Tag Archive | "Missing"

SearchCap: Old content in Google, CRO tools, missing mobile opportunities & more

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



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Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Why You’re Missing Crucial Opportunities if You Think You’re ‘Not Creative’

I can’t stand hearing people say they’re “not creative.” That happened to me recently, after I sliced a finger and wound up in Urgent Care. When the doctor heard that my fiancé is a graphic designer, he launched into a well-rehearsed monologue: “Oh, my mom is a graphic designer; she’s so creative! I do some
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Google My Business Q&A: What you may be missing

Did you know you can add a custom FAQ to your GMB listing? Contributor Sherry Bonelli explains how to use the often-overlooked Q&A feature to promote your business and stay ahead of the competition.



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Two Vital Elements that Might Be Missing from Your Content (and Precisely Where to Add Them)

"We all dream of making such an impact on people that they share our ideas far and wide." – Kelly Exeter

It’s taken you more than 10 hours to write a blog post.

You’ve researched the topic to the nth degree. You’ve edited it to within an inch of its life.

Now it’s time to get it out into the world!

You excitedly press Publish, and … even days later … crickets.

Heartbreaking, right?

We all like to think that the amount of effort we invest in creating a piece of content directly correlates to how deeply it resonates with readers. But, experience has repeatedly shown this is not the case.

So, what’s the deciding factor if it’s not effort?

Luck? Timing? Skill?

Yes, the factors above do play a part. But, more often than not, it comes down to these two elements:

  1. If your content doesn’t hook readers in the first few sentences, it doesn’t matter how good the rest of it is, you’ve lost them.
  2. If you don’t clearly communicate your idea, readers may lose interest after your introduction because they don’t have an incentive to keep reading.

So, how do we write both a strong hook and a strong idea? That’s what I’m going to break down for you today.

What’s a hook?

A hook is a narrative technique that operates exactly as it sounds.

It’s information so interesting that it hooks the reader’s attention, and they feel compelled to see what comes next. So, they keep reading.

The hook works in tandem with the headline; the headline delivers the reader to the first lines of an article, and then the hook in those first few lines launches the reader deeper into the piece of content.

What’s the idea?

The dictionary definition of an “idea” is:

“A thought or suggestion as to a possible course of action.”

That neatly sums up what we’re trying to do when we write anything. We want to share a thought, make a suggestion and/or inspire people to take a certain action.

Why is your content’s idea so crucial?

Because your idea drives the payoff the reader will get from continuing to read your article.

That payoff can be:

  • Laughing from your humor
  • Learning new information
  • Taking meaningful action that will help them reach their goals

The idea forms the backbone of your article that leads to a positive outcome for both you and your readers.

We all dream of making such an impact on people that they share our ideas far and wide.

If the people reading your words aren’t inspired to share them with their friends, there’s a ceiling on the number of people you can reach.

Where things can go wrong for your idea

It might be easy to think of an idea for a piece of content, but when we actually sit down to write:

  1. We discover we don’t have as much to say about the idea as we first thought.
  2. We start writing about one idea, but then introduce another halfway through.

In both of these situations, if we publish that content, the reader may be left feeling either bewildered or cheated at the end. Not ideal.

How do you get super clear on your idea?

My favorite technique is to initially write a very literal headline.

Why?

Because it forces you to identify the exact promise you’re making to the reader.

If you can’t identify your promise, then you’re not going to be able to deliver a payoff.

Once you’ve written your literal headline and confirmed you know the exact idea you want to communicate, you’ll use that to:

  • Determine whether you actually have enough material to deliver a payoff for the reader.
  • Edit tightly to ensure you do so.

Here are three examples of literal headlines that sum up the article’s payoff.

When you click through to each of the posts above, you’ll see the actual headline is different from the literal headline I’ve identified.

That’s because your headline needs to hook the reader’s interest without giving away the payoff. If you deliver the payoff in the headline, there’s generally no need for someone to read the whole article.

Struggling to write a literal headline? That means you don’t have a good handle on the idea you’re trying to communicate.

Here are three examples of categories that can help you craft a strong idea … and then we’ll get into writing your hook.

