Fast Five in Search – Week 15, 2014

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Google’s head of spam fighting – Matt Cutts – posts regular videos on the Google Webmasters YouTube channel. His posts can make waves in the SEO industry like no other because they often preview upcoming changes to the Google algorithm. So this week’s Fast Five is a collection of Matt Cutt’s most popular webmaster videos of all time.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) How Does Google Search Work? – In this video, Matt explains how Google’s ranking and website evaluation process works from the crawling and analysis of a site, crawling time-lines, frequencies, priorities and filtering processes within the databases. With over 380,000 views, this is Matt’s most popular video in the Google Webmaster channel.

2) Does Google Use the Keyword Meta Tag? – After years of webmaster confusion over whether Google does or doesn’t index the content of the Meta Keywords tag, Matt put the rumor firmly to rest with this post by confirming that Google does NOT index the tag.

3) What Should We Expect in the Next Few Months in Terms of SEO for Google? – After months of Panda and Penguin algorithm tweaks, Matt thought it was time to set a few things straight and reveal a little more about what we might expect from future algorithm updates.

4) Canonical Link Element – When Google launched support for the Canonical Link Element, Matt took to video to introduce the element and the way it should be used for SEO benefit.

and finally…

5) What Are Some Effective Techniques for Building Links? – The fifth most popular Matt Cutts webmaster video involves the consistently difficult subject of link building. In this video post, Matt discusses several effective ways of building organic links that many webmasters overlook.

Happy reading!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 14, 2014

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Last week I treated you to five of my favorite Digital Marketing News Sources. This week I share the remaining five that wouldn’t fit on last week’s list.

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Digital Marketing News Sources (continued):

1) TechCrunch – This site is similar to Technorati but more about the companies / products and less about the Silicon Valley egos. I’ll visit this site if I want to know more about a particular tech company, app or product. TechCrunch is best known for profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products and breaking tech news. The TechCrunch network claims to reach over 12 million unique visitors and draw more than 37 million page views per month, with more than 2 million friends and followers on the various social media channels. The site first came to world wide attention when it broke the news of Google’s acquisition of YouTube in 2006.

2) WebProNews Technology News – WebProNews mostly covers the latest developments in search engines, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, social media marketing, advertising, and online branding. Their authors also offer personal opinions quite freely, which can be both a positive and a negative. The site is a bit ad-heavy, but I’ll pop in here if I’m looking for an alternative angle on a particular news item or a second opinion.

3) Expanded Ramblings – A recent discovery, Expanded Ramblings describe themselves as a clearinghouse for original and curated digital marketing tips, stats and news. I think this is a little modest, as they have one of the most extensive libraries of Internet statistics and Infographics that I’ve ever come across. I’ll jump over here if I need to source an infographic or verify any type of fresh Internet stats.

4) HubSpot Marketing News – HubSpot is an inbound marketing software platform and somewhat of a pioneer in the online marketing industry. Although their core business is software and online tools, they have been publishing a solid marketing blog for years. I like this blog because the content is always super fresh and reliable and focused on actionable marketing tips and techniques for businesses of all sizes. Everything they publish is easy to read and implement and makes jolly good newsletter content.

and finally…

5) SiteProNews – I have to add this one with a disclaimer – I sometimes write for them :-) But bias aside, SiteProNews is a voracious aggregator of tech and marketing content. If you’ve heard rumblings on any tech topic, you’re likely to find an article about it already published somewhere on this site. With arguably the largest webmaster readership on the Internet, SiteProNews sources an enormous amount of fresh content from staff writers and guest bloggers alike.

Happy reading!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 13, 2014

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A few of you have asked me for my favorite blogs or newsfeeds where I find inspiration for my Fast Five posts. So this week, I’ve been putting together a list of my Top Digital Marketing News Sources. There’s more than five, but let’s stick to the format and reveal five at a time (more next week).

