Have you had the chance to look at the backlinks for #1 ranked content pages across diverse industries? Well, it’s easier said than done. It’s a lot of hard work.
However, we chose eCommerce and decided to check thousands of links that point to Shopify (the blog).
Here’s what we found:
What we found amazed us. We weren’t looking at these backlinks per se, but at the patterns, the correlations, and essentially, we wanted to know why Shopify ranks #1 for several eCommerce-related keywords.
Going a step further, we uncovered the importance of content and why your choice of a particular content format matters.
For example, for any given keyword, I might write a “how to” post while you write a “case study” post. Given that your domain authority and mine are exactly the same and let’s assume we get the same amount of social shares, truth is, our rankings will vary.
My hope is that after reading this case study, you’ll properly align your SEO tactics and focus more on whitehat – instead of wearing a black or gray hat.
But before we get into the Shopify’s whitehat SEO tactics, let’s get the basics out of the way.
What is white hat SEO?
It simply refers to any practice that improves your search visibility on a search engine’s organic listings page and makes the users happy. In other words, white hat SEO is aimed at obeying search engines guidelines. It puts the users first.
Be it link building, content creation, on-page optimization, and more, you’ve made a choice to do it legitimately — instead of trying to manipulate search results.
Let’s bring it home: For most people who do SEO, the major concern is to improve their rankings. But that may not be the goal of any website that chooses white hat tactics.
For example, Shopify’s search approach isn’t necessarily to boost search rankings. But rather, they create content to help the users have a proper understanding of ecommerce in general, and running a profitable online store business, to be specific.
Similarly, any practice that’s aimed at inducing search rankings isn’t white hat. It must be another type of hat, and I’m sure Google doesn’t like it.
An overview of Shopify’s SEO tactics
More than 350,000 businesses use Shopify to power their online stores. How do you think Shopify acquires these customers? Is there a secret to their SEO strategy?
Well, it’s not really a secret, except you don’t know it. But we do because we invested 29 hours of our time to study their strategy.
When using SEMRush, the first thing we notice is that Shopify currently ranks for more than 717,000 keywords in the organic search in the US:
But in the Uk, the number of keywords that brings organic traffic is about 70,000.
Why am I showing you these results?
Well, there are two reasons;
- First, Shopify has more users in the US than Uk. Obviously, there are more users who share their content and link to them in the US.
- Second, you have the opportunity to dominate some of the keywords that Shopify isn’t ranking for in the Uk if you’re an ecommerce entrepreneur. But even if you’re not, you can see patterns that your competitors are using and loopholes to exploit.
Moving on, let’s see the internal structure at Shopify.
Internal page linking
Of course, there are several factors that contribute to a sustainable ranking in Google but internal linking is pivotal.
During our analysis, we noticed that for every post that Shopify publishes on its blog, there’s a minimum of 7 internal links (these are links that points to internal pages; articles that were previously published on the site).
This screenshot is only a section of Shopify’s post. Can you see the seven internal links?
I’m sure you’re used to internal linking. But are you aware of its impact on search performance?
According to Graham Charlton from Search Engine Watch, internal links sends a clear signal to Google that this page is relevant to search users typing in that keyword.
Since an internal link is any link from one page of your domain to another page on the same domain, it becomes clear that if you’re looking to rank an older post that you published, interlinking it with new pages could improve its rankings.
And more importantly, it will help users get access to your older posts and benefit from them.
This is in line with Google’s objective: To build an interconnected web, where users can find exactly what they’re looking for in the search engine.
So from our analysis of Shopify’s white hat SEO technique, which the company may not be deliberate about, we found that internal linking helped a lot.
To make it clearer, one of the keywords that Shopify ranks #1 for in Google is “dropshipping guide.”
That particular page has 16 internal links.
It’s detailed and rich, which brings us to the next phase.
Rich and evergreen content
I don’t have an online store, neither do I promote one. But one thing I observed while analyzing Shopify’s SEO strategy is that they publish only rich and evergreen content.
In fact, when you visit their blog page, you’ll hardly see any post on generic topics. You will either see a case study, an ultimate guide, an interview, or an analysis. Take a look:
This Shopify’s dropshipping guide, for example, contains 11 chapters (i.e., pages). I think it’s the most detailed guide on this topic ever. No wonder the page ranks #1 for that high-volume keyword.
If I tell you that Google is scouring the entire web looking for rich and comprehensive content, would you argue it?
I don’t think so. When you do a search for any random keyword (as long as they’re not question-based), what you’ll see is a comprehensive content.