1. Counterintuitive

This is where you take conventional wisdom and turn it upside down.

We all know a balanced diet made up of a variety of foods is ideal, so when someone tells us they ate nothing but potatoes for a year and lost a large amount of weight along the way, that gets our attention.

2. Practical and actionable

Telling people “If you’re organized, your life will be so much easier” is yawn-worthy. Everyone knows that.

Showing them the way you organize your life so that they can learn your tips? That’s far more powerful.

3. Contrarian

When everyone’s telling us not to do a certain thing, having someone tell us we should is incredibly refreshing.

It’s also the kind of thing we tend to share because it’s “ammunition” that justifies our choice to take a path less travelled.

How to write a great hook

One of the most common things I do as an editor is delete the first two paragraphs of articles sent to me.

Introductions are difficult to write, but:

If you’ve written 400+ words of an introduction, there’s a solid chance there’s a decent hook sitting somewhere around the 200-word mark.

Remember, your hook doesn’t need to be the most interesting thing anyone’s ever read; it just needs to be interesting enough to keep the person reading.

Here are five of my favorite hook techniques, with examples:

Hook #1: Ask a question

Humans are drawn to questions for a few reasons. One reason is that we’re inherently competitive.

When someone asks us a question, we’re compelled to first answer it and then find out if our answer is correct. If you don’t have an answer to a question, but someone suggests they do, that’s an even stronger hook.

Here’s an example of Sonia Simone leveraging this:

Headline: The #1 Conversion Killer in Your Copy (and How to Beat It)

Hook: What makes people almost buy? What makes them get most of the way there and then drop out of your shopping cart at the last second?

If you have a website with a shopping cart, I defy you to stop reading the article after those first two lines.

Hook #2: Focus on the reader

This is probably the easiest hook to create. By using the words “You,” “You’re” or “Your” in your introduction, you directly address the reader.

Take this example from Alexandra Franzen:

Headline: This one’s for you

Hook: Your inbox is full of ego-rattling rejection emails, but you’re emailing 10 more literary agents today. … Your podcast has exactly three fans (and two are your parents), but you’re posting a new episode every single week, nonetheless.

The reason this hook works so well is because the reader now feels they’re part of the article’s story. This creates a strong need to know how that story ends.

Hook #3: Add dialogue

Who likes listening in on other people’s conversations?

We all do. We can’t help it. When an article starts with dialogue, we’re quickly hooked because we’re getting all the pleasure of eavesdropping, without the guilt.

Here’s an example from Jerod Morris:

Headline: Why Your Greatest Asset May Be Slowly Eroding (and How You Can Rebuild It)

Hook: “Why are we sending this email to this list again?” Kim asked. I was incredulous. “Umm, because we never sent it a first time,” I thought to myself. Still, before responding, I decided to check. Glad I did.

This hook combines both spoken and inner dialogue. The latter of which is next-level intriguing because it gives the reader access to the writer’s inner thoughts.

Why was Jerod “glad he checked?” We have to know.

Hook #4: Make a big statement

This is where a writer makes a “big call” — usually in both their headline and their opening line. It’s effective because it makes people think, “Really? What have you got to back that up?”

It’s a favorite technique of Penelope Trunk:

Headline: Living up to your potential is BS

Hook: The idea that we somehow have a certain amount of potential that we must live up to is a complete crock.

The reason this hook is so effective is because it captures the attention of people from both sides of the argument.

People who agree with the sentiment want to find out why they’re “right” in thinking so. People who disagree? They read on because they want to rebut.

Big statements are not for the faint-hearted. If you don’t want to engage in robust conversation about the ideas you’ve expressed in a post, stay away from this one.

Hook #5: Tell a story

If you present information in a story format, people immediately pay attention. Using a story as a hook, however, is a pro skill.

You can’t kick off with just any story; it has to be relevant. For an ongoing master class in this technique, simply follow Bernadette Jiwa.

Here’s a recent example from her blog:

Headline: The Unchanging Nature Of Business

Hook: It’s a cool November day in 2014, and a young couple pause on a suburban street to snap a selfie with an iPhone 5C.

