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How My Old Blog Post Got Half a Million Pinterest Views [Case Study]

There’s a lot of information on the web, including ProBlogger, on how to maximize Pinterest to get traffic to your site. Between tutorials on how to optimize Pinterest as part of your social media marketing strategy, Darren’s own experiment on Pinterest, how to create Pinterest-worthy graphics, and how to run a Pinterest contest, there are some great tips out there.

But I wanted to share my own personal experience on how an old post on ecokaren received almost half a million pageviews—50% of all-time page views on the post—just from Pinterest. Along the way, I’ll share some tips (and some of my biggest pet peeves) that you can use for better a Pinterest experience.

Crowd

Image by unknown photographer, licensed under Creative Commons

Ecokaren on Pinterest

Now this wildly pinned post from ecokaren—which received over 490,000 pageviews and was pinned more than 129,000 times—is about … how to wash a washing machine.

Woah, did you read that right? 129,000 pins and 490,000 pageviews?

Yup. You read that correctly.

And the post is about washing a washing machine?

Yup. Again, you read that correctly.

I was shocked too when this old post started receiving crazy traffic without my trying, never mind that it was from a newly un-shrinkwrapped social media site called Pinterest. One person’s pin of the post was repinned over 1400 times and has more than 300 likes. I should buy her a drink! Or maybe send her my homemade laundry detergent.

Now, the post was not your typical pin-worthy post. It had no huggable furry animals, no wise quotes, no cute babies nor scrumptious gourmet food. Nor did it have trendy ensemble suggestions for a fashionista or bare-chested Ryan Gosling wannabe.

Instead, it had a few small, individual photos of moldy interior of a washing machine and how it looked after it was washed. Not pretty at all, as you can see here.

clean front loader bottom

So how did a boring, three-year old post get pinned so many times, to the point that it now continuously brings traffic from Pinterest? How did I make pinning sexy? (No, sex has nothing to do with it.)

My top Pinterest tips

Here are my unwritten (now written!) rules on pinning and driving traffic to your site.

1. Be active on Pinterest every day

It’s a no-brainer, right? But it’s true. I pin or repin almost every day, even if it’s just one pin. It’s always better to pin original posts than just repin what others are pinning but either way, I’m active on Pinterest daily.

And when do I pin? The prime time for pinning is between 4 to 11pm US EST. I pin while waiting at the bus stop in the afternoon, waiting for my daughter. But I also pin early in the morning, while my coffee percolates. It’s a perfect way to spend time in the morning.

2. Don’t just pin your own stuff

The unspoken rule of pinning is similar to StumbledUpon. It’s better to high-five others than yourself. (Did you try high-fiving yourself? Yeah. Doesn’t work well.)

You don’t want to be bragging about your post or product all the time. If you compliment others by pinning and repining, pretty soon, others will do the same for you. Sure, you can pin your stuff once in a while but it’s always better to pin that of others.

My general rule of thumb of ratio is 1:6 in pinning my post to those of others. Again, this is not written in stone, but it’s my own unspoken rule. And remember, don’t ever violate Pinterest’s copyright rules when pinning. Just don’t go there.

Karen Lee's Pinterest social media icons

3. Install a Pinterest button with a counter

It’s obvious that you need a Pin it button on your posts. I use the Pin it extension or widget from my bookmark bar. But it’d be easy to have a Pin it button somewhere on your post too. Don’t make readers have to search for it. Make it easy for them.

To take it one step further, I like icons with counters. I was f-l-o-o-r-e-d when I saw “108k” on my Pin It icon on that washing machine post when its pinning frenzy started. That number will be over 127k by the time you read this. Your posts’ readers will see that number too, and they will be more inclined to pin it, seeing that it’s a wildly popular post.

Why? Readers feel validated when their views are in line with the popular majority. They want to share that feeling with their followers, and that makes them want to pin.

4. Engage your pinners and interact

Add nicely and thoughtfully constructed personal comments to pins. Not one word comments like “nice” or “

They don’t allow interactions. A real sentence or two will.

Also, reply to comments on your posts that have been pinned. I always check the comments people are leaving on posts of mine that have been pinned or repinned. I thank the original pinner and leave replies to other commenters too. Some people are shocked that “ecokaren” is “that personal” and actually came to comment. That always cracks me up. I feel like a total celebrity when I read comments like that.

5. Upload your blog logo

Load a generic blog badge or logo on your landing page, so that even if there is no image attached to your post, at least your logo or badge for your blog will be pulled up on Pinterest for people to use.

I loaded my logo into the sidebar so if there is some reason an image doesn’t load up for visitors to pin, at least they can use the blog’s logo. I see my badge on Pinterest once in a while, alongside comments like “Awesome site!”—and that makes me grin.

6. Teach people something

My all time record-breaking pinned/repinned post is about washing your front loading washing machine. Yes: a very sexy topic indeed!

But apparently, people had so much trouble with moldy-smelling front-loading, high-efficiency washing machines that they were pinning and sharing my post for “solving their problem.”

So even though the post was written three years ago and images are ugly, it finally got the attention it deserves—albeit late—and all because of Pinterest. All because the post taught readers something. It solved a problem.

How do I know that? I receive emails from housewives weekly, (I don’t mean to stereotype housewives but let’s face it folks, who does the laundry the most often in your house?) thanking me for the post.

I also created a Welcome page for email subscribers and about 75% of the signees are from the post. And in the comment section, they describe how I solved their front-loading washing machine mystery. I feel their warm hugs daily.

Karen Lee's GA image on Pinterest

Optimizing your post for Pinterest

Here are some clean stats for the post (as of January 21, 2013):

  • Publish date: June 2009
  • Total pageviews: 965,085
  • Pageviews from Pinterest: 489,014
  • Average time: 1:27
  • Bounce rate: 57.21%
  • Approx. number of pins: 127,000

And the post is getting more views as you read this.

So, it’s great that this little star of a post is getting oodles of eye balls. But what did I do optimize it?