Rand Fishkin, the founder of Moz in his whiteboard friday teachings a few months ago gave an overview of what to include in your content to make it richer and more useful for your audience.
Most importantly, Google will deem your page more relevant and invaluable to searchers who search for that keyword or related keywords.
Comprehensive content is the best way to beat your competitors and 10x your content.
When you create such a content, you’ll intimidate your competitors and cause them to only envision creating such content, but the discipline to pull a seat and do it will not be there. That’s exactly what Shopify does with each content they create.
If you want to dominate organic search results with your content, the first thing that you have to do is change your mindset about link building. Here’s how it works:
- Create compelling content first
- Then build/earn links to it
Most website owners do it the wrong way. They first learn all the link building strategies, but they suck at content creation.
It’s not going to work that way. You’re either going to create 10x content than your competitors that are already ranking higher in the organic listings or you’ll not see results.
How to make your content better than your competitors
a). Write irresistible headlines: Brian Clark said that 8 out of 10 people will click on your headline. Obviously, he’s not lying. But before you write your headlines, take a look at the top 10 rankings for your keyword, see what they did and then craft a better headline.
For example, here are some of the headlines in Google for the search term “influencer marketing tips”:
At a glance, you can see that the headlines are compelling. But that doesn’t mean you can’t improve yours. You could make yours much more beneficial and inviting.
Here are some examples:
- 25 Powerful Influencer Marketing Tips You Can Implement Now
- 7 Best Influencer Marketing Tips That I Used To Grow My Startup
- Influencer Marketing Tips: How to Connect with Influencer Quickly
These are headlines that I created without much research. If I had more time, I’d make something more compelling. But you get the point?
b). Improve your meta description: Search users read your meta description. Data from KISSmetrics proves it. In short, you should think less about SEO and more about click-throughs. Ask questions in your descriptions, and tell users to click and find out more.
c). Go in-depth: If your competitors merely touched the surface of a very important topic/subject, you’ve got an opportunity to do better. You should go in-depth; explain every detail. Touch every aspect of the topic.
For example, if you want to create a post on Google AdWords ads, don’t be surprised if you found that most of the pages that are ranking very high in Google at the moment are not in-depth.
In-depth content is relative. But as a rule of thumb, you need to break down your topic step-by-step.
If searchers are looking to start a consulting business, for example, your article should help them in every way possible. I used this strategy in my recent SEO case study – I found that most of the case studies aren’t detailed and the focus is on one company.
But I changed all of that. I conducted my research, asked questions, and compiled 21 companies and their SEO strategies.
If you’re detailed in your content, then you can’t expect a 1000-word post at the end of the day. It should be between 2,000 – 10,000 words. No fluffs. But real value.
Such type of content is a natural search engine magnet – give it 60 – 90 days and you’ll be amazed at its organic positioning. And guess what? You don’t even have to build hundreds of links to it.
When we analyzed 3,236 Shopify’s posts, we found that 73% of them contains more than 2,000 words.
And of course, an in-depth content isn’t complete without visuals. You need to use your own data (you can always get these visual charts and screenshots from the SEO tools and platforms) that you’re using.
To get even better results from your content, create a relevant infographic and embed into the post.
This would help website visitors trust you more — because you’ve given them the choice to either read the lengthy article or learn from your infographic.
As you can tell, creating comprehensive content is difficult, but that’s what Shopify does every other week and the results are obvious for all to see.
Editorial links powerhouse
Shopify has a great strategy for earning editorial links. Interestingly, we’ve covered how they create comprehensive content on virtually every eCommerce-related topic. This has earned them natural links to rank higher in Google.
Here’s how WordStream defines an editorial link:
“An editorial link is a link that results from a site having good content and marketing techniques. An editorial link is not paid for or directly requested, as is the case with acquired links. Editorial links are part of a strong link profile.”
I’m not aware that Shopify has a team of guest bloggers who pitch other authority blogs to get them published. I’m also not aware of the links the company has purchased to boost their rankings.
It was all editorial. Shopify has great content and as a result of that, people link to them. This has made their link profile stronger than ever. Their dropshipping guide in particular has earned more than 1220 backlinks from 189 referring domains.
Note: Majority of the websites that link to Shopify’s guide are eCommerce-related, while others are media websites, such as Mashable, Lifehacker.com, and more.
Trending keywords selection strategy
Before we concluded our Shopify analysis, we also examined their keyword strategy and found that the company follows a different approach.
Yes, they capitalize on trending keywords (topics).
Why is this important?
Well, you’ve got to know that Google Keywords Planner is outdated. Or to put it mildly, Google uses past data to gauge popularity.
