Tag Archive | "Modern"

10 Modern Proofreading Tips to Catch More Avoidable Goofs

Traditionally, proofreading is a separate task from editing. And I still treat the two as different activities. However, the creative…

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Abraham Ortelius Google doodle honors cartographer behind first modern day atlas

Published on this date in 1570, Ortelius’ “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” included a collection of maps from scientists, geographers and cartographers.
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How to Turn Leads Into Clients with Modern Email Marketing

When it comes to building an audience that builds your freelance or consulting business, email remains the undisputed heavyweight champion. Email was the original “killer app” — everyone uses it, and that’s why it’s been the absolute best channel for digital marketing and audience building. And yes, that’s still true in 2018. The stats don’t
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Join Us for a Live Workshop on Modern Email Marketing

The major heads-up today is that we have a live workshop next week (Tuesday, April 24 at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time) on how to use sophisticated segmentation and automation in your email marketing — even if you have a limited budget and you’re not particularly technical. This lets you create focused and relevant messages for
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George Peabody Google doodle honors philanthropist often called ‘Father of Modern Philanthropy’

Over the course of his life, Peabody is credited with giving away half of his $ 16 million fortune.

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10 Modern Editing Tips for Meticulous Bloggers

protractor, ruler, and gray pencil - copyblogger

I watch a lot of YouTube videos about the best ways to clean your bathroom.

In fact, I realized that I spend way more time watching “hacks, tricks, and tips” about how to efficiently clean a bathroom than I do actually cleaning my bathroom.

Given the hundreds of thousands of views on these types of videos, perhaps it’s not just me. And I started thinking … this might be similar to bloggers who read about editing tips.

Editing, like cleaning a bathroom, isn’t always the most fun, so bloggers might spend more time reading about editing tips than actually implementing them.

We’d like to have a polished bathroom or a polished blog post — we just don’t always want to perform the work required to produce that shiny end result.

The 10 modern editing tips I’ll share today should invigorate you to put in the elbow grease … at least when it comes to your writing.

1. Become the Editor-in-Chief of your blog

Even though blogs have been around for a long time, some people may still associate them with sloppy, weak information posted on a website. And that’s what some blogs are.

But that’s not what you do.

While the writing rules you follow certainly depend on the audience you serve, your presentation must be thoughtful.

Blog posts that work for your business ideally satisfy a need for both you and your readers.

Here’s my definition of an Editor-in-Chief that serious bloggers like you can use to demonstrate your commitment to quality:

Editor-in-Chief (noun): a person who assumes complete responsibility for, and ownership of, all of the communication he or she puts out into the world to enable a self-directed, creative career.

2. Build editing momentum

You don’t start physical exercise without some gentle stretches, and you probably don’t even start drafting a blog post without some writing warm-ups.

So, don’t just jump straight into editing your writing without some preparation either.

Instead, energize your brain to tame wild words with your audience’s best interest in mind.

You want to feel ready to shape and craft your text rather than simply read it.

To build momentum to edit with ease, begin your editing routine by:

Those are just a few activities you can try. How do you get ready to edit? Share in the comments below at the end of this post.

3. Bond with your audience over a shared worldview

As I mentioned above, your blog post should be a thoughtful presentation that considers your audience’s desires, hopes, and needs.

And you don’t always need to write more to create the most engaging, useful, content possible. Sometimes you might just need to arrange your ideas in a way that is easy to consume.

That may include:

  • Revising your headline or subheadlines
  • Adding bullet points
  • Rearranging your sentences or paragraphs
  • Deleting confusing tangents
  • Turning a long blog post into a series

Editing is more than just checking for proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. It’s your opportunity to extract your winning difference from your draft and shine a spotlight on it.

4. Sleep with one eye (and one ear) open

We know writers are always working, so look for meaningful snippets everywhere, even if they seem to have nothing to do with the topics you write about.

Why is this an editing tip?

Your draft may be a straightforward article that offers helpful information, but during the editing process you can infuse it with your own writing voice and incorporate interesting elements that hook readers on your blog’s style.

Go ahead, make the competition irrelevant.

More on writing voice on the blog tomorrow …

5. Ask yourself questions

It’s common to take a break after writing before you begin editing to help clear your mind. After all, it’s difficult to review your own writing objectively.

Another thing you can do is ask yourself critical questions about your content:

  • Does this introduction explain why someone should keep reading?
  • Is there too much hype and not enough value?
  • Can I simplify this point?

Since your headline is always a good place to start, check out: Ask Yourself These 3 Questions to Craft Better Headlines.

6. Add carbonation to your flat water

Plain water is fine, but isn’t sparkling water a little more fun?

As you examine your draft, vary your word choice and fine-tune your language throughout your post — especially at the beginning of paragraphs.

For example, if you begin the majority of your paragraphs with “Something you could try …,” or “Make sure …,” the text is going to look repetitive to a reader.

Also, take a look at the list items in this post. They aren’t merely “1. Edit,” “2. Proofread,” etc. They state unpredictable, unusual actions that guide the reader through the post in an unexpected way.

Be an artist. Play with your words and look for different ways to present your ideas.

7. Bring an umbrella (just in case it rains)

It happens to the best of us. We can all get a little … wordy.

Shield your final draft from extra explanations with your trusty word-repellant umbrella.

Aim to not get too attached to your words and swiftly cut out sections of your draft if they don’t benefit your audience. (Save them for later because they might fit perfectly into a different post!)

You want your article to be complete, but communicate your main message in a precise way.

