Tag Archive | "things"

The Mindset and Insights that Will Bring You Wonderful Things in 2019

Great to see you again after our Thanksgiving holiday! Our Black Friday promotion was great, and the whole team is…

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5 Things Only Serious Writers Do

Whether you’re a pro content writer, fictionist, screenwriter, academic, poet, stateswoman, or bard-preneur (h/t Sonia Simone), you’ve likely experienced anxiety or elation about any number of the habits we all have in common. Authors of all stripes share a deep connective tissue that compels them to congregate in coffee houses and taverns — across the
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Already doing SEO? Add these two things to optimize for voice search

Not sure how to optimize your webpages for voice search? Contributor Bryson Meunier lists 12 ‘how-to’ tactics and suggests two of them are the real workhorses in driving traffic to your site.

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50 Things You’ll Enjoy Reading over Christmas Break

Today, as the team gets ready to take a few days off for the holiday, we’ve put together a massive buffet of marketing, writing, and strategy advice for you. Monday’s post put the spotlight on our editorial team’s favorite writing, content, and marketing blogs. (As well as one that’s an example of a creator who’s
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10 Things that DO NOT (Directly) Affect Your Google Rankings – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

What do the age of your site, your headline H1/H2 preference, bounce rate, and shared hosting all have in common? You might’ve gotten a hint from the title: not a single one of them directly affects your Google rankings. In this rather comforting Whiteboard Friday, Rand lists out ten factors commonly thought to influence your rankings that Google simply doesn’t care about.

10 Things that do not affect your Google rankings

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to chat about things that do not affect your Google rankings.

So it turns out lots of people have this idea that anything and everything that you do with your website or on the web could have an impact. Well, some things have an indirect impact and maybe even a few of these do. I’ll talk through those. But tons and tons of things that you do don’t directly affect your Google rankings. So I’ll try and walk through some of these that I’ve heard or seen questions about, especially in the recent past.

1. The age of your website.

First one, longstanding debate: the age of your website. Does Google care if you registered your site in 1998 or 2008 or 2016? No, they don’t care at all. They only care the degree to which your content actually helps people and that you have links and authority signals and those kinds of things. Granted, it is true there’s correlation going in this direction. If you started a site in 1998 and it’s still going strong today, chances are good that you’ve built up lots of links and authority and equity and all these kinds of signals that Google does care about.

But maybe you’ve just had a very successful first two years, and you only registered your site in 2015, and you’ve built up all those same signals. Google is actually probably going to reward that site even more, because it’s built up the same authority and influence in a very small period of time versus a much longer one.

2. Whether you do or don’t use Google apps and services.

So people worry that, “Oh, wait a minute. Can’t Google sort of monitor what’s going on with my Google Analytics account and see all my data there and AdSense? What if they can look inside Gmail or Google Docs?”

Google, first off, the engineers who work on these products and the engineers who work on search, most of them would quit right that day if they discovered that Google was peering into your Gmail account to discover that you had been buying shady links or that you didn’t look as authoritative as you really were on the web or these kinds of things. So don’t fear the use of these or the decision not to use them will hurt or harm your rankings in Google web search in any way. It won’t.

3. Likes, shares, plus-ones, tweet counts of your web pages.

So you have a Facebook counter on there, and it shows that you have 17,000 shares on that page. Wow, that’s a lot of shares. Does Google care? No, they don’t care at all. In fact, they’re not even looking at that or using it. But what if it turns out that many of those people who shared it on Facebook also did other activities that resulted in lots of browser activity and search activity, click-through activity, increased branding, lower pogo-sticking rates, brand preference for you in the search results, and links? Well, Google does care about a lot of those things. So indirectly, this can have an impact. Directly, no. Should you buy 10,000 Facebook shares? No, you should not.

4. What about raw bounce rate or time on site?

Well, this is sort of an interesting one. Let’s say you have a time on site of two minutes, and you look at your industry averages, your benchmarks, maybe via Google Analytics if you’ve opted in to sharing there, and you see that your industry benchmarks are actually lower than average. Is that going to hurt you in Google web search? Not necessarily. It could be the case that those visitors are coming from elsewhere. It could be the case that you are actually serving up a faster-loading site and you’re getting people to the information that they need more quickly, and so their time on site is slightly lower or maybe even their bounce rate is higher.

