Tag Archive | "Time"

How to Stop Wishing You Had More Time to Write

“If only I had all the time in the world, my blog would be perfect.” That thought has probably crossed your mind more than once. I know it’s crossed mine. I find myself lost in daydreams about how amazing my motorcycle blog could be — if only I had more time. When writerly productivity is
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Link Strategies that Stand the Test of Time: A Tribute to Eric Ward (Link Moses) – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

This week, we pay a special tribute to the late SEO pioneer Eric Ward. His link strategies formed the foundation of many of today’s smartest approaches to links, and in this Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers several that are as relevant today as they were when Eric first started talking about them.

Link strategies that stand the test of time

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to a special edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are paying an honorary tribute to our friend, lost but not forgotten, Eric Ward.

Eric was one of the pioneers of the SEO industry. In fact, he was a link strategist and a creator of links for websites before search engines even valued links on the internet. He was the very first link marketer that Amazon.com hired. He had a testimonial from Jeff Bezos on his website, from Google’s Matt Cutts from many years ago, and worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of organizations to improve their link strategies.

Beyond that, Eric was a remarkable contributor to the field of SEO through conferences and events, through webinars, through his blog and his Twitter account, and through countless conversations with SEOs like me. In fact, Eric was one of the first people who helped me to understand how link strategy worked, and I have many, many fond memories of him.

I’d also like to say that Eric and I had a number of phone calls and emails over the years about mental and emotional health. I know that’s something that both of us have struggled with. I know that it’s something that many of us in the entrepreneurial and technology worlds struggle with, and it’s an issue that deserves more openness and more attention. I hope that we can do that and that I can do that here at Moz.

But, of course, this is Whiteboard Friday, and since we’re honoring Eric, what I want to help today with is talking about some of his link strategies that stand the test of time. These are high level concepts, which we often dig into the very weeds and the details here on Whiteboard Friday, but I think it pays to pull back a little and think about links from a big-picture perspective.

For those of you who are active link builders and link strategists, much of this might be familiar. But I bet for your clients, for your teams, for your bosses, for the people that you work with, this sort of strategic level thinking sometimes goes ignored, and it means that you don’t always get the credit that you should. So let’s take some of the lessons. These are just a tiny handful of the plethora of value that Eric has provided over the decades that he had been in our field.

1. People and organizations link because:

First off, Eric liked to talk about why people and organizations link, and I think there’s actually some excellent tactical and strategic thinking in here.

A. Content is deserving of their recognition

First off, he talked about how the content that they would link to is actually deserving of their recognition, which I think makes intuitive sense, but is something that is often not considered in a link building list. When we create our lists, we sometimes ignore that.


B. They have a non-financial incentive to link

Which makes sense. If you’re trying to get someone to link, they need to have a reason, an emotional reason, a business-driven reason, a partnership-driven reason. If it’s financial, of course, the search engines will penalize it or eventually penalize it.

C. The right person made them aware that the citation should exist

This was the form of work that Eric concentrated on particularly early in his career, when he was a very tactical link strategist, and I think it makes great sense, but is so often ignored, that we don’t find the right people in our organizations to make that connection, that we don’t actually make the organizations that should link to us aware of why a link should happen and where it should exist, and that this work, while very manual, is also very powerful. It can drive direct traffic, and of course it drive rankings in search engines.

D.The content actually matters to their audience

That whoever you’re reaching out to, this reason, this incentive needs to connect with their audience. Otherwise, Google is unlikely to count that link, and visitors are unlikely to click on that link. I actually think personally that the two might be related, that there’s some form of browser level data, user and usage level data that Google is using here.

E. That content is new (or recently updated)

I found this fascinating that Eric pointed out that it is vastly easier, vastly easier to get content to earn links from its audience, from a target if it is new or recently updated. It’s much more challenging to do that with older content, which is one of the reasons why a lot of the strategies or a lot of the tactical elements that he proposed, when working with his clients, centered around: How are we going update, redo, or make something new that is going to cause all of these things to be true?
I think if you can check off these five, you have got a great set to be able to go out and pitch people on why those links should exist.

A quote from Eric: “Identify and contact venues that would be inclined to care about the new content enough to write about it and/or to link to it.” I think that really is PR. That’s public relations, just in a digital marketing capacity and really a huge part of what successful outreach looks like.

2. Great execution is a result of strategy and planning

Next up, great execution is a result of strategy and planning. I know. Who knew? What’s true in every other part of the business world and every other part of the world of things that get accomplished is also true in link building? Yes, it is.

