Tag Archive | "Reasons"

5 Reasons Legacy Brands Struggle With SEO (and What to Do About Them)

Posted by Tom.Capper

Given the increasing importance of brand in SEO, it seems a cruel irony that many household name-brands seem to struggle with managing the channel. Yet, in my time at Distilled, I’ve seen just that: numerous name-brand sites in various states of stagnation and even more frustrated SEO managers attempting to prevent said stagnation. 

Despite global brand recognition and other established advantages that ought to drive growth, the reality is that having a household name doesn’t ensure SEO success. In this post, I’m going to explore why large, well-known brands can run into difficulties with organic performance, the patterns I’ve noticed, and some of the recommended tactics to address those challenges.

What we talk about when we talk about a legacy brand

For the purposes of this post, the term “legacy brand” applies to companies that have a very strong association with the product they sell, and may well have, in the past, been the ubiquitous provider for that product. This could mean that they were household names in the 20th century, or it could be that they pioneered and dominated their field in the early days of mass consumer web usage. A few varied examples (that Distilled has never worked with or been contacted by) include:

  • Wells Fargo (US)
  • Craigslist (US)
  • Tesco (UK)

These are cherry-picked, potentially extreme examples of legacy brands, but all three of the above, and most that fit this description have shown a marked decline in the last five years, in terms of organic visibility (confirmed by Sistrix, my tool of choice — your tool-of-choice may vary). It’s a common issue for large, well-established sites — peaking in 2013 and 2014 and never again reaching those highs.

It’s worth noting that stagnation is not the only possible state — sometimes brands can even be growing, but simply at a level far beneath the potential, you would expect from their offline ubiquity.

The question is: why does it keep happening?

Reason 1: Brand

Quite possibly the biggest hurdle standing in the way of a brand’s performance is the brand itself. This may seem like a bit of an odd one — we’d already established that the companies we’re talking about are big, recognized, household names. That in and of itself should help them in SEO, right?

The thing is, though, a lot of these big household names are recognized, but they’re not the one-stop shops that they used to be.

Here’s how the above name-brand examples are performing on search:

Other dominant, clearly vertical-leading brands in the UK, in general, are also not doing so well in branded search:

There’s a lot of potential reasons for why this may be — and we’ll even address some of them later — but a few notable ones include:

  • Complacency — particularly for brands that were early juggernauts of the web, they may have forgotten the need to reinforce their brand image and recognition.
  • More and more credible competitors. When you’re the only competent operator, as many of these brands once were, you had the whole pie. Now, you have to share it.
  • People trust search engines. In a lot of cases, ubiquitous brands decline, while the generic term is on the rise.

Check out this for the real estate example in the UK:

Rightmove and Zoopla are the two biggest brands in this space and have been for some time. There’s only one line there that’s trending upwards, though, and it’s the generic term, “houses for sale.”

What can I do about this?

Basically, get a move on! A lot of incumbents have been very slow to take action on things like top-of-funnel content, or only produce low-effort, exceptionally dry social media posts (I’ve posted before about some of these tactics here.) In fairness, it’s easy to see why — these channels and approaches likely have the least measurable returns. However, leaving a vacuum higher in your funnel is playing with fire, especially when you’re a recognized name. It opens an opportunity for smaller players to close the gap in recognition — at almost no cost.

Reason 2: Tech debt

I’m sure many people reading this will have experienced how hard it can be to get technical changes — particularly higher effort ones — implemented by larger, older organizations. This can stem from complex bureaucracy, aging and highly bespoke platforms, risk aversion, and, particularly for SEO, an inability to get senior buy-in for what can often be fairly abstract changes with little guaranteed reward.

What can I do about this?

At Distilled, we run into these challenges fairly often. I’ve seen dev queues that span, literally, for years. I’ve also seen organizations that are completely unable to change the most basic information on their sites, such as opening times or title tags. In fact, it was this exact issue that prompted the development of our ODN platform a few years ago as a way to circumvent technical limitations and prove the benefits when we did so.

