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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 22:04

Be a Better Business Blogger is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

be-a-better-business-blogger

Business blogs can be extremely beneficial for online marketing, and just about every company should have one and know how to use it. Of course, in order to be truly effective, the blog has to have a real purpose. It has to do more than just exist. It has to be focused on supporting your overall business goals.

One of the main benefits is that a good blog is a great vehicle for generating new clients and building a lot of positive exposure for your company. Since these are the two main goals of any good marketing strategy, companies should pay particular attention to the success that a blog can bring for their business.

flat seo background

Most companies understand this, but, unfortunately, many of them are unable to follow through and really turn their blog into a powerful marketing tool. If no one ever posts on it or if you’re only posting random information for the sake of increasing the amount of content, you may as well not even have one.

There are a lot of simple things you can do to avoid some of the more common blogging pitfalls and become a better blogger in general. A good blog is the perfect place to flex your content marketing and SEO muscles, so it’s important to have a plan and follow some basic guidelines.

The Most Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

There are a lot of common mistakes that businesses make with their blogs. These issues are not limited to new bloggers, but they are still considered “rookie mistakes” because they are found more among writers who don’t have a successful background behind them. The three most common problems all have great solutions from the seasoned veterans which help you to start off right.

1. Writing off random bouts of inspiration. If you’ve had a lot of experience writing, you know that Marketing campaign ideawhen you’re focused on a given topic, you are often hit with random ideas throughout the day. However, just because it’s an idea relevant to your business, or just because it’s a unique take on a subject does not mean it is right for your blog. Brainstorming may be an important part of the process, but that doesn’t mean every idea has a place on the blog.

Tip from the pros: Your blog posts should help with company goals whether they are trying to improve your image, grow the company, or make your site a place where customers can come to solve their problems. The blog isn’t a place indulging yourself and your ideas. It is a place for engaging with customers and providing real value.

In a recent post over on the Moz Blog, they even recommend that if your blog posts aren’t seeing engagement in the form of regular comments, then you aren’t doing it right and might as well ditch the entire blog. While it’s hard to completely agree with that sentiment, there is definitely some logic there worth considering.

2. Stiff, formal writing. Most people start out writing with the assumption that they sound more professional if they keep things overly formal. Sounding professional is more than using big words and focusing on pronouns. Stiff writing that worries too much about the technical aspects of grammar and vocabulary will push readers away more than it will keep them around.

Tip from the pros: Relax. Try not to focus too much on all the grammatical rules. (Within reason, of course. You don’t want to look like a complete illiterate, either.) Write like you speak and then go back and make any edits after you finish.

The best blog posts are easy to read and engage a reader in a conversation. Ask questions that encourage readers to leave comments and talk to each other. You should also respond appropriately to any questions as soon as possible. As a writer, there are some simple ways to keep things professional and casual at the same time. This could include:

  • Giving the post some personality with a joke or two
  • Using contractions
  • Keeping the text simple
  • Saying what you want to say without making it sound too flowery
  • Limiting the business jargon

This doesn’t mean you should throw all professionalism out the window. Keep your posts consistent with an outline. Correct misspellings and make sure that your formatting is right.

3. Disregarding the title. The more readers you have, the more likely it is that your blog is going to show up in RSS feeds or on a search engine results page. If your post has a title that is uninteresting, readers may not even click on your post to read it. Research shows that 8 out of 10 people will read the title or headline while only 2 out of 10 are going to go on to read the post. If the thought crosses your mind that the title doesn’t matter that much, think again.

Tip from the pros: Spend at least half your time on coming up with a creative and interesting title. In the article linked above, Neil Patel recommends spending as much time crafting the headline as you do the entire post.

The title should tell the reader what the article or post is about, but it should also make them want to keep on reading. Think of the title as a way to sell your readers. You’re not selling them on a product, you’re selling them on a click. They should want to click that title to read the entire article.

For some more details on crafting a great headline, take a look at the above link. There’s some great information on what elements come together to produce a clickable title.

Practice Makes Perfect

Overall, make sure you are not over-thinking things. Your post is never going to reach perfection and if you try for that, you are going to take up too much valuable time. There are a lot of things you will learn and perfect about your writing over time. None of this is as easy as it looks, but you will get the hang of it quickly if you keep working on it.

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Be a Better Business Blogger is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 00:44

How to Keep Generating More Content (That’s Actually Valuable) is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Many companies are looking for ways to promote their business online. SEO is where it starts, but it’s by producing great content that most new customers find their way to a website. There are so many different strategies that rely on good content, which may include everything from creating blog posts, ebooks, and studies for your own company website to guest posting on other sites and participating in social discussions. These tactics all help boost visits to your website and spread the word about your business.

One of the biggest problems that businesses start coming across, though, is the amount of time it is taking to create new content. While everything is fresh at first, you may have plenty of things to talk about. Unfortunately, soon enough it becomes harder to think of new topics or things that will interest your audience. Eventually it starts so seem like everything that can be said, has been said.

There are a few tricks you can use to make content creation easier, and keep generating useful, valuable content in a more sustainable fashion.

Find Your Best Content

The first thing you should do is go through your archives and find your most popular posts. Consider these pieces some of your most valuable assets because you can repurpose them to create more value for your customers and attract even more traffic. There are two main criteria that this content should have:

  • Timeless Information – The topic covered should have information that will always be relevant, or at least serve as a strong foundation in a developing industry.
  • High Quality – The information needs to have a high standard of quality. Unique images, strong writing, and a relevant message all contribute to the usefulness of the post and its ability to continue bringing traffic.

Studying the analytics and going through your archives will help you find the posts that best meet these needs. And, now that you have a good baseline, you have a launching pad for more content.

Create a List

Using your popular posts and other successful content pieces, create a list of possible titles and ideas that have to potential to be expanded upon. If you feel like there is a lot more to be said on one subject, create more titles and ideas on that particular topic. Place these at the top of the list since they will provide the most fertile ground for new ideas to grow.

Any time you need to create a new blog post, refer to your list for a quick idea. Mix up your topics or try doing a series with up to three parts to keep your readers interested.

As you write, keep a few things in mind to help your posts easier to read:

  • Engage your readers – Start a conversation with readers participate and interact in the comments. This way your blog becomes a really good reference point.
  • Keep your posts concise – Stick to the point and keep things simple. If you have more to say, try splitting them up and get an entire series out of it.
  • Show the facts – Using solid data to validate what you say will make your point, but it will also make it easier to return to the information in the future.

The point of your list is to help decrease the amount of time you spend on each post. If you know what works and what doesn’t, it will be much easier to set your content strategy and produce relevant content. Try not to over think things. The writing should come fairly easily.

Repurposing Content

There are different ways to discuss each subject on your list, but if you start to feel like you have gone over them from every possible direction, creating content becomes more difficult and requires more time. One of the best tactics in these cases is to start repurposing the things you’ve already written. Simply take the list of best content you created earlier and find different ways to show it to a new audience.

1. Change the appearance. Posts that have a lot of interesting statistics, valuable quotes, or great pieces of advice are ideal for changing the information into a method that is more easily shared on social media sites. Some examples could include:

  • Creating a slide show or PowerPoint.
  • Using online tools like Presi or Piktochart
  • Building an infographic

Other ways you can consider changing your information’s presentation is by developing it into a more detailed form, like an ebook, podcast, webinar, or video series.

2. Construct an instructographic. Pinterest and other social sites where users thrive on doing things themselves love this type of specialized infographic. This is a step-by-step tutorial in pictures that instructs on accomplishing a task that needs to be broken down into specifics. This can only be done with certain topics but is a great option for repurposing content into a different format.

3. Refresh and republish old posts. Linking to past posts is great, but sometimes older posts have information that has become out-dated. If new information has been found that changes something you quoted or published, this is a great time to update the post. After you have modified it, you can republish this post with a note about what you changed and generate more traffic to it.

Another way to publish old posts is to do it on someone else’s site. Consider guest posting with a new version of an existing post. Guest posting has to be done with care and attention, though. This isn’t something you can just throw out there anymore. Still, since you’re attaching it to content that has already proven itself successful, it may make it easier to get a valuable placement.

Stick to your Plan

Once you have gone through the steps of creating lists of your most popular posts and possible future blogs, use them. Stay on top of updating these lists as you continue to develop your content and ideas so that you will have great tools to fall back on. This will help to alleviate a lot of the stress and pressure that comes with creating new content.

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How to Keep Generating More Content (That’s Actually Valuable) is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Monday, 21 Jul 2014 18:07

SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 21, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Megan Fludd. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

marketing

In the SEO industry, we all are here primarily to drive traffic to our clients’ websites. Like us here at SEO.com, you may also be offering a comprehensive marketing experience, maximizing the overall benefits of SEO for your clients. However, marketing and optimization can sometimes only be half the battle when it comes to generating business for clients.

This week, we’ll address some articles we’ve come across that share some key things we can do to keep the traffic coming. These are things that anyone with their own website can do to go beyond marketing tactics and SEO strategy to help boost sales.

Knowing What Users Experience is Key

Everything a visitor sees on a website – what they read, calls to action, menus, links, etc. – they all matter to a user and all play a role in what someone will do once they get to a website.

After visiting the insightful blog over at MOZ, we learned that when hoping to improve the user experience on a client’s site, it’s better to prove the results rather than go off of gut instinct alone – especially when there are colleagues or powers-that-be who are less than convinced that a site needs improvement. The best approach is to prove that there is always room for improvement.

Kristina offers us four useful sites to help us prove that user experience could be better and what areas should be improved upon.

  1. Qualaroo allows you to place any question onto the lower right hand corner of any pages of a site and collect feedback from visitors.
  2. Mechanical Turk or Feedback Army, which according to Kristina is “a guy using Mechanical Turk for you, because mTurk’s interface is pretty clunky.” These are both survey-like tools that allow you to lead users to the page of the site you want to be reviewed, ask specific questions as you would on Qualaroo, and collect feedback.
  3. UserTesting.com is a pricey option but allows testers to be very specific demographic-wise on who is testing the site and gain valuable feedback on what the entire user experience is.
  4. Good ‘ole Google Analytics won’t provide specifics, but it can tell us a lot about behavior and patterns of site visitors to see if they’re having trouble with calls-to-action, navigation, etc.

So if you’re looking for feedback on where to improve your overall user experience, these are the places to begin. If you head over to MOZ’s blog post, you’ll also get some information on how to present and test potential solutions to site issues.

Growth Hacking Makes Money

There are always ways to improve existing marketing tactics to turn them into sales, and SEOblog.com lists 10 tactics that are part of a topic that has been around for a while called “growth hacking.” While not a new strategy, it is still proving to be effective. Growth hacking is essentially a creative combination of tactics to generate sales.

Some of my favorites are:

  1. Linking to landing pages rather than the home page to create an experience for users, leading them to pages that you feel they want to go and that provide answers to their questions or meet their needs.
  2. Retargeting – Track where your site visitors hang out, such as their favorite social platforms, and, while we won’t use the words “stalk them,” you should hang out there, too. Target them with advertising in those particular spaces.
  3. Utilize “split testing” to make small changes a page to see what helps the page perform better. Experiment and add new pages and ideas as much as possible to see what works for you.
  4. As SEO professionals, of course we appreciate a successfully optimized home page, so this is a tip we just couldn’t pass up. You’re linking visitors to landing pages, but the home page is what will really sell them.
  5. “Referral loops” can allow you to give incentives for people to share you with others. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to market.

Now there are 5 other tactics that you just might want to hear about, so head over to SEOblog.com and check them out so you can sell, sell, sell.

