Tag Archive | "Efforts"

Four ways to use marketing feedback loop to optimize SEO efforts

This is a marketing strategy that may change everything you know about content marketing and SEO.

The customer feedback loop is an effective way to improve your offerings to your customers and modify what they get based on their feedback. It’s a business strategy that has been in existence for quite some time, but here, it’s refined towards content marketing and SEO.

Surely, there are ways you can make use of one of the most effective business and marketing strategy in human existence. And it’ll improve your content marketing and SEO efforts and help grow your brand. I’ll be taking a deeper look into the feedback loop, how it works in marketing and how you can apply this to your content marketing and SEO efforts.

What is a marketing feedback loop?

Firstly, let’s try to understand what marketing feedback loop is and how it works in the traditional marketing world. Done correctly, and with a well documented and measured process, the marketing feedback loop can improve your content marketing and SEO results.

According to HubSpot author, Caroline Forsey,

“A feedback loop is a process in which the outputs of a system are circled back and used as inputs. .. this refers to the process of using customer or employee feedback to create a better product or workplace.”

Marketers will understand that there are gems to be found in the feedback their businesses and products receive online. Both the positive and negative feedback you get, if utilized properly, can significantly transform how customers perceive and interact with your brand.

A marketing feedback loop is created when a business utilizes the responses they attract from a campaign effort or a product on the social web, and this can be later utilized in their marketing efforts. This may also include feedbacks from surveys and research campaigns.

Here, we’ll look at how it can be utilized to improve content marketing and SEO efforts.

How to create opportunities marketing feedback loop

Identifying opportunities for marketing feedback loop is just as important as how to make it work for you. Customers will take to social media to raise concerns or praises about your products and services where potential customers are actively participating in discussions that will determine whether or not to choose you over the competition.

Naturally, you’ll incorporate praises about your services into your testimonial campaigns to promote your business. These content are easily seen. Negative feedback, on the other hand, is where the treasure lies. And you will almost always miss them.

Below, let’s take a look at ways to identify marketing feedback loop and ultimately how you use it to improve your content marketing and SEO efforts.

  • Necessary tools: The first step to identifying opportunities for feedback loop is to actively monitor mentions about your brand on the web. This includes social media, blogs, and forums. In this case, the right tools, and people are what you need. Some tools to employ may include Mention, Radian6 and setting up Google Alerts for known names/keywords (or phrases) your brand is associated with.
  • Surveys: What’s better than the opportunity to secure valuable feedback? One that is solicited. Implementing surveys can help you to elicit feedback from your users right before they share it themselves. This will give room for you to identify potential issues and address them before they become problems.
  • The right person/team: Is someone on your team who determines how customers’ feedback should be responded to and what department gets to see and utilize it. This individual is responsible for its proper documentation as well. Naturally, they should be working very closely with the marketing department.
  • Interpreting constructive and negative customer feedback: Most times, when emotions run high with customers, constructive criticisms may come off as negative feedback. This may be perceived as an attack on your brand if care is not taken to analyze the issue — leaving you with a missed opportunity to improve on both SEO and content efforts. Instead of making a blanket judgment on the surface and writing of the complainant as a troll, look closely to identify what others may agree within their feedback. There, you’ll find your next content fodder and SEO hack.

How significant are feedback loops to content marketing and SEO?

Customers’ feedback can be looped into the whole brand experience output, which includes user experience(UX), answering the right questions on your website (enabling for richer content experience and broadens keyword opportunities).

Getting content marketing and SEO benefits from implementing feedback loop in your marketing would be a successful effort if done the right way. The following procedures will not only ensure you’re creating a better experience for your users but also gaining SEO advantage in the process.

Using a feedback loop to improve SEO – UX improvements

The most significant drawback to most businesses’ web presence is the user experience, and Google — growing ever-smarter with its constant algorithmic updates — is now effective at scoring a website’s rankings based on overall UX score. The best way for businesses to know how their UX measures up is through direct feedback from those using it. Here, customer feedback can be looped to the design team who can improve upon the website feel and accessibility. The result is a website with better UX and improved search rankings.

A feedback loop can prevent worthless content efforts

Say your content marketing team have been working tirelessly, analyzing trends and interviewing industry experts just to improve visibility and rankings. But the result is slow or abysmal. Here, the marketing team should be tasked to score through the complaints that have been left by your customers and come up with problem-solving content to line up your content calendar. This will not only directly address your users concerns but will help you see improved content marketing efforts.

Where have feedback loops improved SEO efforts?

In 2018, I and my partner at Effective Inbound Marketing, Ayodeji Onibalusi conducted a survey asking people to go visit our website and give feedback about what should be improved on. Majority of the responders wanted us to improve navigation and some others wanted us to produce more marketing content on the blog.

We incorporated the feedback loop by upgrading our content output and introduced breadcrumbs that’ll show the users how they navigated our website. These improvements saw our Alexa ranking move from 850,000 in December of 2018 to 272,000 as of today (August 2019) and our navigation improvement saw our users spend more time on site, dropping bounce rate by 50% and also increasing the number of pages visited per user. This has trickled down to our rankings, with terms like “Amazon” and “Russian Marketing” now driving users to our website.

Three takeaways from this

  • The smallest feedback loop implemented can have a significant impact on SEO
  • When implementing feedback loops, consider users satisfaction first
  • A feedback loop can be equally effective if solicited from users

The right way to use a marketing feedback loop to improve SEO

Getting marketing feedback loop right shouldn’t be tricky if you follow best practices. The core purpose of a marketing feedback loop is to use constructive complaints from your customers to improve your content marketing and SEO efforts. This can be accomplished by identifying their pain-points and incorporating this into your content and SEO campaigns.

Successful marketing feedback loop must follow these rules to positively have an impact on content marketing and SEO.

