August 2016

31- Aug2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl

Google Takes on Uber With New Ride-Share Service

Google is moving onto Uber Technologies Inc.’s turf with a ride-sharing service to help San Francisco commuters join carpools, a person familiar with the matter said, jumping into a booming but fiercely competitive market.

Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., began a pilot program around its California headquarters in May that enables several thousand area workers at specific firms to use the Waze app to connect with fellow commuters. It plans to open the program to all San Francisco-area Waze users this fall, the person said. Waze, which Google acquired in 2013, offers real-time driving directions based on information from other drivers.

Unlike Uber and its crosstown San Francisco rival Lyft Inc., which each largely operate as on-demand taxi businesses, Waze wants to connect riders with drivers who are already headed in the same direction. The company has said it aims to make fares low enough to discourage drivers from operating as taxi drivers. Waze’s current pilot program charges riders at most 54 cents a mile—less than most Uber and Lyft rides—and, for now, Google doesn’t take a fee.

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The company says it doesn’t believe Waze drivers’ income is taxable because it considers payments through its service effectively as money for gas.

Google’s push into ride-sharing could portend a clash with Uber, a seven-year-old private firm valued at roughly $68 billion that largely invented the concept of summoning a car with a smartphone app.
Google and Uber were once allies—Google invested $258 million in Uber in 2013—but more recently have become rivals in some areas. Alphabet executive David Drummond said on Monday that he resigned from Uber’s board because of rising competition between the pair. Uber, which has long used Google’s mapping software for its ride-hailing service, recently began developing its own maps.

The two also are racing to develop driverless cars. Google has led the way with such technology, founding a project in 2009 that has now amassed more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous driving with its test cars. Uber earlier this month bought Ottomotto LLC, a six-month-old driverless-truck startup founded by Google veterans. Uber said it plans to start testing robotic taxis in Pittsburgh over the next several weeks, beating Google to a commercial test of self-driving technology.

Uber and Lyft declined to comment.


Waze is one part of Google’s larger ambitions to upend transportation. Google is considering testing its driverless cars in a ride-sharing service, people familiar with the matter said, and executives have identified that as a potential business model for its self-driving technology.

Waze’s path in new markets could mimic its development in Israel, where the company was founded, according to the person familiar with the matter. Google started testing a Waze carpool service there last year, and it quickly expanded. The service is now available at all hours in most parts of Israel.

In the San Francisco pilot, any local Waze user can sign up as a driver, but ridership is limited to roughly 25,000 San Francisco-area employees of several large firms, including Google, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. Riders are limited to two rides a day—intended to ferry them to and from work.

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Google’s Waze is moving into Uber and Lyft’s ride-sharing turf with plans to expand its own ride-sharing program in San Francisco. Photo: Getty Images
In the planned expansion, anyone with the Waze app in the San Francisco area could sign up to be a rider or driver, the person said. Though Google currently doesn’t collect a fee, the company is exploring different rates in Israel and San Francisco, the person familiar with the matter said.

Ben Schachter, an analyst at Macquarie Group Ltd., said a Waze ride-sharing service is a natural next step for Google, which has made clear its intentions to move into transportation. He warned that the company would need to navigate several potential pitfalls, including legal and safety questions.

“I don’t think they’ve had any significant experience in a lot of the issues that will surely arise around” starting a ride-sharing business, Mr. Schachter said.

Like Uber and Lyft, Waze’s drivers aren’t employees of the company, the person said. Unlike Uber, Google doesn’t plan to vet drivers for a Waze service, instead relying on user reviews to weed out problem drivers, the person said.

Waze, which operates as its own unit within Google, boasts 65 million active users, many of whom alert other users to police or traffic accidents—a hallmark of the app.

Robert Rickett, a 29-year-old nonprofit worker in Sacramento, Calif., said he uses Waze for navigation daily, particularly while driving for Lyft in the evenings. But he said he wouldn’t abandon Lyft for a Waze ride-hailing service, unless it offered him better opportunities as a driver.

Still, he noted Waze’s positive reputation among drivers is a big advantage—though he admitted he didn’t know Google owned the service.