There are less heavy-duty options available — GTM can be used for a range of changes as the last resort, albeit without the measurement component. CDN-level solutions like Cloudflare’s edge workers are also starting to gain traction within the SEO community.

Eventually, though, it’s necessary to tackle the problem at the source — by making headway within the politics of the organization. There’s a whole other post to be had there, if not several, but basically, it comes down to making yourself heard without undermining anyone. I’ve found that focusing on the downside is actually the most effective angle within big, risk-averse bureaucracies — essentially preying on the risk-aversion itself — as well as shouting loudly about any successes, however small.

Reason 3: Not updating tactics due to long-standing, ingrained practices

In a way, this comes back to risk aversion and politics — after all, legacy brands have a lot to lose. One particular manifestation I’ve often noticed in larger organizations is ongoing campaigns and tactics that haven’t been linked to improved rankings or revenue in years.

One conversation with a senior SEO at a major brand left me quite confused. I recall he said to me something along the lines of “we know this campaign isn’t right for us strategically, but we can’t get buy-in for anything else, so it’s this or lose the budget”. Fantastic.

This type of scenario can become commonplace when senior decision-makers don’t trust their staff — often, it’s a CMO, or similar executive leader, that hasn’t dipped their toe in SEO for a decade or more. When they do, they are unpleasantly surprised to discover that their SEO team isn’t buying any links this week and, actually, hasn’t for quite some time. Their reaction, then, is predictable: “No wonder the results are so poor!”

What can I do about this?

Unfortunately, you may have to humor this behavior in the short term. That doesn’t mean you should start (or continue) buying links, but it might be a good idea to ensure there’s similar-sounding activity in your strategy while you work on proving the ROI of your projects.

Medium-term, if you can get senior stakeholders out to conferences (I highly recommend SearchLove, though I may be biased), softly share articles and content “they may find interesting”, and drown them in news of the success of whatever other programs you’ve managed to get headway with, you can start to move them in the right direction.

Reason 4: Race to the bottom

It’s fair to say that, over time, it’s only become easier to launch an online business with a reasonably well-sorted site. I’ve observed in the past that new entrants don’t necessarily have to match tenured juggernauts like-for-like on factors like Domain Authority to hit the top spots.

As a result, it’s become common-place to see plucky, younger businesses rising quickly, and, at the very least, increasing the apparent level of choice where historically a legacy business might have had a monopoly on basic competence.

This is even more complicated when price is involved. Most SEOs agree that SERP behavior factors into rankings, so it’s easy to imagine legacy businesses, which disproportionately have a premium angle, struggling for clicks vs. attractively priced competitors. Google does not understand or care that you have a premium proposition — they’ll throw you in with the businesses competing purely on price all the same.

What can I do about this?

As I see it, there are two main approaches. One is abusing your size to crowd out smaller players (for instance, disproportionately targeting the keywords where they’ve managed to find a gap in your armor), and the second is, essentially, Conversion Rate Optimization.

Simple tactics like sorting a landing page by default by price (ascending), having clicky titles with a value-focused USP (e.g. free delivery), or well targeted (and not overdone) post-sales retention emails — all go a long way to mitigating the temptation of a cheaper or hackier competitor.

Reason 5: Super-aggregators (Amazon, Google)

In a lot of verticals, the pie is getting smaller, so it stands to reason the dominant players will be facing a diminishing slice.

A few obvious examples:

  • Local packs eroding local landing pages
  • Google Flights, Google Jobs, etc. eroding specialist sites
  • Amazon taking a huge chunk of e-commerce search

What can I do about this?

Again, there are two separate angles here, and one is a lot harder than the other. The first is similar to some of what I’ve mentioned above — move further up the funnel and lock in business before this ever comes to your prospective client Googling your head term and seeing Amazon and/or Google above you. This is only a mitigating tactic, however.

