Tag Archive | "upgrade"

SearchCap: Google recent searches bug, Google mobile shopping & flight search upgrade

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

The post SearchCap: Google recent searches bug, Google mobile shopping & flight search upgrade appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


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

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6 Techniques to Dramatically Upgrade the Quality of Your Presentation

Posted by randfish

Presentations are so much better when your audience isn’t bored — when they’re engaged with what you’re saying, and attentive, and wowed. But what’s the secret formula to giving a great talk? Where do you start? In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand will help you boost your presentations to the next level with six tips that have spelled success for him.

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

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat a little bit about presentation creation and presentation delivery. Why? Well, because so many of us, as marketers, need to go and make pitches to our teams, to our clients, to our companies, and externally.

My experience has been that an overwhelming majority of marketers have some interest in being able to give great public talks, and so I want to help you do that today. I want to help you feel less uncomfortable. Look, these are techniques that I’ve used to, generally speaking, upgrade and do well with my presentations. I think you’ll find a lot of these apply to you as well.

#1: Eliminate or race through well-known or highly obvious information.

The first one is really important. So this is, basically, when I deliver information here on Whiteboard Friday, one of the things that you might notice is that I try deliberately not to present stuff that is super obvious and already well-known throughout the industry. My goal is really to say, “Hey, what is something that less than 20% of the audience who’s going to be watching Whiteboard Friday is already aware of? Now let me try and present that information.” Because it’s really not interesting if the tips that I gave you today, for example, were things like work on your disfluency so that you don’t stutter and say “um.” Make sure you practice the night before. Make sure that your font is at least 30 point type. You should turn off this video.

It’s not that it’s bad advice. It’s fine advice. It’s even good advice. But you already know it, and so it’s annoying to have to listen to it again and again. This is true in your presentations as well.

So many folks, when they’re asked to give a talk about something in the web marketing space, start with the fundamentals and the basics, the things that everybody already knows or that are so intuitive that they’re just not that helpful.

Let’s say this is a conversion rate optimization presentation. So my little friend over here, Bob the Not-So-Good-Presenter, is giving a talk, and he’s got this slide called “Make Clear Calls-to-Action.” Then he shows an ugly thing where you can’t really see what the call-to-action is and one that’s a very clear call-to-action. Super obvious advice, advice that anyone who has done any degree of optimization around conversion rates knows and learned years ago. This presentation, unless it is to someone who has no experience with web marketing, is probably going to put you to sleep or drive you to get on your phone or go out of the room.

On the other hand — this is something I caught today from Joanna Wiebe on Copy Hackers — “Test text link calls to action versus buttons on your mobile sites in particular.” Oh, really? Text link calls to action? I would think a button would convert better, but it turns out there’s some data out there that suggests that, in some cases, it looks like the text link works better. You better try it. Maybe that’s something to add to your testing repertoire in the future. Aha, that is new information. I did not know that before.

So this obvious information turns people off. It makes you disconnect from the presentation. This new information, new, non-obvious — it’s awesome. It’s heaven. That’s what we’re all looking for when we try and get content. This is not just true, by the way, for presentations. It’s particularly powerful for presentations, but this is true of virtually any content you create that is designed to be educational or informative.

#2: Never show multiple elements of info on a slide before you talk about them.

Second, never show multiple elements of information on a slide before you talk about them. Unfortunately, I can’t do that with Whiteboard Friday. So Whiteboard Friday, all the information’s already up there. You could read ahead. I’m going to count on you not to.

But in a presentation, this gets so, so annoying, and it really distracts from a speaker when they put up a slide like this: “Here are the different public relations channels that you should test,” and they’ve got them listed out. The person, Bob, my bad presenter, is talking about number one. But what are we all doing? We’re all reading number four. We’re all reading ahead. We’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, Bob, we already know. You put up the slide, so we’ve read ahead. We don’t care what you have to say about one through four. We’re disconnecting.”

Instead, Bob could do one of two things. Either he could show only one and not show two, three and four and then animate in two, three and four. Like, “Here, I’m going to talk about this one. Now we’re done talking about that, and, look, here’s number two. Now, we’re going to start talking about that one.”