As soon as I noticed the traffic, I made a few key changes to the post:

  • I added related links into the body of the post to other posts readers might be interested in, like how to make dryer balls out of orphaned socks, how to make homemade laundry detergent, how to clean your dishwasher, and more. And now, those posts are getting traction on Pinterst. I can tell you are fascinated by these topics too!
  • I added affiliate links to relevant products on my Amazon affiliate account. I’m not a millionaire yet, but it’s paying the bills.
  • I cleaned up the images. Okay, so the images are still not Darren’s quality but I cleaned up the images that were dingy and blurry looking. A moldy washing gasket is never that pretty but the older images were dark and less desirable for pinning.
  • I added text to the images to make them more pinnable and gain attention right away.
  • I added watermarks to images so that even if someone pins (or “steals”) the images, anyone who sees them will know where they came from.

If you want to get more exposure on Pinterest, some of these ideas might work for you, too.

Pinterest peeves

Finally, I wanted to highlight my biggest pet peeves about Pinterest. These are things I always avoid—as does any good citizen of Pinterest!

  • I abhor when people don’t give credit where credit is due on Pinterest. In other words, they steal your image and don’t link to your post. So I started watermarking all my images. And I check on Pinterest to make sure the images are linking back to my site occasionally. So far, I haven’t discovered my image being hijacked, but I have seen plenty of other pins that do not link to its original post. I think that is wrong!
  • I wish there was an easier way on Pinterest to see all the pins that others pinned from ecokaren. Currently, there is no way for me to search my URL or name on the site to see all the images or posts that are pinned. I still have to use Google Analytics for the stat. Not cool. I’m hoping that Pinterest will improve pinning visibility for blog owners before long.
  • There isn’t a fool-proof method of searching for Pinterest users. I tried to search for pinners and more often than not, they don’t appear in the search results. Again, I have better luck using Google. Something is wrong with that picture.
  • I wish there was an easier way to conduct contests. A Pinterest contest is one of the best social media campaigns you can do for your business or your blog. At Green Sisterhood (http://greensisterhood.com), we manage Pinterest contests for our clients and they require a lot of maintenance. A tool that finds boards and pins that have been repinned the most would be ideal. Again, let’s hope Pinterest adds functionality for this kind of thing soon.

Are you listening Pinterest? If you can make these four things happen, I’d love you even more!

Pinterest lessons

Solve people’s problems!

On Monday, Jamie highlighted the fact that attractive, inspirational content does well on Pinterest, and that’s true. You can put up pretty images or cute animals pictures and even life changing quotes with awesome graphics on the network.

But nothing—and I mean nothing—gets people’s attention like solving problems that they have been struggling with.

Ask yourself, “What would I want to pin and repin?” That’s the post that will get pinned the most.

Do you have a personal success story on Pinterest? What was the post about? Tell us about it in the comments.

Contributing author Karen Lee is a co-founder and managing partner of Green Sisterhood, a network of green women bloggers with aggregated monthly page views of over 2.5 million pageviews. We help companies to increase online branding awareness with content and social media marketing strategies, like Pinterest contests. Karen is also a founder and publisher of ecokaren where she writes about importance of washing your washing machine and on greening your life.

7 Little-Known Strategies To Get Your Deadbeat Blog Working For You

This guest post is by Jarom Adair of Solopreneur Marketing.

“You lazy, ungrateful, good-for-nothing blog!”

You stare at the 0 comments accompanying each of your most recent posts.

“All you do is sit around all day. I’m the one doing all the work around here!”

Blogs are supposed to bring you traffic, collect comments, and spread your name across the Internet as everyone happily shares the content you so painstakingly created.

But instead, your blog acts more like an apathetic teenager.

It lounges around all day not lifting a finger to help your business. It takes up space and sucks up resources you could be using elsewhere. If you don’t continually feed it new content, it looks like an under-nourished street urchin, embarrassing you in front of visitors.

If you’ve ever handed out a business card and then said to yourself, “Great—now I’ve got to go update my blog before anybody sees it,” you know what I’m talking about.

But your blog was meant to be so much more than that.

Your blog is your baby. Like any good parent, you yearn for your blog to reach its full potential. You brought your blog into the world to see it increase its reach and influence and land new readers every day who will come and fully appreciate the value it holds. Like any good parent, you want your child to become more than you.

And yet there is sits, languishing away with a soda in one hand and the TV remote in the other, letting each new article you feed it slip into the chasm of archived posts without ever seeing the light of day. Despite your best efforts, your blog seems content to become just another forgotten collection of words on the Internet. Infinite potential … gone to waste.

But don’t despair! All the work you’ve put into your blog is not lost and your blog can, with a few simple strategies, bring you traffic, convert that traffic from visitors into leads, and build relationships with your audience till they can’t help but want to work with you—all with minimal prodding and nagging from you.

Grandma would be so proud.

So before you give it an ultimatum and kick it to the curb, use the following little-known strategies to transform your lazy bum of a blog into a productive member of society.

Get a job! And a haircut!

Before you put your blog to work with the upcoming strategies, you need to get clear on what your blog’s job is.

Its job may be to get visitors to call you or purchase something from you. It may be there to support your current clients or build a user community. You might be focused on making money through advertisements and endorsements. Often, a blog’s main job is to collect email addresses.

The question to ask yourself is, “What action do I want people to take when they get to my blog?”

Whatever your main call to action is, that’s your blog’s job.

Now, keeping in mind your blog’s main job, it’s time for the haircut. It’s time to trim all the extra distractions.

If you want visitors to contact you, why are you distracting them with advertisements or a list of your most popular posts? If you’re building an email list, why does each post end with a comments section instead of an email signup form?

Why do you have social sharing links on your site if your audience isn’t big enough to give you decent numbers? Even category and archive links are on the chopping block if visitors are more prone to surf your site than take the action you want them to.

If your blog isn’t performing, take a critical eye to any part of it that doesn’t support your blog’s job and snip away.

You’ve got such potential—if only you’d apply yourself…

With your blog cleaned up and focused, take all that potential you’ve seen in your blog since its inception and use these seven strategies to get the results you crave:

1. Advanced social sharing for advanced results

We all know that if you share a link to your latest blog post on a social site, some people will click on it and visit your blog. This is a fine way of getting your latest post in front of an audience and driving traffic to your site.

