Fast Five in Search – Week 25, 2014

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It’s time for this week’s Fast Five and to continue our popular theme of useful eBooks. This week we look at the: Top 5 Free Social Media Related eBooks.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) The Marketer’s Guide to Social Media by Vocus – This guide is written for marketers to help them come to terms with where they should invest their time and money and what social media tactics will help them achieve the greatest ROI. The guide includes insights from social media butterflies Ekaterina Walter, Jason Falls and Michael Stelzner that will take you through the most pivotal social media marketing trends and show you how to leverage them to deploy winning campaigns.

2) The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing by Marketo – If you are looking for a comprehensive understanding of Social Media for business in under 100 pages, this visually splendid eBook won’t disappoint. Written from a strong business ROI perspective, this guide is the one eBook I recommend most often to all my Social Media Marketing workshop attendees.

3) How to Get 1000+ Followers on Twitter by Hubspot – If you’re a Twitter junkie like me, this snappy eBook will make light work of the problem of not having enough Twitter followers. The advice includes how to optimize your Twitter profile, how and when to follow people, how to use hash tags and what to retweet.

4) Do It Yourself Social Media Audit by JanetFous.com – Did you know that you should conduct a social media audit quarterly? Well apparently you should. According to Social Media expert Janet Fouts, it’s a good idea to conduct a social media audit every so often to step back and take a benchmark of your performance. This allows you to see yourself as others might see you and judge if you are delivering the message you think you’re sending. It’s also a good way to evaluate what networks are working for you, which aren’t and if you are using social media efficiently. This eBook shows you what you need to do in order to audit your own Social Media activities and set a benchmark for the future.

and finally…

5) Building a Killer Content Strategy by Hubspot – Everyone knows that great content is the foundation of highly trafficked sites. But how do you define *great*? How should you implement a content creation and publication strategy? This guide will teach you how to do all these things by giving you actionable advice, including how to understand your audience, map content to the buying cycle and build an editorial calendar.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 24, 2014

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Continuing our Fast Five theme of useful eBooks, let’s get straight to this week’s collection:  Top 5 Free SEO Related eBooks.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) SEO Starter Guide by Google – First published in 2008, Google has recently updated their SEO Starter Guide and translated it into 40 different languages. The Guide was written in response to Google staff being inundated with the same question in various formats over many years: “What are some simple ways that I can improve my website’s performance in Google?” The result is a compact guide that lists best practices that webmasters can follow to improve their sites’ crawlability and indexing. The Google Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide covers a range of common site design and coding aspects that webmasters need to optimize, such as improving title and description meta tags, URL structure, site navigation, content creation, anchor text, and more. If you want to improve your rank in Google, downloading this eBook is a no-brainer.

2) Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz – Following on from Google’s SEO Guide, this Beginner’s Guide from Moz will fill in any gaps you may have in your SEO knowledge. Beautifully designed and divided into clear, logical sections, this Guide is an ideal starting point for webmasters who want to educate themselves about what makes a search compatible site. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and because it is written in such an approachable format and regularly updated by the Moz team, I recommend this eBook to all my SEO students.

3) 17 SEO Myths You Should Leave Behind by Hubspot – You’ll see Hubspot mentioned a few times in this article, for good reason. Their content is always timely and intuitive. Hubspot produced this eBook shortly after Google rolled out their confusing Panda algorithm update and webmasters were clambouring for some kind of guidance about how it would impact their SEO strategy. In the eBook, Hubspot debunk some of the most common SEO myths that still persist. After Google let loose their shiny new Hummingbird algorithm update, Hubspot cleverly updated this eBook to keep the advice fresh and relevant for the latest SEO methodologies.

4) The Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet by Moz – When I first started optimizing web sites for clients back in 1996, I actually wrote a similar Cheat Sheet of my own to give to web development staff to ensure they wouldn’t make any major SEO blunders and undo all my hard work. But Moz have taken the SEO Cheat Sheet concept to a whole new, beautiful level. Recently updated, all the geektastic SEO tips and shortcuts you’ll ever need while coding are in here, including metadata, sitemaps, pagination, authorship, user agents, robot syntax, canonicalization and much more. This one is permanently pinned to my office wall.

and finally…

5) Microsoft Excel for SEOs by Distilled – This Guide is so much more than an eBook. Produced by London-based digital creative agency Distilled, Microsoft Excel for SEOs started life as a White Paper written up to help SEO professionals retrieve meaningful information from mountains of data, using MS Excel. It is now less of a White Paper and more of an extremely comprehensive mini course in how to use Microsoft Excel to revolutionize traditionally time-consuming Search Engine Optimization tasks. If your job involves data analysis of the marketing kind, give this Guide a look. It’s viewable online or via downloadable PDF and comes with an XLS Example Workbook to help cement your knowledge with practical examples.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 23, 2014

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I don’t know about you, but I’m a bit of a sucker for free downloadable PDF eBooks and White Papers.  Because they are usually organized into chapter form, they tend to be meatier and contain more valuable content than blog posts and articles. I’ve obtained an impressive collection of eBooks over the years and will often whip one out to share with a client or a Search Engine College student who might be struggling to understand a particular marketing or SEO concept.