Or — and I like this way better because you just get so much more room to be visual and to present something well — you can say, “Hey, we’re going to talk about four public relations channels you should test.” Slide one shows off number one. Maybe I can call it out specifically. I’m going to show you product hunt, and I’m going to show you how submission works. I’m going to show you how the voting systems work and how people try to game it and it doesn’t work, and da da da. That is a great way to go.

Now I go to slide two. That shows the next piece of information. I can’t tell you the percentage of presenters who screw this up and show a list of bullet points, God forbid, or even just this visual system where they put all the information that they’re going to talk about for five minutes on one slide. It just kills it. It kills it. Makes us all read ahead and destroys the drama and the attention.

#3: Customize your examples to be relevant to your audience, geography, or shared passions.

Third one. If you possibly can, when you’re speaking to an audience, try to customize your example specifically to them rather than saying, “Hey, I’m just going to take a broad approach.” I know this is tough. I struggle with this myself because I give presentations over and over again.

But what I’m generally urging you to do is to find intersections of one of three things. Things that are highly relevant to your audience that could be relevant in terms of it’s relevant to their professional work or to the website or the organization they work with.

It could be relevant to their geography. I find that this works tremendously well when I go places and I have examples that are specific to their geography. I was speaking in Raleigh recently, Raleigh, North Carolina, which is near Duke University in Durham, and they have the Duke Lemur Center. I actually went and visited the Lemur Center. I got to see lots of awesome lemurs jumping around. Very cool. So I talked about this in my presentation in Raleigh, which got people like, “Wow, cool.” They were tweeting about it, and it was great.

Or shared passions, things that you know you share in common. We have a collective love of grilling steak, and so I am going to talk about grilling steak because I think that’s an example that could be relevant and speaks to many people — apologies to my vegetarian and vegan friends out there.

These examples can be done in a bunch of ways. You can do them with your search queries that you might show off. You can do them with good versus bad practices that you might be showing off. You can do it just as a pure visual tool. If you have geographic stuff that is relevant to the area you’re in and you need visuals for your presentation, that’s a good way to go. Social accounts that you’re doing, content examples that you’re doing, whatever it is, you can make it relevant to that audience. Make it feel like there’s some resonance. Make it feel like you cared enough to change up or to customize your presentation to speak to them specifically.

Just one caveat on this. Don’t pander. Be very cautious against pandering or against assuming that you understand something. So if I’m going to a foreign country and I know very little about it, I don’t assume. I just say, “Hey, I looked up things to do in Milan or in Venice, and I found this particular art show. So I went there, and here is my experience around it.” Rather than saying, “Oh well, I know you Italians love pasta and so . . .” Don’t assume, don’t pander. Be careful about getting generic or racist.

#4: Create a conflict in your story with a villain, hero, and struggle.

In your presentations, try to create conflict. I know a lot of us have conflict avoidance. But what you want to do is you want to create a storyline, a storyline people can pay attention to, that they care about, that they’re interested in. That means if you can craft your story, or even some part of your presentation, to have a villain, a hero, and a struggle between them. These can be metaphorical heroes and villains. We don’t literally need Darth Vader and Luke. From there, we can follow that classic story arc where we introduce the characters, we talk about the conflict and introduce that. We make the case of why the hero is winning or should win against the villain or what the hero can do or what the hero did do, and then we suggest action or close out with some recommendation around our presentation to help make it actionable.

Villains can be a lot of things. Villains can be a lack of data. It could be poor communication. Villains could be unmotivated people on a team or people who don’t care about your problem. They could be a crap strategy or a literal villain, like a competitor or a market behemoth in your field, all those kinds of things.

Heroes could be tools. They could be your team or you yourself. They could be a new process. A hero could be an organization or hopefully something that people can cheer for, that they want to be like, “Oh man, I want to see the Duke Lemur Center have lots of success because lemurs are adorable and they’re endangered.” Nobody doesn’t cheer for lemurs. Lemur, good hero, bad villain, FYI.