You see this kind of discussion posted on LinkedIn and Facebook a lot, and it’s an easy way to get some traffic:

basic sharing

But with a slight change in format, I get on average 586% more comments on my discussions, a lot more traffic to my site, and my old posts that were just sitting around on my blog before are now traffic magnets.

Take a look:

advanced sharing

Do you see the difference?

Include your full blog post in your discussion and add some “related articles” at the end, and viola! You get more comments, more readers, and more people clicking through to your other articles.

You’re using the same strategy ProBlogger uses to keep you surfing their website—you notice how you finish reading an awesome article and suddenly ProBlogger presents you with all sorts of interesting related posts? …Two hours later you’ve forgotten to pick your kids up from school. Right?

Big blogs, news outlets, and social sites have trained all of us to surf from one interesting item to the next by presenting us with related posts. So when you add interesting links at the end of your social post, you’re simply taking advantage of people’s tendency to want to click on more interesting links.

This is a great way to instantly bring traffic to your blog. If you’d like to see step-by-step directions on how this works, you can view this video on using your blog with social sites.

Providing several interesting blog posts for your audience to click on is advantageous to use in social groups as described above. You can also use it, as it turns out, in many other situations as well.

2. Unleash untapped traffic from everyday activities

Any place you’re given enough room to share several of the most popular posts on your blog, you have a much higher chance of pulling someone to your site than if you just say, “Visit my blog here.”

You can offer multiple blog posts on your Facebook Business Page description, on your LinkedIn profile summary, and in your forum signatures.

Don’t forget about email signatures, descriptions in business directories, or online advertising.

What about video? Turning your best blog posts into videos to attract a new audience is a great idea, but when you post them on a site like YouTube, use the video description area to offer links to related blog posts first and then the video description afterwards.

Video links

One of my own affiliates, using videos I created and provided to him, gets more clicks and signups through YouTube than I do using this strategy.

3. Instantly set yourself apart with new connections

We meet new people all the time online. Every new follower, friend, connection, or contact is a potential reader for your blog and lead for your business. But how can you discover if they’re interested in what you offer without coming across as an annoying salesperson?

You’ve been thrown up on by one of your new social contacts, haven’t you? “Thank you for connecting with me,” their first message to you says, and then they immediately launch into a pitch. “My company offers quality products blah blah and we’re having a sale right now blah blah blah …” That’s just annoying. And really ineffective. You don’t want to be that person.

Instead, put your blog posts to use and say:

“It’s good to connect with you. I notice you’re a small business owner, and other people in your position have really enjoyed these articles: (include titles and links to 3–5 of your best blog posts) I hope you enjoy them too!”

And what’s nice is people will write back and thank you for the information you offered them.

This works well on business sites such as LinkedIn. On Facebook you might switch it up a bit and say:

“Thanks for being my friend! Check out my photo collection of redneck inventions and de-motivational posters, and if you’re ever in need of a copywriter, check out some of my best work here.”

It’s nice to start by giving social contacts something fun to look at in addition to business-related info if you meet them in a less formal setting like Facebook.

The right followers on Twitter would respond to a message, in 140 characters or less, such as:

“Thanks for following me! Here are 5 cool tutorials on getting more out of Twitter! MySite.com/top5twitter”

These are great ways to easily draw the right people to your website while simultaneously positioning yourself as a resource for your new contact (as opposed to a salesperson). They visit your site and, if your blog is doing its job, the right people will take action.

And if someone doesn’t click through and view the information you present to them, they’re probably not a good prospect at this time and you can part with no hard feelings.

4. A simple twist on turning old blog posts into money

You’re probably familiar with the concept of combining several of your blog posts together into a special report to give away on your site. If this report is good enough, you might even sell it for money.

One real estate investor did just that, and made a couple hundred dollars his first year selling an ebook created from older blog posts. But when he and I explored how he might make more money from his ebook, we discovered that people who read the book were much more likely to purchase his real estate course. He makes $2,000 per course he sold.

Keeping that in mind, we decided to leave the ebook for sale on his site, but whenever he talked with a prospective real estate student, he should come up with a reason to give them the ebook for free. His prospects loved getting a $39 ebook for free. The next year the investor made a couple hundred dollars selling his ebook on his site, but he made tens of thousands of dollars giving the book away and then selling his courses to people who read his book.

The moral of the story is this: if you have quite a few posts on your blog, especially older ones that don’t get much attention anymore, is it possible you could repurpose them into a special report, ebook, video, webinar, etc. and sell that information? Or use it as part of your marketing funnel to sell a larger item?

5. An easy method for reaching a larger audience through guest posting

You can only reach so many people through your own website. A time will come when you should tap into larger audiences.

If you feel you have the expertise to write for a larger blog, the first thing to do is dig through your past posts and find your top five most popular entries. With those posts in mind, search out the most popular blogs and sites in your industry.

See if those blogs accept guest posts, read through their most popular posts to get a feel for what their audience likes, and submit to the blog owners three of your post headlines you feel would do well on their site.

If they choose one of your headlines then you already know what you’re going to be writing about (using your existing article as an overview), you know readers will love it because it already worked well on your own site, and you are likely to attract more of the kind of people who are already frequenting your own site.

This approach is much faster than going to a popular blog first and then trying to come up with several topics you could write on.

Some high-end sites established protocol for submitting guest posts, while others may require you get to know the blog owners first and then propose a post to them.

No matter who your ideal audience is, a high-traffic blog is out there that caters to them. Look through your best blog posts for information and insights you could write a fresh article on, find those blogs, and propose your ideas to them.

6. Obliterate the competition from your customers’ minds

Another interesting way to make more money using your blog is to use it to educate your prospects about the difference between your services and your competition.

Writing blog posts that compel leads to consider working with you is nothing new, but here is a method to organize your posts in such a way that when your prospects have to choose between you or your competition, they’ll choose you:

A hardwood floor contractor was having a hard time educating his potential clients on why they should choose to work with him. His work was high quality, but he didn’t have enough time to explain to each individual he met the difference between his work and the inferior craftsmanship of his competitors who were undercutting him on price.

