Tag Archive | "Questions"

3 Simple Questions that Help You Craft Better Headlines

Writers are communicators. If you’re proud of your ideas, you want to be able to communicate them clearly and precisely….

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How Answering Questions on Quora Can Drive Massive Traffic to Your Website

Most people think Quora is a simple Question and Answer forum. However, the website is so much more than that. While it’s true that people can ask about anything under the sun, a lot of the answers are enlightening and useful. What’s more, if used correctly, Quora can be a veritable goldmine of website traffic.

Quora: Not Your Average Q&A Site

Quora is not your typical Q&A platform. Aside from asking questions or providing answers, users can also vote which answers are helpful.

Image result for quora upvotes

[Image via SEOClerk]

Quora also boasts an insanely popular and large community. The site receives more than 100 million visitors a month. According to Alexa, it’s the 50th most popular site in the US and ranks in the top 100 globally. But what sets Quora apart is the kind of people who use the site. Most of its users are from India and the United States. While the age range is varied, the most active Quora users are in the 18-34 demographic and have a post-graduate education. 

Why Use Quora

Quora is a great platform for marketers and business owners like you. For one, you can use the site to build your personal brand. However, there are other reasons why you should take advantage of this platform.

It’s a Surprising Source of Long-Term Website Traffic

One of the benefits of using Quora is how you can drive traffic to your website through the answers you post. More importantly, posts that were written months or years ago can still generate traffic. After all, people are always looking for information. Plus, if they like your answer and “upvotes” it, your post will appear in that user’s feed for all their friends and followers to see, resulting in more traffic to your site and sign-ups to your email list.

You Can Show Your Expertise

The more relevant and well-received your posts are on Quora, the more people will see you as an authority on the subject. The site ranks writers based on the number of views their answers receive. You can also be awarded topic badges that members can see. Appearing on the best writers list and earning badges will have people respecting your expertise. Once you’re considered an authority on the topic, more people would be interested in what you have to say, whether it’s on the site or on your blog.

Big Publications Might Notice You

A lot of major publications are turning to Quora for content and are publishing choice answers on their websites. Some of the platform’s top writers have already been quoted or featured in sites like Business Insider, Forbes, and The Huffington Post.

Image result for quora on business insider

[Image via YoutTube]

Tips on Using Quora Effectively

Write a good profile.

You want your profile description to establish credibility and trust since this is the first thing users will see. Make sure they’ll like what they read. Be sincere, friendly and polite. Proofread your profile before posting it. It’s hard to trust someone’s professionalism if they make mistakes with their spelling and grammar.

Look for relevant questions and answer them.

Select questions that are relevant to your niche and will provide you with the right exposure. Once you have picked a question to answer, check how popular or high it is on the feed and how many followers it has. More followers mean a larger audience will read your post.

Image result for answers on quora

[Image via Neil Patel]

Give useful answers.

Think of your posts as content, so make sure they are useful, relevant, and unique. Don’t get too technical, unless the subject calls for it. Make sure you attribute your quotes correct and try to include images.

Don’t go overboard with blog promotion.

Quora likes writers who provide value. This means that useful posts are the right way to go. You can include a link to your blog post if you want but it has to feel natural. Answering a question with just a link to your blog is a sure-fire way of getting yourself banned from the site.

Engage the Quora community.

Your content becomes more visible the more you ask questions or post an answer. A consistent presence on Quora will make members curious about you, maybe enough that they would check out your blog or site.

Quora is a great place to hang out, learn new things, and even meet new people. More importantly, the platform can be another source of traffic to your site. However, simple answers won’t cut it here. You have to put effort into your replies, build your reputation and engage other users. But the results will definitely be worth it.

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Want Better Results? Ask Better Questions. Here’s How

First things first: Our workshop on effective selling with Tim Paige is back on the schedule! We had to adjust the calendar, but we’ve got Tim set to teach us his low-pressure but effective techniques for sales. We’ll host the workshop (it’s free) on Tuesday, June 26 at 12:00 Noon Eastern U.S. Time. I’ve had
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Google asking dissatisfied searchers to submit questions manually in the search results

If Google doesn’t have content for your query, it may ask you to help content creators to make content that will eventually answer your query.