Use the Latest Trends to Your Advantage

It’s no secret that utilizing social media can increase both sales and traffic, but perhaps one of the top sites generating buzz right now for adding to increased sales is YouTube. Use it to your advantage.

We took a look at an article form Social Media Today to find out just what people are looking for.

  1. Informational videos on the product and how it works, or basic information about your company make great videos when it comes to potential customers. You don’t need to have anything fancy or complex.
  2. A bare channel won’t get you anywhere, so optimizing it, branding it, and creating a schedule and posting strategy is just as important on YouTube as it is on any social site.
  3. Tell people to buy your stuff with annotations. These are little bubbles that can give links or calls to action right on your video.
  4. Social Media Today suggests using sites like FameBit. This site lets you use the power of influencers and stars to help your videos go viral.

Creating simple and useful videos, posting them on YouTube, asking for what you want (people to buy), and generating a buzz will help turn your YouTube page into a major sales driver.

In summary, to increase sales, all sites should create a great user experience based on proven knowledge and feedback. Businesses should exercise established tactics to create this experience and bring people back to their site. Companies looking for sales should also use the latest trends like YouTube to bring it all home and get their brand out there in a unique way, while remembering to “ask” people to buy in that space. Using these tactics should help you and your clients generate a successful strategy to increase sales.

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SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 21, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Megan Fludd. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Megan Fludd" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing, SEO Tips, Socia..."
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Date: Friday, 18 Jul 2014 18:45

What Do the Largest Websites Have in Common? What Can We Learn From Them? is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

What-Do-the-Largest-Websites-Online-Have-in-Common-

The largest websites in the United States all have completely different purposes and target different demographics, but they all still share some common core internet marketing principles that make them successful. These are the types of things that every small website can learn from.

The marketing principles you can learn from the best of the best are powerful because they helped launch and sustain billion-dollar companies. These aren’t necessarily difficult strategies and tactics, and they won’t cost as much as you might think, so any small company can follow these examples to grow and see an increase in traffic and possibly even conversions. Let’s get started.

For the purposes of this article, I looked at the top 100 websites in the United States according to Alexa. Just to keep things simple, I’ll just include each website’s ranking on this list whenever it is mentioned.

1.  Massive Daily Content Creation – The biggest news channels like ESPN (24), or the biggest social platforms like Facebook (2), Instagram (16), Pinterest (12), and ecommerce sites like Amazon (5), are constantly adding pages to their website. This isn’t just a blog article a day, either. Some of these websites are adding over a hundred thousand pages to their website every day.

Even though it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the oceans of content sweeping onto the world’s largest platforms, small websites should push for more and more content every single day.

It can be articles, it can be new or updated product pages, it can be user-generated profiles and questions. Adding more valuable content will keep increasing the overall usefulness and value of the site.

2.  User-Generated Content – Nearly all of the top ten most-visited websites in the United States allow the public to add content onto a section of their website. Google built Google+, which is connected to the Google.com domain. Although you just can’t necessarily add content to their search engine, you can to your Google+ profile. Google+ is on a sub-domain, but it’s still branding Google’s website and it will increase engagement with users. Building content platforms for users to generate content is an ideal way to constantly add more content to a website.

Obviously, most companies don’t have the money to build an entire social platform onto a sub-domain, but some other large companies have forums built into the ‘help’ section of their website to answer frequently asked questions by website visitors. Guest columns will work if you want your traffic to write for you. It doesn’t cost much to build in a guest column, and the article approval process can be quick and simple.

Historically, user-generated sections of websites would get spammed out. Even blog commenting is technically a form of user generated content, but it takes time to monitor spam (which is discussed next). Be sure to be aggressive with spam monitoring when you have a user generated content section.

3.  Spam Control – One area most of the major websites invest in is spam control. Managing the negative, low quality, or abusive content is not cheap and usually requires more than just money and employees. It requires a good plan of action. Companies like eBay (7) and even Wikipedia (6) have had to adjust strategies and hire experts to come in and develop strategies to protect their website.

Google (1) is constantly updating its algorithm, so not only do you get the most relevant results, but they are always trying to catch spammy websites or lower their ranking positions. Spam is poison, you don’t want to feed search engines poison or they will just de-index your website.

4.  Older Websites – Six years ago, Groupon (93) was launched and is currently one of the youngest websites of the top 100 largest websites in the USA. Craigslist (10) and eBay (7) both launched in 1995 and will turn 20 years old soon. Facebook (2) made its debut in 2004 and is just over ten years old while Google (1) was launched towards the end of 1998.

Most of the top 100 websites launched before or after the year 2000. Although some of the companies were the quickest ever in our nation’s history to make a billion dollars, the truth is to be a successful website online it really does take some time and maturity.

The internet is more competitive than ever before and Google’s new search engine algorithm is making internet marketing harder to do, and it takes a little more time, strategy, money, branding, viral word-of-mouth, and patience.

When Microsoft launched Bing in 2009 they thought their money could beat a search engine that was an 11 years old at that time, but it didn’t come close. Money helps with internet marketing but it won’t automatically win the game if your competitor arrived first and has established itself as popular and relevant. It’s easy to want things now, but patience is a virtue for a reason, and websites aren’t excused from this rule. New websites need to stick at it and prove they’re trustworthy over time.

5.  Industry Leader – LinkedIn (8) is the industry leader for employment job social networking websites. Reddit (21) is the leader with social bookmarking online. ESPN (24) is the world-wide leader in sports. Being a leader in the industry brings on great brand recognition. Websites should not only be striving to rank first on Google but they should be striving to be the leader in their industry.

If it’s unrealistic to catch up to the current leader in the industry, establish something unique about your brand and be the leader for that niche. Being an industry leader has many SEO benefits as well. Search engines pay attention to brand signals now, and will often rank the brand with the most authority and relevance over anyone else for a lot of related searches.

6.  Large Audiences – Google’s (1) Facebook page has 16 million followers (likes). YouTube (3) has 80 million likes on Facebook. Even websites further down the list like Bank of America (35) have 1.9 million Facebook likes. The New York Times has 7.3 million likes on the social platform. These brands have the We love itmoney and the popularity to build large audiences on multiple social websites. They also have access to the experts and teams to help increase their social presence.

Social signals impact search rankings depending on the search engine. Google pays attention to Google + while Bing gives more weight to Facebook and Twitter. Social signals create launch pads for link building. If a website has over a million likes, the viral traction of one post can build natural links and social shares to a sites page. Building the social audience is key to a brand’s success and smaller websites should take note of that.

7. High-Quality, Simple Websites – Apple.com (30) offers a platform that doesn’t have a crazy design, or annoying Flash animations, or even pop ups, it’s just simple, plain and very easy to navigate around.  All ten of the top performing websites in the United States have a white background on their homepage. The color white is simple, and clear, and is a great canvas on which you can highlight your other brand colors.

Small businesses fall into these traps of wanting fancy websites with all the gimmicks. The truth is simple, clean and professional is the ideal direction to go when designing a website. It establishes an easy user experience and is quite affordable. Small businesses should start with something simple and, even as they grow, try to keep everything nice and orderly.

8.  The Focus on a Broader Target Audience – Smaller businesses with lower budgets tend to focus heavily on the person who is most likely going to buy their product. There’s nothing wrong with this at all, and with a smaller budget it’s wise. It’s wasteful to focus your ads on people that won’t convert. However, if you want to start building your overall traffic, so you can increase the pool of potential buyers, you’re going to need to target a bigger audience.

targetmarket

All of the five biggest traffic websites online target the general public. Facebook (2) started out by focusing on the college population but now reaches your grandparents. Although 80% of Pinterest users are women, more and more men are finding their way onto the world’s largest image bookmarking website. Amazon and eBay all target the everyday consumer. Google averages 2 trillion plus searches a year on their platform.

These websites focus on marketing that builds their brand. If your business model is focused on larger transactions it should focus on an audience. If it’s focused on branding and being a huge website, you’ll have to go after a wider audience. These brands figured out how to offer value where all ages and people will be attracted to their product.

9.  An Online Focus, No Brick and Mortar Stores – Apple.com (29) is the first of the top 50 websites online that also has offline locations spread out in local communities. Chase (34) and Bank of America (35) offer bank locations all around the nation, Wal-Mart (40) has stores everywhere as well. Only five of the top fifty websites have stores for the public to visit. The other forty-five only focus on online services.

What we can learn from this is the big websites are dedicated to dominating the online world. From day one they’ve been building their brand online. When businesses focus all of their efforts online, websites naturally create better websites with great user experiences, and they offer higher quality content. Focusing too much offline can hurt your online presence if it’s neglected.

Summary

In every sport, the best thing the young athletes can do is learn from the best. This concept applies to internet marketing. Although your industry might be different, your product might be different, or the mission of your website might be different than these large online web beasts, you can learn principles that can take your website to new levels. Be sure to express your thoughts below.

Questions Answered in the Article

  • What do the largest websites online have in common?
  • What are key internet marketing principles?
  • What does it take to get high amounts of internet traffic to a website?
Get Internet Marketing Insight For Your Company - SEO.com

What Do the Largest Websites Have in Common? What Can We Learn From Them? is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Jonathan Goudy" Tags: "Blog, Marketing, SEO Tips"
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Date: Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 19:07

Is Tumblr Really a Valid Marketing Tool? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Is-Tumblr-Really-a-Valid-Marketing-Tool-

Just over a year ago, Yahoo! paid a billion dollars to acquire Tumblr. They may have done this to get in on the social scene and expand their offerings, or they may have just been trying to impress the cool kids. Either way, this caused a lot of talk in the industry, and a lot of marketers were writing about the best ways to use the microblogging site in their content marketing campaigns.

So, in the last year or so, what has changed? Is it still a valid marketing tool?  Is it worth getting involved with one more social platform when you already have a blog that demands your attention like a very loud and very spoiled child?

Let’s take a look at what Tumblr really is. A lot of you have likely heard of it, heard that it was something you needed to get involved with it, but weren’t sure what, exactly, it was. Ask anyone what Twitter is and they’ll tell you that it’s for updating the world on what you ate for dinner. Ask someone else what Pinterest is for, and they’ll say recipes and crafts. (Neither of these things are completely true anymore, but go with me on this.) If you were asked what Tumblr is, would you say:

a)      Just one more free blogging site
b)      A place for hipsters to post pictures of people who are well aware they’re way cooler than you
c)       A dumping ground for memes and gifs
d)      A conglomeration of rabid Sherlock and Dr. Who fans
e)      A corner of the internet with readers who will be quick to defend or destroy everything you post

Of them all, e) is probably the closest to the correct answer.

However, because all those other options aren’t exactly wrong, a lot of companies have written off Tumblr as just being too unprofessional. Then again, a lot of really big brands have jumped on the Tumblr train and really made good use of it. Just a smattering of examples includes:

  • Calvin Klein
  • Audi
  • Target
  • Disney
  • eBay
  • GQ
  • Coca-Cola

It is getting a lot of notice because the word has gone out that the ever-important demographic (those under 25 – otherwise known as the “cool kids”) have gotten bored with Facebook. What? I hear you say. Facebook is not dead, you add. Facebook is life! Well, there are a lot of people out there looking for a new life – one in which they can express themselves, and one in which they are no longer assaulted by unwanted friend requests and farming simulators.

Tumblr has become the single blogging platform where your general worthiness isn’t based on page views, but about your community – the people who have found and liked your stuff.

But What Is It Really?

Tumblr hit the sweet spot right between Pintrest, WordPress, and Facebook. It has the blogging tools you need to present yourself how you want, the social media tools that make it easy for people to find, share, and subscribe to your stuff, and an image-centric community that makes it ideal for people with a lot visuals.

