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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Fast Five in Search – Week 22, 2014

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It’s a mixed bag of links for you this week. We’ve got three juicy links about blogging and a couple of news items relating to the search industry and search engines. Here we go!

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Google Hits eBay with Manual Penalty – by Search Engine Land. I did a double-take when this headline came up in my Twitter feed. But apparently it’s true! Even the big guys – in this case eBay – have been hit hard by Google’s latest Panda algorithm tweaks. But on top of that, it seems eBay have been put in the naughty corner by Google in the form of a manual ranking penalty as well. Ouch.

2) The Boring Niche’s Secret Weapon (and How to Use it) by Copyblogger - This post spoke to me loud and clear. It contains a key piece of advice I have been giving my search marketing students and clients for years: You can always find something to blog about or write copy about, related to your niche. ALWAYS.

3) Optimize Blog Content for Social Media With These 4 Effective Tactics by ProBlogger – Speaking of blog content, this article over at ProBlogger demonstrates 4 simple, but effective tactics you can use within your blog content, to help it gain more traction via social media.

4) DuckDuckGo Relaunches & Starts to Look Like a Real Search Engine by Search Engine Land - DuckDuckGo showed a lot of promise when they launched back in 2008. Their point of difference has always been the fact they are community-driven, but a big component of their appeal is their approach to user privacy. Unlike the larger search engines, DuckDuckGo don’t track your usage and therefore they don’t collect personal or private information. Their relaunch this week sees DuckDuckGo roll out some powerful search features previously lacking, which should help them compete with the big boys.

and finally…

5) Dear Hubspot, My Blog Isn’t Generating Leads. Please Help? by Hubspot – Ah yes, we’ve all been here. The nasty case of Blogger’s Block when your conversions just dwindle away and you can’t think of anything to reverse the trend. So what’s a Miserable Marketer to do? Ask Hubspot for advice! This Q and A style post outlines the problem a blogger in Milwaukee is having generating leads with his blog and some logical suggestions from Hubspot for how he can clear the blockage and kick-start his blog back into converting again.

Happy blogging!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 21, 2014

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Did you know that staff with tech skills – particularly search engine marketing skills – are in increasingly high demand globally? In some cases, the demand is so high that there aren’t enough employees to fill the number of positions available and salaries have sky-rocketed.

Don’t believe me? Check out the 2014 IT Salary Guide from Robert Half and then go check out the Creative Group’s 2014 Salary Guide for those of you looking for gigs that combine tech prowess with creative flair.

See what I mean? So just where do you look to find the latest gigs in tech and search? That’s what this week’s Fast Five is all about! May I present my Top Five Sites for Finding Jobs in Tech:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Internet Marketing Jobs by Marketing Pilgrim – This job board serves job seekers with Internet marketing skills, particular those specializing in search marketing, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, email marketing, web design and development. You can sign up for their RSS feed of jobs to keep up with the latest postings daily.

2) Jobs in Search – This site advertises a large variety of search engine related career vacancies on behalf of the following types of search engine marketing firms, search engine optimization companies, new media and digital media agencies, major search engines, software companies and corporate employers recruiting for in-house search engine related jobs. They have a RSS feed for subscription as well as a email service that can email you positions vacant within your ideal search criteria.

3) Mashable Jobs Board by Mashable – A much under-utlized resource, the Mashable Jobs Board is a hiring hub for more than 3,000 employers. If you are looking for a social media or marketing job in the digital space, you might want to check it out regularly.

4) Search Marketing Jobs by Indeed - This job search portal is unique in that it aggregates job vacancies from across a wide range of job sites, newspapers, associations and company career pages. You can narrow down your search to specific job categories and this particular link is for Search Marketing vacancies.

and finally…

5) Google Careers -  As the largest search engine in the world with a prolific number of offices opening globally, Google has hundreds of jobs and internships up for grabs annually. If you’ve got your eye on working for the big G, this site should be your starting point.

Happy job hunting!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Fast Five in Search – Week 20, 2014

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I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you this week. We have articles about Google Analytics, link building, Facebook, SEO and Twitter. Let’s get stuck in…

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Integrate Your SEO Data into Universal Analytics – by Bhoomika Joshi. This post talks you through how to create Custom Dimensions in Google Analytics that will help you gain more insights into your SEO data.

2) 10 SEO Myths Reviewed - by Duane Forrester. In this post, Bing’s Senior Product Manager debunks some of the most common SEO myths and legends, including my all time paranoid favorite: “Buying ads helps my rankings”.

3) Facebook Audience Insights Tool Gives You More Info About Those You’re Trying to Reach – by Chris Crum. A good introduction to Facebook’s new Audience Insights tool, which lets marketers learn more about their target audiences, such as aggregate information about geography, demographics and purchase behavior.

4) Link Building Does Not Equal Content Marketing, But Here’s How They Fit Together – by Erin Everhart. At last, somebody said it. Link building and content marketing are not the same thing. This article explains why and how you can focus on both.

and finally…

5) Twitter for Small Businesses: Five Universal Tips to Get the Right Perspective – by Andrew Smith. In this post, Andrew gives small businesses some tips for how to use Twitter for their social media marketing purposes.

Happy reading!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 19, 2014

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In my travels around the crazy web, I’m amazed how many web sites still use a boring server-generated 404 error page instead of a custom 404 error page. Even large brands with deep pockets aren’t immune to the dreaded vanilla dead end.

Thankfully, there are lots of clever web designers out there who recognize that there’s no excuse for un-inventive 404s. Web site usability can be fun!. This week’s Fast Five pays homage to them and their entertaining ideas for custom 404 error pages.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Five Clever Custom 404 Error Pages:

1) Mint.com – This page combines humor with helpfulness. Not only does it make a joke about the missing content, but it offers up some useful alternative links in a pleasing visual format. No blame, no suggestion that the searcher was at fault. I like that.

2) BlueDaniel.com – This is my current favorite 404. Not only is it Flash based – which I’ve not seen before in a custom 404 – but it’s exceedingly cool. The powerful visuals and sound of an underground train station are bang on target for a motion picture design company. This page alone would probably win them new business.

3) Heinz.com – So an empty ketchup bottle might be a little predictable, but what I like best about this page is the intuitiveness and the very clear calls to action. Did you try searching? Perhaps one of these links will help? Perfect.

4) Mashable.com – Again, another humorous yet helpful Custom 404 page. This one uses the missing sock analogy, combined with a giant call to action in the form of an internal search field. They also keep the main nav menu at the top of the page in case you’d rather resort to standard navigation.

and finally…

5) ApartmentHomeLiving.com – Being in New Zealand, this custom 404 page caught my eye straight away. You can’t really go wrong with a sheep on a toilet. Apart from using an amusing mouseover effect, this page steers lost visitors back to the homepage or to the regular navigation menu. Sorted.

What’s YOUR fav custom 404 page? Would love to hear about it in the comments.

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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