Tag Archive | "work"

Why Informative Content Will Make You Think Content Marketing Doesn’t Work

You might want to take an extra sip of coffee before you read the next paragraph … We’re going to start with a brief geometry lesson today, but I promise it will be gentle.

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Get More Traffic, More Confidence, and More Work Done

Good to see you again! With the Monday Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, this was a short week on Copyblogger. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid kicked things off with a thoughtful look at impostor syndrome — with clues on how to approach it from different sources, including the famous Turing Test. And on Wednesday, I talked
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How Does Mobile-First Indexing Work, and How Does It Impact SEO?

Posted by bridget.randolph

We’ve been hearing a lot about mobile-first indexing lately, as the latest development in Google’s ever-continuing efforts to make the web more mobile-friendly and reflect user behavior trends.

But there’s also a lot of confusion around what this means for the average business owner. Do you have to change anything? Everything? If your site is mobile-friendly, will that be good enough?


In this post I’ll go over the basics of what “mobile-first indexing” means, and what you may need to do about it. I’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about mobile-first indexing and what it means for our SEO efforts.

What is “mobile-first indexing”?

Mobile-first indexing is exactly what it sounds like. It just means that the mobile version of your website becomes the starting point for what Google includes in their index, and the baseline for how they determine rankings. If you monitor crawlbot traffic to your site, you may see an increase in traffic from Smartphone Googlebot, and the cached versions of pages will usually be the mobile version of the page.

It’s called “mobile-first” because it’s not a mobile-only index: for instance, if a site doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site can still be included in the index. But the lack of a mobile-friendly experience could impact negatively on the rankings of that site, and a site with a better mobile experience would potentially receive a rankings boost even for searchers on a desktop.

You may also want to think of the phrase “mobile-first” as a reference to the fact that the mobile version will be considered the primary version of your website. So if your mobile and desktop versions are equivalent — for instance if you’ve optimized your content for mobile, and/or if you use responsive design — this change should (in theory) not have any significant impact in terms of your site’s performance in search results.

However it does represent a fundamental reversal in the way Google is thinking about your website content and how to prioritize crawling and indexation. Remember that up until now the desktop site was considered the primary version (similar to a canonical URL) and the mobile site was treated as an “alternate” version for a particular use case. This is why Google encouraged webmasters with a separate mobile site (m.domain.com) to implement switchboard tags (which indicated the existence of a mobile URL version with a special rel=alternate tag). Google might not even make the effort to crawl and cache the mobile versions of all of these pages, as they could simply display that mobile URL to mobile searchers.

This view of the desktop version as the primary one often meant in practice that the desktop site would be prioritized by SEOs and marketing teams and was treated as the most comprehensive version of a website, with full content, structured data markup, hreflang (international tags), the majority of backlinks, etc.; while the mobile version might have lighter content, and/or not include the same level of markup and structure, and almost certainly would not receive the bulk of backlinks and external attention.

What should I do about mobile-first indexing?

The first thing to know is that there’s no need to panic. So far this change is only in the very earliest stages of testing, and is being rolled out very gradually only to websites which Google considers to be “ready” enough for this change to have a minimal impact.

According to Google’s own latest guidance on the topic, if your website is responsive or otherwise identical in its desktop and mobile versions, you may not have to do anything differently (assuming you’re happy with your current rankings!).

That said, even with a totally responsive site, you’ll want to ensure that mobile page speed and load time are prioritized and that images and other (potentially) dynamic elements are optimized correctly for the mobile experience. Note that with mobile-first indexing, content which is collapsed or hidden in tabs, etc. due to space limitations will not be treated differently than visible content (as it may have been previously), since this type of screen real estate management is actually a mobile best practice.

If you have a separate mobile site, you’ll want to check the following:

  • Content: make sure your mobile version has all the high-quality, valuable content that exists on your desktop site. This could include text, videos and images. Make sure the formats used on the mobile version are crawlable and indexable (including alt-attributes for images).
  • Structured data: you should include the same structured data markup on both the mobile and desktop versions of the site. URLs shown within structured data on mobile pages should be the mobile version of the URL. Avoid adding unnecessary structured data if it isn’t relevant to the specific content of a page.
  • Metadata: ensure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent on both versions of all pages.
    • Note that the official guidance says “equivalent” rather than “identical” – you may still want to optimize your mobile titles for shorter character counts, but make sure the same information and relevant keywords are included.
  • Hreflang: if you use rel=hreflang for internationalization, your mobile URLs’ hreflang annotations should point to the mobile version of your country or language variants, and desktop URLs should point to the desktop versions.
  • Social metadata: OpenGraph tags, Twitter cards and other social metadata should be included on the mobile version as well as the desktop version.
  • XML and media sitemaps: ensure that any links to sitemaps are accessible from the mobile version of the site. This also applies to robots directives (robots.txt and on-page meta-robots tags) and potentially even trust signals, like links to your privacy policy page.
  • Search Console verification: if you have only verified your desktop site in Google Search Console, make sure you also add and verify the mobile version.
  • App indexation: if you have app indexation set up for your desktop site, you may want to ensure that you have verified the mobile version of the site in relation to app association files, etc.
  • Server capacity: Make sure that your host servers can handle increased crawl rate.
    • (This only applies for sites with their mobile version on a separate host, such as m.domain.com.)
  • Switchboard tags: if you currently have mobile switchboard tags implemented, you do not need to change this implementation. These should remain as they are.