But so long as pogo-sticking type of activity, people bouncing back to the search results and choosing a different result because you didn’t actually answer their query, so long as that remains fine, you’re not in trouble here. So raw bounce rate, raw time on site, I wouldn’t worry too much about that.

5. The tech under your site’s hood.

Are you using certain JavaScript libraries like Node or React, one is Facebook, one is Google. If you use Facebook’s, does Google give you a hard time about it? No. Facebook might, due to patent issues, but anyway we won’t worry about that. .NET or what if you’re coding up things in raw HTML still? Just fine. It doesn’t matter. If Google can crawl each of these URLs and see the unique content on there and the content that Google sees and the content visitors see is the same, they don’t care what’s being used under the hood to deliver that to the browser.

6. Having or not having a knowledge panel on the right-hand side of the search results.

Sometimes you get that knowledge panel, and it shows around the web and some information sometimes from Wikipedia. What about site links, where you search for your brand name and you get branded site links? The first few sets of results are all from your own website, and they’re sort of indented. Does that impact your rankings? No, it does not. It doesn’t impact your rankings for any other search query anyway.

It could be that showing up here and it probably is that showing up here means you’re going to get a lot more of these clicks, a higher share of those clicks, and it’s a good thing. But does this impact your rankings for some other totally unbranded query to your site? No, it doesn’t at all. I wouldn’t stress too much. Over time, sites tend to build up site links and knowledge panels as their brands become bigger and as they become better known and as they get more coverage around the web and online and offline. So this is not something to stress about.

7. What about using shared hosting or some of the inexpensive hosting options out there?

Well, directly, this is not going to affect you unless it hurts load speed or up time. If it doesn’t hurt either of those things and they’re just as good as they were before or as they would be if you were paying more or using solo hosting, you’re just fine. Don’t worry about it.

8. Use of defaults that Google already assumes.

So when Google crawls a site, when they come to a site, if you don’t have a robots.txt file, or you have a robots.txt file but it doesn’t include any exclusions, any disallows, or they reach a page and it has no meta robots tag, they’re just going to assume that they get to crawl everything and that they should follow all the links.

Using things like the meta robots “index, follow” or using, on an individual link, a rel=follow inside the href tag, or in your robots.txt file specifying that Google can crawl everything, doesn’t boost anything. They just assume all those things by default. Using them in these places, saying yes, you can do the default thing, doesn’t give you any special benefit. It doesn’t hurt you, but it gives you no benefit. Google just doesn’t care.

9. Characters that you use as separators in your title element.

So the page title element sits in the header of a document, and it could be something like your brand name and then a separator and some words and phrases after it, or the other way around, words and phrases, separator, the brand name. Does it matter if that separator is the pipe bar or a hyphen or a colon or any other special character that you would like to use? No, Google does not care. You don’t need to worry about it. This is a personal preference issue.

Now, maybe you’ve found that one of these characters has a slightly better click-through rate and preference than another one. If you’ve found that, great. We have not seen one broadly on the web. Some people will say they particularly like the pipe over the hyphen. I don’t think it matters too much. I think it’s up to you.

10. What about using headlines and the H1, H2, H3 tags?

Well, I’ve heard this said: If you put your headline inside an H2 rather than an H1, Google will consider it a little less important. No, that is definitely not true. In fact, I’m not even sure the degree to which Google cares at all whether you use H1s or H2s or H3s, or whether they just look at the content and they say, “Well, this one is big and at the top and bold. That must be the headline, and that’s how we’re going to treat it. This one is lower down and smaller. We’re going to say that’s probably a sub-header.”

Whether you use an H5 or an H2 or an H3, that is your CSS on your site and up to you and your designers. It is still best practices in HTML to make sure that the headline, the biggest one is the H1. I would do that for design purposes and for having nice clean HTML and CSS, but I wouldn’t stress about it from Google’s perspective. If your designers tell you, “Hey, we can’t get that headline in H1. We’ve got to use the H2 because of how our style sheets are formatted.” Fine. No big deal. Don’t stress.

