Tag Archive | "Webmasters"

Yoast SEO 11.2 lets webmasters tailor their schema output

New filters facilitate adding or removing from the schema graph.



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Google reminds webmasters that widget links are against their webmaster guidelines

Don’t be surprised if a new wave of unnatural link penalties are sent out via the Google Search Console for widget links.

The post Google reminds webmasters that widget links are against their webmaster guidelines appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Google reminds webmasters that widget links are against their webmaster guidelines

Don’t be surprised if a new wave of unnatural link penalties are sent out via the Google Search Console for widget links.

The post Google reminds webmasters that widget links are against their webmaster guidelines appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Why Webmasters Pass Their Margins Onto the Googleplex

In previous articles, we’ve looked at the one-sided deal that has emerged when it comes to search engines and publishers. Whilst there is no question that search engines provide value to end users, it’s clear that the search engines are taking the lionshare of the value when it comes to web publishing.

That isn’t sustainable.

The more value stripped from publishing, the less money will be spent on publishing in future. In this respect, the search engines current business model undermines their own long-term value to end users.

In this ecosystem, the incentive is to publish content that is cheap to produce. Content might also be loss-leader content that serves as a funnel leading to a transaction. Some of the content might be advertorial, the result of direct sponsorship, and may well include paid links. Curiously, it has been suggested by a Google rep that “….you blur the lines between advertising and content. That’s really what we’ve been advocating our advertisers to do”. Some of it might be “the right kind of native“, courtesy of Google Doubleclick. Some of the higher value content tends to be a by-product of the education sector, however the education sector may be the next in line to suffer a commodification of value.

There is little return to be had in producing high value content and making it publicly available for free, with no strings attached, so naturally such content is disappearing behind paywalls and taking other forms.

YouTube

Some YouTube producers are rebelling.

In a recent post, Jason Calacanis outlines the problem for video content producers. He maintains that Google’s cut of the rewards amounts to 45%, and that this cut simply isn’t sustainable for video producers as their margins aren’t that high.

Successful media businesses today have margins in the 20% to 50% range–if they hit profitability. That means if you give a partner 45% off the top, you have no chance of breaking even (emphasis mine). In fact, this absurd revenue is so bad that people have made amazingly clever strategies to skirt them, like VICE producing the Snoop Lion documentary and Grace Helbig becoming the face of Lowe’s Hardware. A full 100% of that money goes to the content creator — boxing out YouTube. More on this later.

Sure, it can *feel* like you’re making money, but when you look across the landscape of YouTube businesses — and I won’t call anyone out here — it’s very, very clear they are losing millions and millions of dollars a year.

YouTube doesn’t have to worry because they simply lop off 45% of the revenue from the top for providing video hosting. Hosting for them is, essentially, free since they have a huge — and growing — network of fiber (see ‘Google’s Fiber Takeover Plan Expands: Will Kill Cable & Carriers’).

Since YouTube doesn’t have to create any content, just aggregate it, they don’t need to worry about the individual profitability of any one brand……With YouTube, as with their AdSense product, Google is trying to insert itself between publishers and advertisers and extract a massive tax. In the case of YouTube, it’s a 45% tax

In a subsequent post, Calacanis laments that whilst a lot of publishers got back to him in support of his views, he received no contact from YouTube, even though he is supposedly a high value “partner”.

And what do YouTube do for this 45% cut? Hosting? They’ve pretty much outsourced support and liability to the MCNs for no money down. I imagine running a video network is pretty expensive, although I wonder about the true costs for Google. Calacanis obviously doesn’t think they’re great enough to justify the cut.

PPC Not Immune

Paid search also extracts a high tax.

Let’s run the numbers. A site has an average order price of $ 100. The site converts at 1% i.e. a site makes a sale to one in every hundred visitors. Sales are $ 1 per visitor. If the total cost of providing the order is $ 50, then the profit is 50 cents per visitor. The site can pay the search engine up to 49 cents per click and make a profit.

