Editors Note: Search, social and content marketing are practically the holy trinity of online marketing today, and on Thursday, May 30, Arnie Kuenn from Vertical Measures offered a comprehensive plan to excel at all three in the webinar “How to Win at Search, Social and Content Marketing.”—which you can still watch on demand if you click here—including answering a volley of questions during the live Q&A. However, we couldn’t get to all the 40-plus questions our audience asked. Of those, here are some of the most important to successful content marketing with Kuenn’s answers for how to do them right.
1. What is a micro format?
Microformats, microdata and RDFa are similar types of structured markup: additional tags added to HTML code that provide search engines with more information about the content they contain. For example, an e-commerce site owner could add the markup to a product page, identifying the product’s name, price, brand, description, product rating and other standardized fields. Doing so helps ensure that search engines recognize specific kinds of content and potentially present them as rich snippets in search engine results.
Rich snippets are custom search results for certain types of content, including products, businesses, people, events, recipes, reviews and more. They are more informative and eye-catching, which can be an advantage on the results page. For example, see the image in the media player at right, the recipe result shows a thumbnail photo, user rating and preparation time.
About two years ago, the major search engines chose schema.org (based on microdata) as their preferred structured markup format. To simplify the markup process for non-coders, Google also implemented the Data Highlighter tool.
2. How important are properly named and captioned images to content?
When you write a great post, adding images are the icing on the cake. It has been said that posts with accompanying images receive 94 percent more views than posts without images. Eye-catching, relevant images help break up the content, keep visitors reading along, encourage the sharing of your post, and can garner links to your content.
Once you’ve found your images, from a legit source, and they are approved for your use, they need to be handled appropriately so they help with SEO and user experience. Here are some tips:
- Descriptive File Name: Remember, images found on Google Images can generate a lot of traffic to your site. Choose a descriptive file name for your images. Photos usually have a generated letter and number file name, but be sure to change it to include keywords. For example: “cake-with-icing.jpg” is much better than “7cb3e9.jpg.” You can actually check your analytics for search terms that your visitors are using; this will help with your naming convention and ensure your photos will be found.
- Don’t Forget Alt Text: Search engines can’t “read” images, so you need to tell them what your image is about. This is where alt text comes in. Again, you should be very descriptive. For the example above, here is how the alt text might look: .
- File Size: Page load time is very important. Search engines, and users, do not like slow loading pages. Reduce the file size of your images so they don’t bog down your page. You want to use as small a size as possible without losing quality. You can always provide a pop-up if users need to see a bigger image.
- Captions Are a Must: When visitors land on a page they usually scan it quickly. Obviously, they spot the images first and will see the caption for the images right away. Captions don’t really affect rankings, but bounce rate and time on page do. Great captions can help keep visitors from bouncing quickly and stay on the page longer. Without a caption, visitors will come to their own conclusions about a photo. Captions help them to understand the point you’re making, and also make great places for a call to action.
3. How do you feel about soliciting guest blog posts from experts in your target audience’s industries to help support content marketing efforts?
This is absolutely a great idea. People like to listen to new perspectives and having people who can inform them at your site reduces the need to go elsewhere. On the flip side, writers like new audiences and different questions and angles that may result from it.