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How to Diagnose SEO Traffic Drops: 11 Questions to Answer

Posted by Daniel_Marks

Almost every consultant or in-house SEO will be asked at some point to investigate an organic traffic drop. I’ve investigated quite a few, so I thought I’d share some steps I’ve found helpful when doing so.

Is it just normal noise?

Before you sound the alarm and get lost down a rabbit hole, you should make sure that the drop you’re seeing is actually real. This involves answering two questions:

A.) Do you trust the data?

This might seem trivial, but at least a quarter of the traffic drops I’ve seen were simply due to data problems.

The best way to check on this is to sense-check other metrics that might be impacted by data problems. Does anything else look funky? If you have a data engineering team, are they aware of any data issues? Are you flat-out missing data for certain days or page types or devices, etc.? Thankfully, data problems will usually make themselves pretty obvious once you start turning over a few rocks.

One of the more common sources of data issues is simply missing data for a day.

B.) Is this just normal variance?

Metrics go up and down all the time for no discernible reason. One way to quantify this is to use your historical standard deviation for SEO traffic.

For example, you could plot your weekly SEO traffic for the past 12 months and calculate the standard deviation (using the STDEV function on Google Sheets or Excel makes this very easy) to figure out if a drop in weekly traffic is abnormal. You’d expect about 16% of weeks to be one standard deviation below your weekly average just by sheer luck. You could therefore set a one-standard-deviation threshold before investigating traffic drops, for example (but you should adjust this threshold to whatever is appropriate for your business). You can also look at the standard deviation for your year-over-year or week-over-week SEO traffic if that’s where you’re seeing the drop (i.e. plot your % change in YoY SEO traffic by week for the past 12 months and calculate the standard deviation).

SEO traffic is usually pretty noisy, especially on a short time frame like a week.

Let’s assume you’ve decided this is indeed a real traffic drop. Now what? I’d recommend trying to answer the eleven questions below, at least one of them will usually identify the culprit.

Questions to ask yourself when facing an organic traffic drop

1. Was there a recent Google algorithm update?

MozCast, Search Engine Land, and Moz’s algorithm history are all good resources here.

Expedia seems to have been penalized by a Penguin-related update.

If there was an algorithm update, do you have any reason to suspect you’d be impacted? It can sometimes be difficult to understand the exact nature of a Google update, but it’s worth tracking down any information you can to make sure your site isn’t at risk of being hit.

2. Is the drop specific to any segment?

One of the more useful practices whenever you’re looking at aggregated data (such as a site’s overall search traffic) is to segment the data until you find something interesting. In this case, we’d be looking for a segment that has dropped in traffic much more than any other. This is often the first step in tracking down the root cause of the issue. The two segments I’ve found most useful in diagnosing SEO traffic drops specifically:

  • Device type (mobile vs. desktop vs. tablet)
  • Page type (product pages vs. category pages vs. blog posts vs. homepage etc.)

But there will likely be plenty of other segments that might make sense to look at for your business (for example, product category).

3. Are you being penalized?

This is unlikely, but it’s also usually pretty quick to disprove. Look at Search Console for any messages related to penalties and search for your brand name on Google. If you’re not showing up, then you might be penalized.

Rap Genius (now Genius) was penalized for their link building tactics and didn’t show up for their own brand name on Google.

4. Did the drop coincide with a major site change?

This can take a thousand different forms (did you migrate a bunch of URLs, move to a different JavaScript framework, update all your title tags, remove your navigation menu, etc?). If this is the case, and you have a reasonable hypothesis for how this could impact SEO traffic, you might have found your culprit.

Hulu.com saw a pretty big drop in SEO traffic after changing their JavaScript framework.

5. Did you lose ranking share to a competitor?

There are a bunch of tools that can tell you if you’ve lost rankings to a competitor:

If you’ve lost rankings, it’s worth investigating the specific keywords that you’ve lost and figuring out if there’s a trend. Did your competitors launch a new page type? Did they add content to their pages? Do they have more internal links pointing to these pages than you do?

