Tag Archive | "Opportunities"

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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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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The post Why You’re Missing Crucial Opportunities if You Think You’re ‘Not Creative’ appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How to Target Featured Snippet Opportunities – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by BritneyMuller

Once you’ve identified where the opportunity to nab a featured snippet lies, how do you go about targeting it? Part One of our “Featured Snippet Opportunities” series focused on how to discover places where you may be able to win a snippet, but today we’re focusing on how to actually make changes that’ll help you do that. Give a warm, Mozzy welcome to Britney as she shares pro tips and examples of how we’ve been able to snag our own snippets using her methodology.

Target featured snippet opportunities

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Video Transcription

Today, we are going over targeting featured snippets, Part 2 of our featured snippets series. Super excited to dive into this.

What’s a featured snippet?

For those of you that need a little brush-up, what’s a featured snippet? Let’s say you do a search for something like, “Are pigs smarter than dogs?” You’re going to see an answer box that says, “Pigs outperform three-year old human children on cognitive tests and are smarter than any domestic animal. Animal experts consider them more trainable than cats or dogs.” How cool is that? But you’ll likely see these answer boxes for all sorts of things. So something to sort of keep an eye on. How do you become a part of that featured snippet box? How do you target those opportunities?

Last time, we talked about finding keywords that you rank on page one for that also have a featured snippet. There are a couple ways to do that. We talk about it in the first video. Something I do want to mention, in doing some of that the last couple weeks, is that Ahrefs actually has some of the capabilities to do that all for you. I had no idea that was possible. Really cool, go check them out. If you don’t have Ahrefs and maybe you have Moz or SEMrush, don’t worry, you can do the same sort of thing with a Vlookup.

So I know this looks a little crazy for those of you that aren’t familiar. Super easy. It basically allows you to combine two sets of data to show you where some of those opportunities are. So happy to link to some of those resources down below or make a follow-up video on how to do just that.

I. Identify

All right. So step one is identifying these opportunities. You want to find the keywords that you’re on page one for that also have this answer box. You want to weigh the competitive search volume against qualified traffic. Initially, you might want to just go after search volume. I highly suggest you sort of reconsider and evaluate where might the qualified traffic come from and start to go after those.

II. Understand

From there, you really just want to understand the intent, more so even beyond this table that I have suggested for you. To be totally honest, I’m doing all of this with you. It’s been a struggle, and it’s been fun, but sometimes this isn’t very helpful. Sometimes it is. But a lot of times I’m not even looking at some of this stuff when I’m comparing the current featured snippet page and the page that we currently rank on page one for. I’ll tell you what I mean in a second.

III. Target

So we have an example of how I’ve been able to already steal one. Hopefully it helps you. How do you target your keywords that have the featured snippet?

  • Simplifying and cleaning up your pages does wonders. Google wants to provide a very simple, cohesive, quick answer for searchers and for voice searches. So definitely try to mold the content in a way that’s easy to consume.
  • Summaries do well. Whether they’re at the top of the page or at the bottom, they tend to do very, very well.
  • Competitive markup, if you see a current featured snippet that is marked up in a particular way, you can do so to be a little bit more competitive.
  • Provide unique info
  • Dig deeper, go that extra mile, provide something else. Provide that value.

Examples

What are some examples? So these are just some examples that I personally have been running into and I’ve been working on cleaning up.

  • Roman numerals. I am trying to target a list result, and the page we currently rank on number one for has Roman numerals. Maybe it’s a big deal, maybe it’s not. I just changed them to numbers to see what’s going to happen. I’ll keep you posted.
  • Fix broken links. But I’m also just going through our page and cleaning it. We have a lot of older content. I’m fixing broken links. I have the Check My Links tool. It’s a Chrome add-on plugin that I just click and it tells me what’s a 404 or what I might need to update.
  • Fixing spelling errors or any grammatical errors that may have slipped through editors’ eyes. I use Grammarly. I have the free version. It works really well, super easy. I’ve even found some super old posts that have the double or triple spacing after a period. It drives me crazy, but cleaning some of that stuff up.
  • Deleting extra markup. You might see some additional breaks, not necessarily like that ampersand. But you know what I mean in WordPress where it’s that weird little thing for that break in the space, you can clean those out. Some extra, empty header markup, feel free to delete those. You’re just cleaning and simplifying and improving your page.

One interesting thing that I’ve come across recently was for the keyword “MozRank.” Our page is beautifully written, perfectly optimized. It has all the things in place to be that featured snippet, but it’s not. That is when I fell back and I started to rely on some of this data. I saw that the current featured snippet page has all these links.