Consider if you will, the humble hashtag. While this is something that you can use in Facebook, it doesn’t have a whole lot of meaning. In Tumblr, however, the hashtag is actually useful because users are actually using the platform to find new content. Facebook keeps modifying its algorithm to reward content creators who pay for more reach – i.e. just to reach the people who are already following you. The blogging mentality of Tumblr means that you can reach people who are simply looking for good content.

It certainly sounds like there’s a lot of potential here to reach new customers and make it easy for them to follow and share your stuff.

Why Does It Matter to Marketers?

According to Tumblr’s numbers, there are 125K new users signing up every day, and there have already been 189 million blogs and 83 billion posts created (almost 93 million a day). The level of activity on Tumblr is growing faster than almost any other platform.

tumblr_n5iuq0T6gr1rcj6axo1_1280

Image source: marketr.tumblr.com

But this is just the start. According to some other figures, Tumblr is growing in many different ways and posting some impressive stats, including:

  • 300 million unique monthly visitors
  • 20 billion page views per month
  • 28th highest traffic site on the web
  • 65% of users have a college education
  • 50% of users are under the age of 25 (which may not be as cool as they seem to imply, because we could just as easily say that 50% of users are over 25)
  • 17% of visits occur while at work, meaning most users are at home where they can take some time and enjoy the content

Once something makes it on Tumble, it also tends to have a much longer lifespan. This graph shows one of their latest studies to see how long the audience kept information about their favorite show circulating on Tumblr and Twitter.

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Image source: marketr.tumblr.com

So Is It for You?

Okay, so it’s got a lot of great features. Is it really worth the effort for you to add yet another social platform into your campaign? There are a few things that may determine whether or not it will be worth it to you.

Think of Pinterest. If you’re using it, or can use it, you can probably make good use of Tumblr, too. If your company is very image based – products, charts, developments – or your company culture is something you show off, this can be a powerful tool.

You may also employ Tumblr if you want to start building a new audience. Maybe you want to share more casual items about your company, but your blog has been cultivating a very professional audience. Maybe this is where you can share incidental stuff to your business, things that don’t fit anywhere else but might attract more followers.

If You Gotta Do It, Do It Right

So you’ve decided to bite the bullet and jump on the Tumblr train. You’ve decided it can work for you, so you need to strategize a little to make sure it will work for you.

  • Use Images – If you provide no images, you provide no reason for anyone to share your stuff.
  • Be Focused – Don’t try to be everything to everyone on Tumblr. This audience likes finding content about their favorite things, and they like a unique perspective.
  • Be a Person – Not a marketer. This is not the forum for marketing messages. It’s a place for hanging with the cool kids.
  • Provide Quality – Don’t believe that the casual nature means that you can be sloppy. Aim for high-quality, valuable content, just like everything else.
  • Quick Updates and Evergreen Content are Both Valid – By its nature, things posted on Tumblr have a longer lifespan, but users still prefer some brevity in their content. Still, it’s a good place to host some evergreen content that users can keep coming back to.
  • Be Shareable – Give people a reason to share something. Text-heavy articles are pretty bland, long content is only shared if it really has something worthwhile in it, and memes are only interesting the first hundred times they’re reblogged. Be creative and go for an emotional response.
  • Be a Brand – Give your audience what they expect from your brand, or be very clear that your Tumblr exists specifically to give them something new.
  • Be a Pal – Follow, share, and reblog other stuff. Respond to comments. Make comments on other posts. Networking – remember that?
  • Don’t Just Reproduce Your Blog – Focus on something particular about your brand. Branch out. Get philosophical. Find a new angle on your product that may not be a direct benefit, but is still cool.
  • Ask for Submissions – Work with your community. People on Tumblr are used to creating content, so it’s not such a big step for them to create something for you. There’s a submission feature that you can enable on your Tumblr if that kind of interaction fits with your strategy.

Tumblr offers a lot of opportunities for large and small companies. While a lot of big brands have shown that they can build a great audience on the platform, many small businesses have moved in and done the same. It may not fit with your overall strategy, or you may simply not have enough time for yet another social media channel, but as the audience there continues to grow, it will become harder and harder to ignore.

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Is Tumblr Really a Valid Marketing Tool? is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Andy Eliason" Tags: "Blog, Social Media"
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Date: Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 19:32

Frustrations With Resumes And Interviews is a post by SEO expert Boyd Norwood. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Frustrations-With-Resumes-And-Interviews

I recently read a post from Seth Godin titled “References available upon request”.

It got me thinking about the hundreds of resumes I’ve skimmed and the dozens of interviews I’ve conducted, specifically for those people we hired over the last four years.

This is all anecdotal, but here are my conclusions:

  1. Hiring based off of resumes and interviews alone is only slightly better than picking applicant’s names out of a hat
  2. Some of the best interviewees ended up being the worst employees
  3. Some of the best employees had mediocre interviews
  4. A college degree does not predict success in SEO
  5. Collegiate athletes or people who grew up on farms are consistently great employees
  6. The “Objective” section on a resume is a bunch of fluff and is not helpful at all
  7. If you don’t know what Alt Tab does, you won’t work out
  8. Knowing someone who already works for the company significantly increases your chances of being hired

The main thing I look at on a resume is work history and skills. I’m looking for experience with online marketing, and then I’m going to ask questions to see how in-depth your knowledge is about the items you listed.

One thing

The best thing to bring up in an interview is examples of projects that you worked on directly and the results that came about because of your efforts.

What are your thoughts about resumes and interviews from your experience?

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Frustrations With Resumes And Interviews is a post by SEO expert Boyd Norwood. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Boyd Norwood" Tags: "Blog, Successes"
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Date: Tuesday, 15 Jul 2014 16:10

Social Media for the Small Business is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Social-Media-for-the-Small-Business

Small businesses have to be extremely careful with their time and budget. Most understand that social media is an extremely important part of modern business practices, but they either do not have the time, money, or experience to do it right.

Social media is not just for big businesses with huge budgets and a dedicated staff. It can be the key to success for smaller businesses, too. It is the perfect way to engage with potential clients, gain more online presence, and set yourself apart from the competition.

You actually might even have an advantage as a small business.

Why is social media beneficial to small businesses?

Social media platforms are a great place for small businesses to increase engagement and gain loyal customers. In fact, they have a few advantages and can do some things that the big guys cannot.

With a smaller business, you can respond to followers’ questions and comments quickly and clearly. You can provide real-time answers and give a voice to your business without having to run everything past the legal department.

Many small businesses interact more with their followers by hosting giveaways and promotions. You may not have as many participants, but that just means your customers have more of a reason to follow and engage with you online.

With a small business you can communicate your personality through your interactions with potential customers. Big businesses have many hoops to jump through and corporate executives to please. As a small business you have more room to your personality and give your business a voice people can relate to.

This type of marketing can often help keep a small business afloat. If customers are having problems, you can quickly (and publicly) address them. If they are satisfied with your service, they will share it with a huge community. Customers aren’t afraid to post their true feelings about a company’s services or products, and getting real feedback can improve your reputation and help your business cater to the needs of your clientele.

What are the best social platforms to use?7-social-media-activities

Small businesses have limited time and cannot maintain a good presence on all the networks. It can be difficult to know which is best for your company, but understanding their characteristics can help narrow your focus.

Facebook is where the most people are – so it can’t be ignored. Pinterest is great for businesses that have a visual focus or lot of individual products. Twitter is fast and simple. Google+ is critically important for search engines.

You have to prioritize.  Who is your audience? Where are most of your potential customers spending their time? What age group are you targeting? Matching your audience to the audience of a specific social network will result in the greatest conversion of followers to customers.

How do you get involved in social media that creates results?

There is some method to the madness of promoting your business through social media. As you dive into marketing, your top priority should be to build a relationship with your customer. Be creative. Be entertaining, and be engaging. Try some of the following ideas to get followers to interact with your business.

  1. Offer special deals to online followers. Post coupon codes. Mention offers just for followers.
  2. Post videos on YouTube. Include links in your posts to videos that promote your products.
  3. Answer customers’ questions and concerns. Engage in conversations with them and maintain positive interactions.
  4. Post trivia and questions to keep followers interested.
  5. Make connections with other businesses and important online figures. Everyone online has their own agenda. Do your best to support others and you will receive support in return.

How do you move past “just posting things” and turn your social media campaign into a profitable marketing channel?

The key to marketing through social networks is conversation. You must engage with your audience. This is the key to forming a relationship with followers that will turn them into loyal customers.Social Media Conversion Funnel.fw

Try to make your online interactions similar to those you would have in real life. Find your customers, engage them, invite them to check out your offerings, and make it an easy for them to talk to you – just like you would do in person.

When posting, keep your audience in mind. What do they like? What do they care about? Post questions and polls to encourage conversation. Post pictures of other customers with your product. Give everyone a chance to be part of your feed by asking for submissions or suggestions. Post information to educate and entertain followers. Keep posts light-hearted and humorous. If you are putting a smile on your followers’ faces they are more likely to start a relationship with you.

We live in a world where everyone has their smartphones with them at all times because we don’t want to miss a single update. If your business is not currently using social media, it is time to start. Social media is an important marketing tool and can keep your business relevant as you get involved with your customers and others in the industry.

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Social Media for the Small Business is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Social Media"
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Date: Monday, 14 Jul 2014 15:40

SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 14, 2014 – SEO is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

SEO

There have been a lot of things happening in the last week on the SEO front. Between Google making some fairly significant changes to how they display authorship snippets in its results pages and some interesting studies on the impact search engine optimization really has on your traffic. We also take a look at a great article on how to balance your time between more conventional SEO processes and content marketing.

Experiment Shows Up To 60% Of “Direct” Traffic Is Actually Organic Search

What does “Direct” traffic really mean, anyway? It’s often just a repository for the traffic that is, for one reason or another, hard to classify. Over the years, there have been a lot of things that have changed the way many analytics programs report this traffic. Everything from Google’s shift to encrypted search to browsers simply not reporting where a user came from can change how direct traffic is reported.

It turns out, though, that a huge portion of this supposedly direct traffic is actually coming through organic search results.

How do we know this? Over on Search Engine Land you can take a look at the details of a very interesting experiment. Basically, the people at Groupon delisted their site for a day. (In the article, they very clearly warn against trying something like this on your own.)

The theory is simple. If they were deindexed, even for a short time, the level of direct traffic should have stayed normal. After all, they were all supposedly coming from to the site directly.

You’ll see in the article that this was clearly not the case. Just keep this in mind the next time you need to justify the value of SEO in your marketing campaign.

Google Calls Takebacks on Authorship Photos: An Alternate Theory

A couple weeks ago, Google made some announcements that got a lot of online marketers to start questioning some things. Most notably, the search engine has been pushing the importance of authorship to establish relevance, even displaying the author’s photo next to the description of the post in the search results.

Well no more!

Why? Well, the official reason is that Google conducted some research on the subject and determined that the pictures did not improve clickthrough rates significantly. Let’s also remember that it wasn’t too long ago that Google started cracking down on which authors would have their pictures displayed. Once again, unethical marketers were trying to game the system, so the system got tightened up its parameters.

However, some people had other thoughts. Take for example, this tweet from Rand Fishkin:

We can get into this a little more, though. In this post by Elisa Gabbert over on the WordStream blog, we can take a closer look at the plausibility of this alternative theory.

How to Split Your Time Between Technical SEO and Content Marketing

In this article, Neil Patel draws a broad line between technical (or conventional) SEO and content marketing and asks how, exactly, we could split our time to be as effective as possible. After all, we only have a limited amount of time to spend on any given task, so we want to make sure that our efforts are producing the best results.

