Low budget marketing for smaller businesses

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Over the last year, we have talked and written a lot about branding. Branding is often associated with investing lots of money in marketing and promotion. Branding is about getting people to relate to your company and products. Branding is about trying to make your brand synonym for a certain product or service. This can be a lengthy and hard project. It can potentially cost you all of your revenue. However, for a lot of small business owners, the investment in branding will have to be made with a relatively small budget. In this post, I’ll share my thoughts on how to go about your own low-budget branding.

Brand values

Branding with a limited budget starts with defining your company’s and your brand’s values. You need to think about what you, as a brand, want to communicate to the world. This is obviously totally free, provided you are capable of doing this yourself. It’s a pretty hard task when you think of it. It’s about your mission, the things that make your brand your brand. Brand values relate to Cialdini’s seventh principle, Unity.

My favorite example illustrating that unity is outdoor brands like Patagonia and The North Face, which make you feel included in their business ‘family’. We are all alike, share the same values. By being able to relate to these brands and their values, we are more enticed to buy their products. It’s a brand for us, outdoor people.

Take some time to define your brand values. That way you’re able to communicate your main message in a clear and consistent way. It makes your marketing all the easier. You’ll be able to create brand ambassadors, even on a budget.

Come up with a proper tagline

Now that you have defined your brand values, it’s time to summarize all of this into one single tagline. WordPress’ mission is to “democratize publishing“. In your tagline, you reflect your values and combine these with your added value for the customer, user or visitor. Again, be consistent. If you set a tagline, your actions and products should relate to that tagline, actually even be based upon it. It summarizes your business.

Rethink your logo

Having a great logo is essential. When designing that logo, you’ll have to keep in mind that it’s probably something you’ll have for years. It’s the main thing – besides yourself – that will trigger (brand) recognition. Not that you will never be allowed to change your logo, but don’t ‘just’ add a logo. Think about how it stands out from other logos, for instance on a local sponsor board. We actually did this with our current one.

Design that logo, print it, stick it on your fridge for a week or so, and see if there’s anything about it that starts to annoy you. If so, back to the drawing board. Feel like you don’t relate to it in terms of business values or even personality? Back to the drawing board. When talking about low-budget branding, designing a great logo is probably your most expensive task.

We still haven’t spent that much money, right? But then, we just designed the basis.

Online low-budget branding

You might be a local bakery with 10 employees, or a local industrial company employing up to 500 people. These all can be qualified as ‘small business’. All have the same main goal when they start: the need to establish a name in their field of expertise. There are multiple ways to do this, without a huge budget. Low-budget branding is facilitated by the surplus of social media. Low-budget branding is possible because of all the blogs that relate to your niche.

Costs?

I do a lot of local networking, because I really like the city we live in, and the huge variety of entrepreneurs that work in Wijchen (our hometown). During network meetings, one of the phrases I often hear is: “Social media is just costing me too much time”. To be honest, it might be wise to stop whining about the costs and start seeing the revenue social media can bring you. It really is the easiest and probably one of the cheapest ways to promote your brand. Basically, it costs you time and time alone (depending on how aggressive you want to use the medium).

Share your expertise

Twitter is used to keep in touch with like-minded business owners. Discover the huge number of Facebook groups in your area, and/or in your field of expertise. Bond with people that share the same values. Feel free to answer questions in your field of business, be sure to do this with confidence. Position yourself as the to-go-to company for these questions. Help people that way and create brand ambassadors.

Scary? No. But you really have to put some effort in establishing your position. It won’t happen overnight. Before we became a business, Joost was already sharing content/expertise and our open source software. He engaged actively in forum and social media discussions about WordPress and SEO. Commenting on other people’s blogs. Time before revenue: 8 years. I’m not saying you need to wait eight years before making money with your passion. But I do think that you should be able to write, comment and take a stand in topics that matter to you from the start.

Make yourself visible

Eventually, it all comes back to business values. Everything you communicate should reflect these values. It’ll give you guidelines and will make sure your message is delivered in the same way, always. Low-budget branding might be just about that: making yourself visible, in a consistent way.

Any additions and your own experiences in this are welcome.

Read more: ‘5 tips on branding’ »

SEO New Hampshire

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The Very Best WordPress Concept for Authors Who Wish To Gopro

Andrew Raynor

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from John Meese. John is a blogger, business consultant, and founder of Notable Themes. You can find more from him on Twitter.

The Best WordPress Theme for Writers Who Want to Go Pro

When I was only 12, I signed up for a creative writing workshop (my mom helped).

That workshop was an incredible experience, because it was the first time I wrote anything that didn’t have a grade attached to it once I was done. When I finished that story, I was as proud as you might suspect―I had crafted the greatest story that had ever been written on college-ruled paper!

I showed the short story to my mom, read it to a few friends, and then… that was it. No job offers, fan letters, or checks arrived in the mail.

A decade and a half later, I found that short story in my closet when I was cleaning out junk. Want to know why that story never amounted to anything? There were two main reasons:

  1. I was 12―the story really wasn’t that great! But also,
  2. There was no way my writing could be discovered or shared.

As a writer, you need to showcase your work in a way that makes it easy to get discovered or shared―which in today’s world, means you need a professional website. That’s how you make a living from your craft.

Of course, that website won’t make you a better writer at the end of the day―but it will help you get discovered and shared, if your writing is good.

Then again, not just any website will do. The perfect website for writers needs to offer three specific functions:

  1. Lets you get straight to writing. Writers write, that’s what helps you hone your craft. The more time you spend “working” on your website, the less time you have to focus on writing itself.
  2. Presents your writing in an elegant fashion. Words are the building blocks of your content, and they’re meant to be consumed. The right website design makes your words the real focus, and fades into the background so readers forget it’s even there.
  3. Helps you grow your audience. This is crucial if you want to make an honest living from your craft. You need an email list to build a community around your content, that will help your new business thrive.

All three are important ingredients in the perfect recipe for a website for writers. That’s why Jeff continues to build a successful platform while using Tribe Theme.

Notable Tribe Theme

Here’s a look at the mindset behind Tribe Theme, when Jeff first created the concept:

Is there such a thing as the perfect blog theme? An ideal website? Maybe. My friend Martyn Chamberlin and I spent a long time talking about this. We wanted to know:

  • What does good design look like for writers?
  • What would an artist want in a website?
  • What would be essential, and what would be unnecessary?

We built and tweaked until we were completely satisfied, cutting out all the excess and focusing on what matters most: earning permission and building influence.

The result is Tribe: a clean, elegant WordPress theme customized for the needs of people with a message to share.

At first, Jeff was just solving his own problem and sharing it―but Tribe Theme has grown to become a solution every writer should use.

