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Date: Thursday, 28 Aug 2014 05:09

QuestionHello Kalena

I’ve been a reader of your blog for many years but have never submitted a question. Until now!

With Google’s recent changes to the algorithm, we have noticed a drop in traffic and rankings for our site (we sell ready-made crafting kits for kids). I suspect it might be related to duplicate content as I’ve been reading how Google will penalize sites that can be loaded with www and also without www. Our site loads for both addresses and I’m worried this means we have been penalized.

I also read that you can fix this issue by using coding called rel=canonical or something like that? I have looked into this briefly, but to be honest, although I’m responsible for the content of our site, I’m a sales and marketing person, not a programmer and I don’t think I have the coding knowledge to use this tool.

Is there a more simple way I can remove the duplicate pages or have our site load just with the www? Or will I need to pay our original web designers to fix this?

Thanks for any advice

Sally

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Hello Sally

Sorry to hear of your traffic drop, but I highly doubt it is due to your site loading for both www and non-www versions of your domain. The algorithm changes over the past 18 months have been related to more complex issues than domain versions.

Even if Google has indexed both versions of your domain, the algorithm is almost always able to distinguish content that loads on both as one and the same. In this situation, Google will usually choose one version and consistently show that version in the search results.

But if you want to instruct Google which version to use in the search results, you can do this from within your Webmaster Tools account by setting the Preferred Domain (sometimes this is referred to as the canonical domain). The Preferred Domain tool enables you to tell Google if you’d like URLs from your site crawled and indexed using the www version of the domain (http://www.example.com) or the non-www version of the domain (http://example.com).

Simply click on the gear icon at the top right when viewing your Webmaster Tools dashboard and then choose *Site Settings* and the Preferred Domain option will come up as per the image here:

Setting-Preferred-Domain-Screenshot
The recommended use of rel=canonical is on a page by page basis, to indicate to Google which version of a page URL to use, if there are several URLs leading to the same page content.

For example, imagine if these URLs all led to the same page content:

1) http://www.blog.com/blue-suede-shoes/
2) http://www.blog.com/blue-suede-shoes&id=72
3) http://www.blog.com/?p=12890

Now imagine that you only wanted 1) to be shown in Google search results. You could achieve this by adding the rel=canonical link element to the < head > tag of each of those pages, specifying http://www.blog.com/blue-suede-shoes/ as the preferred URL.

However, in your situation, the easiest thing would be to use the Preferred Domain tool in Webmaster Tools.

Hope this helps!

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "canonical, duplicate content, google w/m..."
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Date: Monday, 25 Aug 2014 01:31

fast-five

 

It’s been an interesting couple of weeks in search and social. Some new features have been announced and some old ones switched off, with backlash in tow.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Search Marketers Tear Into Google Over AdWords Exact Match Change by Matt McGee. Google have isolated the search marketing community this month, with their announcement that Exact Match keywords will be phased out of AdWords, forcing all advertisers to use close variants. I’ve blogged about this before, when Google first introduced close variants as the default option for match types, but at least then you could opt-out of close variants. Not anymore. I’m not happy and judging by the backlash on social media, neither is the rest of the search community.

2) Google at Work on Kid-Friendly Versions of Its Products by Chris Crum. While we’re talking about Google, some more positive news. The company is apparently working on a new system that would let parents set up accounts for kids under 13 and control how they use services and what information is collected about them.

3) Buying Stuff Within a Tweet is Reportedly Coming to Twitter via Stripe by Mike Butcher. It seems there are businesses that want to sell products from inside tweets. Twitter is reportedly planning to add *Buy Now* buttons within tweets that will make this a reality, by allowing users to enter payment information without leaving Twitter.

4) The Beginners Guide to Establishing Personality and Engagement on a Facebook Page by Jesse Aaron. I really like case studies for how to use social media effectively and this article on Social Fresh contains some goodies. In this post, Jesse Aaron shares 7 neat tactics to use on a business Facebook page to drive engagement and inject some personality into your brand.

and finally…

5) 30+ Advanced Google Search Functions You May Not Have Known About by Craig Smith. This Infographic caught my attention because I like to think I know a lot about Google Advanced Search and I wanted to see how many of the 30 functions I already use. Turns out I knew most of these already, but not *location:* and some of the short-code searches like < tracking number >, < flight number > and so on. Neat!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Facebook, fast five, google, google adwo..."
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Date: Sunday, 24 Aug 2014 06:15

QuestionHi Kalena

I’d like your advice on keyword research please. I generally use the Google Keyword Tool to research keywords to use in our web site, but these are generally skewed to show just US results.

