Google transformed the face of retargeting for online businesses this June with the release of Google Dynamic Remarketing, making retargeting specific to user search available to retailers of all sizes. Here are five best practices for retailers.
I frequently conduct case studies to identify improvement opportunities for Bing Ads products. Through my analyses I noticed a set of distinguishing characteristics shared by high-performing campaigns, dominant in their vertical market in impressions…(read more)
As explained previously , we’ve started the PPC Back to Basics blog series to help assist those new to PPC, new to Bing Ads and those who just want to sharpen their PPC skills. In this post, we’ll focus on the budgeting functionality, available…(read more)
Serving your customers is important. In the big scheme of things, it’s one of the most important factors that will determine your success. And while most people think they know where their customers come from, they are often surprised to learn how many “international” visitors their site gets. In some cases, businesses even make statements such as “65% of my visitors are from <insert country here> and I only focus on them…”
This is a recipe for disaster, as you may easily miss a growing trend that could have a positive impact on your business.
And just offering stand-alone translation services is nothing new. In fact, the Microsoft Translator was a leader early on by offering the ability for your visitors to offer refinements and feedback on the provided translations. This could be an advantage with a growing visitor base in many areas where personal connections and relationships matter a great deal in business.
Today, however, it’s easier than ever to serve almost everyone who visits your website. Being able to allow a visitor to translate your content into their language of choice can pay dividends in terms of sales, traffic, links, sharing and ultimately, even impact rankings.
Previously, you had access to both the Bing Translator and the Microsoft Translator widgets, which offered some limited customization and an excellent translation service. Bing Webmaster Tools is now an integral part of this great self-help service. The Bing Translator widget has been revised, improved and is now in a consolidated location fully ready to serve your translation needs.
From one location, now, you can access any easy to work with, simple to install, robust and reliable translation widget. Install this on your site and allow any visitor to select a language of their choosing to view your content.
One very useful feature is the ability to enable community management of translations. By turning this on, you can approve/reject translations, and invite others you trust to help with moderating. You can also launch the webmaster translation dashboard, from where you can invite friends or translators or moderate the translations in bulk.
This is an excellent way to help get clearer input from your own community of visitors, and directly from experts in a given language.
If you visit our main help section and originate from a location/language other than English, you’ll see the widget embedded in the lower left, ready to translate the content on the page into English for you. You’ll still see the widget embedded if you visit already configured to view English, but there is no translation needed, obviously.
by Jayson DeMers
According to the 2012 B2B Content Marketing: Benchmarks,
Budgets and Trends report
by the Content Marketing Institute, “nine out of ten Business to Business
marketers are using content marketing to grow their businesses.” Ninety percent
is a pretty big number to prove that content marketing is without a doubt the
most important marketing strategy of the near future.
But like any other type of marketing technique, many people
say they have a content marketing strategy, yet actually have a hard time
defining the term in-depth. Some might kick back a definition they found on the
web, like the one from the Content
Marketing Institute that states,
“Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating
and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage
a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of
driving profitable customer action.”
Now ask them how they are measuring the success of their
content marketing efforts, and most won’t have a clear answer. This is often because
they don’t fully understand what they want content to actually do for them.
Decide Where You Are
Before you begin to think about what makes content marketing
successful, you have to determine what you want your content to do for you. Are
you looking for it to:
- Help you build your brand’s reputation?
- Increase traffic?
- Build a social presence?
- Increase sales and conversions?
When you what you need your content to do, you can start
thinking more about measuring its effectiveness.
Measuring success can run the spectrum of complexity. You
can simply say you want traffic to increase 30 percent within three months of
starting your company blog. There you have a measurable goal in a defined time
period spelled out in easy terms. But what if you want more? Do you know what
other metrics can be used to see how well your content is working for you?
In order to increase revenue, your business needs to
increase conversions. But to look at conversions as sales alone is too narrow.
Conversions can be sales, but they can also be defined as lead captures,
Facebook likes, and much more. To increase conversions, you have to convince people
to take some sort of action.
Content can be used to convince people to take an action.
Trading an e-book or a white paper for contact information is an example of a
successful conversion. Someone wants that information and they are willing to
pay, by giving their email address, for it. This is an example of successful
Decide how you want your content to work to increase
conversions. Set measureable and realistic goals and then test to see which
types of content and which landing pages produce the best results.
Search Engine Success
Everyone who has a website wants to rank well in the search
engine results pages. Time and time again, Google has stated that the way to
improve rankings is to simply publish high-quality content.