Because this theme was designed by writers, for writers, it has several built-in features that you will find especially helpful:

  1. Beautiful typography. Tribe features just over two dozen font options that have been hand-selected to make your words beautiful. Select one from the drop-down menu, and you’re good to go.
  2. Minimalistic design. Sometimes less really is more, and this is especially true with website design. Tribe Theme websites have a simple, elegant look that keeps your core content front-and-center on every blog post or page.
  3. Super simple customization. Tribe has the power of the latest online marketing techniques built into a simple WordPress theme designed for writers who don’t mess with code. You can have a new website in less than an hour.
  4. Automatic updates for life. Most WordPress themes charge you a yearly fee to keep getting updates―not so with Tribe from Notable Themes! One purchase gets you updates for life (support is available with a separate subscription).

So what are you waiting for?

Click here to get your copy of Tribe Theme. Stop fighting with WordPress and letting code get in the way of your creativity.

Which theme do you currently use? How has a theme interfered with your writing? Share in the comments.

Andrew Raynor

Let’s care for the website: Yoast Treatment

Andrew Raynor

 

 

As a hard-working site owner, it is often difficult to find the time to work on issues that are holding your company back. You might find that the blog posts of your competitor appear higher in search results, but you don’t know what to do about it. Or, you might discover that your site isn’t performing as well as you’d like, even after you’ve tried everything in your power.

For most people, time and lack of knowledge are the factors that limit their success. That’s why we’ve developed Yoast SEO Care. We take the most important technical tasks out of your hands and put them into the trusted hands of seasoned SEO professionals.

You’ve tried it all

It’s hard to figure out where something is going wrong. But, it’s even harder to discover where to make little changes that can have a dramatically positive effect on your results. You’ve tried to read up on SEO related subjects, but the information is scattered, outdated or just plain wrong. It’s difficult to cut through the bull to get to the real, actionable knowledge. Nobody has time for this, except for us: it’s our job.

What do I get out of it?

You’ve worked hard to build your business. Countless hours to make it grow, year after year. That’s something to be proud of. It takes a lot of effort to become successful. Your site is a crucial part of your business and therefore needs special attention. If you can’t find the time to work on it, or if you fear the technological side, then you need outside help.

By calling in Team Yoast, you’ll get back the freedom to work on other aspects of your business. The experts at Yoast have your back on the technical side of things. We have checked countless sites from clients big and small, from the little artisan bakery around the corner to some of the world’s leading online magazines. Not everyone can call Disney, NASA and StarWars.com their customers.

In addition to that, we know what it’s like to help people make their website better. Currently, the Yoast SEO plugin runs on more than five million sites. For years, Yoast has been helping people to get the most out of their sites and making SEO available for everyone.

This is what we do

Our experts check your site on more than 300 points. We can’t list every one on this page, but here are a couple of important focus points:

  • Technical SEO: are technical issues holding you back?
  • How does your content perform? And how to make it better?
  • Site speed: a slow site is inexcusable
  • Plus, we’ll install and configure Yoast SEO Premium

The extensive, monthly Yoast SEO Care package has even more checks, for instance:

  • Site structure: is your site and content structure correct?
  • Broken pages: customers must never stumble upon these
  • Mobile: how does your site function on mobile phones?
  • Site security: a secure site is a must-have

What you can expect

Besides the comforting feeling that a world-class SEO company is looking out for your painstakingly built site? A personal SEO expert will regularly check your site. He or she will fix issues, make enhancements and give you easy to understand advice that you can use to make your work even better. Following the check-up, your site is in perfect condition to take on any competition you might have.

Let’s get down to brass tacks

There are two Yoast SEO Care packages. Yoast SEO Basic Care is for site-owners who want a bit of guidance in their work. You still have to put in some work yourself. That’s fine if you have an understanding of SEO, but just need a little nudge. The monthly SEO Care packages gives our experts much more time to invest in your site, making it better in every possible way.

Yoast SEO Basic Care

  • Price: $249 per quarter
  • Quarterly checks (4)
  • Basic checks
    • Technical SEO
    • Content
    • Indexability
    • Site speed
  • Free Yoast SEO Premium license, plus installation

Yoast SEO Care

  • Price: $199 per month
  • Monthly checks (12)
  • All basic checks, plus extended checks
    • Security
    • Site structure
    • Keywords
    • Mobile
    • Duplicate content
    • UX & conversion
    • Meta data

All these checks will be done by a Yoast expert, who will also fix issues, if any, and improve the site in general. You will also receive updates on the progress of your site, plus actionable advice that you can easily implement yourself. In the end, your site is ready to outrank and outperform your competitors!

Ready to make your site a runaway success?

Do you lack the time and skills to take your site or business to the next level? Are you often banging your head on your desk in search of the right answer to a technical challenge? Do your competitors perform better and you can’t figure out how to beat them? Yoast SEO Care can help! Call in Team Yoast and be prepared for more traffic and more sales.

SEO New Hampshire

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Website construction: the best information

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Your site needs a certain structure. Otherwise, it’ll just be a collection of pages and blog posts. Your users needs the structure to navigate through your site, to click from one page to the other. And Google uses the structure of your site in order to determine what content is important and what content is less important. In this ultimate guide, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about site structure.

Are you struggling with setting up your site’s structure? Don’t know exactly what the best strategy is to link from one post to another? Early december 2016, we’ll release a brand new Site structure training. After following this course, you’ll be able to manage your own site structure.

Why is site structure important?

Structuring your website is of great importance for both usability and findability. A lot of sites lack a decent structure to guide visitors to the product they’re looking for. Apart from that, having a clear site structure leads to better understanding of your site by Google, so it’s really important for your SEO. In this chapter, we’ll explain the importance of having a good site structure in detail.

1 Importance for usability

The structure of your website is of great importance for the User eXperience (UX) on your website. If visitors are able to find the products and information they’re looking for, chances increase that they’ll become customers. In other words, you should help them navigate through your shop. A good site structure will help you do that.

Navigating should be easy. You need to categorize your posts and products in a way that they will be easy to find. New audiences should be able to instantly grasp what kind of products you’re selling.

2 Importance for SEO

The structure of a website or a shop is of great importance for its chances to rank in search engines. In our opinion, there are three main reasons for this:

1. It helps Google ‘understand’ your site

The way you structure your site will give Google important clues about where to find the most important content. Your site’s structure determines whether a search engine can understand what your site is about and what you’re selling. It also determines how easily a search engine will find and index the content on certain products. A good structure could, therefore, lead to a higher ranking in Google.

2. It prevents competing with your own content

In your site, you might have blogposts that are quite alike. Perhaps you write a lot about SEO. You could have multiple blog posts about site structure (each covering a different aspect). Consequently, Google would not know which of the product pages is the most important one. So you’d be competing with your pages for a high ranking in Google. You should let Google know which page you deem most important. To do this, you need a good internal linking structure and taxonomy structure, so you can make all those pages work for you, instead of against you.

3. It deals with changes in your website

The products you sell in your shop will probably change over time. So could the content you’re writing. A new collection will be added, as the old one is sold out. Or perhaps you think the information of outdated blogpost should disappear from your site. You do not want Google to show outdated products or blogposts which are no longer available.  You’ll have to deal with these kinds of changes in the structure of your site.

How to set up the structure of your site?

