587: Build Your Portfolio Career

587: Build Your Portfolio Career
Kabir Sehgal, a corporate strategist, Grammy-winning producer, investment banker, bestselling author, and military reserve officer, talks about building and thriving in a portfolio career. He discusses the benefits of pursuing diverse interests, the tradeoffs and productivity discipline demanded by that career choice, and he offers tips for managing a schedule with multiple work activities. And he argues we should stop calling these second careers “side hustles.” Sehgal is the author of the HBR article, “Why…
Kabir Sehgal, a corporate strategist, Grammy-winning producer, investment banker, bestselling author, and military reserve officer, talks about building and thriving in a portfolio career. He discusses the benefits of pursuing diverse interests, the tradeoffs and productivity discipline demanded by that career choice, and he offers tips for managing a schedule with multiple work activities. And he argues we should stop calling these second careers “side hustles.” Sehgal is the author of the HBR article, “Why You Should Have (at Least) Two Careers.”
Source: Ideacast

587: Build Your Portfolio Career

How to Use Social Listening to Create Viral Content

How to Use Social Listening to Create Viral Content
Viral content is inherently unpredictable. You could have two similar pieces of content—with one receiving thousands upon thousands of shares and the other languishing in obscurity. In that regard, there’s no magic formula that will enable you to create viral content on command. It’s not like you can just flip a switch and get mass exposure. It doesn’t work like that. But there are several things you can do to increase the chances of your…

Viral content is inherently unpredictable.

You could have two similar pieces of content—with one receiving thousands upon thousands of shares and the other languishing in obscurity.

In that regard, there’s no magic formula that will enable you to create viral content on command.

It’s not like you can just flip a switch and get mass exposure.

It doesn’t work like that.

But there are several things you can do to increase the chances of your content going viral.

That’s what I want to talk about in this post.

More specifically, I’m going to explain how you can use social listening to your advantage.

Social listening, defined as “the process of monitoring digital conversations to understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online,” is most commonly used for evaluating customer feedback and identifying their pain points.

But I’ve also found it to be absolutely perfect for predicting what my audience is craving and what’s most likely to go viral.

The way I see it, social listening is perhaps the best way to predict virality.

Here is how you can utilize it to your advantage.

Effectively analyzing content

There’s a popular expression:

the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.

Although this can be debatable, depending on the context in which it’s used, you’ll want to follow this line of thinking in this instance.

Like I said earlier, you can never say with 100% certainty that a particular piece of content will go viral.

But what you can do is see what’s resonating the most with your audience at the moment.

If you notice that a particular topic, angle, theme, etc. is completely killing it, there’s a good chance you’ll see favorable results if you cover it as well.

But how do you know what’s popular and what’s resonating with your audience?

That’s where social listening comes in.

The key to effective social listening is knowing which tools to use.

I’m going to cover a few of my favorites you can use to discover trends and identify topics that have the potential to go viral.

Google Trends

Let’s start from the top.

I use Google Trends quite frequently for market research and for gauging people’s interest in various topics.

But I find it can also be helpful for identifying the hottest topics at any given moment.

For starters, you can simply go to the Google Trends homepage.

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Start scrolling down to see the top trending stories:

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Sometimes, this can give you some potential ideas to work with.

Of course, the trending stories aren’t narrowed down by niche or topic, so you’re dealing with a wide variety of subject matter.

But sometimes that’s all it takes.

If you see something that interests you, click on it:

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You’ll then get some of the most relevant articles, which should provide further clarification on what’s popular at the moment:

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In this case, a lot of people are talking about Snapchat’s new “Snap Map” feature.

Therefore, this could be something I would want to investigate further and a potential topic I could cover.

Using Top Charts

Another useful feature is called “Top Charts.”

From the Google Trends homepage, click here:

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Then click on “Top Charts:”

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Here’s what you’ll see:

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Scroll down to look at all the different categories.