As the UK, Canada and Australia are also big target markets for us, we need to know what keywords people in each of those countries are searching for.

Can you recommend some global keyword generation tools and also suggest some unique keyword research ideas to help expand our keyword focus?

Thanks in advance

Michael

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Hi Michael

Keyword Research is a tricky business and if you target different geographic markets, you’ll understand why.

The search terms that your customers in the UK enter into search engines are often not the same search terms that your customers in the US use, even when looking for the same product!

So using keyword research tools that can provide search trends for different geographical markets can really help you to develop more effective SEO and other marketing campaigns that will appeal to each of your target markets. It’s fine to use the Google Keyword Planner, but remember that it is primarily designed for AdWords advertisers and shows data related to the advertising platform.

Here are some of the keyword research tools that I use most often and I’ve indicated below which ones provide geo-centric data:

  • Raven Tools  – Raven is always my first stop on the keyword research journey, simply because their Research Central interface combines data from Majestic SEO, Moz, Calais and Google AdWords in one easy to use tool. During the research process, you have the option of drilling down to country-specific data to compare local and global search trends from AdWords and even see what domains are currently your biggest competition for your target keywords.
  • Keyword Discovery  – This tool was built by Trellian, based out of Perth, Western Australia, so their data is definitely international in flavor. The interface is a little clunky to use, but once you get the hang of it, you can generate some impressive country-specific keyword data very quickly and export it in various formats, ready to populate your marketing campaigns.
  • Word Tracker  – Allows you to drill down to keyword search popularity in different countries. You can also buy stand-alone keyword reports of up to 100,000 keywords that are segmented by country to show keyword search history for the date ranges you select.
  • Google AdWords Keyword Planner  – The Keyword Planner has replaced the Google Keyword Tool and is a research tool designed to help AdWords advertisers build new campaigns or expanding existing ones. You can use the tool to search for keyword and ad group ideas, get historical statistics and see how a list of keywords might perform. The tool is useful for general keyword research, as long as you keep in mind that the data is skewed to show performance on AdWords, rather than organic search.
  • Google Trends – If you’re looking for a unique source of potential keywords to target, look no further than Google Trends. Google Trends analyzes a percentage of Google web searches to determine how many searches have been done for the terms you’ve entered compared to the total number of Google searches done during that time. You can use the tool to track the historical popularity of a particular keyword, phrase or topic and compare that performance across a range of countries or dates. It’s a marvellous way of narrowing down which search terms to target. For example, if you aren’t sure whether to focus on *cell phones* or *mobile phones* in your specific target market, you can conduct a search and Google Trends will show you which has been the more popular search term over time.
  • Keyword Eye – Another tool that takes a unique approach to keyword research, Keyword Eye uses a visual approach that adds a new twist to keyword brainstorming. You can use Keyword Eye to discover what keywords your competitors have a presence on within organic and paid search. This is done by analyzing the on-site keyword trends within the content of top ranking pages on Google and then displaying them in tag cloud format.
  • Soovle – This tool also uses a visual approach to keyword analysis, this time displaying a range of related keyword searches and word-stemming options relating to your original search term, sourced from a range of search engines and portals including Google, Yahoo, Bing, Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and Answers.
  • Ubersuggest – This free keyword tool can instantly suggest thousands of keyword ideas from actual user queries. Enter your original search term and use the resulting search queries to get more keyword inspiration.
  • iSpionage – A must-have for those of us in highly competitive markets, iSpionage allows you to see which domains are targeting your keywords and out-performing you in Google and Bing/Yahoo. You can drill down to US, UK or Canadian data and isolate both PPC and SEO keyword data.

Hope this helps!

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

 

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Q and A"
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Date: Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 21:31

fast-five

 

I travel around New Zealand regularly, giving in-person training workshops for the Institute of IT Professionals in various online marketing subjects. My most popular workshop by far has been Social Media for Business, likely because many businesses and organizations struggle to understand how best to integrate social into their existing marketing strategies.