8. Complete a “revision triangle”

Once you’ve set up a post in WordPress:

  1. Edit in the Text Editor screen
  2. Proofread in the Text Editor screen
  3. Proofread once again in Preview mode

I call this a “revision triangle” because a triangle has three sides and these are three steps that help ensure you have thoroughly reviewed your writing.

Since many mistakes are often not caught until you proofread, let’s look at my favorite proofreading technique.

9. Keep the reader in your created reality

In the draft of this post, I accidentally typed “learn” instead of “clean”, “person” instead of “perhaps,” and “always” instead of “also.”

If these errors had published, they would have jolted readers out of the experience I created for them.

They could reread the text and figure out my true intentions, but that’s a bit disappointing for readers — and extra work for them.

Catch these types of mistakes by proofreading from the end of your post to the beginning in Preview mode.

Remember that proofreading is not reading.

You need to slowly inspect each word in your draft.

10. Zig when others zag

This tip is also known as “double-check details other bloggers may overlook.”

Properly attribute any quotations you use and verify their accuracy (no missing or incorrect words).

Look up the exact names of companies and products. You don’t want to write “MasterMix 300” when the product you’re talking about is actually called “Master MixIt 2000.”

It’s easy to skip over hyperlinked text when you proofread, so give those words special attention.

Fact-check event information, such as the day of the week, date, and time.

There isn’t just one set of editing tips that help your blog stand out; you build respect and trust by getting the details right over time.

Strengthen your editing habits to differentiate your blog

Now that we’ve got a handle on practical editing techniques we can all use this year, I’ll resolve to also stay on top of my cleaning chores.

Should I straighten up the area around my bathroom sink?

It’s a start.

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Why Effective, Modern SEO Requires Technical, Creative, and Strategic Thinking – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

There’s no doubt that quite a bit has changed about SEO, and that the field is far more integrated with other aspects of online marketing than it once was. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand pushes back against the idea that effective modern SEO doesn’t require any technical expertise, outlining a fantastic list of technical elements that today’s SEOs need to know about in order to be truly effective.

Why Effective, Modern SEO Requires Technical, Creative, and Strategic Thinking - Whiteboard Friday

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard. Click on it to open a high resolution image in a new tab!

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week I’m going to do something unusual. I don’t usually point out these inconsistencies or sort of take issue with other folks’ content on the web, because I generally find that that’s not all that valuable and useful. But I’m going to make an exception here.

There is an article by Jayson DeMers, who I think might actually be here in Seattle — maybe he and I can hang out at some point — called “Why Modern SEO Requires Almost No Technical Expertise.” It was an article that got a shocking amount of traction and attention. On Facebook, it has thousands of shares. On LinkedIn, it did really well. On Twitter, it got a bunch of attention.

Some folks in the SEO world have already pointed out some issues around this. But because of the increasing popularity of this article, and because I think there’s, like, this hopefulness from worlds outside of kind of the hardcore SEO world that are looking to this piece and going, “Look, this is great. We don’t have to be technical. We don’t have to worry about technical things in order to do SEO.”

Look, I completely get the appeal of that. I did want to point out some of the reasons why this is not so accurate. At the same time, I don’t want to rain on Jayson, because I think that it’s very possible he’s writing an article for Entrepreneur, maybe he has sort of a commitment to them. Maybe he had no idea that this article was going to spark so much attention and investment. He does make some good points. I think it’s just really the title and then some of the messages inside there that I take strong issue with, and so I wanted to bring those up.

First off, some of the good points he did bring up.

One, he wisely says, “You don’t need to know how to code or to write and read algorithms in order to do SEO.” I totally agree with that. If today you’re looking at SEO and you’re thinking, “Well, am I going to get more into this subject? Am I going to try investing in SEO? But I don’t even know HTML and CSS yet.”

Those are good skills to have, and they will help you in SEO, but you don’t need them. Jayson’s totally right. You don’t have to have them, and you can learn and pick up some of these things, and do searches, watch some Whiteboard Fridays, check out some guides, and pick up a lot of that stuff later on as you need it in your career. SEO doesn’t have that hard requirement.

And secondly, he makes an intelligent point that we’ve made many times here at Moz, which is that, broadly speaking, a better user experience is well correlated with better rankings.

You make a great website that delivers great user experience, that provides the answers to searchers’ questions and gives them extraordinarily good content, way better than what’s out there already in the search results, generally speaking you’re going to see happy searchers, and that’s going to lead to higher rankings.

But not entirely. There are a lot of other elements that go in here. So I’ll bring up some frustrating points around the piece as well.

First off, there’s no acknowledgment — and I find this a little disturbing — that the ability to read and write code, or even HTML and CSS, which I think are the basic place to start, is helpful or can take your SEO efforts to the next level. I think both of those things are true.

So being able to look at a web page, view source on it, or pull up Firebug in Firefox or something and diagnose what’s going on and then go, “Oh, that’s why Google is not able to see this content. That’s why we’re not ranking for this keyword or term, or why even when I enter this exact sentence in quotes into Google, which is on our page, this is why it’s not bringing it up. It’s because it’s loading it after the page from a remote file that Google can’t access.” These are technical things, and being able to see how that code is built, how it’s structured, and what’s going on there, very, very helpful.

Some coding knowledge also can take your SEO efforts even further. I mean, so many times, SEOs are stymied by the conversations that we have with our programmers and our developers and the technical staff on our teams. When we can have those conversations intelligently, because at least we understand the principles of how an if-then statement works, or what software engineering best practices are being used, or they can upload something into a GitHub repository, and we can take a look at it there, that kind of stuff is really helpful.

