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Date: Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 02:24

Online competitionWhen it comes to marketing, we all like to keep a close eye on what our competitors are doing. Competitive intelligence essentially means understanding what’s happening in the world outside your business so you can be as competitive as possible.

Here are ten of my favorite tools for sizing up the online competition. All of these are either free of charge or have a free trial that you can take advantage of:

1) Ispionage – This is hands-down my favorite tool for gathering competitive intelligence. You can use it to view a nearly endless range of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC) data, including your competitor’s monthly ad budget, SEO keywords, PPC keywords, cached ad copy, affiliate data, top competitors and social media mentions. All reports can be exported as a text file or Excel spreadsheet. Memberships start at USD 53 per month, but they also offer your first 5 reports free of charge, without the need to create an account.

2) Screaming Frog – The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a small desktop program you can install on your PC, Mac or Linux machine which spiders websites from an SEO perspective. It fetches key onsite elements for SEO, presents them in tabs by type and allows you to filter for common SEO issues, or slice and dice the data how you see fit by exporting into Excel. It allows you to quickly analyse, audit and review a competitor’s site and is particulary good for analysing medium to large sites where manually checking every page would be extremely labour intensive. The tool is free to download and run, although if the site you are spidering has over 500 pages, you’ll need to upgrade to a licensed version for GBP 99 per year.

3) Raven Tools – The Research Central component of Raven Tools incorporates data from major online marketing authorities, including Majestic SEO, Moz and Google. You can compare SEO quality, backlink and analytics data for up to five websites from a single view in Research Central. In Raven’s Site Performance and Competitor Manager Reports, you can get a better grip on competitor performance, with side-by-side comparisons of your site and your top competitors. Whether you’re researching competitor’s websites or keywords for SEO, social media engagement, PPC or content marketing performance, Raven provides a plethora of data to analyze. They offer a 30 day free trial, for up to 2 users and 2 domains.

4) Domain Tools – Discover everything about a domain name, IP address or nameserver, including Whois data, who used to own it, how many times it has changed hands, what it’s being used for and what other DNS resources it is connected to, with this Internet-based service. Monthly membership starts at USD 49.95. The site offers a 7 day, fully operational free trial, but does require a credit card to confirm the free account.

5) URL Profiler – This one is desktop software which pulls in marketing research and domain data from various 3rd party sources. With tools for measuring detailed link metrics, SEO performance, analytics, PageRank, social engagement and content quality, URL Profiler is useful for web site audits and competitor site analysis. Available for Windows and Mac only, the software starts at GBP 99 per year and has a fully functioning 30 day free trial.

6) Open Site Explorer – Open Site Explorer is a backlink research tool on steroids, allowing you to download a detailed link profile for any web site. Using a custom-built link anchor index created by the clever team at Moz.com, you can use Open Site Explorer to research both your and competitors link profiles to help with intelligent and targeted link building. Open Site Explorer is free to use and you can compare up to 5 domains at once.

7) SEMRush – is a competitive research tool covering both paid and organic search results, adding data like keyword value and keyword volume to ranking data. The team at SEMRush collect massive amounts of SERP data for more than 100 million keywords and 70 million domains, including: AdWords ad copies and positions, organic positions for domains and landing URLs, search volumes, CPC, competition and number of results. In addition to tracking Google’s global search results, they also track Bing and a range of geographic-specific Google result sets. Pricing starts at USD 69.95 per month, but if you don’t mind entering your billing details, there is a 14 day free trial http://seobook.com/sem-rush-trial, courtesy of SEO Book.

8) Compete – Compete PRO is a Competitive Intelligence tool that helps you to monitor your online competition, benchmark your performance against your industry, and discover new business opportunities. It uses industry-wide competitive analysis to reveal keywords that are sending the most traffic to your competitors. Rather than scraping search results to track rankings like many similar tools, CompetePRO looks at US clickstream data from ISPs, a panel of users & those that have their toolbar installed. A Compete PRO free trial Includes unlimited access to all features available for the paid plan you selected for a period of 24 hours, but does require you to enter your billing details.

9) Keyword Spy – is pitched as a competitive keyword discovery tool, but it is much more than that. You can use it to find out how much your competitors are spending on AdWords and discover which combinations of keywords and advertising copy are working for them. It includes ad copy and affiliate intelligence data and covers US, UK, Australia and Canada. Pricing starts at USD 89.95 per month, but Keyword Spy also offers what they call a “lifetime free trial account”.

10) Mention – is a new approach to media and social monitoring for brands and competitors. You can use it to monitor millions of sources in 42 languages, including anything published on social networks, news sites, forums, blogs and web pages. Generate reports in PDF, XLS, CSV or TSV formats and export data to compare your site with your competitors. You can also access your reports from either PC, Mac or hand-held devices. Mention provides a 14 day free trial as well as a free Basic monthly plan for a single user.

In the Internet age, it’s easier than ever before to keep tabs on your competition. Now that you have these 10 tools to help you, there are no more excuses!

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "articles, tools"
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Date: Sunday, 13 Jul 2014 22:50

fast-five

 

If you’re a long term reader of this blog, you’ll know that I sometimes write articles for SiteProNews. Sometimes I’ll get a reader question here and I’m able to say “I just wrote an article about that topic” and point to the article over at SPN. But apart from the occasional Q&A reference, I’m not great at promoting my own articles.

So for today’s Fast Five, I thought I’d share with you the last 5 articles I wrote for SiteProNews.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) What to Blog About When You Have Nothing to Blog About – This article was inspired by the many, many webmasters who approach me about the difficulty they have finding topics to blog about. In this article, I bust the “blogger’s block” myth and show you just how easy it is to come up with topics for your company blog. I even suggest a range of topics to suit blogs in various industries.

2) Five Must-Have Spreadsheets for Online Marketing Professionals – A short piece that highlights five spreadsheet-based marketing tools that I use myself or recommend on a regular basis.

3) 11 Easy Ways to Build Editorial Links – Another article inspired by questions I get on this blog. This one talks about all the ways you can safely build incoming links to your site in the wake of Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates. This is a two part article, with Part Two over here.

4) A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Domaining – I wrote this article after my recent experience trying to sell a domain I’ve owned for over 10 years. It’s an introduction to the murky but profitable world of domain flipping and includes a detailed list of domaining resources.

and finally…

5) 20 Free Marketing eBooks You Need to Download Right Now – Trust me, you’ll want to bookmark this one. This article is a review of my favorite free eBooks and White Papers relating to marketing, categorized by theme. In the article, I’ve linked to the jump page from where you can access the PDF file for each freebie.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "articles, blogging, fast five, Google Hu..."
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Date: Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 22:13

QuestionHello Kalena

I’ve submitted my sitemap to Google several times, and it doesn’t spider more than 57 pages even when I add more pages. I can’t figure out why and would really appreciate your help!

My website is [URL withheld]. The sitemap I submit to google is called sitemap.xml. I’m working on the site currently, and I want google to find the changes and new pages.

Thanks!
Greg

————————————–

Hi Greg

I’ve had a look at your sitemap and your site and I’ve worked out the problem. I think you’re going to laugh :-)

Yes, you have created a XML sitemap containing all your site URLs. Yes, you have uploaded it via your Webmaster Tools account. However, the robots.txt file on your site contains disallow rules that contradict your sitemap.