So I started to look into what are some easy backlinks I might be able to grab for that page. I came across Quora that had a question about MozRank, and I noticed that — this is a side tip — you can suggest edits to Quora now, which is amazing. So I suggested a link to our Moz page, and within the notes I said, “Hello, so and so. I found this great resource on MozRank. It completely confirms your wonderful answer. Thank you so much, Britney.”

I don’t know if that’s going to work. I know it’s a nofollow. I hope it can send some qualified traffic. I’ll keep you posted on that. But kind of a fun tip to be aware of.

How we nabbed the “find backlinks” featured snippet

All right. How did I nab the featured snippet “find backlinks”? This surprised me, because I hardly changed much at all, and we were able to steal that featured snippet quite easily. We were currently in the fourth position, and this was the old post that was in the fourth position. These are the updates I made that are now in the featured snippet.

Clean up the title

So we go from the title “How to Find Your Competitor’s Backlinks Next Level” to “How to Find Backlinks.” I’m just simplifying, cleaning it up.

Clean up the H2s

The first H2, “How to Check the Backlinks of a Site.” Clean it up, “How to Find Backlinks?” That’s it. I don’t change step one. These are all in H3s. I leave them in the H3s. I’m just tweaking text a little bit here and there.

Simplify and clarify your explanations/remove redundancies

I changed “Enter your competitor’s domain URL” — it felt a little duplicate — to “Enter your competitor’s URL.” Let’s see. “Export results into CSV,” what kind of results? I changed that to “export backlink data into CSV.” “Compile CSV results from all competitors,” what kind of results? “Compile backlink CSV results from all competitors.”

So you can look through this. All I’m doing is simplifying and adding backlinks to clarify some of it, and we were able to nab that.

So hopefully that example helps. I’m going to continue to sort of drudge through a bunch of these with you. I look forward to any of your comments, any of your efforts down below in the comments. Definitely looking forward to Part 3 and to chatting with you all soon.

Thank you so much for joining me on this edition of Whiteboard Friday. I look forward to seeing you all soon. See you.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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How to Turn Low-Value Content Into Neatly Organized Opportunities – Next Level

Posted by jocameron

Welcome to the newest installment of our educational Next Level series! In our last post, Brian Childs offered up a beginner-level workflow to help discover your competitor’s backlinks. Today, we’re welcoming back Next Level veteran Jo Cameron to show you how to find low-quality pages on your site and decide their new fate. Read on and level up!


With an almost endless succession of Google updates fluctuating the search results, it’s pretty clear that substandard content just won’t cut it.

I know, I know — we can’t all keep up with the latest algorithm updates. We’ve got businesses to run, clients to impress, and a strong social media presence to maintain. After all, you haven’t seen a huge drop in your traffic. It’s probably OK, right?

So what’s with the nagging sensation down in the pit of your stomach? It’s not just that giant chili taco you had earlier. Maybe it’s that feeling that your content might be treading on thin ice. Maybe you watched Rand’s recent Whiteboard Friday (How to Determine if a Page is “Low Quality” in Google’s Eyes) and just don’t know where to start.

In this edition of Next Level, I’ll show you how to start identifying your low-quality pages in a few simple steps with Moz Pro’s Site Crawl. Once identified, you can decide whether to merge, shine up, or remove the content.

A quick recap of algorithm updates

The latest big fluctuations in the search results were said to be caused by King Fred: enemy of low-quality pages and champion of the people’s right to find and enjoy content of value.

Fred took the fight to affiliate sites, and low-value commercial sites were also affected.

The good news is that even if this isn’t directed at you, and you haven’t taken a hit yourself, you can still learn from this update to improve your site. After all, why not stay on the right side of the biggest index of online content in the known universe? You’ll come away with a good idea of what content is working for your site, and you may just take a ride to the top of the SERPs. Knowledge is power, after all.

Be a Pro

It’s best if we just accept that Google updates are ongoing; they happen all.the.time. But with a site audit tool in your toolkit like Moz Pro’s Site Crawl, they don’t have to keep you up at night. Our shiny new Rogerbot crawler is the new kid on the block, and it’s hungry to crawl your pages.

If you haven’t given it a try, sign up for a free trial for 30 days:

Start a free trial

If you’ve already had a free trial that has expired, write to me and I’ll give you another, just because I can.

Set up your Moz Pro campaign — it takes 5 minutes tops — and Rogerbot will be unleashed upon your site like a caffeinated spider.