The second, which will be impossible for many or most businesses, is to jump into bed with the devil. If you ever do have the opportunity to be a data partner behind a Google or Amazon product, you may do well to swallow your pride and take it. You may be the only one of your competitors left in a few years, and if you don’t, it’ll be someone else.

Wrapping up

While a lot of the issues relate to complacency, and a lot of my suggested solutions relate to reinvesting as if you weren’t a dominant brand that might win by accident, I do think it’s worth exploring the mechanisms by which this translates into poorer performance.

This topic is unavoidably very tinted by my own experiences and opinions, so I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Similarly, I’m conscious that any one of my five reasons could have been a post in its own right — which ones would you like to see more fleshed out?

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The Marketing Thank You Box: 12 reasons modern marketers can be thankful

In this month of gratitude, here are 12 elements of modern marketing you can be thankful for.
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5 Reasons Your Business Needs CRM Right Now!

Customers are the lifeblood of any business, which is why companies should have clear strategies regarding their customer relationship management (CRM).

One way to do this is by using CRM software. These programs gather all the data regarding your customers and prospective clients in one place. It can also assist you in going digital with your marketing plans and sales funnels, thereby saving your company some much-needed resources.

CRM can also boost productivity and efficiency, encourage employee cooperation, and improve customer satisfaction. However, there’s so much more that a CRM can do for your business.

5 Reasons Your Business Needs CRM

1. Develop a Solid Contact Information Hub

Tracking down information about a client or a prospect is challenging and time-confusing, especially if you have to look at multiple programs. Investing in a reliable CRM system will keep all the information you need in a centralized location.

More importantly, a CRM solution will keep individual files of every customer, and these can be added to every time a staff interacts with them. Employees can add data regarding phone calls made to the customer, emails sent, contracts signed, etc. Every team member can have access to this data and be able to update it so everyone is on the same page.

2. Ensures Reliable After Sales Support

Brands know how important it is to keep their customers. However, ensuring they remain happy is a job that extends beyond closing a deal.

Let’s say an irate customer made a complaint but your support team says the issue has been resolved. How will you know which side is right? This dilemma happens when there’s no clear documentation or steps on how to provide reliable after-sales support. You could lose customers and prospects because of this.

CRM can prevent this from happening as it allows you to track the status of clients and add support tickets. If the support team fails to resolve a complaint or misses a deadline, the software will send notice to the relevant manager. Action can then be taken before the problem escalates. It also ensures that everyone on the team is held accountable and provides you with a way to track an employee’s effectiveness.

3. Reduces Risks Created by Turnovers

Employee turnovers are inevitable in every company. Unfortunately, these situations do create risks for a brand. Let’s say a new sales representative takes over; the sudden change could result in dropped deals, prospective and existing customers not being contacted, and missed sales targets.

These risks can be reduced with CRM. In the event of a customer service or sales rep turnover, the system can shift accounts and leads to other sales personnel or support representatives in just minutes. The smooth transfer of responsibilities also means the odds of someone dropping the ball drastically goes down.

4. Reduces Carbon Footprint

The right CRM software will reduce your company’s carbon footprint since you’ll be doing away with paper. The software will assist you in managing your mail, projects, and other documents, and keep it on one platform that you can easily access. More importantly, all your company’s sensitive documents will be stored in the cloud or on a secure server. This ensures that crucial customer information won’t be lost, misplaced, or destroyed accidentally.

5. Assists You in Planning Ahead

Managers are only too aware of the hassle of a team member forgetting to follow-up a lead. This type of problem is resolved with a CRM tool. The software can help you plan any sales and marketing activities in advance or set-up tasks that you need to accomplish daily. The system will also remind you of pending tasks and the time frame for it.

Never underestimate what CRM can do for your business. With it, you can turn your company into a more efficient and profitable venture. It will also give you an advantage over your competitors in today’s multi-channel business environment.

The post 5 Reasons Your Business Needs CRM Right Now! appeared first on WebProNews.


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A Quarter-Million Reasons to Use Moz’s Link Intersect Tool

Posted by rjonesx.