There are over 30 URLs in your robots.txt with a disallow instruction for Googlebot.  Essentially, you are giving Google a list of your pages and then instructing the search giant not to go near them! Have you re-designed your site lately? Maybe your site programmers made the change during a large site edit or testing phase and forgot to remove the URLs after completion?

All you need to do is edit your robots.txt file to remove the URLs being disallowed and then resubmit your XML sitemap.

All the best.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Access your Free SEO Lessons. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "google, Q and A, robots.txt, sitemaps"
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 07:41

domainsThe buying and selling of domains is big business. You only need to google *domaining* to see a tsunami of information about the subject.

So why is domaining so popular? You’ve probably heard stories about people selling domain names for big dollars. Some of those stories are true.

 

Domain Sales:

Here are a few of the more high profile recorded domain sales from the past decade:

  • Insurance.com – an insurance quotation site – sold for $35.6 million in 2010.
  • PrivateJet.com – a private jet booking service – sold for $30.1 million in 2012.
  • Hotels.com – a hotel deals site – sold for $11 million in 2001.
  • FB.com – sold (to Facebook) for $8.5 million in 2010.
  • Beer.com – (now parked and unused!) sold for $7 million in 2004.
  • iCloud.com sold (to Apple) for $6 million in 2011.
  • IG.com – a stock trading site – sold for $4.7 million in 2013.
  • Whisky.com – an information site – sold for $3.1 million in 2014.

 

Domain Statistics

Now take a look at some statistics from Flippa.com, one of the most popular domain auction web sites:

  • Over 400,000 users have registered on Flippa to buy or sell domains.
  • A bid is placed on a Flippa auction every minute.
  • There have been $711,532 in domain sales over the last 7 days.
  • Flippa has sold $122,039,671 in domains since launch in 2009. That’s right – a whopping USD 122 million has changed hands in domain sales on this one auction site in the past 5 years.

So is it possible to make a living from simply buying and selling domains? It is indeed and there are plenty of people doing just that.

 

Types of Domainers

There are generally two types of domainers in the industry:

1) Those who purchase domains with the intention of onselling them immediately for a profit.

2) Those who purchase domains with the intention of developing them and THEN onselling them for a profit (domain flipping).

As an Internet marketer, I have amassed quite a large collection of domains over the years, (currently numbering around 50 active domains), almost all of them relating to new business ideas or for branding or marketing of existing businesses. However, most of these purchased domains sit unused and unloved in registrar limbo, while I try to find the time to do something with them. Most of them are on auto-renew, but sometimes I’ll simply lose interest or forget and let the domain quietly expire.

Unfortunately, this approach is never going to be profitable. If I was ever going to make a living from domaining, I would have to shift gears and embrace one of the domainer categories above. For me, domain flipping would be the obvious choice.

 

Domain Flipping

To be successful at domain flipping, you have to be both opportunistic and tenacious. You need to be able to spot domains that have high resell potential and will give you a good return on investment.

According to Flippa, domain sales in the fields of finance, business, home, entertainment/gaming, social media and family related niches seem to out-perform the rest of the market. In terms of domain niches, forums sell well, but struggle to make traffic and conversions, while review sites, gaming, business, hobbies and tech are consistently popular. Internet Marketing sites tend to be short term earners, with low sale prices, but often high turnover.

BUT – and it’s a big but – it’s unlikely you’ll make a profit from simply purchasing domain names in bulk and re-selling them.

Sure, domainers in category 1) above will get the occasional quick turnaround, but ask a domainer which sales have been the most profitable and he/she will tell you it’s the developed domains that draw the big bucks.

Just like an unfurnished or unrenovated house, an undeveloped domain makes it difficult for buyers to imagine what it would be like to use it themselves. As with flipping houses, to achieve a good price for your domain, you need to invest the time to renovate the property. That includes developing it to the point where it has:

  • reliable hosting
  • analytics tracking
  • attractive design
  • quality content
  • good search engine placement
  • consistent traffic
  • trusted link profile
  • revenue generation if possible (e.g. via Google AdSense)

Although building them into your domain will take time, all these factors will make the domain appeal more to potential purchasers and help you achieve the best possible return on your original investment. What you’re essentially doing here is flipping a domain name with potential into a viable business model.

Apart from the domain gold rush, you may have also heard stories about big brands losing their domains to squatters and ransomists. This is also true. The domain industry is ripe with opportunity for the tenacious web-savvy amongst us. Unfortunately, it is also a murky, shark-infested sea and you can drown or be drowned if you’re not careful.

So just how do you get started in this tricky business?


Domain Resources to Get You Started

Below are some useful domain-related resources if you are interested in dipping your toe into domaining:

Flippa’s Domain Selling Guide (PDF)
Flippa’s Domain Buying Guide (PDF)


Domain Auction Sites / After-markets:

Flippa
Sedo
Afternic
GoDaddy Auctions


Sites / Blogs About Domaining:

Domaining.com
Domain Name News
Domain Sherpa
Domain Investing


Domain Forums:

Domain State
Name Pros
DN Forum


Domain Research:

Domain Tools
Hoster Stats
Ultra Tools


Domain Valuations:

Valuate
Free Valuator
Estibot

 

Still keen to become a domainer? I’ll leave the final words on the subject to a couple of anonymous domain flipper friends of mine:

“Make sure your price expectations are realistic”
“Don’t release the money until your new domain has been moved to your hosting account”
“If you haven’t developed it within 6 months, offload it”
“Always use a broker!”

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "articles, domain names"
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 07:51

Sssshhh!I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a sucker for free downloadable PDF eBooks and White Papers. Because they are usually organized into chapter form, they tend to be meatier and contain more valuable content than blog posts and articles. I’ve obtained an impressive collection of eBooks over the years and will often whip one out to share with a client or a Search Engine College student who might be struggling to understand a particular marketing or SEO concept.

So I thought I’d share with you my favorite free eBooks and White Papers, categorized by theme. Where possible, I’ve linked to the jump page from where you can access the PDF file, rather than linking to the PDF itself.

Top 5 Free Marketing Related eBooks

1) Definitive Guide to Marketing, Metrics and Analytics by Marketo – This chunky, 70 page eBook is a methodical guide for how to implement effective marketing measurement practices across your organization – big or small. It deals with that tricky subject of determining how your various marketing programs impact your revenue and profit so that you can decide which ones to focus on going forward.

2) The Email Marketing Showcase by Pollen Marketing – A recent discovery, this ROI-Driven email marketing guide by Natalie Giddings includes 50 published email examples compiled by experienced Internet marketers. It showcases stunning newsletter design elements, clever use of graphics and color and highly converting calls-to-action so you can learn from and implement them in your own email marketing programs. I read this in one sitting and then spent the weekend completely re-writing my follow up email series. I was so impressed, I contacted Natalie and offered her a tutor role at Search Engine College! (more about that soon).

3) A Guide to Marketing in 2014 by Vocus – How will you make the right choices for your 2014 digital marketing mix? This comprehensive guide will light the way for you. Written with a team of digital marketing’s foremost technologists and innovators, the guide explains 2014′s key marketing trends, what they will mean for you, and how to make them work with your brand’s strategy.