GetStat’s Share of Voice report lets you quickly see whether a competitor is usurping your rankings

It could also just be a new competitor that’s entered the scene.

6. Did it coincide with a rise in direct or dark traffic?

If so, make sure you haven’t changed how you’re classifying this traffic on your end. Otherwise, you might simply be re-classifying organic traffic as direct or dark traffic.

7. Has there been a change to the search engine results pages you care about?

You can either use Moz’s SERP features report, or manually look at the SERPs you care about to figure out if their design has materially changed. It’s possible that Google is now answering many of your relevant queries directly in search results, put an image carousel on them, added a local pack, etc. — all of which would likely decrease your organic search traffic.

Celebritynetworth.com lost most of its SEO traffic because of rich snippets like the one above.

8. Is the drop specific to branded or unbranded traffic?

If you have historical Search Console data, you can look at number of branded clicks vs. unbranded clicks over time. You could also look at this data through AdWords if you spend on paid search. Another simple proxy to branded traffic is homepage traffic (for most sites, the majority of homepage traffic will be branded). If the drop is specific to branded search then it’s probably a brand problem, not an SEO problem.

9. Did a bunch of pages drop out of the index?

Search Console’s Index Status Report will make it clear if you suddenly have way fewer URLs being indexed. If this is the case, you might be accidentally disallowing or noindexing URLs (through robots.txt, meta tags on the page, or HTTP headers).

Search Console’s Index Status Report is a quick way to make sure you’re not accidentally noindexing or disallowing large portions of your site.

10. Did your number of referring domains and/or links drop?

It’s possible that a large number of your backlinks have been removed or are no longer accessible for whatever reason.

Ahrefs can be a quick way to determine if you’ve lost backlinks and also offers very handy reports for your lost backlinks or referring domains that will allow you to identify why you might have lost these links.

A sudden drop in backlinks could be the reason you’re seeing a traffic drop.

11. Is SEM cannibalizing SEO traffic?

It’s possible that your paid search team has recently ramped up their spend and that this is eating into your SEO traffic. You should be able to check on this pretty quickly by plotting your SEM vs. SEO traffic. If it’s not obvious after doing this whether it’s a factor, then it can be worth pausing your SEM campaigns for specific landing pages and seeing if SEO traffic rebounds for those pages.

To be clear, some level of cannibalization between SEM and SEO is inevitable, but it’s still worth understanding how much of your traffic is being cannibalized and whether the incremental clicks your SEM campaigns are driving outweigh the loss in SEO traffic (in my experience they usually do outweigh the loss in SEO traffic, but still worth checking!).

If your SEM vs. SEO traffic graph looks similar to the (slightly extreme) one above, then SEM campaigns might be cannibalizing your SEO traffic.


That’s all I’ve got — hopefully at least one of these questions will lead you to the root cause of an organic search traffic drop. Are there any other questions that you’ve found particularly helpful for diagnosing traffic drops? Let me know in the comments.

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Five questions to ask to understand customer motivation

Understanding customer motivation can provide a solid base for your marketing that allows you to be one step ahead throughout the entire buyer’s journey. By asking yourself these five questions, you can get to the bottom of what is driving your customers to purchase — and why they might be falling off.
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Creating Google doodles that ‘Surprise & Delight’: 5 Questions with Doodler Sophie Diao

Offering a behind the scenes glance at the doodle team in action, Diao shares what she appreciates most about her work.

The post Creating Google doodles that ‘Surprise & Delight’: 5 Questions with Doodler Sophie Diao appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Ask Yourself These 3 Simple Questions to Craft Better Headlines

answer these questions to write better headlines

Last week, when I wrote about how to become a writer, I forgot to mention something about why you’d want to be a writer.

Writers are communicators. If you’re proud of your ideas, you want to be able to communicate them clearly and precisely.

Headlines are your first opportunity to present your message to the audience you want to reach. The language you use should appeal to those people and make them want to find out more.

To review the next headline you write from the perspective of an editor who is focused on audience engagement, here are three simple questions you can ask yourself.

