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Along with surviving Google updates and algorithm changes, we also have to contend with changes happening within our social platforms. Facebook previously made use of Edgerank as a means to calculating what you were shown in your news feed. This was ousted a few years ago and replaced with a News Feed ranking algorithm, that - incidentally - was updated on the 2nd of December 2013. The update or change seemed to have affected the reach and engagement of many Facebook pages being used to represent brands and businesses. With many people using Facebook as the personal means to reach their consumers, this could obviously prove detrimental.
Your Facebook reach is a figure that represents how many people actually saw your post; whether that be from organic means or through a paid advertisement. The engagement is a figure that represents how many people actually interacted with your post by clicking, liking, reading, sharing or commenting. Both of these figures are considered when it comes to Facebook's algorithm and their results could mean the difference between your content being more visible and readily available on people's news feeds, or being kept in a dark corner for no-one to see.
If the SEO industry had plans of a drama-free January, Matt Cutts put that idea to rest less than two weeks ago when he fired off the blog post heard round the world. The reactions to this post were wide-ranging, from the apocalyptic "SEO is dead" variety to the more welcoming "this has been coming for a long time" type. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, the fact remains that guest blogging is just one element of a successful business growth strategy that should include a blend of social media, SEO, and content marketing. In that spirit, we've gathered up a number of SEO, social media, and content marketing articles from January that we think you'll find useful. If you want more, feel free to follow us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook the rest of the year.
Last week, lyrics-annotation site Rap Genius made headlines for a major Google no-no. The startup was accused of sending spammy emails asking bloggers to insert Rap Genius links into their sites in hopes of ranking higher on Google's algorithm for organic search.
Is having an active Google+ profile and linking it to the content you post online, an identity-verification process known as Google Authorship, worth the effort? (more…)
According to a recent joint study by Forbes and Adobe, 53 percent of marketers are currently designing and deploying apps. Realizing that mobile internet usage could possibly outpace desktop usage by the end of 2014, marketers are furiously refurbishing their content marketing strategies to adapt to the change. There’s just one problem.
Marketers are completely and utterly missing the point of apps.
Let’s take a look at why, and how you can leverage this knowledge to blow your competitors out of the park. (more…)
In 2013, we saw a massive rise in guest posting, to the point where it became the next lucrative avenue in making money fast. Service providers started charging big money to host content on their high profile sites, all for a little link back in return. While the web became inundated with guest posts and content marketing efforts, and Matt Cutts did warn how attempts to abuse this system would be penalized, the fact is that it is still a great method of spreading the reach of your site and receiving great quality inbound links.
While countless articles have been written about how best to approach guest posting and content marketing, one of the best and most in-depth I've read was featured recently on moz.com. Written by Matthew Barby (I do think he's somewhat of a genius) it was a good 12 pages worth of exceptional content marketing insight and awesome tools, links and further reading. I've taken the highlights of his article specifically related to finding the right authors, but I do recommend you read article in full, when you have some time.
Gasp! Matt Cutts has signaled the end of guest posting forever. SEO is doooomed:
Okay, I’m calling it: if you’re using guest blogging as a way to gain links in 2014, you should probably stop. Why? Because over time it’s become a more and more spammy practice, and if you’re doing a lot of guest blogging then you’re hanging out with really bad company.
Well, except for the almost immediate backpedaling he posted in an update:
I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.
Oh, good, so we can just go on as usual then, right?
Well, if you’re like most SEOs (and SEOs in content marketing clothing) then no, no you cannot. Because what Matt Cutts is really saying is that an update is coming, and a healthy portion of SEOs are going to lose rankings that they built with guest posts.
And you should have seen it coming a long time ago, because link building for SEO has always been against Google’s terms of service.
Ahem…no, that doesn’t mean SEO is dead, it doesn’t mean that guest blogging is dead, and it doesn’t mean link building is dead.
Here, let me explain. (more…)
Now that we’re all fully immersed in the fact that keyword data is gone forever, we can get on with our lives and start planning other means to getting our content found on the web, organically. As previously discussed in our Content vs Keywords article, we shouldn’t be negating keywords completely, even though we cannot prove their effectiveness. If you think about how people search for stuff on the web, they will always be using keywords and search engines in order to find content that speaks to their queries. Once we’ve interpreted what the user is searching for by matching their intent, we can convert those keywords into concepts and ideas for content.
If you think about every page of a website, every blog post and article, each one has a purpose; each one has context. This is the gist of our planning now as we look further into the substance of each article and less into the words that people would use to define it.
Sometime in 2011, the SEO industry started to shift gears. Maybe it was fallout from Panda. Maybe the agencies had plateaued, realized they needed to appeal to business professionals who would never find out about search engine optimization on their own. It was around this time that the phrase “content marketing” started to make its way into the industry.
I believe that content marketing skills are useful for SEOs, and I believe that SEO skills complement content marketing very nicely. But, as I’ve briefly mentioned before, there’s a real danger in conflating these terms with each other. They are not the same thing.
Have you convinced yourself that you’re a content marketer? If so, let me ask you this: would your content marketing strategy be profitable without the blessing of search engine traffic? Would it be worth the effort if every link you earned from your efforts were no-followed? Would you have an audience tomorrow if Google decided to ignore all of your content marketing efforts?