During the workshop, I like to show attendees a range of case studies where businesses of all sizes have successfully used social media marketing to promote their products and services and grow their customer base. Some of the biggest success stories I share come from Facebook.

Today’s Fast Five features five of my favourite Facebook business success stories:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Pigtails and Ponys – Remember the The Work Song Nanocluster episode of Big Bang Theory when the gang pitch in to help Penny with her hair clip crafting business *Penny Blossoms* and end up briefly turning it into a successful online business? Well, that’s what Pigtails and Ponys have done, but their success is ongoing. Founded in 2011, Pigtails and Ponys sold handmade headbands in local flea markets. The Indian hair accessories start-up then used Facebook Ads to grow what was once just a flea market booth into a thriving online business, with 70% of its customer base acquired on the platform.

2) Griffins Biscuits – This one is close to home for me. New Zealand based biscuit (cookie) manufacturer Griffins were surprised to find a Facebook page set up by a customer requesting that they re-instate a childhood favorite biscuit that hadn’t been produced for many years. Griffins implemented a Facebook survey to gauge reaction and re-introduced Choco-ade biscuits in response to demand. People bought over NZ $1.5 million worth in the first month, making it the number 1 selling product in the country.

3) Scoot Airlines – Singapore Airlines owned low-cost, long haul flight brand Scoot flies to 10 destinations around Asia Pacific. Scoot achieved impressive brand awareness and a 14x return-on-investment using Facebook to drive ticket sales for its Japan flight launch.

4) Michael Kors - Fashion retailer Michael Kors (of Project Runway fame) recently celebrated 5 million *likes* by launching a limited edition shoe – a zebra print sneaker, no less – for Facebook fans only. To buy the shoe in-store, fans had to quote the secret password. The launch drove a 16-point increase in awareness of Michael Kors sneakers and led to sellouts of some styles online and in stores.

and finally…

5) Visit Florida – Florida’s official tourism marketing corporation Visit Florida wanted to promote family travel to Florida during the Summer months. Through its *Sunshine Moments* sweepstakes campaign on Facebook, Visit Florida saw a 10-point increase in people’s likelihood to consider Florida as their next vacation destination, with 18,481 people submitting photos in the sweepstakes and 279 million Facebook Ad impressions during the campaign.

Are you achieving this type of success on Facebook? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

Happy Facebooking!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "Facebook, fast five, social media"
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Date: Sunday, 17 Aug 2014 03:45

On behalf of Search Engine College staff, I’d like to offer congratulations to our latest graduates of Search Engine College for 2014.

Students named below have successfully completed our Advanced Pay Per Click Advertising course at Search Engine College and attained official certification status (requiring a passing grade of 70 percent or higher).

Pay Per Click Advertising 201

  • Meghan Jump
  • Christine Rokos
  • Sok Khann
  • Hinoh Garris
  • Mary Milner
  • Bonnie Dalager
  • Ashley Washburn
  • Diana Weaver
  • Leona Miller
  • Brett Wohlgemuth
  • Shannon Wampler
  • Linda Ng
  • Cherish Moss
  • Thomas O’Brien
  • Andrea Taylor
  • Christina Bruns
  • Brendan Holmes
  • Artez Young
  • Cherish Moss
  • Lee Chapman
  • Monica Johnson
  • Lori Smith
  • Robert Stevens
  • Maria T Castilho

Congrats to you all! Please contact your tutor if you are still waiting to receive your hard copy certificate, Status Page or certification seal.

Don’t forget to like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter profile @secollege for College announcements such as lesson updates, press releases, new courses, events and milestones.

——————-

Angry about AdWords? Baffled by Bing? Why not learn paid search from scratch the fun way? Subscribe to our courses today!

Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, pay per click, searc..."
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Date: Sunday, 10 Aug 2014 21:02

fast-five

 

Today’s Fast Five is all about online education. Internet based training institutions and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have become exceedingly popular in the past 10 years. Anyone with an Internet connection can now learn anything online, 24 hours a day. Today, we share five (six!) of the most popular online learning web sites. Here we go:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Udemy – describes itself as the world’s online learning marketplace, where 3 million+ students are taking over 18,000 courses in everything from programming to yoga to photography. Each course is taught by an expert instructor, all available on-demand, so students can learn at their own pace, on their own time, and on any device.