Secondly, I don’t like that the article overly reduces all of this information that we have about what we’ve learned about Google. So he mentions two sources. One is things that Google tells us, and others are SEO experiments. I think both of those are true. Although I’d add that there’s sort of a sixth sense of knowledge that we gain over time from looking at many, many search results and kind of having this feel for why things rank, and what might be wrong with a site, and getting really good at that using tools and data as well. There are people who can look at Open Site Explorer and then go, “Aha, I bet this is going to happen.” They can look, and 90% of the time they’re right.

So he boils this down to, one, write quality content, and two, reduce your bounce rate. Neither of those things are wrong. You should write quality content, although I’d argue there are lots of other forms of quality content that aren’t necessarily written — video, images and graphics, podcasts, lots of other stuff.

And secondly, that just doing those two things is not always enough. So you can see, like many, many folks look and go, “I have quality content. It has a low bounce rate. How come I don’t rank better?” Well, your competitors, they’re also going to have quality content with a low bounce rate. That’s not a very high bar.

Also, frustratingly, this really gets in my craw. I don’t think “write quality content” means anything. You tell me. When you hear that, to me that is a totally non-actionable, non-useful phrase that’s a piece of advice that is so generic as to be discardable. So I really wish that there was more substance behind that.

The article also makes, in my opinion, the totally inaccurate claim that modern SEO really is reduced to “the happier your users are when they visit your site, the higher you’re going to rank.”

Wow. Okay. Again, I think broadly these things are correlated. User happiness and rank is broadly correlated, but it’s not a one to one. This is not like a, “Oh, well, that’s a 1.0 correlation.”

I would guess that the correlation is probably closer to like the page authority range. I bet it’s like 0.35 or something correlation. If you were to actually measure this broadly across the web and say like, “Hey, were you happier with result one, two, three, four, or five,” the ordering would not be perfect at all. It probably wouldn’t even be close.

There’s a ton of reasons why sometimes someone who ranks on Page 2 or Page 3 or doesn’t rank at all for a query is doing a better piece of content than the person who does rank well or ranks on Page 1, Position 1.

Then the article suggests five and sort of a half steps to successful modern SEO, which I think is a really incomplete list. So Jayson gives us;

  • Good on-site experience
  • Writing good content
  • Getting others to acknowledge you as an authority
  • Rising in social popularity
  • Earning local relevance
  • Dealing with modern CMS systems (which he notes most modern CMS systems are SEO-friendly)

The thing is there’s nothing actually wrong with any of these. They’re all, generally speaking, correct, either directly or indirectly related to SEO. The one about local relevance, I have some issue with, because he doesn’t note that there’s a separate algorithm for sort of how local SEO is done and how Google ranks local sites in maps and in their local search results. Also not noted is that rising in social popularity won’t necessarily directly help your SEO, although it can have indirect and positive benefits.

I feel like this list is super incomplete. Okay, I brainstormed just off the top of my head in the 10 minutes before we filmed this video a list. The list was so long that, as you can see, I filled up the whole whiteboard and then didn’t have any more room. I’m not going to bother to erase and go try and be absolutely complete.

But there’s a huge, huge number of things that are important, critically important for technical SEO. If you don’t know how to do these things, you are sunk in many cases. You can’t be an effective SEO analyst, or consultant, or in-house team member, because you simply can’t diagnose the potential problems, rectify those potential problems, identify strategies that your competitors are using, be able to diagnose a traffic gain or loss. You have to have these skills in order to do that.

I’ll run through these quickly, but really the idea is just that this list is so huge and so long that I think it’s very, very, very wrong to say technical SEO is behind us. I almost feel like the opposite is true.

We have to be able to understand things like;

  • Content rendering and indexability
  • Crawl structure, internal links, JavaScript, Ajax. If something’s post-loading after the page and Google’s not able to index it, or there are links that are accessible via JavaScript or Ajax, maybe Google can’t necessarily see those or isn’t crawling them as effectively, or is crawling them, but isn’t assigning them as much link weight as they might be assigning other stuff, and you’ve made it tough to link to them externally, and so they can’t crawl it.
  • Disabling crawling and/or indexing of thin or incomplete or non-search-targeted content. We have a bunch of search results pages. Should we use rel=prev/next? Should we robots.txt those out? Should we disallow from crawling with meta robots? Should we rel=canonical them to other pages? Should we exclude them via the protocols inside Google Webmaster Tools, which is now Google Search Console?
  • Managing redirects, domain migrations, content updates. A new piece of content comes out, replacing an old piece of content, what do we do with that old piece of content? What’s the best practice? It varies by different things. We have a whole Whiteboard Friday about the different things that you could do with that. What about a big redirect or a domain migration? You buy another company and you’re redirecting their site to your site. You have to understand things about subdomain structures versus subfolders, which, again, we’ve done another Whiteboard Friday about that.
  • Proper error codes, downtime procedures, and not found pages. If your 404 pages turn out to all be 200 pages, well, now you’ve made a big error there, and Google could be crawling tons of 404 pages that they think are real pages, because you’ve made it a status code 200, or you’ve used a 404 code when you should have used a 410, which is a permanently removed, to be able to get it completely out of the indexes, as opposed to having Google revisit it and keep it in the index.

Downtime procedures. So there’s specifically a… I can’t even remember. It’s a 5xx code that you can use. Maybe it was a 503 or something that you can use that’s like, “Revisit later. We’re having some downtime right now.” Google urges you to use that specific code rather than using a 404, which tells them, “This page is now an error.”