Common questions about mobile-first indexing

Is mobile-first indexing adding mobile pages to a separate mobile index?

With mobile-first indexing, there is only one index (the same one Google uses now). The change to mobile-first indexing does not generate a new “mobile-first” index, nor is it creating a separate “mobile index” with a “desktop index” remaining active. Instead, it simply changes how content is added to the existing index.

Is the mobile-first index live and affecting my site now? If not, when does it go live?

Google has been experimenting with this approach to indexing on a small number of sites, which were selected based on perceived “readiness”. A wider rollout is likely going to take a long time and in June 2017, Gary Illyes stated that it will probably take a few years before “we reach an index that is only mobile-first.”

Google has also stated the following on the Webmasters Blog, in a blog post dated Dec 18 2017:

“We will be evaluating sites independently on their readiness for mobile-first indexing based on the above criteria and transitioning them when ready. This process has already started for a handful of sites and is closely being monitored by the search team.

“We continue to be cautious with rolling out mobile-first indexing. We believe taking this slowly will help webmasters get their sites ready for mobile users, and because of that, we currently don’t have a timeline for when it’s going to be completed.”

Will Google only use my mobile site to determine my rankings?

Mobile-first means that the mobile version will be considered the primary version when it comes to how rankings are determined. However, there may be circumstances where the desktop version could be taken into consideration (for instance, if you don’t have a mobile version of a page).

That being said, you will potentially still see varying ranking results between mobile search results and desktop search results, so you’ll still want to track both. (In the same way that now, Google primarily uses the desktop site to determine rankings but you still want to track mobile rankings as these vary from desktop rankings based on user behavior and other factors).

When might Google use the desktop site to determine rankings vs. the mobile site?

The primary use case I’ve seen referred to so far is that they will use the desktop site to determine rankings when there is no mobile version.

It is possible that for websites where the desktop version has additional ranking information (such as backlinks), that information could also be taken into consideration – but there is no guarantee that they will crawl or index the desktop version once they’ve seen the mobile version, and I haven’t seen any official statements that this would be the case.

Therefore one of the official recommendations is that once the mobile-first indexing rollout happens, if you’re in the process of building your mobile site or have a “placeholder” type mobile version currently live it would actually be better to have no mobile site than a broken or incomplete one. In this case, you should wait to launch your mobile site until it is fully ready.

What if I don’t have a mobile version of my site?

If you don’t have a mobile version of your site and your desktop version is not mobile-friendly, your content can still be indexed; however you may not rank as well in comparison to mobile-friendly websites. This may even negatively impact your overall rankings on desktop search as well as mobile search results because it will be perceived as having a poorer user experience than other sites (since the crawler will be a “mobile” crawler).

What could happen to sites with a large desktop site and a small mobile site? Will content on your desktop site that does not appear on the mobile version be indexed and appear for desktop searches?

The end goal for this rollout is that the index will be based predominantly on crawling mobile content. If you have a heavily indexed desktop version, they’re not going to suddenly purge your desktop content from the existing index and start fresh with just your thin mobile site indexed; but the more you can ensure that your mobile version contains all relevant and valuable content, the more likely it is to continue to rank well, particularly as they cut back on crawling desktop versions of websites.

How does this change ranking factors and strategy going forward?

This may impact a variety of ranking factors and strategy in the future; Cindy Krum at Mobile Moxie has written two excellent articles on what could be coming in the future around this topic.

Cindy talks about the idea that mobile-first indexing may be “an indication that Google is becoming less dependent on traditional links and HTML URLS for ranking.” It seems that Google is moving away from needing to rely so much on a “URL” system of organizing content, in favor of a more API type approach based on “entities” (thanks, structured data!) rather than URL style links. Check out Cindy’s posts for more explanation of how this could impact the future of search and SEO.

Is there a difference between how responsive sites and separate mobile sites will be treated?

Yes and no. The main difference will be in terms of how much work you have to do to get ready for this change.

If you have a fully responsive site, you should already have everything present on your mobile version that is currently part of the desktop version, and your main challenge will simply be to ensure that the mobile experience is well optimized from a user perspective (e.g. page speed, load time, navigation, etc).

With a separate mobile site, you’ll need to make sure that your mobile version contains everything that your desktop site does, which could be a lot of work depending on your mobile strategy so far.

Will this change how I should serve ads/content/etc. on my mobile site?

If your current approach to ads is creating a slow or otherwise poor user experience you will certainly need to address that.

If you currently opt to hide some of your mobile site content in accordions or tabs to save space, this is actually not an issue as this content will be treated in the same way as if it was loaded fully visible (as long as the content is still crawlable/accessible).

Does this change how I use rel=canonical/switchboard tags?

No. For now, Google has stated that if you have already implemented switchboard tags, you should leave them as they are.

Has this overview helped you to feel more prepared for the shift to mobile-first indexing? Are there any questions you still have?

I’d love to hear what you’re thinking about in the comments!

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Alexa and Cortana will soon work together, allowing each to access the other

You’ll soon be able to ask Alexa to “open Cortana” and vice versa.