SEO and content marketing both have a lot of value, but they address completely different elements of marketing and branding. There was a time when SEO was all you really needed. The way you used your keywords, optimized your content, and build a linking structure was generally enough. It takes a little more than that, now.

Most technical aspects of SEO are fairly well known. But, he says, that alone won’t deliver success. It will, however, set you up for success. So where does the success come from? That would be where all the content marketing comes in.

SEO sets you up to receive traffic. Content marketing sends it. Content is still king. It’s where you can stand out. Everyone can do SEO, and everyone can do content marketing, but only you can do that one creative, incredible thing that makes your company stand out.

The SEO industry is changing all the time, and it can be a really challenge to keep up. Some of these new developments and strategies can help you improve your online rankings and grow your brand. Check out these articles to delve a little deeper into these recent changes.

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SEO.com Online Content Collective, July 14, 2014 – SEO is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Andy Eliason" Tags: "Blog, SEO, SEO Tips"
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Date: Friday, 11 Jul 2014 16:23

How to Really Win With Article Marketing is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

How-to-Really-Win-With-Article-Marketing

If you’ve been in the internet marketing world for a while, you’ll know that article marketing is generally considered a low quality strategy. Back before some of Google’s search engine updates, SEO companies would just spin thousands of articles onto cheap article sites to get thousands of fake and cheesy links. This practice worked once upon a time, but now it just poisons your reputation and is not worth ever considering.

Article marketing, however, is still around and can be an effective strategy if websites play their cards right. It takes the form of press releases, news articles, blog posts, guest blog articles, and even just articles, and it has the potential to reach a lot of new customers.

The Article Marketing Conversion Rate Truth

Marketers often get so hungry for sells and conversions that they quickly move away from strategies that don’t produce results. This means they will look deep into their web analytics and notice that traffic from the blog is just not converting. These numbers may convince them to discard or otherwise change their current efforts.

Article marketing has this wonderful reputation of not producing sales online. Businesses small and large quickly get discouraged with article marketing because they spend their time and energy pumping out article after article while the conversion rate just gets lower and lower to the point where it seems like they’re throwing money out the door by using their time poorly.

The simple truth is that very few people are looking to buy something when they’re reading through some informative articles. There’s a time we get on a search engine to go buy a product, and there’s time we get on to just learn something about a service or a product. Most of the time we’re searching to learn something.

This doesn’t mean these visitors don’t provide any value for your company. You have a huge opportunity here to welcome the traffic that only wants an education from you. Don’t get discouraged and stop producing for them.

Capture the Email if Not the Sale

A lot of people are willing to give their email instead of their credit card number. Email marketing has a email
higher conversion rate than article marketing, and both marketing strategies can complement each other and piggy back off one another. If you’re looking to have a killer article marketing strategy, make sure you have a killer email marketing strategy.

There are plenty of websites that produce amazing content for their blogs, but fail to capture an email address they can use later. Once you have that information, you can keep those visitors engaged over time. They may have found you through a blog article, but they will keep coming back through email. If you have their email you can pitch content and promotions and increase the chances they will eventually become a paying customer. This strategy involves patience and a quality form in the right place at the right moment to capture their information.

Capture the Social Share if Not the Email

Very rarely will people share website homepages on their social platforms or even category pages. Articles, social shareshowever, are readily shared across the social web, which means that your content should complement your email marketing strategy as well as your social media marketing strategy.

Great, high-quality articles can build viral social traction to your website if you have the social buttons in the right place. If you can’t win their sale, or their email, win a presence on their Twitter or Facebook wall. Get their friends and followers to come see your article and capture their email.

Social referral traffic is not known to be the best converting traffic, but if your email marketing is right on the mark, and your article content provides real value, it will all come together to complement your overall strategy.

Capture the Link if Not Sale, Email, or Social Share

Link building has turned into the art of “link earning” because the search engines have gotten so strict on the type of links they consider valuable. There are still webmasters and bloggers looking for good-quality, credible content to reference in their own posts and articles to add more value to their site.

Make your articles credible by referencing the right sources in the right places. This will help convince other websites that you’re the best source for them to link to. As you build powerful and convincing articles on your website the links will come. Once the links arrive, the referral traffic will come, followed closely by the organic search traffic. Your website and brand will build more authority which is the precursor to more sells and wins.

Promote, Promote and Promote Your Articles

Researching and creating your article is a small part of the battle with article marketing. Sadly, many websites get in this habit of creating articles and then just leaving them to sit and hope for a miracle that a search engine will launch the article and promote the content for them.

This will work if you’re a huge brand and your website naturally gets over a million unique visitors a month. Their website alone is a powerful promotional tool. For smaller websites, promotion is everything. Promoting your articles through email marketing is a good start, and promoting them through the brand’s social platforms is a must. Eventually search engines will begin to naturally discover and highlight your content as you work hard to promote your articles.

Be aggressive with your promotions, don’t be shy about showing off your content, and do all that you can do as if your traffic relied fully on these efforts. It will pay off.

Quality Content is King and Quantity is Queen

We’re obsessed with kings. Internet marketers across the world love the statement that content is king. They miss the whole picture with that brief statement. Content is king, and this king will be more powerful if the content actually offers some real value. There have been too many kings in our world’s history that would be modern-day losers because they offered no value, and nothing of substance. This kind of article marketing means your articles have to zing into the hearts of your readers.

The queen is always ignored in internet marketing, but yet the queen holds access to the king’s heart (well kind of). Quantity is a powerful aspect of article marketing because you can begin to qualify for more long tail organic search traffic.

When we talk about quantity, we’re not talking about the old methods of producing as much as you can for as many sites as you can. We’re talking about a consistent stream of quality content. We’re talking about a reason for your readers to come back and visit every day.

Live in the Long Tail

This year there will easily be over two trillion searches on Google, maybe even close to three trillion. With those trillions of searches, Google is focusing more and more on relevance.

Gone are the days when web pages with 200-300 words could rank for two to three hundred different search terms. With a variety of high-quality articles, though, your website can still rank for a variety of different search terms.

The population is getting more mature and familiar with search engines because they’ve been around for so long. With this maturity, for the average searcher is getting more search-engine savvy, and they’re typing in longer phrases more frequently than ever before. Article marketing is where you will capture the long tail traffic, and, frankly, where you should live if you’re doing it right.

Under-The-Radar Keyword Research Method - Scott Cowley

Re-purpose Your Content on Other Major Websites

Converting your article into a video will add value to your YouTube channel. Converting it into a brief slidedeck on Prezi or SlideShare will help build your presence on those websites. There are many other ways you can re-purpose your content into search-engine-indexed digital real estate.

There is a reason for all this repurposing. Sometimes your website will get outranked by your YouTube channel or your Google + page for certain terms. You can make sure the content that shows up in those searches is some of your best.

In Conclusion

Article marketing can be extremely effective for your traffic and conversions if you’re doing it right. If it’s not working for you, chances are you’re still stuck in some of those old strategies and techniques. Quality article marketing is not a cheap experience and it requires more than your money and time. Search engines love and feed off of articles, they want you to write, and they want you to write as much quality content as possible.

Don’t run away from article marketing once you realize the sales aren’t there at first. Time and time again small business owners and webmasters fall into this trap. Great marketing requires a marathon-running mentality, and in this case a marathon with an obstacle course.

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How to Really Win With Article Marketing is a post by SEO expert Jonathan Goudy. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Jonathan Goudy" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing, Link Building"
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Date: Thursday, 10 Jul 2014 16:40

If You Are Measuring Your Success by Keyword Rankings, You’re Doing it Wrong! Pt. 1 is a post by SEO expert Tyson Hymas. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

If-You-Are-Measuring-Your-Success-by-Keyword-Rankings,-You’re-Doing-it--Wrong!

Let’s go back…back to a more simple time. Back to when keyword data was provided in Google Analytics. Back to when we could optimize a page by stuffing the crap out of it with keywords. Back to when we could build, literally, thousands of links in a month (all with exact match anchor text).  And back to a time when Google was returning search results based on keywords in the search query.

Yep, those were the days. To be successful, all you had to do, it seemed, was “out keyword stuff” or “out link build” your competition.

Remember how we were able to track the rankings for a particular keyword and see how successful it was based on the number of visits it drove? We could easily analyze and report on the data, allowing us to identify areas of opportunity with ease.

It’s amazing how things have changed!

Let’s now fast forward to the present day. We are currently living in a world of cuddly black & white birds, bears, and (not provided) data. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, allow me to explain.

Panda

The Panda algorithm hit hard in February of 2011. It is said to have affected nearly 12% of the search engine results. A lot of people felt it! This algorithm was initially designed to target and devalue sites that have thin SEO.com-webinaror low quality content, a high link-to-content ratio, and other on-site quality issues.

Over the years, there have been several updates to the Panda algorithm, all targeting a new focus. Google has provided quality guidelines for site owners to follow and have given a lot of insight into what will cause a drop in rankings. Keyword stuffing, link schemes, and other loopholes to deceive the crawlers are just a couple ‘tricks’ called out in this document.

Penguin

Here is another black & white animal honored by an algorithm being named after them. Ya know… I used to think that pandas and penguins were cute.

Hit By Penguin Algorithm Update

Penguin was rolled out in April 2012. Now, while Panda targeted low-quality on-site practices, Penguin was designed to target low quality off-site practices.

Penguin was aimed to decrease the rankings of sites that consistently used tactics pointed out in Google’s Link Schemes.  Some of the strategies include buying and selling links to pass page-rank, link exchanges, building links to low quality directory sites, and manufacturing links with exact match anchor text.

Hummingbird

In August of 2013, Google updated its core algorithm. They called this update Hummingbird. Basically, this new algorithm changed the way Google is displaying search results. Rather than picking out individual keywords and returning “relevant” results, they try to translate and fully understand what the searcher is looking for. “Conversational Search” is what Google has called it. They want to provide the most relevant answers to the questions being asked by their users.

These 3 algorithms work together. Panda and Penguin are simply add-ons to the core algorithm.

Not Provided Data

Now lets get to the “not-provided” data. In October 2011, Google decided that it was going to stop displaying keyword data in Google Analytics to protect its users privacy. Essentially, if a user performs a search while logged in to their Google account, Google is not going to tell you the search string the visitor used to find your site. Lame, right?

google-moves-to-make-data-secure

Okay, so let’s break this down.

  • We can no longer target “exact match” terms in both our on-page optimization and our link building efforts because of Panda and Penguin.
  • With Hummingbird, Google no longer displays results based on keywords within the search. Instead they are now looking at the entire query. AND…
  • We are no longer able to report on the success of a particular keyword because Google is withholding user data from us.

So I ask: what is the point of spending so much of our time and energy targeting and focusing on a list of keywords?

I’m not saying that higher rankings aren’t a logical goal. What I am saying is that we have no clue exactly how successful a particular keyword is, so why not go after long-tail variations of a head keyword? These types of keywords are going to provide more relevant traffic anyways.

Now sure, you can get into your Google Webmaster Tools account and see how many impressions that keyword got, along with the clickthrough rate, and then go into analytics and see how many visits that page got, but that is still really, really, incomplete data that will be very time-consuming.

How do we get around this?

Watch for my next post that will cover new tactics and a ways we should be measuring success.  These will include:

  • Head Terms vs. Long Tail Targeting
  • Direct Value Reporting
  • Identifying wins and successes
  • Analyzing fails or areas of improvement
  • Comparing Webmaster Tools Data with Analytics data

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. How do you measure success? How to you target keywords? Tell me and I may use your tactics in my next post!