Disney had that problem a while ago, if you guys remember, where they 404ed all their pages during an hour of downtime, and then their homepage, when you searched for Disney World, was, like, “Not found.” Oh, jeez, Disney World, not so good.

  • International and multi-language targeting issues. I won’t go into that. But you have to know the protocols there. Duplicate content, syndication, scrapers. How do we handle all that? Somebody else wants to take our content, put it on their site, what should we do? Someone’s scraping our content. What can we do? We have duplicate content on our own site. What should we do?
  • Diagnosing traffic drops via analytics and metrics. Being able to look at a rankings report, being able to look at analytics connecting those up and trying to see: Why did we go up or down? Did we have less pages being indexed, more pages being indexed, more pages getting traffic less, more keywords less?
  • Understanding advanced search parameters. Today, just today, I was checking out the related parameter in Google, which is fascinating for most sites. Well, for Moz, weirdly, related:oursite.com shows nothing. But for virtually every other sit, well, most other sites on the web, it does show some really interesting data, and you can see how Google is connecting up, essentially, intentions and topics from different sites and pages, which can be fascinating, could expose opportunities for links, could expose understanding of how they view your site versus your competition or who they think your competition is.

Then there are tons of parameters, like in URL and in anchor, and da, da, da, da. In anchor doesn’t work anymore, never mind about that one.

I have to go faster, because we’re just going to run out of these. Like, come on. Interpreting and leveraging data in Google Search Console. If you don’t know how to use that, Google could be telling you, you have all sorts of errors, and you don’t know what they are.

  • Leveraging topic modeling and extraction. Using all these cool tools that are coming out for better keyword research and better on-page targeting. I talked about a couple of those at MozCon, like MonkeyLearn. There’s the new Moz Context API, which will be coming out soon, around that. There’s the Alchemy API, which a lot of folks really like and use.
  • Identifying and extracting opportunities based on site crawls. You run a Screaming Frog crawl on your site and you’re going, “Oh, here’s all these problems and issues.” If you don’t have these technical skills, you can’t diagnose that. You can’t figure out what’s wrong. You can’t figure out what needs fixing, what needs addressing.
  • Using rich snippet format to stand out in the SERPs. This is just getting a better click-through rate, which can seriously help your site and obviously your traffic.
  • Applying Google-supported protocols like rel=canonical, meta description, rel=prev/next, hreflang, robots.txt, meta robots, x robots, NOODP, XML sitemaps, rel=nofollow. The list goes on and on and on. If you’re not technical, you don’t know what those are, you think you just need to write good content and lower your bounce rate, it’s not going to work.
  • Using APIs from services like AdWords or MozScape, or hrefs from Majestic, or SEM refs from SearchScape or Alchemy API. Those APIs can have powerful things that they can do for your site. There are some powerful problems they could help you solve if you know how to use them. It’s actually not that hard to write something, even inside a Google Doc or Excel, to pull from an API and get some data in there. There’s a bunch of good tutorials out there. Richard Baxter has one, Annie Cushing has one, I think Distilled has some. So really cool stuff there.
  • Diagnosing page load speed issues, which goes right to what Jayson was talking about. You need that fast-loading page. Well, if you don’t have any technical skills, you can’t figure out why your page might not be loading quickly.
  • Diagnosing mobile friendliness issues
  • Advising app developers on the new protocols around App deep linking, so that you can get the content from your mobile apps into the web search results on mobile devices. Awesome. Super powerful. Potentially crazy powerful, as mobile search is becoming bigger than desktop.

Okay, I’m going to take a deep breath and relax. I don’t know Jayson’s intention, and in fact, if he were in this room, he’d be like, “No, I totally agree with all those things. I wrote the article in a rush. I had no idea it was going to be big. I was just trying to make the broader points around you don’t have to be a coder in order to do SEO.” That’s completely fine.

So I’m not going to try and rain criticism down on him. But I think if you’re reading that article, or you’re seeing it in your feed, or your clients are, or your boss is, or other folks are in your world, maybe you can point them to this Whiteboard Friday and let them know, no, that’s not quite right. There’s a ton of technical SEO that is required in 2015 and will be for years to come, I think, that SEOs have to have in order to be effective at their jobs.

All right, everyone. Look forward to some great comments, and we’ll see you again next time for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Using Modern SEO to Build Brand Authority

Posted by kaiserthesage

It’s obvious that the technology behind search engines’ ability to determine and understand web entities is gradually leaning towards how real people will normally perceive things from a traditional marketing perspective.

The
emphasis on E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) from Google’s recently updated Quality Rating Guide shows that search engines are shifting towards brand-related metrics to identify sites/pages that deserve to be more visible in search results.

Online branding, or authority building, is quite similar to the traditional SEO practices that many of us have already been accustomed with.

Building a stronger brand presence online and improving a site’s search visibility both require two major processes: the things you implement on the site and the things you do outside of the site.

This is where several of the more advanced aspects of SEO can blend perfectly with online branding when implemented the right way. In this post, I’ll use some examples from my own experience to show you how.

Pick a niche and excel

Building on your brand’s
topical expertise is probably the fastest way to go when you’re looking to build a name for yourself or your business in a very competitive industry.

There are a few reasons why:

  • Proving your field expertise in one or two areas of your industry can be a strong unique selling point (USP) for your brand.
  • It’s easier to expand and delve into the deeper and more competitive parts of your industry once you’ve already established yourself as an expert in your chosen field.
  • Obviously, search engines favour brands known to be experts in their respective fields.

Just to give a brief example, when I started blogging back in 2010, I was all over the place. Then, a few months later, I decided to focus on one specific area of SEO—link building—and
wrote dozens of guides on how I do it.