4) Take Your Business Online in 5 Hours for $26 by AWeber – You might be aware that I use AWeber for nearly all my online marketing activities. This includes email marketing campaigns, newsletter distribution and subscriber management needs. They just make it SO easy. So it makes sense for a company serving small and medium sized businesses to create a PDF guide to getting a biz online, fast. As they say in this guide, you can take your business online with just a basic website, an email series and some social network profiles. This step-by-step guide shows how to create an online presence for your business in only five hours for just $26.

5) The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing by HubSpot – I just love Hubspot. They are very clever marketers and always seem to come up with a relevant eBook, right when I’m researching a particular marketing topic. This was one of the first eBooks I ever downloaded from Hubspot and I refer to it all the time. Whether you’re just getting started with internet marketing or you want to brush up on the basics, this ebook can serve as your essential guide to setting up and implementing a successful internet marketing strategy, step by step. Be sure to check out their free MS Excel-based Editorial Calendar as well.

Top 5 Free SEO Related eBooks

1) SEO Starter Guide by Google – First published in 2008, Google has recently updated their SEO Starter Guide and translated it into 40 different languages. The Guide was written in response to Google staff being inundated with the same question in various formats over many years: “What are some simple ways that I can improve my website’s performance in Google?” The result is a compact guide that lists best practices that webmasters can follow to improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing. The Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide covers a range of common site design and coding aspects that webmasters need to optimize, such as improving title and description meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more. If you want to improve your rank in Google, downloading this eBook is a no-brainer.

2) Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz – Following on from Google’s SEO Guide, this Beginner’s Guide from Moz will fill in any gaps you may have in your SEO knowledge. Beautifully designed and divided into clear, logical sections, this Guide is an ideal starting point for webmasters who want to educate themselves about what makes a search compatible site. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and because it is written in such an approachable format and regularly updated by the Moz team, I recommend this eBook to all my SEO students.

3) 17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind by Hubspot – You’ll see Hubspot mentioned a few times in this article, for good reason. Their content is always timely and intuitive. Hubspot produced this eBook shortly after Google rolled out their confusing Panda algorithm update and webmasters were clambouring for some kind of guidance about how it would impact their SEO strategy. In the eBook, Hubspot debunk some of the most common SEO myths that still persist. After Google let loose their shiny new Hummingbird algorithm update, Hubspot cleverly updated this eBook to keep the advice fresh and relevant for the latest SEO methodologies.

4) The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet by Moz – When I first started optimizing web sites for clients back in 1996, I actually wrote a similar Cheat Sheet of my own to give to web development staff to ensure they wouldn’t make any major SEO blunders and undo all my hard work. But Moz have taken the SEO Cheat Sheet concept to a whole new, beautiful level. Recently updated, all the geektastic SEO tips and shortcuts you’ll ever need while coding are in here, including metadata, sitemaps, pagination, authorship, user agents, robot syntax, canonicalization and much more. This one is permanently pinned to my office wall.

5) Microsoft Excel for SEOs by Distilled – This Guide is so much more than an eBook. Produced by London-based digital creative agency Distilled, Microsoft Excel for SEOs started life as a White Paper written up to help SEO professionals retrieve meaningful information from mountains of data, using MS Excel. It is now less of a White Paper and more of an extremely comprehensive mini course in how to use Microsoft Excel to revolutionize traditionally time-consuming Search Engine Optimization tasks. If your job involves data analysis of the marketing kind, give this Guide a look. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and comes with an XLS Example Workbook to help cement your knowledge with practical examples.

Top 5 Free Social Media Related eBooks

1) The Marketer’s Guide to Social Media by Vocus – This guide is written for marketers to help them come to terms with where they should invest their time and money and what social media tactics will help them achieve the greatest ROI. The guide includes insights from social media butterflies Ekaterina Walter, Jason Falls and Michael Stelzner that will take you through the most pivotal social media marketing trends and show you how to leverage them to deploy winning campaigns.

2) The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing by Marketo – If you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of Social Media for business in under 100 pages, this visually splendid eBook won’t disappoint. Written from a strong business ROI perspective, this guide is the one eBook I recommend most often to all my Social Media Marketing workshop attendees.

3) How to Get 1000+ Followers on Twitter by Hubspot – If you’re a Twitter junkie like me, this snappy eBook will make light work of the problem of not having enough Twitter followers. The advice includes how to optimize your Twitter profile, how and when to follow people, how to use hash tags and what to retweet.

4) Do It Yourself Social Media Audit by JanetFous.com – Did you know that you should conduct a social media audit quarterly? Well apparently you should. According to Social Media expert Janet Fouts, it’s a good idea to conduct a social media audit every so often to step back and take a benchmark of your performance. This allows you to see yourself as others might see you and judge if you are delivering the message you think you’re sending. It’s also a good way to evaluate what networks are working for you, which aren’t and if you are using social media efficiently. This eBook shows you what you need to do in order to audit your own Social Media activities and set a benchmark for the future.

5) Building a Killer Content Strategy by Hubspot – Everyone knows that great content is the foundation of highly trafficked sites. But how do you define *great*? How should you implement a content creation and publication strategy? This guide will teach you how to do all these things by giving you actionable advice, including how to understand your audience, map content to the buying cycle and build an editorial calendar.

Top 5 Free Advertising Related eBooks

1) AdWords Step by Step by Google – It’s amazing the number of marketers who abandon AdWords as a channel following a string of failed campaigns. The truth is that AdWords is a complex and tricky beast and you really need to educate yourself in campaign set up and planning before any of your ads go live. This free eBook by Google is a great starting point for both new advertisers and experienced marketers.

2) Google AdWords: A Brave New World by Google – Andrew Goodman wrote the first eBook on AdWords, over 10 years ago now. As Andrew states in his book, the world of AdWords changes frequently, even though many of the fundamental principles do not. Andrew’s original eBook eventually morphed into a 400 page published book that quickly became everyone’s favorite AdWords reference and has been updated several times. This pocket guide is a 40-page mini version of Andrew’s book, that offers a faster read for marketers in a hurry to understand the complexity lurking in Google’s advertising system.

3) Open the Black Box – Maximizing Success in Bid Automation by OptiMine – Bid automation software is essential for companies with complex paid-search programs. However, when using bid automation software it’s hard to determine the “why” behind their paid-search performance. This whitepaper looks at why companies need to use bid automation software that gives them transparency and control of their paid-search programs.

4) Conversion Secrets of a Million Dollar Landing Page by Conversion Rate Experts – This case study really put Conversation Rate Experts on the map. During the process of building a highly converting landing page for SEOMoz.com (now re-branded as Moz.com), CRE obtained such phenomenal results, that they set a new conversion benchmark for the industry. This online case study (downloadable as a PDF) is another resource I refer my students to frequently. It contains invaluable advice on boosting your ad and landing page response rates and highlights all the key features of high-converting content.

and finally…

5) From Abandon to Conversion: Why Shoppers Abandon Carts and What Merchants Can Do About It by Bronto – Shopping cart abandonment is a major problem for online retailers, with rates averaging between 60-70 percent. Departing shoppers represent a significant amount of lost revenue and to reverse that trend, you need to understand customer motivations and reasons for abandonment. For this white paper, Bronto staff examined the carting experience and follow-up email strategies of 100 retailers to discover the reasons for abandonment and the top strategies for bringing those shoppers back.