Is timely

Customers feedback should be looped to the right department as quickly as possible. Ideally, the customer should already get a response within the first hour, on the same channel. If it’s worth incorporating into a content, your content marketing team should already have a well-thought-out long-form content that addresses critical factors and answers questions such as:

– Was the complaint legitimate?

– Would other customers face this same issue?

– Was there a solution in place before?

– How did the company help the customer resolve the complaint?

– What did the company do prevent future customers from experiencing the same?

The medium of feedback should remain the same

Marketers should not make the mistake of addressing issues on different channels from where feedback originated from. Instead of providing a solution to a problem, this may escalate situations as the customer may assume you’re being defensive and trying to manipulate the situation.

If complaints are generated on social media, the complaints should be acknowledged on the same medium. Then support can take it up from there either through DMs or tickets. After which marketing feedback loop should be implemented once there is satisfaction, and then a campaign can be created out of it.

Must address concerns generated through implemented changes

For example, if users complain about the inability to access your products due to lack of breadcrumbs and poor navigation features — like the absence of a search tool, a short term solution may be to point them to categories or help them identify tags. But going further to introduce the features that’ll create a better experience would serve a longer-term purpose.

Changes implemented may be the focus of marketing feedback loop campaign

If the above approach is implemented, then a content marketing campaign around the customer’s feedback and the success achieved would be a welcome step. This would not only help attract more users through content marketing but would also show your brand as a listening one.


Getting content marketing and SEO right is critical to the success of your business if you’re competing online. Then the goal is to discover strategies that’ll keep your efforts successful and help you serve your users better. Marketing feedback loop helps you get this done.

Have you tried using a marketing feedback loop to optimize your SEO efforts? What results did you get?

Femi Haastrup is Founder and CEO of Femtrup LLC. He can be found on Twitter @Femihaastrup.

The post Four ways to use marketing feedback loop to optimize SEO efforts appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

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CRO tools to help you boost your SEO efforts

Is your site getting a lot of traffic? If yes, great! But your work is not over. Contributor Stephanie LeVonne says it’s time to implement a conversion rate optimization campaign. Here are four tools to help.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Efficient Link Reclamation: How to Speed Up & Scale Your Efforts

Posted by DarrenKingman

Link reclamation: Tools, tools everywhere

Every link builder, over time, starts to narrow down their favorite tactics and techniques. Link reclamation is pretty much my numero-uno. In my experience, it’s one of the best ROI activities we can use for gaining links particularly to the homepage, simply because the hard work — the “mention” (in whatever form that is) — is already there. That mention could be of your brand, an influencer who works there, or a tagline from a piece of content you’ve produced, whether it’s an image asset, video, etc. That’s the hard part. But with it done, and after a little hunting and vetting the right mentions, you’re just left with the outreach.

Aside from the effort-to-return ratio, there are various other benefits to link reclamation:

  1. It’s something you can start right away without assets
  2. It’s a low risk/low investment form of link building
  3. Nearly all brands have unlinked mentions, but big brands tend to have the most and therefore see the biggest routine returns
  4. If you’re doing this for clients, they get to see an instant return on their investment

Link reclamation isn’t a new tactic, but it is becoming more complex and tool providers are out there helping us to optimize our efforts. In this post, I’m going to talk a little about those tools and how to apply them to speed up and scale your link reclamation.

Finding mentions

Firstly, we want to find mentions. No point getting too fancy at this stage, so we just head over to trusty Google and search for the range of mentions we’re working on.

As I described earlier, these mentions can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so I would generally treat each type of mention that I’m looking for as a separate project. For example, if Moz were the site I was working on, I would look for mentions of the brand and create that as one “project,” then look for mentions of Followerwonk and treat that as another, and so on. The reasons why will become clear later on!

So, we head to the almighty Google and start our searches.

To help speed things up it’s best to expand your search result to gather as many URLs as you can in as few clicks as possible. Using Google’s Search Settings, you can quickly max out your SERPs to one hundred results, or you can install a plugin like GInfinity, which allows you to infinitely scroll through the results and grab as many as you can before your hand cramps up.

Now we want to start copying as many of these results as possible into an Excel sheet, or wherever it is you’ll be working from. Clicking each one and copying/pasting is hell, so another tool to quickly install for Chrome is Linkclump. With this one, you’ll be able to right click, drag, and copy as many URLs as you want.

Linkclump Pro Tip: To ensure you don’t copy the page titles and cache data from a SERP, head over to your Linkclump settings by right-clicking the extension icon and selecting “options.” Then, edit your actions to include “URLs only” and “copied to clipboard.” This will make the next part of the process much easier!

Filtering your URL list

Now we’ve got a bunch of URLs, we want to do a little filtering, so we know a) the DA of these domains as a proxy metric to qualify mentions, and b) whether or not they already link to us.

How you do this bit will depend on which platforms you have access to. I would recommend using BuzzStream as it combines a few of the future processes in one place, but URL Profiler can also be used before transferring your list over to some alternative tools.

Using BuzzStream

If you’re going down this road, BuzzStream can pretty much handle the filtering for you once you’ve uploaded your list of URLs. The system will crawl through the URLs and use their API to display Domain Authority, as well as tell you if the page already links to you or not.

The first thing you’ll want to do is create a “project” for each type of mention you’re sourcing. As I mentioned earlier this could be “brand mentions,” “creative content,” “founder mentions,” etc.

When adding your “New Project,” be sure to include the domain URL for the site you’re building links to, as shown below. BuzzStream will then go through and crawl your list of URLs and flag any that are already linking to you, so you can filter them out.

Next, we need to get your list of URLs imported. In the Websites view, use Add Websites and select “Add from List of URLs”:

The next steps are really easy: Upload your list of URLs, then ensure you select “Websites and Links” because we want BuzzStream to retrieve the link data for us.

Once you’ve added them, BuzzStream will work through the list and start displaying all the relevant data for you to filter through in the Link Monitoring tab. You can then sort by: link status (after hitting “Check Backlinks” and having added your URL), DA, and relationship stage to see if you/a colleague have ever been in touch with the writer (especially useful if you/your team uses BuzzStream for outreach like we do at Builtvisible).