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If You Are Measuring Your Success by Keyword Rankings, You’re Doing it Wrong! Pt. 1 is a post by SEO expert Tyson Hymas. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Tyson Hymas" Tags: "Blog, Keyword Research, SEO Tips"
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Date: Wednesday, 09 Jul 2014 16:07

Top 90 Socially Shared Content Marketing Blog Posts is a post by SEO expert Nelson Scoville. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

content-marketing

The Research

content-marketing

Do you know everything there is to know about content marketing? Do you feel like everyone is just saying the same things in different ways? For those who want to discover a little more more, we took a scientific approach to finding the best (or at least the most popular) blog posts on the subject.

It all started by gathering a large list of blog posts about content marketing. We had to set our own parameters for what could be included (e.g. we decided to leave articles about viral content out and save them for their own list) and then ran each of them through Social Tally to collect the social share data for each post.

From there we reviewed each blog, one by one, to ensure each was relevant to the content marketing industry.  You can see the results below. Thanks to the authors for their contributions to digital content marketing.

top socially shared content

Title Author f_logoLikes Shares Comments tlogoTweets l_logoShares g_icon+1′s p_logoPins Total Shares
1
The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research Kevan Lee 10137 11,512 3,021 4,575 392 29,637
2
The Science of Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide What to Share and Whom to Trust Courtney Seiter 5770 5,185 0 3,270 55 15,704
3
Introducing The Periodic Table of Content Marketing Chris Lake 2182 6,240 1,681 2,275 216 12,594
4
The Anatomy of a Perfect Blog Post: The Data on Headlines, Length, Images and More Kevan Lee 2600 3,510 987 2,194 670 9,961
5
Why Content Goes Viral: What Analyzing 100 Million Articles Taught Us. Noah Kagan 98 4,536 1,495 2,286 110 8,525
6
6 Ways to Measure B2B Content Marketing Performance Derek Edmond 166 7,843 345 83 11 8,448
7
11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs Demian Farnworth 1523 3,112 977 1,353 1,288 8,253
8
16 Quotes That’ll Make You A Better Marketer & Storyteller Shane Snow 818 761 5,818 296 35 7,728
9
Why Companies Need a Head of Content Strategy, Creation and Distribution Data Mining Their Own Information Barry Lowenthal 1227 2,179 3,784 282 21 7,493
10
How to Write The Perfect Headline: The Top Words Used in Viral Headlines Kevan Lee 1497 3,985 877 888 6 7,253
11
The Power of Storytelling: How We Got 300% More People To Read Our Content Alex Turnbull 912 3,919 1,581 728 12 7,152
12
The Content Marketing Forecast: 10 Predictions for 2014 Shafqat Islam 2075 2,974 1,371 356 27 6,803
13
5 Big Brands Confirm That Content Marketing Is The Key To Your Consumer Brandon Gutman 1292 1,839 3,195 218 18 6,562
14
11 Web Marketing and Social Media Trends That Will Shape 2014 Stephanie Frasco 1024 2,012 2,818 597 42 6,493
15
21 Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions for 2015 Lee Odden 1425 2,987 1,452 429 25 6,318
16
SEO is Dead: Long Live OC/DC Sean Jackson 915 1,805 969 2,056 497 6,242
17
10 Ways Brands Will Win With Content Marketing in 2013 Shafqat Islam 1161 3,530 1,132 212 20 6,055
18
Why Content Marketing Fails Rand Fishkin 974 2,336 1,204 1,301 42 5,857
19
29 free Internet tools to improve your marketing starting today Courtney Seiter 1986 2,059 607 1,161 40 5,853
20
101 Different Types of Web Content For Building Your Site Thomas Armitage 3381 1,147 817 250 99 5,694
21
17 Advanced Methods for Promoting Your New Piece of Content Aaron Agius 600 2,920 1,452 674 4 5,650
22
The Ultimate Guide to Repurposing Content: 12 Ways to Extend the Life of Every Article You Write Kevan Lee 668 2,636 655 1,383 274 5,615
23
3 Steps to Identify Blog Topics that are Relevant to Your Audience Aleyda Solis 517 3,464 435 985 58 5,459
24
The Top 7 Content Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014 Jayson DeMers 1100 2,735 1,029 388 52 5,304
25
How to Create Visual Social Media Content Patricia Redsicker 1240 2,633 598 531 192 5,194
26
Bad Grammar Are Bad for Branding: Why is marketing becoming increasingly illiterate? Robert Klara 2969 965 1,065 105 7 5,111
27
The Greatest Misconception in Content Marketing – Whiteboard Friday Rand Fishkin 447 2,477 982 1,181 11 5,098
28
The Advanced Content Marketing Guide Neil Patel 625 2,861 768 675 25 4,954
29
The Marketer’s Guide to Information Visualization: How to Rock Infographics, Shareables, and Slideshows Gregory Ciotti 26 146 34 17 4,706 4,929
30
Where Is Content Marketing Headed in 2014? Chadrack Irobogo 645 1,271 2,230 274 291 4,710
31
The Science of Great Digital Content Ideas Simon Penson 485 2,724 899 576 13 4,697
32
How to Use Data to Improve Your Content Marketing Strategy Ben Harper 587 2,719 980 357 29 4,672
33
10 Content Marketing Growth Hacks Garrett Moon 1067 2,418 409 425 315 4,634
34
Master This Copywriting Formula to Dominate Any Social Media Platform Demian Farnworth 955 1,979 1,122 437 67 4,560
35
Top 10 Online Marketing Experts To Follow In 2014 Joshua Steimle 2114 1,268 646 367 22 4,417
36
Content without Strategy Is Just Stuff Joe Pulizzi 438 569 3,125 236 2 4,370
37
75 Resources for Writing Incredible Copy that Converts Larry Wolf 583 2,564 687 454 27 4,315
38
2014 Digital Trends And Predictions From Marketing Thought Leaders Ekaterina Walter 891 2,151 996 253 18 4,309
39
How to Promote Your Content With Social Media Mike Bal 825 2,147 681 531 101 4,285
40
8 Blog Design Tips to Make Sure People Stop to Read Your Content Adam Clarke 426 2,617 783 401 54 4,281
41
How to Promote Your Blog Content: 40+ Experts Share Marketing Tips Brian Lang 406 2,165 505 1,035 154 4,265
42
10 Charts That Are Changing the Way We Measure Content Sam Petulla 318 2,543 987 361 18 4,227
43
How to Encourage Fans to Create and Share Visual Content Donna Moritz 918 2,311 514 395 43 4,181
44
10 Content Marketing Tips You Can Employ Now Cindy King 570 2,596 622 253 100 4,141
45
15 Types of Content That Will Drive You More Traffic Neil Patel 573 2,040 940 459 104 4,116
46
How GoPro and Tesla hacked digital marketing Dominic Smith 1070 1,718 1,074 243 2 4,107
47
From Google Ventures: 5 Rules For Writing Great Interface Copy John Zeratsky 1452 1,667 562 390 31 4,102
48
Why You Should Care About LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Score Eric Schiffer 3225 256 524 50 1 4,056
49
9 Tips for Creating Content that Gets Shared Michael David 1467 1,717 568 215 56 4,023
50
The Art of Thinking Sideways: Content Marketing for “Boring” Businesses Robin Swire 351 2,650 535 452 7 3,995
51
5 Habits of Successful Content Marketers: New Research Patricia Redsicker 614 2,062 776 350 133 3,935
52
Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos and Social Media to Market Your Business Michael Stelzner 811 2,044 593 331 144 3,923
53
8 Winning Headline Strategies and the Psychology Behind Them Courtney Seiter 509 2223 645 493 9 3879
54
These are the 6 Steps I Use for Great Content Marketing Jay Baer 31 2,953 433 414 18 3,849
55
16 Free Tools That Make Content Creation Way Easier Jay Acunzo 761 1,246 1,262 328 118 3,715
56
The Epic List of Content Strategy Resources Jonathon Colman 393 1,935 492 589 290 3,699
57
22 Content Marketing Experts Reveal the Secrets to Writing Killer Blog Posts! Konrad Sanders 563 2,087 631 309 107 3,697
58
How to Speed Up Your Content Curation Process Cas McCullough 708 2,035 469 394 88 3,694
59
Content Marketing Is A Long-Term Commitment, Not A Campaign John Hall 521 1,771 1,163 206 0 3,661
60
7 Lessons From Content Marketing’s Greatest Hits Gilad De Vries 451 2,026 905 129 53 3,564
61
Top Tips For Optimizing Your Content: 9 Experts Weigh In Arnie Kuenn 401 1,926 625 603 4 3,559
62
8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Blogging Pamela Vaughan 375 2,267 574 274 17 3,507
63
The Complete List of Evergreen Content Ideas for Your Blog Kevan Lee 249 2,004 382 842 0 3,477
64
The Ultimate Blog Marketing Checklist: 57 Tips Mike Murray 305 2,075 764 285 46 3,475
65
12 Writing Exercises That Will Transform Your Copy Today Demian Farnworth 355 2,122 523 407 53 3,460
66
Content Marketing: How to Attract People With Content Michael Stelzner 671 2,086 446 199 52 3,454
67
5 Content Marketing Ideas Worth Stealing Jeff Bullas 200 2,542 458 155 78 3,433
68
Why online video is the future of content marketing Chris Trimble 1018 1,044 974 277 119 3,432
69
Content Outliers: Learning from the Web’s Most Viral Content James Porter 289 2,295 312 430 10 3,336
70
No Words Wasted Kyra Kuik 259 2,145 372 552 0 3,328
71
The Ideal Length for Blog Posts, Tweets, and Everything Else in Your Marketing Andy Crestodina 1136 869 805 333 113 3,256
72
Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy Mark W. Schaefer 745 1,368 510 585 44 3,252
73
6 Ways to Earn Higher Rankings Without Investing in Content Creation and Marketing Rand Fishkin 529 1,622 313 649 17 3,130
74
75 Content Starters for Any Industry Amanda Gallucci 419 1,741 409 494 9 3,072
75
The 5 Brilliant Strategies You Can Learn From Top Content Marketers Eric Siu 1233 1,020 616 149 22 3,040
76
How to Create a Content Strategy Ian Lurie 566 999 526 793 143 3,027
77
The “Secret” to Engagement (Hint: It’s Content) Hillary Frazier 164 141 2,632 63 8 3,008
78
How to Develop a LinkedIn Content Strategy John Nemo 449 1,450 913 174 12 2,998
79
6 Tactics That Turn a Blog Into a Business Engine Stanford Smith 479 1,391 809 260 41 2,980
80
SEO’s Dilemma – Link Building vs. Content Marketing – Whiteboard Friday Rand Fishkin 488 1,187 312 950 26 2,963
81
Is Your Content Strategy Guided by Audience Intent (or Just Keywords)? Laura Lippay 375 1,651 569 340 10 2,945
82
7 Things Marketers Can Learn From 2,616 Viral Headlines. Josh Sturgeon 289 1,915 508 218 3 2,933
83
3 Ways To Scale Your Content Marketing Eric Enge 473 1,714 384 347 7 2,925
84
10 Tactics You Must Use in Your Content Marketing Strategy Sarah Quinn 541 1,558 583 215 23 2,920
85
50 Content Marketing Predictions for 2014 Joe Pulizzi 477 1,411 709 224 76 2,897
86
Why Online Video Is Vital For Sean Rosensteel 687 1,033 1,068 89 10 2,887
87
25 Awesome Content Marketing Tools To Use In 2014 Irfan Ahmad 185 1,199 770 184 526 2,864
88
Top 7 Tips for Effective Content Marketing Mark Lerner 275 949 1,428 183 5 2,840
89
Content Marketing vs. Copywriting: Top Strategies for 2014 Julia McCoy 312 874 1,395 193 46 2,820
90
50 More Business Jargon Fixes for Bloggers and Content Writers Brad Shorr 386 1,753 410 237 30 2,816

 

content-marketing
Let Them Know:

Does your site have the shares to be on the list? Do the number of shares really reflect quality content? We’d be happy to hear your thoughts. Thanks again to all the contributors on the list.

