The Blog

John Mueller Says Don't Build Links, Confuses Everybody

Posted Monday, February 16th, 2015 in Link Building by .

link graphAm I the only one who thinks these Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangouts are doing more harm than good?

Unlike the carefully-planned, carefully-worded webmaster videos of old, the hangout format just keeps leading us down a familiar path:

  • Webmaster asks question about contentious SEO subject
  • Mueller offers dismissive, short, uninformative response
  • SEO news sites publish said uninformative response with clickbait title
  • Commenters respond with snark and conspiracy theories
  • Uninformed webmasters make bad decisions based on uninformative responses from Google and misleading internet comments

Google's policy on links has been clear for a very long time: (more…)


What’s The Difference Between B2B And B2C Lead Generation?

Posted Monday, February 16th, 2015 in Content Marketing by .

a bookLet’s say you’re an inbound marketing firm. Your business is lead generation - which means that having a sound strategy for the capture of leads is integral to your success. Unfortunately, this is precisely where so many businesses run into trouble.

See, lead generation is among the most misunderstood marketing principles on the web. Way too many marketers make the mistaken assumption that there can be a one-size-fits all strategy; that they can easily capture leads for their brand simply by aping what someone else is doing. This, in turn, leads to a whole lot of wasted marketing dollars and wasted time.

The truth is that, when you’re setting out to generate leads, the type of customer you target matters every bit as much as your industry and brand. An inbound marketing firm that primarily deals with other businesses is going to capture leads in a different way than one that works with regular consumers, even if there are similarities. One Bird’s Chris Hokansson put it best, I think:

“B2B marketing and B2C marketing are like two different dog breeds,” he explains. “Sure, there’s a big difference between a German Shepherd and a poodle, but at the end of the day, they’re both dogs.”

“B2B and B2C marketing are both about people,” continues Hokansson. “But just as you wouldn’t handle a pit bull the same as you would a basset hound, B2B and B2C marketing demand different approaches.” (more…)


Creating Your Personal Brand

Posted Thursday, February 12th, 2015 in Marketing Strategy, Social Media Marketing by .

voiceIf you’re running your own business, you’re going to face a bunch of hurdles before you get off and running. But small businesses are becoming more prevalent and some of them can hold their own against large corporations. With so many new brands popping up, you need to stick out from all of the rest. An essential part of your marketing plan should be to establish your company’s personal brand.

If I mention a name like Buzzfeed, most people will not only recognize the name, but they’ll recognize the type of audience they cater to. That website makes me think of fast journalism, reaction gifs and pictures, and relatable pop culture references. It also makes me think of “clickbait,” but let’s not go there. The point is, they’ve branded themselves to be instantly recognizable and we as consumers know what to expect when going to their website.

Here are a few tips to help you create a successful personal brand for your company.

(more…)


January 2015's Best SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing

Posted Tuesday, February 10th, 2015 in Resource Roundups by .

snow daySo. Google has been quiet so far in 2015. Who wants to take odds on how long that's going to last? While there wasn't a ton of 'news' from the SEO industry this month (which is a good thing), there was no lack of great content for our first roundup of the year.  You can check out articles on mobile and UX, which are only becoming a bigger part of the SEO equation, or our response to a Rand Fishkin article on Moz.  The nice part about finding great content marketing content is that the subject matter demands a constant flow of more content, so you know we have you covered there. And finally, with many businesses still still figuring out how to harness the power of social, we rounded up a number of posts that offer guidance on doing just that. After all the recent snow around the country, we're sure you'll have some time to sit by the fire and catch up on what you missed from January. If you're looking for the same great content the rest of the year, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook. Enjoy! (more…)


Frequently Asked Questions About White Labeling

Posted Wednesday, February 4th, 2015 in Business Strategy, Marketing Strategy by .

root beerWhat is White Labeling?

A white-labeled product is something produced by one company and then sold under a brand name by somebody else. For example, "store brands" are almost always white-labeled products. A manufacturer with no consumer branding sells the product to the retailer, who can sell it for a higher price than the manufacturer due to their position in the marketplace.

Is White Labeling Your Services a Good Idea?

Short answer:

  • The primary reason not to white label your products or services is because it can make it difficult to get the word out about what you do.
  • The primary reason to white label your products or services is to capitalize on the branding and distribution channels of other brands.

Another way to answer the question is to ask yourself how similar your white label work is to the work of the brands you're selling to. For example:

  • It makes sense for computer part manufacturers to white label their services, because the work they do is very different from the branding and design work done by companies like Apple (although by now we're all aware of the humanitarian downside this kind of white-labeling can lead to).
  • It rarely makes sense for a marketing firm to white label their services, since they would be white labeling for other marketing agencies who do (or are supposed to do) essentially the same work. There are exceptions for more specialized work, of course, but this is the exception that proves the rule.