2) Khan Academy – is unique because they are a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better. They do this by providing a free world-class education for anyone, anywhere, completely free of charge.

3) Lynda.com – All memberships to Lynda include unlimited access to their online library of over 2,800 video courses. Lynda offers a variety of instructional courses for all levels, including technical skills, creative techniques and business strategies. Courses can be watched from your computer, tablet, or mobile device and you can create and save playlists of courses and even share them with friends.

4) iTunes U – So you thought iTunes was just to buy music and apps? Think again. iTunes U offers educational courses and provides a customized learning experience for both teacher and student. Teachers can create and manage their course and students can experience assignments, materials, and study notes all from the iTunes U app on iPad.

and finally…

5) MIT Open Courseware – MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. MIT OCW is open and available to the world and is constantly updated to reflect the MIT curriculum. The idea behind MIT OCW is for educators to improve courses and curricula, making their schools more effective, students to find additional resources to help them succeed and independent learners enrich their lives and use the content to tackle some of our world’s most difficult challenges, including sustainable development, climate change and cancer eradication.

BONUS! Search Engine College – No list of online education resources would be complete without mentioning our own ;-). Search Engine College offers online self-study and certification courses in SEO, Pay Per Click Advertising (Google AdWords / Bing Ads), Web Site Copywriting, Web Site Usability, Link Building and a range of other online marketing subjects. We have students in 65 countries worldwide, with courses available via any device, 24/7.

Happy studying!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, fast five, search en..."
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Date: Sunday, 03 Aug 2014 21:36

fast-five

 

Move over Google! This week, we’re all about Bing. Let’s get straight to the good stuff.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Bing Looks Abroad by TechCrunch. According to internal sources, apparently Bing is “embarking on the most ambitious geographic and product expansion in its history”. TechCrunch has the lowdown on what this could mean.

2) How Does Bing Choose the Title for My Web Page? by Bing Blogs. Apparently, Bing doesn’t always choose the content of your title tag to display in the SERPs. Who knew? In this post, they explain why.

3) 3 New Bing Ads Geotargeting Features Now Available by Search Engine Watch. Bing Ads recently announced updates to its geotargeting that include more visibility, control, and improved radius targeting for advertisers. This post from Search Engine Watch explains the changes.

4) Filtering Low Quality Links in Bing SERP by Bing Blogs. In this post, Bing reveals how they control the quality of their search results and the methods of spam detection they employ to keep things positive.

and finally…

5) At Five Years Old, Bing Has Come Far, Yet Has More to Grow by Search Engine Land. With Bing turning five this week, Search Engine Land looks at some of their reasons to celebrate, including market share increase and growth of the search platform across Microsoft’s range of products.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "bing, fast five, microsoft"
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Date: Sunday, 27 Jul 2014 20:10

fast-five

 

We’re all about Google in this week’s Fast Five. No Bing, no Yahoo, just Google. Let’s get straight to it.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Promoting Modern Websites for Modern Devices in Google Search Results by Google Webmaster Central Blog. Google has introduced a new feature into the search results this month. When Google algorithms detect pages that may not work on a searcher’s device Google will now indicate this to searchers within the search results pages.

2) New Study: Search Ads Lift Brand Awareness by Inside AdWords Blog. It has been suggested for some years now that when consumers see AdWords ads appearing alongside organic search results for the same company in the Google search results pages, they have higher brand recall than consumers who just see organic search results. A new study run by Google and Ipsos MediaCT has proven this, revealing that search ads lift top-of-mind awareness by an average of 6.6 percentage points.

3) Segmenting Brand and Generic Paid Search Traffic in Google Analytics by Google Analytics Blog. Last month, Google Analytics introduced a new feature which automatically identifies brand-aware paid search clicks. That is, Analytics can now identify query terms which demonstrated visitors who had previous awareness of your brand. This means that you can now split your “paid search” channel into two separate channels: “brand paid search” and “generic paid search”. This can be done both for Multi-Channel Funnels (for attribution purposes) and for the main Google Analytics channel grouping.

