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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Keyword Theme Visualization Tool: Bubble My Page

A student sent me this link today: Bubble My Page and I thought it was a fantastic little tool to share with everyone.

Bubble My PageBubble My Page is basically an interactive keyword density / tag visualisation tool. Enter your choice of URL and you’ll see a set of tag bubbles come back. The larger the bubble, the more frequently the keyword / tag is found on the page. Hover over a bubble and see the number of repetitions found on the page.

It’s also a snapshot of how search engines would view the page in terms of keyword density / search query relevance. I can already see some fantastic uses for this tool:

  • Enter new blog post pages into the tool before publishing as a quick check you have the target keyword density right for SEO purposes.
  • Enter the home pages of new SEO prospect sites for a quick on-page SEO analysis to show potential clients.
  • Run every page through the tool during the SEO requirements gathering phase to get an idea of how large a potential SEO project is going to end up.
  • Enter the URLs of potential employers to get a feel for their main products / services.
  • Run product pages through the tool to check how evenly various products are represented on the pages.

There are probably a lot more uses for the tool, but those are just what I came up with in 10 minutes. If you’ve got any more suggestions, please share them in the comments.

Hat tip to Terry for the link :-)

 

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How to Find Compelling Internet Statistics Without Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

If you’re like me, you do a lot of research online. Cat in a Cup

Whether I’m writing an article, preparing a slide deck, putting together a presentation or researching a subject for a client, I always seem to be hunting down compelling Internet statistics of one kind or another. Particularly topics like:

  • Number of US households with Internet access.
  • Latest search engine market share figures.
  • Most popular search terms for a particular year.
  • Number of Facebook users in a particular country.
  • Amount of e-commerce expenditure in past 12 months.

I always start a search for stats like these thinking it’s going to be a simple task and then end up down some bizarre rabbit hole, emerging two hours later with an amusing picture of a cat in a teacup.

To prevent this from happening again, I’ve bookmarked a list of *Go To* sites for Internet statistics in my Evernote account and today, (you lucky things!), I’m sharing them with you:

  • Internet World Stats – This site lists a range of Internet usage statistics sorted by country and population figures. The site is regularly updated and features a range of handy charts and graphs. There are also links to the latest Facebook usage statistics.
  • ComScore – The press releases and reports from ComScore are often geared to the search industry, so I can usually find something of relevance here related to my particular slide deck or training workshop. Their white papers and presentations are also fantastic sources of visual cues and infographics to help illustrate your points.
  • Forrester Research – Forrester is a prolific publisher of research documents, market reports, analysis and studies of all kinds and in all industries.  A common focus of their research is the impact of the Internet on business activity. Many of their reports are available for purchase, but they also regularly release synopsis’ of their more influential studies for public use through their media department.
  • Google Trends – Don’t overlook Google Trends as a source for useful web statistics and anecdotes. For example, if you enter a search for *mobile phones*, you can track Google’s search history for that phrase and related phrases since 2004 and note the peaks and troughs as the use of cell phones impacted our daily lives. The items highlighted with a letter of the alphabet are influential news items relating to the search term over the historical period. These make fun anecdotes for your presentation e.g. in 2010, Fox News reported that mobile phones have more bacteria on them than the handles on public toilets. Ewww.
  • Facebook Marketing Bible – The FMB apparently started life as an internal company manual and has now become a published guide to marketing your brand, company, product, or service on Facebook. The Facebook Marketing Bible includes summaries about the inner workings of Facebook, strategies to using Facebook for your business, specific how-tos, successful case studies, and insights from social media experts across the board. I include it in this list because it contains some of the most interesting Case Studies for using Facebook that I’ve come across and everyone knows that compelling case studies are the lifeblood of a successful presentation.
  • Nielsen – Nielsen is another prolific global research company. Anything that Nielsen publish quickly becomes extremely influential and many businesses make major decisions based on the data published by Nielsen. Their whitepapers and webinars are freely available for download once you register for the site and new reports are published every day. If I need stats quickly, I always start here.
  • Gartner Research – Gartner Group provide insightful research on the impact of the Internet and the increasing role of IT in business. Gartner’s specialty is technical research, particularly relating to applications development and business intelligence. Unlike Forrester, Gartner’s research is generally only available via paid subscription, but they do offer a 30 day free trial.
  • Simba Information – Simba offer market intelligence primarily for the media, education and publishing industries, but their research reports often include useful technology-related statistics e.g. *The iPad and its Owner: Key Trends and Statistics 2013*.
  • Google Zeitgeist – Google’s annual wrap of the most searched-for topics, year by year, country by country. Think of it as Google’s answer to the Guinness Book of Records.
  • Gap Minder Not strictly Internet related, but Gapminder is a non-profit site that publishes the World’s most important trends in the fields of wealth, health, global development and the environment. In their own words, Gapminder is a modern museum on the Internet with the intention of being a *fact tank* that promotes a fact-based world view. Gapminder produces videos, Flash presentations and PDF charts showing major global development trends with animated statistics in colorful graphics.