Let me tell you a story.

It begins with me in a hotel room halfway across the country, trying to figure out how I’m going to land a contract from a fantastic new lead, worth annually $ 250,000. We weren’t in over our heads by any measure, but the potential client was definitely looking at what most would call “enterprise” solutions and we weren’t exactly “enterprise.”

Could we meet their needs? Hell yes we could — better than our enterprise competitors — but there’s a saying that “no one ever got fired for hiring IBM”; in other words, it’s always safe to go with the big guys. We weren’t an IBM, so I knew that by reputation alone we were in trouble. The RFP was dense, but like most SEO gigs, there wasn’t much in the way of opportunity to really differentiate ourselves from our competitors. It would be another “anything they can do, we can do better” meeting where we grasp for reasons why we were better. In an industry where so many of our best clients require NDAs that prevent us from producing really good case studies, how could I prove we were up to the task?

In less than 12 hours we would be meeting with the potential client and I needed to prove to them that we could do something that our competitors couldn’t. In the world of SEO, link building is street cred. Nothing gets the attention of a client faster than a great link. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to land a killer backlink, completely white-hat, with no new content strategy, no budget, and no time. I needed to walk in the door with more than just a proposal — I needed to walk in the door with proof.

I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to link building, so I wasn’t at a loss when it came to ideas or strategies we could pitch, but what strategy might actually land a link in the next few hours? I started running prospecting software left and right — all the tools of the trade I had at my disposal — but imagine my surprise when the perfect opportunity popped up right in little old Moz’s Open Site Explorer Link Intersect tool. To be honest, I hadn’t used the tool in ages. We had built our own prospecting software on APIs, but the perfect link just popped up after adding in a few of their competitors on the off chance that there might be an opportunity or two.

There it was:

  1. 3,800 root linking domains to the page itself
  2. The page was soliciting submissions
  3. Took pull requests for submissions on GitHub!

I immediately submitted a request and began the refresh game, hoping the repo was being actively monitored. By the next morning, we had ourselves a link! Not just any link, but despite the client having over 50,000 root linking domains, this was now the 15th best link to their site. You can imagine me anxiously awaiting the part of the meeting where we discussed the various reasons why our services were superior to that of our competitors, and then proceeded to demonstrate that superiority with an amazing white-hat backlink acquired just hours before.

The quarter-million-dollar contract was ours.

Link Intersect: An undervalued link building technique

Backlink intersect is one of the oldest link building techniques in our industry. The methodology is simple. Take a list of your competitors and identify the backlinks pointing to their sites. Compare those lists to find pages that overlap. Pages which link to two or more of your competitors are potentially resource pages that would be interested in linking to your site as well. You then examine these sites and do outreach to determine which ones are worth contacting to try and get a backlink.

Let’s walk through a simple example using Moz’s Link Intersect tool.

Getting started

We start on the Link Intersect page of Moz’s new Link Explorer. While we had Link Intersect in the old Open Site Explorer, you’re going to to want to use our new Link Intersect, which is built from our giant index of 30 trillion links and is far more powerful.

For our example here, I’ve chosen a random gardening company in Durham, North Carolina called Garden Environments. The website has a Domain Authority of 17 with 38 root linking domains.

We can go ahead and copy-paste the domain into “Discover Link Opportunities for this URL” at the top of the Link Intersect page. If you notice, we have the choice of “Root Domain, Subdomain, or Exact Page”:

Choose between domain, subdomain or page

I almost always choose “root domain” because I tend to be promoting a site as a whole and am not interested in acquiring links to pages on the site from other sites that already link somewhere else on the site. That is to say, by choosing “root domain,” any site that links to any page on your site will be excluded from the prospecting list. Of course, this might not be right for your situation. If you have a hosted blog on a subdomain or a hosted page on a site, you will want to choose subdomain or exact page to make sure you rule out the right backlinks.