But you and I know that web users are dynamic and needs change over time. So, instead of using Keywords Planner or any third-party research tool to find keyword, you’re better of creating content around trending keywords.
As an example, when Shopify created their dropshipping guide, how to start online store, and several other popular guides that generate a large percentage of its traffic, they used trends.
As of 2012/2013, the keyword “dropshipping guide” wasn’t popular at all. But that notwithstanding, Shopify plunged in, researched on it and created one of the best guides ever. Look at the trend.
Prior to 2015/2016, most dropshipping-related and online store business keywords were fluctuating. Why? Because it was difficult to run a profitable online store in the past. People would get excited about it and later give up. But it’s a lot easier now.
In 2017 and beyond, the right way to do keyword research is by getting into the conversation. Hang out with your target audience, listen to them, and find patterns in their questions and opinions.
If you’ve not been using Quora to find relevant questions you need to start today.
Some topics might not be as popular today as they would in 1 – 10 years time, don’t ignore them. But create rich content and become the authority on that topic — when it eventually grows.
Because by the time the competition begins, your web page would have become stronger. More so, competitors will either link to you or they’ll have no real substance to add to their own content.
But don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to ignore Keywords Planner or any keyword research tool for that matter, but use the insights to research real-time questions from Quora, and follow the trends.
Whitehat SEO tactics might not work for everyone because it takes time.
But if you decide to invest time and resources in creating comprehensive content while capitalizing on topical trends, you’ll not only drive targeted traffic and social shares but earning editorial links to your web pages will be easier.
Yes, Shopify is an authority website and its domain authority is a major determining factor to its search visibility, but the whole essence of this case study is to guide you — and show you opportunities that you can leverage for your own business.
This article was contributed by Michael Chibuzor, who is an SEO consultant for SaaS companies. If you’re looking to improve your search visibility, drive targeted traffic, and grow your revenue, you can reach him directly at http://Saasbrand.com
4 Ways Hiring a Brand Strategist Can Help Transform Your Business
If you think hiring a brand strategist is a waste of money, think again. Read on to learn 4 ways a brand strategist can help transform your business.
Do you have a business that needs some help? Do you have a successful business but know there’s more you could be doing to boost image?
Company branding is critical to the identity of your company. It gives your employees and customers an idea of what to expect and demand from you. Do you wonder if a brand strategist could be beneficial to your business? If so, this post will tell you exactly what to expect.
What a Brand Strategist Can Do for You
What is a strategist? A brand strategist can help you focus your company’s brand in a way that benefits consumers. It can also be good for your employees.
1. View from the Outside
When we look too closely at something, it can be hard to see the details. But when we step back or bring in other points of view, we can see the big picture.
Hiring someone to help with brand development can be exactly like that. You’ve been looking at your company too close. Let someone come in with fresh eyes and look at it from another angle.
That angle may not be something you expected or would do for yourself. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be exactly what the company needs. A brand strategist will need to be able to challenge your views to give you a fresh perspective and a new approach.
2. Focus on Brand Targets
Brand targeting can be a tricky subject. You may think you know your target. A brand strategist will be able to look at your target and tell you whether it’s too broad. They also tell you if it’s not broad enough.
A strategist can also help you figure out if you’re hitting the target right. They’ll let you know what should change. They’ll also tell you how you should adjust the branding connections with consumers.
When you run a company, you know the customers only a part of it. Employees are the driving force behind running a business.
A branding strategist will rework your employee focus. The more you focus on making your company employee friendly, the better your chances of success. Creating a good employee program is where you’ll attract the best talent, which in turn makes your brand stronger.
Designs or packaging can sometimes make or break a company’s brand. People are visual, and if something isn’t working, you might suffer for it.
How can a brand strategy help with this? Hiring someone to do research on the packaging of your company’s product is a great way to start. They can also take the input from consumers and compile it for you to see.
Companies like Smashbrand look at the data surrounding consumer preferences. They also research competitors and what makes them successful. You can learn more about the research and design techniques that make all the difference when you hire brand strategists who care about your brand.
Business and More
Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It only means you’re willing to accept expert opinions. Don’t hesitate to hire a brand strategist. They’ll help you make all aspects of your business everything it can be.
MegaPu.sh Push Notifications Network is Excellent for Affiliate Marketing
As an affiliate marketer, you are constantly looking for new, creative, and effective ways to optimize your campaigns. It’s critically important that you look at every step at the process to unearth potential opportunities. Are you picking the right offers to promote? Are you basing them purely on payout or are you looking at conversion rates and competition too? In promoting these offers, are you looking at better ways to drive traffic toward the landing pages?