Let’s say the site invested heavily in conversion optimization to raise the conversion rate. They redesign their site, they refine their offer to give users exactly what they want, they optimize the sales funnel, and they manage to double their conversion rate to 2%. Now, for every 100 visitors, they make $ 2 per visitor. They can now bid up to $ 1.99 and still make a profit.

Great, right.

But along comes the competition. They also invest heavily in conversion optimization, and copy, and process, and they double their conversion rates, too. These sites must then keep upping their bids to stay on top in the auction process. Who benefits?

The search engine does.

The search engine benefits from this content improvement in the form of higher bid prices. The producer improves the value of their sites to users, but whilst the competition is doing the same thing, the real winner is the search engine.

This is one reason the search engine spokespeople will advise you to focus on delivering value to customers. The more value you create, the more value you’re going to end up passing to a search engine. As publishing becomes easier, the more gets published, yet the amount of attention remains relatively static. The competition increases, and it is likely that those with the deepest pockets eventually win high value and/or mature verticals.

How To Deal With It

Whilst we’re waiting for a new paradigm to come along that swings the pendulum back in favor of publishers – and we may be waiting some time – we need to think about how to extract more value from each visitor. This is not meant as a beat-up on the search engines – I’m glad they exist and enjoy most of what they do – rather this is about trying to get a handle on the ecosystem as it stands and how to thrive in it, rather than be crushed by it. In long tail markets – and web content is a l-o-n-g tail market – most of the value flows to the person organizing the market.

The key to prospering in this environment – if you don’t have the deepest pockets and you don’t organize the market – is to build relationships.

SEO is built largely on the premise that a relationship doesn’t exist between searcher and publisher. If a relationship already existed, the searcher would go direct to the publisher site, or conduct a brand search. I’m sure that’s how most people reading this article arrived on SEOBook.

So, try to make the most of every search visitor by turning them into non-search visitors. The search engine gets to extract a lot of value on first visit, especially if they arrive via PPC, but if you can then establish an on-going relationship with that visitor, then you get to retain value.

1. Encourage Subscriptions

Subscriptions can be in the form of bookmarking, signing up to Twitter, on Facebook, email subscriptions, RSS, and forum subscriptions. Encourage users to find you, in future, via channels over which you have more control. If you’ve buried these subscription calls to action, make them overt.

2. Form Alliances

Share exit traffic with like-minded but non-competitive sites. Swap advertising. Make guest posts and allow others to do likewise. Interview each other. If appropriate, instigate affiliate programs. Invest in and grow your personal networks.

3. Invest In Brand

Define a unique brand. Push your URL and brand everywhere. Take it offline. Even down to the basics like business cards, pens, whatever, emblazoned with your logo and URL. If you don’t have a definitive brand in your space, pivot and build one. Own your brand search, at very least.

4. Widen Distribution Channels

Publish ebooks. Build apps. Publish white papers. Make videos. Think of every medium and channel in which you can replicate your web publishing efforts.

Once you establish a relationship, give people reasons to come back. Think of what you do in terms of a platform, destination or place. How would this change your current approach? Ensure your business is positioned correctly so that people perceive a unique value.

You can then treat search engine traffic as a bonus, as opposed to the be all and end all of your business.

Categories: 

SEO Book

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Why Webmasters Aren’t Replying to Your Outreach

Posted by James Piper

Since launching my personal blog I have been bombarded with guest post requests, with very few of them being worthy of reading, nevermind responding to. Thus, it was literally one in 267 emails that inspired this article about what makes an email that webmasters and bloggers will respond to.

This never ending stream of poorly constructed requests helped highlight what makes an excellent email. We will follow the same process my inbox and brain went through to examine common outreach mistakes and how they can easily be fixed.

I. Terrible Outreach Example

For those curious about what purchasing a “SEO Gold” package gets you, here is an unedited email outreach I recently received –

Hi,

I have attached 2 of my article with this mail. Please review those article if you going to publish those article then please send me the link back url to me.

