The Blog

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

Posted Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 in Resource Roundups by .

reading with pipesWe've said it before and we'll say it again: SEO, content marketing, and social media should be working together to achieve a singular goal. With that adage in mind, each month we search through the seemingly endless mounds of internet content and collect the best posts we can find from the worlds of SEO, content marketing, and social media. Here's the best from September and the beginning of October brought together in our monthly roundup. Check out what you missed when you have a moment, and if you're looking for the same great content the rest of the year, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook. Enjoy!


SEO Rank Correlations And Ranking Factors 2014  – Google U.S. –

We made it and just in time for this fall's season. So download Ranking Factors 2014 on your tablet or smartphone because this study will be your best SEO read yet. Last year’s Ranking Factor study placed positive emphasis on good content, onpage technology and social signals that correlate with better positioned websites.

Panda 4.1: The Devil Is in the Aggregate

I wish I didn't have to say this. I wish I could look in the eyes of every victim of the last Panda 4.1 update and tell them it was something new, something unforeseeable, something out of their control. I wish I could tell them that Google pulled a fast one that no one saw coming.


Everything You Need To Know About Native Advertising

Posted Monday, October 13th, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

light bulb“Native Advertising” is the latest, greatest buzz-phrase in the world of online marketing. Everyone wants in on it and everyone’s keen on espousing the virtues of it. The problem is that no one’s entirely clear on exactly what it is.

Let’s see if we can’t change that. Today’s focus is going to be on sifting through some of the hearsay surrounding the term. In the process, we’ll take a look at what makes a good native ad - and what practices you should avoid like the plague. (more…)

Is "Coopetition" The Only Real Way Out of a Rut?

Posted Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 in Marketing Strategy by .

chessIf this is your first time hearing the word "coopetition," your first response is probably a lot like mine was: "What is this, the corporate equivalent of 'frenemy?'"

But, it turns out, coopetition is actually an important concept, an insight from the mathematics of Game Theory, and quite possibly the only way for a company, even the market in general, to escape a state of stagnation.

On its face, the word "coopetition" seems like it should be self-explanatory. It's when two businesses that compete with each other also collaborate for their mutual gain, right? On the most superficial level, yes, that's exactly what it means. But without understanding a few important things about game theory, coopetition is both too easy to dismiss, and too easy to do wrong.

So let's talk about how coopetition works, and why there's a possibility that it's the only way for your company to progress. (more…)

What Exactly IS Content Marketing, Anyway?

Posted Monday, October 6th, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

penLet’s be honest - advertising isn’t exactly what it used to be. Consumers today have little patience for being marketed to. We’ve devised a host of tools, systems, and solutions to shut out traditional marketing. That leaves anyone who’s unable to adapt in a rather difficult spot - how do you sell to someone who’s already geared to ignore you?

The answer is simple: Content Marketing. “Smart marketers,” reads the Content Marketing Institute Blog, “understand that traditional marketing is becoming less and less effective by the minute, and that there has to be a better way. Enter content marketing.”

For those of you who don’t know exactly what it is - buzz-phrases tend to be pretty ill defined, after all - content marketing is a marketing technique whereby you create regular, relevant content for a website. The idea is that users are going to come your site in order to see that content - and that when they’re there, they’ll likelier be more willing to support your brand. Pretty simple, right? (more…)

Why the "Top of Google" Isn't What SEO Is About

Posted Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

mountain topThis is not a post about how you can't trust SEOs who "guarantee" a place at the top of search results. (Does anybody actually do that anymore?)

This is not a post about how no amount of SEO knowledge will allow you to rank at the top for any search query you want. (No, you can't.)

This is not a post about how revenue and/or profit are more important metrics than rankings. (Because, duh.)

This is not a post about how there is no such thing as ranking #1 for a query, because everybody's search results are personalized and their are no universal search positions anymore. (Also true.)

This is a post about why you shouldn't always care whether or not it's possible for you to show up in the number 1 spot for a search query. It's a post about a common misunderstanding. Fail to understand it, and you could be missing out on massive opportunities. (more…)

What Can You Do If You Don't Know Your Demographic?