The post Alexa and Cortana will soon work together, allowing each to access the other appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

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Your Content Marketing Won’t Work Without This

"Learn how to write words that work and teach people what they need to know to do business with you." – Jerod Morris

“What is copy?”

My wife asked me this a few days ago.

I had been going on and on at dinner, hands gesturing, spittle flying, talking about something work-related. She waited patiently until I was finished to ask.

Her question jarred me. It had been a while since I’d thought about what “copy” is. And in that moment, my immediate reaction was to remember how I used to hate the word.

It always felt … pretentious … to me.

I used to hear phrases like “ad copy” and “website copy” and cringe. I’d think:

“Just say ad text or website text. Who calls it ‘copy?’ That doesn’t even make sense.”

Then I started working for Copyblogger. I also binge-watched Mad Men right around that time.

Needless to say, I quickly got what “copy” meant. And it’s made all the difference.

It’s also easy to take for granted.

Because it’s easy to get so focused on the latest content marketing technique that we overlook the most important element of any single piece of content marketing that actually works: the writing.

The copy.

So let’s refresh …

What is copy?

Copy is a type of writing intended to drive a specific action.


Email copy includes words sent in an email that have a specific goal in mind (getting you to click on a link, for example).

Website copy includes words published on a website that have a specific goal in mind (getting you to fill out a contact form, for example).

Ad copy includes the words I read during a podcast ad spot that have a specific goal in mind (getting you to buy tickets from SeatGeek, for example).

There is text — flaccid, lazy, directionless text.

And there is copy — words with a purpose that drive a result.

Copy’s for closers.

Who should write copy?


I mean it.

Even people who aren’t marketers will benefit from internalizing copywriting principles.

Take my aforementioned wife. She has an accounting background. She works as a consultant. Unless she someday branches off on her own, she’ll never have to write one word of marketing copy.

Yet every day in her job she encounters situations in which she needs action to be taken. Thus, she needs to understand how to write words that will drive the specific actions she needs. In other words, she needs to be able to sell the person on the other end of her email on why they should take the requested action.

It’s all copy.

And the fundamentals of good copywriting — empathy, clarity, diction, focus on benefits, etc. — apply to any situation in which you want (or need) a person to take a specific action.

When should you write copy?

Any time you want (or need) someone to take a specific action.

That’s easy.

Where should you write copy?

Any place words are used to drive a specific action.

  • A blog post (like this one) in which you have a very specific and beneficial action you want readers to take — more details on that in a bit
  • A podcast — to convince someone to join your list or support your sponsor
  • An ebook — to drive readers back to your website or to connect with you on social media
  • A video overlay — to drive subscriptions or donations
  • Even direct mail flyers, which professional copywriters have been using for decades with great success (otherwise you wouldn’t keep getting them in your mailbox!)

The examples could go on for weeks, and they aren’t constrained to the types of online content you and I spend our days creating.

But you didn’t come to Copyblogger to have me convince you to consider subtly slipping copywriting into your text messages and personal emails … although, if you’re hoping to drive a specific action, why wouldn’t you?

You came to Copyblogger to learn how to write words that work, and how to communicate those words over time via a content marketing strategy that teaches people what they need to know to do business with you.

Which leads to our next question …

Why write copy?

Because all good content marketing starts with good copy.

Content marketing without good copywriting as its foundation is like a house built on a sink hole. Sonia said it best.

You wouldn’t be here if you weren’t trying to convince other people to pay attention to, and possibly invest in, something you know or something you’ve built. Those are specific actions. Smart copy is how you’ll drive them.

How do you write good copy?

Start here.

What should you do next?

If you’re a serious content marketer who knows the value of great copy — the kind that people will pay big bucks for — then our Content Marketer Certification training may be perfect for you.

But don’t guess right now if it’s right for you. Find out for sure.

Enter your email address below and we’ll send you some information before we reopen the program. Then you can make an informed decision before you make a commitment. We’re opening the doors again soon, but they’ll only be open for a short period of time.

Find out when our Certified Content Marketer training program reopens:

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5 Cognitive Biases You Need to Put to Work … Without Being Evil

"We tend to search for and interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions." – Jerod Morris

All writing is persuasion in one form or another.

This is more obvious in some types of writing than others, but it is nonetheless true for all.

When it comes to copywriting, it is clearly true. Every piece of copy we write should drive a reader toward a specific action.

“Writing gives you the illusion of control, and then you realize it’s just an illusion, that people are going to bring their own stuff into it.”

– David Sedaris

But even the best piece of copy in the world doesn’t actually control a reader’s actions. Well-written copy only provides the “illusion of control.” What a reader does after reading is dependent on the “stuff” they brought into it.

That “stuff” includes past experiences, preconceived notions, and, above all else, cognitive biases.

Let’s discuss a helpful handful of these cognitive biases — some you’ll know well, some you may not — and how understanding them and structuring your content in a way that acknowledges and appreciates them will help you connect, compel, and serve better.

What are cognitive biases?

“A cognitive bias refers to the systematic pattern of deviation from norm or rationality in judgment, whereby inferences about other people and situations may be drawn in an illogical fashion.”


In other words, cognitive biases are mental shortcuts we all make, all the time, without consciously realizing it, that can lead to irrational thoughts and actions.

An example:

We tend to search for and interpret information in a way that confirms our preconceptions.