On their blog, Salesforce
noted that blogs result in websites having 434% more indexed pages. So,
companies that blog regularly have a much wider net, as far as the search
engines are concerned, since each indexed page provides for one more
opportunity to rank on the coveted first page.
But this isn’t limited to blogs. Any type of content that
readers find valuable will help increase your search engine visibility. Spend
some time looking at your rankings and see how well your blog posts do compared
to your home page. Look for which content gives you the best results and work
to create more of it.
Content that doesn’t rank well can be a useful measurement
tool as well. See what’s causing the poor rankings by testing that content.
Make changes until you get it right and when you find what makes it a success
remember that adjustment in the future.
With so many social sites, marketers can easily be overtaken
by an avalanche of data from measuring likes, favorites, shares, mentions, Google
+1′s, etc. While overwhelming, these metrics can measure how effective your
content is in the social space.
However, taking this measurement one step further can really
give you insight into how well your content is performing. Instead of looking
at only the numbers, look at the quality of shares you are getting. What type
of people are sharing your content and with whom? And most importantly, are
these people converting?
Some types of content will typically find its way to more
people. List posts and infographics are generally more popular, and receive
more social chatter (which translates to improved
rankings via social signals) than most other types of content. However
stack this against something like a white paper that may receive less social
traction, but increase conversions and bring in more qualified leads. In this
instance, which would you rather have?
The last metric you should consider is how much your content
marketing strategy is costing you. If you’re doing everything in house, take
into account the time your employees or staff are spending on creating content
and getting it in front of readers. If you’re outsourcing your content, tally
up the dollars spent to see what the real numbers are.
Success is often measured by how much more revenue you bring
in as a result of content marketing, compared to how much you spend (ROI). But
with a content marketing campaign, it can be difficult to draw specific
conclusions or insight. This is because content marketing results in more than
just direct revenue; it also builds your brand credibility, trustworthiness,
and loyalty. All these things are a sort of business equity that can’t directly
be measured in dollars.
Seeing the end results of your content marketing campaign
will take months or even years. How long depends on variables such as your
industry, the amount of time and money spent on your content marketing campaign,
your content marketing strategy, how well the strategy was executed, your
social media presence and integration
with your content strategy, and of course the quality of the content you
But just because it takes time to see the end results, it
doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep a vigilant eye on these metrics throughout
the course of your campaign. Test the effectiveness of your content against
other mediums to see which ones will help you reach your end goals. Create what
works for you and fix that which isn’t getting any traction.
In the years to come, content is going to continue to be at
the front and center of the marketing world. Build a foundation today so you
won’t find yourself playing catch up tomorrow.
Be sure and visit our small business news site.
Posted by iPullRank
With best practices for link building continuously changing, it can be difficult to keep track of which work well and which should be removed from our repertoire. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Michael King (a.k.a. @iPullRank) makes a case for dropping some tactics in favor of others.
WBF Heart to Heart about Link Building – Michael King
For reference, here is a still image of this week’s whiteboard:
Greetings and salutations, SEOmoz fans. My name is Michael King, a.k.a. iPullRank. I’m the Director of Inbound Marketing at iAcquire. It’s been a minute, but I’m back.
So today I really want to have a heart to heart about link building with everyone in the viewing viewership. Here’s the thing, guys. I’ve been telling you about tactics that I employ that I have a lot of success with, and it’s not that you’re not doing them. It’s that the ones that you are doing, you’re continuing to just run into the ground.
Now, let’s talk about that for a second. So these are emails that I get all the time where people are like, “Hey, I write guest posts. Do you want one?” They’ll send me a really generic guest post about SEO. I’m like, “Did you read my site?”
Now, I don’t react too kindly to that but real webmasters, like the guys who have blogs and they’re trying to live off of this, when they see emails like that, they’re going to get pissed at you. So stop doing that. Stop it. Stop it. I’m tired of those things.
Now, a lot of times you guys are outsourcing all this writing to just random people. You’re using WriterAccess, or there’s another one that just gives you really low quality stuff. Stop it. Use Contently. It’s actually really awesome. They have some subject matter experts. They have people that write for Mashable, things of that nature. So if you want to get some high quality content that’s actually going to stick, you’re going to have to pay some money for it. Quality needs to be a main KPI here, because if you’re doing these garbage guest posts, it’s just not going to work.