Normally on Whiteboard Friday, we would end right here. But today, I’d like to ask. These 10 are only the tip of the iceberg. So if you have others that you’ve seen people say, “Oh, wait a minute, is this a Google ranking factor?” and you think to yourself, “Ah, jeez, no, that’s not a ranking factor,” go ahead and leave them in the comments. We’d love to see them there and chat through and list all the different non-Google ranking factors.

Thanks, everyone. See you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Doors Are Open for Certification (and Other Fun Things)

Doors Are Open for Certification (and Other Fun Things)

Remember all the conversations we’ve been having about the Certified Content Marketer program?

Well, the doors are open — and they’re going to be closing again on Monday, June 12. If you’d like to be featured on our list of recommended writers (and get our most advanced content strategy course), this is how you do it.

You can sign up (or learn more) at the link below — and of course, our usual no-hassle 30-day money-back guarantee applies if it’s not a perfect fit for you.

Program Details for Copyblogger’s Content Marketer Certification

Note: If you’re a member of our Authority community, make sure you’re signed in when you click the link — as an Authority member, you get special pricing. :-)

On Monday, I shared our June content and productivity prompts. Each month this year, we’re focusing on two prompts as a community, improving our creative output and our ability to get stuff done.

This month we’re practicing outreach (finding new contacts, clients, or customers) and getting the help of an imaginary friend when it’s time to do the hard stuff.

On Tuesday, Stefanie offered three hands-on ways to improve your content at the most fundamental level. Inconceivable.

And on Wednesday, I gave a quick back-of-the-envelope explanation of what the Certification program is and who it’s for. If you’re commitment-phobic, you can read that before you go to the page with all the details.

On Copyblogger FM, I shared Brian Clark’s four-step process for developing a compelling marketing idea. Because inspiration is fantastic … but even the most inspired idea can be shaped into something better.

That’s it for this week — have a great weekend! And remember — if you want to join our list of recommended writers, Certification closes on Monday.

— Sonia Simone

Chief Content Officer, Rainmaker Digital


Catch up on this week’s content


2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The June Prompts2017 Content Excellence Challenge: The June Prompts

by Sonia Simone


how do you determine if you’ve written a strong sentence or a weak sentence?3 Advanced Ways to Craft Better Sentences

by Stefanie Flaxman


Apply to join Copyblogger’s list of recommended writersWriters: Doors Are Open for the Copyblogger Certification Program (through Monday, June 12)

by Sonia Simone


How to Develop a Compelling Marketing Idea in 4 StepsHow to Develop a Compelling Marketing Idea in 4 Steps

by Sonia Simone


How Award-Winning Author & Educator K.M. Weiland Writes: Part TwoHow Award-Winning Author & Educator K.M. Weiland Writes: Part Two

by Kelton Reid


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Surviving the Social Web: 7 Things You Need to Know

"I've been online so long, I can remember when virtual community was going to save the world." – Sonia Simone

Oh, those idealistic good old days. Back when we truly believed that the global digital community would fact-check lies, make us smarter, and force our institutions to serve the greater good.

As the man said, “How’s that working out for us?”

It turns out that the social media utopia, like other utopias, didn’t end up as rosy as we’d hoped — mainly because it’s made of human beings.

But the social web is still an extraordinary tool. The ability to instantly communicate with thousands of people isn’t to be scoffed at — if you can do it without losing your mind.

I’ve been using social media since 1989. The remarkable thing for me isn’t what’s changed … it’s what’s stayed the same. Here are some of my survival tips from decades in the digital realm.

#1: Watch out for the ant-shakers

Remember ant farms? These were glass cases filled with sand or gel, where you could watch ants building tunnels and carrying things back and forth.

In grade school we all had that one mean friend who would shake it hard, just to destroy the tunnels and watch the ants scurrying around trying to fix the mess.

Every one of those ant-shakers got a Facebook account when they grew up.