Rogerbot hops from page to page following links to analyze your website. As Rogerbot hops along, a beautiful database of pages is constructed that flag issues you can use to find those laggers. What a hero!

First stop: Thin content

Site Crawl > Content Issues > Thin Content

Thin content could be damaging your site. If it’s deemed to be malicious, then it could result in a penalty. Things like zero-value pages with ads or spammy doorway pages — little traps people set to funnel people to other pages — are bad news.

First off, let’s find those pages. Moz Pro Site Crawl will flag “thin content” if it has less than 50 words (excluding navigation and ads).

Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with Google’s Quality Guidelines. Think long and hard about whether you may be doing this, intentionally or accidentally.

You’re probably not straight-up spamming people, but you could do better and you know it. Our mantra is (repeat after me): “Does this add value for my visitors?” Well, does it?

Ok, you can stop chanting now.

For most of us, thin content is less of a penalty threat and more of an opportunity. By finding pages with thin content, you have the opportunity to figure out if they’re doing enough to serve your visitors. Pile on some Google Analytics data and start making decisions about improvements that can be made.

Using moz.com as an example, I’ve found 3 pages with thin content. Ta-da emoji!

I’m not too concerned about the login page or the password reset page. I am, however, interested to see how the local search page is performing. Maybe we can find an opportunity to help people who land on this page.

Go ahead and export your thin content pages from Moz Pro to CSV.

We can then grab some data from Google Analytics to give us an idea of how well this page is performing. You may want to look at comparing monthly data and see if there are any trends, or compare similar pages to see if improvements can be made.

I am by no means a Google Analytics expert, but I know how to get what I want. Most of the time that is, except when I have to Google it, which is probably every second week.

Firstly: Behavior > Site Content > All Pages > Paste in your URL

  • Pageviews – The number of times that page has been viewed, even if it’s a repeat view.
  • Avg. Time on Page – How long people are on your page
  • Bounce Rate – Single page views with no interaction

For my example page, Bounce Rate is very interesting. This page lives to be interacted with. Its only joy in life is allowing people to search for a local business in the UK, US, or Canada. It is not an informational page at all. It doesn’t provide a contact phone number or an answer to a query that may explain away a high bounce rate.

I’m going to add Pageviews and Bounce Rate a spreadsheet so I can track this over time.

I’ll also added some keywords that I want that page to rank for to my Moz Pro Rankings. That way I can make sure I’m targeting searcher intent and driving organic traffic that is likely to convert.

I’ll also know if I’m being out ranked by my competitors. How dare they, right?

As we’ve found with this local page, not all thin content is bad content. Another example may be if you have a landing page with an awesome video that’s adding value and is performing consistently well. In this case, hold off on making sweeping changes. Track the data you’re interested in; from there, you can look at making small changes and track the impact, or split test some ideas. Either way, you want to make informed, data-driven decisions.

Action to take for tracking thin content pages

Export to CSV so you can track how these pages are performing alongside GA data. Make incremental changes and track the results.

Second stop: Duplicate title tags

Site Crawl > Content Issues > Duplicate Title Tags

Title tags show up in the search results to give human searchers a taste of what your content is about. They also help search engines understand and categorize your content. Without question, you want these to be well considered, relevant to your content, and unique.

Moz Pro Site Crawl flags any pages with matching title tags for your perusal.

Duplicate title tags are unlikely to get your site penalized, unless you’ve masterminded an army of pages that target irrelevant keywords and provide zero value. Once again, for most of us, it’s a good way to find a missed opportunity.

Digging around your duplicate title tags is a lucky dip of wonder. You may find pages with repeated content that you want to merge, or redundant pages that may be confusing your visitors, or maybe just pages for which you haven’t spent the time crafting unique title tags.

Take this opportunity to review your title tags, make them interesting, and always make them relevant. Because I’m a Whiteboard Friday friend, I can’t not link to this title tag hack video. Turn off Netflix for 10 minutes and enjoy.

Pro tip: To view the other duplicate pages, make sure you click on the little triangle icon to open that up like an accordion.

Hey now, what’s this? Filed away under duplicate title tags I’ve found these cheeky pages.

These are the contact forms we have in place to contact our help team. Yes, me included — hi!

I’ve got some inside info for you all. We’re actually in the process of redesigning our Help Hub, and these tool-specific pages definitely need a rethink. For now, I’m going to summon the powerful and mysterious rel=canonical tag.

This tells search engines that all those other pages are copies of the one true page to rule them all. Search engines like this, they understand it, and they bow down to honor the original source, as well they should. Visitors can still access these pages, and they won’t ever know they’ve hit a page with an original source elsewhere. How very magical.