Posted Monday, September 29th, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

targetYou’ve likely heard it a thousand times over by now - if you’re going to write, then you need to know exactly who you’re writing for. Know your demographic. It’s one of the oldest laws of content creation - yet I constantly see people breaking it. That’s rather problematic. After all, if you’ve no idea who your audience is or what they’re looking to gain, how are you to provide them with anything meaningful? You can’t - one of the most important traits of an engaging writer is that they know exactly who it is they’re writing for; they know how to tailor their language to their audience. So how does one go about determining who’s on the other side of the keyboard? What’s involved in researching one’s demographic? More importantly, what can one do if none of that information’s being made available to them? Let’s discuss. (more…)

5 Reasons "Mobile First" Could Kill Your Business

Posted Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 in Marketing Strategy by .

mobile firstThe title says it all. Let's skip the formalities and dive right in.

1. It encourages you to start with "how," not "why"

As Rob Woodbridge at points out, going "mobile first" can encourage you to adopt strategies without context. In one important example, TechCrunch advises enterprise-software companies that they should build a mobile app, simply because US smartphone users spend 86 percent of their mobile time in apps, versus 14 percent in mobile browsers.

This is bad advice, because it is handed out generically to all software companies, regardless of who their customers are or what the purpose of their business is. Some tasks just aren't ideal for mobile, no matter how well it's designed. A mobile browser is often a better tool to use than a mobile app for specific tasks, and 57 percent of mobile app time is spent in games and Facebook. (more…)

What Can The Games Industry Teach Us About Effective Content Creation?

Posted Monday, September 22nd, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

gamingMost of you probably don’t know this, but I’ve been a gamer for most of my life. Ever since I picked up a controller at the tender age of five, I was hooked. Along with writing, video games have been a constant companion of mine through the years.

I haven’t just played, though. For the past decade or so, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the industry behind the games. And I’ve noticed something.

Gaming has changed.

It used to be that video games were very much a ‘niche’ pastime. only a very small, select camp of individuals had any interest whatsoever in gaming, and those who didn’t either ignored the hobby or derided it. It wasn’t seen as something ordinary people did - rather, it was an activity confined almost exclusively to those who lived on the fringes of society.

Then, seemingly overnight, video games got big. I wish I could point to one singular event, piece of tech, or individual that brought about this massive spike in popularity, but the truth is...there’s no simple answer as to how it happened. It was a whole combination of different factors - the popularity of the Internet and social media, the advent of the smartphone, and the ever-increasing budget backing AAA games are just a few.

Today, games appeal to a larger audience than ever before. (more…)

Spammy backlinks: What are they really? Do they matter?

Posted Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 in Search Engine Optimization by .

spamWe all think we know a spammy link when we see one, right?

A blog comment from somebody named "free cheap Nike shoe sneakers" is a spammy backlink.

An article that's been spun past the point of legibility and "published" in an "article directory" without human review is a spammy backlink.

But where do we draw the line between spam and promotion? Does Google, as a policy, even see a difference between the two?

Just as importantly, do spammy backlinks really matter? Should you be monitoring your link profile for spam, asking for links to be removed, or cleaning up after previous efforts?

The answer to all of these questions starts with one important insight, and that insight challenges a core assumption of many in the SEO community. (more…)

What Type Of Content Is Your Site Best Suited For?

Posted Monday, September 15th, 2014 in Content Marketing by .

For me, writing comes as easily as breathing. It’s something I’ve always done, ever since I was old enough to pick up a pen. Because of my incredible aptitude for the written word - and my admittedly poor capacity with other forms of media - deciding what sort of content would be the best fit for my site seems a rather easy choice, no? It’s whatever comes most naturally.

That answer doesn’t necessarily work for everyone though - or even for me, really. See, what I’ve written above paints a remarkably simplistic picture of website management and optimization. While it’s certainly true that you should stick to whatever format you’re most skilled at working with, there’s also something to be said for branching out and trying something outside your comfort zone - particularly if it’ll improve your site and increase your readership. (more…)

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