Why does the above statement hook you? Because you want to discover the link between the headline and a young couple taking a selfie.

Let’s recap

I’ve covered a bit of ground, so let’s touch on the key points again.

  1. If you don’t hook readers at the beginning of your article, they’re more likely to move on to a different piece of content.
  2. If you can’t summarize the idea of your article in a “literal” headline, then you don’t have a firm grasp of what you’re trying to communicate — and you’ll fail to deliver a payoff for the reader.

Where to go from here?

A simple exercise I urge you to do regularly is: pay attention to the articles that you read all the way to the end and share.

Study them by identifying:

  • The hooks the author used to get you reading.
  • The hooks the author used to keep you reading. (For example, subheadings also function as hooks.)
  • The underlying ideas. (Write literal headlines once you’ve identified those ideas.)
  • What moved you to share those articles?

When you understand the writing techniques that work well on you, you can use them in your own writing to ensure that if you put a lot of time and energy into creating a piece of content, then it will get the attention it deserves.

The post Two Vital Elements that Might Be Missing from Your Content (and Precisely Where to Add Them) appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Google Search Analytics Report Missing A Day Of Data In Search Console

Google Search Console seems to have a gap in data, literally a gap. If you go to the Google Search Analytics report, you will see that the 29th of March is missing data…


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Rosie O’Donnell: Missing Daughter Chelsea Found at Home of Man She Met on Tinder

Rosie O’Donnell put out a plea earlier this week, for help in locating her missing daughter Chelsea. A day after she enlisted the help of those on the internet, the 17-year-old was located in the New Jersey home of a man she met on Tinder. 25-year-old Steve Sheerer was once convicted of possession of heroin. He’s definitely not the kind …

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YouTube Keyword Tool Goes Missing

Google replaced YouTube’s keyword tool with Display Planner’s AdWords video keyword suggestions on September 1, requiring users to access an AdWords account.
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Open Social Collaboration: The Missing Piece of Your SEO and Content Marketing Strategy

Posted by prsarahevans

At Tracky, we are all about open social collaboration, all the time. We constantly strive to find ways to work better, not more, and to empower our customers to do the same. And, just like you and any online-focused business, we plan search engine optimization (SEO) and content engagement (CE) strategies.

Through working for a startup, I know these strategies can take a significant amount of time and effort to plan and execute. So, I set out to find a better way to manage our SEO and CE planning process and provide better content (i.e. becoming authoritative by sharing what we're getting done) while optimizing the potential search and social reach for our content..

I’m going to share a few of my secrets on how integrating open social collaboration helps you produce better work and, in true SEOmoz fashion, improve your organic search results.

Open collaboration

It’s important that we first make a distinction between the two ways to use open social collaboration; that’s the “open” component. Let’s look at open social collaboration in two parts: the front end and the back end.

  1. Back end: includes everything that happens before you hit “publish.”
  2. Front end: includes everything that happens after you hit “publish.”

Open only comes into play when it’s time and/or necessary. There’s an entire “private” social collaboration component that’s meant for you or you and your team. You can use open social collaboration to plan your SEO and CE efforts, and then extend your reach privately. Before doing so, it's important to find a collaboration platform that can handle both private and public sharing to truly optimize your SEO and CE strategies.

But back to our content engagement workflow. The back end process includes things like:

  • Editorial planning for your website, blog, and social networks
  • Keyword list creation
  • Content creation for your website, blog, and social networks
  • Editing and review of content
  • Delegation of tasks to socially promote each piece of content

Let’s break these steps down even further. As you plan the promotion for the content you create, think strategically about the social networks you use and how they complement your SEO efforts. At Tracky, we plan our content engagement strategy and tactics out weekly (see below).

Each team member knows exactly what they’re responsible for and can easily get a snapshot view of the week’s content plan. We integrate tools from SEOmoz, like the Keyword Difficulty & SERP Analysis, to make sure we’re focused on the most important keywords in our efforts. We tend to break down our promotional tasks by network and typically have at least five tactics per piece of content created.

