The Blog

How to Craft a Guest Posting Pitch (That Actually Works)

Posted Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

deniedWebsites and blogs are onto our game of guest posting by now. Under many blogs’ “write for us” guidelines, we’re being told that we need not apply if we’re just looking for links.

If you have been sending the same template to multiple blogs a day, chances are that your emails are ending up in someone’s trash bin. Editors get tons of guest pitch emails daily and have no reason to respond to one that doesn’t stand out. To get noticed in the field of other bloggers, your pitch has to be unique and tailored to every website you attempt to contact.

When it comes to sending a successful pitch for a guest post, customized content is key. (more…)

Can a 302 Redirect Ever Help Your SEO?

Posted Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .


Whenever you move a page, you have two options: a 301 or a 302 redirect.

(Okay, yes, there are 303 and 307 redirects, but they're rarely used in practice since not all browsers understand them.)

So, the question is, which one do you use?

The answer is typically pretty straightforward. You should almost always use a 301 redirect. A 302 redirect does not pass any link authority to the new page (at least not reliably); it's all lost on the defunct page.

But is there ever a case where a 302 is actually the right choice?

That's what I'm going to talk about today. (more…)

Web 2.0 Link Building: Still Worth It?

Posted Thursday, July 17th, 2014 in Link Building, Search Engine Optimization by .

There was a time, back in the dark ages of 2009, when "web 2.0 SEO" was the next big thing. Interest since then has...waned a bit:

web 2 point 0 seo

What happened?

Well, it was a number of things, but it was mainly Panda. In February of 2011, Google unleashed Panda, which was most likely a machine learning algorithm, trained on a set of manually chosen low quality pages. It identified some of the hidden patterns exhibited by low quality content writers, and it didn't take long for links from places like EzineArticles to become close to useless.

All those "web 2.0 properties," like Squidoo and so on started to look a lot less like viable link building opportunities.

Of course, anybody who was claiming to build links from sites like these for referral traffic and branding was either lying through their teeth or out of touch with reality. The update didn't effect many legitimate marketers, because very few of them were using sites like these. The same goes for any above board SEO agency who steered clear of such grey-hat tactics.

But today, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the state of web 2.0 link building. Does it still work? If so, what does that mean for the rest of us marketers and full-fledged businesses? (more…)

The Top 32 Video Submission Sites

Posted Tuesday, July 15th, 2014 in Content Marketing, Link Building, Marketing Strategy, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing by .

filmMost marketers' video promotion strategy goes something like this:

Step 1: Submit to YouTube.

Step 2: There is no step 2.

As you can probably guess, I think there's a lot more to it then that.

But today, I'm not going to be covering the more nuanced aspects of video marketing. Instead, I'm going to be pointing out something that should be rather obvious: YouTube is not the only place that people watch videos online. There are actually quite a few sites that let you submit your videos.

Surprisingly, there actually aren't a whole lot of lists online that tell you which sites you can submit your videos too.

And the problem with the lists I have seen is that they either detail every single site that has anything to do at all with video, or they organize them by nonsense metrics like PageRank. Sorry, but the PageRank of the front page of a video site isn't going to tell you anything about how much a link from the video is going to help your SEO.

In fact, before this list becomes some go-to place for every grey hat spammer who thinks that video submission is the new "article marketing," let me add a little disclaimer here. I would not expect a link from a video submission site to do much for your SEO, especially if the video isn't picking up any positive user behavior metrics and natural backlinks of its own.

However, I do believe that traffic from video sites tends to be much higher in quality that the referrals you tend to see from other sites, and you can really improve that click through rate by reminding viewers that there's a link right below the video.

So, I've decided to organize the following sites not by SEO metrics, but by Alexa rank. I know, I know, Alexa and all other traffic estimation tools suck, but it does still give you some indication of the relative popularity of these sites.

Alright, I think I've ranted enough. Here are the sites. Enjoy. (And you better. This list took a much longer time to put together than it will take you to browse through...) (more…)

How to Check the Number of Visitors to a Website (*sigh*)

Posted Thursday, July 10th, 2014 in Keyword Research, Marketing Strategy, Search Engine Optimization by .

spyWant to find out how much traffic a competitor is getting?

Well. Let's start with the bad news.

Alexa sucks. No.

Google Trends? Don't make me laugh.


It's probably the best tool out there. They certainly have an amazing keyword tool, but they still underestimate the search traffic to my personal site by a factor of 2 to 5, and even the trend lines don't match up all that well:

trendingsideways analytics

trendingsideways semrush

No disrespect to SEMrush. Being off by a factor of 2 to 5 is damn good when it comes to estimating a competitor's traffic. There's no way they could have known that "the p-value formula" doesn't get searched for very often in the summer months, being a subject that only college students tend to care about. Nor could they have predicted that up to four fifths of my traffic is coming from obscure search queries they couldn't possibly have guessed in their wildest dreams.

I hate to say it folks, but the only way you can actually know how much traffic a site gets is to have access to their server logs or their analytics account. This data is not publicly available, and let's hope it stays that way forever.