“They have a lot of people who trust Waze,” he said while driving two Lyft passengers across the Bay Bridge into Oakland, Calif. “If they can capitalize on that, they could pull some market share.”

Source: Google Takes on Uber With New Ride-Share Service

29- Aug2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl

7 quick SEO hacks for the SEO newbie

Want some simple SEO tips that will help move the needle without breaking the bank? Columnist Stephan Spencer has seven for you.

Perhaps you believe that you already found the easy stuff, the “low-hanging fruit,” as it were: good keywords for your niche, optimized titles and body copy, an XML sitemap. Nevertheless, you can’t seem to break past your competitors in the Google SERPs for your most coveted keywords.

You may not have the time or resources right now to do an expensive site overhaul or to even commit to SEO long-term. You may only want a few simple tweaks that will help move the needle.

Well, look no further. You are in luck, because you won’t need years of SEO training for the following hacks. And these hacks also won’t cost you a lot of time or money to implement. You won’t even need to change significant parts of your site. Intrigued? Then let’s continue.

1. Distribute your home page’s link authority to your most important pages

Your home page naturally attracts more links than any other page of your site. A crucial part of your SEO strategy should be ensuring that link authority gets effectively directed from your home page to your most important subpages. While Google can render JavaScript and AJAX better than ever, your safest bet is plain HTML links.

You’ve probably already ensured that your most important category pages are included in the top nav. But how about including links to your most important products (or the ones that you most want to rank) in the body of the home page? If you don’t have product pages, then feature things like articles and landing pages in the body. Links in the body of a page will typically pass more link authority than navigational links, especially footer links.

Creating clear, prominent links is useful from a user experience standpoint as well, because it ensures people can easily find your best stuff quickly.

2. Stop using such huge images

At least half of the sites I audit have issues with very large images on the home page. Often, designers or content creators don’t consider the file size or resolution of an image before adding it to a page. They won’t reduce an image to the maximum size needed on the page, nor will they save it at an appropriate resolution.

A 600 dpi image that was “resized” to be tiny using the width and height attributes in an IMG tag isn’t merely lazy, it’s an affront to website visitors. A huge image (I’ve seen single images as large as 6 MB on a home page) can substantially slow down the time it takes for the page to load, hurting both your rankings and the user experience (and consequently, the site’s conversion rate).

It is incredibly easy to optimize that image to a more reasonable size and then re-upload it. This is probably the number one “quick hack” for improving your site speed.

Use a tool like WebPageTest to check the file sizes of all the elements on a page. (Or you can use the Developer Tools built into the Chrome browser if you’re a geek like me.) Check your images, and have your designers optimize them. Train the people who create and upload your content to get into the habit of checking image sizes before they publish anything.

3. Check that people aren’t linking to pages that 404

Look for URLs that are returning a 404 on your site and have external links pointed at them. Google Search Console gives you the ability to check the 404 pages on your site and see whether they are being linked to (and from where). If you have a externally linked page which returns a 404, prioritize fixing it ASAP, as you are squandering link authority every minute that remains unfixed. Recovering that link equity and/or traffic is a very easy “quick win.”

To do this in Google Search Console, go to Crawl > Crawl Errors > Not Found and click on each URL returning a 404. Google will usually sort the errors by the most to least important and the most important include the ones with external links. After clicking on a URL, select the “Linked From” tab and it will show you the URLs linking to the page in question. Make sure these 404 URLs are 301 redirected to the next most relevant URL on your site.


Google Search Console “Linked From” example

As you get more advanced at this type of link reclamation, you’ll probably also want to augment GSC with other link analysis tools, such as Link Research Tools’ Link Juice Recovery Tool andAhrefs’ Broken Links report. But we’ll save that for another time.

4. Leverage that microsite, article or video that’s not on your main site

Videos, articles and microsites can be a fantastic way to garner brand awareness and attention. However, if you’re hosting the content on others’ domains, then you may be wasting the SEO opportunity. Once the buzz has subsided, the content is hopefully left with great links. If those links are pointing somewhere other than to your main site, you’re not getting much SEO benefit.