Using URL Profiler

If you’re using URL Profiler, firstly, make sure you’ve set up URL Profiler to work with your Moz API. You don’t need a paid Moz account to do this, but having one will give you more than 500 checks per day on the URLs you and the team are pushing through.

Then, take the list of URLs you’ve copied using Linkclump from the SERPs (I’ve just copied the top 10 from the news vertical for “moz.com” as my search), then paste the URLs in the list. You’ll need to select “Moz” in the Domain Level Data section (see screenshot) and also fill out the “Domain to Check” with your preferred URL string (I’ve put “Moz.com” to capture any links to secure, non-secure, alternative subdomains and deeper level URLs).

Once you’ve set URL Profiler running, you’ll get a pretty intimidating spreadsheet, which can simply be cut right down to the columns: URL, Target URL and Domain Mozscape Domain Authority. Filter out any rows that have returned a value in the Target URL column (essentially filtering out any that found an HREF link to your domain), and any remaining rows with a DA lower than your benchmark for links (if you work with one).

And there’s my list of URLs that we now know:

1) don’t have any links to our target domain,

2) have a reference to the domain we’re working on, and

3) boast a DA above 40.

Qualify your list

Now that you’ve got a list of URLs that fit your criteria, we need to do a little manual qualification. But, we’re going to use some trusty tools to make it easy for us!

The key insight we’re looking for during our qualification is if the mention is in a natural linking element of the page. It’s important to avoid contacting sites where the mention is only in the title, as they’ll never place the link. We particularly want placements in the body copy as these are natural link locations and so increase the likelihood of your efforts leading somewhere.

So from my list of URLs, I’ll copy the list and head over to URLopener.com (now bought by 10bestseo.com presumably because it’s such an awesome tool) and paste in my list before asking it to open all the URLs for me:

Now, one by one, I can quickly scan the URLs and look for mentions in the right places (i.e. is the mention in the copy, is it in the headline, or is it used anywhere else where a link might not look natural?).

When we see something like this (below), we’re making sure to add this URL to our final outreach list:

However, when we see this (again, below), we’re probably stripping the URL out of our list as there’s very little chance the author/webmaster will add a link in such a prominent and unusual part of the page:

The idea is to finish up with a list of unlinked mentions in spots where a link would fit naturally for the publisher. We don’t want to get in touch with everyone, with mentions all over the place, as it can harm your future relationships. Link building needs to make sense, and not just for Google. If you’re working in a niche that mentions your client, you likely want not only to get a link but also build a relationship with this writer — it could lead to 5 links further down the line.

Getting email addresses

Now that you’ve got a list of URLs that all feature your brand/client, and you’ve qualified this list to ensure they are all unlinked and have mentions in places that make sense for a link, we need to do the most time-consuming part: finding email addresses.

To continue expanding our spreadsheet, we’re going to need to know the contact details of the writer or webmaster to request our link from. To continue our theme of efficiency, we just want to get the two most important details: email address and first name.

Getting the first name is usually pretty straightforward and there’s not really a need to automate this. However, finding email addresses could be an entirely separate article in itself, so I’ll be brief and get to the point. Read this, and here’s a summary of places to look and the tools I use:

  • Author page
  • Author’s personal website
  • Author’s Twitter profile
  • Rapportive & Email Permutator
  • Allmytweets
  • Journalisted.com
  • Mail Tester

More recently, we’ve been also using Skrapp.io. It’s a LinkedIn extension (like Hunter.io) that installs a “Find Email” button on LinkedIn with a percentage of accuracy. This can often be used with Mail Tester to discover if the suggested email address provided is working or not.

It’s likely to be a combination of these tools that helps you navigate finding a contact’s email address. Once we have it, we need to get in touch — at scale!

Pro Tip: When using Allmytweets, if you’re finding that searches for “email” or “contact” aren’t working, try “dot.” Usually journalists don’t put their full email address on public profiles in a scrapeable format, so they use “me@gmail [dot] com” to get around it.

Making contact

So, because this is all about making the process efficient, I’m not going to repeat or try to build on the other already useful articles that provide templates for outreach (there is one below, but that’s just as an example!). However, I am going to show you how to scale your outreach and follow-ups.

Mail merges

If you and your team aren’t set in your ways with a particular paid tool, your best bet for optimizing scale is going to be a mail merge. There are a number of them out there, and honestly, they are all fairly similar with either varying levels of free emails per day before you have to pay, or they charge from the get-go. However, for the costs we’re talking about and the time it saves, building a business case to either convince yourself (freelancers) or your finance department (everyone else!) will be a walk in the park.

I’ve been a fan of Contact Monkey for some time, mainly for tracking open rates, but their mail merge product is also part of the $ 10-a-month package. It’s a great deal. However, if you’re after something a bit more specific, YAMM is free to a point (for personal Gmail accounts) and can send up to 50 emails a day.

You’ll likely need to work through the process with the whatever tool you pick but, using your spreadsheet, you’ll be able to specify which fields you want the mail merge to select from, and it’ll insert each element into the email.

For link reclamation, this is really as personable as you need to get — no lengthy paragraphs on how much you loved or how long you’ve been following them on Twitter, just a good old to the point email:

Hi [first name],

I recently found a mention of a company I work with in one of your articles.

Here’s the article:

Where you’ve mentioned our company, Moz, would you be able to provide a link back to the domain Moz.com, in case users would like to know more about us?

Many thanks,

If using BuzzStream

Although BuzzStream’s mail merge options are pretty similar to the process above, the best “above and beyond” feature that BuzzStream has is that you can schedule in follow up emails as well. So, if you didn’t hear back the first time, after a week or so their software will automatically do a little follow-up, which in my experience, often leads to the best results.