DID YOU KNOW? On average, it takes five (5) separate tactics to drive people to your website or blog. (tweet this)

The retweet opportunity and the Rule of 60

You may know that getting retweets is the best way to amplify your Twitter reach. But, did you know that many miss out on the complete retweet opportunity? Here’s our tried and true magic mix:

When you search for something on Google, the result titles only display about 70-80 characters (or less). That means the first 60 to 70 characters in your tweet, title tag, and other indexed social postings are the most important. If you include your keywords after that point, it doesn’t do much to help your SEO. I like to call this the Rule of 60.

The Rule of 60 is also important for your title tag. As Ruth Burr wrote in a recent case study, “When your title tag is too long, instead of simply truncating it and adding an ellipsis to the end the way they used to, Google is trying to algorithmically determine a better title for the post.”

A few great tactics for planning out Twitter content (and a variation of this for other social networks) includes:

  • Creating great content you think will resonate with your customers
  • Creating SEO-friendly headlines with 70 characters or less title tags
  • Keywords included in first 60 words of your tweets
  • Include the link to the post after the keywords (they have the highest likelihood of being retweeted)
  • Post tweets during times your community are most likely to engage (we personally use Tweriod)

Although this may seem like a lengthy process, over time it becomes second nature – a habit is formed. I keep the checklist around for sustainability (i.e. if someone new had to jump in and do it) reasons. The final tweet recommendation goes to the entire team to share, if they feel so inclined.  Publishing versions of posts to Twitter and Facebook (or with Buffer) is a great next step, which adds more SEO value since it’s spiderable and makes social sharing even easier (this is part of the “front end” strategy). When your team is in the loop and your content is shared across multiple platforms, everyone wins!

That’s my perfect example of how open social collaboration and SEO come together to boost your online efforts. How do you use open social collaboration with your team? I'd love to hear you suggestions in the comments below.

For more information on the awesomeness that is open social collaboration, feel free to contact me at @PRsarahevans or sarah@tracky.com. Thanks to the SEOmoz team for the opportunity!

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Majority of Small Business Websites Are Missing Contact Information

In the past week I used the internet to find the address and directions to a hotel, the phone number of a local restaurant, and the email address of a blogger.

I failed on the first try, all three times.

Gone are the days when a potential customer would pop open the Yellow Pages or even call directory assistance for a phone number. One survey showed that 59% of consumers search Google for local business information at least once a month. What would they find if they were searching for you?

SMB DigitalScape took a look at 1 million SMB websites and here’s what they found:

  • 6 out of 10 SMB websites in the U.S. are missing either a local or toll-free telephone number on the home page to contact the business.
  • 74.7% of SMB websites lack an email link on their home page for consumers to contact the business.
  • 65.7% of SMB websites lack a form-fill option to enable consumers to request information.

Going a step further:

  • Only 19.5% of SMB websites have a link to a Facebook page
  • Even fewer have links to Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • 93.3% of SMB websites are not mobile compatible and will not render successfully on mobile devices or smartphones.

I can understand SMB’s not having Facebook links. Many mom and pop owners are overwhelmed with simply keeping their businesses running day to day. Even thinking about a social media presence is more than they can handle. I’m not being condescending here. I’ve seen it, time and again.

But let’s go back to the first bullet list. 6 out of 10 small business websites don’t have a phone number! If I can’t find your phone number on the first try, I’m moving on to your competitor.

This part isn’t rocket science, folks (okay, now I’m being condescending.) Every local business website should have a clear phone number and full address. Every online business should have a clear email address and / or a contact form. Also, a phone number would be good but I can understand not wanting to put that out there if you don’t run a brick and mortar business.

Let me go a step further. If you’re hosting an event, CLEARLY on the front page should be the dates, times, entrance price, full address and link to a map and contact information.

These are the basics. Don’t lose customers because you forgot to put your phone number on your website. Think you’ve got it covered? Go check your site right now. I’ll bet 1 our 10 of you thinks it’s there, but it’s not.

 

 

 

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Why Your Marketing is Missing the Mark (And How You Can Fix It)

image of fish chasing a hook

Picture this scenario: it’s Friday night, and you head out to a nice restaurant after a long week of work.