#5: Give actionable takeaways. Avoid broad, generic advice.

Number five is give actionable takeaways. If you can, avoid broad, generic advice. I see presenters do this in virtually every field. They get up on stage and they talk about, “Hey, here is this problem.” Maybe they even do a great job with creating that conflict, and they talk about it. Then they get to their suggestions section, their takeaways and it is, “Better communication is good. You should work on better communication.” What are you telling me? How does that help me? Versus, I saw this great piece a couple of days ago on Twitter. It was a talk that was given, at First Round Capital or OpenView Venture Partners, about radical candor. What was great about it was that the woman who was giving it had drawn a diagram of how when you combine caring personally about the people on your team with challenging them directly, you get this radical candor. It’s both empathetic and very transparent, and that improves communication.

So now you’ve not told me to do this. You’ve told me how to do it, and you’ve shown me the terrible ways not to do it, like don’t not care personally, but do challenge directly. That’s just obnoxious, aggressive behavior. Don’t just care personally, but not challenge directly, that’s ruinous empathy. Great examples all across here.

I like this format. If you can fill in these blanks, I think you’re going to have success here. “You used to do X, but after I share Y, you’ll switch to doing Z and get better results. You’ll use Y to do Z and get better results than what you were getting with X.” If you can answer this sentence, you’re going to be in great shape.

#6: Assume knowledge and ask folks to raise their hand if they don’t understand.

Last one here. I try to always assume knowledge rather than assuming that people don’t know something. One of the things that I found is that, as I’m giving a presentation, if I start to explain the deep technical aspects of something without just assuming that my audience knows it or that they can get by without it, that it gets boring. It gets boring fast, and the presentation moves slowly. It’s just not fun to listen to. It’s annoying.

So what I’ve started doing over the last few years is essentially assuming that knowledge, but then calling it out specifically. So let’s say I’m presenting a slide like this, talking about how pogo-sticking, long clicks versus short clicks and that kind of stuff, could be hurting your site on SEO, and then I’ll say, “Is anyone in the audience not familiar or hasn’t heard of pogo-sticking before? Just raise your hand.” Look around. If there are a few hands that go up, I’ll say, “Oh, okay. Great. Let me give a brief explanation.”

Even when I am speaking to an audience where I’m confident, highly confident that 90% or 70% of the audience has never heard of pogo-sticking, because they’re not deep into SEO or whatever, I still do this. The reason is that that 30% who does know what it is, they are way more understanding, way more empathetic, way more welcoming of a discussion that takes two or three minutes for me about what pogo-sticking is after I’ve called it out like, “Hey, are there people who don’t know?” Then they see fellow audience members, and they’re like, “Oh, good. Well, it’s good that he’s explaining it to everyone, and I appreciate that.” As opposed to like, “Oh, God, he’s going to drone on about this thing that I’ve already heard 10 times and I totally know what it is. Why is he wasting my time?”

It’s about creating that relationship with the audience and between the audience members to draw on that empathy and to keep that presentation flowing.

All right, gang. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed these, and I actually have a list of a bunch more for you in another blog post that I’m going to share at the end of this Whiteboard Friday. So you can check that out. It has some of my presentation acts for getting better scores. And we will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Further reading:

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Google: Don’t Forget To Upgrade Your URLs By This Date

Back in February, Google announced the launch of new “Upgraded URLs” for AdWords Ads, which enable advertisers to spend less time managing tracking updates while reducing crawl and load times for their websites. They also come with new ValueTrack parameters, which provide new insights about ads. The deadline to upgrade your URLs is July 1, and Google is reminding advertisers …

The post Google: Don’t Forget To Upgrade Your URLs By This Date appeared first on WebProNews.


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Google Creates Shopping Campaigns “Upgrade Tool” for AdWords Advertisers

After announcing AdWords would retire its Product Listing Ads product in August in favor of Shopping campaigns, Google is trying to motivate advertisers to switch.
Search Engine Watch – Latest

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Major upgrade to our free Scout app

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Scout helps you get a better understanding of your markets and customers, by helping to reveal the language of your markets. The app is designed to look at any website, social media channel like Facebook, or customer forum where people are busy discussing your products, and pull out the most relevant keywords. Armed with this keyword knowledge, you can be much more confident in optimizing the content of your web pages, and marketing campaigns.