Or you can search for a relevant category by clicking on “All Categories” and choosing the one you’re looking for:

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Once you’ve found your category, you can click on “More” for more detailed information:

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The logic here is that you can use up-to-date data from Google to see what people are most interested in at the moment in your industry/niche.

Google Trends is by no means a be-all and end-all social listening tool, but it can serve as a nice starting point.

Inbound.org

This is only applicable to digital marketers like myself.

But if this is your area of focus, it can be a potential gold mine.

Here’s what you want to do.

Once you’re at the Inbound.org homepage, scroll all the way down to the bottom.

You’ll see this:

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Click on whatever sub-category you’re interested in.

I’ll go with SEO:

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Here’s what I get:

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Scroll through the list, looking for ideas.

Inbound.org does most of the heavy lifting for you by curating the top stories.

Many have received a high volume of shares, so you know the interest it there.

Also note once you sign up, you can create your own feed to streamline the process even more.

This way the stories come right to you.

BuzzSumo

Now, let’s bring out the big guns.

BuzzSumo is a beast when it comes to finding out how much engagement content receives.

And since engagement (shares in particular) is the ultimate indicator of virality, this is one of the best ways to capitalize on trends and increase your odds of creating viral content.

Here’s what you want to do.

Type in a keyword you’re looking to base your content on in the search box of your dashboard.

I’ll use “SEO” as an example:

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Now, set your filter date to a time that sounds right to you.

Because we want to capitalize on current trends, I recommend going back no further than six months.

However, the past month or week is ideal.

You can even set it to the last 24 hours, but you’ll usually have limited data.

I’ll set mine to the past week:

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Once you do that, BuzzSumo will populate your screen with the top content according to total shares.

Here are the top results I got:

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Now all I have to do is browse through the content and look for two things:

  1. content that’s relevant to my industry/niche
  2. content that’s received a significant number of total shares and/or links.

This post from Search Engine Land about testing accelerated mobile pages (AMP) for WordPress caught my attention:

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Not only did it get 1.5k shares in the past week, it also got 41 backlinks.

This lets me know that my audience is obviously interested in this topic.

And if I created an article that was bigger, better and more epic, it would have a reasonable likelihood of going viral.

This is the formula you want to use with BuzzSumo.

It doesn’t matter what topic you’re covering.

Following these steps will let you know what people are responding to and give you very specific data to base your decisions on.

Let me say that the Pro version is ideal because it gives you a lot more data.

That’s what I used for this example.

However, you can do a limited search with the free version, which can still be useful.

Other tools

So far I’ve provided you with three different resources for social listening.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are several other tools you can experiment with, many of which are free.

Check out this list of the top 15 free social media monitoring tools from Brandwatch for info on other tools.

Taking what you’ve learned and running with it

At this point, you should have a pretty good idea of which topics are popular at the moment and what your audience is responding to.

That means you’re not basing your content on a hunch. You’re basing it on tangible data.

Your job now is to create the best content possible around that topic.

Now, I’m not saying you should blatantly rip someone off.

What you want to do is put your own spin on things.

Look for a way to expand on it.

And, of course, it needs to be awesome.

It needs to be epic.

Just think skyscraper technique.

Hitting the mark in terms of quality and value is absolutely essential if you expect for your content to go viral.

I’ve already covered this extensively in the past, so there’s no need to talk about it here.

But let me point you to a couple of articles I’ve written that should be helpful.

There’s this one from NeilPatel.com.

It’s a guide for writing epic content that will go viral.

And there’s this one from Quick Sprout, which is about the anatomy of virality.

Conclusion

Social listening is useful for many different aspects of marketing.

Using it to gauge your audience’s collective reaction to various topics will give you a good idea of what type of subject matter is most likely to go viral.

This gives you valuable knowledge to guide your content creation.

In turn, you can “scratch your audience’s itch” and give them what they’re looking for.

And just think of the competitive advantage this gives you over other brands that simply slap up content at random without giving it any real thought.

