Fast Five in Search – Week 45, 2013

fast-fiveIt’s that time of the week already and we’ve got a great Fast Five selection for you. Enjoy!

Hummingbird’s Unsung Impact on Local Search by David Mihm
If you’re targeting local markets in your search strategy you might want to check out this post by David, as according to his initial research, Google’s Hummingbird update has had an impact on local search results.

Panic Stations! A Case Study on How to Handle an Important Page Disappearing from Google by Steve Morgan
I know I say this a lot, but this is a great post to bookmark. Like Steve, many of us have never personally experienced this phenomena – but if it does ever happen, we’ll want easy access to all the helpful info in this post – including the great resource links.

4 Post-Penguin Link Building Tactics Every Company Should Be Doing by Jayson DeMers
Google has ensured Webmasters treat link building as a qualitative process rather than quantitative. Here Jayson describes four types of Backlinks which are highly beneficial, following the various algorithm changes and Google updates over the past few years.

Google Promises More Accurate Results with New Google Trends Topic Reports by Matt Southern
This week Google announced a new addition to Google Trends which will provide more accurate topic reports. Predictive text now appears when users begin typing a search term, which helps further clarify the request/results.

And finally…

Building Brand Identity – Five Reasons Your Blog Needs a Ghostwriter by Enzo F Cesario
Are you finding it hard to maximise the benefit of your company blog? Enzo puts forward some great reasons why a Ghostwriter might be the answer to your fresh content woes.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

 

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Fast Five in Search – Week 44, 2013

fast-fiveThis week’s Fast Five includes the secret to utilizing the full powers of Excel, the latest changes to Google’s AdWords and the rumour that banks may start using your social media profile to determine your credit rating!

Automate Your SEO Reporting by Exporting Your Leads into Excel by Brian Harnish
If reporting conversion results to clients is on your monthly to-do list – this article’s for you. Brian includes links to programs he finds helpful and his step by step guide to running a macro program within Excel is well worth bookmarking.

Web Psychology – Whiteboard Friday by Nathalie Nahai
Nathalie Nahai is a web psychologist and in this Whiteboard Friday post, she explains how online behaviors are shaped and can be influenced using three simple strategies.

Google Introduces Change To AdWords: Pay By Viewable Impression CPM Bidding by Matt Southern
Google rolled out a major change to AdWords this week by introducing CPM bidding by viewable impressions. This is seen as a step up because unlike the traditional model of served impressions, advertisers won’t be charged unless the Ad was actually viewed by the end-user.

How to Train Fresh Graduates for Your Internet Marketing Agency by Matt Goulart
This is a short handy guide to initiating new graduates (even if they’ve specifically studied PPC and SEO) into the real world of online marketing.

And finally for something a bit different…

How Social Media Monitoring Impacts Reputation Management by Jean Dion
This article will totally change the way your view your social media and financial transactions! Banks are starting to check social media profiles when determining credit ratings! Talk about Brave New World!

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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5 Must-Have Spreadsheets For Online Marketing Professionals

I_love_spreadsheets_hatAs an online marketing consultant and trainer for the past 15 years, I have used a LOT of online tools to help me do my job.

I’ve seen time-saving tools come and go in crazy peaks and troughs. I’ve also seen a few that have ridden the waves of consumer fascination to become permanent fixtures in the online marketer’s toolbox.

Below are 5 spreadsheet-based tools that I use myself or recommend on a regular basis:

1) Distilled’s MS Excel for SEOs – This Excel-based workbook is like a detailed instruction manual for SEOs on how to manipulate bulky data into logical form using Microsoft Excel. If you are an Excel wizard, you’ll love this tool. If not, you’ll probably need a week to wrap your head around the analysis, but it will be worth it – I promise.

2) HubSpot’s Blog Editorial Calendar Template – If you are a content curator or social media marketer, this template will save your life. It simplifies calendar-based content allocation and helps you prioritize content deadlines and build an annual strategy to meet multiple marketing campaign objectives.

3) Shimon Sandler’s PPC Campaign Kick-Off Template – this Excel template is quite a few years old now, but I still use it as a starting point when kicking off a new AdWords or Bing Ads campaign for a client. It helps you and your client to focus on the big picture objectives and build a unique campaign to suit specific requirements rather than implementing a cookie-cutter PPC campaign that needs tweaking to fit.

4) Google SEO Rank Checker Spreadsheet – a recent discovery, this customizable Google Docs template is all kinds of awesome. It includes a clever integration of ImportXML that allows you to collect at-a-glance keyword rankings on Google in real time.

5) Outspoken Media’s Link Building Spreadsheet – another Google Drive shared doc, this is a customizable template consisting of a gigantic list of link building strategies collated by Rhea Drysdale and her team at Outspoken Media.
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Fast Five in Search – Week 43, 2013

fast-fiveIt’s all about creative content and user experience in this week’s Fast Five. Enjoy!

Learn to Write Blog Headlines Search Engines Love: Five Tips by Natalie McCatty
Only 20 percent of people read beyond the headline  – so we need to make sure it’s good! Natalie explains why knowing your keywords, audience, and main message is essential for a good headline.

Creating an Experience for Your Product by Eric Covino
This is a great post to get us thinking about the total user experience we’re creating around our brand. Eric provides suggestions, examples and resources to illustrate his point.