Happy reading!

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "articles, education/training, pay per cl..."
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Date: Monday, 07 Jul 2014 00:33

fast-five

 

It’s very chilly today here in the best little capital city in the world, Wellington, New Zealand. I’m rugged up against the cold and sporting fingerless gloves as my fingers traverse the keyboard, hunting down some Fast Five deliciousness for you all.

It’s another mixed assortment this week, featuring a little bit of Apple, a lot of Google and a pinch of blogging. Enjoy!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Panda Pummels Press Release Web Sites: The Road to Recovery by Russ Jones. Even high-trafficked, Google trusted sites aren’t immune to Google algorithm updates. In this post, Russ explains how the latest iteration of Google Panda has taken a chunk out of traffic from media darlings Search Engine Land and Seer Interactive and what lessons we can apply to our own sites as a result.

2) How Apple and Google are Disrupting Education and Changing the World by TopDegreesOnline. You know I’m a sucker for a good infographic and this one is a cracker. It shows the evolution of education with the advent of technology and the two distinct approaches from tech giants Apple and Google as they endeavour to forever change how we learn.

3) The EU’s Right to Be Forgotten is a Mess & How Google’s Making it Worse by Danny Sullivan. While we’re still on the subject of Google, the company’s recent legal loss in Europe has led to one hot fuss. In case you’re unfamiliar with the case, in May this year, the European Union Court of Justice ruled that Google could be compelled to remove information about individuals from search results as part of a new, EU-specific “right to be forgotten.” The PDF factsheet on the subject will bring you up to speed. Apparently, confused interpretation of the ruling and Google’s attempts to collaborate with it are triggering Internet censorship concerns the world over.

4) Is Your Blog a Lead Generation Machine, if Not Here is Why by Bryan Eisenberg. This bookmark-worthy post sees Bryan share his most successful techniques for converting blog readers into customers / subscribers. Rather than a long-winded blog post, Bryan has embedded his recent SlideShare presentation on the subject, featuring no less than 73 slides of conversion magic. Grab a coffee before viewing this one!

and finally…

5) The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Media Kit by Stacey Roberts. So ProBlogger has been running a theme week about Partnering With Brands. As part of the theme week, this post by Stacey Roberts is a step-by-step guide to creating a media kit for your blog or site. A fantastic resource, the post discusses what a media kit is, why it is useful, what it should include and how often it should be updated.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

Need to learn SEO but not sure where to start? Download your Free SEO Lesson. No catch!

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Apple, blogging, fast five, google, goog..."
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Date: Saturday, 05 Jul 2014 08:08

link buildingIn the current post Google Hummingbird environment, webmasters are increasingly unsure how to tackle the important task of link building.

Editorial links are the most desirable of all: regular links that are given freely and naturally by sites that want to link to your content without any incentive. To acquire these links, you need to first provide information that is worth linking to.

There are a wide range of unique ways to acquire editorial links to your site. Here are 11 of them:

1) Blogging

You only need to do a Google search for *blog* to realize that blogging has skyrocketed as a content strategy in the past 5 years. Writing a blog helps you to establish authority in a subject area and – if done well – provides original, interesting content for search engines to index. It’s no secret that blog platforms such as WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger have become enormously popular with content creators, not just for creating blogs, but as stand-alone Content Management Systems with which to design entire sites.

Search engines seem to lap up blog content more so than other types of content, because the technology used to create it generally produces very clean code which is easy to index AND a lot of unique content that tends to be fresher or more current. This results in more links from the search results and more traffic than traditional site pages. Blogs are ideal for social conversation as well. If you allow comments on your blog posts, it’s quite common to find yourself engaged with a number of people about the content of your post, which can lead to even more links.

There’s really no trick to this method. Create a blog, add unique content and keep it fresh by posting regularly. No-one reads a dead blog.

2) Industry / Community Involvement

It sounds obvious, but if you want to be noticed and attract links to your content, you need to visibly participate in your online community. It’s not enough to publish great content, you have to go read and comment on other blogs and news sites and keep up with what’s happening in your industry or niche, otherwise you are operating in a vacuum.

Subscribe to news feeds, comment regularly on blog posts that get you thinking, participate in forum discussions, attend conferences and events and become more visible. This will build up your profile and authority in the field, spark ideas for blog posts and new content of your own and naturally trigger more links and referrals to your blog/site.

3) Link Bait

Link bait is simply a form of viral marketing, where web site content is published specifically for the purpose of gaining attention and building a lot of incoming links in a short space of time, usually with the intent of boosting the ranking of a page or site in search results.

As the object of link bait is to gain attention, the content used as *bait* is generally something that appeals to a wide audience and is memorable. Link bait tends to contain one or more of the following elements or themes:

  • controversy
  • humor
  • shock
  • rumor
  • history
  • celebrity
  • politics
  • discovery
  • current affairs

The most successful link bait has an intriguing headline and a killer hook (first paragraph). It also needs to be easily shareable.

One example that springs to mind immediately is the Bacon Explosion recipe, developed and blogged about in 2009 by a SEO and his systems administrator friend as part of a local BBQ competition. The recipe gained attention for its enormous calorie count (over 5,000 calories) and pure meat ingredients, resulting in national media attention from the likes of the New York Times, CNN and even a guest spot on Good Morning America. As you can imagine, the recipe brought thousands of links to the inventor’s blog and launched an entirely new business for them.

While this was a happy ending, you have to be super careful with deliberate link bait, because it can blow up in your face. Blogger Lyndon Antcliff found this out the hard way, when his parody blog post written for Money Magazine in the UK in 2008 made front page news across the Internet as an authentic news story until it was finally *exposed* as a fake.

4) Article Marketing and Syndication

An excellent way to attract links to your site is by writing articles about your areas of expertise and encouraging other sites to re-publish the articles for free in exchange for a link back to your site. The way it works is you use a by-line at the top and an author bio at the end of the article which contains a link back to your site. You can use anchor text in the link that integrates relevant keywords and provide the whole article, including link text, for re-publishing. This is called article syndication and the idea is to build up a new link to your site every time your article is re-published. However, you need to approach the way you go about doing this very carefully.

In the past, it was recommended and commonplace for writers to create a large number of articles and submit them to what’s known as Article Directories e.g. EzineArticles.com and GoArticles.com. These directories would then make that content available for re-publishing on hundreds or thousands of sites across the Internet. But just recently, Google advised that syndication via article directories is something they would not recommend in terms of a link building tactic.

According to the Webmaster video uploaded by Matt Cutts on the subject, they consider article directories to contain mostly low quality content and are using filters to prevent links from such content from influencing ranking. You can see Matt’s video here.

So if you do decide to use article syndication as a link building method, just make sure you do your research carefully and only choose syndication sites that have a good standing with Google and other search engines. No matter what syndication method you use, be sure to publish your articles on your own site first, to establish authority and original authorship. That way, you can promote the availability of your articles for re-publishing, but within terms that are clearly specified on your site and within your own control e.g. using a Creative Commons license.