Victoria’s Secret missed an opportunity when they got featured on the BuzzFeed front page for their article, “12 Things Women Do Every Day That Are Fearless,” because that article failed to link back to the website. Thus, all the inbound links solely benefited BuzzFeed. Unless brand awareness is your sole goal, at a minimum, you need a link to your site from the syndicated content.

The best option, however, from an SEO perspective, is to host that content on your own site. And even then, try to find ways to direct traffic and authority from that content to your most important landing pages and products.

5. Use forums and social hubs to uncover valuable keywords and topics before your competitors

Seize a valuable keyword even before your competitors take notice by monitoring conversations in social media and in forums within your niche. Notice a recurring mention or a recurring question? Find a way to work it into your site’s content or blog.

It will not only help you rank for that question or phrase, but it will also seat you in a position of authority by knowing the answers to the questions everyone has. Having that content first, before your competitors, can give you an advantage, not only in thought leadership, but in ranking and traffic as well.

Sometimes this will also uncover keywords that you wouldn’t imagine would relate to your product. For example, a baby furniture retailer could consider “baby names” as a valuable keyword to target, even though they have nothing to sell around that topic. If the topic is only tangentially related but is being searched on by your exact target market, consider including it in your content strategy.

6. Increase the visibility of your SERP listing with rich snippets

Which one of these would you rather click?

slackline set on Google Searchslackline kit on Google SearchSnippets are like putting a bow tie on a cute cat. Cute cats on their own are great, as are first-page listings. But put a bow tie on that kitty and you’ve got something that few can resist. Rich snippets are among my favorite SEO tactics. Coupled with a great, enticing meta description and title tag, they make your snippet stand out from the crowd. In this case, if you’re looking for the best slackline to give to your outdoorsy significant other, you are going to want to look for the listing that looks like it is an awesome product from a quality supplier.

Each rich snippet added to the SERP is an opportunity. The rating shows the searcher that this product is high-quality, as evidenced by pleased past buyers. The price and the “in stock” markers tell searchers what they need to know to invest in your quality product.

The extra product information and review stars naturally draw the user’s eye to your listing and increase your click-through rate. Rich snippets won’t increase your rankings, but for the rankings you already have, they will drive more visitors to your site.

7. Use link analysis tools to mine for your competitors’ best links

It’s common knowledge that authoritative links are critical to high Google rankings. Acquiring such links is where people get lost. One simple thing you can do is find hubs that link to multiple competitors. A hub is a site that links out to the major players within a niche. It could be a trade magazine, a review site, a blog or a forum. Identify such hubs with a tool like Majestic‘s “Clique Hunter” or SEOprofiler. Hubs are already linking to similar sites, so in all likelihood it won’t be a huge leap for them to link to you as well.

Search for the sites linking to your competitors, examine them to see which might link to you (Not all will make sense to approach), and reach out to them. This is probably the easiest link building you can do, as your competitors have already done the hard work of not only finding the sites, but also qualifying them as ones that will link to sites like yours.


Source: 7 quick SEO hacks for the SEO newbie

29- Aug2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl

How brands are jumping on the Pokémon Go bandwagon: the good and the bad | Search Engine Watch

Pokémon Go may not even have a worldwide release yet, as it’s only available in US, Australia and New Zealand, but it’s rapidly surpassing WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat in terms of usage.

Over the past few days, we’ve seen several examples of brands using Pokémon Go as a jump off, and I’m sure there’ll be many more. 

Not every mention was successful, so here we present the best and the worst mentions from Twitter.

The good…


Our favourite example comes from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and it raises awareness regarding the increased dangers of playing while driving.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 17.28.06

Whataburger in Texas and the Australian ME Bank were among the funniest and most relevant brand mentions we came across on social media, as they managed to skilfully blend their focus with the trend.

However, they were not the only ones:

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 18.19.08

If you’re playing then you should know, or bookshop is full of them! Come browse and catch them all!

Well played, Amazon.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Looks like the DZ house has a few new house mates! The phenomena is happening here!

We think Pokemon are like trains you’ve gotta catch ’em all! We’ve got Psyduck in the office….