So, how do you construct a decent site structure? We’ll first explain what an ideal site structure looks like and then explain to you how to achieve that for your own site.

Ideal blog structure

The structure of your site should be like a pyramid. On the top of the pyramid is your homepage, and under the homepage are a number of category pages. For larger sites, one should make subcategories or custom taxonomies (more on that later). Within the categories and subcategories you will have a number of blog posts, pages or product pages.

Read more: ‘Intelligent site structure for better SEO’ »

Dividing your pages into categories

If you’ve not yet divided the blog posts or product pages on your site into a number of categories, you should definitely do so (right away). Make sure to add these categories to the main menu of your site.

Equally large categories

Make sure that categories are about equally large. If a category becomes too large because you are blogging a lot about a certain topic, you should divide that category into two main categories. A good rule of thumb for the size of categories is to make sure that no category is more than twice the size of any other category. If you have one such category, dividing it into two separate ones would result in a more accurate reflection of the content on your website. Note that if your category name is reflected in your website’s permalink structure, you should make sure URLs are properly redirected after splitting up a category.

Internal link structure

Your linking structure is of great importance. Each page in the top of a pyramid should link to its subpages. And vice versa, all the subpages should link to the pages on top of the pyramid. There should be really important content (cornerstone articles) at the top of your pyramid, and these should be the articles you link to from all of your blog posts.

Because you’re linking from pages that are closely related to each other content-wise, you’re increasing your site’s possibility to rank. Linking this way will help out search engines by showing them what’s related and what isn’t.

On top of that, with all subpages linking to that one main page at the very top of your pyramid, you are creating cornerstone pages (read more about cornerstone content later on). These will make it easy for search engines to determine what your main pages per subject are.

How to incorporate cornerstone content[/readmore]

Your site will also benefit by adding tags. Tags and taxonomies will give your site more structure (or at least Google will understand it better).

In WordPress there are two standard ways of adding taxonomies: you can use the aforementioned categories (which will give you the pyramid-like structure) and you can use tags. The difference has to do with structure. Categories are hierarchical; you can have subcategories and sub-subcategories, whereas tags don’t have that hierarchy. Think of it like this: categories are the table of contents of your website, and tags are the index.

Try not to create too many tags. If every post or article receives yet another new unique tag, you are not structuring anything. Make sure tags are used more than once or twice. Make sure tags group articles together that really belong together.

In some WordPress themes, tags are displayed with each post. But, some themes neglect to do so. You should make sure your tags are in fact available to your visitors somewhere, preferably at the bottom of your article. Tags are really useful for your visitors (and not just for Google) to read more about the same topic.

Keep reading: ‘Tagging post properly for users and SEO’ »

Cornerstone content

Really important content pages are called cornerstone content. Cornerstone articles are the most important articles on your website. This is the content that exactly reflects your business or the mission of your business. But focusing on the field around your business could also be a fine strategy to increase your audience and potential buyers.

As we’ve discussed before, cornerstone articles should be relatively high in your site structure, focusing on the most ‘head’ and competitive keywords. If you think of four specific pages you would like someone to read in order to tell them about your site or company, these would need to be the cornerstone articles. In most cases, the homepage would link to these articles.

Websites should have a minimum of one or two cornerstone articles and a maximum of eight to ten. If you want to write more than ten cornerstone articles, you should probably start a second website.

Read on: ‘What type of content should a cornerstone article be?’ »

Category pages or tag pages could make great cornerstone ‘articles’ as well. If you want to optimize your category pages for cornerstone content, it is of great importance to provide really awesome introductory content. You should make sure that this page is a compelling overview of the subject and invites visitors to read even more articles on your sites.

Practical tips and quick wins

Your structure is dynamic. Your business might change over the years, and it makes sense your site’s structure will reflect this change. When you don’t think about your website’s structure on a regular basis, it could grow into this monstrous collection of pages. Your pages or products might not fit in your navigation anymore, and the coherence of your website is nowhere to be found.

Remove and redirect!

Lots of shops will sell a different collection of products (clothes; shoes) every season. The old products could go on sale for a while, but eventually they will be sold out. If you don’t expect to sell the exact same product again, you should remove the page. Also, if content is completely outdated, remove that page!

However, you may have had some valuable links to that exact page. You want to make sure you benefit from these links, even though the page does not exist anymore. That’s why you should redirect the URL.

Redirecting pages is not that hard. If you use WordPress, our Yoast SEO Premium plugin can help you to take care of redirects. Preferably you should redirect the URL (301) to the product that replaced the product or, if there is no replacement, a related page. That could be the category page of the specific product,  as a last resort to your homepage. This way the (outdated) page won’t interfere with your site structure anymore.

When your business goals or your website changes, your menu should probably change as well. When you start restructuring your site, making a visual presentation (like an organogram) will pay off. Start with your desired (one or two level) menu and see if you can fit in more of the pages you have created over the years. You’ll find that some pages are still valid, but don’t seem suitable for your menu anymore. No problem, just make sure to link them on related pages and in your sitemaps. This way Google and your visitors can still find these pages. Perhaps the organogram will also show you the gaps in the site structure.

Rethink your taxonomy

Creating an overview of your categories, subcategories and products or posts will also help you to reconsider your site’s taxonomy. Do your product categories and subcategories still provide a logical overview of your product portfolio? Perhaps you’ve noticed somewhere down the line that one product category has been far more successful than others.Or perhaps you wrote many blog posts about one subject and very few about the others.

If one category grows much larger than others your site’s pyramid might get off balance. Think about splitting this category into different categories. But, if some product lines tend to become much smaller than others you might want to merge them. Try to create eight to ten top level categories max to keep your site and structure focused. And don’t forget to redirect the ones you delete.

Tell Google about it

In the unlikely event you have constructed your HTML sitemap manually, update that sitemap after changing your site structure. In the likely event you have an XML sitemap, re-submit it to Google Search Console.

Read more: ‘The structure of a growing blog’ »

Duplicate content

The same content is shown on multiple locations on your site. As a reader, you don’t mind: you’ll get the content you came for. But a search engine has to pick which one to show in the search results, as it doesn’t want to show the same content twice.

Above that, when other websites link to your product, chances are some of them link to the first URL, and others link to the second URL. If these duplicates were all linking to the same URL, though your chance of ranking in the top 10 for the relevant keyword would be much higher. Joost wrote a huge article about this on our website that you should definitely read.

SEO New Hampshire

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131: Have You Been a Genuine Author In The Event That You Don’t Create Misinformation?

Andrew Raynor

Writing is a challenge regardless of whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. But can non-fiction writers successfully explore fiction? Are you really a “writer” if you never publish a novel?

131: Are You a True Writer If You Don’t Write Fiction?

When you look back through history and think about the writers we remember and quote, precious few are non-fiction authors.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Andy and I wrestle with controversial questions about the rivalry between different kinds of writers, and the enduring nature of one form over another.

Listen in as we discuss the nature of storytelling and why it makes both fiction and non-fiction more compelling to the reader.

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (If you’re reading this via email, please click here).

