Tag Archives: branding

The Million-Dollar Question: How Answering Questions Can Help Your SEO Efforts

SEO tips

In the twenty plus years since the internet was made publicly available and a decade since the iPhone made it possible for us to access the internet almost all the time, we now rely on the internet for almost everything. We use the internet for dating, to watch a film, to listen to music, to order food, to get a ride somewhere or to simply talk among ourselves. Because of these various roles the internet has now filled within our lives, it’s easy to forget what it was designed for in the first place, to provide an easy mean of exchanging information.

Technically, exchanging information is still what the internet is primarily used for. The various social media platforms available are an extension of that but it’s the kind of thing that people tend to easily forget given just how versatile the internet now is these days. Whenever I stumble upon a word I don’t recognize in a book or when I want to check some trivial information about a famous person, the internet is what I use to answer those questions. To help answer a question remains one of the most popular uses of the internet and knowing how to take advantage of this fact could be very useful for SEO services and marketers.

The changing roles of a search engine

It used to be that when you’re trying to find an answer to a simple question, like “how old Nicole Kidman is”, you type the quoted phrase into a search engine and the search engine will show you a list of pages where the answer to that question might be found. Usually, you’re just going to be led into the Wikipedia page of Nicole Kidman, where her detailed birth date can be found. However, if you type that phrase into Google now, you’re going to be presented with a direct answer (she’s 51 years old FYI) plus a short biography taken from Wikipedia for good measure.

Search engines no longer act as a signpost that tells you where something can be found, they’ve begun to act more and more like a place where those answers can be found, even if technically, they pull that answer from other places. By taking advantage of this feature, it is possible for a page from your website to be featured prominently, above the rest of the results, on a given search engines results page (SERP), which can potentially draw a huge amount of web traffic your way. If you’re thinking of optimizing your content for questions, you might want to take note of the following.

Avoid optimizing for questions with short, easy and direct answers

The Nicole Kidman’s age question above is an example of this. Because of the nature of the answer, Google could simply pull the answer out of your page and display them on the SERP, which is going to effectively stop any traffic coming your way. Sure, the URL for your website might get some prime real estate at the top of the page but have you ever actually paid any attention to the URL when you’re using Google? I honestly don’t know anyone who does.

The idea is then to look for questions commonly asked of your industry that either can’t be answered in a single sentence or one that would need to be backed up by a solid argument. On the other hand, you’d want to provide a summary of sorts for Google that partly answers the question while giving a tantalizing glimpse of what users might found on the actual page. You want to give them enough to be interested but not too much that they’re satisfied with what you’ve already given them.

Use the inverted pyramid approach

The inverted pyramid approach is what I like to call good journalism. In this age of clickbait and misleading headlines, it’s very common to see overly melodramatic article titles that don’t really tell you anything and whose sole purpose is to entice unsuspecting users into seeing the story, which tends to have an anti-climatic result. The oft-cited headline ‘Man tries to hug a wild lion, you won’t believe what happens next’ is one example of a clickbait headline.

This ultimately meaningless headline is in contrast with the practice of quality journalism, which tends to be forthcoming with the gist of the story and uses the article to fill out the details. As I’m typing this for example, a headline in The New York Times simply states ‘Alternate Brexit plans rejected, Theresa May offers to step down’. With the inverted pyramid approach, you already have an idea on what the article is going to tell you.

In this approach, you start with an answer and then fill in the rest with the details and the context of how that answer came to be. This approach fits in with the point above, by giving out a summary or a shortened version of the answer, you provide enough information to the readers but in order to understand the big picture, they’re going to have to read the rest of your article. As with journalism, this approach helps build your credibility as publication that has to resort to clickbait headlines is never going to be taken seriously.

Take advantage of the ‘People also ask’ feature in Google

So you’ve landed on a popular question with no easy answers related to your field of business that has a potential to draw traffic to your website but optimizing the content for your website around a single question isn’t practical so you’re going to have to find more questions to optimize for. The good news is that you can use that one question in your repertoire to find related questions easily by using the ‘People also ask’ feature in Google. Try typing that question into Google and see what happens.