While there are never any guarantees that something will go viral, following this formula increases the chances significantly.

What do you think is the main contributing factor for content going viral?


Source: quicksprout

How to Use Social Listening to Create Viral Content

How will same-day and on-demand delivery evolve in urban markets?

How will same-day and on-demand delivery evolve in urban markets?
Delivery start-ups have struck a chord with consumers. But brick-and-mortar retailers and parcel services could still compete by playing to their strengths.
Delivery start-ups have struck a chord with consumers. But brick-and-mortar retailers and parcel services could still compete by playing to their strengths.
Source: McKinsey

How will same-day and on-demand delivery evolve in urban markets?

How to Use Surveys to Hook More Customers

How to Use Surveys to Hook More Customers
What’s the number one goal of content marketing? Besides the obvious answer of generating leads and making conversions, it’s maximizing engagement. Content marketing thrives on engagement! You want your audience to take an active interest in your content and interact with your brand. This typically comes in the form of likes, shares, comments, etc. But there’s a new format that’s really picking up steam, and that’s surveys. They’re especially big on Facebook right now. Here’s…

What’s the number one goal of content marketing?

Besides the obvious answer of generating leads and making conversions, it’s maximizing engagement.

Content marketing thrives on engagement!

You want your audience to take an active interest in your content and interact with your brand.

This typically comes in the form of likes, shares, comments, etc.

But there’s a new format that’s really picking up steam, and that’s surveys.

They’re especially big on Facebook right now.

Here’s an example of one Jeff Bullas used to figure out what his audience’s goals were when using LinkedIn:

Facebook Market Research and Surveys for B2B

When done correctly, surveys are excellent engagement boosters because:

  • they’re inherently interactive
  • most people have a natural desire to compare themselves to their colleagues and peers
  • most people enjoy offering input and providing their opinions on the topics that matter to them

Surveys ultimately enable you to raise the collective interest in your brand and attract a larger portion of your target demographic.

By building this interest, you can get people to pay more attention to your brand and hook more customers.

But there’s an added perk: market research.

Surveys are absolutely perfect for gaining intel on your audience’s interests, preferences, likes, dislikes, etc.

And that’s incredibly important!

You can use this information to improve your marketing, fine-tune your offerings and so on.

What I’m trying to say is that surveys accomplish several important things all at once.

Not only are you increasing engagement and building interest in your brand, you’re reeling in leads and doing market research at the same time.

It’s a win-win-win situation!

Effective strategizing

But here’s the thing.

There’s a lot more to it than just slapping up a survey and waiting for the sales to start pouring in.

Like any aspect of marketing, it requires the right strategy and an understanding of how to make your surveys appealing to your audience.

Otherwise, no one is actually going to respond.

In this post, I’m going to explain how to use surveys the right way, how to increase your response rate and how to turn respondents into customers.

I’ll also highlight some platforms you can use to get started.

Don’t be a nuisance

Let me start by saying you need to use tact when asking people to participate in surveys.

Each time someone goes online, they’re bombarded with deals, ads, offers, promotions, friend requests, etc.

To cope with this onslaught, people have to pick and choose what to participate in, which often makes them reluctant to take part in surveys.

After all, it takes time and effort.

Even if there are only a few questions, people have to take time out of their days to fill out a survey.

So it’s super important that you’re not being a nuisance when asking people to participate.

You need to go about it the right way.

Here’s how.

Approach the right demographic

Ideally, you’ll target individuals who are already familiar with your brand and have proven they have an interest.

It’s much easier to get someone to participate if there’s some level of built-in loyalty already there.

Research from SurveyGizmo found there was a huge disparity between external (people who are unfamiliar with your brand) and internal (people who are familiar with your brand) surveys.

Just look at the difference in response rates:

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It’s more than double.

When you’re just getting started, I recommend targeting Facebook followers, email subscribers and so on.

Go after those with whom you already have a level of rapport and who developed loyalty to your brand.