So for the next couple of weeks, I’m going to dedicate Fast Five posts to the joys of free eBooks. Starting with my Top 5 Free Marketing Related eBooks.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Definitive Guide to Marketing, Metrics and Analytics by Marketo – This chunky, 70 page eBook is a methodical guide for how to implement effective marketing measurement practices across your organization – big or small. It deals with that tricky subject of determining how your various marketing programs impact your revenue and profit so that you can decide which ones to focus on going forward.

2) The Email Marketing Showcase by Pollen Marketing – A recent discovery, this ROI-Driven email marketing guide by Natalie Giddings includes 50 published email examples compiled by experienced Internet marketers. It showcases stunning newsletter design elements, clever use of graphics and color and highly converting calls-to-action so you can learn from and implement them in your own email marketing programs. I read this in one sitting and then spent the weekend completely re-writing my follow up email series. I was so impressed, I contacted Natalie and offered her a tutor role at Search Engine College! (more about that soon).

3) 2014 Creative and Marketing Salary Guide by The Creative Group – If you’re in a creative or marketing role within the tech industry, you’ll want to know how your salary stacks up against others in the same industry and/or city right? Look no further than this annual Salary Guide, which highlights hiring trends, job descriptions and salary ranges for creative and marketing roles in 2014. Although the guide concentrates on the US and Canada, the content is still applicable on a global scale.

4) Take Your Business Online in 5 Hours for $26 by AWeber – You might be aware that I use AWeber for nearly all my online marketing activities. This includes email marketing campaigns, newsletter distribution and subscriber management needs. They just make it SO easy. So it makes sense for a company serving small and medium sized businesses to create a PDF guide to getting a biz online, fast. As they say in this guide, you can take your business online with just a basic website, an email series and some social network profiles. This step-by-step guide shows how to create an online presence for your business in only five hours for just $26.

and finally…

5) The Essential Step-by-Step Guide to Internet Marketing by HubSpot – I just love Hubspot. They are very clever marketers and always seem to come up with a relevant eBook, right when I’m researching a particular marketing topic. This was one of the first eBooks I ever downloaded from Hubspot and I refer to it all the time. Whether you’re just getting started with internet marketing or you want to brush up on the basics, this ebook can serve as your essential guide to setting up and implementing a successful internet marketing strategy, step by step. Be sure to check out their free MS Excel-based Editorial Calendar as well.

Happy reading!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Free Bing Ads Credit – Be Quick

Bing AdsSo remember I posted a few weeks back about Search Engine College having $100 Bing Ads credit vouchers to give away? Well we still have a few vouchers left, but they need to be claimed by 30 June 2014.

So if you have been wanting to try Bing Ads, now’s your chance to test the waters with USD 100 in free ad credit, courtesy of Bing Ads and Search Engine College. Simply sign up to become a subscriber and the voucher is all yours. Heck, we’ll even throw in a $75 AdWords voucher for good measure.

Don’t delay though, as we only have a handful left!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 12, 2014

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This week I’ve been madly studying in preparation to take the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Exam.

I’d heard the degree of difficulty for the exam had been ratcheted up a notch or two since I last took it, PLUS additional questions have been added to cover the new features of Analytics (such as Multi-Channel Funnels and Attribution Modeling), so I wanted to make sure I was extra prepared.

My studies provided handy fodder for this week’s Fast Five. So I present: Five Useful Resources to Help you Pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification Exam.

Here they are:

1) Digital Analytics Fundamentals by Analytics Academy. This is your first stop on the exam cram journey. This 6 unit course consists of over 20 short videos explaining all the basic features of Google Analytics, including brand new features recently added in the latest version. The course includes a 20 question final assessment with content taken from a random selection of topics included in the videos. I recommend taking this assessment twice – once when you start cramming and again just before you take the GAIQ exam.

2) Google Analytics Resources by Google Analytics. This is the main hub for official Analytics help – including supporting documenation, FAQs, YouTube Videos, developer notes, online courses, blogs and technical manuals. Anything you need clarification on can be found here.

3) Google Analytics Test by Various Contributors. This wonderful site is a free Community Learning Project put together by various marketers, analysts and Google Analytics specialists around the world. It consists of over 300 sample questions about Google Analytics that you can use to test your Analytics knowledge in random samples of 5, 10, 20 or more questions at a time.

I thought I had a very good knowledge benchmark of Analytics until I took my first couple of tests from this site. Ouch. Needless to say, I spent a LOT of time here. Some of the questions are stale as they are based on previous versions of Google Analytics, but you are able to comment on the questions and suggest reviews. I learned more from some of the question comment threads than the questions themselves!

4) How to Pass the Google Analytics IQ Test in Two Days by Jatin Sharma. In this detailed blog post, Jatin shares his tips for passing the GAIQ Exam with a high score in just 2 days. The post includes detail about the test experience and links to resources he used to cram.

and finally…

5) Google Analytics Reference Guide (PDF) by Blast Analytics and Marketing. There are a few Analytics *Cheat Sheets* around, but I like this one because the layout is crystal clear, the topic headings are in logical sequence and it includes a page of RegEx shorthand, meta-characters and wild-cards that don’t make my eyes cross.

Happy cramming!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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