Show highlights

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What makes writing powerful
  • How to write words that endure
  • The dynamic between humor, facts, and stories
  • Where some of the best stories come from
  • Two dangerous voices to listen to when you’re approaching something new
  • Becoming a better storyteller whether or not you author a novel

Quotes and takeaways

  • What makes fiction so interesting is the complexity and challenge of writing it.
  • No. You don’t have to write fiction to be a great writer. But… you do have to be able to tell stories.” —Joel J. Miller
  • A story, if it’s told well and right, immediately connects with people.
  • If you want to hold people’s attention, you have to harness the skill of storytelling.
  • Just because you’ve always done something, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it.
  • Pay your dues without staying stuck wherever you are.

Resources

Do you think non-fiction writers can write fiction? Are you really a writer if you only write non-fiction? Share in the comments

Click here to download a PDF of the full transcript or scroll down to read it below.

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:19.9] AT: Welcome to The Portfolio Life Podcast with Jeff Goins. I’m your host, Andy Traub, and Jeff believes that every creative should live a portfolio life; a life full of pursuing work that matters, making the difference with your art and discovering your true voice. Jeff is committed to helping you find, develop, and live out your unique world view so that you too can live a portfolio life.

Writing is difficult whether it’s fiction or non-fiction. That’s not under debate. Today, Jeff and I discuss and wrestle with some more difficult questions. “Can non-fiction authors write fiction?” And, “Are you really a writer if you only write non-fiction?” These are the controversial questions, let’s see how controversial the answers are.

Here is my conversation with Jeff Goins.

[EPISODE]

[00:01:16.5] AT: So, I’m going to be difficult on you today Jeff Goins, because this is a difficult question and the question is this: Can non-fiction writers automatically switch over and write fiction?

[00:01:28.5] JG: Can they? I don’t know that any non-fiction writer can necessarily just pick up and write fiction. Should they? Maybe. I think what makes fiction so interesting is the complexities of it and the challenge of writing it and this is a challenge that I’ve undertaken recently, based on conversation that I had with a friend of mine, I don’t know maybe a year ago? Joel Miller is a great writer and editor, one of those few remaining lovers of the craft of writing.

You know, with the world today and the ability to build a platform and become an instant expert and publish a book, I think there are fewer and fewer people who just love the craft of writing and Joel is one of those people that has an affinity for great books and great writers and at the same time understands the challenges and demands of the market place. Anyway, I was having one of these crisis of identity where I was wondering which of my words were going to endure for eternity and it was like that movie Genius. Have you seen that movie? It’s about an editor.

[00:02:39.8] AT: I haven’t. I’ll make sure we link to it in the show notes. You’re talking about — it came up pretty recently like 2016.

[00:02:45.5] JG: Yeah, Colin Firth and Jude Law. Colin Firth plays this guy named Maxwell Perkins who, there’s a book about it called Editor of Genius and it’s about this guy, Max Perkins, who edited all these great writers including Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and the movie is about his relationship with Tom Wolfe and how he published the next promising writer after Hemingway and after Fitzgerald.

And Wolfe and Fitzgerald end up meeting through Max Perkins, and they had this conversation where Tom is probably in his mid to late 20’s and Fitzgerald is approaching 40 probably and Tom Wolfe is basically talking about how he’s really, really concerned about creating enduring literature, writing books that will be here and will be read a hundred years from now and Fitzgerald, who’s his elder at this point says, “Yeah, I remember that. I remember worrying about my legacy and which of my words are going to endure a hundred years from now and I don’t worry about that anymore. These days, I just worry about trying to write one good sentence.”

And I love that scene because the Tom Wolfe character really spoke to what I was feeling when I talk to Joel, which is ego I think. Like, I want my writing to endure. I want to be a great writer. I want to be remembered and so I was having this conversation with Joel because he just tells it to you straight and I said, “You know, I really want to be a great writer and I don’t know that I am there yet.” I’m not there but I am willing to do the work and as I look back on the past hundred or two hundred years of great writers, the people whom we quote and remember, there’s not many non-fiction writers.

I can’t really think of any. There are a few bestselling non-fiction books that have stood the test of time bit most of them are fiction or they’re based on real life events like Moby Dick, but then they’re fictionalized into some great story. And so I asked in earnest, “Can you be a great writer without writing fiction?”

[00:05:09.7] AT: So actually saying that — that’s a gutsy thing to ask. That’s like saying, “Am I a good husband?” Right? So you asked this person who you deeply trust because I believed he worked with a publisher for a time so he’s seen enough fiction and non-fiction that you felt like you could actually sufficiently answer the question, “Are you a true writer if you don’t write fiction?”

[00:05:34.7] JG: Yeah and really what I was asking is that “Am I a true writer?” Because I don’t know fiction, do I have any hope of being a great writer?” and the truth is I have heard this from people who read my blog or ran to people on Facebook or whatever saying, “You’re not a real writer. Where are your novels?” For a lot of people…

[00:05:53.5] AT: Wow.

[00:05:54.5] JG: Because the fiction market is so big and writing fiction I think is really hard, and we can get more into that. Like if you don’t do this, I mean are you a real writer and again, if you look back at history, I had to wonder the same thing. So I asked Joel. I said, “Can you be a great writer without writing fiction? In other words, do you have to write fiction to be great?”, was what I wanted to know and he said, “No, you don’t have to write fiction to be a great writer but…”

[00:06:23.1] AT: I was waiting, yeah, waiting for that.

[00:06:24.7] JG: “But, you do have to be able to tell stories,” and that really challenged me and I think that’s true. I think that what makes writing powerful and I’m talking about transformational, change your life kind of stuff is it’s often either driven by a story or supported by a story or the writing itself is entirely just one long narrative and stories connect with and entertain and inspire us in ways that I don’t believe any other medium, any other piece of content does.

Jokes are great, facts are fine, statistics can be motivational. But a story, if it’s told well and right, immediately connects with people. So if you want to be a great writer, if you just want to hold people’s attention, I do think you have to harness the skill of storytelling and then what you do with it from there is up to you. And so taking that challenge from Joel, I decided, “Okay, I want to become a better storyteller, whether or not I ever write a novel and where are some of the best stories in the world come from?” Well they come from novels, they come from fiction. They come from the world of fiction and so I decided, “Okay, I want to figure this out so I am going to write a novel.”

[00:07:49.2] AT: Wow so when you think back to reading books in school, not that schools and the books they choose are the be-all-end-all of literature, but did you read any non-fiction books in school. Like were you assigned? I mean other than your text books, I’m just thinking of literature classes. I don’t remember any non-fiction books.

[00:08:08.7] JG: Right, yeah of course. Yeah I mean because literature is typically considered fiction, you know?

[00:08:16.5] AT: It’s just fascinating to me. I just was thinking like, “Oh what about that great…” wait a minute, they never legitimized non-fiction as actual good writing.