By aiming to build my blog’s brand identity to become a prime destination for link building tutorials, it became a lot easier for me to sell my ideas on the other aspects of inbound marketing to my continuously growing audience (from technical SEO to social media, content marketing, email marketing and more).

Strengthening your brand starts with the quality of your brand’s content, whether it’s your product/service or the plethora of information available on your website.

You can start by assessing the categories where you’re getting the most traction in terms of natural link acquisitions, social shares, conversions, and/or sales.

Prioritize your content development efforts on the niche where your brand can genuinely compete in and will have a better fighting chance to dominate the market. It’s the smartest way to stand out and scale, especially when you’re still in your campaign’s early stages.

Optimize for semantic search and knowledge graph

In the past, most webmasters and publishers would rely on the usage of generic keywords/terms in optimizing their website’s content to make it easier for search engines to understand what they are about.

But now, while the continuously evolving technologies behind search may seem to make the optimization process more complicated, the fact is that it may just reward those who pursue high-level trustworthy marketing efforts to stand out in the search results.

These technologies and factors for determining relevance—which include entity recognition and disambiguation (ERD), structured data or schema markups, natural language processing (NLP), phrase-based indexing for co-occurrence and co-citations, concept matching, and a lot more—are all driven by branding campaigns and
how an average human would normally find, talk, or ask about a certain thing.

Easily identifiable brands will surely win in this type of setup.

Where to start? See if Google already knows what your brand is about.

How to optimize your site for the Knowledge Graph and at the same time build it as an authority online

1. Provide the best and the most precise answers to the “who, what, why, and how” queries that people might look for in your space.

Razvan Gavrilas did 
an extensive study on how Google’s Answer Boxes work. Getting listed in the answer box will not just drive more traffic and conversions to a business, but can also help position a brand on a higher level in its industry.

But of course, getting one of your entries placed for Google’s answer boxes for certain queries will also require other authority signals (like natural links, domain authority, etc.).

But what search crawlers would typically search for to evaluate whether a page’s content is appropriate to be displayed in the answer boxes (according to Razvan’s post):

  • If the page selected for the answer contains the question in a very similar (if not exact) form, along with the answer, at a short distance from the question (repeating at least some of the words from the question) and
  • If the page selected for the answer belongs to a trustworthy website. So most of the times, if it’s not Wikipedia, it will be a site that it can consider a non-biased third party, such as is the case with a lot of “.edu” sites, or news organization websites.

Although,
John Mueller mentioned recently that Knowledge Graph listings should not be branded, in which you might think that the approach and effort will be for nothing.

But wait, just think about it—the intent alone of optimizing your content for Google’s Knowledge Graph will allow you to serve better content to your users (which is what Google rewards the most these days, so it’s still the soundest action to take if you want to really build a solid brand, right?).

2. Clearly define your brand’s identity to your audience.

Being remarkable and being able to separate your brand from your competitors is crucial in online marketing (be it through your content or the experience people feel when they’re using your site/service/product).


Optimizing for humans through branding allows you to condition the way people will talk about you
. This factor is very important when you’re aiming to get more brand mentions that would really impact your site’s SEO efforts, branding, and conversions.

The more search engines are getting signals (even unlinked mentions) that verify that you’re an authority in your field, the more your brand will be trusted and rank your pages well on SERPs.

3. Build a strong authorship portfolio.

Author photos/badges may have been taken down from the search results a few weeks ago, but it doesn’t mean that authorship markup no longer has value.

Both
Mark Traphagen and Bill Slawski have shared why authorship markup still matters. And clearly, an author’s authority will still be a viable search ranking factor, given that it enables Google to easily identify topical experts and credible documents available around the web.

It will continue to help tie entities (publishers and brands) to their respective industries, which may still accumulate scores over time based on the popularity and reception from the author’s works (AuthorRank).

This approach is a great complement to personal brand building, especially when you’re expanding your content marketing efforts’ reach through guest blogging on industry-specific blogs where you can really absorb more new readers and followers.

There’s certainly more to implement under
Knowledge Graph Optimization, and here’s a short list from what AJ Kohn has already shared on his blog earlier this year, which are all still useful to this day:

  • Use entities (aka Nouns) in your writing
  • Get connected and link out to relevant sites
  • Implement Structured Data to increase entity detection
  • Use the sameAs property
  • Optimize your Google+ presence
  • Get exposure on Wikipedia
  • Edit and update your Freebase entry

Online branding through scalable link building

The right relationships make link building scalable.

In the past, many link builders believed that it’s best to have thousands of links from diversified sources, which apparently forced a lot of early practitioners to resort to tactics focused on manually dropping links to thousands of unique domains (and spamming).

And, unfortunately, guest blogging as a link building tactic has eventually become a part of this craze.

I’ve mentioned this dozens of times before, and I’m going to say it one more time:
It’s better to have multiple links from a few link sources that are highly trusted than having hundreds of one-off links from several mediocre sites.

Focus on building signals that will strongly indicate relationships, because it’s probably the most powerful off-site signal you can build out there.

When other influential entities in your space are vouching for your brand (whether it’s through links, social shares, or even unlinked brand mentions), it allows you to somehow become a part of the list of sites that will most likely be trusted by search engines.

It can most definitely impact how people will see your brand as an authority as well, when they see that you’re being trusted by other credible brands in your industry.

These relationships can also open a lot of opportunities for natural link acquisitions and lead generation, knowing that some of the most trusted brands in your space trust you.