Also be sure to take advantage of Google Authorship and link your articles to your Google+ profile so your author profile and photo shows up in the search results alongside your article.

5) Lists

Lists work well as blog posts and can be highly linkable content. You know the type I mean. Things like: Top 10 Kids Movies, 50 Ways to Propose, World’s Richest People Under 30 etc. There’s a very good reason why US Late Show host David Letterman always ends his show with a list of Top 10 Things. Because they work. They’re funny, they’re memorable and some people will sit through the entire show just to see them.

6) How To’s / Tutorials / FAQs

I’m not sure if it’s still there, but in the foyer of the Googleplex in Mountain View California, there used to be a large screen that displayed search queries typed into Google from around the world in real time. Watch it for a minute or less and you were bound to see a search query that starts with “How do I…?” or “What is the best way to…?”

Clearly, a great deal of people use the Internet to research how to perform a particular task or answer a specific question. You can take advantage of this habit by creating content that answers common questions. If you have good skills in a particular area – in a certain piece of software for example – you could create a web page, short tutorial, PDF or blog post about how to use that product/tool/software and publish it on your site. Game cheat sites were born out of “how do I…?” search queries, as were sites like WikiHow and the now defunct Google Answers.

The nice side effect of writing How To content is that you build up your credibility as an expert in your field and increase the likelihood of your site becoming an authority site in your niche.

See if any of your existing site information lends itself to creating How to or FAQ style content and re-write it for maximum link value. Or better still, create a How To video and upload it to YouTube.

7) Original Research

Another logical link acquisition technique, and one that Matt Cutts refers to in his video blog post on the subject is the creation of original, unique and/or exclusive research into a particular subject.

If you conduct a new study or undertake research that is not available anywhere else on the Internet, chances are that it is extremely valuable to others. Product comparisons, statistical research, software reviews, experiments and detailed analytics can all be translated into pages of content and shared online. Such unique content is bound to be picked up quickly by search engines and shared by others, particularly if you circulate it via your social media channels.

8) Interviews

Let’s face it, some personalities build a huge following on the Internet and will attract traffic no matter what is written about them. I’m not just referring to celebrities either. Every industry or niche has evangelists and personalities that are well known for both good and bad reasons. You can use this to your advantage by writing articles about them or better still, scoring an interview with them and republishing it.

But just like in traditional journalism, if you want the piece to be shared and linked-to, you’ll need to spend some time carefully planning your questions in a way that will elicit unique information and candid responses from the person that can’t be found elsewhere.

9) Products and Tools

If you have a tech-savvy team or a keen developer, you might look at mini product development as a link building technique. You can create small but useful products or tools for free and syndicate them via your site. For example, a Word Press theme, a plugin for Firefox, a simple iPhone app, a shareable game – anything that can be packaged up as a product, easily delivered and associated with your brand.

Be sure to include your brand attribution within the design interface and a link back to your site. By providing the the product/tool for free, you are more likely to achieve higher circulation, which should have a snowball effect in terms of incoming links.

10) Resources and Collections

When you compile a list of resources in a particular niche or subject, you are saving others a lot of research and tedious yak shaving. Because of the concentrated amount of information and content you offer on a particular subject or theme, you’ll often find that more sites will link to your site rather than conduct their own research, particularly if that theme is trending or attracting high search volume.

Group together your resources in a subject or pull together a new collection that you think others might benefit from and publish it. Perhaps your existing content lends itself to being categorized into different subject areas? For example, do you have a bunch of blog posts on scrapbooking techniques that could be bundled together to create a Beginner’s Guide to Scrapbooking? What about all those PDF documents on your server – could they be grouped together to form a collection or library for your visitors to browse and download?

This leads into our final editorial link building technique:

11) Existing Content

To build new editorial links, you might think you absolutely have to create new content. But that’s not necessarily the case. Revisit your existing site content and internal marketing material and see if you can recycle it or rework it to fit into one of the categories listed above.

Take a close look at the following for inspiration:

  • previous newsletter content
  • related blog posts
  • customer testimonials
  • technical product content
  • email campaigns
  • survey results
  • site metrics data
  • ad campaigns
  • PDF documents
  • case studies

Create a Fresh Content Ideas list and whenever a new idea hits you, jot it down or schedule it into your Editorial Calendar. You’ll be surprised at what a 15 minute detour into your blog archives or Google Analytics account can produce.

Finally, when you’re planning editorial content, ask yourself “Is this quality content? Will people find this interesting or useful?”. If you can’t honestly answer “yes”, it’s simply not worth publishing. Rethink and rework until you have truly linkworthy content.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "articles, link building"
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Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 08:01

fast-five

 

Greetings and salutations! It’s been a pretty cruisy week in the office, which has given me more time to research some juicy Fast Five links for you. It’s another mixed bag, a couple of Google stories, a couple of Facebook stories and a curve ball article about Infographics.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Why Google Places is Now Google My Business by Warren Knight. This month, Google has quietly re-branded Google Places, by combining it with Google Local and calling it the very uninspired Google My Business. In this article, Warren looks at the upgrade in more detail and gives a big thumbs up to the new streamlined version.

2) Google+ At 3 Years Old: Not a Ghost Town, But a Social Referral Graveyard by Martin Beck. There’s an old joke amongst us online marketers that goes:“Google Plus has millions of users! They all just happen to be Google employees”. But all jokes aside, despite having millions of users, Google’s own social platform is suffering from a chasm of referral traffic. Martin Beck takes a look at the depressing stats and possible reasons for the lack-lustre performance.

3) The Best Infographics of 2014 by Lindsay Kolowich. Bit of a sucker for a good infographic? Yeah, me too. Lucky for us, one of the clever crew over at HubSpot has compiled a list of this year’s most interesting and useful infographics. I feel some serious yak shaving coming on via that link.

4) Facebook and the Ethics of User Manipulation by Alex Wilhelm. So my reader has been lighting up for the past week with stories about *that* Facebook experiment, where staff at the social mammoth supposedly manipulated our newsfeeds to test our psychological reactions. With the true nature of the testing exposed, industry reaction has been overwhelmingly negative, with Huffington Post hysterically comparing the experiment to lab rat testing. This TechCrunch article from Alex Wilhelm is one of the more measured and thoughtful pieces about the entire incident.

and finally…

5) Facebook Responds to Negative Reactions to Its Experiment on Users by Adario Strange. And because it is such a hot topic, here’s another article on the whole Facebook Experiment debacle. This one by Adario Strange of Mashable includes feedback from Facebook both about the experiment and the vitriolic reaction it received from the public.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "blogging, Facebook, fast five, google, g..."
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Date: Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 04:45

domainsThe domain registrar industry is about to crack wide open, with new evidence that Google is moving into the domain registration market.

The move confirms rumors that Google is serious about selling domains – rumors that began when the Internet giant made DNS changes to GoogleDomains.com in late March, after having owned the domain for several years. Domaining is a thriving industry, growing every year, as evidenced by GoDaddy’s latest IPO announcement.

Google Domains is currently in invitation-only BETA release, but on appearance, will be a fully-fledged domain registration service on public launch, with all the customizable domain features of large registrars.