In Google, right under the featured answer at the top of SERP is the ‘People also ask’ (PAA) column, which is a list of expandable questions that are related to the question you typed into Google. If I ask Google on ‘who is the best F1 driver of all time’, the PAA column list questions such as ‘who is the most successful F1 driver’ and ‘who is the highest paid F1 driver of 2018’. Clicking on those questions will open up more questions relating to the ones I’ve just clicked.

By taking advantage of the PAA column, you could land on an ever-growing list of questions in your industry that you could optimize for. Combine this list of questions with keyword research tools to ensure that the question you’re optimizing for is actually getting some heavy traffic. What’s also great about the PAA column is that each of the questions listed there also have their own featured answer, giving SEO services and marketers more opportunity to be featured in a given SERP.

Point of Contact: 4 Reasons Why Having a Website is Essential for Small Businesses in 2019

why website is important

I have what I call a low-profile Instagram account. I use this mostly to keep myself in the loop of what people I admire (mostly musicians) is up to and for the endless stream of jokes. I still set my profile to public and used my real name for the account but I’ve never told a single soul about my profile and yet, barely a week after I set up the account, people I went to high school and college with began following my account. It can be really easy to find people or businesses you’re looking for online.

Given this, it’s common to see businesses forgoing website entirely and simply limit their presence to the various social media platforms available. With the sheer amount of social media platforms available, you can bet that each slice of the population is properly served by at least one platform and on a purely technical level; businesses don’t need a website for customer’s reference. Then again, I don’t technically need Spotify to listen to music but there’s no way I’m cancelling my Premium subscription. In a way, website and web development occupies that same position in that they’re vital to the success of your business.

Having a place to call your own

For me personally, having my own personal space is important, both metaphorically and physically. Every month, I always try to dedicate a single weekend where I can be in a place where no one I know will ever find me. Even if it’s technically a public place, it’s always nice to carve your own corner of the world that just for a moment belongs to you. There’s this unassuming coffee shop near where I live for example that even on the weekends is never full that I regularly use if I don’t feel like making a trip.

In a way, this is what I consider websites to be, your own little corner of the internet that belongs to you. Your business’ website is your business’ personal space while by comparison; your Instagram or Facebook page is like your seat in the theater. Yes, technically it’s your space but it’s also cramped and you’re still very much in close proximity with the other patrons. Websites could offer your business the kind of freedom and flexibility that social media platforms couldn’t, and this freedom could help your business in 4 different ways.

Websites help lend a sense of professionalism

Anyone can open Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/(Insert social media platform here) and open an account there but to set up a website and everything that goes with a website requires considerably more commitment. Of course, there’s an ocean of difference between a well-thought-out and properly designed website and something that looks like as if it’s been assembled together in less than 10 minutes so having a website for the sake of having website won’t be enough. Think of having a website as going to a job interview wearing your best clothes and you won’t be too far off the mark.

Websites give you the freedom on contents

For example, many moons ago Instagram requires every image uploaded on the platform to have the shape of a square. That restriction no longer applies but there are still some limitations on what you could post on Instagram, like video lengths and how you can’t include external links on your post. Yes, you could argue that for videos, you have access to YouTube and Vimeo but those platforms have limitations of their own and there’s not a single social media that could reliably accommodate everything you’ll ever need.

Websites aren’t perfect, especially if you’re sticking to a pre-existing theme, but they have much less restrictions on what you could do compared to social media platforms and you could still include contents from your social media feed to your website if you want to. Dedicated websites are especially useful if you have the capability to create interactive contents. For those working in the creative industry, the restrictions on social media platforms can be particularly suffocating.

They’re practically required for businesses dealing in e-commerce

Have you ever tried ordering stuff online through e-mails or texts? I have and it was a bit annoying. There was this boutique watchmaker I’m interested in but it turns out that one of the items they have on display on their Instagram account isn’t available on their website. I asked them about this over text and it turns out they do have that particular item available, just not on their website. I ended up having to order it through text where I have to write the detailed specification of the item, my personal details, etc.

If you’re in the business of selling things, you are practically required to have a website and regularly updates said website when you have new things in stock or when a particular product is sold out. Having to go through that laborious process of ordering through text over and over again is just annoying. For example, take a look at what Undone Watches have done, where customers and potential customers could customize their watches through their website and see how it’d look like in real time instead of having to list their preferred specifications.