Making all of this actionable

1. Identify and make a list of the top domains and publishers in your industry, particularly those that have high search share.

There are so many tools that you can use to get these data, like
SEMRush, Compete.com, and/or Alexa.com.

You can also use
Google Search and SEOQuake to make a list of sites that are performing well on search for your industry’s head terms (given that Google is displaying better search results these days, it’s probably one of the best prospecting tools you can use).

I also use other free tools in doing this type of prospecting, particularly in cleaning up the list (in
removing duplicate domains, and extracting unique hostnames; and in filtering out highly authoritative sites that are clearly irrelevant for the task, such as ranking pages from Facebook, Wikipedia, and other popular news sites).

2. Try to penetrate at least 2 high authority sites from the first 50 websites on your list—and become a regular contributor for them.

Start engaging them by genuinely participating in their existing communities.

The process shouldn’t stop with you contributing content for them on a regular basis, as along the way you can initiate collaborative tasks, such as inviting them to publish content on your site as well.

This can help draw more traffic (and links) from their end, and can exponentially improve the perceived value of your brand as a publisher (based on your relationships with other influential entities in your industry).

These kinds of relationships will make the latter part of your link building campaign less stressful. As soon as you get to build a strong footing with your brand’s existing relationships and content portfolio (in and out of your site), it’ll be a lot easier for you to pitch and get published on other authoritative industry-specific publications (or even in getting interview opportunities).

3. Write the types of content that your target influencers are usually reading.

Stalk your target influencers on social networks, and take note of the topics/ideas that interest them the most (related to your industry). See what type of content they usually share to their followers.

Knowing these things will give you ton of ideas on how you can effectively approach your content development efforts and can help you come up with content ideas that are most likely to be read, shared, and linked to.

You can also go the extra mile by knowing which sites they mostly link out to or use as reference for their own works (use
ScreamingFrog).

4. Take advantage of your own existing community (or others’ as well).

Collaborate with the people who are already participating in your brand’s online community (blog comments, social networks, discussions, etc.). Identify those who truly contribute and really add value to the discussions, and see if they run their own websites or work for a company that’s also in your industry.

Leverage these interactions, as these can form long-term relationships that can also be beneficial to both parties (for instance, inviting them to write for you or having you write for their blog, and/or cross-promote your works/services).

And perhaps, you can also use this approach to other brands’ communities as well, like reaching out to people you see who have really smart inputs about your industry (that’ll you see on other blog’s comment sections) and asking them if they’ll be interested to talk/share more about that topic and have it published on your website instead.

Building a solid community can easily help automate link building, but more importantly, it can surely help strengthen a brand’s online presence.

Conclusion

SEO can be a tremendous help to your online branding efforts. Likewise, branding can be a tremendous help to your SEO efforts. Alignment and integration of both practices is what keeps winners winning in this game (just look at Moz).

If you liked this post or have any questions, let me know in the comments below, and you can find me on Twitter
@jasonacidre.

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5 Fashion Hacks for the Modern Male Marketer – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Editor’s note: Happy 4th of July! We’re off observing our Independence Day, so we decided to celebrate with a non-SEO Whiteboard Friday. 

From the undeniable class of a full windsor to the (all too common) mistake of letting our underwear become accidental outerwear, today’s modern marketers are prone to some very easily solveable fashion faux-pas. On this Independence Day, we take a quick break from discussing the online world and bring you a whiteboard video on the lighter side. Enjoy!

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video Transcription

Rand: Howdy gang, and welcome to a very special Whiteboard video on men’s fashion. Well, so it turns out of all things that, in addition to my deep, deep passion around search and social media and content marketing and all things inbound, I’m also particularly passionate about what guys wear. I hope that I can be helpful in upgrading some of the things that we all wear, because as an industry, occasionally I will go to a conference or an event or someone’s office and see things that make me scratch my head and wonder whether women or men, who might be interested in these men, also scratch their head.

Hence, for you today, I have five fashion hacks for the modern male marketer. The first one is don’t let your underwear become accidental outerwear. So I’m obviously wearing underwear. I’m not going to show you, sorry, or maybe a good thing. But I’m also wearing underwear underneath this shirt, which you can see here. This is an undershirt. It’s underwear.

Now, it turns out that not all men are, let’s say, cognizant or fantastic at hiding their underwear. Let me show you what I’m talking about. Ta-da! Look at this brand new undershirt that I am now wearing and which tragically is on display for the whole world to see because I’m wearing a button-up shirt, but I’m not, of course, going to button it all the way to the top. So you’re seeing my underwear. Unintentionally my underwear has become outerwear. I just find this, well, not optimized, and as you know, I love optimization.


Unintentionally, my underwear has become outerwear.
I just find this, well, not optimized.


Now let me show you. There is an actual exception to this underwear/outwear rule, and I’ve asked our head of Big Data, Martin York . . . Martin, would you join me here for a second? So Martin has very wisely, wonderfully worn a ring-collar shirt with a button up. But look, it’s a T-shirt. It is not underwear. His underwear is not on display. His T-shirt is on display. This is a totally acceptable way to wear a ring-collar shirt with a button-up shirt and leave the button undone and show it off. No problem at all from a fashion standpoint.

The problem is when you do what I’m doing here. Don’t be like me. Wear a V-neck. Thanks Martin.

Another fantastic thing about having an open collared shirt and wearing an undershirt, like a V-neck underneath it, is when I get home, I don’t actually need to wash this. I can just put it right back on my hanger in my closet, and then I throw the undershirt in the wash. Undershirts are easy to wash. They’re also very inexpensive. If something happens to the undershirt, no problem. It might get a little sweaty during the day, especially filming so many videos.