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Top 90 Socially Shared Content Marketing Blog Posts is a post by SEO expert Nelson Scoville. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Nelson Scoville" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing, Content marketi..."
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Date: Tuesday, 08 Jul 2014 15:39

Creating Content that Pushes Buttons is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Creating-Content-that-Pushes-Buttons

Not every industry is what you might call “exciting.” While some writers will crank out amazing posts on topics like relationship advice, politics, health, games, and other fun, controversial, or mainstream topics, others are stuck with the overly technical, completely plain, or utterly boring subjects.

This does not mean that your career is boring itself, but it may not be something that people are jumping online to read about. This can make content marketing more difficult for you, requiring a more unique approach to spice up your content.Blogging is hard

No matter what industry you are in, there are quite a few people who would most likely be interested in reading your material if you present it to them in an interesting way. Everyone has their buttons, even in a traditionally “boring” industry. You just need to know which ones to press.

Tailor to Your Customers

The first thing you need to do is figure out who your ideal customer is. Think about where they are and the problems they are facing. What questions do they have that need answers? Once you have a clear picture of their issues in your mind, you should tailor your content to them.

Some examples of common problems in an industry are only a quick Google search away. If you are in a financial industry, you might talk about investing made easy, or the latest trends in the housing market, and even the most promising up-and-coming industries. These may not be the most interesting topics to everyone, but someone in the financial industry, or with financial interest, is going to research these types of topics.

You can “press their buttons,” if you will, by being the website that offers the high-quality content when they need it.

The Right Words and Images

One of the biggest turn-offs to a reader is when they don’t understand what is being said. Keep the wording simple and straight forward. The large majority of your audience is going to be others who are in the industry, so you don’t have to write like you are talking to a toddler, but be sure that it is easy to understand.

You should always keep the overall appeal of the content in mind. Adding images among your short paragraphs, like quotes, a picture, or graphics, is a great way to break up the monotony of text and keeping the reader interested. If anything is hard to read, the visitor will quickly lose interest and move on to another source.

4 Tenets Your Social Media Should Live By

The Voice of the Content

In order to push readers’ buttons and encourage them to actually read what you put out there, you need to make the content interesting. One of the easiest ways to do this is to add in some humor. When the reading is fun, you can keep a person’s interest for a longer period of time. But is it always appropriate to use humor?

Most blogs and websites have an overall voice that they aim to maintain. While some may try to keep things simple and entertaining, some sites are more professional. If you are hoping to tap into a place with an established following, you should create your content to match the stuff that is already there. If this means going over the top and being weird, then so be it. If it means filling the page with stats and equations, then that is your answer. Those are the buttons you need to press.

If you are putting content on your own site, try to keep things fairly uniform. This can help you start building your own following and establish your own voice. Of course, that shouldn’t stop you from doing something that has more of a “shock factor.” Something a little more controversial can draw in big crowds, which translates to a lot of clicks and comments.

Not every blog and website can publish shocking and controversial topics all the time. There are those that find success in it, but sometimes it is better to have a stable theme and publish these from time to time.

Going Viral

Social media is a powerful tool for generating traffic. Chances are that you are already on some of the sites, but you should consider expanding your reach. Having a presence on the right platform gives you the opportunity to share the link with your friends and colleagues. If you have business partners or employees on the same sites, have them share the links as well so you are reaching a larger audience.

Creative, interesting, and informational articles that really speak to an audience are much more likely to get shared, repinned, and re-tweeted. The best way to tap into that type of influence is to keep things relevant and specific. The information you are putting out there should actually help people by teaching them or reminding them of something important.

This is also when you might take a controversial stand on something. If a certain subject in your industry is prone to inciting some strong feelings, this may be the perfect opportunity to do something memorable. Just be careful. Your readers may end up remembering you for the wrong things if the industry turns against you.

Sharing Your Interests

The next time you set out to create content that really speaks to your audience, keep these tips in mind. Cater your content to your ideal reader and make sure the information you are putting out there is interesting, helpful, and relevant to your crowd. Once you figure out your niche, you will find your own way to make your mark and draw a lot of traffic.

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Creating Content that Pushes Buttons is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Monday, 07 Jul 2014 18:21

SEO.com Online Content Collective July 7, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Melanie Nelson. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

SEO

3 of Google’s Most Important Recent Changes

Google is constantly updating and making changes to each and every one of their services and apps including: Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, Chrome, search engine algorithms, etc. Oftentimes we find these changes are geared toward the user in order to enhance the overall experience. Other times we’re left scratching our brains trying to figure out the reasoning behind their decision.

Everyone has different opinions on the all-encompassing Google world and how things are run. However, one thing all SEOs, content marketers, and digital marketers all agree on is that whether you favor any alterations they may or may not make, you better stay current on what’s happening. If you’re out of the loop, in some cases for even one day, you might spend the rest of your days playing catch up. We would like to save you the time of researching and reading numerous articles trying to find any changes you’ve missed and hand you three articles explaining the most recent and relevant Google changes to the digital marketing industry.

Google Announces the End of Author Photos in Search

  • Why?

John Mueller said they’re working to clean up and simplify the visual design of the SERPs while creating a “better mobile experience and a more consistent design across devices.”

As disappointing as this might be for so many writers around the world, it technically makes sense as the photo owns so much screen real estate on small devices like phones and tablets.

Google has attempted to convince us this was the right decision by saying the click-through-rate has remained the same since the update. The click-through behavior being the main reason they initiated the author photo in the first place, thinking that seeing a real person’s face might make you trust the source more.

Read John Mueller’s G+ announcement here and you can get some other opinions on the subject here.

Google Spam Algorithm 3.0:

The Google Spam algorithm, otherwise known as the PayDay Loan algorithm, launched on June 12, 2014 only a couple of weeks after version 2.0, which targeted spammy sites and even added some negative SEO factors as well. The newer version targets queries.

  • Is this different than Panda and Penguin?

The Payday Loan algorithm is completely unrelated to Google’s Panda or Penguin updates. The Panda algorithm usually targets websites with low quality content. For example, some sites spin articles in order to automatically create/recycle content or hire authors to create very shallow content. The Panda algorithm targets sites like these. The Penguin algorithm, on the other hand, targets artificial links and paid links.

  • How will this affect your website’s rankings?

If your website is not involved in or around porn, gambling, drugs, or any other terms that might be seen as spammy, then it is highly likely your rankings will not be affected at all. A good rule of thumb for any recent or upcoming update is that if the content you’re producing is natural and geared toward the consumer, you shouldn’t have to worry.

For more of the grueling details, Barry Schwartz dives right into this update in his article for seroundtable.

Google Reconsideration Requests:

Most of us in the SEO world have probably come across a case study or two when Google has denied a reconsideration request for no apparent reason – or so we think because Google has never exactly detailed the process…. until now.

This update has made it possible for Googlers to have a comment box they can ‘opt’ (opt being the key word here) to use when rejecting a reconsideration request to give hand typed details explaining their reasoning behind the denial. Unfortunately these custom, site-specific comments are not mandatory for Google. You might get an answer, you might not; and the mysteries of Google continue.

You can find multiple articles surrounding this topic but I found a couple great posts from searchengineland.com that are straightforward and to the point.

If you have a hard time keeping up with Google and its evolution, it might benefit you to follow any of the sources I’ve sited here, along with a few others. Keeping up may seem like a full-time job, but it’s critically important if Google plays a major part of your business.

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SEO.com Online Content Collective July 7, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Melanie Nelson. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Melanie Nelson" Tags: "Blog, Search Engine News"
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Date: Friday, 04 Jul 2014 15:00

How Influencer Marketing Can Change Everything is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

How-influencer-marketing-can-change-everything

No matter how many people you feel like your business is reaching, there is always the potential to tap into a bigger audience. For many, this is the focus of their marketing strategies, but they are unsure what steps they can take to increase website traffic and brand awareness. Chances are that you have tried many different tactics to accomplish those goals, but many companies have yet to get seriously involved with influencer marketing.

What Do we Mean by Influencer?

Every industry has people who could be referred to as influencers. Whether it is in fashion, entertainment, food, or business, each industry has people and websites that help lead and communicate with different groups of consumers. Fashion blogs or sites have writers who share the styles they love with their readers who then try to add the suggestions to their own wardrobe. In the restaurant industry, a review by a food critique or blogger can give one establishment a bad reputation or pique the interest of hungry locals.

Influence Circular Word ConceptEach different area is going to have their own examples, but the one thing that remains the same is that they all have influencers. These individuals have a lot of sway among certain groups, and if they are in your targeted audience, an endorsement from someone they respect and admire can go a lot further than most link building strategies. Also, search engines are actively calculating author authority, meaning more weight is placed on sites that have an established following and continually put out good content.

Finding an Influencer

Chances are, if you have been in an industry for a few years, you know which blogs, sites, and voices your buyers are following. If you need more help in finding some of the most prominent ones, your best bet is to start with the basics. A quick Google search can help you find these sites, blogs, and social media accounts that have a good following, but there are other tools that can help.

Picking an influencer is a little more difficult. Your buyers are all most likely very different and looking for ways to meet various needs. If you sell an electronic gadget, an IT guy may be interested in it for reasons that are totally different than a parent looking at it for their child or teen. Who, exactly, will your influencer resonate with?

Monitor your customers to figure out who you should start to contact. If you are looking to boost your sales or reputation with your teenage audience, you are going to need to write to someone who has the most influence over that demographic. On the other hand, if you are trying to position yourself as a thought leader, you will need someone with a different history and following.

Establishing the Relationship

Even if you have a steady following of 2,000 followers, influencers likely have several times that. By forming a partnership, you have the ability to reach a much larger audience, marketing your products or services and boosting your brand awareness. There are several different things they can do to help you out:

  • Write a blog post or an article about you
  • Share information on their social media accounts
  • Have you guest post on their site
  • Participate in an interview for your site
  • Refer their community to your site if they have specific questions
  • All or a combination of the above

This needs to be a relationship that benefits both parties, so start off with an attitude of give and take where you offer to help promote their stuff as well. Even if you do not have a large following, it is better to begin showing you are not expecting free help. Other tips for avoiding common pitfalls:

  • Outline the goals and expectations for both sides clearly, including what will be done and when.
  • Create high-quality work for their sites with the same time and attention you want from them.
  • Only pitch to influencers who are relevant to your product. If they have never written about anything close to your business, don’t keep pushing the deal along. The placement and recommendations would be ridiculous and unnatural.
  • Clearly say how you are going to measure the success of their endorsement.
  • There is a point when influencer marketing becomes something closer to celebrity sponsorships. In these cases, you may have to provide a little more compensation than just sending traffic back their way. Before going down this road, you need to be sure this will be beneficial.

A Fresh Start

Influencer marketing can change everything for your company. When you are looking to get a bump up on the search engine results list or giving your followers a great place to get information, find a great partner and adapt your marketing plan.

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How Influencer Marketing Can Change Everything is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Marketing"
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Date: Thursday, 03 Jul 2014 13:00

SEO Dos and Don’ts, or Why You Shouldn’t Link Build and What to Do Instead is a post by SEO expert Holly Cordner. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

SEO-dos-and-donts

Algorithm updates. Manual penalties. Unclear guidelines. Contradictory statements. If you’re just starting out in the SEO world (or even if you’ve been around a while), it can be hard to know exactly what Google approves of and what they don’t. How can you be sure that you’re getting the most bang for your SEO buck while still playing by the search giant’s rules?