We decided to have him record each aspect of properly installing a hardwood floor in a series of blog posts, but to make it easy for people to find this information, we then organized the links to each post in a pdf that he could send his prospects.

As he’d meet new people and quote them on an installation, instead of trying to warn them about how another company might try to rip them off, he’d offer to send them a special document “12 Lies of Hardwood Installation” so they could educate themselves on how to choose the right floor and the person who would install it.

He included horror stories of floors that fell apart due to the use of inferior materials, and when his competition was found to use those materials, the customer became even more likely to call him back.

That is a very effective way to obliterate the competition from your customer’s mind.> My hardwood floor guy did less talking, people could educate themselves on their own timetable, and everyone assumed he was doing the best work because he was the one who wrote the book on it.

Could you do something similar? Could you take a collection of blog posts and organize links to those posts in a simple document to leave with your prospects?

This document will bring people to your site repeatedly, and if you need to make a correction or change, you can simply update your blog post. Writing an entire ebook is not necessary if you can simply point people in the right direction with a simple collection of links.

7. Get online results through offline strategies

As a blogger, you might only be looking for your audience online, but some great ways exist to use your blog to find subscribers and leads offline.

My first couple hundred email subscribers came from networking groups. For many business owners, or new bloggers looking to build an audience quickly, these are great places to meet your audience.

A print broker I coach went to a networking meeting and got more signups to his email list in 90 minutes than he did the previous nine months online using two simple sentences. Whenever somebody handed him a business card, he would look at it for a moment and then say:

“I’ve got some information on my blog I think you’d really like. Can I put you on my email list?”

Everybody he talked to said “Sure!” In this instance his blog was just an excuse to get permission to add people to his email list, and it worked perfectly. It has worked perfectly for many people I coach.

If your target audience meets regularly, this is a great way to build your email list and get some personal report with the people you wish to impress.

Your blog can play a role in other offline marketing strategies, too.

Do you have a business you market with flyers, yellow page ads, postcards, or business cards? If you can print the words “To learn the top 5 ways to drastically improve your health, visit MySite.com/top5” somewhere that people will see it, this kind of intriguing information will often pull a better response than special offers, coupons, or discounts.

I’ve advised a door-to-door pest control sales rep to write up several blog posts on how to detect and protect your house from termites. Instead of just turning away when somebody rejects her, she can offer them a handout with links to this useful information.

I don’t have any results to share on that yet, but can you see how good information on your blog can get in the door even when you can’t? This is a great way to use your blog posts to rekindle a relationship with somebody who had previously rejected you.

Good information is an easy giveaway item that can result in leads and sales you couldn’t have gotten otherwise.

You’re not lazy, so don’t let your blog be

We put our hearts and souls into our blogs. We spend hours writing each week. We lovingly craft each new blog post, yet once it becomes old and leaves the first page, we tend to allow it to die a slow death as an archived post and we rarely dig it up again.

This means that the majority of your blog’s potential—a majority of what you’ve written—is left untapped and unappreciated by your audience.

You and your blog deserve better than that.

Squeeze extreme value out of everything you write. The ideas above are just the beginning of how to do that.

Because you deserve full credit for what you’ve written, and the world deserves to discover the insights you have to offer.

So kick your blog out of its cozy crib and put it to work until everybody else sees your blog for the valuable contribution to their lives that it is.

Jarom Adair is a marketing expert for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses. Sign up for his email list on Solopreneur Marketing to get all of his advice sent to your inbox, including the video “5 Foolproof Strategies Small Businesses Use to Double Their Income” 

How to Get Your Headshot to Appear in Google Results—Wherever Your Content is Published

This guest post is by of WebBizIdeas.

Many people who blog want their image to appear next to their listing in Google’s search engine results (SERP) when either they publish a post, their guest contributors publish a post, or when they guest post on other sites.

What is the correct way to code your blog to ensure your content looks like this in Google.com?

SERP

First, does having this picture in the SERP results increase Click Thru Rate (CTR)? Yes.

Cyrus Shepard had a great blog post on SEOMOZ about how just changing his picture increased CTR by 35%!

Imagine the increase in your blog’s traffic if every blog post you write has your picture next to it.

Where is your content located?

So what are the steps that you need to take in order to get an author picture next to all your blog content, wherever it’s published? The steps you take depend on these three questions:

  • Is your content on a single author site?
  • Is your content on a multiple author site?
  • Is your content on a site you don’t own?

Content on a single author site

If you own a blog and only you post on it, here are the steps to follow to get your image to appear in Google’s search results:

  1. Log into your Google+ account.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click Contributor To. You’ll see this page:
    contributor to box
  4. Add a custom link (Blog homepage) with a label (Blog Name).
  5. Click Save and then Done Editing.

Next, option 1, drop this code into the <head></head> of your website:

<link rel=”author” href=”YOURGOOGLE+URL” />

Note: You need to change the “YOURGOOGLE+URL” to the URL of your Google+ profile, like this, for example:

<link rel=”author” href=”https://plus.google.com/117792845748456348623/” />

Or, option 2, add an author bio plugin to your blog so that an author bio section appears at the bottom of each post. It should look something like this:

Bio

Next, link to your Google+ profile with the text “Google+” in this way:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/(number)?rel=”author”>Google+</a>

Note that you need to change the link in the example above to your Google+ account information. If you just link to your profile and don’t add this, Google will not trust that it’s really you. Why do they trust it if you add this code? Because only people who have access to their own website should be able to add that code.

So change the (number) to the number that appears in your Goolge+ URL, like this:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/104880783618418200291?rel=”author”>Google+</a>

Where does that 21-digit code come from?

If you go to your Google+ profile, and look in the URL, you will see your unique, 21-digit number:

the code

Content on a multiple author site

If your content is published on your blog, along with posts by other writers, follow these steps:

  1. Log into your Google+ account.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click Contributor To.

    multi-contributor blog

  4. Add a custom link (Author Bio Page) with a label (Blog Name).
  5. Click Save and then Done Editing.
  6. Create an author bio page (like this example author bio page).