As a search engine optimization professional, these types of outreach emails make me laugh. As a passionate blogger, these types of emails make me rage for three main reasons:

  1. Nothing personal
  2. Poor English grammar = poorly written article
  3. It is all about me doing work for him… who is he again?

And 24 hours later, before I got time to read the article, here is the mind blowing follow up!

Hi,

What happens anything problem with my article. Please let me know.

I am waiting for your responses.

Real business operations cannot be automated. Hence, packages do not work!

The SEO Gold package, which after researching the company is what this email literally is, is at least persistent at being annoying! This package actually cost someone $ 499… should’ve spent it at the bar.

There was a single link in the article pointing to a Fortune 500 Company… not only should this be an easy client steal, we could all use another Penguin’d website to write an article about!

II. Fair Outreach Example

I recently launched my own website with little to no content, a non-existent link profile, and was still getting 10-14 guest post request per day… imagine the poor Webmaster with a populated blog. Thus, your goal as an Internet Marketing professional is simple – stand out with a personalized outreach message. Something which makes the Webmaster feel like this:

The following is another unedited example:

James,

Great blog. I enjoyed your recent article about business communication on social media platforms. I was hoping I could publish something on your site. I have several ideas I am working –

  1. Strange Marketing Premiums That Work
  2. Marketing: No Single Correct Answer
  3. The Real Purpose Behind An Advertisement

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Thanks,

It isn’t perfect, but the sender did receive their beloved link. Here are the reasons to why I responded to this email:

  • Gave me ideas to choose from
  • Referenced what was in it for me
  • Appropriate email length (which is often overlooked)

Here is how they could guarantee a response the next time:

  • Quickly note how you found me! (Stumbled onto my blog via search?)
  • I am a fan of more enthusiastic people (use an exclamation point, this blog took time)
  • Are you available for questions or talking? Or did I just get a hit and run outreach…

In addition, do not tip toe your way around what you really want. Being direct has its benefits, and it is hard to trust someone online who you’ve never met.

Be genuine. Bloggers smell a fishy outreach a mile away.
(credit: parodyreport.com)

III. Outreaching For Real People

It was 7:30am, and I was doing my usual email/coffee routine, when I stumbled onto this outreach gem. In fact, I ALMOST replied before realizing that the sender was non-other than Distilled’s Rob Toledo.

Yes, it took me eight days to write this :)

Here are the reasons I “insta-replied”:

  • The email is personalized to me, and tailored to my needs
  • It has been made easy for me to take his desired action
  • He did the two things above, without me having to read ten pages of text
  • He introduced himself! Thanks… Next time you meet someone in person for the first time, try not introducing yourself!
  • He is available to discuss the infographic, and he actually replied to my follow up email!

IV. What Good Content & Outreach Gets YOU!

Rob was an excellent source for this article, and also provided information about this specific campaign’s success! Without further ado:

1. How many links from the campaign? Best?

We were in the middle of a Distilled Outreach "Hack Day" where the outreach team locks ourselves in the conference room and puts our full focus on one specific project — I think we ended up with about 25 linking domains that day. These hack days have started to prove themselves to be quite fruitful.

Getting it on Search Engine Journal helped the social aspect out a ton, as it got over 200 tweets from there.

2. The campaign’s response rate?

I think in the 60% range of people approved the post ideas

3. Biggest mistake you are consistently seeing with outreach?

I think the obvious one is just how impersonal some people make the whole outreach process. Spamming hundreds of people might get you 2-3 approvals from sites that might not be worth your time to begin with.

There is so much value in personalizing your efforts; truly getting to know a blogger, what they normally post, what their readers enjoy the most, etc. And besides, if you build up that relationship, and make it mutually beneficial, it can quickly turn into long term value for everyone involved.