Stop Thinking Keywords, Think Topics by Kate Morris
SEOs still need to provide keyword research reports or keyword ranking reports, but should we be changing what’s in them? Given all the changes to Search in the past few years, are we focusing on the wrong data?

Why Visual Assets > Infographics – Whiteboard Friday by Rand Fishkin
In Rand’s latest Whiteboard Friday he talks about why he loves visual assets, but can’t stand infographics.

And finally…

How Well-Planned Content Can Get You Better Marketing Results by Krystian Wlodarczyk
This is a great post about the importance of great content and how to keep generating it. Krystian says educational content is particularly important because of its ongoing value. Well worth referring to when you need inspiration for your next blog post!

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless

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What to Blog About When You Have Nothing to Blog About

no-inspiration

 

In my travels around the world holding Internet Marketing workshops, the subject of blogging invariably pops up. Usually, it is prompted by a fierce discussion about business web sites and the hairy dilemma of fresh content or lack thereof.

The Company Blog Dilemma

The discussion goes something like this:

Business Representative: “You say that we need to consistently add new content to our web sites in order to rank better in Google. But what sort of content can we add? We’ve already got pages for each of our products.”

Me: “You can add all sorts of content. Newsletters, customer testimonials, white-papers, articles. Do you have a company blog?”

Business Representative: “Not any more. We used to have one because our competitor started one. But we didn’t have anything to blog about so we deleted it”.

Me: “What do you mean you didn’t have anything to blog about?”

Business Representative: “We’re a company. We don’t really have a lot to say. Blogs might work for personal web sites, but not for a company. We really didn’t know what to blog about.”

Myth Busted

I’m always amused when I hear this argument. I tend to respond with a raised eyebrow and a knowing smirk. Rather than continue to argue, I simply load this page on to the big screen.

This “article” – and I use the term loosely – consists of nothing more than a handful of photos and less than 200 words of text. The subject matter is RIDICULOUS. Why would anyone feel the need to write about a lost TV remote? Well apparently, it’s a direct response to frustrated searchers who type in things like “where is the *&%$&^ TV remote?” or “where did I leave my keys?” into Google in desperation. As remote as it seems (ha!) there is actually a market for this type of thing and WikiHow authors have capitalized on it.

Let’s face it – if you can blog about how to find a lost TV remote, you can blog about ANYTHING. Look how many shares that article has had! I’m sharing it with you now and I’ve seen it shared on Facebook a dozen times, possibly in a “what the…?” way, but still.

It might be an extreme example, but it underscores the point that the “I have nothing to blog about” excuse doesn’t cut it any more. You truly CAN blog about anything. Q and A based or How To style blog posts are the most popular with searchers, because people are constantly looking for answers and solutions to problems. If you can meet that need, you are halfway to doubling your traffic.

Sources of Blogging Inspiration

Still unsure what to blog about? Let me give you some potential examples:

Blog Topic Ideas for: Banking / Finance

  • How to Choose a Suitable Retirement Fund
  • Q & A: Which Bank Fees are Tax Deductable?
  • 10 Tricks to Get Your Kids to Save Their Pocket Money
  • 5 Financial Calculators You Can’t Do Without

Blog Topic Ideas for: Travel / Hospitality Industry

  • Top 10 Items to Include on Your Packing List
  • Q & A: Is a Credit Card or Debit Card Better to Take on Vacation?
  • Best Value Vacations for Large Families
  • How to Always Book the Best Seats on a Plane

Blog Topic Ideas for: Retail

  • 10 Tips for Successful Online Clothes Shopping
  • How to Win Online Auctions Without Using Auto Bidding Tools
  • Online Shopping: How to Protect Your Privacy
  • How to Find Retail Coupons Online

Blog Topic Ideas for: Education Sector

  • How to Manage Restrictions on Your Child’s Mobile Device
  • Q & A: Are Online Courses Recognized by Employers?
  • Top 10 Mobile Devices for Senior School Students
  • 5 Apps That Will Encourage Your Kids to Do Homework

Getting the drift? I made these up in about 10 minutes, but I’m sure you can come up with plenty of more appropriate ideas that make sense for your own particular industry and target audience.

Metrics Gold:

A fantastic source of potential web site or blog content can be found in your site analytics. If you use internal site search, make sure you check the search trends on a regular basis. If you’re using Google Analytics, you can find these under Behavior -> Site Search. Here you can find not only the search terms that people entered into your internal site search box, but the pages that they visited as a result of their search. This is metrics GOLD! You will often see keywords and topics here that your visitors are looking for on your site but aren’t finding. Again, it comes back to the concept of providing answers to regular questions. If you are an online retailer who sells baby capsules and you’re noticing a lot of visitors searching for “baby capsule for car”, that should prompt you to write an article or blog post along the lines of “How to Secure Your Baby Capsule in the Car”.

Customer Driven Content:

Your Customer Support or Help Desk team can also be an ideal source of fresh site content. They are the people closest to your customers and they have a good idea of what problems or questions customers have about your products and services. By gauging the topics your customers are most interested in, you can plan new content knowing that you have an audience already keen for it.

It’s a similar story with Social Media. The conversations you have with your customers via social channels can be a source of inspiration for new blog posts. Even a basic exchange on Twitter, for example, can be easily turned into a Q and A article.

So next time you think “But I have nothing to blog about!”, refer back to this article and think again. Now… where did I put that jolly TV remote?

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