4) Searching For the Right Balance by Google Official Blog. The “right to be forgotten” ruling against Google in May from the European Court of Justice is causing increasingly large ripples across the search industry and even spilling into the media at large. In this very enlightening post, Google’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, David Drummond, explains the massive challenge Google faces in figuring out what information they must now deliberately omit from search results. He also discusses openly why Google disagrees with the ruling, calling it very vague and subjective. Drummond reveals that Google has already received over 70,000 take-down requests since the ruling, most of which have arrived with little or no context.

and finally…

5) Mirror Your Android Phone to the TV With Chromecast by Google Android Official Blog. As of this month, Nexus and Android device owners can mirror their Android phones and tablets to their TVs using Chromecast, so they can see their favorite apps, photos or anything else, exactly as they see it on their mobile device, but on the big screen.

Happy Googling!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "fast five, google"
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 04:43

fast-five

 

The news is all about search engines this week. So much is happening in the industry right now, I can barely keep up with it all.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Bing Now Accepting Right to Be Forgotten Requests in Europe by Jennifer Cowan. The landmark ruling in May against Google by the European Union Court of Justice has now influenced Bing. The search company has released a request form for Europeans wishing to take advantage of the recent “right to be forgotten” edict issued by Europe’s top court.

2) Yahoo Search Share Falls Below 10 Percent for “All-Time Low” by Greg Sterling. According to comScore’s U.S. search market share data for June, Yahoo’s search market share has now fallen below 10 percent for the first time ever, with analysts putting the figure at 9.8 percent. In this article, Greg Sterling demonstrates how Bing has grown almost entirely at Yahoo’s expense.

3) Google Analytics Gets Its Own Dedicated iPhone App by Darrell Etherington. Google has finally released an iPhone app for Analytics and it’s pretty damn good. It provides the same data you see when viewing the web dashboard on a mobile device, including visits, sources, page views and user behavior insights. Real Time reports are also included, which allow you to view visitor activity in real time.

4) Google Penalty Hits eBay’s Bottom Line, May Cost Up to $200 Million in Revenue by Danny Sullivan. The true impact of Google’s search penalty against eBay this year has finally been revealed. This article by Danny Sullivan shows that the penalty had a devastating financial impact on the Auction site, to the tune of $200 million.

and finally…

5) Edward Snowden Calls on Hackers to Help Whistleblowers Leak More Secrets by Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai. My curve ball this week is the remarkable appeal from Edward Snowden to attendees of the Hackers on Planet Earth (HOPE) conference for hackers and technologists to help would-be whistleblowers spill more government secrets.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "bing, google, search industry, yahoo"
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 09:38

QuestionHello Kalena

I have read a handful of your blog posts and LOVED THEM. I’ll get to the point. I was looking to see if you could write a post on daily tasks of an SEO business if you had ONE client (to keep it simple).

I have about 60 domains that I use to test SEO techniques, I own two businesses with I SEO myself, I attend many webinars, buy books etc to keep my SEO skills sharp. I pretty good with SEO and running a business.

My problem now is I’d like to run an SEO business but I don’t know what a client wants from me on a day today basis for results. Could you possibly email me or write a post about what I would do day-day for a client. Almost like a checklist. Of course I would have to do many other task that randomly come at me (problem solving).

My brain gets a little jumbled when it comes to organization. Since I’ve never run an SEO business yet, I have no idea what my days would look like. I have my web/graphic design business down perfectly!

I understand you are very busy but if you could give me a little boost I will definitely pay it forward.

Thank you!

Chris

————————————–

Hi Chris

You might be interested to know that our SEO Advanced course includes a whole bonus lesson dedicated to setting up your own SEO business, including recommended tools and checklists.

In the meantime, I actually wrote an article a couple of years ago that might help you. Although it might not be quite be written as the day in the life of a SEO, it IS written as a diary of typical SEO tasks that you need to perform over several weeks. It’s called The 10 Week SEO Diet and there is even a video version.

Hope this helps!

——————————————————————–

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Author: "Kalena Jordan" Tags: "education/training, Q and A, seo"
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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.

——————————————————————–

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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.

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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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