Action to take for duplicate title tags on similar pages

Use the rel=canonical tag to tell search engines that https://moz.com/help/contact is the original source.

Review visitor behavior and perform user testing on the Help Hub. We’ll use this information to make a plan for redirecting those pages to one main page and adding a tool type drop-down.

More duplicate titles within my subfolder-specific campaign

Because at Moz we’ve got a heck of a lot of pages, I’ve got another Moz Pro campaign set up to track the URL moz.com/blog. I find this handy if I want to look at issues on just one section of my site at a time.

You just have to enter your subfolder and limit your campaign when you set it up.

Just remember we won’t crawl any pages outside of the subfolder. Make sure you have an all-encompassing, all-access campaign set up for the root domain as well.

Not enough allowance to create a subfolder-specific campaign? You can filter by URL from within your existing campaign.

In my Moz Blog campaign, I stumbled across these little fellows:

https://moz.com/blog/whiteboard-friday-how-to-get-an-seo-job

https://moz.com/blog/whiteboard-friday-how-to-get-an-seo-job-10504

This is a classic case of new content usurping the old content. Instead of telling search engines, “Yeah, so I’ve got a few pages and they’re kind of the same, but this one is the one true page,” like we did with the rel=canonical tag before, this time I’ll use the big cousin of the rel=canonical, the queen of content canonicalization, the 301 redirect.

All the power is sent to the page you are redirecting to, as well as all the actual human visitors.

Action to take for duplicate title tags with outdated/updated content

Check the traffic and authority for both pages, then add a 301 redirect from one to the other. Consolidate and rule.

It’s also a good opportunity to refresh the content and check whether it’s… what? I can’t hear you — adding value to my visitors! You got it.

Third stop: Duplicate content

Site Crawl > Content Issues > Duplicate Content

When the code and content on a page looks the same are the code and content on another page of your site, it will be flagged as “Duplicate Content.” Our crawler will flag any pages with 90% or more overlapping content or code as having duplicate content.

Officially, in the wise words of Google, duplicate content doesn’t incur a penalty. However, it can be filtered out of the index, so still not great.

Having said that, the trick is in the fine print. One bot’s duplicate content is another bot’s thin content, and thin content can get you penalized. Let me refer you back to our old friend, the Quality Guidelines.

Are you doing one of these things intentionally or accidentally? Do you want me to make you chant again?

If you’re being hounded by duplicate content issues and don’t know where to start, then we’ve got more information on duplicate content on our Learning Center.

I’ve found some pages that clearly have different content on them, so why are these duplicate?

So friends, what we have here is thin content that’s being flagged as duplicate.

There is basically not enough content on the page for bots to distinguish them from each other. Remember that our crawler looks at all the page code, as well as the copy that humans see.

You may find this frustrating at first: “Like, why are they duplicates?? They’re different, gosh darn it!” But once you pass through all the 7 stages of duplicate content and arrive at acceptance, you’ll see the opportunity you have here. Why not pop those topics on your content schedule? Why not use the “queen” again, and 301 redirect them to a similar resource, combining the power of both resources? Or maybe, just maybe, you could use them in a blog post about duplicate content — just like I have.

Action to take for duplicate pages with different content

Before you make any hasty decisions, check the traffic to these pages. Maybe dig a bit deeper and track conversions and bounce rate, as well. Check out our workflow for thin content earlier in this post and do the same for these pages.

From there you can figure out if you want to rework content to add value or redirect pages to another resource.

This is an awesome video in the ever-impressive Whiteboard Friday series which talks about republishing. Seriously, you’ll kick yourself if you don’t watch it.

Broken URLs and duplicate content

Another dive into Duplicate Content has turned up two Help Hub URLs that point to the same page.

These are no good to man or beast. They are especially no good for our analytics — blurgh, data confusion! No good for our crawl budget — blurgh, extra useless page! User experience? Blurgh, nope, no good for that either.

Action to take for messed-up URLs causing duplicate content

Zap this time-waster with a 301 redirect. For me this is an easy decision: add a 301 to the long, messed up URL with a PA of 1, no discussion. I love our new Learning Center so much that I’m going to link to it again so you can learn more about redirection and build your SEO knowledge.

It’s the most handy place to check if you get stuck with any of the concepts I’ve talked about today.

Wrapping up

While it may feel scary at first to have your content flagged as having issues, the real takeaway here is that these are actually neatly organized opportunities.

With a bit of tenacity and some extra data from Google Analytics, you can start to understand the best way to fix your content and make your site easier to use (and more powerful in the process).