Now, infographics, everybody’s doing infographics now too because you’re like, “Okay, well, the guest posting isn’t really working for me. What else can we do?” Here’s the thing, we’re actually doing an infographic study right now where we’re analyzing thousands of infographics, trying to get a sense of what works and what doesn’t. What we’ve noticed is bad infographics are three times as likely to have links. Excuse me, not three times as likely, but they are linked to three times as much.
Now, we’ve also noticed that the quality of them is kind of indicative of what you can get from an SEO company. Now, I don’t have a Ph.D., nor is Raleigh who worked on this. He also doesn’t have a Ph.D. The people at Google, they all have Ph.D.’s. So if I can figure that out, they’re probably going to figure that out pretty soon too. So please stop doing that.
Now, a good pro tip about infographics, we noticed during this study that if you have the scrolling share bar on the left, you’re 45% more likely to get shares. I think I said that wrong again, but those infographics have 45% more shares than the ones that don’t have them there. Got it? Got it.
Now, back to the guest posting for a second. A lot of you guys out there are just putting your links in the author box. Not a good idea for two reasons. One, it’s clearly spammy. Two, you’re creating an easily findable footprint. I can take your author box profile, throw it into Google, and I see 560 guest posts that you did. Now I can easily recreate that. Stop doing that. What you should do instead is do environmental linking, because that way, one, it’s harder to figure out exactly what you’re trying to link to, and you’re not creating that same type of footprint.
So environmental linking looks like this. You have three links scattered throughout the copy, and they’re all to disparate sources so it’s harder to tell which link you were going after. Now if you have a really specific page for your actual link, make sure you don’t just put like NFL.com for the other link. You need to make sure that this environmental linking makes sense, so that way you don’t create an easy to find footprint. But again, guest posting, if you have to, go for it, but I would rather you guys stop running that into the ground.
Okay. Now some stuff that you should do. Have real conversations with webmasters. I always say this, but one of the easiest ways to have a compelling conversation with somebody is to put their site in the Social Crawlytics and see what is the most shared post on their site. The reason why that works is because so many people are sharing this content, they’re expecting that other people are going to reach out to them and talk to them about it. So it’s not as much of a cold call as when you’re like, “Hey, I write guest posts. Do you want one?” No, you’re having a contextual conversation. So go with that. That’s probably the best tip I can give you at all about link building.
Then I did a Whiteboard Friday – it was actually my first one – about a year and a half ago, and I talked to you about how to build links using social media. You should probably check that one out again. But what we continue to notice is that having a first touch in social media is, again, way more effective than just sending out emails. So just jump into a conversation with a prospect. SEOmoz’s Followerwonk is great for that. You just type in the keywords of the people that are relevant, and then you can just hop into a conversation with them. Do that. It works.
Blog contests, they work two ways. They work not only from the standpoint of getting links by having people post content on your site and then get them to promote it, and then they can win that contest based on the number of shares, whoever gets the highest shares. But they also work from a standpoint of getting people to place that content on their own sites and link back to you. So there are two ways you can go with that. You can use blog contests as ways to get content or ways to just get links. So they’re really effective, and that way you can just give one prize and you get tons of links from tons of people. Go for it.
Now, using ads to build links is actually really effective as well. Carson Ward from Distilled wrote a post about this where he tried out using Reddit ads and Facebook ads, paid search ads, and he saw that it was really effective. So when you have a good piece of data visualization, that’s a great way to kick that thing off using StumbleUpon paid discovery is a good way to get a lot of people that are interested in that vertical or that space to see it. If it’s a good piece of content, you’re going to see tons of shares, and you’re going to see some links as well. So I wouldn’t bet the farm on using ads for links, but it’s a good way to supplement whatever you’re doing. So go with that.
Thought leadership, obviously you come to SEOmoz. You know thought leadership works. It’s what I’m doing right now. This post, regardless of how good it is, the one that you’re looking at right now is probably going to get 300 links because of the fact that at least 300 sites scrape SEOmoz every time they put something up. So if you build up yourself or your brand as that thought leader, you’re going to continue to get links just from hitting Publish, like Rand always says. So go for that.
Credit requests, so if you have a ton of high-res photos on your site, do a reverse image search and see who’s stolen your photos. Ask for credit. It works really well. You can even also use this for your logo. If you’re working with a pretty big business, throw their logo on a reverse image search. Tons of people are placing it all over the place. Ask for the credit or ask for the link. It works really well. It’s easy. Some people actually also use the threatening legal action if they don’t get credit. I don’t go that far, but it works.
