it in WordPress plugins or find it on the WordPress website.

With Jetpack installed, you can link your social media accounts—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, and more—to your blog to ensure every post is automatically promoted on those sites with backlinks.

Here’s what it looks like:


Marketers often debate the importance of social signals in search engine rankings, despite the fact that several studies showed they do affect search results.

In Bing specifically, results viewed by your Facebook friends will often be featured in SERPs.

Whether or not it specifically helps Bing search results doesn’t matter. Why? Because social networks have large audiences you need to be in front of anyway.

Here’s a breakdown of the number of active social media users on each social platform:


Whether you use social media marketing for improving your search results or not, understanding that these two aspects of your online presence go hand-in-hand is the most important takeaway.

6. Avoid black-hat techniques

As you well know, there are black-hat and white-hat SEO techniques. Black-hat techniques are tactics that, while may work, violate the search engine’s terms of usage and can get your website banned. White-hat techniques both work and follow the rules.

Don’t use black-hat SEO techniques on Bing as it’s not worth the risk.

These include keyword spamming, creating fake sites, and more. Here’s a chart of black-hat SEO tactics to avoid:


These black-hat SEO techniques may sound like a good idea on paper, but they’re not sustainable. JC Penney was infamously removed from Google temporarily after being found using black-hat techniques by the NY Times.

Bing is no different. If your site is found to be using black-hat SEO, there’s a good chance you’ll be removed from the index and lose all the time and effort you put into building your rankings.

On Bing, this removal is especially problematic as the age of a website is a ranking factor that isn’t weighed heavily on Google. Sites that stay up longer are more likely to have results presented at the top of Bing SERPs, so a ban can be detrimental to Bing searches.

7. Feature great content

According to Search Engine Land, using a search engine is the most popular first action a customer takes before making a web-based purchase.


If you want to be featured in those results, you’ll need great content to draw organic search traffic.

Bing especially looks at content quality, which is defined as authority, utility, and presentation. All web content needs to satisfy this trifecta to have a fighting chance to be the top Bing search result.

Content is king online, and to reign supreme on Bing, you need quality content to satisfy its strict requirements.

As laid out by Buffer, the ideal blog length is 1,600 words, which takes the average person about 7 minutes to digest and move on.

Each blog post you create for your website needs to be approximately 1,600 words of quality content to maximize your chances on Bing and Yahoo. This means it has to be well-researched, well-sourced, and well-cited, and it needs to include lots of great images.

If the quality of your content isn’t up to this standard, you’re basically wasting your time as you’re unlikely to rank well on Bing.


Although they may not draw the online traffic of Google, Bing and Yahoo combined are still a powerful search option used by people around the world.

Reaching this demographic requires focusing on contextual keywords and proper formatting. Users of Yahoo and Bing have been found to be more educated and make more money, so it’s the perfect place for businesses to reach their audiences.

Unlike Google, Bing traffic is more heavily influenced by Facebook, contextual keywords, and ad-free experiences. Site age is another important factor, so it can take time to build traffic on the search engine.

Have you had success ranking websites on Bing? What advanced strategies did you use to accomplish it?

from Quick Sprout

Friday, December 23, 2016

What a Cognitive Bias Is, And How to Use It for Digital Marketing Mastery

As humans, we like to think of ourselves as objective, logical, and unbiased when it comes to our thinking and decision-making abilities.

As if nothing could cloud our thoughts or persuade us to think illogically.

But that’s not how things are.

In fact, at times, we’re quite irrational and heavily influenced by people as well as a host of other variables.

Many of our choices and actions are ultimately controlled by what’s known as cognitive biases.

What’s a cognitive bias?

Chegg Study nailed it pretty well with their definition:

“A cognitive bias is a mistake in reasoning, evaluating, remembering, or other cognitive process, often occurring as a result of holding onto one’s preferences and beliefs regardless of contrary information.”

They also point out that “psychologists study cognitive biases as they relate to memory, reasoning and decision making.”

I also like Wikipedia’s statements that “individuals create their own ‘subjective social reality’ and that cognitive biases may sometimes lead to perceptual distortion, inaccurate judgment, illogical interpretation, or what is broadly called irrationality.”

In other words, a cognitive bias is our tendency to think in an irrational way.

The interesting thing is that it has nothing to do with intelligence. Even the most brilliant person in the world is susceptible to it.

It ultimately boils down to the way our brains are wired.

Understanding this concept can be quite beneficial from a marketing standpoint.

Here are some specific cognitive biases I have used in my marketing that can work for you too.

The bandwagon effect

Let’s start with one of the most basic cognitive biases: the bandwagon effect.

I am sure you’ve heard the term “jumping on the bandwagon” before.

When a large number of people give a collective thumbs up to a product/service, it validates it in the eyes of others.

After all, if everyone else agrees that it’s good, it must be good.

In turn, this makes us more likely to “jump on the bandwagon” and buy the product/service.

We may also be more inclined to be brand advocates and willingly promote it.

I often find myself being a little skeptical before making a purchase. But when I see positive confirmation from others, I’m much more likely to buy.

Using this type of cognitive bias for your benefit as a marketer is quite easy and can be done in several ways.