If you get stuck, just remember our chant: “Does this add value for my visitors?” Your content has to be for your human visitors, so think about them and their journey. And most importantly: be good to yourself and use a tool like Moz Pro that compiles potential issues into an easily digestible catalogue.

Enjoy your chili taco and your good night’s sleep!

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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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Facebook Expands Canvas Marketing Opportunities

Canvas is Facebook’s mobile marketing platform for companies wanting to present a more immersive experience to potential customers. It’s a full-screen mobile ad that Facebook touts as loading nearly instantly and is designed specifically for Android and iOS devices. Using the same technology for loading photos and video quickly in the Facebook mobile app, Canvas can load up to 10 time faster than the mobile web.

When Canvas launched back in February, advertisers had to have either a web click or website conversion objective. Making Canvas even more versatile for advertisers, especially for marketers looking to seriously gain brand engagement, marketers can now choose brand awareness or video view objectives. “This means brand marketers can use Canvas across their range of goals for their campaigns,” noted a Facebook post.

The future of Canvas

Facebook is seeking to make Canvas an extremely robust marketing tool, especially for companies looking for new branding and customer relationship opportunities. “The future of Canvas will include many more features designed to make this immersive, attention-grabbing format accessible to any business, regardless of size or creative resources,” said Facebook. “Recently, we introduced new metrics for Canvas to help marketers understand the performance of each component—videos, photos and buttons—within their Canvas. Marketers can now learn from each Canvas they run, determining which designs work best to achieve their campaign goals.”

They plan to make Canvas simple for any brand to implement by providing advertisers with templates that immolate how other advertisers have used the new platform. Facebook says that the templates will be available over the next few months, but they provided one as an example:

screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-6-31-59-pm

360 Videos Coming to Canvas

Facebook wants to make Canvas its most immersive ad format in order to attract the Madison Avenue brands. Soon they will be offering 360 videos that provide advertisers a unique way to engage people on mobile and interact with a brands advertisement. According to Facebook, ITAU, a Brazilian bank, used Canvas with 360 video in it to tell an immersive story for children, in order to let people know about the banks outreach and charity in the area of education.

They are also offering the ability to link Canvas ads to one another via linked buttons and images, instead of just linking to a website. The allows advertisers to create a multi-Canvas experience. “By linking Canvases, Beats by Dre could invite people to explore differently colored versions of its iconic headphones, designed after different countries’ flags,” noted Facebook. “When people tapped on their different Beats options, instead of being driven to a slow-loading website, they got another Canvas, loaded quickly, that they could explore. Beats saw an average of 39 seconds spent in the Canvas, and 73% of the Canvas was viewed on average.”

Brand Success on Canvas

Facebook released some statistics from a couple of brands that have recently tried the Canvas marketing platform. Royal Caribbean used Canvas to promote a contest to win a free cruise where the last Canvas screen provided an access code and a link to enter the sweepstakes. Their cost per action was $ 0.17 and the average time potential customers spent on their Canvas as 72 seconds.

They say that Canvas works for smaller localized brick and mortar businesses too. A company (Edifica) built a new condo complex (also called Canvas) in Peru and was looking to find buyers using Canvas. According to Facebook, they saw a 50% lower cost-per-click, a 15% lower cost-per-thousand impression, and a 2.3X click-through-rate versus their other link ads, and got a 46-second average time spent in their Canvas. It’s unknown how many of these clickers turned into condo sales.

The post Facebook Expands Canvas Marketing Opportunities appeared first on WebProNews.


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13 link opportunities to pursue now

Need some great link-building ideas? Columnist Andrew Dennis has them for you — with examples from major brands to illustrate how each might work.

The post 13 link opportunities to pursue now appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Five Steps to Finding (the Right) Guest-Blogging Opportunities

Posted by MackenzieFogelson

Guest blogging isn’t just a link building tactic (that has been spammed and abused). It’s an excellent way to build your credibility, your community, and your customer base.

But you have to be strategic about it and put some quality effort into it.

When you guest blog, you’ve been provided the opportunity to leverage someone else’s audience, someone else’s brand, and someone else’s established forum.

That means, if you’re doing it right, guest blogging should be some of your best work. Think of it as a speaking engagement. You wouldn’t get up in front of a group of people unprepared. You would take the time to carefully craft your message in order to make the biggest impact on your audience.

And when you’re putting in all of that hard work, you don’t just want to guest blog anywhere. You want to strategically put your effort into blogs that are a match for your values, philosophies, and company. Because ultimately, you’re using guest blogging as a tactic to attract customers to your business.