While you’re relaxing over a glass of wine, the waiter comes over and informs you of the special. “We have a delicious salmon risotto tonight,” he says.

That sounds perfect, you think, so you order the dish. The waiter jots it down and heads back toward the kitchen as you continue your wine and conversation.

So far, so good, right?

But then the chef comes out and walks over to your table.

“I understand you’ve ordered the salmon risotto,” she says as you nod in affirmation. “Well, risotto is a bit tricky, and it’s important we get the salmon right, too… have you ever made it before?”

Before you can respond, the chef turns around. “Tell you what, I’ll go ahead and get the olive oil started … you wash up and meet me back in the kitchen.”

I’m guessing this experience has never happened to you, and I’m also guessing that you probably wouldn’t enjoy it if it did. After getting past the initial surprise (does the chef really want me to come back in the kitchen and help prepare the food?), you’d probably find it very odd.

You know that the food in the restaurant costs much more than it would in the grocery store — you’re paying a big premium for atmosphere and service. If you wanted to make salmon risotto yourself, you would have done so. You didn’t go to the restaurant to learn to make a new dish; you went to relax and have people do everything for you.

What does this scenario have to do with running a business or plotting a course toward freedom?

Your customers don’t want to make their own dinner

Instead of offering people what they really want, too many business owners have this idea that it’s better to involve customers in the behind-the-scenes … because that’s what they think customers want.

We’ve become experts in telling people things they don’t want to hear about, and teaching people things they don’t want to learn.

It’s all the fault of the old parable:

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime.

This might be a good idea for homeless fishermen, but it’s often a terrible idea in business.

Try a better idea

A better idea is to give people what they actually want, and the answer to that lies in understanding something very simple about who we are. Get this point right, and a lot of other things become much easier.

Most of us don’t want to learn how to fish. We work all week and go to the restaurant so that someone can take care of everything for us. We don’t need to know the details of what goes on in the kitchen; in fact, we may not even want to know the details.

Instead, we want the fish brought to us on a plate, deboned, lightly breaded, and pan-fried with a slice of lemon.

To give people what they want, first you have to define value


What is value, exactly? Here’s a basic definition:

Something desirable and of worth, created through exchange or effort.

Perhaps an even easier way to think about it is: value means helping people.

If you’re trying to build a business and you begin your efforts by helping people, you’re on the right track. When you get stuck, ask yourself: how can I give more value? Or more simply: How can I help my customers more? 

Over the past two years, I’ve been traveling the world, interviewing “unexpected entrepreneurs” as part of the research for a book.

I learned to understand the clear value proposition that each person offered their customers. In most cases, there was a clear distinction between the actual product or service, and how it made the end-user feel.

Copywriters talk about getting to the real benefit of the product. The successful entrepreneurs I talked with had learned to market that real benefit — to “give their customers the fish.”

  • Jaden Hair provides recipes and stories about food from her popular website SteamyKitchen.com … but the real benefit is “spend quality time with your family.”
  • Megan Hunt makes custom dresses and wedding accessories from a co-working space in Omaha … but the real benefit for brides is “feel special on your big day.”
  • Ridlon “Sharkman” Kiphart takes clients on adventure tours to exotic destinations … and the benefit is “Live adventurously by joining us for the trip of a lifetime.”
  • Kelly Newsome left a high-paying job as a New York attorney to operate a private yoga practice in Washington, D.C … and the real benefit to her clients is “relax and prepare for the day through a personalized, guided practice.”


The stories go on and on, and you might be able to tell a similar story from your own experience. 



When it comes down to it, what people really, really want is pretty simple.

We want to be happy. We want to have our lives improved, either through the addition of something positive or the subtraction of something that causes stress and hassle. 

Are you doing that in your business?

Are you giving your customers what they really want?

About the Author: Chris Guillebeau’s upcoming book, The $ 100 Startup, launches on May 8th during the world’s first 7-continent book tour. He also writes for a small army of remarkable people at ChrisGuillebeau.com.

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