You also have the ability to choose whether we report back to you root linking domains or Backlinks. This is really important and I’ll explain why.

choose between page or domain

Depending on your link building campaign, you’ll want to vary your choice here. Let’s say you’re looking for resource pages that you can list your website on. If that’s the case, you will want to choose “pages.” The Link Intersect tool will then prioritize pages that have links to multiple competitors on them, which are likely to be resource pages you can target for your campaign. Now, let’s say you would rather find publishers that talk about your competitors and are less concerned about them linking from the same page. You want to find sites that have linked to multiple competitors, not pages. In that case, you would choose “domains.” The system will then return the domains that have links to multiple competitors and give you example pages, but you wont be limited only to pages with multiple competitors on them.

In this example, I’m looking for resource pages, so I chose “pages” rather than domains.

Choosing your competitor sites

A common mistake made at this point is to choose exact competitors. Link builders will often copy and paste a list of their biggest competitors and cross their fingers for decent results. What you really want are the best link pages and domains in your industry — not necessarily your competitors.

In this example I chose the gardening page on a local university, a few North Carolina gardening and wildflower associations, and a popular page that lists nurseries. Notice that you can choose subdomain, domain, or exact page as well for each of these competitor URLs. I recommend choosing the broadest category (domain being broadest, exact page being narrowest) that is relevant to your industry. If the whole site is relevant, go ahead and choose “domain.”

Analyzing your results

The results returned will prioritize pages that link to multiple competitors and have a high Domain Authority. Unlike some of our competitors’ tools, if you put in a competitor that doesn’t have many backlinks, it won’t cause the whole report to fail. We list all the intersections of links, starting with the most and narrowing down to the fewest. Even though the nurseries website doesn’t provide any intersections, we still get back great results!

analyze link results

Now we have some really great opportunities, but at this point you have two choices. If you really prefer, you can just export the opportunities to CSV like any other tool on the market, but I prefer to go ahead and move everything over into a Link Tracking List.

add to link list

By moving everything into a link list, we’re going to be able to track link acquisition over time (once we begin reaching out to these sites for backlinks) and we can also sort by other metrics, leave notes, and easily remove opportunities that don’t look fruitful.

What did we find?

Remember, we started off with a site that has barely any links, but we turned up dozens of easy opportunities for link acquisition. We turned up a simple resources page on forest resources, a potential backlink which could easily be earned via a piece of content on forest stewardship.

example opportunity

We turned up a great resource page on how to maintain healthy soil and yards on a town government website. A simple guide covering the same topics here could easily earn a link from this resource page on an important website.

example opportunity 2

These were just two examples of easy link targets. From community gardening pages, websites dedicated to local creek, pond, and stream restoration, and general enthusiast sites, the Link Intersect tool turned up simple backlink gold. What is most interesting to me, though, was that these resource pages never included the words “resources” or “links” in the URLs. Common prospecting techniques would have just missed these opportunities altogether.

While it wasn’t the focus of this particular campaign, I did choose the alternate of “show domains” rather than “pages” that link to the competitors. We found similarly useful results using this methodology.

example list of domains opportunity

For example, we found CarolinaCountry.com had linked to multiple of the competitor sites and, as it turns out, would be a perfect publication to pitch for a story as part of of a PR campaign for promoting the gardening site.

Takeaways

The new Link Intersect tool in Moz’s Link Explorer combines the power of our new incredible link index with the complete features of a link prospecting tool. Competitor link intersect remains one of the most straightforward methods for finding link opportunities and landing great backlinks, and Moz’s new tool coupled with Link Lists makes it easier than ever. Go ahead and give it a run yourself — you might just find the exact link you need right when you need it.

Find link opportunities now!

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3 Reasons Why Good Ideas Are a Real Threat to Good Writing

Ahh, the elusive “good idea.” Writers spend a large amount of time thinking about them and looking for them. It’s an undeniable part of the creative process. So why would I consider them such a pervasive threat to good writing? The answer is simple. Good ideas are just part of what it takes to produce
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The post 3 Reasons Why Good Ideas Are a Real Threat to Good Writing appeared first on Copyblogger.