The not so good…

Sometimes a brand should think twice before posting about a trending topic, as the expectations are already high and the competition even higher.

Only refer to a popular topic if you can really support it and be relevant to your audience, or else your message will be ignored, and even worse, it may be used as an example in posts like this 😉


The example above is not too bad, but it may be too direct for some consumers. If you had to target Pokémon users, it might have been a better idea to provide them free charging inside your shop, as a way to make them stay longer.

And of course, there are more examples of tweets that probably didn’t offer much of a value for the brands.

Countable: it’s like except not really and it lets you contact your lawmakers and understand legislation: 

Lure on the bike art outside Union Ladro! Come get your morning coffee &

Don’t forget to make a stop @7eleven and get your favorite drink while on the –> 7/11 Day

How to include Pokémon Go in your content strategy

Even if it’s not relevant for a brand, there is still a way to create appealing content for its audience, provided that there is the right connection.

Users will certainly appreciate a clever post, or a funny reference, but don’t expect that a popular topic can instantly boost the engagement of a post.

Some cases were not very successful, as they simply used a hashtag, or a reference to Pokémon Go to promote their own message, which usually doesn’t turn out to be very effective.

Make sure that the content you’re creating is a good fit for your audience and find ways to expand it or even discover new marketing opportunities.

For example, there is an interesting potential for local businesses to seize the trend of Pokémon Go and increase the business prospects.

Obsessed with ?! Our STL office is a Poke Stop and our KC office has one right next door! ??

Some businesses are already trying to promote their presence on the game, and it actually seems like a good idea, provided that they’re okay with having people around that may not necessarily end up being customers.

Do not hesitate to join the popular discussion if you feel that your brand can benefit from it. However, whether brands are aiming to engage with their users or increase brand awareness, context can make a difference.

Source: How brands are jumping on the Pokémon Go bandwagon: the good and the bad | Search Engine Watch

25- Aug2016
Posted By: Guardian Owl

Facebook is getting into the biggest trend in ad tech: header bidding

Header bidding gives Facebook another opportunity to chink away at Google’s monopoly of the online display ad market

It looks as though Facebook’s latest attempt to challenge Google in the online display ad market will be to get on board with the newest trend in ad tech — header bidding — according to The Information’s Cory Weinberg.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Information the tests were in an “early” stage. USA Today Sports Media Group general manager Chris Pirrone confirmed the publisher was working with Facebook’s Audience Network to implement the technology.

Header bidding is one of the ad tech industry’s big challenges to Google DoubleClick’s monopoly.

The technology essentially lets Google’s rivals jump to the front of the line in the contest for ad slots. It can help publishers get the best price for their ad inventory because header bidding technology allows multiple exchanges to compete with each other — and a publisher’s in-house sales team — driving up ad rates.

Before header bidding, many publishers used a tool within DoubleClick called “Dynamic Allocation,” which allowed Google’s ad exchange, AdX, to compete with their in-house sales teams.

The problem for the ad tech community is that they have to wait until after AdX had a look-in before they can compete for these ad slots. That greatly reduces their chances of winning in the auction that takes place for ad space in the time a user loads up a web page.

Ad tech companies created a hacky workaround — header bidding — which asks publishers to insert a piece of code in the header of their webpages, which sends out the ad request before AdX takes a look. Header bidding has proved hugely popular. A report from BI Intelligence published earlier this year suggested almost 70% of publishers have adopted header bidding technology, compared to almost zero two years ago. It has lessened many publishers’ reliance on Google by anywhere between 10% up to 70%, sources told Business Insider earlier this year.

Now Facebook wants in on that game in order to expand its Audience Network, which lets brands extend their Facebook ad campaigns to the rest of the web. Facebook said the Audience Network generated $1 billion in sales last year.

Facebook is testing header bidding implementation across mobile and video ads, according to The Information. The news comes three months after Facebook shut down LiveRail, the video ad exchange it acquired for a reported $400 million to $500 million, due to ad fraud, viewability, and integration issues.

AdAge reports Facebook is likely to launch its header bidding solution in September or October this year.