When it comes to converting on an affiliate offer, you must first get the attention of the potential lead. Once you’ve got their attention, you need them to click on through to the landing page. And once there, you need them to convert.
One of the fastest growing and most effective ways to get the attention of users is with push notifications, both on mobile and desktop. And MegaPu.sh is the first advertising network with an exclusive focus on push notifications.
Pu-Push It Real Good
Push notifications offer a number of advantages over more traditional ad formats. Whereas there is a certain expectation for “ad blindness” with display advertising and click-thru rates via content marketing can be wildly unpredictable, push notifications are immediately noticeable and timely. They cannot be so easily ignored, representing an incredible opportunity for marketers to reach audiences like never before.
MegaPu.sh has certainly recognized this amazing opportunity and have provided a great platform where affiliates can reach these audiences easily and in a very cost-effective manner. In just one day, the network serves up around a billion impressions and over 9 million clicks with an effective cost-per-click (eCPC) of just 2.7 cents.
As mentioned, these push notifications work on both desktop and mobile, so you’re able to get to your audience no matter where they are. The immediacy of the push notification allows for great targeting based on demographics too. The traffic found on MegaPu.sh is summed up in these pie charts.
The majority of users are male (80%) and you’ll find that nearly half fall into the 35 to 54 year age range. With such interests as business and software, this key demographic can be ripe for affiliate marketing opportunities. These are individuals who are typically at an age where they have some disposable income or they have interests that align with that (like cryptocurrency, gambling, and binary options).
So while you can certainly find success approaching other niches and verticals, keeping this kind of target demographic in mind can give you a sense of the kinds of affiliate offers that would likely perform best on the network. In addition to gaming and investing, you might also look into dating and similar areas.
Advertiser Control Panel
The user dashboard for MegaPu.sh is straightforward in its approach and aligns with much of what you’ve likely already experienced with other ad networks. The main page shows your main statistics at a glance, including the number of clicks and the amount of ad spend you’ve had today and this month. This amalgamates all the data across all your campaigns.
Before this main bar graph, you’ll find information about yesterday’s top 10 campaigns and your top campaigns overall, offering the number of clicks, targeted country and total cost. Next to this are lists of the top 10 active countries for campaigns across the network, plus the top 10 free across the network.
Navigation is through the left side, which is where you’ll access more detailed statistics reports, your campaign list, the area to add more funds to your account, information about the referral program, network news and so on. Two small items are worth noting here.
First, there is a bonus system in place based on the amount of your deposits. These are outlined in the FAQ. Putting $500 earns you one point, for instance, while putting in $5000 gets you 20 points. Each MP is worth $15 in ad budget, but you must exchange a minimum of 10 MP at a time.
Second, the referral program offers a generous 7% commission of the total payment by a partner that you refer to MegaPu.sh.
Create a Campaign
Creating a new campaign within MegaPu.sh consists of just a single page. It’s here that you’ll enter basic information like the campaign name and target link, as well as upload the image, set your target country, enter your CPC bid and so forth.
The CPC amount you should bid will vary considerably based on the geo you are trying to target. The country with the most volume at the moment is India and it has an average CPC of just 0.3 cents. By contrast, the average CPC in Russia is 8.9 cents, it’s 1.3 cents in Turkey, 6.1 cents in Kazakhstan, and 0.2 cents in Egypt.
Once you are done configuring your campaign (you can set limits based on spending or clicks, if you’d like), you submit it for approval. The moderation process is really efficient and fast. MegaPu.sh says that it is completed “within 30 minutes from the date of sending the campaign” during regular working hours, which are 8am to 11pm (GMT+3) Monday to Friday and 8am to 5pm (GMT+3) on Saturday and Sunday.
Campaign Case Studies
As with all things advertising, your mileage may vary and these case studies may not necessarily be representative of what you might expect from your own campaigns. Such is the nature of affiliate marketing, after all.
In one modest example, the affiliate attempted to push traffic to a cryptocurrency offer that paid $250 on deposit. He ran a campaign targeting Poland, spending just $33.25 at 1.4 cents per click. This resulted in one conversion for a net profit of $216 or an ROI of 651%.
In a campaign on a larger scale, the offer being promoted was for a gambling site in Italy. The offer converts on signup, offering the new users 7 Euro in free bonus without a deposit. After running the push notification ad campaign for about three weeks, spending a total of $1,818.60 for around 70,000 clicks (96% unique), total commissions of $3,700.20 were generated. That’s an average ROI of 107.5%.