Now for the good news. (more…)

Epic Link Battle: URL VS Domain Name, FIGHT

Posted Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 in Link Building, Search Engine Optimization by .


It's neck and neck.

Through your amazing powers of persuasion and charisma, you have assured yourself the possibility of earning a link from one of two places.

One opportunity has amazing domain (or "site") authority, and the other one has exceptional URL (or "page") authority.

Through some bizarre hypothetical twist of fate that I lack the creativity to imagine, you can only choose to earn one of these links.

Which one do you choose?

Well, for starters, if you actually do have that much precise control over where your link ends up, you're creeping close to the edges of Google's Guidelines and you'd be wise to tread lightly.

That said, as an SEO, your strategy can change pretty dramatically depending on whether you think in terms of earning links from high profile pages, or links from high profile domains. In fact, this same line of thinking can have important implications for the way you approach your on-site SEO as well.

So, when all is said and done, where should you put your focus? (more…)

June Resource Round-up: The Best of SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing

Posted Saturday, July 5th, 2014 in Resource Roundups by .

audio bookNow that everyone is into full-on summer mode, you probably don't want to spend your time in front of the computer searching for the best content. Luckily for you, we've gathered up our favorite  SEO, social media, and content marketing articles from June into one convenient place. Peruse these informative posts at your own leisure this long July 4th weekend, whether on the hammock in your backyard or under the rays of the sun at the beach. If you're looking for the same great content the rest of the year, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook. Enjoy!


5 SEO Tips For DuckDuckGo

If you haven’t heard of DuckDuckGo yet, you will soon. On Apple's iOs 8, users can switch their default search engine preference to the up and coming search engine option. It’s all about optimizing privacy, sidestelling filter bubbles and takes a stance against profiling.

Optimize Your SERP Snippet Click-Through Rate

Us SEOs put a lot of effort into increasing rankings. We spend thousands of marketing dollars creating link bait, weeks reorganizing the internal linking structure to best support important pages, and hours complaining that Target’s terrible category page or eHow’s poorly written post is still outranking our perfectly crafted page.


Can (And Should) You Use Tags to Get Views On YouTube?

Posted Thursday, July 3rd, 2014 in Keyword Research, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing by .

youtube tags mainWell, can you?

In short, yes, but be careful.

While a growing number of organic search marketers seem to think that Google is a hyper-intelligent entity that can always infer the subject of your content, no matter the medium, Google is actually dumb as a rock on this front (though, admittedly, it's an increasingly intelligent rock). This is especially true of video, which Google can't parse or "understand," even to the level that it "understands" HTML text.

If you think I'm being insulting, official documents from Google confirm that, yes, you should indeed optimize your YouTube metadata.

But, like anything else these days, this kind of optimization isn't nearly enough to carry an otherwise flawed strategy. YouTube also looks at user behavior metrics, including favoring videos that keep people on YouTube for a longer time. If people aren't watching your videos, clicking to see what else you've done, or thumbing them up, don't expect them to do very well if there are other videos that cover similar topics and get a better response.

Still, there's a lot more to the optimization side of things than optimizing for users, and that's what we're going to talk about today.

Here's how to make sure your videos actually get found on YouTube. (more…)

Recording GoToWebinars, Google Hangouts, Skypes, etc.

Posted Tuesday, July 1st, 2014 in Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing by .

recordingIf one thing's for sure about the future of digital marketing, it's the role of visual content.

The growing popularity of smartphones and tablets means people type less, read less, and view more.

Teens now prefer YouTube over Facebook as their go-to site, and brands receive 20 times as much engagement on YouTube as they do on Facebook.

YouTube has proven itself a very valuable source of referral traffic, with YouTube visitors spending more time and looking at more pages that visitors from any other major social site.

With its emphasis on convincing users to dig through its archives, YouTube has also emerged as a powerful platform for user discovery. Embedding YouTube videos in your blog posts can help increase the number of views they get, which can further increase their visibility on YouTube, creating a positive feedback loop of exposure.

Of course, producing professional quality videos is difficult, and merely monologuing in front of a camera usually isn't interesting enough to create the kind of engagement you need in order to build an audience or increase your exposure. Adding slides, on-screen activity, and interviews with other people can make videos more dynamic and interesting to watch.

So, practically speaking, how much work does it take to spice up your videos like this, and what tools do you need in order to make it happen?

Let's talk about it. (more…)

Should You Put Keywords in the URL? (An Age Old Question)

Posted Thursday, June 26th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

keywords in url topSince the age of dinosaurs, SEOs and their clients have been asking if they should put keywords in their URLs in order to improve visibility in search engines.

The short answer?

“Yes, but…”

That wasn’t very satisfying, was it?

Educated SEOs have known for some time that putting your keyword in the URL can help with your rankings, but some argue that the impact is miniscule and not really worth thinking about. Others say that it doesn’t matter anymore, or even that it’s bordering on “black hat.” Still others think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.

So, does putting a keyword in the URL matter enough for you to worry about it?

Read on to find out. (more…)

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