Hopefully this list has helped shorten your search time for compelling and useful Internet statistics and prevented you from falling victim to the Rabbit Hole syndrome. After all, the last thing we need on the Internet is more pictures of cats in teacups.

Postscript: Factbrowser has been suggested as a worthy addition to this page. Thanks Keith!

 

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SMX Sydney 2012 – Michael King – Tools for pulling rank

This is a summary of Michael King’s presentation at Search Marketing Expo / Online Marketer Conference held in Sydney 1-2 May 2012.Mike King at SMX Sydney

Michael King is Director of Inbound Marketing at iPullRank and is also leading the expansion of iAcquire’s offering into on-page optimization and digital brand strategy.

Michael’s presentation is all about his favorite tools. He starts by saying he has 78 slides but only 20 minutes to present them so it’s going to be a FAST presentation. Here are the tools Michael uses:

 

Programming Tools

Code Academy – learn javascript

Udacity.com – learn python


On Page Analysis Tools

Screaming Frog

Scraper for Chrome

Web Developer Plugin for Chrome

SEOmoz Tools

HttpFox

Firebug add-on for Firefox

Page Speed Plugin

Open Graph Helper

 

Keyword Research Tools

Keyword Eye

Yahoo Clues

Soovle

Ubersuggest

Scrapebox

Google Adwords API Excel Plugin by SEO Gadget

 

Content Ideas

GoFish

Google Docs Tool by Seo Gadget

Facebook Recommendations Demo

Zemanta

 

Spreadsheet Tools

SEO Tools by Niels Bosma

Import XML for Google Docs

 

Link Building Tools

Link Research Tools

Link Detective

FollowerWonk

Outreachr Bulk Domain Check Tool

Ontolo

Link Building Guides

 

Competitive Analysis Tools

Searchmetrics Essentials

 

Analytics Tools

Keyword Level Demographics

Social Analytics WordPress Plugin

Google Analytics Debugger

 

Audience Targeting Tools

Facebook Ad Creator

Facebook Insights

DoubleClick Ad Planner

 

Social Media Tools

Twitter Follow / Link Tool

Simply Measured

KnowEm

MentionMapp

IFTTT

Rapportive

BuzzStream

 

Time Saving Tools

Boomerang

ManageWP

 

Infographics & Data Visualization Tools

World Government Data

Google Public Data

Infogr.am

Dipity

Story Bird

 

Link Analysis Tools

Majestic SEO Site Explorer

Ahrefs

Blekko

Link Diagnosis

Broken Link Index

 

Search Engine Ranking Tools

Stat Search Analytics

 

Staff and Freelancers

Mechanical Turk

 

Phew! That’s a lot of tools. If you want to see some screengrabs or read more, Mike’s full slide deck can be downloaded from here.

A couple of my own favorite tools that weren’t in Mike’s list:

Copyscape – which enables you to search for stolen/scraped copies of your content on the web.

Raven Tools – which is a suite of time saving tools for a wide range of SEO / SEM tasks, including keyword research, link building, rank checking, reputation management and social media posting and monitoring. I’d be absolutely lost without this one!

Do you have a favorite Search Engine Marketing tool not in this list? I’d love to hear about it. Please share it in the comments.

 

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Q and A: How reliable is the data from Alexa?

QuestionHi Kalena

I regularly use a tool that I think is super useful but one of my colleagues believes it is bogus. The tool is Alexa.com, have you heard of it? The site seems to show really good audience demographic data and I’ve used it quite often to give clients visitor statistics and a ball-park value for their web sites and their competitors.

The site has been around a long time and I’ve shown my friend the reports I’ve generated, but he said that the data is exaggerated. After talking with my colleague, I’m concerned about whether I should be using it. What’s your opinion of Alexa?

Bruce

Hi Bruce

I’m with your colleague on Alexa – I am not a fan. In my opinion, the information they provide is completely skewed and inaccurate because of the way they gather their data and install their toolbar. Sure they’ve been around since 1996 and sure, they’re owned by Amazon but that’s about as impressive as the stats get I’m afraid. You might want to read these past articles about Alexa:

If You Cite Compete or Alexa For Anything Besides Making Fun of Them, You’re a Moron

3 Reasons Why Alexa Sucks (And They Know It!)

Alexa Says YouTube is Now Bigger Than Google. Alexa is Useless.

Why is Alexa Still Relevant?

My view isn’t just based on these articles either. I downloaded the Alexa Toolbar and reviewed it for several years before discounting it. In my opinion, you’re better off installing Google Analytics and generating more accurate statistical reports for your clients.

Kalena

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