Now, link to your Google+ profile from that author bio page using the text “Google+” in this way:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/(number)” rel=”me”>Google+</a>

Note: You need to change the link in my example to your Google+ account information. If you only link to your profile, and don’t add this, Google will not trust that it is really you. Why do they trust it is you if you add this code? Only people who have access to their own website should be able to add that code.

Here’s an example:

<a href=”https://plus.google.com/104880783618418200291” rel=”me”>Google+</a>

Then, link your name on each content page to the author bio page in the following way:

<a href=”AUTHORBIOPAGE” rel=”author”>Jeff Foster</a>

Note that here, you need to change “AUTHORBIOPAGE” to your author bio page URL. Plus, you need to change “Jeff Foster” to your name in the example above.

So here’s the example code:

<a href=”http://www.webbizideas.com/author/jefffoster” rel=”author”>Jeff Foster</a>

Where do you link your name?

Everywhere. If you have the author’s name on top of the post, in the author bio, or even in a “More articles by” box, you should link using rel=author to tell Google that the linked page is the author’s bio page.

Linked name

linked name in bio

Content on another site

  1. Direct the blog owner to step #2 above. Remind them that if they do not start publishing content from real, Google-verified people, Google may consider the content to be of lower value than that on other sites—or even penalize them.
  2. Add <a href=”https://plus.google.com/(number)?rel=”author”>Google+</a> to the author bio section of the page or somewhere in the body content.
  3. Log back into Google+.
  4. Click Edit Profile.
  5. Click Contributor To.
  6. Add the website you have posted your guest post on. To verify your code is correct, use the Google Rich Snippets Testing Tool.

Is your picture appearing alongside your search results?

It’s not hard to make sure your image appears in the search results, and as we’ve seen, this can increase clicks to your articles—whether on your blog or someone else’s.

Have you made these changes to your blog yet? Let us know in the comments. Also, if you’re a visual learner take a look at the a video and infographic tutorial I made to reflect the information in this post.

is the owner of WebBizIdeas, an SEO, social media marketing and website design firm. Visit his seo resource center for more helpful tutorials on how to promote your business online.

X-Ray Vision for Guest Bloggers: Author Stats

This guest post is by Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media.

Analytics are great for seeing your site’s performance, but we can’t usually peek into other people’s web stats.

However, there is a tool that gives you a view you may not have seen before. It’s called Google Author Stats.

Embrace your new blogging super power

I think of guest blogging as modern-day PR. It has social media and search marketing benefits, and it’s a lot of fun. It’s a key part of blogger collaboration.

The X-ray vision we’re talking about is useful for guest bloggers, but it works for any blogger.

To make it work, you need to do two things:

  1. Use Google Authorship to add a “digital signature” to your posts.
  2. Apply some SEO basics to your writing: a bit of keyphrase research and usage.

If you’ve been doing this all along, get ready to see through walls! Here’s how: log into Google Webmaster Tools using your Google+ login info.

This might seem strange because this account isn’t necessarily tied to a website. But keep going.

Now, click “Labs > Author Stats”. Here’s what you’ll see…

The stats

You’re looking at the SEO performance of every post you’ve written and tagged for Authorship. Let’s step through the information that’s included here.

  • Page: the address
  • Impressions: the number of times it has appeared in search results
  • Clicks: the number of visits to the page
  • CTR/Clickthrough Rate: the percentage of searchers who clicked on it
  • Avg. Position: how high the page ranks on average for all its keyphrases

It’s a thrill the first time you put on your Author Stats X-ray specs. You’re seeing the SEO performance (an important part of Analytics) for your site, but also other people’s websites. It’s enough to make a man blush!

Use your powers for good, not evil

Now that you can see through walls, what are you going to do with your new powers? Here’s a tip: use them for good. Use them as a reason to reach out and collaborate. Here are a few ways a guest author can continue to work with a host blog based on Authors Stats.

Your guest post has…

  • Avg. Position of 11-15: You’re ranking on page two, but not far from page one. The host blog should look for a few opportunities to link to the post from older posts, improving the link popularity. Or you can write another post on a similar topic with new link to the original post.
  • Avg. Position of 1-5, but CTR below 5%: You’re on page one, but not many people are clicking. There may be a mismatch between the title and meta description and the meaning of the keyphrase. Tweak the title to make sure the keyphrase and the topic are aligned semantically.
  • Clicks of 500 or more per month: You’re driving some traffic! The combination of your content and the host’s domain authority are powering significant visits from search. You should work together more often!

Now take of the X-ray glasses, email the blog editor, and continue to collaborate. Help the blog, help yourself, and help future readers find your content.

Peek at a few final tips

There are loads of competitive analysis tools that can give you a peek into the stats of other sites, but there’s still a lot we can’t see.

Ever used X-ray vision? Need help troubleshooting it? Got a favorite super power of your own? Leave a comment or question below…

Andy Crestodina is the Strategic Director of Orbit Media, a web design company in Chicago. He’s also the author of Content Chemistry, An Illustrated Guide to Content Marketing You can find Andy on and Twitter.

5 Ways to Harness Your Online Reputation For Blogging Success

This guest post is by Valerie Wilson.

Quick: Picture that bad choice for a prom or bridesmaid’s dress years ago. Or the haircut that your mom made you get—the one that looked like a Tupperware bowl had been placed on your head. The one that didn’t go over very well at school.

Some memories do last forever, don’t they? This is true. But, hey, they are just memories. All good. No real damage, right?

Quicker: Remember one rumor that floated around your high school years ago. Who was doing what with whom>?! Remember how it spread like wild fire? And how old are you now? How long has that rumor stuck with you? Those were rumors. No proof!

But your Facebook political blurt-out a few years ago—or last week? A scathing reaction you made or to which you responded? Or—the biggie—a “little comment” about a previous account or client or employer with whom you worked?

Brace yourself. That “just having a bad day” comment can have a long-lasting effect. That’s the stuff that can be cut and pasted and repeated and posted—everywhere. Don’t let that happen to you.