This post will go over some SEO strategies that you should definitely avoid as well as some sustainable practices that you should put into place. Neither list is meant to be comprehensive—you should instead use them to consider your own marketing approach and make changes as necessary.

2007 Called. It Wants Its Link Building Strategies Back.Depositphotos_34260665_l

The short of it is this: if you’re still doing “easy” link building—anything automated, massively scalable, manipulative, or low quality—you need to stop. It’s not a matter of if you get penalized by Google, but when. That rules out a lot of linking strategies that used to be considered standard practice such as the following:

  • Blog or forum commenting – If you’re trying to get a few fast links by leaving comments on blogs or forums, you might as well not waste your time. Most blogs and forums use the “no follow” attribute for links left in the comments, which means they have no influence on search rankings. Even if you can find sites that pass link equity, it’s easy to get into trouble if you post the same over-optimized anchor text every time.
  • Directory submissions – Once a staple of SEO link building, directory submissions are now poison. There may still be a few relevant, human-edited directories out there (DMOZ is one), and if you’d like to submit to them you can, but you should proceed with extreme caution.
  •  Guest blogging and article submissions – Low-quality content produced and submitted en masse has been a bad idea for a while now, but you should also reconsider any content that’s being written strictly as a way to obtain links.
  • “Widget” or infographic links – Google’s guidelines specifically call out “keyword-rich, hidden, [and] low-quality links” embedded within widgets (such as a visitor counter) or infographic embed codes. The problem here is that people who copy the code you provide may not realize that they are also copying links.
  • Compensated links – This should go without saying, but don’t pay for links. You should also be cautious when sending out free products or samples in exchange for reviews—you can do so, but you should consider this as advertising rather than link building and treat it as such.

So, What Should You Be Doing?

So, what are your options for a sustainable SEO strategy? Really, a lot of it comes down to your mindset. If you’re doing anything “just” to build your back-link portfolio, there’s a good chance that you shouldn’t be doing it. If you’re more worried about link equity and metrics like domain authority than you are in getting real traffic and brand building on relevant, industry-related sites, then you need to rethink your priorities.

A lot of the “bad” SEO strategies listed above can actually be valuable if approached in the right way. Let’s take a look at how:

  • Content marketing – Okay, so you’ve likely read a blog article or two in the last six months about how guest posting is supposedly “dead,” and that’s true. As discussed above, if you’re writing blogs just to get links, you need to stop. On the other hand, content marketing for the purpose of getting in front of your customers and generating real traffic is alive and well.
    This takes time and dedication.

You should identify sites and platforms where your customers are already going for information and work to establish relationships with the site owners or editors. Offer them something of value rather than simply asking for something. Getting a link should be a secondary (or tertiary or quaternary . . .) concern.

  • Interact with the community – Whatever your type of business, there’s a community or blog or social media hub or forum (likely several) out there dedicated to it. Find out where people are going to ask questions or talk about the pros and cons of your product. Get involved. Contribute to discussions.

Yes, as mentioned above, blog or forum commenting can be abused, but not when done to legitimately provide information of value. Think about it: would you rather people find out about your product from you or your competitors? You can even include links or information about promotions when they’re a natural fit. The point is to be real—use your real name and be open with people about any conflicts of interest you may have.

  • Create great content for your own site and social properties – Do you have content on your blog that people want to share? Are they interacting with what you post on your social accounts? If the answers to these questions is, “no,” you need to rethink your content production strategy. What are your customers interested in? What do they care about? What’s working well for your competitors? Creating excellent content can help you earn links instead of build them.

Once you’ve created great content, get it in front of people. Reach out to blog owners that you have relationships with and tell them about your piece and see if they wouldn’t mind sharing it. Post it on any communities that you’re actively involved with. Repurpose it into different formats (slide decks, videos, memes) and share it on content aggregating platforms (SlideShare, Visual.ly, etc.). Keep doing this on a consistent basis, and people will start coming to your site for your awesome content.

What You Should Expect from Your Internet Marketing Agency

I should hope it’s obvious from this post, but in case it’s not, let me say it: if you’re still expecting to see long lists of links built by your internet marketing agency, you’re asking for trouble. Link building on a massive scale is dead, and anyone who offers to do it for you is not looking out for your business’s best interests.

What you can and should expect from your marketing partners are well-researched content strategies that are designed to locate your potential customers and reach them by creating the type of relevant content listed above. Ask about titles and topics and places where they’re planning to post your content. They can also help you out with your social promotion and community building.

In order for them to be successful, you need to be willing to work with them and provide information about your business and your industry. Are there any publications you read that they could check out? Have you produced any informational pieces in the past (white papers, brochures, etc.) that you could send over? The more information you can provide, the more successful your marketing campaign will be.

Share your thoughts below. What marketing strategies are working for you? What’s your formula for successful content?

Get Internet Marketing Insight For Your Company - SEO.com

SEO Dos and Don’ts, or Why You Shouldn’t Link Build and What to Do Instead is a post by SEO expert Holly Cordner. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Holly Cordner" Tags: "Blog, SEO Tips"
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Date: Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 16:36

How Small Businesses Can Get the Most Out of Yelp is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

How-small-business-can-get-the-most-out-of-yelp

Yelp is one of the first places consumers look when they need a review of a local business or a suggestion for a new, unique restaurant. Whether someone is planning a fancy date night, trying to find the most family-friendly local attractions, or making sure a service provider fully supports their offerings, Yelp has become one the top “go-to” review sites.

Yelp

Image source: Yelp Factsheet which can be found in its entirety here

That means that this is a resource that small businesses can’t afford to ignore. Let’s look at just a few of the stats. According to Yelp:

  • There was an average of 132 million monthly unique visitors in Q1 2014
  • More than 57 million local reviews have been written
  • In Q1 2014, there were nearly 61 million monthly unique visits from mobile devices

The simple fact is that the modern consumer is, on average, very web-savvy, and that means they’re going to turn to the internet for more information before making a purchase. Some other studies suggest that once these consumers find favorable information about a product or service, it can have a real impact on their buying choices. Despite these numbers, though, as much as 87% of small businesses don’t take advantage of review sites.

Understanding Yelp’s Platform

It ought to be said right up front that there has been some controversy around Yelp because of the way they make money. Any business owner or manager can setup a free account and post their photos and messages to customers. So the site isn’t making any money that way. Instead, it generates revenue by selling ads to local businesses – these are the things you see labeled as “Yelp Ads” around the site, so there’s no confusion about it.

Yelp tries to make it clear that it uses automated software to recommend the helpful and reliable reviews for its users. This is the source of the controversy, though, because many companies have claimed that Yelp is actually delivering recommendations or highlighting negative reviews based on whether or not the company buys advertising or not.

Of course, Yelp denies that this is the case, and they point out that only 75% of reviews are shown at any given time. The rest are flagged by the automated software as either fraudulent or useless.

In the end, though, despite some of the accusations, Yelp is still a powerful tool for reaching your local customers, and one that people in your area are using to discover new businesses. It is an opportunity to engage with your customers and build a reputation. Of course, given the history of the platform, there are some best practices you need to follow, and some bad practices you need to avoid like the plague.

The Best and Worst Practices on Yelp

Because this is the internet, and some things are inevitable – especially when sales and leads are at stake – a lot of people have tried to use Yelp in less than legitimate ways. In other words, many companies have tried to game the system, and just like when they try to fake out any other search engine, it comes back to bite them. So when you start including Yelp in your marketing strategies, keep some of these things in mind.

The Worst You Could Do

Yelp sees a lot of fakers – either businesses trying to make themselves look better or customers/former employees trying to make the company look worse. For a review site that depends on being able to deliver reliable results, this is more than a little problematic.

For companies that try to fake their results, though, it can actually be even worse. Recently, New York regulators cracked down on fake internet reviewers. Agreements have been reached with 19 companies to cease their misleading practices and pay a total of $350,000 in penalties. Most of these companies were spammy SEOs, the kind that give the rest of us a bad name. So keep this in mind if you’re working with an agency – if their answer is to try and fake some reviews, your answer should be to run away.

It’s not that hard for Yelp to detect the fakers. Most of them just use slight variations of the exact same content, or their reviews stand in stark contrast to the vast majority. On top of that, your own customers – all those web-savvy people searching for you on their smartphones – have an innate sense for what’s real and what’s not.

Don’t prioritize the Yelp algorithm. Prioritize your customers.

The Best You Should Do

There are a number of things you can do to make Yelp a more effective element of your local marketing campaign. The way you include a review site in your daily activities can make a huge difference, but only if you do it right. Consider, if you will:

Yelp page elements

Double check to make sure all your information is updated

1.  Complete your entire profile. When list your businesses on Yelp, be sure to include every bit of information that could help a potential customer find you. This should include your store hours and address, as well as links to your website, online menu, or other useful resources. And don’t forget your phone number, either.

2.  Be Visual. Add a nice range of pictures to your profile. In particular, you should have some nice interior shots to create a sense of what the customer can expect. More than that, though, a nice shot of the exterior of your location can make it much easier for someone to spot your location when they drive by.

3.  Remind customers you’re on Yelp. Whether you use the “People Love Us on Yelp” stickers (provided by the website if you ask nicely… or whatever) or just casually mention it to someone you’ve worked with for a while, sometimes you have to let people know, one at a time, that there’s a good opportunity for them to express their opinion online. There’s an amateur critic in all of us, just waiting to share our favorable opinions.

4.  Deal with positive and negative comments. Yelp allows you to respond to comments on your listing, and it’s critically important that you do so. Here’s the important thing, though. NEVER RESPOND ON IMPULSE. Meaning, no matter how bad a comment may seem at first, you can always make it worse by responding with an angry, defensive rant.

This is not the time or place for a flame war. Thank your customers for their feedback and make it very clear that you are working on improvements or addressing their concerns. If you handle negative comments correctly, you may even change their minds, turning them into brand advocates – or at least someone who would be willing to go back in and leave a more positive review.

And speaking of positive reviews, don’t be afraid to leverage some of the nice things people do say about you. Use the quotes on your website to show how people have used (and approved of) your products or services. Be sure to cite the reviewer’s name so it’s actually credible.

5.  Consider advertising on Yelp. While there has been some controversy and conspiracy theories around how Yelp treats its paying customers, you simply can’t get around the fact that this is an extremely popular site with a lot of traffic. If you manage your funds carefully, you can start getting your business in front of a lot of new potential customers.

Building a Reputation

Yelpers expect businesses to be real and direct. They are looking for reviews from actual people that will provide honest and objective opinions on a wide range of products and services. They just want to know if you really deserve their hard-earned money or not. The last thing they want to see is a fake review meant to build your overall rating. Both Yelp and most serious Yelpers can spot these kinds of reviews from a mile away. Yelp will just bury the review and leave it at that. A Yelper, on the other hand, will never let you live it down.

A reputation on Yelp isn’t strictly about the number of positive reviews that you have. It’s about how you interact with your customers and respond to their needs. Yelp can be a powerful tool in your online marketing kit, just make sure you understand how to use it effectively.

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How Small Businesses Can Get the Most Out of Yelp is a post by SEO expert Andy Eliason. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Andy Eliason" Tags: "Blog, Social Media, review sites, yelp"
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Date: Tuesday, 01 Jul 2014 15:10

Really BAD Design Advice is a post by SEO expert Kaylee White. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

blog-header

Everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – has something to say when it comes to the best and the most effective designs. Of course, you really need to be careful whose advice you actually take. Some of it may be… less than reliable.