Finding a guest-blogging match


So let’s say you want to use guest blogging as a tactic for your business development and community building efforts. How would you find those opportunities?

How about these five simple steps:

[1] Determine goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)

Success in anything, but especially in guest blogging, starts with identifying goals. What are you trying to accomplish? What are you expecting to gain from it? And, also very significant: How will you measure success?

Let’s say I’m looking for blogging opportunities. There are three things that I would like to accomplish:

  1. Become part of new communities and build relationships with people outside of SEO. (Not that there’s anything wrong with SEOs. It’s just an example, folks. Carry on).

  2. Attract business that is a match for Mack Web’s culture and values.

  3. Find new information sources (blogs) where I can learn, teach the team, and better serve our clients.



I would measure success in connections made, qualified leads generated, and new quality blogs to read.

[2] Define your audience by developing personas


In order to determine the right guest-blogging opportunities, you’ve got to identify your target audience. One way to do that is to develop personas. This will help you define the specific people you want to attract to your community and your company through your guest-blogging efforts.

For example, if I’m looking to attract people who are curious about social media marketing, possibly community building, and how that can help them build their business, one of my personas may look like this:

Name: Joanna

Title: CMO

Company: A small SaaS startup

Desires: Rapid growth, increased revenue generation

Goals: Drive ROI through social and community building



Having an understanding of who you’re targeting will assist you in filtering guest-blogging prospects later.

[3] Find some targets in your niche 


Now that you’ve figured out who in general you want to target, you’ll want to actually find the specific people that you want to reach out to for guest-blogging opportunities. You can start by looking for influential people and then determining whether they have blogs to which you could contribute.

Using myself as an example, I would go to Followerwonk and do some searching. I’m going to start with the phrase “social media marketing” and then sort the results by Social Authority.

After sifting through just the first page of results, I recognize Jeff Bullas as a possible guest blogging target. He’s not the CMO I’m looking to attract, but I’d be willing to bet there are CMOs that read his blog. So let’s work with him as a possible target in the social media marketing niche.

[4] Qualify the source


Once you’ve found some possible targets in your niche, you’ll want to do a little legwork to make sure they’re the right fit. You may want to keep track of this stuff in a spreadsheet so that you can organize and filter your results later.

There may be bunch of things that you investigate with these opportunities, but if you’re trying to do this quickly, try some of these:

1. Check for a blog

Clearly you cannot guest blog for someone who does not in fact have a blog, so that’s step number one.

On Jeff Bullas’s blog, I can conduct a simple search for [guest post]:

By clicking on these results, it’s clear that he allows guest submissions (and, in fact, that he allows them quite frequently). So if this ends up being a good fit for me, I may have a greater chance of getting a spot.

2. Check for domain authority and link profile


You’ll want to make sure that you’re putting all of the hard work of your quality content on a blog that has strong credibility.

You can type the URL of the blog into Open Site Explorer to check their domain authority and link profile. You will certainly be earning a link from this blog, so even if it is nofollow, you want to ensure that you’re being associated with a quality site. Not that a low DA is always an indication of a poor blog; some are just new and haven’t yet built their authority. You just want to make sure you’re building trust and not hurting your reputation, your brand, or your own link profile. In addition to DA, then, you’ll want to check their profile:

At a quick glance, Jeff Bullas’s link profile looks pretty swell; he’s earned links from some reputable places. I would say he passes the domain authority and link profile check.

Just make sure when you’re qualifying blogs that are not as established or well known that you’re picky about this stuff so that you don’t pay for it later. You want to be associated with high quality, so that’s what you’re looking for.



3. Check for engagement

You also want to make sure you’ve qualified this guest-blogging opportunity on the social side. What kind of engagement does the blog get? What does its community look like? What is its reach?

Looking at both Jeff Bullas’s posts, and especially at his guest authors’ posts, you can see that there’s quite a bit of engagement. Not only do they get shared, but they even elicit comments:


Another way to look for engagement is to search for the URL of the guest blog post in Twitter. This will allow you to investigate the people who have actually tweeted this guest blogger’s post:

Chances are many of the same people who read and tweet these posts are the same ones that may read or share mine (if I were given the opportunity, of course). Based on who is tweeting these posts, I can determine whether that audience is a match for the persona I’ve defined.

[5] Check yes or no

Once you’ve worked through each of the steps above, you’re probably ready to make a decision about the guest-blogging opportunity that’s in front of you. But before you check “yes” or “no” (and ask for the opportunity), I’d highly recommend asking yourself one final question:

Is this guest blogging opportunity a culture and value fit for your business?