If not, you’re not a content marketer, and you need to stop lying to yourself. (more…)
While these may not come as a surprise, it’s always nice to remember where our marketing efforts should be heading. Consideration, at least, should be paid to the mobile market, specifically when it is growing at its current pace. According to an infographic published last year on Digital Buzz, the global adoption of smartphones has risen from 35% in May 2011, to 46% in February 2012, to 56% in May 2013. That’s at least a 10% increase with every passing year, and you can pretty much guarantee we’ll see similar growth in 2014.
According to IDC, there was a projected 1 billion smartphones shipped in 2013. With just over 7 billion people roaming the Earth, that’s a massive chunk of users who could be online daily, on their mobile phones, searching for your products. Choosing not to include them in your marketing efforts could be to your detriment.
With that in mind, here are four predictions for mobile inspired by Carin van Vuuren’s recent post on econsultancy.
It’s quite obvious what with the previous statistics and the growth patterns in mobile use, but 2014 is certainly going to be mobile’s biggest year yet. If you haven’t considered mobile in your marketing ideas, there is still time to do so, because this year is when you’re going to witness the largest impact. We’re going to see more brands tying mobile in with other mediums, similar to the way Party City incorporated and encouraged crowd-sourced content from their users within their stores for Halloween. Integration between offline and online stores will be even more prevalent as brands get clever with the ways they use mobile to connect people to their products. According to Carin’s post, shoppers are using their mobile phones when they shop offline in land-based shops: “70% of in-store shoppers in the US have their smartphones on them, and 30% actually have them in their hands while they browse.”
With increased connectivity, we also receive and experience faster bandwidths, download times and overarching experiences. Users are impatient, they want to receive and share information quickly and smoothly and we’re going to see more of this need for speed as our Wi-Fi connections improve. The need for developing content that is quick and easy to load on your mobile phone is imperative. Specifically when mobiles are usually being used on the move when there’s little time to wait for images and pages to load.
If you consider the need for speed and the fact that mobile users are usually browsing on the move, you have a small window of opportunity to get it right and make app seem like the wonderful piece of development prowess that it is. There is serious competition and the app market is flooded. Don’t waste your time creating variations of an idea. Find one really incredible idea for an app that speaks to your brand or products, make it brilliant and make it work. With apps being rated by users every day, you need to ensure that yours receives in the region of four or more stars to even keep your head above water.
While a large percentage of digitally savvy people are still unsure about trusting the security of making mobile wallet payments, many are all for the idea and growth is expected in this area in 2014. There are a number of mobile wallets available already that allow users to transfer sums of money from a “wallet” stored on their mobile phone to pay for certain transactions. Still, people are skeptical due to security reasons so it’s not necessarily a prediction but something to keep an eye out for.
Others you’d like to add to this list? Let us know… how are you incorporating mobile into your marketing initiatives in 2014?
Despite rampant claims that social signals influence search results, the fact remains that Google can’t crawl Facebook share data, and its ability to crawl Twitter is unreliable at best. In August 2013, dramatic correlations between rankings and +1s had a huge portion of the SEO community convinced that +1s influenced rankings, but Matt Cutts quickly squashed this myth:
Just trying to decide the politest way to debunk the idea that more Google +1s lead to higher Google web rankings. Let's start with correlation != causation: http://xkcd.com/552/
But it would probably be better to point to this 2011 post (also from SEOMoz/Moz) from two years ago in which a similar claim was made about Facebook shares: http://moz.com/blog/does-google-use-facebook-shares-to-influ... . From that blog post from two years ago: "One of the most interesting findings from our 2011 Ranking Factors analysis was the high correlation between Facebook shares and Google US search position."
This all came to a head at the SMX Advanced search conference in 2011 where Rand Fishkin presented his claims. I did a polite debunk of the idea that Google used Facebook shares in our web ranking at the conference, leading to this section in the 2011 blog post: "Rand pointed out that Google does have some access to Facebook data overall and set up a small-scale test to determine if Google would index content that was solely shared on Facebook. To date, that page has not been indexed, despite having quite a few shares (64 according to the OpenGraph)."
If you make compelling content, people will link to it, like it, share it on Facebook, +1 it, etc. But that doesn't mean that Google is using those signals in our ranking.
Rather than chasing +1s of content, your time is much better spent making great content.
Since, then, SEOs have (mostly) switched from claiming that social signals influence rankings, to saying that they will start doing it in the not too distant future.
I may be in the minority on this, but I don’t expect Google to start using social signals as a direct ranking factor any time soon. Let’s talk about why, and what they’re doing instead. (more…)
Your product is only part of what you’re selling to your users. The other parts belong to the overall user experience and the service included in before, during and after purchase. For the purposes of this article, we are encompassing the last three items into one “experience”. The product and experience need to work together to create sales, but the quantities of each vary according to which needs extra amplification. An average product can use additional experience related promotion to boost sales, whereas a product that sells itself won’t need to rely as much on the promotion factor.
By separating and defining the “product” and “experience” part of your offering, you’ll find it a lot easier to make improvements where necessary. Say for example you offer content writing services; these services would be your product. Your experience would be a number of different aspects that enhance the overall service offering.