The good news is that there are some strong strategies you may employ to improve your online reputation:

  1. Always tell the truth. Remember those rules you learned as a kid? This was one of the most important ones. To increase your readership, don’t embellish. Your blog will succeed if you establish this intention. For example, Intentional Growth does a great job of establishing credibility.
  2. Build positive relationships. When you blog, you’re building relationships with people and organizations. Be aware of building as many of these positive relationships as possible. Follow other blogs; they’ll reply in kind. Appreciate them by directly commenting to them and about them, and keep the language fun and enjoyable. Upbeat blogs such as RapidBuyr’s exemplify this technique really well!
  3. Keep calm and carry on. If you do get that occasional negative poster, be sure to keep calm and carry on, just like the t-shirt says. The goal is to make it right. Do it quickly, or the number of your blog followers could dramatically decrease. Your reaction can and will be around for a long time. Act accordingly. One particular blog, Socialnomics, shares even more insight about how to handle negative feedback on your blog. Damage control can be painless if you pay attention to just a few key strategies.
  4. Go viral, go viral, and then … go viral. The more viral your blog goes, the stronger your reputation and following will be. Bigger is better. Get that blog up on every social media site you’re connected to, and consider providing incentives for folks who “share” your blog through their own social media. An angel investor, Haig Kayserian, shares the story of how his blog went viral, and it’s filled with great insights about how to get yours to do the same. “Word of mouth,” move over. There’s a new kid in town!
  5. Spread good karma! We all know that it just takes 30 seconds with the news, a newspaper, or a headline on your phone or tablet to remind you that life can present some pretty ugly stuff. Let people take a break from that by logging on and spending some time with your fun, upbeat, charismatic, and charming blog. When they like you, they’ll follow you. Just ask Oprah. Or Jimmy Fallon. They got the goods!  A personal favorite for spreading good vibes is the Etsy blog.

These five strategies can help you to attain and maintain a favorable reputation, and the great news is that there are now easy and efficient websites that you can use that will keep an eye on that reputation.

Sites like Reputation.com are fantastic for addressing the challenge of tracking your online reputation. They can monitor and guide you through reputation management for your businesses and your blog, and they have figured out how to make it easy for you! That’s a good day at the office right there!

Valerie Wilson is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics including creating strong workplace communications and spreading some good karma.

Four Simple Traffic Strategies for a Post-Panda and -Penguin World

This guest post is by Lisa Angelettie.

For many years, there were bloggers who could follow a few basic SEO rules, publish a post, wait for Google to spider and rank it, and watch the traffic flow in.

In fact, many of these bloggers made a living primarily from the incoming traffic that Google sent them. All that rapidly and dramatically ended for many businesses after Google’s Panda and Penguin updates.

Did these bloggers commit an online business blunder? Absolutely. How many times have you heard that you should never depend on one source of traffic to your website? I know I’ve heard it about a million times over the years, but the reality is that a lot of bloggers don’t really know how to actively get traffic to their sites from other than the search engines.

Here are a few blog promotion essentials to get traffic flowing to your posts from a variety of sources and none of them have anything to do with search engines reliance.

1. Share posts on your social media networks

Bloggers have one big advantage that many business owners who started years ago don’t, and that’s the leverage of social media. After you’ve written and published your post, naturally, the very first thing you need to do is to announce that post to the folks in your social media networks. Remember, though, that if you write a post at 2am, you’ll want to wait to announce it to social media sites when your followers are most active.

The social sites that have been proven to generate traffic include: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Make sure that you have included social media sharing buttons on your blog, too—many bloggers still haven’t. WordPress now offers social media integration through their WordPress plugin Jetpack, you could use Wibiya’s social media sharing bar or try a variety of other free social media WordPress plugins available at WordPress.org.

One more note: I can’t talk about social media without talking about SEO. One can influence and improve the other.

Search engines like Google have been saying for a long time now that social signals matter when it comes to search rankings. So the more you build up your social influence with more tweets, more likes, more shares, and more pins of your content, the more likely Google is likely to view your content as authoritative and rank it accordingly. The Bing search engine now includes social influence ranking tool Klout in their social sidebar.

Bottom line: if you’ve been avoiding it or playing around with it, it’s time to get serious about becoming more social.

2. Announce posts to your circle of influence

This is a strategy that many bloggers avoid like the plague. One of the cool things about blogging is that you can write what you want, when you want, and try a lot of cool things on your blog without having to get anyone’s approval.

Unfortunately that “alone on an island” approach doesn’t work when it comes to getting actual readers to your blog. It takes a village to raise a blog!

Identify and build a circle of people who you can let know that your blog post is live and will share it with their lists and their social media communities. The circle doesn’t have to be big. Even if you only know two people, that will put your content in front of a lot more eyes than doing it all on your own. These could be friends who also blog, coaches you’ve worked with, or alliances you’ve made on social media.

To communicate with my circle of influence, I created a very small private group on Facebook, invited them to join, and now we announce each other’s articles there so we can easily share and link to them. There are also a few other more prominent bloggers who I send a personal email to and they share my content. One blogger recently mentioned me to his list which resulted in over 142 confirmed subscribers to my list over a 48 hour period. That’s great for one email!

Think of two people you could reach out to today and ask them would they be willing to enter a mutual blog promotion relationship. Most bloggers are going to say yes.

3. Promote posts on blogging communities

I use to think blogging communities were a waste of time. I was wrong. Many of the bloggers who are getting major traffic to their sites are very active in blogging communities and have been for a long time. These are the types of like-minded people that you want to meet and start building relationships with.

  • Promote their content on these communities.
  • Friend them on the communities.
  • Share their posts on social media.
  • Write guest posts for them.

When you do, you’ll begin to become a part of a “clique” of bloggers who support and champion each other.

Communities that are my favorites include BlogEngage.com, Bloggers.com, Inbound.org, FamousBloggers.net, Blokube.com and ViralContentBuzz.com.

4. Announce your posts to your list

The biggest ambassadors of my content are my email subscribers, but oddly enough, a lot of bloggers forget all about this. Some bloggers have tunnel vision and are only worried about “new traffic” coming to their sites, but an essential source of traffic to any blog is return visitors.

Return visitors clearly enjoy your content and are much more likely to give word-of-mouth referrals, share your content to their social networks, comment on your posts and act on any call to actions you may have included in your articles.