A source familiar with Facebook’s plans told AdAge: “Google is frankly very defensive because their position is being threatened. If you now amplify that by Facebook saying, ‘Hey, wait a second, look, there’s a chink in the armor. All these independent companies have found it, why don’t we do the same thing and bring our wallet to bear?’ We’re actually going to start to see an event that could at a very, very substantial level check the Google monopoly.”

In April, Google announced it was testing a product that many people saw as its answer to the growth of header bidding. Exchange Bidding in Dynamic Allocation (EBDA) allows third-party ad exchanges to compete with AdX within its Dynamic Allocation product.

However, as Business Insider reported earlier this month, many people within the ad tech and publishing industry think EBDA has a long way to go before it convinces anybody it benefits anyone except Google. Most of the sources we spoke to said a penned Q3 launch is likely to be delayed as a result.

Source: Facebook is getting into the biggest trend in ad tech: header bidding

24- Aug2016
Posted By: Mandy Jackson

Google is cracking down on mobile pop-up ads

Websites with mobile pop-up ads, watch out. Google is cracking down on the “intrusive” advertising by knocking down those pages in its search results, the company said Tuesday.

Any website that shows a pop-up ad that covers the site’s main content — whether right when the user gets to that page or while the user is on the page — will be ranked lower in Google’s search results. That applies to pop-ups users have to dismiss to continue onto a site, and advertisements that cover the top half of the page.

Google’s search engine drives millions of users a day to pages across the web, making it a powerful tool to attract visitors. Many websites rely on this traffic combined with display advertising — sometimes in the form of pop-ups or interstitials — to remain in business.

Now, Google is pushing websites to choose between a high search ranking and obtrusive but lucrative ads.

Google's examples of ads that will be penalized in mobile search results.

Google’s examples of ads that will be penalized in mobile search results.


Pop-ups that are part of a legal obligation — to verify a user’s age or notify about cookie use — won’t be penalized, nor will small banner ads.

The changes in search result ranking will take effect Jan. 10, 2017.

The new rules are applied specifically to mobile, where the ads are more problematic, Google says, because of smaller screens.

“Pages that show intrusive interstitials provide a poorer experience to users than other pages where content is immediately accessible. This can be problematic on mobile devices where screens are often smaller,” Google wrote in a blog post announcing the policy. “To improve the mobile search experience, after January 10, 2017, pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as highly.”

Many publishers use pop-up ads that require the user to answer a question, skip ahead to the main page or scroll past a half-screen ad on both desktop and mobile.

Even though the factor is only one among hundreds that determine search result ranking, the importance of Google results to nearly every site could be enough to encourage publishers to change the common practice.

As social takes up more of people’s time on their smartphones, Google is trying to make mobile better. Google’s “Accelerated Mobile Pages Project” tried that first, by paring down web pages to make them simpler and faster, similarly to Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Google is also eliminating a mobile-friendly label it introduced two years ago from its search results, now that 85 percent of pages meet the criteria to be considered mobile-friendly.

Websites with mobile pop-ups will be penalized in search results.

Source: Google is cracking down on mobile pop-up ads

23- Aug2016
Posted By: Mandy Jackson

SEO 101: Building An SEO Strategy (Part 1 Of 5) – Forbes

In part 1 of a 5-part series on SEO basics, we’ll introduce SEO, and walk you through best practices for starting a campaign.

There are many of you who have never heard of search engine optimization (SEO), and many of you who have that don’t have an accurate conception of what it entails or how it works. Accordingly, I’ve decided to create a 5-part series that introduces the strategy, and walks you through the best practices for building and managing a long-term campaign.

This is part one in the series, focused on helping you build an SEO strategy from scratch.

The SEO Overview

First, let’s examine SEO from a high-level perspective. SEO is a series of tactics used to help your site rank higher in Google (and other search engine) search results, thereby increasing your organic search visibility. This, in turn, will bring your site more traffic and sales. It’s a long-term strategy that requires consistent dedication to user experience and quality material. (This is a highly simplified definition, but it will serve our purposes).