I’ve requested my invitation to participate and will review the service here on the blog as soon as I can. Watch this space!

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "articles, domain names, google, news"
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Date: Sunday, 22 Jun 2014 22:03

fast-five

 

Welcome to another Fast Five and the final instalment of our theme of free downloadable eBooks. In this, our final week, we look at the: Top 5 Free Advertising Related eBooks.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) AdWords Step by Step by Google – It’s amazing the number of marketers who abandon AdWords as a channel following a string of failed campaigns. The truth is that AdWords is a complex and tricky beast and you really need to educate yourself in campaign set up and planning before any of your ads go live. This free eBook by Google is a great starting point for both new advertisers and experienced marketers.

2) Google AdWords: A Brave New World by Google – Andrew Goodman wrote the first eBook on AdWords, over 10 years ago now. As Andrew states in his book, the world of AdWords changes frequently, even though many of the fundamental principles do not. Andrew’s original eBook eventually morphed into a 400 page published book that quickly became everyone’s favorite AdWords reference and has been updated several times. This pocket guide is a 40-page mini version of Andrew’s book, that offers a faster read for marketers in a hurry to understand the complexity lurking in Google’s advertising system.

3) Open the Black Box – Maximizing Success in Bid Automation by OptiMine – Bid automation software is essential for companies with complex paid-search programs. However, when using bid automation software it’s hard to determine the “why” behind their paid-search performance. This whitepaper looks at why companies need to use bid automation software that gives them transparency and control of their paid-search programs.

4) Conversion Secrets of a Million Dollar Landing Page by Conversion Rate Experts – This case study really put Conversation Rate Experts on the map. During the process of building a highly converting landing page for SEOMoz.com (now re-branded as Moz.com), CRE obtained such phenomenal results, that they set a new conversion benchmark for the industry. This online case study (downloadable as a PDF) is another resource I refer my students to frequently. It contains invaluable advice on boosting your ad and landing page response rates and highlights all the key features of high-converting content.

and finally…

5) From Abandon to Conversion: Why Shoppers Abandon Carts and What Merchants Can Do About It by Bronto – Shopping cart abandonment is a major problem for online retailers, with rates averaging between 60-70 percent. Departing shoppers represent a significant amount of lost revenue and to reverse that trend, you need to understand customer motivations and reasons for abandonment. For this white paper, Bronto staff examined the carting experience and follow-up email strategies of 100 retailers to discover the reasons for abandonment and the top strategies for bringing those shoppers back.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, fast five, tools"
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Date: Friday, 20 Jun 2014 00:20

QuestionHi Kalena

I took your Google Analytics 1 day course last year through the Institute of IT Professionals (and loved it)!

I’ve been getting a few curly questions from our members (physiotherapist business owners) that I don’t know the answer to so I was seeking your help. Here’s one that I had from one of our members, just on the off chance that it’s a super easy one to answer! If not I will continue on my googling quest to find the answer.

He says “I’m a physio business owner and a competitor is using my actual business name in their Adwords – not in the keyword search terms but the actual ad. IS this illegal and can I make them take it down?”

Kalena, from my research through Adwords policies it looks as if the answer is no, this is not illegal. Using a trademarked term “Gmail” in your ads is illegal – but I couldn’t find any mention of just using a business name.

Appreciate any insight you might have! And will hopefully see you at another course this year.

Thanks
Claire

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Hi Claire

I do remember you, lovely to hear from you.

It just so happens that I researched this very topic not too long ago :-)   It all started with a question submitted to my blog: Can competitors use my company name in their AdWords ads?

After some more research, I ended up writing a more detailed article about it for SiteProNews: Making Sense of Trademarks in AdWords.

The short answer is that it depends on the region of the advertiser. Google may also have changed their policy since publication of that article, so make sure you check for the latest policy wording.

Hope this helps!

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "google adwords, google guidelines, pay p..."
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Date: Monday, 16 Jun 2014 03:26

fast-five

 

It’s time for this week’s Fast Five and to continue our popular theme of useful eBooks. This week we look at the: Top 5 Free Social Media Related eBooks.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) The Marketer’s Guide to Social Media by Vocus – This guide is written for marketers to help them come to terms with where they should invest their time and money and what social media tactics will help them achieve the greatest ROI. The guide includes insights from social media butterflies Ekaterina Walter, Jason Falls and Michael Stelzner that will take you through the most pivotal social media marketing trends and show you how to leverage them to deploy winning campaigns.

2) The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing by Marketo – If you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of Social Media for business in under 100 pages, this visually splendid eBook won’t disappoint. Written from a strong business ROI perspective, this guide is the one eBook I recommend most often to all my Social Media Marketing workshop attendees.

3) How to Get 1000+ Followers on Twitter by Hubspot – If you’re a Twitter junkie like me, this snappy eBook will make light work of the problem of not having enough Twitter followers. The advice includes how to optimize your Twitter profile, how and when to follow people, how to use hash tags and what to retweet.

4) Do It Yourself Social Media Audit by JanetFous.com – Did you know that you should conduct a social media audit quarterly? Well apparently you should. According to Social Media expert Janet Fouts, it’s a good idea to conduct a social media audit every so often to step back and take a benchmark of your performance. This allows you to see yourself as others might see you and judge if you are delivering the message you think you’re sending. It’s also a good way to evaluate what networks are working for you, which aren’t and if you are using social media efficiently. This eBook shows you what you need to do in order to audit your own Social Media activities and set a benchmark for the future.

and finally…

5) Building a Killer Content Strategy by Hubspot – Everyone knows that great content is the foundation of highly trafficked sites. But how do you define *great*? How should you implement a content creation and publication strategy? This guide will teach you how to do all these things by giving you actionable advice, including how to understand your audience, map content to the buying cycle and build an editorial calendar.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, fast five, tools"
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Date: Monday, 09 Jun 2014 02:31

fast-five

 

Continuing our Fast Five theme of useful eBooks, let’s get straight to this week’s collection:  Top 5 Free SEO Related eBooks.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) SEO Starter Guide by Google – First published in 2008, Google has recently updated their SEO Starter Guide and translated it into 40 different languages. The Guide was written in response to Google staff being inundated with the same question in various formats over many years: “What are some simple ways that I can improve my website’s performance in Google?” The result is a compact guide that lists best practices that webmasters can follow to improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing. The Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide covers a range of common site design and coding aspects that webmasters need to optimize, such as improving title and description meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more. If you want to improve your rank in Google, downloading this eBook is a no-brainer.

2) Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz – Following on from Google’s SEO Guide, this Beginner’s Guide from Moz will fill in any gaps you may have in your SEO knowledge. Beautifully designed and divided into clear, logical sections, this Guide is an ideal starting point for webmasters who want to educate themselves about what makes a search compatible site. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and because it is written in such an approachable format and regularly updated by the Moz team, I recommend this eBook to all my SEO students.

3) 17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind by Hubspot – You’ll see Hubspot mentioned a few times in this article, for good reason. Their content is always timely and intuitive. Hubspot produced this eBook shortly after Google rolled out their confusing Panda algorithm update and webmasters were clambouring for some kind of guidance about how it would impact their SEO strategy. In the eBook, Hubspot debunk some of the most common SEO myths that still persist. After Google let loose their shiny new Hummingbird algorithm update, Hubspot cleverly updated this eBook to keep the advice fresh and relevant for the latest SEO methodologies.