[00:08:25.6] JG: Yeah and I mean there are some books that are non-fiction that have stood the test of time like The Prince by Machiavelli, which is not necessarily an entertaining read. It’s just a list of rules and principles on politics and power. The same thing with Sun Tzu’s, The Art of War and then there are historical documents and histories of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire and you’ve got some non-fiction that has stuck around for a long, long time. But for the past few hundred years, writers have communicated deep and profound and important truths through the novel.

Click here to download a PDF of the full transcript.

[00:09:15.9] AT: All right, so do you feel like you could be a great writer if you can’t write fiction?

[00:09:20.4] JG: I don’t know, and because I don’t know that sort of unnerves me and maybe I don’t need to be a great writer for me to fulfill my calling, I don’t know? But it scares me enough, like trying it scares me enough that I feel like it’s something that I need to lean into and I think, “Well, worst case scenario, I’m going to be able to tell better stories.”

[00:09:43.8] AT: Yeah so maybe you don’t become a great fiction writer but along the way you learn at least the craft of storytelling a little better.

[00:09:53.7] JG: Yeah, I think a lot better. Because I think what it takes to hold the reader’s attention with a novel is incredibly useful for speaking, podcasting, blogging and certainly for writing. The kind of non-fiction books I read, I mean I have always loved stories. So this is in a departure in that sense, I love stories, I love telling real life stories from my own life and for the longest time, I thought to be a fiction writer, you had to dream up worlds and be like J.R. Tolkien, invent languages and have maps and I don’t think that way. I’m kind of a realist. I love those stories, I love fantasy, I love science fiction but the idea of making something up and people going, “Yeah that could probably happen in an alternate world.” I just don’t feel competent and confident if I could do that.

[00:10:43.3] AT: But who does? Who’s like, “You know I am really excited about NaNoWriMo because I’m looking to create a new language and new world.”

[00:10:51.5] JG: Well I think some people geek out on that, I really do.

[00:10:54.2] AT: I know but how many people are you going to meet where like, “Do you want to do National Novel Writing Month?” And you’re like, “Gosh I don’t know. It sounds pretty intimidating.” “Well, to actually qualify to be a part of NaNoWriMo, you need to actually create a new language.” I mean, we create these pictures of like, “Can I have 38 characters?” There’s all different levels of fiction. There’s so many books that have beautiful, powerful works of fiction that have three or four characters not 412 with names and languages you make up like Tolkien or whatever, right?

[00:11:26.0] JG: Right. Yeah and so the kind of fiction that felt approachable for me is basically realistic true life drama that’s based on real life events and then fictionalizing pieces of it and if you turn this into a novel, the technical term is a roman à clef and there are lots of books that were basically based on true life experiences and then the authors changed them. Changed names, certain parts of the events or whatever to protect the innocent or whatever and then use that story to communicate whatever their message or argument was.

That felt doable to me. Creating a world, not so much. But taking bits and pieces from my life or things that I have heard that other people went through and just piecing that together in a story based on what I understand the story to be at this point, that felt doable and lots of writers have done this. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway was a roman à clef. It was based on this trip that he and his friends took to Spain to go watch the running of the bulls in Pamplona and he just changed people’s names and changed some of the details. But it was so closely based on the truth that a lot of his friends that went on that trip with him stopped being his friend after the book was published.

[00:12:50.5] AT: Whoa, really?

[00:12:51.4] JG: Yeah.

[00:12:52.1] AT: He was too honest about their faults or?

[00:12:55.1] JG: Yeah or he painted them in a bad light that they didn’t feel like they deserved.

[00:12:58.5] AT: Yeah.

[00:12:59.4] JG: Yeah, I mean when everybody is…

[00:13:00.2] AT: Whoa, whoa, whoa, are you going to do that to me?

[00:13:02.8] JG: Maybe.

[00:13:03.6] AT: That’s going to be fascinating. That is going to be awesome. I am looking forward to living a different life through your writing. So Jeff, what’s fear telling you about this experiment, this adventure, this work? For those who are listening, you’re wondering, “Okay, this is interesting for Jeff, but what could go wrong?” So the question is, what could go wrong?

[00:13:29.5] JG: Well, you know, what’s interesting about that is I’ve gotten a couple of responses from people and one was like, “You can’t do this,” you know? Either implied or explicitly stated like, “You just can’t do this,” and I was watching this TV Show recently where these two brothers are both lawyers. One is a very legitimate lawyer. He’s been practicing law, graduated from Harvard or something and has all these credentials and the other brother just went and got his law degree online and is not as black and white in terms of ethics.

The older brother tells the younger brother, “You’re not a real lawyer because you haven’t done what I did the way that I did it and so you’re never going to make partner at this firm, you’re never going to practice real law. You’re not a real lawyer.” Because in his mind, this was the younger brother who was always a screw up and the younger brother was actually starting to succeed and yeah, it probably threatened the older brother, I don’t know?

I watched and I thought, “Well this is interesting,” and how often do we find ourselves in this position in life on both sides where somebody who’s further along says, “You can’t do this because you don’t work as hard on me and it’s going to take just as long for you as it did for me.” Or we find ourselves and I find myself in the position of being the older brother sometimes telling new writers, “Oh, you know, it’s going to take you five years and eight blogs just like it took me so get ready to pay your dues.”

And the truth is sometimes it doesn’t work that way but I’ve gotten that voice where again, either implied or explicitly stated, “Hey this isn’t really your thing. You are the non-fiction guy” or the opposite which is, “You can totally do this,” and I have several friends who are encouraging me and I find that there are two dangerous voices to listen to that will be tempting you. Both of which you need to sort of avoid. These are two different sirens in approaching any new thing and certainly approaching fiction if you’re just a non-fiction writer like me.

I think the two dangerous voices anytime you’re approaching something new are, one, “I could do this. This is going to be easy. If so and so can do this, I’m going to kill it. In fact, I’m going to do it faster and better than all of these others.”

[00:15:56.3] AT: Than it’s ever been done before.

[00:15:59.0] JG: Yeah like, “All of these people are wrong and they don’t know what I know and they’re not gifted. I’m gifted.”

[00:16:06.4] AT: Just to be clear, if you have just started listening to the episode right now, Jeff is not actually saying it and believe in what he’s saying, you know?

[00:16:13.0] JG: Well to be honest, there is that voice in my head that goes, “Yeah but those rules don’t apply to you. That’s for everybody else,” and then on the other side it’s, “I can’t do this new thing because I’ve always done that thing. I can’t write fiction because I have always written non-fiction.” I can’t write non-fiction because I’ve always written fiction and I think both of those are dangerous voices because just because you’ve always done something doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it.

Your past doesn’t define your future. I recently ran a half marathon with a couple of friends, John Acuff and Grant Baldwin, and we were all training together, sharing our best times and then I got hurt about half way through the training and I stopped running because I was either train up to the race and maybe not being able to run the race because I hurt my leg, or stopped training and just hope that you’re in good enough shape to run the race once the race approaches and then run it then.

So I basically took a month and a half off before the race and then started training the last few days before the race and spent most of that training time indulging in Netflix and pizza, which I thought was a solid training regimen. I even joked about it on Twitter.