I sat down to write this article believing that understanding cognitive biases would be useful for content marketers. So, I researched articles that discussed how marketers use cognitive biases to influence decision-making. Naturally, I found many, which confirmed by preconception.

This is called confirmation bias.

In this case, my clear confirmation bias did not lead to a poor or irrational decision. The scientific evidence is quite clear, and ever-expanding, that cognitive biases are indeed constantly affecting people’s decisions and behavior. So, the premise of this article is built on a solid foundation of unbiased evidence.

But what if my goal had been to poke holes in the idea of cognitive biases existing and affecting behavior?

I would have had a hard time finding any credible evidence to support my hypothesis — and, if I did, I would have been much more likely to place undue weight on its validity due to my preconception.

We’ll never eliminate cognitive biases, in ourselves or others. There’s no use trying. All we can do is understand them, embrace them, and endeavor to use them ethically and morally*.

*This is important: There can be a fine line between understanding cognitive biases and then using them for good or exploiting them for evil. If you’re not committed to staying on the ethical and moral side of that line, please stop reading this article now and consider not coming back to this site. You’re definitely not for us, and we’re probably not for you.

4 more cognitive biases you need to know to better serve your readers

Hopefully it’s clear why acknowledging your own natural proclivity for confirmation bias is important. You and your audience will be well-served by your commitment to combating it.

Now let’s run through several additional cognitive biases that your readers bring with them to your content and how those might help both you and your readers make better decisions. (This is a carefully curated list, but I recommend this blog post at Neuromarketing for a deeper dive into 60+ cognitive biases that are useful to know.)

1. Attentional bias

We have a tendency to be affected by our recurring thoughts. Brand advertising is built on that premise.

The more people see an image or a message, the more likely they are to remember the brand, trust the company, and then do business with it down the line.

So if you want to influence your audience with a call to action — for example, trying out our new StudioPress Sites product — then you’re much better off repeating it often, and in several different places.

Consider how often we have subtly and not-so-subtly exposed people to StudioPress Sites as they’ve navigated through the Rainmaker Digital universe over the last few weeks:

  • StudioPress.com has been revamped to display Sites as a major component
  • Brian Clark dropped hints, then followed with explicit mentions on his podcast Unemployable
  • We reached out to StudioPress affiliates prior to the launch to prepare them, and many have published posts alerting their audiences to Sites’s arrival
  • We published an announcement here on the Copyblogger blog
  • We’re running paid ads announcing Sites

You get the picture.

Don’t say it once — say it often, and in many different places.

2. Framing effect

There is the offer. And then there is how you frame the offer.

For example, we recently had a fundraising drive for The Assembly Call — a live postgame show and podcast about Indiana basketball that I co-host. We have sponsors for the show, but we are also listener supported.

Our goal was to generate $ 2,613 (more on the odd specificity of this number in a minute) during an eight-day window. We promoted the fundraising drive to our email list of about 3,300 people.

The offer — in this case, more of a request — began with:

“All we’re asking is for you to contribute what you believe our content is worth. If you do find value in what we do, any donation helps.”

Okay. Fine.

Now here is how we framed the donation request:

“The average donation has been $ 52 and the most common donation denomination has been $ 50. But we’ve had donations as small as $ 4 and as large as $ 300.

In fact, this email will go out to roughly 3,300 people … so if every person just donates a dollar, roughly the cost of a gas station coffee, we’ll fly past our goal.”

The initial request left so much open to interpretation: How much should I donate? What’s reasonable? What have other people donated? Will my donation actually make a difference?

Questions like these, left unanswered, can lead to friction that prohibits action.

But framing the requested action based on what’s common and what the range has been — and then explaining how a comparatively small contribution could still make a difference — helped to reduce this friction and induce action.

(In addition, you can see the bandwagon effect at work here: the part that explains what other people have already done.)

We reached our goal in less than 24 hours. I have no doubt this framing had a huge impact.

So, did we play a psychological trick on our audience?


We had many donors who actually thanked us for giving them the opportunity to contribute to the cause. They wanted to support us. We have a good product, a good relationship with our audience, and this was a fair request that we’d earned the right to make.

This is the difference between ethical and moral use of cognitive biases in marketing and using knowledge of cognitive biases to take advantage of an unsuspecting target.

3. Bizarreness effect

So, why the oddly specific number $ 2,613? Why not $ 2,500 or $ 3,000?

Because people are more likely to take notice of — and remember — something that stands out rather than blends in. This is also referred to as the Von Restorff effect.

I’ve found it to be especially true when it comes to headlines and email subject lines, and I knew that the amount of donations we’d receive would be in part dependent upon the open rate of the email blast.

The subject line we used was: “Will you help us reach our goal of $ 2,613?” I also had the email come from “Jerod Morris” as opposed to “The Assembly Call.”

The number shouts from the inbox, inducing curiosity and demanding a click. As does the request of “help,” especially from a person’s name rather than a brand name; it’s compelling.

We never ask our audience for “help” and they rarely get an email from my name. Bizarre. We figured they’d want to know why.

An open rate of 70 percent suggests they did.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 11.28.43 AM

And the donations that were coming in as late as a week after sending that email (without another email blast to remind them) suggest that the offer was indeed memorable.

