Author: rockugberem

How Bloggers Can Benefit From Google’s Rich Answers

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By digital marketing expert Jim Stewart of StewART Media

We’ve always been told that the aim for our blog posts is to be number one. That achieving first position on page one of Google through organic traffic is the target of any blog or online business.

Well what if I was to tell you that you can now climb higher than number one? – because you can! And it  makes a world of difference to your traffic.

I’m going to show you how utilising a particular feature of Google can help you to a prominent position on the first page of Google – making good use of Rich Answers.

What are rich answers?

If you’ve ever searched for a particular term, or have been seeking the answer to a particular question, you will have noticed that above the list of organic search results there is an information box.

This information box contains a short answer to your search query and is Google’s way of attempting to answer your search without requiring you to click through to a website. The official moniker for this box is ‘rich answers,’ but it is also referred to as ‘featured answers,’ or ‘featured snippets.’

The feature has been around for some time, but is now prominent for recipes, maps, some product searches, and quick answers.

Google splits the results for rich answers into three distinct categories:

1. Featured Snippets

Google extracts these answers from third party websites and displays them above the organic search results.

For example, If we were to type in a particular question:

Why bloggers can benefit from rich answers

You will see that Google has extracted the information from a third-party website, in this case bbcgoodfood.com. You will notice that the information is incomplete, encouraging readers to click through to the website for further information. That is great for bbcgoodfood.com!

2. Answers provided by Google

Also displayed at the top of the page, above the organic results, these are answers drawn from official data or public domain sites such as Wikipedia.

For example, if we were to ask the question: “How old is Malcolm Turnbull?” you would see this result:

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You can see it is a clear answer to the question provided directly from Google. The information provided answers the question directly, but Google also provides additional information that it thinks the reader may be interested in, such as fellow politicians underneath and an information box to the right containing personal details for Malcolm Turnbull.

Basic Snippets:

These enhance regular search results. The downside is that you need a basic knowledge of HTML to implement the mark-ups in your content using schema.org.

Further Reading

What are the benefits of rich answers?

The beauty of rich answers is that you don’t have to rank number one in organic search results to be the featured answer. The aim is to explicitly or implicitly pose a question then answer it in your content.

I recommend establishing the question, query, or key phrase, in the blog title, then answer within the first couple of paragraphs before sprinkling variations on the keywords or search query throughout the copy.

The results can be amazing.

We recently achieved a rich answer for problogger.net. The site was already ranking No.1 organically, but there was a rich answer above us that we aimed to depose. Our normal No.1 position appeared for about 50 different search phrases, but when we finally achieved the rich answer position it covered over 150 phrases. 

This means that Google will show the same rich answer far more often than it will show the same No.1 organic spot.

As an example, if you type into Google: “make money blogging,” you will see problogger.net has the rich answer result and the No.1 organic result. However, (at the time of publishing) when you type, “how do you make money blogging”, you will see ProBlogger has the rich or featured answer but organically the site ranks about No.6 or so.

How bloggers can benefit from rich answers

You can achieve the coveted ‘position zero’ on Google by analysing and understanding what users are looking for. You can do that with checking your own data and insights, surveying your readers, doing a keyword search, and keeping up with what others in your niche are doing.

It is also worth spending some time exploring what areas of your subject matter are lacking in relevant content and utilising this knowledge to hone your own content to meet the needs of the user.

Directly answering a user’s question can see you claim the rich answer spot and hopefully drive more users to your website; increasing site traffic, building your audience and brand awareness in the process.

Jim Stewart, CEO of StewArt Media, is a recognised digital marketing expert. Jim is ProBlogger’s SEO expert and will share his vast SEO knowledge to equip you with the systems and skills to optimise and monetise your blog using tried and tested techniques. What Jim doesn’t know about SEO and blogging isn’t worth knowing.

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How to Bring Podcast Listeners From Their Phones to Your Website

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by Craig Hewitt of PodcastMotor.

If it seems like everyone’s on their phones these days, it’s because it’s true.

The Pew Research Center says that in 2015, 64% of adults between the ages of 18–29 used their phones at one time or another to listen to music or podcasts.

The podcast hosting service Libsyn confirmed this steady rise. They claim that “of their 2.6 billion podcast downloads in 2014, 63% were requested from mobile devices,” a number which rose from 43% back in 2012.

Most podcast subscribers actually prefer listening to episodes on their mobile devices. Super convenient apps not only download episodes for them, but make it easy to keep up when they’re on-the-go.

However, if you’re a new podcaster, you’re probably a little bummed that all this mobile connecting isn’t increasing traffic to your website.

Why is website traffic important?

The more traffic your website receives, the higher your chances of converting clicks to revenue. Your visitors can click on your ads and sponsor reviews, purchase your ebook or e-course, or subscribe to your email list (which is really another form of currency nowadays).

Plus, when you gain more page views, you’ll be able to charge higher rates for ad space from sponsors.

Today we’ll be sharing our 5 best (and simple) strategies to connect your mobile listeners to your website so you can start converting.

First, Create Awesome Show Notes

Engaging, informative show notes are the first (and easiest!) way to bring listeners over to your website. They will not only prompt listeners to return after each episode, but reading them will also keep visitors on your site longer.

After you create each podcast episode, take time to craft your show notes.