A. Strategy flows from understanding your topic and online space

Eric liked to say that strategy flows from a deep understanding of the topic and the space, which is why a lot of these services that you might find online, that are very inexpensive or very scalable, don’t work very well in links, because they don’t have that deep topic and deep space understanding. When you have a deep understanding of the topic and the space, you can better target your link earning abilities.

B. A blueprint of how to earn links from various types of targets dramatically increases the odds of success.

So two interesting things in here. If you have a blueprint, that means you have a structure for how you’re going to target and how you’re going to outreach. If you consider various types of targets, and Eric mentions a number of these on his website. I’m planning to link to link to a bunch of resources in this Whiteboard Friday from Eric around this. If you choose those various types of targets, you will over time discover which ones are consistently high performing for you and have the best opportunity to earn you the links that will make a difference in your campaigns.

Eric would say what we do, and he’s using “we” here to refer to link strategists rather than just link builders, “What we do is to help content find the audience it was intended for and the audience find the content.” I love that. It has a beautiful simplicity to it, but also a deep strategy that unfortunately a lot of link building campaigns don’t pay attention to.

3. Short-term thinking leads to devaluation, penalties, and poor results

Eric was extremely passionate, if you ever spent time with him or listened to one of his webinars or interviews, he was very passionate about this idea that…

A. Links that would exist, even if Google and Bing did not, are almost always the ones that provide the most value. That’s both in traffic and in rankings.

Eric had this wonderful nomenclature. He was known as Link Moses, and Link Moses had these commandments about link building. He said, “The link schemer may eat today, but the link earner eateth from a bountiful table for a lifetime.” I think that’s a beautiful sentiment.

Folks, if Eric has provided you with value, and I can assure you that if you are in the link world, almost all of us, who have anything worthwhile to share, have earned our ideas from people who have learned from Eric or from Eric himself. His family is grieving, and it would be wonderful if we could help show them support. Geraldine and I, my wife and I have done so, and I’d encourage you to do so as well.

Danny Sullivan, who’s now with Google, but of course who was behind Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Strategies and then Third Door Media, has set up a donation page that will go directly to his family at bit.ly/ericward2017. I think it would be wonderful if the Moz community and all of us who have benefitted so much from Eric’s help over the years paid him that respect.
Thanks very much.

Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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The Showrunner Podcasting Course Is Open (For a Limited Time)

Yes, the course is open (temporarily). Yes, I want you to join our community. Yes, podcasting is an excellent marketing channel. But first, we need to answer the question burning inside your brain … Who is The Showrunner Podcasting Course for? Now, I’m going to be one of those guys and answer your question with
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Digital Commerce Academy Is Open Again (For a Limited Time)

Editor’s note 9/6/17: Digital Commerce Academy is now closed to new students. If you’re interested in learning the strategies and tactics for building a successful digital business, join the waitlist today. Can I really earn a living with digital products and services? The answer is yes, you can. And you can enjoy the personal and
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Content marketing & SEO: The scalable way to be in the right place at the right time

Digital marketers agree about the importance of SEO and content marketing, but contributor Marcus Miller says they’re too often kept in completely separate silos. Here’s how to bring them together.

The post Content marketing & SEO: The scalable way to be in the right place at the right time…



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Where to Begin When It’s Time to Edit Your Content

As I’ve said before, overcoming perfectionism is not an excuse to publish sloppy or uninspired writing. Content that works for your business is not only clear, accurate, and educational, it also gives insight into your values. And if it doesn’t contain aspects that make it memorable, it’s not going to work. Of course, memorable content
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It’s time to embrace new strategies for apparel: Broadening tactics through user intent

Clothing retailers, listen up! Columnist Thomas Stern explains why apparel brands must evolve their strategies and measurement beyond just conversions.

The post It’s time to embrace new strategies for apparel: Broadening tactics through user intent appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Build a Better WordPress Website … One Week at a Time

"It can be scary to put your story out there on the web. It’s also empowering." – Jerod Morris

What is the key to building a better website?

Well, you first need an idea. And it needs to be useful.

Next, you need to start with the right stuff, the right raw materials. You clicked on the headline of this post, so perhaps you’re already using WordPress or strongly considering it. Good choice. Continue down that path.

After that, you have to be willing to hit Publish. Whether you’re starting your own food blog, marketing your copywriting business, or building an audience for your coaching services … you have to put your story out there on the web for all to see. That can be scary. It’s also empowering.

What comes next?

Find a path for continuous improvement

A few years ago, I wrote an article on Copyblogger titled How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Writer. A book I had just read called One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer inspired that post.

The book takes its cue from the Japanese concept of kaizen, which means continuous improvement — or, to be more specific, the process of achieving sustained success through small, steady steps.

This concept spoke to me then. It continues to speak to me now.