4) The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet by Moz – When I first started optimizing web sites for clients back in 1996, I actually wrote a similar Cheat Sheet of my own to give to web development staff to ensure they wouldn’t make any major SEO blunders and undo all my hard work. But Moz have taken the SEO Cheat Sheet concept to a whole new, beautiful level. Recently updated, all the geektastic SEO tips and shortcuts you’ll ever need while coding are in here, including metadata, sitemaps, pagination, authorship, user agents, robot syntax, canonicalization and much more. This one is permanently pinned to my office wall.

and finally…

5) Microsoft Excel for SEOs by Distilled – This Guide is so much more than an eBook. Produced by London-based digital creative agency Distilled, Microsoft Excel for SEOs started life as a White Paper written up to help SEO professionals retrieve meaningful information from mountains of data, using MS Excel. It is now less of a White Paper and more of an extremely comprehensive mini course in how to use Microsoft Excel to revolutionize traditionally time-consuming Search Engine Optimization tasks. If your job involves data analysis of the marketing kind, give this Guide a look. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and comes with an XLS Example Workbook to help cement your knowledge with practical examples.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, fast five, seo, tool..."
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Date: Sunday, 01 Jun 2014 21:19

fast-five

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a sucker for free downloadable PDF eBooks and White Papers.  Because they are usually organized into chapter form, they tend to be meatier and contain more valuable content than blog posts and articles. I’ve obtained an impressive collection of eBooks over the years and will often whip one out to share with a client or a Search Engine College student who might be struggling to understand a particular marketing or SEO concept.

So for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to dedicate Fast Five posts to the joys of free eBooks. Starting with my Top 5 Free Marketing Related eBooks.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Definitive Guide to Marketing, Metrics and Analytics by Marketo – This chunky, 70 page eBook is a methodical guide for how to implement effective marketing measurement practices across your organization – big or small. It deals with that tricky subject of determining how your various marketing programs impact your revenue and profit so that you can decide which ones to focus on going forward.

2) The Email Marketing Showcase by Pollen Marketing – A recent discovery, this ROI-Driven email marketing guide by Natalie Giddings includes 50 published email examples compiled by experienced Internet marketers. It showcases stunning newsletter design elements, clever use of graphics and color and highly converting calls-to-action so you can learn from and implement them in your own email marketing programs. I read this in one sitting and then spent the weekend completely re-writing my follow up email series. I was so impressed, I contacted Natalie and offered her a tutor role at Search Engine College! (more about that soon).

3) 2014 Creative and Marketing Salary Guide by The Creative Group – If you’re in a creative or marketing role within the tech industry, you’ll want to know how your salary stacks up against others in the same industry and/or city right? Look no further than this annual Salary Guide, which highlights hiring trends, job descriptions and salary ranges for creative and marketing roles in 2014. Although the guide concentrates on the US and Canada, the content is still applicable on a global scale.

4) Take Your Business Online in 5 Hours for $26 by AWeber – You might be aware that I use AWeber for nearly all my online marketing activities. This includes email marketing campaigns, newsletter distribution and subscriber management needs. They just make it SO easy. So it makes sense for a company serving small and medium sized businesses to create a PDF guide to getting a biz online, fast. As they say in this guide, you can take your business online with just a basic website, an email series and some social network profiles. This step-by-step guide shows how to create an online presence for your business in only five hours for just $26.

and finally…

5) The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing by HubSpot – I just love Hubspot. They are very clever marketers and always seem to come up with a relevant eBook, right when I’m researching a particular marketing topic. This was one of the first eBooks I ever downloaded from Hubspot and I refer to it all the time. Whether you’re just getting started with internet marketing or you want to brush up on the basics, this ebook can serve as your essential guide to setting up and implementing a successful internet marketing strategy, step by step. Be sure to check out their free MS Excel-based Editorial Calendar as well.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, fast five, sem, tool..."
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Date: Monday, 26 May 2014 04:46

fast-five

 

It’s a mixed bag of links for you this week. We’ve got three juicy links about blogging and a couple of news items relating to the search industry and search engines. Here we go!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google Hits eBay with Manual Penalty – by Search Engine Land. I did a double-take when this headline came up in my Twitter feed. But apparently it’s true! Even the big guys – in this case eBay – have been hit hard by Google’s latest Panda algorithm tweaks. But on top of that, it seems eBay have been put in the naughty corner by Google in the form of a manual ranking penalty as well. Ouch.

2) The Boring Niche’s Secret Weapon (and How to Use it) by Copyblogger - This post spoke to me loud and clear. It contains a key piece of advice I have been giving my search marketing students and clients for years: You can always find something to blog about or write copy about, related to your niche. ALWAYS.

3) Optimize Blog Content for Social Media With These 4 Effective Tactics by ProBlogger – Speaking of blog content, this article over at ProBlogger demonstrates 4 simple, but effective tactics you can use within your blog content, to help it gain more traction via social media.

4) DuckDuckGo Relaunches & Starts to Look Like a Real Search Engine by Search Engine Land - DuckDuckGo showed a lot of promise when they launched back in 2008. Their point of difference has always been the fact they are community-driven, but a big component of their appeal is their approach to user privacy. Unlike the larger search engines, DuckDuckGo don’t track your usage and therefore they don’t collect personal or private information. Their relaunch this week sees DuckDuckGo roll out some powerful search features previously lacking, which should help them compete with the big boys.

and finally…

5) Dear Hubspot, My Blog Isn’t Generating Leads. Please Help? by Hubspot – Ah yes, we’ve all been here. The nasty case of Blogger’s Block when your conversions just dwindle away and you can’t think of anything to reverse the trend. So what’s a Miserable Marketer to do? Ask Hubspot for advice! This Q and A style post outlines the problem a blogger in Milwaukee is having generating leads with his blog and some logical suggestions from Hubspot for how he can clear the blockage and kick-start his blog back into converting again.

Happy blogging!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "blogging, conversions, fast five, search..."
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Date: Monday, 19 May 2014 07:03

fast-five

 

Did you know that staff with tech skills – particularly search engine marketing skills – are in increasingly high demand globally? In some cases, the demand is so high that there aren’t enough employees to fill the number of positions available and salaries have sky-rocketed.

Don’t believe me? Check out the 2014 IT Salary Guide from Robert Half and then go check out the Creative Group’s 2014 Salary Guide for those of you looking for gigs that combine tech prowess with creative flair.

See what I mean? So just where do you look to find the latest gigs in tech and search? That’s what this week’s Fast Five is all about! May I present my Top Five Sites for Finding Jobs in Tech:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Internet Marketing Jobs by Marketing Pilgrim – This job board serves job seekers with Internet marketing skills, particular those specializing in search marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, web design and development. You can sign up for their RSS feed of jobs to keep up with the latest postings daily.

2) Jobs in Search – This site advertises a large variety of search engine related career vacancies on behalf of the following types of search engine marketing firms, search engine optimization companies, new media and digital media agencies, major search engines, software companies and corporate employers recruiting for in-house search engine related jobs. They have a RSS feed for subscription as well as a email service that can email you positions vacant within your ideal search criteria.