When you’re ready to start sending emails, select the project you’ve set up. In the “Websites” section, select “Outreach.” Here, you can set up a sequence, which will send your initial email as well as customized follow-ups.

Using the same extremely brief template as above, I’ve inserted my dynamic fields to pull in from my data set and set up two follow up emails due to send if I don’t hear back within the next 4 days (BuzzStream hooks up with my email through Outlook and can monitor if I receive an email from this person or not).

Each project can now use templates set up for the type of mention you’re following up. By using pre-set templates, you can create one for brand mention, influencers, or creative projects to further save you time. Good times.

I really hope this has been useful for beginners and seasoned link reclamation pros alike. If you have any other tools you use that people may find useful or have any questions, please do let us know below.

Thanks everyone!

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SearchCap: Google Assistant updates, search referral growth & marketing efforts

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

The post SearchCap: Google Assistant updates, search referral growth & marketing efforts appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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3 Creative Ways to Give Your Content Efforts a Boost – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

We know that content is our doorway to earning countless SEO benefits for our sites. Admittedly, though, it’s too easy to get stuck in a rut after one too many content marketing campaigns. In this extra-special holiday edition of Whitebeard Friday (see what we did there?), Rand offers three novel ways to add sparkle to your content creation efforts

3 way to give your content efforts a boost

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to a special Christmas edition of Whitebeard Friday. This week, I wanted to try and help with just a few tactical suggestions on some creative ways to pump up those content marketing campaigns.

I’ve seen that many, many folks in the SEO world, of course, naturally, are investing in content marketing because content is the path to links and amplification and search traffic. Sometimes those content campaigns can feel a little stale or repetitive. So I have some creative ideas, things that I’ve seen some people executing on that I think we might be able to leverage for some of our work.

1. Niche groups

First one, if you can identify in your community these sort of small but vocal niche groups that are . . . when I say your community, it doesn’t have to be people you already reach. It can be people inside the community of content generation and of topical interest around your subject matter. Then help them to amplify their voices or their causes or their pet projects, etc.

So I’ll use the example of being in the foodie and gourmand world. So here’s a bunch of foodies. But this particular tiny group is extremely passionate about food trucks, and, in particular, they really hate the laws that restrict food truck growth, that a lot of cities don’t allow food trucks to be in certain spaces. They have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get licensed. They are not permitted to be permanently in a place for a whole week. Whatever it is, whatever those legal restrictions are. So by serving this small group, you might think that content is way too niche.

The wonderful part is that content is the kind that gets amplified very loudly, very repetitively, that can help you earn links and traffic to this small community. If that community is small and loud and feels like their voices aren’t being heard elsewhere, you can build some great brand advocacy inside that group as well. By the way, I would urge you to be authentic, choose causes that you or your company also care about. Don’t just pick something at random.

2. Products and services

Second, if you can, try and seek out products and services that your audience uses or needs, but that doesn’t actually directly conflict with your business. Then create a resource that lists or rates or ranks and recommends those top choices. We’ve actually done this a few times at Moz. I have this recommended list of agency and consultant providers, but Moz does not compete with any of those. But it’s a helpful list. As a result of listing those folks and having this sort of process around it, many of those people are pumping up that content.

Now here’s another example. Foodie Moz, Foodie Moz sounds like a great domain. I should go register that right after this hat stops hitting me in the back of the head. I don’t know how Santa deals with that. So Foodie Moz presents the best cookbooks of 2017. Now, Foodie Moz might be in the food and recipe world. But it turns out, the wonderful part is cookbooks are something that is used by their audience but not directly conflicting with them.

Since it’s not self-promotional, but it is useful to your audience, the likelihood that you can earn links and amplification because you seem like a non-self-interested party is much greater. You’re providing value without asking anything in return. It’s not like anyone buying these cookbooks would help you. It’s not like you have some ulterior motive in ranking this one number one or that one number two. You’re merely putting together an unbiased set of resources that help your audience. That is a great way to get a piece of content to do well.

3. Content creators

Third, last but not least here, if you can, find content creators who have been very successful. You can recruit them, the people who have had hit pieces, to create content for your brand. In a lot of ways, this is like cheating. It’s almost like buying links, except instead of buying the links, you’re buying the time and energy of the person who creates content that you have high likelihood or high propensity for being successful in that content niche with what they create because of their past track record and the audience they’ve already built.

Pro-tip here. Journalists and media contributors, even contributors to online media, like a BuzzFeed or something like that, are great targets. Why? Well, because they’re usually poorly paid and they are desperate to build a portfolio of professional work. Some of these folks are insanely talented, and they already have networks of people who have liked their work in the past and have helped amplify them.

So if you can use a tool like BuzzSumo — that would be generally what I’d recommend, there’s a few others, but BuzzSumo is really great for this — you can search for, for example, recipes and see the most shared content in the recipe world in, say, the last three months. Then we can identify, “Oh, here we go. This person wrote the hardest recipe challenge gifts. Oh, all right. That did really, really well. I wonder if we can see who that is. Oh look, she does freelance work. I bet she can write for us.”

It’s like cheating. It’s a great hack. It’s a great to way to recruit someone who you know is likely to have a great shot at their work doing well, give them the freedom to write what they want, to create what they want, and then host it on your site. A great way to do content creation, for a decent price, that has a high likelihood of solid amplification.

All right, everyone, look forward to some of your thoughts and tactics. For those of you who celebrate Christmas, a Merry Christmas from all of us at Moz. For those of you who celebrate Hanukkah, happy belated Hanukkah. I know that I’m filming this during Hanukkah, but it’s probably after Hanukkah that you’re seeing it. For those of you who are celebrating any other holiday this year, a very happy holiday season to you. We look forward to joining you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

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3 Quick Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of the Remainder of your Holiday Marketing Efforts

Since there are only 24 shopping days left this gift-giving season, we thought we’d share some quick tips you can apply to your last-minute holiday marketing efforts.
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How to Prioritize Your Link Building Efforts & Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

We all know how effective link building efforts can be, but it can be an intimidating, frustrating process — and sometimes even a chore. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand builds out a framework you can start using today to streamline and simplify the link building process for you, your teammates, and yes, even your interns.

