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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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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