Daniel J. Lewis, award-winning podcaster over at The Audacity to Podcast, suggests writing a short excerpt of your episode that answers the questions:

Why should I read/listen?

What will I get from it?

Lewis recommends answering this question in under 160 characters so you can also use this response in your SEO description field. #Multitasking!

Keep your show notes under 300 words so they’re easy and quick for you to write while still providing value to your listener, who honestly doesn’t have time to read anything longer than that anyway.

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All excellent show notes have a few common traits:

  • An outline that’s fleshed out with talking points, quotes, and brief summaries
  • Time-stamps so readers can quickly scroll to the topic they’re interested in when downloading and listening
  • Shareable images to boost social media interaction
  • Links to everything mentioned in the episode (books, products, people, etc.)
  • Social media links for every guest
  • Your social media, subscription, and comment links to make it easy for fans to interact

Don’t forget to link to internal website pages of previous show notes if you mentioned a former guest or past topic. Connecting new visitors to older notes will make it easy for them to read about and download missed episodes, interact with the other media on your site, etc.

Cross Promote Your Show Notes on Social Media

Now that you have a nice chunk of information to pull from, grab the best talking points and quotes from your show notes to share on social media.

Anne Wootton, co-founder and CEO of Pop-Up Archive, a service that transcribes podcasts, and Audiosear.ch, a service that makes podcasts visually searchable, told Wired that:

“Podcasts largely rely on word of mouth. It’s much less common for people to come across an excerpt or a clip on Twitter or on Facebook.”

Sure, you may tweet or post updates about new episodes to get downloads, but next time, try sharing a quote or interesting talking point from the episode to inspire curiosity instead.

“Fundamentally, for audio to become more of a mass medium,” Wootton notes, “shareability and accessibility are crucial.”

Add a link to your show notes at the end of your social media posts rather than one that bypasses your website and goes directly to the download source.

When listeners read your show notes and see how easy it is to share an insightful thought or funny quote, they’ll be more likely to pass it on to their followers, bringing more traffic to your website. Make your episode content easy to share and easy to access and you remove the largest barriers of going viral.

Give Your Listeners Exclusive Visuals

Podcasts create extreme intimacy because your listeners get to hear your voice as if you’re speaking right in front of them. What they don’t typically get is a visual, other than your stellar episode artwork.

Make your website a home for exclusive visuals pertaining to your podcast.

These videos and images should be genuine, off-the-cuff moments similar to what’s going on during your episode, but they should still provide a bit of value for your viewer. Think SnapChat meets LinkedIn (yes, that’s totally possible).

As consultant Melissa Cenker advises, “Instead of using an expensive company to develop a video, just sit in front of your webcam and make a video about issues relevant to your customers.”

Guest-post

Shoot a quick video about a topic you didn’t get to cover during a recent episode, or a picture of an “off-the-record” moment with your guests, as a B-side series for your online fans.

Upload your videos to YouTube and embed them on your website. Out of all social media platforms, YouTube is the king of driving the most engaged traffic, with an average of 2.99 pages per visit, and it even keeps visitors on websites longer.

“The retention rate for visual information can reach 65% versus 10% for text-based information,” one study confirmed.

You may even decide to create preview clips to share on your website a day or two before your episodes air. This will make your website destination number one even before your episodes air!

Take Advantage of Quizzes and Polls

Your website should also have a sense of community. Your target audience should feel comfortable commenting on your show notes with their feedback, asking questions on social media, and interacting with you and other fans of your show.

When you create a fun quiz or interactive poll on your website and direct listeners to check it out via social media, it says that you care about what your audience has to say. You’re curious about their opinions and want to know who they are.

And really, who doesn’t love a quiz or poll that’s all about their opinion? You’ll increase engagement and provide ice-breakers for other fans to connect online in no time.

Additionally, the answers to these quizzes and polls may provide more insight about your target audience’s likes and dislikes than you may initially realize. This could be valuable feedback to steer your episodes and marketing efforts.

Keep Updating Your Website With Relevant Content

According to Forbes, when Neil Patel of QuickSprout started posting six times a week (instead of five), he saw blog traffic increase by 18.6%, proving that blogging more really does drive traffic to your site.

Entrepreneur mentions a different experiment with even better results:

“We increased our blogging from twice per week to over 10 posts per week. The result was a 300 percent increase in traffic in just two months.”

Now, you don’t have to start posting every few hours, but you should get into the habit of posting content on your website at least three times per week.

If you have a weekly podcast, you’ll already have your show notes to update your website. Now you just need two more posts that will be interesting to your target audience and keep your website fresh in keyword search results.

“You need to give people a reason to come back to your site,” says Mike Sprouse, chief marketing officer at Epic Media Group in New York.

When you post more often on your website—and promote this new content on social media—you’ll see traffic take a sharp turn skyward.

It doesn’t matter if your subscribers follow you on Facebook and like all of your Instagram selfies if they’re not going to your website to generate revenue for you.

Make your website a hub of exclusive content, engaging show notes, and interactive fans. When your mobile listeners start hearing about all the content you’re providing for free on your website, they’re sure to join in on the fun ASAP.

Craig is the founder of PodcastMotor, a full service, concierge podcast editing and production service.  They take all the hard work out of podcasting so you can focus on creating great content.