Here’s this week’s Fast Five – Top Digital Marketing News Sources:

1) Inbound.org – A collaboration between Hubspot and Moz.com. The site is a modest community of bloggers and marketers who share and discuss the latest news about SEO, social media, content marketing, conversion rate optimization and other marketing goodies. It reminds me of Sphinn (yeah, remember that one?), but with less SEO bias. I like Inbound.org because apart from hosting the latest digital marketing news, there are discussion threads for each post, meaning you are getting honest opinion on the news content from real marketers, rather than just the message prepared by the news source.

2) Technorati Technology News – Technorati indexes more than a million blogs and describe themselves as “The leading blog search engine and directory, tracking not only the authority and influence of blogs, but also the most comprehensive and current index of who and what is most popular in the Blogosphere.” Nuff said.

3) Mashable Technology News – Like Technorati, Mashable claims to be the leading source for news, information and resources for the blogosphere, however instead of using blogosphere, Mashable calls it the *Connected Generation*. Tacky catch-phrases aside, Mashable reaches 34 million unique visitors worldwide and has over 15 million social media followers, so can definitely claim to have one of the most influential and engaged online communities out there. I like pretty much everything about this site, except for the infinite scroll and the *evil magician* style photo of founder Pete Cashmore.

4) Huffington Post Tech Channel – What started as a political commentary site has ballooned into a breaking news and opinion site, with a seriously sexy number of news sources. I visit this site first if I’m looking for confirmation of a rumor spotted on social media (think celebrity death or political gaff) or if I need a bit of off-beat news to fill a newsletter gap. I’m almost positive that Huffington Post was the inspiration for the fictional blog site *Slugline* on the popular web TV series House of Cards.

and finally…

5) Marketing Land Top News – My first port of call for breaking news in digital marketing. Danny Sullivan and his team are almost always first to have the scoop, thanks to years of grooming contacts within the tech world and Danny’s own extensive background as a journalist. Apart from anything else, I can trust the content on this site to be factual and unbiased.

I’ll complete the list with my five remaining Top Digital News Sources next week.

Happy news hunting!

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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!

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Fast Five in Search – Week 11, 2014

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I’ve got a bit of a mixed bag for you today. The following is a handful of recent marketing-related posts that caught my eye or that I found interesting. Let’s get straight into it:

Here’s this week’s Fast Five:

1) Twitter is Bringing Promoted Accounts to Search Results by Anthony Ha of TechCrunch. If you’re a Twitter user, you’re probably already familiar with promoted tweets and promoted accounts – Twitter accounts that businesses use to advertise to users. Last week, Twitter announced that as well as seeing promoted tweets from these businesses in your timeline and search results, you may now also see account profiles as a new kind of ad unit. TechCrunch has the low-down on the changes.

2) Skip to the End: 5 Great Ways to Make Your Readers Care by Mike Sowden on ProBlogger. Here Mike tackles the age-old blogging problem of how to keep your audience interested and engaged. There are some clever suggestions in here for ways to hook your readers in to reading your current and future blog posts without resorting to gimmicks or give-aways.

3) 4 Surprising SEM Stats that Every e-Commerce Marketer Should Know by Jordan Elkind on Search Engine Land. With plenty of paid search advertising accounts to keep track of for clients, I like to keep an eye on large brush e-commerce statistics, particularly usage increases. In this post, Jordan shares the latest online shopping trends and e-commerce statistics from the 2013 holiday period.

4) An Introduction to PR Strategy for SEOs by Samuel Scott on the Moz Blog. Following some intense discussions at Moz.com regarding the death of guest blogging, Scott offers this interesting perspective that SEO and inbound marketing are just PR by another name.

and finally…

5) The Mashable Jobs Board by Emily Chow of Mashable. I’m not sure how I missed this, but apparently Mashable has been managing a Jobs Board for some years – a hiring hub for more than 3,000 employers, no less. If you are looking for a social media or marketing job in the digital space, you might want to check it out regularly.

Enjoy!

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