[00:17:33.7] AT: I remember that.

[00:17:34.2] JG: And was being sort of self-effacing but the truth is, there was a voice in my head that says, “You’re going to be fine. Just because all of these other people actually train, you’re going to be able to stay on pace with them,” and that’s what I believed with Grant and John. We both started out at the same pace and we were going to run the whole race together and we had this goal and mile three, every inch of my body was burning. It was not working because I didn’t train. I didn’t pay my dues.

And so there is a reality that if everybody who’s done this thing that you want to do, if they’re saying, “This is going to be hard and this is what it takes,” it’s worth listening and going, “Okay what don’t I know?” Yes, it’s probably true that dumber people then you have done this but it’s also true that smarter people have struggled through this and if they struggled, how much more are you going to struggle and so listening to those voices I think is important in terms of learning how to practice.

And on the other hand, if somebody is going, “Well you can’t do this because I paid my dues 20 years ago and this just isn’t going to work for you and you just need to go back to doing such and such,” — I have a friend who wrote a novel and shared it with a friend of his who had written lots of great books and knew the industry really well and he said, to my friend, he said, “Yeah, this isn’t your thing. Just stop. This isn’t going to work,” and I mean this really upset my friend.

He went into this six month tail spin going, “Should I not do this? Does this mean I’m wrong?” and finally, he came out of it and said, “Screw him! I’m going to try. I’m going to show him,” and so I think those are the two voices that “because you have always done something else you can’t do this”. Don’t listen to that, and at the same time, “those rules don’t apply to me”, that’s the other voice, neither of those are healthy voices. I think you do need to pay your dues without staying stuck and wherever you are. At the same time, learn from the people who have gone before you.

And so for me, with this project I was so stressed because it had to be great and I had lunch with a friend telling him about this and I said, “Man, I’m so scared” And he goes, “Why?” And I was like, “Well, because I am the non-fiction guy.” He’s like, “Whatever, you can do whatever you want man,” and I realized that some people might be going, “Whoa, this is crazy.” Other people are going, “Yeah, it’s just fiction. It’s not a big deal just tell a story.”

I realized my goal here is not to become the next Hemingway. My goal here is to have fun and to learn and to grow. Those are my goals, it’s to do something enjoy the process, learn a new skill through the experience and because it’s challenging, I know that I am going to grow as a writer through it even if it means I never write another piece of fiction for the rest of my life and so, those are the reasons I am doing it and when I put those in the right terms, it takes a lot of pressure off.

[00:20:43.2] AT: Yeah and I mean this in the nicest way possible, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens and I really don’t know what’s going to happen but I’m confident that you’ll tell us what happens. We’ll talk about it here on the show. I’m sure we’ll read about it at goinswriter.com. That will probably make a great medium post as well, you know? And I look forward to hearing more about it and appreciate your time today.

[00:21:09.8] JG: Yeah man, thanks.

[END OF EPISODE]

Andrew Raynor

Yoast

Andrew Raynor

 

 

It’s high time for a new release of our SEO plugins. Since moving to a two-week release schedule, we’ve fixed more bugs than ever and added some awesome new features. With version 3.9, we are gearing up for the big four-oh. In that last release of this year, we will add something remarkable.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Right now, we’re talking about Yoast SEO 3.9 and the changes and enhancements it brings. So, let’s get right to it, ok?

Yoast SEO 3.9

If you use the free version of Yoast SEO, then the first things you’ll notice are the new banners. These are slightly less annoying, while still informing you of our premium products. Besides that, we’ve moved the reload button for Google Search Console from the header. It is now easier to find and use.

We’ve made it possible for other plugins and themes to add HTML namespaces, via the wpseo_html_namespace filter. By doing so, we’ve also made sure to prevent conflicts with other plugins and themes that also add HTML namespaces.

Yoast SEO 3.9 Premium received the same updates and fixes as the regular one, plus a better title update in the social preview section.

Video SEO 3.9

The Video plugin also received some great updates. We’ve added support for traditional Wistia video URL’s and embed codes. To use this, it is recommended to re-index your video’s. There’s now a fallback for the detail retrieval of private Vimeo video’s, so they will be recognized. The plugin now recognizes //player.vimeo.com/… type URL’s. Force a re-index to use it on existing posts.

Local SEO 3.9

Our Local SEO plugin is undergoing some changes as well. The import function has been overhauled, and there is a new export for Yoast Local SEO locations. You can also find a second address line for business addresses that you can use for room numbers or floors, for instance.

Yoast SEO 4.0

In December, we’ll be releasing version 4.0 of Yoast SEO. This release will come with a genuinely awesome new feature for Premium. We can’t tell you too much about it. However, it is something a lot of you will find extremely valuable. Just a few more weeks…

SEO New Hampshire

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Dark Friday, Monday Internet, and What

Andrew Raynor

Spoiler alert: There’s a Cyber Monday deal in here that will probably go fast. So if you want it, click here to find out more.

We just finished up a retreat with the team where I told everyone our goal for next year:

“I want to help more writers and creatives succeed.”

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and What Really Matters

Not make more money, sell more courses, or even reach more people. I want to take the influence we already have – the students in our courses, the people who come to our events, and the readers of my books – and actually help them.

You see, it’s easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of business and start optimizing for your own success. To sell more books, make more money, reach more people. Fame is a drug, and the more of it you get, the more you need. I know that from personal experience. But like any drug, after a while you start to wonder if this is actually any good for you – and if it’s making you any happier.

So I don’t want to optimize for my success. That’s not what business, and certainly not what art, should be about. The gifts we have to offer the world – whether they’re courses, books, or just our ideas – are not meant to be hoarded. They’re meant to be shared.

My goal is to help more people. Sure, I have a business to run and a family to support, and people tend to take things that they pay for more seriously than things they get for free. But I’m no longer interested in just selling more widgets. I don’t want to optimize for my success; I want to optimize for yours.

So that’s my commitment to you on this day of consumption that ironically follows a day of thanks. I want to help you reach your next breakthrough.

One way I know how to do that is to make hard things simple, and one of the hardest things writers face is setting up their blog and using it to grow an email list. This is the one of the very first steps that all the other steps point back to, but it can be a lot of work and scary if you aren’t very tech savvy.

So… I’ve decided to create an easy button for writers and creatives who want the fastest way to launch a professional blog. For this Cyber Monday, I’m offering 100 – yes, only 100 – doorbuster deals on a bundle that will include everything you need to get started blogging.

Why only 100? Because I am confident we can get 100 started blogging, building an email list, and headed in the right direction. I don’t know that we can do that with 200 or 500 or 1000 people. So we’re cutting it off at 100.

Here’s what you get:

1. Tribe Theme: A WordPress Theme for Writers

Tribe Theme is a shortcut for writers who want to have a sharp website. Basically, it allows you to have a website that looks like mine because I use Tribe Theme too. Tribe Theme is easy to install, it looks great, and it allows you to have a website controlled by simple buttons instead of complicated code.