BuiltWith.com, so sites use a variety of vendors. So put their domain into BuiltWith.com, see what vendors they’re using, what products they’re using, and then reach out to those companies to do case studies. I actually just did this recently with a pretty large brand. We did a webinar for them. The reason why I’m saying that is you should make sure that these people will offer you a link. We got links out of it, but their company policy is don’t pass equity with those links. So they do a pass through and a no follow. So make sure that if the link is the goal, that they will actually offer that link. But it’s really effective as well.
Link begging, a ton of people think that doesn’t work anymore. It works like magic. In fact, if you do persona-based link begging, it’s a lot more effective because if you build a persona of the people that you’re going to be reaching out to and you figure out what it is that they actually like, what they’re into, you can craft a canned message that’s going to resonate with them a lot more than just a, “Hey, I saw you mention this word. Can you link to my site?” So if you say something to the effect of, “Oh hey, I was watching the Discovery Channel the other day,” because you know they like it, “and I saw this awesome thing, and in fact on my site I have something that’s relevant to that too. I noticed that you were also into this. Why don’t you link to this because I think your subscriber base might be really interested in it?” It actually works really well, and it still does in 2013. Try it.
Share monitoring, so if you have a piece of content that’s doing really well on Twitter, yeah, Twitter mostly, throw it into Topsy.com and then you can see all the people that shared it. Then what you say is, “If you like it, then you should have put a link on it.” I’ll let you laugh at that right now.
Anyway, so you’ll just quickly identify people that have shared your content, ask for a link because they already like the content, and it’s real easy to figure out if these people are worthwhile because you can just pull down their Twitter profiles, again using Followerwonk, and figure out if they have sites or not. Then you can also use social authority and domain authority in context to figure out whether or not that’s a worthwhile prospect. So share monitoring works awesome.
Mention monitoring, so you guys, I hope you know about the Fresh Web Explorer by now because it’s a great tool. You can monitor mentions of your name. You can monitor mentions of anything. So you can quickly identify sites that have mentioned the keywords and then reach out to those sites and say, “Hey, can I get a link because you mentioned me,” or whatever it is. Go for it. It’s great for reputation management, especially if you’re looking for names.
Broken resource recreation, everybody talks about broken link building. I don’t know how much they talk about recreating something that used to exist on the web that’s no longer there. We actually built the BrokenLinkIndex.com just for that purpose. So you can search by keywords to identify things that no longer exist on the web and then go to the Wayback Machine to see what it used to be and then create a better version of it. Then what you do is you look at that original resource in Open Site Explorer to see how many links it has, reach out to all those people that are still linking to it, say, “Hey, this is gone, but I have a new version that’s even better. Why don’t you link to that?” Incredibly effective.
Video outreach, something I came up with myself. There’s a tool called Vsnap.com, and what it allows you to do is send a one minute video to anybody for any reason. The thing that’s awesome about it is you get a view count as well, so you’ll know when they’ve watched your video. So use that for link building. Again, start with checking out somebody’s site and having a conversation. Send a short video to them. They see that you’re real. They see that you’re not some random guy in India. No disrespect to the people in India. But they see that you’re a real person that’s actually out here, putting together good content. You can quickly build a relationship with them, and you can see whether or not they actually got your email.
Have rebuttals. Rebuttals are something I never really thought about in link building. I just always assumed that if they said no, whatever, keep it moving. But our team in Arizona has actually developed a really strong system of rebuttals. So in the case when somebody will say, “Oh, we only put up links for payment” or something to that effect or, “We only put up articles for payment,” we really focus our messaging or our response or our rebuttal to say, “We don’t pay publishers for this, but we do really focus on content strategy. We also focus on promoting the content once you place it.” So make sure you have rebuttals that show why the content that you’re placing with these people is valuable and how you can continue to add value to their site.
A lot of people that you reach out to, especially for guest posting, they have pretty dormant sites they haven’t updated it in a year. You can focus on the freshness that you’re bringing to their site and how it’s going to continue to bring traffic back.
My whole point here is that make sure you have a good system of rebuttals because you might lose out on opportunities that could have easily been shifted into opportunities that you might have thought weren’t.
So to close this off, I actually thought to do this because I’m in the middle of doing a really big analysis of all the link building we’ve done in the last year, also this infographic study, so look out for those things because there’s going to be even more insights in there for you.
That’s all I’ve got for today. I’ll catch you guys on the next one. I’m sure I’ll be back on the blog soon. We’ve been doing a lot of cool research. Can’t wait to share it for you guys. All right, guys.
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