How the new features work

Head over to any web page and open up Scout. First off, you’ll see a word cloud from the Summary tab. The word cloud reveals the language of the web page you are on. Drag the slider left to see the most relevant keywords, or to the right to see a much broader picture of the page’s language.

Click on the Insights tab

Check out the Insights tab to get deeper insight into how relevant the keywords are on the page. The slider is there again, and in addition you can filter out keyword terms by # of words – so you could simply look at keyword terms with only 3, 4 or 5 words in, which would include “hunger games catching fire.”

The Keywords tab

The Keywords tab is where we’ve added the territory segmentation, including Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Australia. The Keyword tab gives you search volumes and competition data, by territory, drawn from our database of 3.5 billion searches. Again, there are interactive controls for you to filter and focus your results.

Scout integrates seamlessly into the Wordtracker tool

Log into your Wordtracker account (or sign-up if you’re new). Now you can go ahead and save all the keywords that your Scout research revealed into your existing projects – or if you need, create new ones. Supercharge the results of your Scout research from within your regular Wordtracker account and stay organized.

The Scout updates are in Chrome right now, so please head over, download (it’s free!), and let us know what you think.

Want to win an awesome prize? In the next few weeks we’ve got a competition planned around Scout, with a fun prize, so watch this space.

Wordtracker Blog

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The 2013 Local Search Ecosystems (and a GetListed Upgrade)

Posted by David-Mihm

Well, it’s been nearly a year since I published the last version(s) of this graphic. That’s a long time in a space that evolves as quickly as Local Search, but frankly, 2013 hasn’t seen quite the turmoil of 2012, in which Google+ Local, Apple Maps, and Facebook Nearby were all released within seven months of each other.

We’ll be adding all of these graphics to the GetListed.org Learning Center in the next few weeks, with full references and screenshots showing attribution. But while I had a bit of time before the fall conference season—I’ll be speaking more about these at Local University Advanced in just a few weeks—I thought I’d consolidate my thoughts and get them into a blog post.

My thoughts on the U.S. ecosystem

The Big Three are now the Big Four

Since I first started researching the local search space back in 2006-2007, Infogroup, Localeze, and Acxiom have been the undisputed primary data suppliers in the U.S.

Although multiple independent sources heard from Yelp this summer that they no longer actively ingest data from Acxiom, Acxiom is one of only two suppliers mentioned on Google Maps’ legal notices page, and they’ve fed data to Apple Maps since it launched.

It’s always been difficult for me to recommend an answer to the question, “Which data aggregator would you pay to manage data with?” My standard answer has always been “all three.” But if you are looking to prioritize your local marketing spend, I hope the graphics below showing each provider’s publicly verifiable network assist with that.

Factual is a relatively new player on the scene—they were barely on my radar less than two years ago. And yet today, if you visit their homepage, you see a who’s who of local search portals, including Yelp, Bing, and TripAdvisor. It’s clear they’re a force to be reckoned with, especially globally (more on that below).

Aside: the GetListed upgrade

As a result of Acxiom’s resurgence and Factual’s emergence, for the last several months we’ve been working to add both to the roster of data platforms we display on GetListed. I’m excited to announce their release today. Big thanks to Adrian, Frank, and Josh for making those additions happen this summer.

Foursquare as a data provider?

The fragmentation of the location-based app market is only going to increase, and like Factual, Foursquare has turned its sights on becoming “the location layer for the Internet.” Its API has been quite reliable for GetListed, at least, and it surely counts a healthy percentage of web developers among its 40-odd-million users, whom it’s now enlisting in a quest to provide extremely fine-grained venue data.

If Foursquare can expand its typical venue categories beyond food, drink, and entertainment, it could become even more of a key player despite a declining rate of user growth. I still wouldn’t be surprised to see Foursquare purchased by the end of the year, but the list of companies who both need and could afford it is slimming considerably as its dataset continues to get better.