To get subscriber traffic, make sure that you offer ample opportunities and incentives for visitors to opt into your list: top of site, right sidebar, after posts, in guest posts, etc.

It’s also important to give subscribers more than one opportunity to read your posts. For example, I send out a newsletter that features one new article on my site at the top of the week, but then I send another email towards the end of the week giving a wrap up of all the articles that have been published on the blog in the last few days. This helps ensure that I get regular return visitor traffic to my site every week.

What are some of the blog promotion strategies you use to drive more traffic to your site? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.

Lisa Angelettie is a copywriting and content marketing strategist who teaches entrepreneurs how to make more money with web content. Download a copy of her free eBook Publishing Guide or visit her site for more tips like these.

Are You Following these 5 Headline Writing Tips for Better SEO Traffic?

This guest post is by Garrett Moon of Todaymade.

There are so many variables to a great blog post. There’s the topic. There’s the writing style and overall quality. But few things compare to the headline. After all, your headline is the first thing that your readers will see, and is probably the most important factor in determining if they will actually read your article.

While getting actual human readers is our primary goal, search engines also matter—a lot. They can, however, add complexity to the original problem. Your headlines need to be written for humans and robots, and they need to bring in big traffic from both sides. In blogging, there are two big headline goals:

  1. Get your viewer to actually read the post.
  2. Provide Google with the fuel you need to bring you big traffic.

How do we write headlines that win big for both readers and robots? Here are a five things that you can do to improve your headlines right now.

Step 1. Become a student of great headlines

It may sound like a beginner’s move, but learning to recognize a great headline is vital to writing headlines that excel in search. How can we execute this simple step? Easy. Observe your own actions.

Observe your own actions

Day in and day out, we are all using Google to perform a variety of searches. What is it that you are searching for? Like it or not, Google knows. If you are logged into your Google account, you can view your web history at https://www.google.com/dashboard/. Review your results to see the headlines that you ultimately clicked on. Your readers are probably similar to you in what they would choose, too.

There is, of course, oodles of information out there about writing great headlines, including the famous Copyblogger course on writing magnetic headlines.

Step 2. Know your audience

After viewing your own search habits and gleaning insight about headlines that mattered to you, put yourself into your reader’s shoes. What matters to them? Who are they, and what are they searching for? It is amazing how often we can go on blogging without even taking time to consider who our audience really is.

Step 3. Use Google’s related search to define key search terms

One my favorite tools for writing great headlines that rock is search itself—use Google! If you put a little strategy into your writing, you can write SEO-packed headlines using Google’s own related search terms.

The process is simple: when you search for keywords related to your blog topic, Google will automatically suggest alternative terms and phrases that other visitors have used. It is important to remember that these terms are based on crowd-sourced knowledge gained from millions of searches per day. These are the most popular keywords surrounding your topic.

Google autosuggest

It is very important in this step to refine your terms a bit and collect additional terms from a series of other popular searches. Let Google make suggestions and then revise your terms using these suggestions. This process can help us think outside the box and discover what our customers are looking for.

Step 4. Rewrite your headline at least three times

I can’t stress this step enough. Too often, we put a lot of our time and effort into the blog post, and forget about the headline. While the blog post will always matter and we do have to deliver in its content, the headline has to be great. Repeated iteration is key to great headline success. Write at least three alternative headlines for each post, for three reasons:

  1. We explore new territory: Admit it. You tend to write the same things over and over. We all do, but when we write more than one headline we force ourselves to work beyond the boundaries of our habits.
  2. Practice makes perfect: The more we write headlines, the better we become. More practice is always a good thing.
  3. We find new ideas: I can’t tell you how many “new posts” have come out of this simple habit. By writing three, you will regularly find a new spin on an old topic.

Step 5. A/B Test your headlines using Twitter or email marketing

Every time you publish or release an idea into the world, you are opening up to the opportunity to learn something new. Publishing new headlines should be no different. Improve your headline writing skills by putting them to the test.

Schedule a few tweets that link to the same post using alternative headlines. You could use several of your “extras” from step four of this blog post. The trick is to use a custom bit.ly link or other short URL service that allows you to track clicks. At the end of each day, calculate the clicks, retweets, and comments that you received with each headline. Which headline methods worked better than others?

The same test can be done with an active email marketing list. Most email software allows you to A/B test headlines and email subjects. Get into the habit of trying headlines against each other. Make sure you document the results and use what you lean to improve your writing abilities.

Better headlines, better traffic

No matter how frustrating it might feel at times, writing great headlines is not impossible. It just takes practice and a little bit of effort. SEO-driven headlines that are written to motivate readers and perform well in search are the goal of many but the achievement of few.

Follow these simple steps, and watch your headlines and traffic get the boost they deserve.

Garrett Moon is the marketing director at Todaymade, a web software and design company that created TodayLaunch, a fast and affordable social media dashboard.

6 Warning Signs That Your Blog Is Deflating

This guest post is by Ashkan of fanappic.com.

Looking at your analytics and seeing that your blog traffic is going down is not a pretty sight.

For those of us who have been blogging for a while, the chances are that we all have experienced periods of downturn and are used to such stormy weather. But what if, heaven forbid, the situation is even more serious, and the downturn looks as if it is here to stay?

Nothing is more painful than seeing the demise of your labour of love; if you make your living from your blog, even worse! 

The question is, “How do I spot the end of a growth period?”

How can we spot the warning signs that the decrease of visitor numbers is the start of a long downturn, and requires drastic action?

I have owned a couple of blogs, including fanappic.com. This multi-contributor blog grew really fast last year, but then reached a peak before entering a period of deflating visitor numbers.

Thankfully, we managed to turn that around, but you can imagine the panic that I went through during that awful period!

Having analysed all the factors on my blog, I can pinpoint six key warning signs that you’ll need to pay close attention to if you want to spot the downturn early on.

Warning sign 1: Declining pages per visit

You should be able to get this figure from any analytics tool. What it reflects is the average number of pages a visitor views every time they visit your blog. Generally, if a visitor likes your blog then they want to click on other links to find out more.

If you look at this figure over the past three or six months and notice the Pages per visit figure is decreasing, then the chances are that your website appeal is also decreasing.