Say, for example:

How Design Impacts Digital Marketing

A fresh, professional design can have a huge impact on how your customers behave on your website. If, for example, a few too many of the “suggestions” in the above SlideShare apply to your website, you’re going to have a harder time convincing customers to make a purchase from you instead of the competition.

Of course, it’s about more than just avoiding bad design. Trying too hard to make something look cool instead of making it functional may make you look like some of those “experts” if you’re not careful. However, there are a lot of design elements that can positively influence your customers. Everything from how you style content to where you place images and navigational elements can be the difference between a new customer and another click on the back button.

There are many things your designer needs to know, but once you settle on your marketing goals, you can use good design principles to get the most out of your campaign. Start by AVOIDING EVERYTHING YOU JUST SAW in the SlideShare, and you’ll already be ahead of a surprisingly large portion of your competition.

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Really BAD Design Advice is a post by SEO expert Kaylee White. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Kaylee White" Tags: "Blog, Web Design"
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Date: Monday, 30 Jun 2014 16:04

SEO.com Online Content Collective June 30, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Shilah Anderson. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

marketing

SEO – The Evolving Acronym

A topic that has been getting a lot of traction lately is “What do we call SEO anymore?” While I believe that is a valid question, I’m not sure it needs to take up so much energy. The search engines have changed, therefore we develop new strategies that help make sure a site is optimized in the best way possible, right? That really is all there is to it. Bottom line is that SEO is an evolving acronym and what we call it shouldn’t be making such a fuss.

Instead, I’ve decided to bring to the table a few gems that present new ways of thinking with respect to SEO, Content Marketing, and Social Marketing, and even a bit of Web presentation…all of which could fall easily under the name of Digital Marketing. Some might even argue that this is where SEO has been going for a while now, but I digress.

The first article is actually one that came to me from an unexpected source but kept the fire alive with regards to the positive changes being made in the SEO industry now. Neil Patel presented this idea back in 2012, in his article – Why Content Marketing is the New SEO – and it’s almost humorous to see it actually taking traction now. What I enjoyed about this article was that first he explains his experience with SEO in conjunction with content marketing, and then he literally lays out the numbers as to why and how good content will bring in more links (and therefore more traffic and dollars). Then he implies that it isn’t good content that gets affected by algorithms, but that it’s paid SEO that feels the heat.

If that doesn’t slap some of those ‘old school SEOs’ who are complaining about Google’s changes are completely silly, then I don’t know what would. Facts are facts – strategy always has to change with the industry and no one ever got something for nothing. Quit your sniveling.

The next few additions to my collective are coming from several of our industry leaders and found at Search Engine Watch. Good stuff.

Get Your Mind Right

First I want to share a great article based on positive thinking and how to adjust your strategy now for the industry. Purna Virji presents 5 New SEO Mantras to Replace Old, Inefficient Thinking, and she does just that.

It’s interesting to me that her first mantra falls beautifully in line with Google’s entire focus of reasoning. Her question of: “How Can I Be of Most Help to My Customers?” will always keep us on the right track. She follows this with reminders of how to keep our focus on long term vs. short term, quality vs. quantity and nothing comes for free. Her visual examples really help with understanding why and how these mantras actually ARE effective. She gives us all a kick in the butt in the end by reminding us that if we are gonna play with the big dogs, we have to learn how to play hard.

Small Businesses Need to Follow the Trends, Too

My second choice from Search Engine Watch is by Adam Setzer, in his piece giving 7 Outstanding Content Marketing Tips for Small Businesses. This article really is outstanding. Reason being we are all trying to stay afloat. Keeping our strategies in place while making and marketing great content for our clients can seem crazy disheartening sometimes. I think the reason we are all scrambling so hard is that we forget to build a new strategy with focus on what is going to work now rather than what was working then.

Granted, this is just one strategy, and there are always several different ways of getting the results we  need, but for those of us who are floundering, take a look at what he presents and ask yourself if you can implement pieces into your current strategy, and what questions will be answered if you do.

Get Your (Social Media) Motor Runnin’

The third gem from Search Engine Watch is entitled 4 Ways to Rev Up your Facebook Reach like Harley-Davidson. Aside from the awesome title here, the piece really does nail you with several methods to conquering the madness that is Social Media.

The reason I like this article so much is that the author, Ashley Zeckman, doesn’t hold back at all. She says it how it is and isn’t afraid to present ideas that a lot of us might be afraid to present to our clients. Honestly, how do you tell your clients that they need to give some free stuff away if they really want to make it in the social world? My favorite tip, though, is her number one – sell the lifestyle, not the product. Bam! (My head was spinning.)

Don’t Forget Design

My last little reading suggestion for the week comes from Search Engine Journal and author, Shane Jones. He gives us a rundown of how we can better present our clients information about using their site more effectively. Though I know it’s not feasible for everyone to offer web design tips, we can really build our value with knowledge of how to guide our client’s content placement and even the layout or design. This article offers excellent study results and suggestions on how to guide your users to exactly where you want them to go.

So, until next time, keep the strategy continuously evolving and remember to ask the right questions.

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SEO.com Online Content Collective June 30, 2014 is a post by SEO expert Shilah Anderson. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Shilah Anderson" Tags: "Blog, SEO Tips"
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Date: Friday, 27 Jun 2014 14:14

Two Visually Appealing Ways to Create or Repurpose Content is a post by SEO expert Keeley Lassen. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Two-Visually-Appealing-Ways-to-Create-or-Repurpose-Content

As the SEO winds of change continue to blow, so must we, as the marketing gurus, continue to ride alongside the chilly breeze.  As we all know by now, the reigning king of this land has a name, and it is Content. No longer does SEO rely heavily on the art of building links. Google has its sights set on quality not quantity, and if you are not on board with this yet, the time is now.

Let’s start with the task of creating an informative and worthwhile article.  Keep in mind, if you are bored with the content, the audience you are trying to reach will feel the same. In order to generate the traffic you seek you need to keep it interesting. Even though you may write the most exciting article in the history of all articles, we humans are extremely visual creatures, and you may not draw the crowd you hoped for solely with the written word.

Worried that you don’t have the design chops? Don’t think you can come up with some great, original visual content? Not to fret; there are several outstanding tools out there that can help. Here are two of my personal favorites to help combat the visually boring content blues.

1 – Piktochart

This tool is perfect for grabbing the attention of your target audience. There is nothing wrong with giving your readers a little eye candy to help showcase your content.

Piktochart example

2 – Prezi

Out with the old and boring and in with the new and fresh. This tool allows your creative juices to get flowing and is a powerful way to keep your readers attention.  Take a look:

 

 

Now that you have these content enhancers, what do you do with them?

Repurposing Content

You can easily use these graphics to spice up a new article (such as this one) or let them shine on their own by embedding them on your website or blog. These appealing little gems will also look great on all your social accounts. Give your Google+, Pinterest and Facebook followers content that will be impossible to pass up. Impress them and they will be happy to share your remarkable work with others.

But what if you don’t have anything new to say?

These simple tools are a great way to get some more mileage out of your previous content. You don’t have to start with something completely new. Take a look at some of your popular blogs and articles and see if you can re-imagine all that text as an eye-catching infographic. It’s a simple way to get some more value out of your existing content.

Start taking your content to a new level today and you’re sure to get the results you are looking for. Turn your average written word into something that will dazzle your readers and keep them coming back for more. Adding Piktochart and Prezi to your SEO arsenal will turn the dull and mundane into something amazing and memorable.

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Two Visually Appealing Ways to Create or Repurpose Content is a post by SEO expert Keeley Lassen. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "Keeley Lassen" Tags: "Blog, Content Marketing"
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Date: Thursday, 26 Jun 2014 16:00

Do You Dare Take Marketing Risks? is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Do-you-dare-take-marketing-risks

When a company is still in its young startup phase, there are a lot of costs that can’t be avoided. It is important that you spend your money in the right places, and marketing is an area where you can’t cut the budget because this is where you are going to draw the customers in and spread your brand awareness.

Unfortunately, the amount of money you spend can really add up fast, so you have to think of marketing costs as an investment. All investments come with some risk, but it is directly related to the return you can potentially make. In marketing, the rewards are new customers, increased brand awareness, and more sales. Of course, on the flip side of that, the risk is that your new campaign may just be a waste or money and time.

With marketing, it often feels like we’ve “seen it all.” You have to try something new to really get your customer’s attention. Unfortunately, the same kind of creative thinking that could make you famous could also demolish your reputation. Are you willing to take that kind of risk?

Breaking the Mold

There are plenty of businesses who have taken risks in their marketing campaigns, but only the successful ones are still around. In order to catch the eye of your potential customers, you have to stand out. Some companies have succeeded by being funny, others by making people think. Still others have done it with annoying commercials or catchy jingles. Each one has had its risks and each has had its own rewards.

headon_6492Head-On, a product that had a commercial that aired almost every break on some channels, took a risk with their tactics. The announcer would repeat the same line over and over the entire segment, “Head-On, apply directly to the forehead.”

The billboards and magazine ads all had the same background picture as the commercial and the same line written across it. It quickly became joked about as the most annoying commercial in history, yet it brought in a lot of money for the company, and the name certainly stuck in your head.

Working Online

Dove decided to take an innovative approach to their commercials by using real women instead of models. This risk proved to be very successful for this company, especially on the internet. They had several commercials go viral, reaching millions of people on social media sites where they spoke about the need for women to know they are each beautiful. Dove uses the insecurities of women as their focus, teaching love and acceptance of ones own self.

Another company that has had a lot of success online is Old Spice. This company took on a risk with their “Smell like a Man, Man” commercials because they were a very dry sense of humor. Before the first one aired, they didn’t know if the consumers would totally grasp the idea and the humor they were going for, but they did and the videos were shared and tweeted relentlessly. In case it wasn’t obvious already, the success was even clearer once organizations across the nation started mimicking the ads with their own versions.

old-spice-wk-campaign-1

Ads online are powered by search engines and social media. Product placement is important to internet marketing, but in a different way than the traditional sense of this concept. Instead of worrying about whether or not your product is at eye level or your store is visible enough, the focus is on generating discussions and being seen in countless social media streams and at the top of the search engines. Taking risks can generate a lot of clicks and shares, and expand your reach among potential customers.

Stay Relevant

The most important thing to remember when developing your marketing campaigns is to keep them relevant to your brand vision. If you are selling cosmetics, the consumers should understand that those are the products you sell after watching your commercials or seeing your ad. Another important thing to remember is that even if your potential customers like your ad, but don’t know who you are or what your name is, then you have failed. No matter how many risks you decide to take, always keep your marketing relevant to your company and its goals.

Weighing the Risks

Marketing your products online is totally different than in magazines or on billboards. When you advertise online, you market to an audience that is going to share your videos or products on social media. The goal is to come up with a message that speaks to someone on a level that they feel the need to share it with their friends. The risks for these types of campaigns are generally less because it is less resource intensive than offline media.

The risks are still there, though. You need to hire on the help you need to create and market your ads. Software and labor are not cheap, and timelines are hard to keep. Budgets still tend to go over when you are working on a complicated ad. When you take a path with more risk, you also have to understand that you may deal with a lot of backlash. If your ads really do reach a wider audience, there is more potential that your hard work could either be great or horrible.

If you want your campaigns to go further and make a longer, more lasting impression, take a risk. Be brave in your efforts and you just might strike gold in the marketing world. Just be sure you understand all the implications.

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Do You Dare Take Marketing Risks? is a post by SEO expert SEO.com. For information about our SEO services or more great SEO tips and tricks, visit the SEO.com blog.

Author: "SEO.com" Tags: "Blog, Marketing"
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