It’s so easy, especially in today’s environment of ubiquitous distraction, to get lost in big ideas and forget about the inevitable series of small steps it takes to achieve them.

I am easily prone to this. I’ve learned this about myself. I have to be intentional about pulling myself down out of the clouds so that I can actually plant my feet firmly on the ground and put one foot in front of the other … then the other … then the other.

Steps.

One at a time.

That is the only way to achieve continuous improvement — the only way to take a big, grand idea and bring it to fruition.

Now, with that as our foundation, let’s talk about your website …

The four pillars of a successful WordPress website

Building a powerful website that does everything a website should do — help you earn authority, build an audience, and drive business — is a big task.

There is a lot that goes into a successful WordPress website.

Some of the choices you have to make are big decisions, like where to host your site and what theme to use.

Other choices are smaller, more subtle, like what color to use for your call-to-action buttons and whether you should use “How to …” in two consecutive blog post headlines or change one for the sake of variety.

All of your decisions, big and small, can be categorized in one of the following four buckets:

  • Content
  • Design
  • Technology
  • Strategy

They are the four pillars of a successful WordPress website.

If your website lacks any one of these elements, it might be okay, but it’s probably not optimized to help you achieve your goals. You could also be wasting time, effort, and money.

Think about it this way:

If you have useful content, a good design, and a strong technology foundation, but no strategy … your website’s “success” might actually be misaligned with your business goals. You’re not maximizing your efforts.

And if your website lacks two of these elements, it might fail altogether.

Consider a website with useful content that adheres to a smart, cohesive strategy. That’s a good start. But if the design is ill-fitting, and if the technology is lacking (think: poor hosting and security warnings), then visitors are unlikely to stay long … if they ever reach your site at all.

The rub in this example, of course, is that you can’t really have a smart, cohesive strategy with design and technology lagging far behind. And given how intertwined content and design are, content with poor design won’t be nearly as useful as it could be.

Point being: they all fit together.

Now let’s marry together the two big ideas we’ve explored so far in this post …

How to apply kaizen to the four pillars of your website’s success

You can’t build a successful website with one inspired 48-hour work binge over a weekend.

You can’t even do it by taking an entire month, or even three or four, to focus on nothing but your website. Not if you want your success to sustain beyond those three or four months.

Sure, through evergreen content, autoresponders, and the power of digital products, you can (and should) do a lot to earn ongoing, recurring, some might say “passive” revenue … but you’ll also experience diminishing returns if you aren’t:

  • Marketing your ideas
  • Tweaking or reworking your design to keep it fresh
  • Updating WordPress and plugins to keep them secure
  • Staying vigilant about your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

In other words, you can’t just set-and-forget your content, design, technology, and strategy.

You develop, build, and launch your website in incremental steps … and then you continue taking incremental steps to avoid stagnation and drive your site toward continuous improvement.

If that sounds like a lot of time and effort, good. Because it is.

But it’s worth it.

If you are intentional about avoiding the myopia that so many people approach online business with, then the time and effort, along with the money, that you invest into your website will not be an expense. It will be an investment. And the investment will pay off.

That said, it’s still smart to save yourself little bits of time and effort where you can. ”</p

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Memorial Day: A Time to Reflect and Remember

american flag art by hugh macleod

The last Monday in May is Memorial Day in the United States — a day to remember the men and women who have died in military service.

It’s our tradition at Copyblogger to take today off, to honor those sacrifices and to take time for family, community, and gratitude.

We’ll have a full calendar of content for you this week … we look forward to reconnecting tomorrow!

Image courtesy Hugh MacLeod.

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How Small Digital Publishers Can Grow Their Network and Save Time

Posted by lydiagilbertson

Being a small or startup publishing company is hard. The digital advertising industry is broken. Larger companies like Vox and Buzzfeed are some of the only online publications that can hope to monetize their content effectively. Smaller niche publications often have an even harder time attracting return visitors or getting people outside of their current active users to see their content at all. Already at a disadvantage, most small publications are also understaffed and underfunded. These publications can use content marketing and search marketing concepts within their online distribution strategy to better reach their audiences and to compete with bigger publications.

Platforms as distributors

Somehow, platforms have long been both the saviors and the destroyers of the digital publishing industry. Regardless, they’ve become a necessary evil for the content distribution strategy of almost all online publishing companies. There’s no real harm in trying out different ways to reach your audience, but don’t waste your time on a platform that isn’t growing your audience or enhancing its engagement. The usual contenders being Facebook and Twitter, there are a few more platforms that can be easily utilized towards helping you to reach your audience.