4. Risk compensation

Some of these cognitive biases just make simple sense. Like risk compensation, which suggests that people adjust their behavior in relation to perceived risk — we’re more likely to take a bigger risk when perceived safety increases, and vice versa.

This is precisely why every single product we sell at Rainmaker Digital comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.

And why we focus on the guarantee toward the ends of promotions.

For example, we recently announced that the price of the Rainmaker Platform was going up. (Spoiler alert: the promo is over; the price has already gone up.)

Here’s what the final email, sent two hours prior to the price raise, looked like:

“Subject: [2 Hours Left] The Price of Rainmaker Goes Up Soon

One last reminder …

Start your free, 14-day trial of the Rainmaker Platform in the next two hours so that you lock in the current price (before it goes up).

Of note:

  • If you cancel prior to your 14-day trial ending, you won’t be charged at all.
  • If you decide to cancel within 30 days of your first payment, you’ll get a refund with no questions asked.
  • In either situation, you can export whatever progress you’ve made with your site and take it with you elsewhere.

So there’s no risk, just a massive annual savings you can lock in.

Click here to start your no-risk free trial of the Rainmaker Platform today.”

We’d proudly suggest the Rainmaker Platform to any of our audience members who have a desire to build and sell digital products. Still, that doesn’t mean starting a trial is without risk, or perceived risk.

A few risks people might identify — rationally or irrationally — before signing up:

  • I have to enter a credit card, so am I going to get charged right away? (Nope, you aren’t charged until the trial ends.)
  • If I make a payment, but then realize Rainmaker won’t work for me, am I out the money? (Nope, you get a refund within the first 30 days of payment.)
  • But what if there is nothing wrong with the Platform and I just decide I don’t want it? (Not a problem! We don’t ask any questions.)
  • I just don’t want to be hassled if I want to cancel and get my money back. (Again, no problemo. The money-back guarantee is no questions asked.)
  • Okay, but what if I did a bunch of work to set stuff up. I don’t want to lose that if I cancel. (No worries. You can export any work you do and take it elsewhere.)

See how that works?

The copy answers the kinds of questions that will naturally come up before action and can even preempt the fears that cause the questions in the first place.

By dissolving the fears that risks induce, we offer people a more comfortable journey down a path they are already interested in walking (and that we know, long-term, could be a path they’ll be thankful we presented to them).

And this is a big reason why (along with the cognitive bias that induces FOMO, of course) the last day of the promo was by far the most successful one. Thirty-eight percent of new trials during the promo period started on the final day, many after this final risk-compensating reminder email was sent out.

So, is the “illusion of control” really such an illusion after all?

It’s interesting to note that illusion of control is also a cognitive bias, suggesting “the tendency for human beings to believe they can control or at least influence outcomes that they clearly cannot.” (Via RationalWiki.org)

You’re not there with your reader as she consumes your words. You’re not inside her brain, finding out exactly how she’s interpreting what you’ve written. You’re not present to offer any additional arguments about why she should take the action you’d like her to take.

So any control you feel you have as a copywriter does, indeed, seem like an illusion.

And yet …

We know that well-written copy is more likely to influence desired outcomes than poorly written copy.

We know that well-written copy contains words that make sound logical arguments, that empathize, and that possess the ability to compel useful emotional reactions in a reader.

Your ability to understand and acknowledge cognitive biases with your copy allows you to empathize with your reader, and that is what opens the door to compelling a useful emotional reaction.

And we know that emotion drives action more than logic — the latter of which serves more to justify than compel.

Look, who am I to defy the words of a writer like David Sedaris? And to deny a known cognitive bias? Writing probably does give you only the illusion of control.

But maybe, just maybe …

By committing to a better understanding of the “stuff” our readers bring to our words, we increase our ability to turn an illusion of control into … let’s call it … an opportunity to connect.

And when we connect, we have a chance to compel — a privilege and responsibility that truly unlocks the next level of service to our audiences.

The post 5 Cognitive Biases You Need to Put to Work … Without Being Evil appeared first on Copyblogger.


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How Does a Solar Panel Work

You must be aware that solar panels are categorized into two types, these are; the ground mounted solar panel installations and the roof mounted solar panel installations. Both of them are technically similar as they are designed to absorb solar energy. However, the only difference that lies between them is their ability to offer adjustmentconvenience. Here, though, is how all solar panels work.

Solar photo-voltaic panels are lined with silicon crystals. When struck by sun’s rays, these crystals produce current that is carried through cables to be stored in batteries. The panels are usually held within an aluminium frame which is welded onto four support poles. During the installation process, these poles can be screwed onto the roof of astructure, or mounted on solid concrete slabs which are laid on the ground. The frames are tilted 30 degrees and oriented to the north for maximum solar energy absorption. “Thin film” panels are cheaper alternatives to photo-voltaic panels but their down side is that they are not as efficient in producing electricity.

Each silicon crystal has atoms that are bonded together by electrons. These electrons are shared between all atoms of the crystal. Sun’s rays hit the panel, the electrons in the bond absorb the light and gain a higher energy level thus they begin to move more freely/become excited. The moment they begin to move around the atom they start to generate electric current which continue to charge a solar panel battery.