Prioritize your link building efforts and opportunities

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. As you can see, I’m missing my moustache, but never mind. We’ve got tons of important things to get through, and so we’ll leave the facial hair to the inevitable comments.

I want to talk today about how to prioritize your link building efforts and opportunities. I think this comes as a big challenge for many marketers and SEOs because link building can just seem so daunting. So it’s tough to know how to get started, and then it’s tough to know once you’ve gotten into the practice of link building, how do you build up a consistent, useful system to do it? That’s what I want to walk you through today.

Step 1: Tie your goals to the link’s potential value

So first off, step one. What I’m going to ask you to do is tie your SEO goals to the reasons that you’re building links. So you have some reason that you want links. It is almost certainly to accomplish one of these five things. There might be other things on the list too, but it’s almost always one of these areas.

  • A) Rank higher for keyword X. You’re trying to get links that point to a particular page on your site, that contain a particular anchor text, so that you can rank better for that. Makes total sense. There we go.
  • B) You want to grow the ranking authority of a particular domain, your website, or maybe a subdomain on your website, or a subfolder of that website. Google does sort of have some separate considerations for different folders and subdomains. So you might be trying to earn links to those different sections to help grow those. Pretty similar to (A), but not necessarily as much of a need to get the direct link to the exact URL.
  • C) Sending real high-value traffic from the ranking page. So maybe it’s the case that this link you’re going after is no followed or it doesn’t pass ranking influence, for some reason — it’s JavaScript or it’s an advertising link or whatever it is — but it does pass real visitors who may buy from you, or amplify you, or be helpful to achieving your other business goals.
  • D) Growing topical authority. So this is essentially saying, “Hey, around this subject area or keyword area, I know that my website needs some more authority. I’m not very influential in this space yet, at least not from Google’s perspective. If I can get some of these links, I can help to prove to Google and, potentially, to some of these visitors, as well, that I have some subject matter authority in this space.”
  • E) I want to get some visibility to an amplification-likely or a high-value audience. So this would be things like a lot of social media sites, a lot of submission type sites, places like a Product Hunt or a Reddit, where you’re trying to get in front of an audience, that then might come to your site and be likely to amplify it if they love what they see.

Okay. So these are our goals.

Step 2: Estimate the likelihood that the link target will influence that goal

Second, I’m going to ask you to estimate the likelihood that the link target will pass value to the page or to the section of your site. This relies on a bunch of different judgments.

You can choose whether you want to wrap these all up in sort of a single number that you estimate, maybe like a 0 to 10, where 0 is not at all valuable, and 10 is super, super valuable. Or you could even take a bunch of these metrics and actually use them directly, so things like domain authority, or linking root domains to the URL, or page authority, the content relevance.

You could be asking:

  • Is this a nofollowed or a followed link?
  • Is it passing the anchor text that I’m looking for or anchor text that I control or influence at all?
  • Is it going to send me direct traffic?

If the answers to these are all positive, that’s going to bump that up, and you might say, “Wow, this is high authority. It’s passing great anchor text. It’s sending me good traffic. It’s a followed link. The relevance is high. I’m going to give this a 10.”

Or that might not be the case. This might be low authority. Maybe it is followed, but the relevance is not quite there. You don’t control the anchor text, and so anchor text is just the name of your brand, or it just says “site” or something like that. It’s not going to send much traffic. Maybe that’s more like a three.

Then you’re going to ask a couple of questions about the page that they’re linking to or your website.

  • Is that the right page on your site? If so, that’s going to bump up this number. If it’s not, it might bring it down a little bit.
  • Does it have high relevance? If not, you may need to make some modifications or change the link path.
  • Is there any link risk around this? So if this is a — let’s put it delicately — potentially valuable, but also potentially risky page, you might want to reduce the value in there.

I’ll leave it up to you to determine how much link risk you’re willing to take in your link building profile. Personally, I’m willing to accept none at all.

Step 3: Build a prioritization spreadsheet

Then step three, you build a prioritization spreadsheet that looks something like this. So you have which goal or goals are being accomplished by acquiring this link. You have the target and the page on your site. You’ve got your chance of earning that link. That’s going to be something you estimate, and over time you’ll get better and better at this estimation. Same with the value. We talked about using a number out of 10 over here. You can do that in this column, or you could just take a bunch of these metrics and shove them all into the spreadsheet if you prefer.

Then you have the tactic you’re going to pursue. So this is direct outreach, this one’s submit and hope that it does well, and who it’s assigned to. Maybe it’s only you because you’re the only link builder, or maybe you have a number of people in your organization, or PR people who are going to do outreach, or someone, a founder or an executive who has a connection to some of these folks, and they’re going to do the outreach, whatever the case.

Then you can start to prioritize. You can build that prioritization by doing one of a couple things. You could take some amalgamation of these numbers, so like a high chance of earning and a high estimated value. We’ll do some simple multiplication, and we’ll make that our prioritization. Or you might give different goals. Like you might say, “Hey, you know what? (A) is worth a lot more to me right now than (C). So, therefore, I’m going to rank the ones that are the (A) goal much higher up.” That is a fine way to go about this as well. Then you can sort your spreadsheet in this fashion and go down the list. Start at the top, work your way down, and start checking off links as you get them or don’t get them. That’s a pretty high percentage, I’m doing real well here. But you get the idea.

This turns link building from this sort of questionable, frustrating, what should I do next, am I following the right path, into a simple process that not only can you follow, but you can train other people to follow. This is really important, because link building is an essential part of SEO, still a very valuable part of SEO, but it’s also a slog. So, to the degree that you can leverage other help in your organization, hire an intern and help train them up, work with your PR teams and have them understand it, have multiple people in the organization all sharing this spreadsheet, all understanding what needs to be done next, that is a huge help.