(more…)


Should You Design Your Content For Leads Or Demand?

Posted Monday, February 2nd, 2015 in Content Marketing by .

writingI’m going to start today’s piece off with a bit of revelation (though hopefully it’ll be old news to at least a few of you): lead generation and demand generation are not interchangeable terms. Although the two are doubtless closely related, they’re anything but identical - in spite of what many inbound marketing gurus might try to tell you. It’s a matter of focus.

“Lead generation and demand generation, often used interchangeably, are essentially at odds with each other,” explains Eric Wittlake of the Content Marketing Institute. “The problem is that demand generation is focused on shaping the audience’s perspective, while lead generation is focused on capturing their information.”

The two, Wittlake continues, cannot comfortably exist side by side in a content marketing plan.

The reason for this is simple - with demand generation, you’re looking to create content that reaches as many people as possible. You’re looking to create demand for your brand’s products or services; to raise awareness of your business with the larger market. In order to achieve this, you cannot gate your content - barriers to consumption run counter to what you’re actually trying to do. (more…)


Five Guaranteed Ways To Enrich Your Content (And Website)

Posted Monday, January 26th, 2015 in Content Marketing by .

fireworks“Content is king.” You’ve all heard the mantra by now. It’s a simple enough concept, really - the idea that if you create something awesome enough, your site’s naturally going to start attracting a following. Unfortunately, it’s a little bit more complicated in practice.

See, it isn’t enough to simply sit down and hammer out a few articles. Even if your writing’s incredibly entertaining to read, words can only do so much. What you need to do is enrich your content - do a bit of extra work to make it more engrossing and valuable to anyone who encounters it.

That’s what we’re here to talk about today. Here are five ways you can enrich both your website and the content you publish to it. Let’s get started. (more…)


Why Rand Fishkin is Very, VERY Wrong About Correlation

Posted Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 in Marketing Strategy, Search Engine Optimization by .

that would be great

...Okay, here we go...

Look, I don't like to pick internet fights for attention. I respect Rand Fishkin's opinions on a lot of things in the industry. I use Moz's little title tag tool practically every day. I've published posts at Moz. But there are times when an idea gets perpetuated and it just has to be put to a stop. What follows isn't about Rand, or Moz. Heck, in my opinion, it's also much, much bigger than a misconception in the SEO community.

So, Rand just published this blog post today, and in it he says this:

Today I'm going to make a crazy claim—that in modern SEO, there are times, situations, and types of analyses where correlation is actually MORE interesting and useful than causality.

Alright. A lot of interesting things come from correlation studies. They are a good jumping off point. They can tell us where causality might exist. But he is so very, very dead wrong about correlation ever being more interesting or useful than causality.

To give Rand his fair treatment, let me summarize the point of his blog post: SEOs should sometimes spend more time thinking about what Google is trying to rank, rather than specifically how. I want to be 100% clear before I move on: I don't disagree with that point. What I disagree with is what appears to be a fundamental misunderstanding of the differences between causation and correlation. I'm not just throwing an academic conniption fit here, either, and here's why. (more…)


Why Aggregators Should Fit Into Every Content Marketing Strategy

Posted Monday, January 19th, 2015 in Content Marketing by .

bulletin boardLadies and gentlemen, today we’re going to talk about the New York Times Innovation Report - and the bearing it has on content marketing.

Published a few months ago, the staggering 97-page paper details print media’s struggle - in particular, the struggle of the New York Times -  to remain relevant on the modern web as the way we consume and engage with content continues to shift and evolve.

If you’d like, you can read the whole document here.

You don’t really need to, though. The insights and revelations contained in the report shouldn’t prove entirely groundbreaking to anyone who’s been paying a great deal of attention to content creation strategies over the past few years. After all, it’s really just telling us what we already know - the way in which we discover content has undergone a fundamental change, and any content marketers who fail to address or understand this change are destined for failure.

It’s a change that’s as tightly bound up in the core of the social network as it is with content aggregation sites. (more…)


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

Posted Monday, January 12th, 2015 in Resource Roundups by .

simpsonsSEO, social media, and content marketing are constantly evolving to almost the point of ridiculousness. Whether it's Google coming out with a new algorithm update, a never-ending onslaught of new technologies to adapt to, or just trying to keep up with what's cool, inbound marketers always have their work cut out for them as they start a new year. So why should 2015 be any different? Each month we like to round up the best content from the previous thirty days, and you'll definitely see that December's best had a focus on changes to make for the year ahead.  Check out what you missed when you have a moment, and if you're looking for the same great content the rest of the month, join us on Twitter, Google +, or Facebook in 2015. Enjoy! (more…)


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