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How Solar Energy Systems Work and How They Benefit You


All around the world and especially in the US, people are adopting lifestyles that benefit the earth by limiting chemical use, power use, and just all around choosing to “go green”. One of the ways that people are changing their lifestyles is by using alternative forms of energy that save money. Today you can learn how systems fueled by solar energy can be useful in your own household. Utility expenses will dramatically decrease and you’ll be able to save big time. You will also have peace of mind from knowing that your lifestyle is benefiting your environment and health by utilizing natural resources.

If you are wondering what solar energy is and how it works, here’s your chance to find out. This type of energy basically comes from the sun. Yes, the same yellow fire ball that sits up in the sky shining down on us all can be used as a source of energy right inside your own home. Of course the sun is used for more than just providing beautiful days outdoors. Today there are different sun fueled systems that you can choose from for your house that will effectively run the daily activities of your home in a more cost effective manner.

To explain things simply, panels can be installed upon the top of your house. The sunlight that shines upon the rooftop will then be transformed into electricity. This electricity from the sun can then be converted into the exact electricity that you use in your household. It is quite simple. As mentioned earlier, there are different types of sun fueled energy systems that can be installed within the home. Other systems include the sun energy system that controls the hot water in your home. This process involves the sun’s heat warming liquid through the roof and heating the water tank then traveling back to the roof to continue the cycle.

There are many great benefits to having solar energy systems in your home. As mentioned earlier it will be cost efficient. Your electricity bill will not be the same because you are using natural power. Another great benefit is that it is safe, natural, and harmless. Energy from the sun does not produce chemicals or gases that pollute the environment at all. And as long as the sun exists, there will always be this type of energy available. It’s priceless. And because of how the sun works, this type of energy is available anywhere, even away from your home.

You have always been aware of the sun, but you probable have never thought fully about all that it can do. The sun provides you with warmth, light, and beauty. But it can do this in so many ways. Making the switch to solar energy systems can be the best decision you will make for you and your family. The costs to install these systems are well worth it. You will see results and also save so much money. And you will also be contributing to a healthier earth.

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How to Prioritize SEO Tasks & Invest in High-Value Work Items – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

One thing we can all agree on: there’s a lot to think about when it comes to your SEO tasks. Even for the most organized among us, it can be really difficult to prioritize our to-dos and make sure we’re getting the highest return on them. In this week’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand tackles the question that’s a constant subtext in every SEO’s mind.

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Video Transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re chatting about how to prioritize SEO tasks and specifically get the biggest bang for the buck that we possibly can.

I know that all of you have to deal with this, whether you are a consultant or at an agency and you’re working with a client and you’re trying to prioritize their SEO tasks in an audit or a set of recommendations that you’ve got, or you’re working on an ongoing basis in-house or as a consultant and you’re trying to tell a team or a boss or manager, “Hey these are all the SEO things that we could potentially do. Which ones should we do first? Which ones are going to get in this sprint, this quarter, or this cycle?” — whatever the cadence is that you’re using.

I wanted to give you some great ways that we here at Moz have done this and some of the things that I’ve seen from both very small companies, startups, all the way up to large enterprises.

SEO tasks

Look, the list of SEO tasks can be fairly enormous. It could be all sorts of things: rewrite our titles and descriptions, add rich snippets categories, create new user profile pages, rewrite the remaining dynamic URLs that we haven’t taken care of yet, or add some of the recommended internal inks to the blog posts, or do outreach to some influencers that we know in this new space we’re getting into. You might have a huge list of these things that are potential SEO items. I actually urge you to make this list internally for yourself, either as a consulting team or an in-house team, as big as you possibly can.

I think it’s great to involve decision makers in this process. You reach out to a manager or the rest of your team or your client, whoever it is, and get all of their ideas as well, because you don’t want to walk into these prioritization meetings and then have them go, “Great, those are your priorities. But what about all these things that are my ideas?” You want to capture as many of these as you can. Then you go through a validation process. That’s really the focus of today.

Prioritization questions to ask yourself

The prioritization questions that I think all of us need to be asking ourselves before we decide which order tasks will go in and which ones we’re going to focus on are:

What company goals does this task serve or map to?

Look, if your company or the organization you’re working with doesn’t actually have big initiatives for the year or the quarter, that’s a whole other matter. I recommend that you make sure your organization gets on top of that or that you as a consultant, if you are a consultant, get a list of what those big goals are.

Those big things might be, hey, we’re trying to increase revenue from this particular product line, or we’re trying to drive more qualified users to sign up for this feature, or we’re trying to grow traffic to this specific section. Big company goals. It might even be weird things or non-marketing things, like we’re trying to recruit this quarter. It’s really important for us to focus on recruitment. So you might have an SEO task that maps to how do we get more people who are job seekers to our jobs pages, or how do we get our jobs listings more prominent in search results for relevant keywords — that kind of thing. They can map to all sorts of goals across a company.

What’s an estimated 30, 60, 90, and 1 year value?

Then, once we have those, we want to ask for an estimated range — this is very important — of value that the task will provide over the next X period of time. I like doing this in terms of several time periods. I don’t like to say we’re only going to estimate what the six month value is. I like to say, “What’s an estimated 30, 60, 90, and 1 year value?”

You don’t have to be that specific. You could say we’re only going to do this for a month and then for the next year. For each of those time periods here, you’d go here’s our low estimate, our mid estimate, and our high estimate of how this is going to impact traffic or conversion rate or whatever the goal is that you’re mapping to up here.