Here’s a good example of IKEA hitting up its Facebook followers with a survey:

Ikea Questions

As you can see, it got a nice number of votes at 286.

Believe me, it’s much easier to get these people to take action than those who have never heard of you.

If someone already has a vested interest in your brand, they should have no problem supplying you with their feedback.

Keep it brief

Most people are willing to answer a few questions.

But not many are willing to answer a dozen or more questions.

The longer the survey, the lower the response rate will be.

For instance, most people wouldn’t want to bother with a survey like this:

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Or this:

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It’s just too big of a time commitment and requires too much mental energy.

And quite frankly, it’s a little intimidating.

But responding to a survey like this is no big deal:

facebook survey

A quick click, and you’re done.

Keep this in mind when deciding on the number of questions to ask.

Incentivize it (sometimes)

In most cases, most people have a “what’s in it for me?” type of mindset.

Maybe they’re unwilling to participate in a survey as is.

But you can always sweeten the deal by incentivizing things.

Here’s an example from Artifact Uprising:

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Here’s another from Babies R’ Us/Toys R’ Us:

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Earning $10 or being given a chance to win a $250 gift card is a pretty strong incentive.

This would definitely pique the interest of many people.

But you know what?

Your incentives don’t necessarily need to be over the top.

In fact, deals like these aren’t in the budget for everyone.

But I’ve seen many brands do quite well and increase their survey response rates significantly by including a promotional code for 15% off shipping on the next order.

And think about it.

An offer like this also encourages people to buy.

Here’s what I recommend.

Do some A/B testing offering a survey without an incentive and then one with an incentive.

See how big of a disparity there is, and use this data to decide whether or not to use incentives for future surveys.

Timing is everything

There’s also the issue of timing.

It’s imperative you offer surveys at the right time, when people are most likely to respond.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say someone just subscribed to your newsletter.

You wouldn’t want your first email to be asking them for their input.

It just wouldn’t make sense and would be annoying.

A better approach would be to occasionally target subscribers who consistently open your emails after they’ve had a chance to get comfortable with your brand.

They should be a lot more receptive to such requests and willing to participate.

Survey platforms

We’ve established that surveys have multiple uses and can be used to hook more customers.

We’ve also discussed some fundamental strategies for pulling surveys off effectively and maximizing their response rates.

But how do you get started?

I suggest first checking out Facebook’s survey tool.

Start by going to “My Surveys” on Facebook.

Click on “Get Started Now:”

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Enter a title for your survey:

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Click “Continue:”

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You’ll then come to this screen:

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From here, you’ll want to add your questions by clicking here:

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Enter your questions, choose the question type and include images if you want:

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Rinse and repeat until you’re done.

At the end, you’ll be able to preview your survey and finally publish it.

Facebook is a good place to experiment with surveys if you have a sizable audience already familiar and comfortable with your brand.

You can create surveys that are quick and easy to answer, and they can be integrated seamlessly with the rest of your posts.

I also like Facebook because their surveys aren’t really obtrusive.

If one of your followers is interested, they can instantly participate.

If not, they can simply keep scrolling through their feed.

No big deal.

Other platforms

When you’re looking to create surveys for your website, blog, email, etc., there are several different platforms to choose from.

One of the most popular is Survey Monkey.

I find it to be straightforward and easy to use.

You can also create some really professional looking surveys with virtually zero design experience.

The best part is the basic version is free.

You’re limited in terms of the number of questions you can include and the number of responses, but it should be enough to get the ball rolling.

If you want more features, you can always upgrade later.

Here’s a screenshot of the different plans available with Survey Monkey:

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If you’re looking for reviews on other survey platforms, I recommend reading this post from WordStream.

It will tell you pretty much everything you need to know and give you the rundown on some of the top platforms.

Conclusion

Surveys are nothing new.

They’ve been used for thousands of years.

But using them as a content marketing tool is fairly new.

They’re gradually becoming more popular but have yet to be used on a massive scale.