1. AMP

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project is a complex attempt by Google to make pages load faster on mobile devices, keep users on their platform, and to better engage with the publishing community. Many larger sites report a lot of success using AMP. Smaller publishers may be wary of trying out AMP on their sites, out of fear that it will further overwork their staff or that it requires an intense amount of web development knowledge. However, Google AMP is fairly simple to implement (more on how further down the page) if you’re using WordPress or another common content management system.

Companies using WordPress will have an especially easy time adding AMP to the list of ways they distribute their content. Both WordPress and Yoast have plugins available to put (and manage) your content into the AMP format. Medium is also in the process of allowing its users an easy way to designate AMP content. Here are a few things to keep in mind before publishing your content via AMP:

  1. Make sure it’s in article format. AMP is meant for blog posts and news articles, so don’t try to publish products or landing pages using Google AMP.
  2. Be conscious of the audience you’re publishing for when using AMP. Articles that appear in the Google AMP carousel in the SERP are usually topical and considered “news.”
  3. If your site is struggling with speed issues, AMP could be a part (but not all) of the solution, as it will help your articles load more quickly on mobile devices.
  4. If your site doesn’t use WordPress, implementing AMP might be a little bit harder than just downloading a plugin for your CMS. Find more out about that process here.
  5. Analytics tracking should be included in your overall traffic and segmented to show how much traffic comes from AMP. Find out more about AMP and Google Analytics here.

2. Medium

Medium is another platform that can help more users to see your content and stay on the page long enough to read it. Like any platform, hosting your entire site on Medium comes with the risk of giving your content to another entity rather than your own website. This is a concern because hosting all of your content somewhere like Medium means it could make changes to the platform that you may not like, or in severe situations shut down entirely (and take your content with it). It also has limited capabilities with on-page ads. However, there are some larger publishers that have been adopting Medium as their main source of content distribution. There are several benefits to doing this:

  1. Medium has a built-in audience of millions of engaged readers.
  2. Most of the content on Medium is high quality.
  3. Migrating your entire site to the Medium platform is actually relatively easy for both WordPress and non-WordPress sites. Be sure to keep in mind that hosting all of your content on a platform can be risky.

Another way to utilize Medium’s built-in audience is to republish your content onto the platform. Medium allows for its users to write content on their platform and then canonicalize to their own website (that’s not on Medium). This allows small publishers to pick which content goes on Medium (much like a social media platform) in order to make sure it’s targeted to Medium’s user-base.

3. Google News

Google News is a section of the search engine results page that focuses entirely on timely news content. In order for many websites to be featured in this specialized SERP, they have to go through the application process and get accepted into the Google News program. After acceptance, the site has to follow and keep a specific set of meta tags up-to-date, only posting timely content designated for the platform. Find out more about how to get accepted into Google News here.

Utilize content marketing tools

Outside of monetization, the number-one hurdle that most small publishing companies face is being understaffed and overworked. One way to remedy this is using tools that help diminish the workload involved in managing content-heavy sites. Here are a list of tools that can help small publishers cut down on their tasks:

1. CoSchedule

CoSchedule is editorial calendar software that minimizes time spent keeping track of all of the posts you want/need to do on any given day. It’s designed for both small and enterprise companies, but is better suited for smaller ones due to its all-in-one approach. CoSchedule allows you to plan your posts in advance and set a time for when to post them on social media platforms, all in a single tool.

2. BuzzSumo

Ideating different pieces of content for your site takes a significant amount of time. Utilizing a tool like BuzzSumo could help you to come up with a ton of different article concepts based on what’s trending on different social media platforms.

3. Canva

Having a small team usually means that your graphic designer is extremely busy (or nonexistent). Making quick graphics and supplementary images for your posts can totally be done utilizing Canva, without bogging down your graphics team with more work than it can handle (plus, there’s a free version).

Focus on your niche

Find your niche and build your audience. Obviously, this is easier said than done. But, it’s extremely important as a small publisher to be filling a void or taking a different perspective in the already overflowing content funnel of the Internet. Find your unique voice and the people that want to hear it. Sticking to your publication’s brand or niche will in turn build you a specialized audience. This allows prospective advertisers to better target and then convert using your content.

Don’t always focus on quantity, but quality

Similar to the last point, in addition to not overstretching your genre, don’t overstretch your posting frequency. Rather than posting more times per day just to meet an imaginary quota, it’s better to create fewer posts of higher quality. Moz did a publishing experiment that illustrates the complexity of publishing frequency and content quality. Pay more attention to what your users want rather than what you assume Google does.

Summary

Being a small publishing company is hard. Most small publications find themselves understaffed and overworked trying to catch up with much larger companies.The best way to try to compete with larger publishing companies is to keep your focus small and to use external applications. They’ll help you save time and make creating easier. Utilize all of the platforms that work for your audience — not just all of the platforms available.

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