The traditional IYPs have it tough

From a citation-strength standpoint, few traditional directories are competing favorably with Yelp across a broad array of categories. Citysearch, Superpages, Yahoo, and YP.com are still very strong players, but with Citysearch laying off a substantial percentage of its staff recently and Superpages’ merge with Dex, it’s pretty clear that a lot of consolidation and reconfiguration is happening among the major players.

It also seems that vertical and geo-focused directories, and even unstructured local citations, are playing a larger role than ever in competitive search categories. With so many traditional local search sites offering free listings to business owners, citations from traditional providers now appear to be “table stakes” in Local SEO…but the sites that offer those listings are continuing to have a hard time monetizing them.

What’s Apple up to?

It’s been almost exactly a year since Apple’s less-than-impressive release of Maps. The good folks in Cupertino went silent for a good long while before making a couple of key summer acquisitions: Locationary and HopStop. For our little world, Locationary is the more relevant purchase. Grant Ritchie and his team essentially built their own version of Map Maker (see below)—an efficient system of ingesting data from multiple sources and making sense of it.

I don’t see the Locationary acquisition affecting any of Apple’s existing data relationships imminently, but expect we’ll start to see a lot faster pace of innovation with their mapping platform in the coming year. And the quality of data will get considerably better as Apple beefs up its Ground Truth and engineering forces.

The continued importance of Google Map Maker

One of the least-heralded but most important stories in the last year has been Google’s unification of its backend location database. There are now effectively four (and possibly more) public front-ends to this database: “Report a Problem” reports, Places and Google+ Page Management, and the Map Maker interface itself.

There’s still no substitute for querying Map Maker directly if you’re having persistent issues with incorrect business categorization, PIN placement, or duplicate listings, and Map Maker’s release in many, many more countries—including longtime holdout Italy—making it a relevant and useful tool for SEOs almost no matter where your clients are.

Internationally speaking

One of the least-obvious facts for newcomers to local search is that other than Google’s central position, every country’s ecosystem is different. Factual is one of the very few companies with a reliable global dataset, and the search giant relies on a completely different set of providers in each country that Maps operates. Typically these are established yellow pages players, such as YPG in Canada, Telelistas in Brasil, and Sensis in Australia.

Secondary and tertiary relationships can be considerably harder to tease out, but the graphics below represent my best effort to reconstruct these markets. I received a considerable amount of help on both Germany and Australia from Nyagoslav Zhekov of NGS Marketing, who may have more experience building citations in international markets than anyone in the world.

Thoughts on Canada:

In my introduction to the international section, I already mentioned the primacy of YPG in supplying data to Google, and in few markets around the world is there a single provider as dominant in its country than YPG. The number of prominent local search sites under the YPG umbrella is impressive, and may be a reason its digital revenues are responsible for a comparatively large share of its overall earnings.

Canada’s also relatively unique in that an arm of the Canadian Government, Industry Canada, offers such an easily-crawlable database of business information to the public. Whether Google has a formal relationship with Industry Canada or not, it’s clear that this data makes it into Google’s index. Thanks to Jen Salamandick of Kickpoint for her empirical confirmation of this relationship.

Thoughts on the UK:

The UK features the most complex ecosystem of any country country in the world. At first glance, Google should have a dominant provider in BT, but my experience during a two-month sabbatical in the UK in May 2011 indicated that The Local Data Company, Market Location, and 118 Information were all more influential sources for data that would eventually wind up at Google. TouchLocal’s acquisition of Scoot in 2009 makes that duo a significant citation source as well. Qype and Yelp are both extremely well-crawled, and there are a number of geographically-focused directories, especially in Greater London, that Google is surely looking at.

Similar to Canada, there are two governmental entities—Companies House and the Royal Mail—whose datasets provide the backbone to a number of location indexes, I’m sure.

All this means a lot of work for UK SEO’s trying to clean up or establish citation profiles for their clients.