This means there’s plenty of opportunity if you know how to use them correctly.

As I pointed out before, surveys offer a means of accomplishing three important things:

All three are huge for your bottom line.

And once you get the hang of the process, you can use it time and time again.

How often do you participate in surveys?


Source: quicksprout

How to Use Surveys to Hook More Customers

Here’s How to Perfectly Optimize Your Infographic for SEO

Here’s How to Perfectly Optimize Your Infographic for SEO
Infographics are amazing! Besides being one of the best ways to explain a complicated topic with ease, they make information come alive. Research found, people following directions with text and illustrations do 323 percent better than people following directions without illustrations. Maybe that’s why “infographics are ‘liked’ and shared on social media 3x more than any other type of content.” And the concept of relaying information through visuals is nothing new. If you think about it,…

Infographics are amazing!

Besides being one of the best ways to explain a complicated topic with ease, they make information come alive.

Research found,

people following directions with text and illustrations do 323 percent better than people following directions without illustrations.

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Maybe that’s why “infographics are ‘liked’ and shared on social media 3x more than any other type of content.”

And the concept of relaying information through visuals is nothing new.

If you think about it, cave paintings and hieroglyphics dating back to 30,000 BC accomplished the same thing.

They were far less sophisticated but demonstrate just how hard-wired we are when it comes to visual information.

So it’s easy to see why infographics have become so ingrained in content marketing.

They get results!

Unbounce even went so far as to say “infographics are the most powerful tool in your content marketing arsenal.”

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And like with any piece of content you create, you’ll want it to be SEO friendly.

But here’s the thing.

Doing SEO for an infographic demands a slightly different approach than the one you would use for a conventional blog post.

In this post, I explain the most vital components of infographic SEO to ensure yours gets proper visibility in the SERPs.

The biggest hurdle

Let me start by saying infographics are technically just images.

They are typically saved in image formats such as JPEG, PNG, GIF, etc.

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Of course, they’re much more robust and contain far more information than a regular image, but that’s how Google views them.

This is important to know because Google can’t “read” images like it can text-based content such as a blog post.

Fortunately, there are several other elements that you can optimize.

Start with keyword research

You won’t be able to take advantage of keywords in the actual body of an infographic, but there are a few areas where you can insert keywords.

That’s why you’ll still want to do some keyword research to identify a primary keyword phrase as well as a couple of secondary phrases to target.

Let’s say I was planning on creating an infographic about productivity hacks.

A quick search on the Google Keyword Planner shows me that “productivity hacks” is low competition, which is good.

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The only issue is that it’s a short-tail keyword with only two words.

But I could still probably make it work, especially if I added “infographic” to the end of “productivity hacks.”

In terms of secondary keywords, there are a few possibilities.

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The bottom line here is to perform keyword research like you would for any other type of content.

The only difference is how you go about inserting those keywords.

File name

Selecting the right file name is vital.

This is one of the main factors that Google will analyze to determine what your infographic content is about.

You need to get it right.

I shouldn’t even have to say this, but you’ll obviously want to stay away from anything generic like Image001.png.

This tells Google absolutely nothing and is going to be a strike against your infographic SEO.

A better choice would be something like productivity-hacks-infographic.png.

It’s short and sweet and lets Google know exactly what your content is about.

Just make sure you’re not doing any keyword stuffing, using the same phrase multiple times or anything else that’s spammy.

But you already know that.

Alt text

Equally important is your alt text.

This is the text alternative of an image that lets someone know what an image contains in the event that it doesn’t load properly.

Screen readers for the blind and visually impaired will read out this text and thus make your image accessible.

More importantly, this gives you another opportunity to explain to Google what’s in your infographic.

Just follow best practices for your alt text and describe as succinctly as possible what your infographic is about.

In this case, I might want to use “Infographic explaining 15 productivity hacks.”

URL

Your URL is important for obvious reasons.