SEO comprises many factors; there’s no one strategy or one pattern of action that can lead you to success. Instead, you’ll need to spend time planning and strategizing your campaign (the subject of this part of the series), and executing your strategy across four main areas (the future parts of this series):

1. On-site Optimization.

On-site optimization involves changing the technical structure and content of your website to make it accessible to search engines and optimized for your target keywords and phrases.

2. Ongoing Content Marketing.

This is an ongoing strategy to produce on-site content, which will help you rank for more keywords, build domain authority, and attract inbound links (which increase your domain and page authority even further).

3. Link Building and Off-site Optimization.

This is a strategy involving your off-site work, which includes manually building links that point back to your site, developing your reputation through off-site guest posts, and engaging in social media.

4. Measurement and Analysis.

Finally, you need to constantly measure your impact, evaluate your success, and adjust your strategy to get even better results.

There are two main things Google takes into consideration when ranking sites: a page’s authority and relevance. Its authority is a measure of how trustworthy the site is, which can be improved by acquiring more inbound links from external sources. Its relevance is determined by how appropriate the page is for a given user’s search query.

Most of your strategic development will be focused on the “relevance” side of things: figuring out who you’re targeting, how to target them, and how you’re going to achieve your goals (though authority will come into play as well).

Source: SEO 101: Building An SEO Strategy (Part 1 Of 5) – Forbes

23- Aug2016
Posted By: Mandy Jackson

How to find copyright free images with Google Image Search and other resources | Search Engine Watch


Whether maintaining a blog or a beloved long-running website, you will have likely run into problems with accidentally using copyrighted images.

It’s easy enough to do, there’s so much misinformation around fair-usage from country-to-country that it’s easy to assume you’ll be safe, but still end up with a huge invoice from Getty Images.

If you have fully paid-up access to an image provider or stock image library, then fantastic. But what if you’re just running a site with little-to-no revenue?

Or… what if you’re sick of seeing the same old lame stock photos of millennials taking selfies?

Images are a fantastic way to improve the readability of your posts and properly optimised images can also drive search traffic – you should definitely use them, even for the shortest articles.

Luckily there are many places you can find good quality images, which you can use for completely free.

Google image search – filter by usage rights

As I discussed in my post on optimising images for SEO, you can find unlicensed images directly on Google.

Just type your search query – today I’ll be looking for ‘cats that look like people’ because what the heck else is the internet good for…

google image search

Then click on Search Tools, then Usage Rights and select Labeled for Reuse.

google image search filter

It’s probably a good idea to then double-check that the image you’ve chosen is genuinely free to use. You can use a reverse image search like TinEye or ImageRaider to check any further usage rights.


Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr is a massive user-generated resource for photography, with many professionals and semi-professionals showcasing their work here.

You can search all the images by usage rights, and use any that are labelled with a Creative Commons licence.

You just have to make sure you give full credit and link to the Flickr profile of the person who took the photo.

There are various licences available, so make sure you double-check the details. Some photographers will only agree to their images being used for non-commercial purposes for instance.

Flickr Creative Commons


Unsplash images are all copyright free, you just need to credit and link to the photographer.

unsplash photography

Image by Denys Nevozhai

These are incredibly high-quality photos, so don’t be surprised if you see them crop up semi-regularly, but so far Unsplash seems to operate relatively under the radar.


Despite the name, Morguefile is a lovely place to visit and search for creative commons photography.

morguefile homepage

The quality is a bit more hit-and-miss on, but the search is easy to use, with handy filter options, and the free-to-use and premium images are clearly separated.

free images


Again, the quality is hit and miss on OpenPhoto, but its search tool will often surface some gems.

open photo

Create your own images

Alternatively, you could just create your own graphics, charts or infographics to make your posts more appealing.

You can look through our favourites here: 17 data visualisation tools. Many of these are free, and in the case of Piktochart, incredibly easy to use…



If you’re writing ‘how-to-guides’ you could take screenshots of anything on your computer screen.

There’s a Chrome extension called Awesome Screenshot that allows you to take screenshots of your browser window (either partial or the whole web page) very easily, and you can annotate the image before downloading it.

Or alternatively you can just press command+shift+4 on a Mac and use its own inbuilt screenshot tool.