Warning sign 2: Declining average visit duration

This one normally goes hand in hand with the first point. If the reader doesn’t find the content they are looking for, or they’re not happy with the quality of your content, then they will spend less time on your website and abandon the page even before they reach the end of the post.

Warning sign 3: Traffic increasing without much effort

You put all that hard labour and those long hours in at the beginning and you managed to grow your blog traffic dramatically.

Now you have entered a period where it all looks too good to be true! You are not doing anything new and not promoting the blog actively, but still the traffic just keeps growing!

Well you know what they say: if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is. Nothing in the real world comes easily, and sooner or later either your competition or the Google algorithm is going to catch up with you. There is no room for complacency.

Warning sign 4: The majority of traffic comes from one source

I think that this one is a well-known point but it’s still worth reminding ourselves of it. Do not put all of your eggs in one basket!

If 90% of your blog traffic comes from Google, you run the risk of being hit by algorithm updates. I know from personal experience that doing something about this can be very challenging, seeing as most people find the content they’re looking for by using search engines. So, if your ranking is decreasing what can you do?

There are many other ways to get traffic, such as: social networks, links from other websites, videos, banner advertising, and more. A good article to get you thinking about these options is, How to Build a Traffic-siphoning Marketing Funnel.

Two sources that I successfully generate good traffic from are my email newsletter, and creating viral content that gets shared in social media.

Warning sign 5: You are losing passion and dedication

Is it getting harder and harder for you to dedicate time to your blog? Are you suffering from the dreaded writer’s block?

The challenge here is to maintain the level of passion and energy that you had for your blog in the beginning. If you are a creative person, then like many creative people you may love to start things but then struggle to do the same thing year after year.

I must say that I don’t have a definitive answer here, except to say that you should focus on a bigger goal: the purpose of your blog and your writing. Think about how much your readers are benefiting from your blog, and stay in close touch with your biggest fans.

At iPhoneAppCafe, we constantly get together and brainstorm ideas or think of ways to attract new writers to our blog so that the passion for the topic remains strong—and is clearly communicated through every post.

Warning sign 6: Your blog’s topic is losing freshness and urgency

If the initial traffic arrived because your blog’s topic was trending, it is possible that, with time, your topic of focus will lose its popularity.

When iPhoneAppCafe launched in 2010, the iPhone was more of a hot topic than it is now. We considered covering Android apps as well, but we decided that there was too big a risk of losing focus on our original goal if we covered that too.

Instead, we diversified the breadth of our coverage by doing more accessory reviews, video reviews, news, and insights.

Watching for the warning signs

These are the six warning signs I’ve noticed usually indicate my blog traffic will plateau or fall. What signs have you noticed? Share them with us in the comments, so we can all watch for them, and take action before it’s too late.

Ashkan (@AshkanTalk) is the founder of iPhoneAppCafe.com, a community blog dedicated to reviewing and sharing the best iPhone apps. He started the blog in 2010 and got it to 5000 visitors a day within 9 months. For his day job, Ashkan manages e-commerce projects.

Blogging on the Bleeding Edge: Create Content that Gets Liked, Shared, and Talked About

This guest post is by Glen Andrews of Glen-Andrews.com.

There are two types of content…

Regurgitated content. This is content, or information, that’s been shared throughout a niche for years. It doesn’t really excite anyone anymore. It’s considered useful, but it’s “old hat.”

As an example, in the blogging niche (my niche) regurgitated content would be writing an article about hashtags, setting up a Facebook page, or discussing the importance of creating videos.

These are all worthwhile strategies to write about, especially if your blog is about social media. We all need to paint the full picture for those entering social media (our niche) for the first time. So discussing old strategies is always a smart thing to do.

However, regurgitated content won’t thrust you to the forefront of your market. Which brings me to our second type of content.

What’s happening now content. This is “bleeding edge” content that’s new to your market.

When Google rolled out its new algorithm (Panda/Penguin) the people aware of these “insider” updates were seen as the experts. Then, these so-called “insiders” created some of the first articles, posts, and videos about Google’s new algorithms.

These insiders are also the ones who receive masses of likes, shares, and tweets from their fan base. Which in turn, helps them build an even bigger fan base.

When you share breaking news, people want to be on your newsletter list, they want to read your blog, and they want to follow you on social media sites.

Here’s the good news. Anyone can become an insider, as I’m about to explain.

But first, here are four things that occur when we produce “what’s happening now” content.

The benefits of bleeding-edge content

  1. We have the ability to help and inspire others.
  2. We’re viewed as experts on the “cutting edge” of our niche.
  3. Our content gets shared, liked, and talked about more often.
  4. We get an opportunity to earn an exceptional income online.

You might be saying, “Don’t most blogs get these benefits?”

No! Most blogs have good content, but not “what’s happening now” content, blogged from the bleeding edge.

Becoming an insider

Here’s how you can become an insider in your niche, and publish the best bleeding-edge content.

Finding other insiders

First, find out who the top three leaders are in your niche and follow their every move. Get their newsletters and RSS feeds sent to your email, and follow them on Twitter. This will immediately tip you off when something new is about to unfold in your niche.

When you find some killer bleeding-edge content, create an article, post, or video, and discuss the affects this news may have on your niche. Then of course, you’ll share it with your base.

Finding policy makers

So you’re probably wondering—where do I find these niche leaders?

You want to locate the people who make the rules. For example, in my niche, Google, Facebook, and Twitter are just a few of the “policy makers” I follow. These are the people who make the policies that affect everyone online.

It helps to get your information straight from the decision makers themselves. However, I could also follow Searchengineland.com for SEO. I could follow SocialMediaExaminer.com for all things social media.

You want your finger on the pulse of what’s happening next, and the only way to do that is to know the decision-makers in your market.

Blogging on the bleeding edge

Have you identified the decision-makers in your market? Are you able to respond quickly when they report critical news? What are your strategies for creating great content that gets liked, shared and re-tweeted? Share your ideas in the comments.

Glen Andrews has created niche sites, ebooks, and info products that produce a steady reliable income. Glen is dedicated to helping entrepreneurs create and market a blog online that makes them money.