Which teams/people are needed to accomplish this work, and what is their estimate of time needed?

Next, we want to ask which teams or people are needed to accomplish this work and what is their estimate of time needed. Important: what is their estimate, not what’s your estimate. I, as an SEO, think that it’s very, very simple to make small changes to a CMS to allow me to edit a rel=canonical tag. My web dev team tells me differently. I want their opinion. That’s what I want to represent in any sort of planning process.

If you’re working outside a company as a consultant or at an agency, you need to go validate with their web dev team, with their engineering team, what it’s going to take to make these changes. If you are a contractor and they work with a web dev contractor, you need to talk to that contractor about what it’s going to take.

You never want to present estimates that haven’t been validated by the right team. I might, for example, say there’s a big SEO change that we want to make here at Moz. I might need some help from UX folks, some help from content, some help from the SEOs themselves, and one dev for two weeks. All of these different things I want to represent those completely in the planning process.

How will we capture metrics, measure if it’s working, and ID potential problems early?

Finally, last question I’ll ask in this prioritization is: How are we going to capture the right metrics around this, measure it, see that it’s working, and identify potential problems early on? One of the things that happens with SEO is sometimes something goes wrong — either in the planning phase or the implementation or the launch itself — or something unexpected happens. We update the user profiles to be way more SEO friendly and realize that in the new profile pages we no longer link to this very important piece of internal content that users had uploaded or had created, and so now we’ve lost a bunch of internal links to that and our indexation is dropping out. The user profile pages may be doing great, but that user-generated content is shrinking fast, and so we need to correct that immediately.

We have to be on the watch for those. That requires validation of design, some form of test if you can (sometimes it’s not needed but many times it is), some launch metrics so you can watch and see how it’s doing, and then ongoing metrics to tell you was that a good change and did it map well to what we predicted it was going to do.

General wisdom regarding prioritization

Just a few rules now that we’ve been through this process, some general wisdom around here. I think this is true in all aspects of professional life. Under-promise and over-deliver, especially on speed to execute. When you estimate all these things, make sure to leave yourself a nice healthy buffer and potential value. I like to be very conservative around how I think these types of things can move the needle on the metrics.

Leave teams and people room in their sprints or whatever the cadence is to do their daily and ongoing and maintenance types of work. You can’t go, “Well, there are four weeks in this time period for this sprint, so we’re going to have the dev do this thing that takes two weeks and that thing that takes two weeks.” Guess what? They have to do other work as well. You’re not the only team asking for things from them. They have their daily work that they’ve got to do. They have maintenance work. They have regular things that crop up that go wrong. They have email that needs to be answered. You’ve got to make sure that those are accounted for.

I mentioned this before. Never, ever, ever estimate on behalf of other people. It’s not just that you might be wrong about it. That’s actually only a small portion of the problem. The big part of the problem with estimating on behalf of others is then when they see it or when they’re asked to confirm it by a team, a manager, a client or whomever, they will inevitably get upset that you’ve estimated on their behalf and assumed that work will take a certain amount of time. You might’ve been way overestimating, so you feel like, “Hey, man, I left you tons of time. What are you worried about?”

The frustrating part is not being looped in early. I think, just as a general rule, human beings like to know that they are part of a process for the work that they have to do and not being told, “Okay, this is the work we’re assigning you. You had no input into it.” I promise you, too, if you have these conversations early, the work will get done faster and better than if you left those people out of those conversations.

Don’t present every option in planning. I know there’s a huge list of things here. What I don’t want you to do is go into a planning process or a client meeting or something like that, sit down and have that full list, and go, “All right. Here’s everything we evaluated. We evaluated 50 different things you could do for SEO.” No, bring them the top five, maybe even just the top three or so. You want to have just the best ones.

You should have the full list available somewhere so if they call up like, “Hey, did you think about doing this, did you think about doing that,” you can say, “Yeah, we did. We’ve done the diligence on it. This is the list of the best things that we’ve got, and here’s our recommended prioritization.” Then that might change around, as people have different opinions about value and which goals are more important that time period, etc.

If possible, two of the earliest investments I recommend are A.) automated, easy-to-access metrics, building up a culture of metrics and a way to get those metrics easily so that every time you launch something new it doesn’t take you an inordinate amount of time to go get the metrics. Every week or month or quarter, however your reporting cycle goes, it doesn’t take you tons and tons of time to collect and report on those metrics. Automated metrics, especially for SEO, but all kinds of metrics are hugely valuable.

Second, CMS upgrades — things that make it such that your content team and your SEO team can make changes on the fly without having to involve developers, engineers, UX folks, all that kind of stuff. If you make it very easy for a content management system to enable editable titles and descriptions, make URLs easily rewritable, make things redirectable simply, allow for rel=canonical or other types of header changes, enable you to put schema markup into stuff, all those kinds of things — if that is right in the CMS and you can get that done early, then a ton of the things over here go from needing lots and lots of people involved to just the SEO or the SEO and the content person involved. That’s really, really nice.

All right, everyone, I look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments on prioritization methods. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Using Social Media as Your Primary (or Only) Link Building Tactic Probably Won’t Work – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

A concept we’ve covered regularly is what we call flywheel marketing, where the organic traffic, shares, and links you get from publishing one piece of content makes it easier for later pieces to see some success. One of the key pieces of that flywheel is the ability to get those social shares, and based on a recent study, we’re ready to admit it: We were completely wrong about that key piece.