3) Mashable Jobs Board by Mashable – A much under-utlized resource, the Mashable Jobs Board is a hiring hub for more than 3,000 employers. If you are looking for a social media or marketing job in the digital space, you might want to check it out regularly.

4) Search Marketing Jobs by Indeed - This job search portal is unique in that it aggregates job vacancies from across a wide range of job sites, newspapers, associations and company career pages. You can narrow down your search to specific job categories and this particular link is for Search Marketing vacancies.

and finally…

5) Google Careers -  As the largest search engine in the world with a prolific number of offices opening globally, Google has hundreds of jobs and internships up for grabs annually. If you’ve got your eye on working for the big G, this site should be your starting point.

Happy job hunting!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "fast five, jobs, salaries, search indust..."
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Date: Monday, 12 May 2014 06:51

fast-five

 

I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you this week. We have articles about Google Analytics, link building, Facebook, SEO and Twitter. Let’s get stuck in…

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Integrate Your SEO Data into Universal Analytics – by Bhoomika Joshi. This post talks you through how to create Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics that will help you gain more insights into your SEO data.

2) 10 SEO Myths Reviewed - by Duane Forrester. In this post, Bing’s Senior Product Manager debunks some of the most common SEO myths and legends, including my all time paranoid favorite: “Buying ads helps my rankings”.

3) Facebook Audience Insights Tool Gives You More Info About Those You’re Trying to Reach – by Chris Crum. A good introduction to Facebook’s new Audience Insights tool, which lets marketers learn more about their target audiences, such as aggregate information about geography, demographics and purchase behavior.

4) Link Building Does Not Equal Content Marketing, But Here’s How They Fit Together – by Erin Everhart. At last, somebody said it. Link building and content marketing are not the same thing. This article explains why and how you can focus on both.

and finally…

5) Twitter for Small Businesses: Five Universal Tips to Get the Right Perspective – by Andrew Smith. In this post, Andrew gives small businesses some tips for how to use Twitter for their social media marketing purposes.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "blogging, Facebook, fast five, seo, soci..."
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Date: Monday, 05 May 2014 06:48

fast-five

 

In my travels around the crazy web, I’m amazed how many web sites still use a boring server-generated 404 error page instead of a custom 404 error page. Even large brands with deep pockets aren’t immune to the dreaded vanilla dead end.

Thankfully, there are lots of clever web designers out there who recognize that there’s no excuse for un-inventive 404s. Web site usability can be fun!. This week’s Fast Five pays homage to them and their entertaining ideas for custom 404 error pages.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Five Clever Custom 404 Error Pages:

1) Mint.com – This page combines humor with helpfulness. Not only does it make a joke about the missing content, but it offers up some useful alternative links in a pleasing visual format. No blame, no suggestion that the searcher was at fault. I like that.

2) BlueDaniel.com – This is my current favorite 404. Not only is it Flash based – which I’ve not seen before in a custom 404 – but it’s exceedingly cool. The powerful visuals and sound of an underground train station are bang on target for a motion picture design company. This page alone would probably win them new business.

3) Heinz.com – So an empty ketchup bottle might be a little predictable, but what I like best about this page is the intuitiveness and the very clear calls to action. Did you try searching? Perhaps one of these links will help? Perfect.

4) Mashable.com – Again, another humorous yet helpful Custom 404 page. This one uses the missing sock analogy, combined with a giant call to action in the form of an internal search field. They also keep the main nav menu at the top of the page in case you’d rather resort to standard navigation.

and finally…

5) ApartmentHomeLiving.com – Being in New Zealand, this custom 404 page caught my eye straight away. You can’t really go wrong with a sheep on a toilet. Apart from using an amusing mouseover effect, this page steers lost visitors back to the homepage or to the regular navigation menu. Sorted.

What’s YOUR fav custom 404 page? Would love to hear about it in the comments.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "fast five, just for fun, usability, web ..."
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Date: Monday, 28 Apr 2014 09:56

fast-five

 

If you’re a search marketer, or even a marketer in general, time to have a deep dive into your site analytics may be a luxury you don’t have. That’s why I’m often asked what are the most important site metrics that marketers should look at.

That’s where dashboards can make your day. Google Analytics dashboards are pre-created templates of custom metrics that are then shared. The data isn’t shared, just the template, so they can be shared across different Analytics accounts and different profiles.

So this week’s Fast Five features 5 of my favorite Analytics dashboards. You simply need to click on each link and you will be prompted to add the dashboard to your analytics account. Feel free to share!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) SEO Standard Dashboard – I can’t remember who originally shared this dashboard with me, but I use it pretty much every week. The metrics in this dashboard configuration include most of the important SEO ones you need to check. Top organic landing pages, top organic keywords, highest converting organic keywords etc.

2) Social Media Dashboard by Justin Cutroni. This dashboard was created by a Google staffer and works just like it says on the pack. It includes all the social media related site metrics you’ll ever need to look at and some that you won’t, including traffic from social sources, most socially shared content, value of socially engaged.

3) Revenue Dashboard – Again, I don’t know who shared this one with me, but thank you. It includes metrics such as visits and revenue, top keywords by revenue and top referrers by revenue.

4) Ecommerce Dashboard by Blast Analytics. This one includes the standard revenue metrics such as conversion rate and total product revenue, but also ecommerce-specific metrics like average order value and number of transactions.

and finally…

5) Occam’s Razor Awesomeness by analytics evangelist Avinash Kaushik. This one’s not for the faint-hearted. Named for Kaushik’s blog, this dashboard incorporates all of his favorite custom segments and custom reports – nearly 20 views in total, plus a custom digital dashboard.

Happy dashboarding!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "analytics, fast five, google analytics"
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Date: Sunday, 20 Apr 2014 21:57

fast-five

 

Last week I treated you to five of my favorite Social Media Marketing News Sources. This week I share the remaining five that wouldn’t fit on last week’s list.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Social Media News Sources (continued):

1) Social Media Today – This site claims to pull together “the world’s best thinkers on social media”. While that statement is always going to be relative, I can vouch for the consistent freshness of their content. Be sure to check out their infographics channel while you’re there.

2) Social Fresh – Themed in a happy orange, this blog provides exactly what it says on the label – a collection of fresh updates about social media. What makes Social Fresh unique is their angle toward social media education. Their goal is to inspire people to create better businesses through social media via social media conferences and online training programs.

3) Expanded Ramblings Social Channel – As a reminder, Expanded Ramblings have an extensive library of Internet statistics and Infographics. Much of their content is dedicated to social media and this link will take you straight to that good stuff. If you need to find recent social media usage statistics or related stats, you’re bound to find something here.

4) TechCrunch Social Media Channel – As I’ve blogged about in the past, the TechCrunch network reaches over 12 million unique visitors and draw more than 37 million page views per month, with more than 2 million friends and followers on the various social media channels. This is their exclusive news channel for all things social media.

and finally…

5) Social Times – A recent discovery, this site is dedicated exclusively to social media news and is published by Media Bistro – a long time provider of jobs, news, education, events, and research for the media industry.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "blogging, fast five, news, social media"
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