An Effective Traffic Source
Based on these two different examples, it’s clear enough that push notifications as a means of generating targeted traffic for affiliate offers can be very effective and remarkably profitable. MegaPu.sh makes it easy, giving you seamless access to traffic from all countries, including advanced targeting by platform and OS, full native tracking, and a generous referral program to boot.
Rapidly Growing Business? Here Are 13 Ways to Stay on Brand
Branding is incredibly important for any business. It becomes critical, however, when your company is growing quickly. After all, if more people are coming in contact with your brand over a shorter period of time, you must solidify the right message for that audience.
So, how can you keep your communications consistent as you expand operations and onboard new team members? To find out, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council how to stay on brand when a new company is gaining traction.
Here’s what they had to say:
1. Create a Consistent Social Media Voice
As your team grows, more people will be posting as your brand on different social media channels, so it’s important that you have a consistent voice across the board. Create a document that outlines the type of voice you want to portray. Is your brand funny, serious or a mix of the two? What are some jokes that you’ve used in the past?
2. Develop a Brand Persona
Having a very clear and thoroughly fleshed-out brand persona is essential to ensure consistency in messaging. It enables your team to communicate in your brand’s voice across all channels, from your website to social media to email marketing. Brand personas can, and probably should, evolve, but the sooner you define one the more on brand your messaging will be.
3. Create a Collaborative Style Guide
Having a brand style guide that is both easily accessible and managed in a way that leads to collaboration between team members is a great way to ensure messaging and brand guidelines are adhered to even as new channels are identified and built out.
4. Educate Employees During Onboarding
My company is currently in a rapid-growth phase, so we’ve made brand messaging part of our onboarding process for new hires. Everyone who comes through our doors learns our value propositions because they apply to company goals beyond marketing. They guide the interactions we have with customers and our vision for the future state of the company.
5. Prioritize Quality Over Quantity
When marketers and public relations professionals are in a rush to draft a press release or marketing email, mistakes happen that can negatively impact how your customers receive brand messaging. To keep your communications on brand, prioritize quality over quantity. Be strategic about the marketing and media opportunities you pursue (and the ones you decline).
6. Keep Your Ears Open
The best way to stay on brand and relevant as your business grows is to listen to your current customers. As people who already benefit from your products and services, it is crucial to pay attention to their ideas and the feedback and comments they make on social media. Customers help build a brand and keep it on track.
7. Hire a Designer and a Copywriter
Different teams manage different communications channels (in-app is engineers, email and social media are marketing, knowledge base and tickets are customer support), which makes it very hard to align them. Before the “publish” button gets pushed, everything should have gone through a designer and a writer with a deep understanding of your brand.
8. Remain True to Your Core Values
Even as you grow and scale up your marketing, it’s important to stay consistent with your core brand identity. To do this, you need a clear understanding of your role in the marketplace and your unique value proposition. Understand what your customers expect from you in your messages and marketing as well as in your products. Always remember your commitment to your core values.
9. Centralize Your Documents
We have a centralized place, our intranet, where all of our documents can be found. These documents are constantly being updated. Employees send marketing team requests for what is needed and then they are uploaded to the intranet so everyone can find and use them.
10. Remain Consistent
Stay true to your brand’s purpose. Through familiarity, you’ll build a good business reputation. If you keep switching the name, the look and the message, people will think they’re looking at a different company. Stay consistent to your brand by creating relevant content that will also enhance it. Old customers will recognize your longevity while you continue to build the business.
11. Utilize Trusted Communicators
Even while a business is rapidly expanding, one thing you do not want to do is have newer team members handle outward communications. I’ve found that the best way to maintain a consistent level of on-brand communications is to have team members with seniority have the final say on content editing and social media, while newer talent shadows the seniors to better understand the brand’s philosophy.
12. Embrace Change
Be comfortable with change. When you’re new and growing fast, your brand will be changing and evolving over time. It’s a good idea to embrace that communications will need to change. The best way to keep it as streamlined and consistent as possible is to know your brand and your customer. Make sure you’re speaking to them in a consistent way, and if you do evolve the message over time, do so in an intentional manner, then measure the results.
13. Don’t Neglect Design
When we talk about staying on message, it’s common to focus primarily on the written or spoken word. However, it is important to remember that an audience sees your visual design before reading a single word. Your website, email newsletters, social media visual content and even your team’s email signatures should all share a well-designed and cohesive visual brand identity.
Nothing is Better than Watching Your Business Grow…
However… if you aren’t ready and have the necessary precautions in place, you might find your thriving business actually falling behind and imploding onto itself. Make sure you have all eyes on your business and are ready to expand in all directions. To learn more about improving your business and scaling to that next level, be sure to read up on these expert tips.
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