Here are some ideas:

  • Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews
  • Insert social proof (e.g., testimonials) at “points of friction” such as CTAs and checkout pages
  • Include logos of companies/people you’ve worked with


The anchoring effect

This is a technique that countless companies use to make us feel we’re getting a good deal.

According to Harvard Law School, the anchoring effect “is a cognitive bias that describes the common human tendency to rely too heavily on the first piece of information offered (the ‘anchor’) when making decisions.”

Here’s how it works.

You present your prospects with an initial price on a product (the anchor).

Let’s say it’s $1,000.

Then, after discussing the features, benefits, etc., you state that the product actually costs only $250.

Presto! Instantly, your prospects feel that the product is a great value.

Had you started at $250, they’d probably feel only so-so about the product and may think that it’s expensive.

By setting an anchor, you help your prospects feel they’re getting a good deal.


Steve Jobs even used the anchoring effect to get people excited about the iPad.

Here’s a transcription of what he said during its release.

“What should we price it at?” asked Jobs.

“If you listen to the pundits, we’re going to price it at under $1000, which is code for $999.”

He put a giant “$999” up on the screen and left it there for ages before finally going on.

“I am thrilled to announce to you that the iPad pricing starts not at $999,” said Jobs, “but at just $499.” On-screen, the $999 price was crushed by a falling “$499.”


While $499 might have seemed steep initially, setting the anchor at $999 made it seem quite fair or even inexpensive.

You too can use the anchoring effect to your advantage and get a higher conversion rate by starting high with your pricing and then lowering it.

The halo effect

The halo effect happens when we look at one quality in a person in a positive light and extend that positive regard to the rest of their qualities.

For instance, if we think of a person as being trustworthy, we’re more likely to believe they’re also smart, responsible, ethical, and so on.

The halo effect originated in a paper written by psychologist Edward Thorndike back in 1920.

“In a study, he asked two commanding officers to evaluate their soldiers in terms of their physical qualities (like neatness, energy and physique) and their mental, emotional and social qualities (like intellect, leadership and responsibility).

Thorndike found that, if one of the soldier’s qualities was rated highly, the other qualities tended to be rated highly, and vice versa.”

It’s basically a “cognitive shortcut” that allows us to form judgments and connect the dots with greater ease in an extremely complicated world.

But how does the halo effect relate to marketing?

It’s simple. If you can impress your audience in one area and make them view you in a favorable light, they’re more likely to have an overall positive opinion of you.

ConversionXL points out some specific ways companies capitalize on the halo effect:

  • Celebrity endorsements
  • The use of beautiful people
  • Beautiful design
  • Corporate big names

It’s because of this cognitive bias that it’s so insanely important to have a professional, aesthetically pleasing, and functional website.

Because a brand’s website is often the first thing visitors see, it can make or break you.

If it looks great, you’re likely to give the perception of quality and value.

Take Squarespace, for example. Their website looks great:


But if it looks terrible, like some late 1990s Angelfire monstrosity (sorry, Angelfire), it can immediately kill your credibility.


The belief bias

This term is defined as “the tendency to judge the strength of arguments based on the plausibility of their conclusion rather than how strongly they support that conclusion.”

There are two ways the belief bias can be applied to marketing.

One is when people become skeptical of your product/service because it sounds too good to be true.

Say your landing page makes such outlandish claims that prospects doubt their validity. Even if you provide proof in the form of facts, data, graphs, etc. to support your claims, your website visitors will still be less likely to buy from you.

But you can overcome this problem by ensuring your claims aren’t too far fetched. For example, a men’s cologne company wouldn’t want to make the claim that simply wearing the cologne will instantly make every man irresistible to women.

You can also use the belief bias to your advantage by showing potential customers how your product/service is going to help them rather than merely explaining why it’s good.

At the end of the day, each prospect is concerned with one important thing: how it will improve their life or solve their pain point.

Here’s a good example from the team collaboration tool Slack:


In the graph above, we can see just how much more productive Slack makes teams.


And in this graph (above), we can see that finding information with the tool is much easier for its users and that it has a positive impact on company culture.

Notice how these claims aren’t over the top or make the product seem too good to be true. They simply state some key benefits that users have experienced.

Keeping it ethical

Keep in mind that using a cognitive bias for marketing gain shouldn’t be done as a form of nefarious manipulation.

That’s obviously no way to run a business or build your brand.

Although you may get an initial sale, you’re unlikely to get repeat business, and it’s going to damage your brand reputation in the long run.

It’s also going to make it extremely difficult to establish a sustainable, long-term business.

You want to be ethical when using these techniques.

I recommend viewing cognitive biases simply as a means of connecting with your audience more quickly—as a way to gain their attention, move them through the sales funnel more efficiently, and increase your odds of converting them into customers.


I find it fascinating how psychology and marketing are becoming more and more intertwined.

It’s interesting to see how applying some basic psychological principles to a marketing campaign can make it more effective and deliver better results.

I have personally experimented with all of these cognitive biases in some form and can definitely vouch for their validity.

It’s simply a matter of understanding how the human mind works and hitting the right buttons from a psychological standpoint.

If you haven’t already done so, I suggest implementing at least a couple of these strategies into your marketing campaign and observing the results.

They are all proven ways to improve your conversion optimization, expedite brand growth, and boost profitability.

Can you think of any other types of cognitive biases that could be useful for marketing?

from Quick Sprout