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains why, and that the real value may lie in engagement.

Why Social Media as your Primary Link Building Tactic Probably won't Work Whiteboard

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Video transcription

Howdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re talking about an assumption that I think many of us have made over the years. I know I have. In fact, I’ve amplified that. I might have even covered it on Whiteboard Friday. Thanks to some research that we’ve done together with BuzzSumo, as well as some research we’ve seen from our correlation study this summer, you know what? It’s looking like we were just dead wrong on this very important aspect of how SEO and social media and content marketing fit together.

You’ve probably seen me present on this either here on Whiteboard Friday or in one of my slide decks or in a blog post. It’s this idea of flywheel marketing, where you create some great content, you amplify that content via social media and your social channels, you attract visitors through that, you naturally earn links from some of those people who visit your site, and you grow your social following. Now, the next time your audience potential is bigger and your rankings potential is also bigger, because you have more links coming to your site, and that helps all the other pages on your site. You have a bigger social audience, so now there are more people to amplify to.

You know what? It actually looks like this is totally broken and wrong. The idea that you are naturally earning links from people who come via social looks to us like it was a bunk belief in its entirety. Let me show you.

First off, BuzzSumo did the vast majority of the work. I appreciate them including Moz as well. We did participate in some of our link metrics. The BuzzSumo crew did a bunch of this work. They looked at articles that received social shares, in fact a million articles that were taken from their database, and then they looked at the number of shares and the number of links those received.

The vast, vast majority received zero links. In fact, 75% plus of all articles they looked at received zero, not a single one, social shares. Same with links, by the way. I think it was 90% plus for links or maybe even more.

This is a like a power-law distribution. You’re essentially seeing that a few articles get all the shares out there. Everything else really gets nothing. If you’re not going to be in the top 10% of content that’s created, don’t even bother. You’re not going to get shares. You’re not going to get links. You’re not going to get traffic. Forget it. A lot of content marketing is probably spent in vain. Granted, maybe a lot of that is learning what actually works and experimenting, and that’s fine.

Then they looked at the correlation between links and shares.

As you can see from this crudely drawn scatter plot, no correlation whatsoever. If you were to draw the line here, it would probably be something like, “Oh look at that total crap correlation.” Here are the numbers. Facebook, 0.0221. Twitter, 0.0281. Ooh, slightly better, but still in the realm of totally insignificant. Google+ 0.0058. You’re just talking about numbers that suggest essentially that there is virtually no correlation between links and shares.

Now they did look at places where there were lots of shares and links, and those tended to be a few things. I’ll let you read the report, and you should. I think it’s one of the most important reports to come out in our industry in a while. Credit to BuzzSumo for putting it together.

We know from our research. We’ve done experiments looking at whether anchor text still moves things. We’ve done experiments looking at whether URL mentions move the needle. URL mentions don’t, by the way. Once you turn them into live links, they do. We’ve looked at whether you can actually rank content without any links at all. It turns out almost impossible, so next to impossible that we couldn’t find a single credible example of a page that ranked without any links unless it was on a site that had lots of links pointing to it.

We know we still need links to rank.

In fact, notably ranking correlations with links haven’t dropped over the last few years. Even though we all feel like the algorithm’s getting a little less link centric, and I think it is, links are still clearly very, very powerful. So we have to worry about things like outreach and link focused content and embeds and tools and badges and competitive link analysis and all the other many link building methods that the marketing industry has come up with over the years.

I have a theory about why this is.

I think Google is honest when they tell us, “We don’t look at social shares to determine rankings.” I think what Google sees is something Chartbeat showed a few years ago. This was another excellent study that I encourage you to check out. Chartbeat basically analyzed engagement on socially shared content. What they saw was a plot that looks like this. Very, very few social articles have high read time. Even the ones that have lots of social sharing have very little read time.

It turns out a ton of things that people share socially on the Web, they don’t read at all. They may click Retweet. They may even include the URL. They might share it on Facebook. But they, themselves, may never have even visited that content. Sounds crazy, but I bet you’ve done it. I bet I’ve done it. I bet I’ve been like well, you know, it was probably a good edition of Whiteboard Friday, I’ll go share it out, having not yet watched the video and seen whether I did a good job or not. That’s just the way of the Web.

I think Google cares much more about the engagement than they do about the social share counts themselves.

So you can see lots of things with social shares not performing well. But once they start to get engagement and start to earn links from that engagement, now they’re suddenly ranking.

Hopefully, with this knowledge in mind, you can go back to the drawing board a little bit if you’ve built up, like we have, this mental model of how the flywheel works. Look, I’m not saying that this works for no one. This actually works pretty well for Moz. It works pretty well for us in this industry, but I think, and clearly the data is showing, that across the vast majority of the Web it’s statistically extremely unlikely this will work for you or for everyone else.

I think we need to revisit this. We probably need to revisit our link building. We need to think about social in a different context of how and whether it’s earning people who will actually come to our site and want to link to us and people who will come to our site and want to engage, or whether it’s just a vanity metric.

All right, everyone, I look forward to your comments. We’ll see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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