As I mentioned in a post from NeilPatel.com that referenced Google’s top 200 ranking factors from Backlinko, when it comes to the significance of URLs, here is what we know:

  • URL length is listed as #46
  • URL path is listed as #47
  • Keyword in the URL is #51
  • URL string is #52

I’m not going to cover the nuts and bolts of URL optimization here.

You can find that in the post I just mentioned.

But I will tell you that you want to aim for a short URL that contains three to five words and a max of 60 characters.

This advice comes directly from an interview with Matt Cutts, so you know it’s gold.

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When it comes to keywords, be sure to include one or two of them in your URL.

Research from John Lincoln and Brian Dean found that this is the sweet spot and considered as part of URL keyword best practices (at least for the time being).

H1 tag

Although you can’t capitalize on the H1 tags (or H2s, H3s, etc.) in the body of your infographic, you can still place one above your infographic so Google can “read” it.

Here’s an example:

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See how the same keyword phrase that’s in the actual infographic is used as an H1 tag at the top?

This is a simple yet effective way to give your infographic a bit more SEO juice.

While H1s may not be as big of a ranking factor today as they were a few years ago, they certainly don’t hurt.

And they can be especially helpful for infographics where you have a limited amount of text to work with.

Meta description

Ah, the good ol’ meta description.

Here are a few best practices to adhere to when creating one for your infographic.

  • It should be between 135 and 160 characters in length.
  • It should include your keyword phrase (once).
  • It should accurately describe the content within your infographic.
  • It should have a CTA at the end to encourage search engine users to click on your content.

Getting it just right should make your infographic go further with Google and help you rake in more organic traffic.

For more on creating a killer meta description, I recommend reading this post from Yoast.

Supporting text

I really like hacks, shortcuts, loopholes, etc.

Call them what you will, little tricks like these are what help you gain the edge on the competition.

And there’s one specific hack I would like to point out in regards to infographic SEO.

It’s simple. Add some supporting text at the beginning.

Here’s a great example of what I’m talking about:

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Notice that it’s nothing fancy.

It’s just a few paragraphs that expound upon the infographic and offer a quick preview of what it’s about.

This is helpful for two reasons.

First, it provides a brief description for human visitors, which should hopefully pique their interest and make them want to check out the infographic.

Second (and more importantly), it supplies Google with additional text to crawl and decipher meaning from.

This helps your infographic get found and increases the likelihood that it’s indexed under the right keywords.

So it’s a win-win situation.

There’s no reason to go overboard and write 1,000 words of supporting text, but 100 words or so can be a great help.

An added plus is that you can throw in a couple of internal links to relevant pages on your website.

Don’t force it, but try to work in some internal links as well.

Load time

Back in 2010, Google announced that page speed was a ranking factor.

Content that loads quickly will get preference.

Not only that, a faster load time tends to translate into a lower bounce rate, more time spent on your site and so on.

The point I’m trying to make here is that you should be conscious of how long it takes your infographic to load.

Keep in mind that infographics are fairly bulky images, so this can definitely be a concern.

Generally speaking, PNGs, GIFs, JPEGs, BMPs and TIFFs load the fastest, so keep this in mind when choosing a file format.

You can also test the loading speed of your infographic with this free tool.

Just type in the URL.

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Then click “Analyze.”

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Google will analyze it and grade it.

If there are any issues, Google will provide you with specific advice for speeding it up.

Conclusion

Doing SEO for an infographic isn’t dramatically different from doing SEO for any other type of content.

It incorporates many of the same techniques and strategies.

The main thing you have to work around is the fact that an infographic is an image and therefore Google can’t “read” it like it can regular text-based content.

Fortunately, there are several ways to get around this and ensure your infographic is perfectly optimized for search engines as well as humans.

By covering all the bases, you’ll position it to climb the rankings and achieve maximum visibility in the SERPs.

Do you have any other recommendations for doing SEO for an infographic?


Source: quicksprout

Here’s How to Perfectly Optimize Your Infographic for SEO