Retail value: $200

2. Blog Launch Live Workshop

On December 13, 2016, I’ll be hosting a live online masterclass where I’ll show you how to set up a great looking website. I’ll teach you how Tribe Theme works and show you how to make your blog professional and fun to read. Instead of struggling through this stuff on your own, we can do it together with live Q&A! We’ll be recording this in case you miss the live event.

Retail value: $100

3. Intentional Blog Course

In this course, I teach you how to grow an email list using your blog. This may not sound sexy, but it’s absolutely wonderful because it empowers you to have get published and paid for your writing. You don’t need to hope for a publisher to pick you anymore. You just need to show that people crave your writing. Blogging is the secret. I’ll show you how to get your blog humming in 30 days.

Retail value: $300

4. Rapid List Builder Course

In this course, my friend Bryan Harris teaches you everything you need to know to start growing your email list from 0 to 1000 people. He is the smartest guy on list-building that I know and someone I have personally hired to coach me in growing my own email list. This course will get you headed in the right direction.

Retail value: $350

5. ConvertKit

The power of Infusionsoft but the simplicity of MailChimp. ConvertKit is the hottest new tool to automate and monetize your email list. You get 1 month of ConvertKit for FREE.

Retail value: $29

Here’s the deal

The bundle is worth $1,328, but as a Cyber Monday special, 100 people get it for almost 80% off. You can get the entire blog launch bundle for $297 or three payments of $117.

If you’ve been procrastinating on launching your blog because it sounds hard, this is your easy button. Design a great looking blog with me there to help you for over half off the normal price.

We have 100 bundles available. Only 100. Once they’re gone, they’re gone. After that, everything goes back to full price.

Claim your blog launch bundle here.

BONUS: The Art of Speaking

Speaking is a great way to get paid as a writer. Wouldn’t it be cool if someone would pay you $1000 to give a speech? Learn how to create your first speech and find your first paid gig in this online video course by Grant Baldwin.

Retail value: $349

Andrew Raynor

Request Yoast: Copy information on LinkedIn Heartbeat

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Social media is not only an important part of your marketing strategy, but it’s important for your SEO strategy as well. LinkedIn publishing platform Pulse is one of the many content publishing platforms out there. You can read stories and news from other publishers, and you can publish your own content. But could you publish the same blog post on Pulse, as the one you post on your own site? Or should you post an excerpt and link back to your site? Does Google consider content on Pulse as duplicate content? Joost will answer this question in this Ask Yoast.

Guy Andefors from Stockholm in Sweden emailed us the following question:

“Can we safely republish an entire blog post on Pulse or should we post an excerpt and link back to our site?”

Check out the video or read the answer below!

LinkedIn Pulse

Read the transcript of the video here:

To be honest, if you post your own blog post first, make sure that it’s indexed in Google and then post it on Pulse with a link underneath the posting: “This post originally appeared on…” linking back to your blog post. If you do this, you should be okay.

It’s not rel=canonical, but Google is smart enough to understand most of that and work its way through, so you should be okay. It might still rank the LinkedIn one higher, if your own domain is not that strong, because it might think that it actually gets a better interaction on LinkedIn. If that’s the case you should think about maybe using excerpts, but try it a bit, see how it works for you. It really depends on how strong your own domain is and on what you want to achieve. If it works on LinkedIn, maybe leave it on LinkedIn and then make people click from LinkedIn to your site. That’s just as good for you, if it works. 

Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we do our best to answer your SEO question! Need some help with your site’s SEO? Send your question to ask@yoast.com. You might get a personal answer on video!

Read more: ‘DIY: Duplicate content check’ »

SEO New Hampshire

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Nearby company entries with JSON LD and Schema.org

Andrew Raynor

 

 

One of the things you can do to present your local business better in search results is Schema.org data for rich snippets. By adding structured data to your site, you can help search engines understand what your business is about and how it performs. For this reason, you have to add your NAP details, a map to your store/location, reviews, and images. Find out how it all starts with Schema.org.

Modern day customers use search engines not just to find your specific business, but also businesses around their current location. Customers using their phones looking for ‘italian restaurants’, will get a rich search result of local businesses. The results will include distance, reviews, opening hours and maybe a possibility to make a reservation.

Local SEO for WordPress

Before we dive into the world of Schema.org, we’d like to remind you that our Local SEO for WordPress plugin does all of this. If you don’t want to mess with the technical side of things or if you think it’s too difficult, then this is the plugin for you. It’s easy to install, easy to work with and keeps you from having to add code yourself. It is actively developed and will get many more features in the near future.

Improve local rankings

Getting a good ranking for your local business means offering search engines as much data about your business as possible. Besides that, you need a good mobile-friendly website, quality content, links, and reviews.

To improve your rankings, you should focus on being the most relevant result for a specific query. In addition to that, your business has to be the best result. One way of getting this kind of recognition is by asking your customers for reviews. Reviews help search engines figure out which business is legit and which isn’t.

Why Schema.org

The main thing to remember is that Schema.org tells search engines what your data means, not just what it reads. Search engines can find out a lot about your site by crawling it. However, if you add structured data, you can give everything meaning. This way, search engines instantly grasp what the data means and how they should present it. In addition to that, Schema.org is a shared initiative by the big search engines, so using it will lead to consistent results in the respective search engines.

Rich search results for businesses

So, when we mean rich search results, we are talking about the information about a business you can directly see in search results, without clicking a link. There are a couple of different results here: a regular organic search result for a business can feature breadcrumbs, highlighted pages or even a search box. In Google, there’s also the Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side. Here you’ll find lots of metadata about a business, from opening hours to photos. Last but not least, the results you see when you search for a specific term, rather than a business. See the screenshots below for the different results you can get for a specific or generic search.

local listings 1

Searching for a specific business

local-listings-2

Searching for a specific business, including location

local-listings-3

Looking for a local business using a specific term

Why you should use JSON-LD

To get rich results, you need to use structured data in the form of Schema.org. In the past, it was fairly difficult to add Schema.org data to your post, because it had to be embedded in your HTML code. Now, with the advent of JSON-LD, you just have to add a block of JavaScript code anywhere on your page. Plus, the code is readable and easy to change.

With JSON-LD you don’t have code wrapping around your HTML elements anymore, with less possibility of messing things up. In addition to that, Google advises you to use it. Now, let’s see how it’s done.

How to add Schema.org to your local business listing

The most important thing to keep in mind when you are working on your listing is to pick the correct business type. Make sure to pick a specific one, not a broad one. So if you own a barber shop, you can use the Local Business Type Hair Salon. There are over 400 types of businesses, so you’ll probably find one that matches closely. If not, try using the product types ontology. This site uses Wikipedia pages for describing products or services with GoodRelations and Schema.org. Here, you can get more specific information if your listing is too broad.

While it’s possible to write Schema.org JSON-LD code by hand, it’s not recommended. Use a generator like this JSON-LD Schema Generator or Google’s Structured Data Helper. Always validate your Schema.org data in the Structured Data Test Tool. Using Synup’s Schema Scanner, you can check your site to see if the Schema.org data is implemented correctly. Don’t forget to add your site to Search Console, so you can check how Google presents your site.