I look forward to hearing about your link building prioritization, goals, what you’ve seen work well, what metrics you’ve used. We will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Exchanging More Value with Contributors to Your Content and Community Efforts – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

At risk of sounding cliché, we’re right smack in the middle of the season of giving. And when it comes to giving, there’s no better example in our industry space than the topic of communities. Moz itself is a great example: You — the reader, the commenter, the Q&A inquisitor, the subscriber — are what sustains and inspires us. What kind of value does your community add to your site, and how can you provide incentive and value to your site contributors, social media fans, and influencers?

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explores ten fresh, actionable strategies you can use to encourage and promote an exchange of value with your contributors to feed your content and community efforts.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This is a special Whitebeard Friday edition of our show. We, of course, have the annual tradition where I wear the beard, but you know the beard gets in the way of a lot of me talking to you. So I’m just going to wear the hat for today. I hope that’s all right. And I hope you’re all having a wonderful holiday season. Christmas and Hanukkah start the same day this year. New Year’s, of course, Kwanzaa, whatever you’re celebrating, a very happy holiday to you.

So let’s chat about exchanging more value with the contributors to your content and community efforts. So basically, I think, in the holiday season, we talk a lot about exchange of value and exchange of gifts and of giving, and that’s wonderful. We do this on our websites as well.

So you’re watching Whiteboard Friday. You might leave a comment in our comments section. You might tweet about this. You might put it on Facebook. You might share it on LinkedIn. There’s sort of a community of things going on here.

Most of the ideas that I have for Whiteboard Friday come from people like yourself in the community who have ideas and questions, concerns and issues, and that’s a wonderful thing. But what I found is that 99% of the time we all follow exactly the same patterns in our content and our community efforts with how we basically use each other’s value and exchange value with each other. So here’s the challenge.

(The hat’s just swinging around and hitting me. It’s great.)

3 major groups make up your community exchangers of value

So you have kind of three groups, three major groups that I would consider community exchangers of value. Those are people like commenters and on-site contributors, your social media followers and fans and people who engage with you through social, and then influencers and experts and, broadly speaking, amplifiers, people who do this.

Look, lots of the people who might be commenters are also influencers. Lots of the people who are social media followers may also be on-site commenters. That’s definitely the case.

1. Commenters and on-site contributors

But traditionally, the contributions look like this. For these folks, when they leave comments, they are seeking answers and visibility. So they want to show maybe something that they have done, and they also want an answer or a reply from you or from someone in the community. They have questions about it. And for you, you know they’re creating — well, I promised myself I was going to do red and green so I’m a very Christmassy Jew this year — more content and SEO for you, which is great.

That’s one of the big values of comments, absolutely speaking. That’s one of the reasons we try and render comments on the page so that the engines can crawl them. It can help you rank for more long tail stuff. It can certainly help you with engagement metrics and all those kinds of things.

Now, for guest content, which a lot of folks do create and allow, Moz certainly has historically through YouMoz and soon we’re going to be allowing that through the main blogs, so you might be seeing more guest contributions there, visibility for them and content and SEO for you. Same story there.

2. Social media followers and fans

Now, shares and replies on social, it’s essentially you are helping to … when you create content and when you, whether that’s content on the social media platform or on your own website, that you’re amplifying, when other people share that content or they like it, they reply to it, they amplify it, that’s new fans and followers and content for them, hopefully, and it’s more reach and visibility for you.

3. Influencers, experts, and amplifiers

With influencers, experts, and amplifiers, pretty much the story is like more influence for them through contributing to your content or promoting your content, and more reach for you through those influencers and experts’ audiences. This is certainly powerful and useful too with roundups, which I think, unfortunately, have become the default style in which people use influencers and experts in many, many fields. It’s more visibility for them, hopefully, because they appear in that roundup. They have their names cited and all that kind of thing. You’re hoping that they’re going to share it and amplify that content so that you get more reach to their audience. Maybe they’ll even link to it, which will get you links.

How to exchange value by thinking broadly and daring to be different

I want us to think broader. What I believe is that being the exception to this rule can be hugely helpful. Essentially, if everyone else is doing something in one way, doing it another way, doing it a different way will fundamentally add more value to your content and SEO efforts.

Personal profiles

So if we’re talking about these commenters and on-site contributors, I want you to think about profiles. This is something that most comment plug-ins don’t allow by default. Disqus creates a profile, but that profile lives on Disqus’ site, not on your site. Think about your Moz profile. Think about your LinkedIn profile. Think about the profile that you create on lots of community-focused websites, like an Inbound.org or a Hacker News or something. Like there’s fundamental value to having that. You can own that content. You can now promote that page. You can rank in search engines with it. All those kinds of things.

Edit/citation suggestions and highlights

Edit and citation suggestions like places like Wikipedia have. Others have notable ones. Medium, obviously, has the highlighted section. It’s a little more creative.

Featured comments

Featured comments, which places like The New York Times do, I think if you are an editorial content creator and you want to amplify the visibility of comments and encourage people to share great comments, a featured comment system is a valuable one. Here on Moz, we used to show comments ordered by the date in which they were left or the timestamp of when they were left, and now we order them based on thumbs, which encourages people to have a great comment because it will have the most visibility because it got the most thumbs up.
With social media folks, I would think about some of the content. You can create content that features social contributions, thus encouraging people to follow you and contribute and reply to and amplify your tweets or Facebook shares or LinkedIn because they will get additional visibility from that.

Data via polls and surveys

You can think about collection and amplification of data that you collect through polls and short surveys. Facebook and Twitter are great about allowing those.

