Fast Five in Search – Week 13, 2014

fast-five

 

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!

*Image courtesy of Threadless.

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Google AdWords Promotional Credits for AU/NZ

advertising creditsFancy $100 worth of free AdWords advertising?

As members of the AU/NZ Google Partners program, our consulting agency – Jordan Consulting Group Ltd – is regularly given access to certain resources and exclusive benefits to help our clients gain the most from their search marketing efforts.

Our latest perk is a stack of email vouchers each worth AU $100 in AdWords advertising credits. If you are based in Australia or New Zealand and would like to test drive Google AdWords or kick-start a new AdWords campaign, I’d be happy to hook you up with one of these vouchers.

But WAIT! There are a few conditions:

1) The credit can only be applied to AdWords accounts that are no more than 14 days old.

2) You must have a billing address in Australia or New Zealand to be eligible.

3) You need to allow Jordan Consulting Group agency access to the account for the first 30 days via our My Client Center account. This blog post explains the process. This is to allow us to monitor and track the account spend without needing your login credentials. You retain exclusive control over the account and the level of access we have to it. It also ensures Google can reconcile the voucher code with our agency account. You can terminate our agency access to your account at any time after 30 days.

4) There are specific terms and conditions for the use of these codes in each country:

Still keen? Please contact me via this form or via my Twitter account @kalena. and I will get you set up.

Here’s to free advertising!

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Video Introduction to Raven Tools

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog, clients or students of Search Engine College will know that my favorite and most-used piece of equipment in my search marketing toolbox is Raven Tools.

Jon and the team at Raven have worked tirelessly over the past few years to fine-tune and polish the collection of tools available to the point where my day starts and ends within the Raven Tools interface.

Lately, I’ve had some clients and workshop attendees ask me what particular features of Raven Tools I use most often and which ones I think would benefit them the most. This is a difficult question to answer, because I tend to use ALL the features at different times, depending on client requirements and specific projects.

For example, one day I might use the AdWords Insights feature to discover how to further boost the ROI of a client’s AdWords account, while the next day I might use the Site Auditor and Reporting features to produce a 100 page Web Site Audit for a new client.

Just yesterday I used Raven Tools to help a client research keyword data and decide between two different keyword phrases to target on a product landing page. After lunch I sent another client a Social Mentions report revealing how often their brand was discussed last month on social media channels.

Explaining all these features of Raven Tools in detail is simply not possible in a single conversation. Thankfully, the team at Raven just released a new video which does the job for me, briefly outlining all the stand-out features and benefits. They offer a 30 day free trial and if you decide to purchase, the price won’t give you sticker-shock like some of those other marketing tool suites.

If you haven’t already tried Raven Tools (or even if you have!), check out the video above and see if it has the potential to turbo-charge your site marketing too. Click on the video at any time to be taken to Raven’s own site.

 

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The 12 Days of Christmas Online Scavenger Hunt

santa-sackIt’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And what better way to kick off the holiday season than by receiving a Christmas present from Search Engine College?

All last week, we were tossing about ideas for how to gift our blog readers and members at Search Engine College in a fun and unique way this holiday season. We could have sent out an animated snowman card; we could have given out a boring discount coupon; or we could have had a one-day Black Friday sale that many people would have missed out on.

But this year, we’ve come up with something completely different. Presenting: the 12 Days of Christmas Online Scavenger Hunt!

How to Win

Every day for the first 12 days of December, we are giving away a 6 month subscription to Search Engine College. Each subscription includes access to ALL our online courses and training videos, as well as our exclusive discussion forums and industry discounts area. Each 6 month subscription is worth USD 594. That’s over $7,100 in prizes to be won!

All you have to do to win is be the first person to find the Christmas icon hidden somewhere on our web site at www.searchenginecollege.com. The icon will change daily and will look like one of the following:

xmas-icons-hunt
As soon as you spot the Christmas icon, simply tweet the page URL to us @secollege so we can verify and send you your prize. Make sure you follow us and use the hashtag #xmasscavengerhunt in your tweet. If you don’t have a Twitter account, simply post the URL and hashtag to our Facebook Wall, or our Google+ Page, or you can email the URL to us study [at] searchenginecollege [dot] com.

We will have a countdown banner at the top of every page on Search Engine College reminding you which icon you are looking for and how many hours/minutes/seconds you have left to find it. When someone has found the icon, the banner image will change to WINNER FOUND and the clock stopped until the next icon is posted. And NO, the banner icon does not count as a find – it must be within the page body ;-). Also, category or tag archive pages don’t count. We need the individual post/page URL please.

There will be 12 winners in total (1 each day) and if the icon isn’t found one day, it will carry over to the next day until all prizes are won. If you win and are an existing paid member of Search Engine College, your free 6 month subscription will be tacked on to the end of your existing subscription.

We will send out clues to the icon’s location and announce our winners each day via Twitter, Facebook and Google+. If you are already on our mailing list, we will also email you a picture of the day’s icon in advance to give you a headstart.

Starts 1st December

As this competition is a global one, we have tried to plan the daily start time to suit as many timezones as possible. The fun kicks off at the following times:

  • New York (U.S.A.)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 5:00 p.m   EST  UTC-5 hours
  • Los Angeles (U.S.A.)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 2:00 p.m   PST  UTC-8 hours
  • London (United Kingdom)  Sunday, 1 December 2013 at 10:00 p.m   GMT  UTC
  • Sydney (Australia)  Monday, 2 December 2013 at 9:00 a.m   AEDT  UTC+11 hours
  • Wellington (New Zealand)  Monday, 2 December 2013 at 11:00 a.m   NZDT UTC+13 hours

So don’t miss out, – make sure you brush up on your searching skills in advance and join us for the scavenger hunt fun from December 1st.

Happy Holidays from Search Engine College!

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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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