Some people just crave chaos — and if they can’t find it, they create it. There’s always a storm brewing around them, some bitter flame war that pits half the community against the other half. It doesn’t seem to occur to them that the pain and anger they cause are real emotions attached to real people. Either they can’t see it or they don’t care.

Keep an eye out for the ant-shakers. A lot of them are attracted to the web, and spend a disproportionate amount of time there. They’re at the center of endless dust-ups, and it may take you some time to realize they’re engineering them.

Putting distance between yourself and the ant-shakers — even if (especially if) you’re related — will calm your social media experience down considerably.

#2: Realize that digital privacy is a lie

When we socialize over the web, we tend to reveal a lot. It can feel like a small, intimate space. After all, we’re sitting there on the sofa with our laptops, and we recognize those names that fly by, even if we might never have met them face to face.

Every day, I see people starting a post with something like — “I’ve never told anyone this before, not even my family” — and they’re sharing in a Facebook group with four million members.

Digital privacy depends on the goodwill of every person who has access to the material. Anyone can screenshot anything. Once they have, you have very little control over what they do with it.

In the real world, that means that digital privacy is a complete illusion.

If you aren’t willing to make it public, don’t share it on the web. Not in a private group, not on Snapchat, not in email.

Rather than trying to make these decisions on the fly, decide in advance what kinds of material you will — and won’t — share. There’s no one set of rules that will suit everyone — it’s really about your own comfort zone.

But it may clarify your thinking to ask yourself how you’ll feel if your mom, your boss, and a professional identity thief can see a particular type of content you’re sharing. Because chances are, eventually, all three of them will.

#3: If you’re in business, act like it

You may not feel particularly social about social media … maybe you’re there to promote a business or product.

Nothing wrong with that, if you handle it well.

A stream of pitches gets obnoxious fast. Trust me, your friends don’t want to buy your essential oils, nutrition shakes, skincare, or whatever the latest thing is. And they desperately wish you would stop trying to push it onto them.

Quit trying to spam your friends (it isn’t working), and start acting like a business.

Get a business account or page. Be clear about your purpose there — to sell something you believe is valuable. Educate yourself about real marketing — the kind that reaches people you didn’t go to high school with. (We have free resources to help with that.)

Promote content at least 10 times as often as you promote a product. “Content” is the stuff that most people are on the social web to look at and share — useful and interesting images, videos, articles, and audio.

Social media is an amazing way to get business-oriented content shared — either for free or for a very moderate cost. You can focus on organic reach, paid advertising, or a mix, depending on the platform and your resources.

#4: Seek (and create) smaller communities

Remember that four-million strong group I mentioned on Facebook? It’s got great energy … and it’s almost completely unmanageable.

The large common spaces on the web can be fascinating, but they’re also exhausting. For a greater sense of community, more useable information, and better connections, look for smaller groups.

Groups that are too small will run out of steam — there’s definitely a point of critical mass. But smallish online groups can be nurturing, delightful little communities.

If there isn’t a group like that in your topic — maybe you’re the right person to start one. It will be a lot of work (and you’ll probably have to manage a few ant-shakers), but it can also be wonderfully rewarding.

#5: Manage your time

Here’s the great, big, gigantic problem with social media — it will eat every minute of your life if you let it.

There’s always another great conversation. And there’s always another opportunity to explain to someone how wrong they are.

I’ve taken a tip from Cal Newport and I schedule my social media time. And because I have no self-control (and I prefer to use what I do have on other things), I use an app to manage that.

There are quite a few of these out there that will block certain sites at certain times, so you can be a productive member of human society. I’m partial to Freedom — it’s a paid app, but it has a flexibility I find highly useful.

#6: Mind your manners

This seems like it would be obvious, but we all blow it from time to time.

Be a kind, respectful, and polite person when you’re online. (Offline would be great too, of course.)

Don’t say ugly things you don’t mean. Don’t say ugly things you do mean.

Your extensive collection of racist knock-knock jokes isn’t funny. Never was, isn’t now.

Condescension and the attitude that you are entitled to other people’s time are as unpopular on the web as they are in real life.