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4 Reasons Why People Stop Reading Before the End of a Page

Every page you create has a purpose. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a sales page, a subscription page, an about page, a blog post, or any other kind of page. You publish it for a reason. You want something to happen. Maybe you want someone to share the page on social media. Or you want
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10 great reasons to book your ticket NOW for SMX West!

The largest gathering of the search marketing community is happening March 13-15 in San Jose, California. Search marketers from around the globe are flocking to SMX West for three days of unrivaled training alongside industry experts in a warm, welcoming environment. But that’s not the only reason…



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Google: Three Reasons Your Rich Snippets Aren’t Showing In Search

An SEO asked Google’s John Mueller why his rich cards (rich snippets) aren’t showing up in search. John responded with three possible reasons over Twitter…


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5 Reasons Adding a Number to Your Blog Post Titles Increases Page Views

You should add a number to at least half of your blog posts according to a successful small business marketing blogger. What he really means is that list formatted posts, such as 4 Best Ways to Make Money Blogging, 10 Incredible Gmail Tricks and Tips or 4 Best Ways to Make Money Blogging… are extremely effective in driving social sharing which also leads to linking which is great for search ranking.

“Over the past three years, I’ve crafted titles for over 5,000 blog posts and have received over 58 million unique visitors to date,” said Brandon Gaille in a guest post on Google’s Inside AdSense blog. “With that many titles and that much traffic, it’s allowed me to identify what types of titles get the most traffic.”

Gaille has been on a tear over the past 3 years, founding business advice site BrandonGaille.com which now has over 2 million monthly visitors. Galille has since parlayed that success into offering a course called The Blog Millionaire for others to learn how to make millions too. “The overwhelming success of his blog system led Brandon to create an online course to guide bloggers and businesses down the same proven path of success that his clients pay him up to $ 100,000/year for,” said Galille on LinkedIn. There is currently a waiting list to join the course!

5 Reasons Adding a Number to Your Article Titles Increase Traffic

1. Placing a Number Gives Users What They Are Used To!

Call it the BuzzFeed effect, but lists drive traffic and a number in the title signifies a list. It’s really that simple.

“Titles that begin with numbers are proving to drive traffic,” says Gaille. “This is largely due to the increased consumption of users reading list posts more than any other type of blog post. A list post typically has anywhere from seven to forty key points, which are listed out numerically.”

2. List Posts Are Shared the Most on Social

People love to share List Posts on social media like Facebook and sharing can supercharge your traffic. Why not play into the social media game and give them what they want, short, easy to digest sharable content.

3. Odd Numbers in Titles Are 20% More Effective

“Although no one has figured out exactly why this happens, the odd numbered titles get more clicks than the even numbered titles,” said Gaille.

I think it’s probably because it sounds more legit, not made up. For instance, if somebody posts the 10 best ways to drive traffic, people will inherently think that the writer thought of 10 points and stopped thinking. However, if it was the 7 best, it sounds as if these are actually what the author thinks are truly best.

4. People Love to Link to Lists Which Makes for Great SEO

Search engine optimization is driven by links and what better way to get links than to get your content shared on social. So part of your SEO strategy should be to write content that people want to link to and then not only will they link in their own blogs but they will also get the word out by sharing your posts on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook and many other places.

5. Gaining a List Site Reputation Will Cause Repeat Traffic

Just like Brandon Gaille has discovered, writing lots of list style posts and including a number in the title gives you traction as a place people want to go. People like simple straight forward easy to read advice and that’s what Gaille delivers. Those who are looking for something to share on social or for inspiration on an article (like this one) find list sites a great destination source.

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Five reasons why GTIN should be your new favorite Google Shopping acronym

Global Trade Item Numbers are an often overlooked aspect of Google Shopping ads. Columnist and Googler Matt Lawson explains why you need to take them seriously.

The post Five reasons why GTIN should be your new favorite Google Shopping acronym appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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