My second point here, so a lot of times I talk to guys about shoes and footwear, because I’ll compliment a guy on what he’s wearing. I think it’s really cool. I’m obviously deep into footwear, right? I have my yellow Pumas, and I have all sorts of other shoes, and my footwear is just something I’m very passionate about. I love when I get compliments about my shoes, and so I like getting new ones. But I’ve noticed that many gentlemen have a big challenge around this, which is breaking in those new shoes, and I completely get where you’re coming from.

So I’m wearing today a pair of new shoes. I just recently got these. I think I’ve worn them only once or twice before, and not even the whole day, and they’re still breaking in, like they’re not quite comfortable yet. A lot of guys I talk to say, “Gosh, I hate when I buy new shoes, because I have to break them in. They take time. That’s why I have only my old pair of shoes, or I only wear athletic shoes,” or these kinds of things. That’s sad, because there’s a lot of cool things you can do with footwear.

But there’s a trick for breaking in shoes that makes it way more comfortable. It’s totally stolen from hikers. Let me show you what I’m talking about. So watch.

I’m not just wearing one pair of socks. I’m wearing two pairs of socks. So I’ve got this white sock underneath here, which it’s a fine sock. No one’s going to see it, because it’s shorter than the shoe. But then I’m actually wearing a little slip on sock over it, and the reason is I’m breaking in these shoes. Wearing a second pair of socks over them, yeah it uses up an extra pair of socks, but man it’s way more comfortable, very easy to break in new shoes. I wear this a couple of days, three days in a row, and this shoe will feel like an old worn pair, which is just awesome. Slides right over and slides right in. Now if I do it right, no one’s the wiser.

Number three on my list, it turns out that a lot of men’s shirt makers these days are doing some really cool things with kind of fashion details and hidden fashion details. They don’t have to be completely hidden. So one of my favorite things is when I buy a shirt, I look inside and I see, “Wow that’s really cool,” they’ve got kind of an off color cuff, like the cuff is a different shade, and the inside of the shirt material is a different shade than the outside. I almost want to show that off in some way. But the only time you can do it is when you’re putting on the shirt or taking off the shirt, unless you roll up your sleeves in a very clever way. Let me show you what I’m talking about.

All right. Now depending on how OCD you want to be, you can make it look even better than I have here in this short amount of time with no mirror. But you can see what’s happened is I’ve taken the cuff, rolled it up, so that now the exterior of the cuff is actually inside, and the interior is shown off, at least the top of it is shown off. I love that sort of mismatched, interior exposer, showing off the detail of the shirt. It’s just a fun way.

The other thing I love about this is, unlike traditional ways of rolling up your cuffs where it often falls down, these don’t fall. I’ve worn it on stage like this, this particular shirt in fact, on stage with the cuffs rolled up, and it doesn’t fall off, even if I’m doing my wild hand gesticulating while I’m speaking. So I really appreciate that, and I think it’s super cool that you can try this out.

Number four, details aren’t just details. In fact, details are a lot of times what makes men’s fashion really fun, really enjoyable, really shareable. So I like to do some fun stuff with all kinds of things, my eyeglasses that I wear. I’m wearing contacts right now. Obviously, this ludicrous mustache, which is a whole other story, but playing around with hairstyles.

I actually really enjoy messing around with watches. I’ve got this one from ZIIIRO that I love. You’ve probably seen me wear a couple of other ones on Whiteboard Friday.

I have this belt. It’s actually a kid’s belt. I know that’s weird, but it’s kind of fun. It’s got like these dinosaurs eating toast, like making toast and then eating toast, and then stealing it from each other kind of print on there. A belt is a very hidden thing, like you rarely, rarely see it, especially because so few men tuck in their shirts anymore, which, God forbid, please don’t tuck in your shirts, especially not T-shirts. Just don’t do it. It’s not allowed. I should bring in a gentleman from our engineering team to maybe show that off.


God forbid, please don’t tuck in your shirts. Especially not T-shirts.
Just don’t do it. It’s not allowed.


But in any case, other kinds of details can be really cool too. So one of the things that I love and that has been taking off in popularity in men’s fashion is socks and shoe matching. So these are some old sneakers that I’ve got, which you can see have purple flowers on the side there. So I grabbed some purple polka dot socks that kind of match the color patterns in there, a few of the flowers, and it just makes for fun. It’s something that might catch your eye as you’re walking by. Details, details.

I’ll show you another one. On the topic of undershirts and underwear, it is absolutely appropriate to wear this ring-collar undershirt when I am putting on a suit. I plan to have a tie here. I definitely don’t want an undershirt that’s going to be V-neck that will show off like a little kind of weird patch of skin underneath the shirt, especially if I’m going to be outdoors, for example, for a wedding or at work or something like that.

Now here in the U.S. it’s spring, which means formal events are coming up, a lot of weddings, Bat and Bar Mitzvahs, all kinds of stuff. It also means that a lot of gentlemen are about to make the critical mistake that you see me making right now.

Let’s imagine that I’m at a formal event, not at work. I probably wouldn’t wear a three piece suit to work, or everybody here would think I was crazy. But what’s going on? What am I missing? What am I doing wrong?

It’s my necktie. Look at this shabby tie. Can you see? There you go. Look this knot is called a four-in-hand knot, and a four-in- hand is a very, very simple to tie, tie. But it is not a formal necktie knot.