Thoughts on Germany:

In preparing for my SMX Munich presentation earlier this year, the primary providers in Germany clearly seemed to be the Deutsche Telekom-GelbeSeiten-Das Ortliche trifecta. German SEOs should not overlook infobel, however, the owner of Kapitol S.A., which is mentioned on the Google Maps’ legal notices page.

There are a myriad of secondary local search engines in Germany and in my research, their strength depended on the industry I was investigating. Qype was essentially the only dominant consumer portal horizontally, but Varta Guides and Restaurant-Kritik were exceptionally strong in travel and cuisine. If I’m a German SEO, I’m paying special attention to my client’s phone contract records and their listings on the associated GelbeSeiten, Das Telefonbuch, and Das Ortliche, updating Qype, and then I’m going straight for industry-specific directories, before circling back to the secondary search engines. That’s quite a different workflow from what I’d recommend here in the States.

Thoughts on Brazil:

The Brazilian market strikes me as one of the biggest global opportunities in local search. It’s a huge country with a lot of urban population centers, a relatively well-educated population, and high percentage of smartphone ownership. And from an SEO standpoint, it appears to be about four to five years behind the United States.

Certainly the complexity of the Local ecosystem is nowhere near that of more established markets. Telelistas and Apontador are the clear market leaders, and Yelp’s purchase of Qype looks like a smart investment in this market.

Conclusion

As I said in the introduction, we’ll be establishing a permanent archive for these ecosystems in the GetListed Learning Center in the next several weeks, but in the meantime, I look forward to hearing your questions and feedback in the comments below!

A final thanks to Gregory T’Kint of James Hargreaves Plumbing, Tom Lynch of Location3, Russ Offord of Orion Group for their correspondence regarding these ecosystems in the past year.

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How to Upgrade Your Online Business for more Money, Success, and Enjoyment

Authority

Owning a business can be heaven.

Freedom to call your own shots, manage your own risk, live by your values, and spit in the eye of all those nay-sayers who said you’d never be able to do it.

Owning a business can also be hell.

Endless hours, time spent on tasks you don’t enjoy and aren’t good at, financial insecurity, struggles to find customers, and the weight of responsibility that comes with ownership.

The truth is, owning a business can be both of those things on the same day.

But some business owners are good at creating more “heaven” than “hell” moments. Business is a skill, and it can be learned. Wise entrepreneurs know that they need to keep evolving … to keep upgrading, if you will.

The more you learn, the more successful and rewarding your business can be. Here are three pathways that I’ve found are important when things aren’t performing the way you want them to.

#1: Upgrade your tools

Running a business means you need to watch your bottom line. You need to think carefully about every dollar you spend, and make sure you’re spending wisely.

But this can lead a lot of business owners to make insane, business-strangling decisions for the sake of saving a few dollars a year.

When you’re running a business, you need professional-grade tools.

This is an unbelievable time to run a business online, because top-quality professional tools have become amazingly affordable and easy to use. But you do have to make some investment in your site. There’s no reason to overpay, but you also don’t want to nickel and dime yourself right out of any credibility.

#2: Upgrade your communication

21st-century marketing has become a complex, nuanced business. Content is what works — but it has to be content intelligently delivered, with sound strategy.

Your content and marketing need a healthy measure of both art and science — art to create something worth your prospects’ attention, and science to convert that attention to business.

Intelligent use of social media outposts, content strategy, a solid understanding of copywriting, the commitment to building a web of relationship-building content — they all work together in well-deployed modern marketing.

It’s not rocket science. But there are a lot of elements. Copyblogger exists to help keep you thinking about all those elements, and how to bring them together with a bit of style.

#3: Upgrade your mindset

The biggest difference between successful business owners and their less-successful counterparts is mindset.

The rest of it can be learned or outsourced.

Smart business owners know how to manage risk intelligently — not by taking crazy chances, but with thoughtful, informed risk-taking.

Successful business owners keep their focus on what matters most in their businesses. They know what to get obsessive about … and what they can safely dismiss.