A guide to finding the right words

Once you’ve written a draft of your headline and article (or you’ve recorded a podcast episode or video), use the questions below to ensure your headline is the most effective it can be:

  1. Who will benefit from this content?
  2. How do I help them?
  3. What makes this content special?

The answers to these questions most likely won’t produce the exact headline you’ll use. Rather, they’ll help mold your headline draft into a persuasive message that reaches and connects with the people you want to attract to your content.

To keep the process of infusing your headline with meaning and fascination simple, I recommend answering each question in one to two sentences.

If you need to write more, recognize your opportunity to fine-tune your goal for the content before revisiting these headline questions.

Let’s look at the important information each question will help you cultivate and how the answers will transform your headline.

1. Who will benefit from this content?

As Brian wrote yesterday:

“The point is to bond strongly with someone rather than boring everyone.”

When you define your audience, you can review your headline to make sure you use language that intrigues those individuals.

For example, your target audience may be marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate.

If your headline only says, “10 Tips to Beat Procrastination,” you can look for ways to add words that will attract marine biologists. And you don’t have to explicitly announce, “Hey marine biologists who have a tendency to procrastinate, this content is for you!”

You could try:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

(A black marlin is one of the fastest fish.)

2. How do I help them?

People don’t necessarily wake up in the morning excited to read content.

The promises that certain pieces of content make to expand people’s understanding or knowledge of a topic persuade them to read content throughout the day. The content may even change their lives.

Your tips might help marine biologists accomplish tasks faster, and if they can accomplish tasks faster, they’re less likely to put them off.

Here, you can add another benefit to the headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Beat Procrastination Faster than a Black Marlin

3. What makes this content special?

You may now realize that while a lot of other articles focus on “beating procrastination,” your content is special because it shows how to simplify and organize your daily marine biology to-do list so that each task is manageable.

Now you’ll want to revise a few words from your original headline:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

Custom-tailored headlines for your content

We started this exercise with the headline:

10 Tips to Beat Procrastination

The final result is:

10 Time-saving Tips to Zip Through Your Work Day Faster than a Black Marlin

If you’re a marine biologist with a tendency to procrastinate, which headline would you click on?

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6 Questions to Ask for Powerful Testimonials

what to ask to get powerful testimonials

Most of us ask for testimonials. And if we follow up and pester our customers enough, we receive testimonials.

There’s only one problem. These testimonials have no power.

Testimonials are stories. And stories potentially have power and grace, flow and rhythm. Look around you and you’ll see none of that in most testimonials.

Limp testimonials are a fact of life because clients don’t always know how to give testimonials and we often don’t have a clue about how to ask for testimonials.

We’re going to fix that today by examining six key questions you can use when asking for testimonials.

Ask these 6 questions to get a powerful testimonial

  1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product?
  2. What did you find as a result of buying this product?
  3. What specific feature did you like most about this product?
  4. What are three other benefits of this product?
  5. Would you recommend this product? If so, why?
  6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

Some folks may use slightly different terms for Question 1, like “What was your main concern about buying this product?”

You can tailor this question for your specific product or service, but don’t stray too much away from asking about objections and obstacles; it’s critical to learn about objections and the reasons why this customer (and others) may have been hesitating to buy.

Why these 6 smart questions work

Let’s discuss each of these six questions.

1. What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product?

We ask this question because no matter how ready the customer is to buy, there’s always a hitch. The hitch could be money, time, availability, or relevance — or a whole bunch of issues.

When you ask this question, it brings out those issues. And it does something more. When the client reaches into his memory to see what could have been the deal-breaker, it gives you insight into issues you may not have considered.

There’s always an obstacle, and it’s often something you may not have thought of. So when the customer brings up this obstacle, it presents an angle that’s unique, personal, and dramatic.

2. What did you find as a result of buying this product?

This question is important because it defuses that obstacle. When a client answers this question, he talks about why the purchase was worth it, despite the obvious obstacles.

3. What specific feature did you like most about this product?

Now you’re digging deeper.

If you ask the customer to focus on the entire product, his response may be vague. That’s why you want to focus on a single feature or benefit that the customer liked most. This method brings out that one feature in explicit richness and detail.