Let me show you how a formal necktie knot looks. I’m going to start with a half Windsor, and I do the full Windsor as well. [Cut to new scene.] Here we have the half Windsor. This is what I call the minimum acceptable bar of necktie knot formality for a wedding or another formal occasion.

Now let’s take a look at the full Windsor, which looks even nicer in some ways. [Cut.] Here we have the full Windsor. The full Windsor, as you can see, has this lovely sort of balance to it on both sides. It’s very even. It looks like I’m going to some sort of formal British state affair. English state affair? I don’t know. The Queen will be there. She probably won’t. In any case, what I urge you to do gentlemen is if you’re going to a formal event that demands formal wear, please bring with you a formal knot.


If you’re going to a formal event that demands formal wear,
please bring with you a formal knot.


Now I’d very much like to thank my colleague Wes. Wes is one of our lead engineers on Moz Local, and Wes has done me the kind favor of committing a horrible fashion crime. He’s tucked in his T-shirt. Wes, would you repair that mistake?


Wes
: Sure thing.


Rand
: Oh my gosh, looking so much better. Please gentlemen, don’t tuck. Look, it’s fantastic. It doesn’t need to go in there. You don’t need to show that to people. Thank you, Wes, I appreciate it.


Wes
: Oh, you’re welcome.


Rand
: One of my favorite trends in men’s fashion, by the way, is the return of the bow tie. Now I think it looks ridiculous with 99% of outfits, but with a full suit, a three piece, or a tuxedo, a bow tie can make a great accoutrement, and it’s actually a little more fun to put on and fun to wear. It can make your outfit a little . . . well go better with a mustache anyway.

Don’t cheat by the way. They are challenging to tie, but they’re also a lot of fun. These things with the little clip, I don’t know what this is. This is like the black hat of bow ties. Don’t do it, people.


These things with the little clip … this is like the black hat of bow ties.
Don’t do it, people.


All right, everyone. I have really enjoyed having a little bit of fun, talking some men’s fashion with you guys. I’m sure there are going to be some great comments, and if you have questions about this stuff, I’m happy to answer it. I’m not an expert. This is not my field. I just like to have fun in here, and I really enjoy giving a hard time to the guys in my life who happen to tuck in their shirts or wear clip-on bow ties or mismatch their socks.

So when you see me at a conference, be sure and say hi and give me a hard time about whatever I’m wearing, because I need it and I deserve it. Thanks everyone. We’ll see you again next time. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Why Visitor Analytics Aren’t Enough for Modern Marketers

Posted by randfish

For the first two decades of the web, the vast majority of those performing web marketing tasks used visitor analytics tools (from log files and hit counters all the way up to today’s full-featured visitor analytics tools) to do their jobs. We’d look at how many visits came in, where they were coming from, and what pages they saw, and that was enough.

But, web marketing has evolved. It’s become far more complex and competitive. And in 2013, visitor analytics alone doesn’t cut it.

The key challenges marketers face usually fall into one of three buckets:

  1. Measuring & reporting (and the analysis of those reports)
  2. Uncovering problem issues
  3. Identifying areas of opportunity

If we visualize these challenges, we can see the missing holes compared to the features of visitor analytics software:

(note: this graphic isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list of metrics or of tools, and there’s plenty of overlap, e.g. Moz Analytics and Raven both track visit data, Mixpanel and Kiss Metrics both measure revenue and usage, etc)

It’s been my experience that most of the great web marketing teams have access to several tools that fill in the gaps on both sides of what visitor analytics provide. These marketers analyze how they’re doing in the leading indicator metrics against the competition, and follow that methodology (as far as possible) down to marketing KPIs, and finally business metrics.

Why does this matter so much?

Because a competitive web marketing world means we have less room for failure over a long period of time. If a tactic or channel isn’t succeeding, we have to know whether that’s because it’s a bad channel, or whether we’re just bad at it. Competitive comparisons are critical to getting that analysis right.

If your key competitors are kicking butt on Pinterest, but your CMO doesn’t “believe” in the channel, you need data to make the case. Likewise, if you’re attracting lots of converting visitors through Pinterest, but the lifetime value of those customers is 1/10th that of your email list based on your recitivism and amplification data, you need to know that, too. Google Analytics is great, but it can’t give you the answer to either of those questions, no matter how you customize it.

Obviously, I’m biased. Moz makes marketing software that’s focused on comparing your leading indicator metrics against your competition’s (go read Matt’s Field Guide to Moz Analytics if you’re curious about the details). We have a vested interest in marketers feeling the need for this type of data. But the truth is that we built software to help solve that problem because I/we believe it’s such an important part of the story.

We’re also not the only ones in the field.

Raven Tools provides a lot of this data, too, as do SearchMetrics, WooRank, and others. For individual pieces of this picture, tools like SEMRush, Majestic SEO, Sprout Social, and many more can help. Companies that make analytics software focused on those bottom-of-funnel, lead tracking, and lifetime value/retention-focused metrics are equally essential – KissMetrics, Mixpanel, Intercom.io, Hubspot, etc. There’s a reason so many players are in this field – marketers clearly need the data.

Visitor analytics like Google Analytics, Omniture, and Webtrends aren’t going anywhere. They’re still a huge part of what we need to do in our jobs. But alone, they’re not enough.

We need to see how the competitive landscape is trending, and how our efforts compare. We need to see how channels perform beyond simple conversion and sales tracking. There’s no single piece of software that does all of this in one place, and I strongly doubt there will be. Instead, I believe the future will have marketers on the organic side doing what our brethren in paid channels do – visiting several sources, aggregating information, and making smart decisions based on the nuance their collective brain power can help deduce.

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