Required properties for local businesses

There’s one main Schema.org at play here: Schema.org/LocalBusiness. In this Schema.org, you’ll find everything you need to inform search engines about your local business. To get started, you need at least the following properties:

  • @id (globally unique id of the specific business in the form of a URL)
  • name of business
  • image (as of now, you have to supply a logo)
  • address
    • address.streetAddress
    • address.addressLocality
    • address.addressRegion
    • address.postalCode
    • address.addressCountry

Recommended properties

The properties mentioned in the previous paragraph don’t get you very far, though. To make the most of structured data for your site, you need to go further. Be sure to add the following properties as well, if applicable. This is just the beginning, on Schema.org/LocalBusiness you’ll find loads more.

  • url (unlike the @id, should be a working link)
  •  geo
    • geo.latitude
    • geo.longitude
  • telephone
  • potentialAction
    • ReserveAction
    • OrderAction
  • openingHoursSpecification
    • openingHoursSpecification,opens
    • openingHoursSpecification.closes
    • openingHoursSpecification.dayOfWeek
    • openingHoursSpecification.validFrom
    • openingHoursSpecification.validThrough
  • menu
  • acceptsReservations (true/false)
  • priceRange (how many $?)

Example code for local business Schema.org

To clarify how all of this works, we will use a real local business: Unique Vintage in Burbank, CA. This makes it a bit easier to validate the data we enter. In the code below, you’ll find all the NAP details, URL’s, geolocation data, maps, opening hours and reviews you might need.

<script type='application/ld+json'> 
{
   "@context": "http://www.schema.org",
   "@type": "ClothingStore",
   "@id": "http://unique-vintage.example.com",
   "name": "Unique Vintage",
   "url": "http://www.unique-vintage.com",
   "logo": "http://www.unique-vintage.com/example_logo.jpg",
   "image": "http://www.unique-vintage.com/example_image.jpg",
   "description": "Clothing store featuring vintage-inspired women's separates & dresses plus men's shirts & hats.",
   "telephone": " +1 818-848-1540",
   "address": {
    "@type": "PostalAddress",
    "streetAddress": "2011 W Magnolia Blvd",
    "addressLocality": "Burbank",
    "addressRegion": "CA",
    "postalCode": "91506",
    "addressCountry": "USA"
      },
 "geo": {
   "@type": "GeoCoordinates",
    "latitude": "34.1736486",
    "longitude": "-118.332408"
      },
   "hasMap": "https://www.google.nl/maps/place/Unique+Vintage/@34.1736486,-118.332408,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x47a3a037cf1e183b!8m2!3d34.173649!4d-118.3302131",
   "openingHours": "Mo, Tu, We, Th, Fr 11:00-19:00 Sa 10:00-18:00 Su 12:00-17:00",
   "priceRange": "$$",
   "aggregateRating": {
   "@type": "AggregateRating",
     "ratingValue": "4",
     "reviewCount": "250"
  }
}
 </script>

Reviews

Reviews are a major driver for new clientele. Scoring well in Google means your business provides quality, and this can eventually lead to better local rankings. Think about how you pick the next business to visit. Will it be the one with three two star reviews or the one with eighty five star reviews?

In the example above, we’ve added a review section. If you want to use reviews in your Schema.org data, you have to keep in mind that these reviews have to live on your site. You cannot use sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor to generate reviews to show in the search engines. Simply ask your customers to leave a review. Make a review page, collect the reviews and present them to the world.

Social

Another element to add to complete your online profile, are links to your social media accounts. To do this, you must specify an organization or a person. The URL has to lead to your main site, while the sameAs links lead to your social media profiles.

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
 "@context": "http://schema.org",
 "@type": "Organization",
 "name": "Example shop",
 "url": "http://www.exampleshop.com",
 "sameAs": [
 "http://www.facebook.com/exampleshop",
 "http://instagram.com/exampleshop",
 "http://twitter.com/exampleshop"
 ]
}
</script>

Place Action

Google is currently working on an interesting new feature for local businesses, especially for local searches: direct actions from the search results. If you have a restaurant or a hair salon, you can use it to book an appointment or reserve a seat. Shortly, you can use reserveAction or orderAction to trigger this event. Eventually, you’ll see a nice call-to-action in your rich results that let customers contact you directly. Google is working with a small number of businesses to develop this.

Google My Business

There is another way to add your local business to Google. By opening a Google My Business account, you will be able to verify that you are in fact the owner of your business. After that, you can add or edit all relevant information about your business, such as address information, opening hours and photos. In addition to that, you can even manage the reviews people add to Google and see how your local listing performs.

Conversely, this only applies to Google. Every search engine can interpret Schema.org, so it is still advisable to add structured data to your site. Additionally, Schema.org can do so much more than just add relevant local business locations. Therefore, Schema.org should be your main focus.

In spite of all this, you’re still very much in Google’s hands. Some businesses appear in the Knowledge Panel, while others don’t. Some products get rich listings, including prices, reviews and availability, in the search results, while the same product from a different vendor doesn’t. It’s hard to predict what will happen. However, don’t let this stop you.

Structured data for your local business

As we’ve shown, Schema.org can play an important part in the optimization of your site and in your SEO strategy. Structured data can do much more, just look at all those properties on Schema.org. We’ll keep an eye on what structured data can do for your site and keep you in the loop!

And don’t forget, if you want an easier way to add your local business data to your pages, than you should check out our Local SEO for WordPress plugin.

Read more: ‘New plugin: Local SEO for WooCommerce’ »

SEO New Hampshire

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Request Yoast: just how many (inner) links on the site?

Andrew Raynor

 

 

Links are valuable for search engines. Therefore, it’s important to understand how Google and other search engines use links. They use the number of links pointing to a webpage to determine how important that page is. Not only external links could help in the ranking of a page in Google, but the internal links could help as well. In this Ask Yoast, Joost explains how many links per page you should have and which one should be nofollowed.

In this Ask Yoast we answer this anonymous question:

“Internal links: How many links per page should I have? And which one should be nofollowed?”

Check out the video or read the answer below!

Internal links

Read this transcript to learn how you’ll benefit from using internal links.

“Well, how many links per page is always a weird question. As long as your links are useful for your users, it’s okay. There used to be a rule of no more than 100 links on a page in the Google Webmaster Guidelines, they’ve removed that rule though. 100 links might seem like a lot if your site is a content site. But if you look at very long Wikipedia articles, they might have 300-400 URLs in there, linking to other articles and all those links are useful. So, if your links are useful like that, by all means, have them on the page.

Which links should you nofollow? As a general rule, we don’t nofollow anything other than links where a bot can’t really do anything. So, we normally nofollow login links and links to admin areas where Google can’t get into. But other than that, I would not nofollow anything.

Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast we answer SEO questions from followers! Need help with SEO? Let us help you out! Send your question to ask@yoast.com.

Read more: ‘Using cornerstone content to make your site rank’ »

SEO New Hampshire

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