4. What are three other benefits of this product?

Since you already got information about one important feature, you can now go a little wider and see what else the customer found useful.

You can substitute the number “three” with “two” or even remove the number completely. But the number does make it easier for your customer to address the question. It lets her focus on a limited number of factors and give you the ones that were most useful to her.

5. Would you recommend this product? If so, why?

You may not think this is an important question, but psychologically it’s very important. When a customer recommends something, there’s more than your product at stake. The customer’s integrity is at stake too.

Unless the customer feels strongly about the product, she won’t be keen to recommend it. And when she does recommend it, she communicates to prospective buyers: “Hey, I recommend it, and here are the reasons why!”

6. Is there anything you’d like to add?

At this point, the customer has often said everything she has to say. But there’s never any harm in asking this question.

The questions before this one tend to “warm up” the customer, and sometimes you get the most amazing parting statements that you never could have imagined.

Use testimonials to discover and address objections

This detailed method of constructing testimonials brings us to a very interesting observation: the testimonial is the answer to the objection.

Look at the first question we asked the customer:

What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product?

That “obstacle” the customer talks about is really their biggest objection.

So, what does this tell us about how we should plan our testimonials?

We should plan our testimonials to directly defuse each objection

Let’s say you’re selling a trip to see the wildlife on the Galápagos Islands.

Obviously, the trip is appealing to travelers seeking a wildlife adventure, but even thrill-seekers have their objections.

If you did your homework and interviewed a potential customer, you’d hear objections such as:

  • It’s too expensive.
  • It’s too far to travel.
  • There are no comfortable accommodations.

Now, let’s assume these are the three main objections

What are the testimonials going to say?

  • I thought it was too expensive, but (here’s what I found).
  • I thought it was too far to travel, but (here’s what I found).
  • I thought we’d have to rough it, but (here’s what I found).

Each testimonial is a mirror image of each objection

Even if you have already addressed objections earlier in your sales copy, prospects get a third-party perspective when current customers also defuse objections in testimonials.

A third party is always far more believable to your prospective customers. And because each testimonial is specifically linked to an objection, it systematically reduces the risk.

How do you control the angle of the testimonial?

You may want the customer to talk about expense, distance, or comfort. But the customer may want to talk about her fear of seasickness or dangerous animals. So, how do you control the angle?

You don’t.

You’re in the business of helping construct the testimonial. You ask questions that give the testimonial structure; you don’t need to control the process.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t influence responses. Here’s how you attempt to get the angle you desire.

Start with the key objections you need to address

Reach out to the customer. Ask him if expense, distance, or comfort was one of his big objections.

If he says yes, follow up to find out the specifics of why expense, distance, or comfort was an issue.

But if he disagrees, and mentions a completely different issue, keep following that customer’s train of thought.

For example, he might say, “I thought bad weather would spoil the trip.”

That feedback reveals an objection you hadn’t considered, and it may be a valid objection that hasn’t come to your attention yet.

However, you may decide that the stray objection isn’t worth pursuing and you can’t use the objection and corresponding testimonial. No problem. If you decide you can’t use the testimonial, you can always reach out to other clients to get the angle you’re looking for.

With this process, you’re going to get the exact objections and exact testimonials that help defuse key objections. Which means that the testimonial is going to do some real grunt work to overcome objections.

Get detail-rich, complex, believable testimonials

Testimonials are so powerful because they’re delivered from a third-party perspective rather than the point of view of the seller.

When a customer produces a testimonial that is rich in detail and emotion, the testimonial becomes complex but also believable. And that’s the main job of the testimonial.

In the comments below, share your tips for collecting persuasive testimonials.

Editor’s note: This is the second part of The Secret Life of Testimonials. The original version of this post was published on April 8, 2010.

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Which Link Building Techniques For SEO Work Today And Questions To Answer During Your Funding Pitch

Two episodes ago we had a reader question from John Paul who asked about link building techniques. [ Download MP3 | iTunes | Soundcloud | Raw RSS ] We spent the first half of this podcast episode, Everything Entrepreneurship #15, talking about where link building is at today, a topic I am very interested in because I spent…

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