Ultimately, if your guest blogging is a success, you will attract customers from this blog to your website and blog. So, most importantly, you’ve got to make sure the people who are part of this community are in alignment with your brand.

Go read the entries on the blog. Is the content of good quality? Do the posts resonate with your philosophies? Are the other contributors to this blog reputable? Would you hang out with them? If you were to guest on this blog, would it speak well of your brand?

 Are you going to want any of their readers as your customers? Would you spend time with their community?

Just some important things to think about before you spend a whole lot of time on guest blogging. Make sure it’s a match for your business.

Time well spent

Guest blogging is a really powerful way to connect with people, build relationships, and find qualified leads for your business. If you take the time to strategically seek and qualify the right opportunities, it will be time well spent.

Have you had success in finding quality guest blogging opportunities? Share your successes and techniques in the comments below.

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3 Quick Ways to Find Hidden Guest Blogging Opportunities

Image of Coin Operated Binoculars

Guest posting is a great strategy for building an audience — no doubt about it.

If you regularly write guest posts for legitimate blogs that feature quality content, your posts can be an amazing source of traffic and inbound links.

Guest blogging just works … when you do it right.

But finding quality guest posting opportunities can be a chore. Everyone who needs guest posting gigs is searching Google for terms like “guest posts.”

That means the bloggers that rise to the top of that search are completely inundated with guest posting requests. Your request will probably get lost in the shuffle.

Your job is to ferret out the guest blogging opportunities that no one else knows about.

Here are three quick ways to do great research that will move you one step closer to those powerful, yet lesser-known opportunities.

Topsy

I love Topsy.

I use it to come up with new blog post ideas, but you can use it to find guest blogging prospects as well.

Topsy searches the social web (Google+ and Twitter) for popular topics. By doing a search for “guest post” and limiting your search to articles shared within the recent past, you can find new guest post possibilities before your competition does.

If I wrote a cooking blog, I might search Topsy for ["guest post" cooking] and use the left sidebar to narrow down the results. I can ask Topsy to show me the links that were shared on Twitter within the last 13 days, and sort the results by date. At the time of this writing, Topsy showed me 37 results for that particular search parameter, and that means 37 new prospects who might be willing to publish a guest post from me.

Topsy also gives you social sharing information at a glance. By examining how many times each blog post was shared on Twitter, you can ascertain which opportunities might translate into the best exposure for you and your brand.

Google+

Although Topsy does search Google+ for shared topics, it does so very poorly. The search that I ran above (for a guest post on cooking) showed me only three links shared on Google+, even using the “all time” filter.

But when I run the same search using the actual Google+ interface, I get a lot more results. That means more guest blogging opportunities for you — and probably in places that no one else is looking.

Once you find some good bloggers to connect with, you can use your Google+ account to comment on the articles, then add those bloggers to your circles. This a great way to connect with your target bloggers in a non-threatening, gentle way.

Then you’re set up well to build your relationship with them via social media interactions. A solid relationship with a blogger means that when you do finally reach out to him or her to ask for a guest posting gig, they’ll recognize your name — and that means you’ll be considerably less likely to go straight into the circular file.

Bing

Yes, there is another search engine!

Bing attracts about 165 million searchers every month, and is often listed as the second-largest search engine in the world.

Here’s why you should care about Bing — the Bing engine ranks their search results differently than Google. Why is that important? Because you can use the same search strings in Google and in Bing, and you’ll find vastly different results.

This means you can find some hidden opportunities for guest posting that your competition hasn’t discovered — because they’re not looking in the right place.

Searching the phrase ["guest post" cooking] at Bing brings up over a quarter of a million results, and in most cases, the overlap with Google results is pretty minimal. The top 20 results for that same search on both Google and Bing only show two overlapping results.

Over to you …

So, those are just three quick ways to find unique, out-of-the-echo-chamber guest blogging opportunities.

It’s important to research places like this for many reasons, not the least of which is finding and connecting with the new generations of writers and content producers coming online every day.

How about you? Are you spending time with any lesser-known outreach tools or communities?

Here’s you’re chance to drop them into the comments below, and make them just a little bit less lesser-known. ;-)

About the Author: Rae Hoffman (AKA “Sugarrae“) is a veteran in the affiliate marketing space and the CEO of PushFire, a digital marketing agency that provides SEO and PPC management services.

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Say No To Opportunities & Clients

What are you best at?