4. How to keep email length short?

I know for a fact that so many outreach emails go unread, so keeping that in mind, I never want to overwhelm an editor with a giant block of text. Keeping that in mind, I always adjust my approach based off of the vibe of the blog owner's writing style. If they keep things short and to the point, I would reach out in that way. Conversely, I might write more if the blogger tends to be wordy.

5. Example of an advanced query you would use for finding prospects for this infographic?

For the PPC infographic, I targeted marketing blogs, SEO blogs, etc. I knew the end goal would ultimately be to find sites that have hosted similar content, so searching for things like "PPC infographic" worked pretty well. I almost always try to add phrases like "write for us" and "guest post" to make sure I'm not contacting a blogger who really wants nothing to do with outreach.

I strongly suggest you all follow Rob on Twitter, for great SEO and inbound marketing insights!

 

Thanks Mozzers!

James is an Internet Marketing specialist, who regularly breaks the web and has his colleagues show him how to put it back together. You can find him on Twitter, or visit Vector Media Group, the company that occasionally feeds him.

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Google Instant Answers: Rich Snippets & Poor Webmasters

This is a pretty powerful & instructive image in terms of “where search is headed.”

It’s a Yahoo! Directory page that was ranking in the Google search results on a Google Android mobile device.

Note the following

  • the page is hosted on Google.com
  • the page disclaims that it is not endorsed by Google
  • the page embeds a Google search box
  • the page strips out the Yahoo! Directory search box
  • the page strips out the Yahoo! Directory PPC ads (on the categories which have them)
  • the page strips out the Yahoo! Directory logo

Recall that when Google ran their bogus sting operation on Bing, Google engineers suggest that Bing was below board for using user clickstreams to potentially influence their search results. That level of outrage & the smear PR campaign look ridiculous when compared against Google’s behavior toward the Yahoo! Directory, which is orders of magnitude worse:

 

Bing vs Google Google vs Yahoo! Directory
editorial Uses user-experience across a wide range of search engines to potentially impact a limited number of search queries in a minor way. Shags expensive hand-created editorial content wholesale & hosts it on Google.com.
hosting Bing hosts Bing search results using Bing snippets. Google hosts Yahoo! Directory results using Yahoo! Directory listing content & keeps all the user data.
attribution Bing publicly claimed for years to be using a user-driven search signal based on query streams. Google removes the Yahoo! Directory logo to format the page. Does Google remove the Google logo from Google.com when formatting for mobile? Nope.
ads Bing sells their own ads & is not scraping Google content wholesale. Google scrapes Yahoo! Directory content wholesale & strips out the sidebar CPC ads.
search box Bing puts their own search box on their own website. Google puts their own search box on the content of the Yahoo! Directory.
user behavior Google claimed that Bing was using “their data” when tracking end user behavior. Google hosts the Yahoo! Directory page, allowing themselves to fully track user behavior, while robbing Yahoo! of the opportunity to even see their own data with how users interact with their own listings.

 

In the above case the publisher absorbs 100% of the editorial cost & Google absorbs nearly 100% of the benefit (while disclaiming they do not endorse the page they host, wrap in their own search ad, and track user behavior on).

As we move into a search market where the search engines give you a slightly larger listing for marking up your pages with rich snippets, you will see a short term 10% or 20% lift in traffic followed by a 50% or more decline when Google enters your market with “instant answers.”

The ads remain up top & the organic resultss get pushed down. It isn’t scraping if they get 10 or 20 competitors to do it & then use the aggregate data to launch a competing service … talk to the bankrupt Yellow Pages companies & ask them how Google has helped to build their businesses.

Update: looks like this has been around for a while…though when I spoke to numerous friends nobody had ever seen it before. The only reason I came across it was seeing a referrer through a new page type from Google & not knowing what the heck it was. Clearly this search option doesn’t get much traffic because Google even removes their own ads from their own search results. I am glad to know this isn’t something that is widespread, though still surprised it exists at all given that it effectively removes monetization from the publisher & takes the content wholesale and re-publishes it across domain names.

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SEO Book.com

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