Happy business owners know that a business should be a pathway to a more rewarding life, not a prison or a weight around their necks. They understand that the business should serve them, not the other way around.

We have some tools that can help

You probably know that Copyblogger Media publishes a number of high-quality tools for you — web publishing essentials that deliver results without costing a fortune.

This year, we’ll be adding something new. It’s the most comprehensive program we’ve ever offered. And we’ll be telling you much more about it in a few weeks.

Like our software, this will be professional grade. Serious tools and education for people who are serious about online business.

Stay tuned, because we’ll be telling you much more very soon …

About the Author: Sonia Simone is co-founder and CMO of Copyblogger Media. Get more from Sonia on Twitter and .

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Are Mobile Devices Cutting into PC Sales? Or Are We Too Broke to Upgrade?

People aren’t buying as many PCs as they used to. It’s a fact. . . according to Gartner, anyway. They say that computer shipments are down 8.3% worldwide and 13.8% in the US.

Locally, Toshiba and Acer have taken the hardest hits. HP would have been in trouble except that they’re ahead of the game in worldwide sales. And there’s little Lenovo – the only manufacturer to show growth this past year. What’s going on?

Mobile certainly is a factor. Smartphones and tablets have to be eating into PC usage, but it’s hard to imagine that’s what’s stopping sales. Could be that there simply haven’t been enough innovations in computing lately to make upgrading worth the cost and effort.

I’ve also noticed that computers last longer than they use to. Maybe the technology has improved, or maybe we just learned how to better care for them but with the economy being what it is, buying a new computer when the old one still works fine is out of the question for most folks.

Usually, the holiday season brings excellent deals on computers, but maybe this year it will be all about the tablet instead. Why buy a $ 500 laptop when you can get a tablet that does nearly the same thing for half the price and half the weight?

The only thing that could boost PC sales is the up-coming release of Windows 8. Although you will be able to upgrade your current computer (provided it’s not too old) to the new system, many people will opt to purchase a new system in order to start fresh.

How does any of this impact online marketing? Hard to say since we’re not really sure what’s causing the slow down. If indeed, fewer people are using computers because they’ve made the switch to mobile, that means fewer people will see your online ads. But with the slow growth in mobile advertising, it’s not time to abandon one for the other just yet. So let’s just put all this information in the “hmmm” pile and see where we go from here.



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Update: Progress on the Link Builder upgrade

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Picture of road sign showing progress in action

Upgraded so far

We have made some great progress already with the changes made including:

  1. Creating the new Prospects page layout
  2. Adding #tagging through notes
  3. New Guest Posts and Mentions Strategies

What’s coming up

We have a few big changes planned which focus on better discovery and management of contacts. Here’s a brief run through of what to expect …

New Contacts page design

Being able to quickly find the right contact details is key. With our new design you will be able to group contacts together then quickly sort through these groups to find the right one. The contacts themselves will contain much richer information including a timeline of your activity with them.

Custom strategies

One of the most important parts of link building is being able to find good prospects. This feature will allow you to specify what sort of prospects you want and create a strategy based around these. This will mean you can expand out your prospect list at will, while keeping it absolutely focused.

Automatically finding contact details

Link Builder does this already, but we realized it can do it better. This upgrade will mean we return more results in less time. We check for social media profiles and the information these contain to provide you with the best contact details possible.

This isn’t all we’re planning as there are lots of little changes and fixes that we will be implementing as well, however if you have any thoughts or ideas about what you would like to see please do let us know in the comments below.

The technical stuff

If you want to get a bit more information and technical detail on what we are doing then please read on. This is a bit more in depth so if your not interested in the nitty gritty then please feel free to skip this section!

The Contacts page

This is a mock-up of what we’re planning:

contacts-page-mock-up

At the heart of these changes we’ll be separating the Contacts and Prospects tabs. At the moment Link Builder only has a Prospect element, contact details are appended to this. We are going to create a separate Contact element so that the Contacts and Prospects tabs will have independent functionality.

This means that it will be possible to have multiple Contact elements for one Prospect and vice verse and you’ll be able to tag and delete these elements independently of each other.