If you happen to be Google, you’re pretty good at search. And infrastructure. It remains to be seen if you’re any good at social media. It’s fair to say you weren’t much good at Answers, Catalog search, Page Creators, Audio Ads, Wave-ing and Buzz-ing.

The Google example demonstrates that no one can be good at everything, even if they do hire a lot of smart people and have billions in the bank. People, like companies, are good at doing some things, and are okay, or poor, at everything else. Not because they can’t do other things, but because they don’t have the time, inclination or disposition.

This truth has led to specialization. Individuals specialize. Companies specialize. Countries specialize. In economics, this is the principle of comparative advantage and it is the basis of trade. We do the things we’re good at, and buy in the things we’re not so good at, or don’t want to do.

We Can’t Be Good At Everything

Like Google, we can’t be good at everything.

Many small businesses make the mistake of trying to do everything, mainly due to lack of resources. However, the opportunity cost of trying to do everything can mean they end up being not very good at doing any one thing. This approach can make them uncompetitive.

Just because we can do something doesn’t mean we should.

Like many web professionals, I can do some coding. Some web design. A bit of this. A bit of that. But I know there are people who are way better at those things that I am, so I let them do it. If I focus on what I’m good at, then I can make money doing that, and buy in the skills I need.

There are many benefits to specialization. For starters, it’s much easier to build a reputation or brand. Who is the go-to guy for Search Engine News? Many people would answer Danny Sullivan. Who is the go-to guy for search patents? That would be Bill.

Another advantage is that specialization leads to omptimized and more efficient processes, and therefore lower costs. The specialist can optimize and improve their approach to a niche activity in a way a generalist seldom can because their focus means they are more likely to see the details.

Most of us occupy very crowded marketplaces, which makes it difficult to stand out as a generalist. Brands, and reputations, can get confused and diluted if businesses spread themselves over multiple service areas. Virgin gets away with it – mainly because of the brand that is Richard Branson – but they are an exception, not the rule.

Not that this article is about the merits of specialization vs being a generalist. More a case of optimizing a business to focus on those areas that are most lucrative, and literally weeding out everything else.

Weeding Out Clients

A lot of companies, like a lot of people, live paycheck to paycheck. They don’t want to turn down any business, because the more clients, the better, right? The more opportunities, the better?

Not all clients are equal. Not all opportunities are a good fit. A client who costs a lot to service, who doesn’t pay their bills on time, who makes life difficult for you is probably not a client worth having. Sure, they might help keep us going to the next paycheck, but this is not an optimal way to run a sustainable business long term. Such clients present an opportunity cost i.e. we could be working with better clients, be making better money, and honing our service around mutual benefit.

For this reason, many companies make a habit of firing clients, or never take them on in the first place.

For example, last year, I received a letter from my accountant. She advised me they were reviewing their business and letting a lot of their clients go, although they were still happy to work with me, and asked that I have a chat with them if I had any concerns.

I did have a chat with them, mainly to confirm my suspicions.

They were deliberately getting rid of 50% of their clients. They had figured out who their top clients were i.e. the clients who took them the least time to service because their books were in order, and they eliminated the rest i.e. those clients whos books were a mess and were generally a pain to deal with. They downsized their business, reduced overhead and now tell me they are making more money than they previously were due to their optimized cost structure. They also appear to be playing a lot more golf!

They optimized their business, became more profitable, and have a lot more time because they made a point of figuring out the core of their business, and saying “no” to everything else.

Say No

Saying no can be very powerful. Prospective clients seem to respect this more, not less. There is something very appealing about a service that is exclusive and beyond reach. It signals a level of confidence that can be attractive.

Exclusive positioning is not just done for the sake of it. It’s a way to filter clients in order to find a good fit, which is especially important for small companies, as they have less resources available to carry bad risks. If we can figure out a client need that we know we can service well (specialization), with sufficient margins for us to be enthusiastic, and the client gets the value they were looking for, then everyone wins.

Let’s say running a PPC bid management service earns an internet marketing company the most money with the least effort. Let’s say they also do web design, but this is a lot more work (read: higher cost to service), and the margins are lower.

Would this company be better off saying “no” to new web design business? Quite possibly. They could dedicate more time to PPC, their PPC processes would get more refined through increased specialization, and they would likely be better placed to compete in the PPC space as their brand and attention becomes more focused. They could let go of the web designer, thus reducing overhead.

Granted, there are many factors to consider, but the question is this: are some areas of your business being serviced only because you can? Or does it make sense to focus on the areas where there is best fit? i.e. better margins, lower costs, most productive relationships – even if that means letting some clients, and even some staff, go?

Could we get better at saying “no”?

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