Good manners are free, and they can open amazing doors … especially as they become rarer.

#7: Know when you need to back away

I’ve been online so long, I can remember when virtual community was going to save the world.

Now we know better. Over the years, I’ve realized that no one has to be on social media. Even social media managers could presumably find a different way to make a living. If it’s diminishing your life, you can change how you use it. You can also decide to go without it.

Sometimes I need to implement what I call the FFS rule. When I find myself muttering, “Oh FFS” (Google it if you need to), it’s time to log off.

People are irritating, and some of them are mean. Those people consistently get meaner and more irritating on the web.

Block and report trolls. Remember that you don’t have to reply to everything.

Dan Kennedy, of all people, had some rather good advice about this years ago. He wasn’t talking about social media, but he could have been.

“If I wake up three mornings thinking about you, and I’m not having sex with you, you’ve got to go.”

Pretty savvy social media advice from a guy who refuses to use email. Because it turns out, what tends to work well in social media … is what works well in real life.

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Thirteen things marketers want to know about expanded text ads, direct from Google

AdWords released expanded text ads in late July. Columnist and Googler Matt Lawson answers some FAQs about what you should consider as you expand your own ads.

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Rainmaker Rewind: Things I Love/Things I Hate #3, Nerdy Nummies and Crummy Content

Rainmaker FM rewind

This week’s edition of Rewind (and from now on, for that matter) is going to look a little different.

I love sharing my favorite episode of the week with you so that won’t be changing, but there are so many other great things happening on the interwebz related to digital business that you shouldn’t miss.

Moving forward, I’ll pick my favorite Rainmaker FM episode and Copyblogger post of the week along with a few other articles, podcasts, or videos that I think you’ll enjoy.

Simply put, 10 interesting and useful links you can use every Saturday.

Without further ado …

pink-060-1

  1. On this week’s Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer, Sonia explores the importance of diversifying your content strategy: Things I Love/Things I Hate #3: Nerdy Nummies and Crummy Content
  2. Pamela Wilson covers what writing well really looks like in this week’s Copyblogger post: Why Learning to Write Is the Toughest and Best Thing You’ll Do
  3. Marketers are creative types. Or maybe they’re analytical. Which is it? This feature from Forbes addresses those questions and the future of marketing: Right Brain/Left Brain: Which Will Define The Future Of Marketing?
  4. As the business world shifts its focus from engineering and business to design and user experience, do your designers have what it takes to lead? 6 Traits Of Great Design Leaders
  5. How many times per day do you check Facebook? The New York Times explains just how much money you’re making the social network: How You’re Making Facebook a Money Machine
  6. Edited video just isn’t cutting it anymore. Here’s why so many brands are moving to live streaming: Why Everyone From Jose Cuervo to BuzzFeed Is Jumping Into Livestreaming
  7. Replying to your boss’s email after hours might seem like no big deal, but it’s a bad habit with potentially outsize consequences: This Minor Work Habit Is Burning You Out For No Good Reason
  8. Harvard Business Review explores how mindfulness can help organizations — not just individual leaders — behave more intentionally: Mindfulness Can Improve Strategy, Too
  9. One of the most envied perks of freelancing is that many freelancers set their own hours. Social Media Week explores why traditional office hours are a thing of the past: The Future Of Freelancing: Why Millennials Are Abandoning The 9-To-5
  10. Depending on whom you ask, Facebook is either the savior or destroyer of journalism in our time: Want to Know What Facebook Really Thinks of Journalists? Here’s What Happened When It Hired Some

And one more thing …

If you want to get my Rainmaker Rewind picks of the week sent straight to your favorite podcast player, subscribe right here on Rainmaker FM.

See you next week.

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Rainmaker Rewind: New Mini-Series: Things I Love/Things I Hate

Rainmaker Rewind

I’ve got a good one for you this week.

Sonia Simone, host of Confessions of a Pink-haired Marketer, launched her new mini-series: Things I Love / Things I Hate, and the first episode can’t be missed.

The new mini-series explores things she thinks are awesome and … all the other stuff ”</p

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