Additionally, we’ll be making contacts appear across campaigns. Prospects will still be unique to a campaign, but once you have the Contact details for a Prospect, this set of information is recorded separately as a ‘Contact’. That Contact will then be visible across campaigns.

NB As a Contact is made up of contact information it won’t exist until you have some. At the moment the Contacts page is a list of Prospects where contact information can be included. This will change so that unless a Prospect has some contact information recorded, it will not appear as a Contact.

The Prospects page

We’re going to be adding in a few more details to the Prospects section, such as automatically tracking placed links. This feature topped the user survey and so has been high up on the priority list.

This means that when a Prospect is contacted, the page the link will be placed on can be recorded, automatically scanned and then we’ll let you know when it appears. We will also give you the status of the link ie, if it’s a nofollow link or if it points at a 404 page on your site.

Automatically finding prospects

This is a feature which Link Builder has at the moment but has not been as reliable or fast as we would like. We have decided to rewrite the functionality entirely, meaning that it will be an all new feature.

We are now going to be crawling sites in a more intelligent way to discover social media profiles linked to the site. We can then use an API to query the social media profiles and return information.

Custom Strategies

Custom Strategies is the next big feature for the Prospects page and is something we’re really excited about. You’ll be able to give a set of parameters to Link Builder, which will then go out and fetch Prospects based on these.

For instance, you could tell us that you’re interested in blogs which include guest posts and the keyword cycling. You would then have a Custom Strategy created which will be full of Prospects from cycling blogs who accept guest posts

On top of that, we’ll be implementing a few more changes to Custom Strategies so that you’ll be able to hide or delete strategies. This will remove all associated Prospects, meaning that you can quickly and easily clean up your list of Prospects.

Feedback

Please use the comments section below to leave your suggestions for what you would like to see in the new tool. You can also get in touch with us @wordtracker on Twitter or if you have more in depth questions support@wordtracker.com can help.

Wordtracker Blog

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The Link Builder upgrade: What would you like to see?

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Link Builder is a fantastic tool

With Link Builder you can find, target and record link prospects, keeping track of your progress and your backlink graph. There are lots of reasons already to buy Link Builder as it is. So if you’re not currently subscribed then take up the seven day free trial and see what it can do for your link building campaign already.

It has become clear, though, that there are some areas where we could introduce additional functionality into the tool. There are also some other areas where we think we may be able to improve upon the functionality of what’s there already.

Link Building is building contacts

People are at the core of good link building. These are your contacts: whether it’s keeping track of past contacts or finding new ones, contacts should be at the center of not just a campaign but the link building process.

We intend to give Link Builder more focus on tracking and maintaining contacts. Making these accessible across campaigns. We will also be improving the way in which new contacts can be discovered, meaning you will be able to quickly and easily find contact details for a website.

The way we work

Here at Wordtracker we work to Agile principles, which means that we work in short development cycles creating new products in a fast and flexible way. This process is ideal for incorporating feedback, so even once a feature is started it can be changed or adapted.

We will be upgrading Link Builder in sections. As we finish the development of any given part of the tool we test and push those changes live so you can start using them. This means that you will be able to see changes from early on in the process. Each change is effectively an upgrade and will be carefully planned so that your data is retained and the functionality of the tool gets incrementally better.

We build tools for our customers, so tell us what you need

We don’t build tools for fun , although we do enjoy it. We build tools to make our customers money. If there is something you really want to see in Link Builder then please do let us know. This can be anything from a ‘killer’ or ‘must-have’ feature to simply where you don’t think something works well enough as it is.

We are also looking at how the tool is structured as a whole and the way in which the workflow guides you through the process. If you have any ideas that you’d like us to incorporate, please let us know.

Subscribers to the Keywords tool will have seen that we have massively expanded out the tool set, adding multiple new features without putting the monthly price up.

Please use the comments section below to leave your suggestions for what you would like to see in the new tool. You can also get in touch with us @wordtracker on Twitter or if you have more in depth questions support@wordtracker.com can help.

Wordtracker Blog

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