Sharing others’ social accounts

Promotion of other people’s social accounts. One of the things that I think far too few social accounts do is actually call someone out by name and say, “Hey, this is another really valuable page on Facebook that you should check out.” Or, “This person did this wonderful thing.” I see too few Twitter accounts, including the Moz Twitter account doesn’t call out as many people, in non-reply tweets, as we probably should or could, and I think that’s another wonderful thing that we can do.

Using social for testimonials and promotional content

Use of social, of course, in testimonial and promotional content. We started doing that where we actually said, “Hey, someone said something really nice about us on Twitter or on Facebook or on LinkedIn. Let’s reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, could we use that on our website, on our product page, to help get you visibility and show that you’re an expert in this field, but also to help us sell this product that you apparently love?’” Win-win there. Again, a wonderful way to creatively use that same type of content.

Smart influencer roundups, such as helpful email lists

And last, with influencers, with experts, with amplifiers, I think there’s vastly more ways to do this in roundups. First off, I’ve seen some folks create some great email discussion, the help-each-other type of lists. I’m part of a few of those. I love them. There’s great content on there. I think this is a wonderful way to get influencers and experts on your side in the long term and to help them help each other as well as you.

I’ve also, just recently, become part of a few BCC email lists, where a couple of content creators in the technology and entrepreneurship space, when they have new content to share, they share it first with this BCC email list before they even promote it to their regular audiences. That’s awesome. That gives me a chance to be one of the first people to show it to everyone. I, of course, benefit from that through sharing with my audiences, and they benefit through the additional visibility that I give them.

Focus on data above quotations alone

Surveys and data gathering, I’m a much bigger believer in surveys and in showing data than in roundups. I think roundups that just are text only and have a bunch of text, rather than show data from a lot of influencers and saying, “Hey, you know, we interviewed 100 startup CEOs and we got these 5 data points from each of them, and here are the distributions.” Vastly more interesting than, “Here are the two sentences of advice that every startup CEO gave about how to hire your first engineer.” That kind of thing.

Featured commentary

Featured commentary and input on content is another way to do this. So, essentially, you share content with influencers. You say, “Hey, if you have some featured comments or some ideas around that, send that back and we will include it in the launch of that content.” Lovely stuff there. I’ve been part of a few of those and I love those.

Discussion and debate as content

Discussion or debate as actual content. The FiveThirtyEight folks have been brilliant about this, where they invite on guest contributors and experts and then they feature that discussion. Some other political sites and places like The Stranger have done that. Wonderful stuff.

Getting creative with how you exchange value with your content and community contributors is an awesome way to go. I hope, in 2017, I see a lot more of this stuff and maybe even a little less of this stuff.

All right, everyone. Hope you have a great holiday season and a great year. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Kathy Hilton Proud of Sister, ‘Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’ Star Kim Richards, for Rehab Efforts

Kathy Hilton is the mom of Paris Hilton. She’s also the sister of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Kim Richards, and her pride in her sister was the topic of choice as she chatted recently with People magazine.

It was at the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund’s 2nd Annual Super Saturday event, sponsored by FIJI Water, in Los Angeles, that Kathy Hilton was asked how Kim Richards in faring in rehab.

“I’m very proud of her,” Hilton said. “She decided on her own to go.”

Kim Richards entered rehab last month following a very painful intervention with Dr. Phil McGraw. That meeting followed her arrest for public intoxication, trespassing, resisting an officer, and battery on a police officer in Beverly Hills on April 16th.

A source close to the RHOBH star People says Kim Richards will attend her daughter’s wedding next weekend.

“Kim is so excited for her daughter’s wedding next weekend. She wouldn’t miss it.”

Kathy Hilton replied via Twitter when a fan asked if Kim was already out of rehab. The question was raised because Kim Richards attended her daughter’s bridal shower.

Kathy Hilton says she doesn’t know if Kim Richards will return to RHOBH next season, but she believes the show has been good for her sister.

“I think the show has been really great,” she said. “I mean she’s a professional. She’s an actress. But this is real.”

“Kim needs to learn the tools to cope when there is something that’s upsetting,” Kathy Hilton added. “You have to learn to use the tools to not fall off the wagon.”

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills costar Brandi Glanville has been to Kim Richards’s rehab facility to visit. It sounds like she’s holed up in quite an impressive facility.

“I would die,” Glanville said of how she would likely react to having to go to rehab. “But if you saw where her rehab was. I was like, ‘Anyone could use 30 days here. It’s really nice!’ I don’t want to out where she is. It’s beautiful. I took the kids, and was like, ‘This is the Four Seasons or something.’”

Some people who follow the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills–but not religiously–might not even have known that Kathy Hilton and Kim Richards are sisters. You’ll notice Kathy Hilton didn’t mention sister Kyle Richards at all. She hasn’t been particularly supportive of Kim’s problems with alcohol.

Fortunately for Kim Richards, she has sister Kathy Hilton in her corner. Everyone fighting addiction of any kinds needs to know their family is behind them–and their friends, too.

Will Kathy Hilton, Kim Richards, Kyle Richards, and more have a big family reunion when Kim’s daughter ties the knot next weekend?

Now that might be good fodder for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.


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What if Your Ugly Website is Holding Back Your Marketing Efforts? – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

In a way, we often treat our websites like our children. No matter how awful they might be, we rationalize their behavior and tell everyone else how wonderful they are. Those blinders can stop marketing efforts before they even begin. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand shows us how to remove the blindfold and make objective decisions to move our businesses forward.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Online Tools Mentioned This Week


Feedback Army

User Testing


Video Transcription

Howdy Moz fans and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Today we’re going to chat about ugly websites.

Now what if it’s the case that you’re investing a ton of energy and effort into your marketing efforts and it’s your ugly website that’s holding you back from the kinds of levels of engagement and progress that you could be making? I know how this goes.

What happens is a lot of times marketers are brought in after a website or web property has already been developed and built. Much like parents, it’s often the case that a CEO or a CMO or VP of marketing or a business owner, small business owners in particular, they look at their website and they go, “Oh, it’s so beautiful. It’s amazing. It’s just what I wanted. It’s perfect.” They can rationalize that even while looking at just a junky, horrifying piece of crap.