They’re now made easier with website builders

There’s the ubiquitous WordPress for one but if you’re looking for something more minimalist and classy, take a look at what Squarespace or Wix is capable of. Squarespace and Wix highly values simplicity and accessibility while being aesthetically pleasing. Both Squarespace and Wix are very easy to use but you’re going to have to sacrifice some degree of customization, which is somewhat similar to how Apple controls their platforms. These platforms also comes equipped with a tool to help with the more complex idea of SEO or to set up an e-commerce site, which can be a boon for business owners that have a limited understanding of web development.

Develop A Successful Business Through Making Creative To-Do Lists

Creative to-do list

I never consider myself a diligent person, but when it comes to paying attention to details, I am that person. When I am planning to do something, I have to know the details first. My friend and I kind of have this idea of starting a business but I refuse to start it if we don’t have enough resources and time for the branding. I said to him, “We ought to conduct several researches and we don’t just randomly name our business out of spontaneity. Branding is the Queen. Content is the King. Also, we have to have our own social media presence and a website as well.” And he replied, “Leave the web design and development to me. You do social media.” Having discussed the first step, we realised that both of us are not considered as a diligent person. Sometimes we forgot things and other times we did not keep our priorities straight. Since we love this coming-soon business and we want to succeed, we have read so many articles, watched inspiring YouTube videos and read books written by famous entrepreneurs and finally, summed it up into one final solution; the to-do list. I’m sure most of you are aware about to-do list because almost (but not all) everyone has it. However, not all people know the values that to-do list can give to those who are ambitious, especially if the to-do list is creatively made. How do we make creative to-do list to develop a successful business? Keep reading to find out!

Write down the To-Do, the Not-To-Do and the Need to Know

Before planning to write your assignments, first you need to write down what you need to do, what you should not do and what you need to know. Whatever it is that comes into your mind, write it down until you feel there is nothing left to write. It’s okay if it sounds so random at first. You can do the next step to arrange it.

Meet the MITs

After writing down your list, start arranging them from the Most Important Tasks (MITs). Make sure you’ve got the MITs listed as the top priorities. This will remind you every day that you must finish the prioritised tasks first. That way, you will keep your priorities straight and consistent.

Make it public

Well, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to show off your to-do list to everyone on social media. Make your list “known” by the people around you – your house maybe. You can do simple things like putting a sticky note on your refrigerator containing your MITs. This will let the people in your house know about your goals and when notice that you forget, they will remind you about it. This will also help you get yourself on track and motivate you to finish it.

Be specific

When you are writing a to-do list, make sure you avoid writing something like “work on research paper”. That will sound too vague to process. Instead, break it down into more specific actions. For example, write “conduct a research on competitors’ social media presence for 15 days and learn from them,” and “work on the report.”

Make unique In-game Quest-like goals

I don’t know about you, but what makes me stay interested in playing a game is the quest completing. A human mind is somewhat simple; as a human we’d like to collect things. When I see quests and the rewards I can get from finishing the quests, I feel so motivated to play the game. The reward is simple; a badge. There is something about merit badges that make me want to achieve one by one by completing the quests. Not only does this give me more badges, collecting those badges alone also makes me feel satisfied. Moreover, it’s not just about the badges. Collecting a certain number of badges will also get me promoted to the next higher level or at least boost my status in that game. Perhaps, you can also do the same thing for your to-do list. Make your to-do list fun game-like quests that you wish to achieve, only in a more serious way than just a game with an addition of some fun in it. Add some rewards like badges and treat yourself when you are one step ahead. For example, you create this badge called “The Super Owner Badge” and in order to achieve that badge, you have to complete 10 quests at the starting level. And those quests are your first MITs in your to-do list. After achieving that badge, you can move to the next level. It is fun, isn’t it? I do that too every day and it gets me motivated. If I can, you can too.

The main important thing about to-do list is your determination to do your best to finish your tasks one by one and create new plans to deal with the future. Business owners are always faced with new things in the future and the better way to overcome it is by being prepared for what is to come. Creating to-do list is one of the ways to get you prepared.