This happens all the time. Human beings rationalize our decisions. We rationalize the investments that we’ve made. So when we see terrible crap, we think it’s a pile of gold.

This is frustrating, and it’s particularly frustrating for marketers who then have to take this pig and smear lipstick all over it and try and sell it as a side of beef or something that is actually going to convert visitors. That’s insanely hard to do.

I’ve got this handy chart here, which will help to visually illustrate exactly how dramatic this math problem is. Now it’s the case, in my opinion, that baby and website attractiveness probably fall along a similar scale. All parents think that their children are five stars, just like all website owners think that their websites are five stars.

Yet, if you were to ask them what percent of babies are absolutely stunningly beautiful, what percent of websites are absolutely stunningly beautiful, parents would be like, “Well, maybe 5% or 10%.”

Well then, somebody’s math is off. What’s probably going on here is a lot of people who are in this group think they are in this group, and that’s very frustrating.

What’s not easy to do is go directly to a CMO, a CEO, your manager, your new team at a company you joined or at a company you’re consulting with, or with a small business owner who you’re working with and say, “Well, this is just a terrible website, and we’re going to have to rebuild it if you want me to make the improvements that I need to make.”

That does not fly. It just doesn’t work. It’s not reasonable. What is reasonable is to use data to help support your arguments. This is a process that I used to follow a little bit when I was a consultant, that I’ve seen other consultants and, in fact, other marketers who joined teams use. I’ve seen professional design teams do this as well.

Essentially, they’ll put together a list of top competitors and then ask a brief survey. It doesn’t have to be many people. You can get a few dozen folks who fall into three different groups.

You want to ask current customers, potential new customers, and, if you can, a few industry influencers or bloggers, journalists, the kinds of people that you might be seeking press attention, brand mentions, links awareness, those kinds of things from. Especially if you’re doing any type of content production or content marketing, blogging, you want to see if the people who would be your content customers are enjoying and appreciating your website versus your competitors. Then just ask them to rate you versus your competition one through five. Make sure you’re marking who these are.

A lot of times what happens is that your current customer group will say, ”Yeah, we like the website just fine. Your website is great.” This is whom your CEOs, your VPs of marketing, the small business owner, that’s who they’re interacting with. So their experience is, “I talk to customers, our customers all the time. They like the website.” Maybe they do.

But if the potential new customers and the industry influencers are saying otherwise, are rating you much lower than your competition, well now you’ve identified a dramatic gap in why you can’t accomplish the kinds of marketing that you might want to do. Marketing from earning social media signals, to earning shares, to getting links, to getting customers and conversions, all that stuff can be impacted that this.

If you are rated in that lower half, look at the top of the funnel metrics. By top of the tunnel metrics, I’m really talking about things like bounce rate, time on site, and browse rate, browse rate being the number of pages on average that are visited per visitor session. If these numbers, based on your past experience or, if you can get them, industry averages — industry averages can be super helpful here. For many industries there are a lot of people who aggregate and publish these kinds of things on the web — if they feel like major areas of opportunity, then a new design is looking like it’s something that should go onto your list.

You should also be asking yourself from a context of the business as a growing company, as an effort that you want to put your resources into, ”Does this feel more important than any other change?”

Is it the case that if we were able to change the trajectory of social sharing, content engagement, new links and citations, all these top of site metrics, bounce rates, time on site, browse rate, would those things be things that would really move the needle for the business? Sometimes the answer is actually no.

In a lot of the cases with consulting and services businesses, it’s the case that other investments in other areas of the business would be better uses of time and energy, even if you are not in these high groups. For those of you who are doing commerce on the web of any kind, software as a service, or a subscription business, or an ecommerce business, a lot of local businesses where their early customers engage with them first on the web, this is probably going to be key.

Number three, if formal usability testing is too expensive, and for most small and medium sizes business it really is, try these three apps: Silverbackapp.com, FeedbackArmy.com, and UserTesting.com. I’ve heard a mix of opinions about all three of them in terms of which of them is a favorite. But all of them are potentially good in getting lots of new people to your site and collecting feedback about the problems and potential solutions you’ve got there. That can help lead you to a great design.

I didn’t put it in here, but if you don’t already have a design team or designer in mind, one of my personal favorite things to do, and this is sort of a little Rand hack here, I like going to Dribbble.com. If you are not already familiar somehow, that’s Dribbble.com.

I like looking on Dribbble for the designers who have very well-rated stuff; very beautiful stuff, stuff that fits your aesthetic preferences, but do not yet have a large portfolio. That usually means that their prices will be lower since while they’re still building up their portfolio of work.

Those designers who have tremendously well-rated projects and who have a large portfolio are going to be fairly expensive or at least on the very pricey scale. But you can find a lot of independent folks using that methodology on Dribbble if you’re looking for a new designer.

Then when you get a new design in hand, make sure that you’re trying that test. Design is one of those things that is extremely hard to A/B test. My best recommendation is to think of a few pages, one or a few pages of your site. Maybe it’s a new piece of content that you’re launching separately that you might almost think about the design as looking like it’s on a new micro-site, although it’s actually on your own domain, or potentially using a few of your landing pages as sort of feeling like landing pages on a micro-site that are still existing on your domain, and testing the old UI/UX versus the new one.

What you don’t want to do is have a page that is embedded into the site’s navigation overall, that lots of people are going to be navigating to and from the old one and new one, because then you’ll get that disjointed experience.

If you can test this with something where external traffic is hitting it primarily — a PPC landing page is a great place to go with this — that can help show you what the new visual UI can do and what the observable lifts are in terms of these metrics and in terms of conversion rate.

This data driven approach can be very, very helpful in terms of convincing a manager or management or your team or your client that this is desperately needed and that it can really move the needle for the business.

All right, everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We will see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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