Source: How to find copyright free images with Google Image Search and other resources | Search Engine Watch

23- Aug2016
Posted By: Mandy Jackson

What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?

Get started learning all about SEO from the industry’s most trusted source, Search Engine Land. Review basics of search engine optimization, ranking factors & more.

All major search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo have primary search results, where web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users. Payment isn’t involved, as it is with paid search ads.

VIDEO: SEO Explained

New to SEO? Start with this quick and easy to understand video about search engine optimization. It’ll quickly cover the basics:


Search Engine Land worked with Common Craft to produce the video, and they have many more great explainer videos like this in the Common Craft video library, so check that out.

More SEO Advice For Beginners

For more basic but also in-depth advice, our Periodic Table Of SEO Success Factors, shown below, introduces you to all the key concepts you need to know:
Periodic Table Of SEO
You can click on the table to view a larger version of it. You can download a copy to print for easy reference!

Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO

As a companion to the table, Search Engine Land’s Guide To SEO explains the ranking factors in more depth, in a tutorial providing tips and advice on implementing them.

Links to the entire guide are shown below (start at the beginning, and each page will take you to the next):

More SEO Guides & Books

Another excellent guide is Google’s “Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide.” This is a free PDF download that covers basic tips that Google provides to its own employees on how to get listed. You’ll find it here. Also well worth checking out is Moz’s “Beginner’s Guide To SEO,” which you’ll findhere, and the SEO Success Pyramid from Small Business Search Marketing.

Daily SEO News & Expert SEO Advice

In addition to daily news stories from our editorial staff, Search Engine Land publishes daily articles from expert contributors that cover SEO issues mainly from an in-the-trenches perspective.  Browse the SEO Channel for the most recent SEO news stories and expert columns, or sign up to receive all of our SEO related content via email.

Search Engine Land’s SEO Library

The SEO Library is an area within Search Engine Land that provides a collection of all stories we’ve written on the topic of SEO. We also have sub-categories, including:

Also see our related Link Building category and these sub-categories:

In addition to covering SEO generally, Search Engine Land also has search engine optimization areas specifically for each of the major search engines:

Also within our library is the How To: SEO section, which is devoted to practical tips and tactics about search engine optimization.

Get SEO News & Advice Delivered To Your Inbox

Subscribe to our weekly SEO and daily SearchCap newsletters for a recap of all the latest SEO related news, tips and tactics from Search Engine Land and other sources all over the Web.

Source: What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization?

23- Aug2016
Posted By: Mandy Jackson

7 Best Free SEO Tools for Startups

Finding great ways to cut costs without sacrificing the effectiveness of your SEO campaign can be a challenge. But without an endless marketing budget, you’ll need to look around for some great tools that will allow you to cut down on human labor and software costs, without sacrificing the quality of your work.

Luckily, the industry continues to develop, and companies are coming out with software to boost your SEO efforts, at no initial cost. You can use these tools for enhancing your strategies until you garner enough revenue to move on to bigger and better tools. But the reality is, you’ll probably like some of these tools so much, you’ll stick with them instead of moving on to something more expensive.

Without further ado, here’s a list of some of the most popular SEO tools in the industry.

1. Moz

Moz has a whole suite of SEO tools that you can try for free. After the trial ends, you’ll need to pay to keep some features, but others will continue working for you at no cost. These tools include keyword tracking, ranking monitoring, on-page optimizations, and link tracking, just to name a few.

2. Rocket Ranking

For an all-encompassing SEO solution, try Rocket Ranking, the tool that helps small businesses and startups increase their website traffic daily. With their on-page SEO optimizer, keyword profit calculator, SEO backlink builder, SEO backlink counter, and social media like and follow tool, small businesses are able to gain the social clout and recognition necessary to move up in the rankings. It starts out completely free, and then can be upgraded quarterly for a very small fee.

3. MergeWords

Use MergeWords to research keywords for rankings and domains, and queries for link building. It’s an efficient tool for organizing all search information into data that you can use to plan your strategies.

4. Buffer

With the use of Buffer software, scheduling all of your social media content interactions is simple. It has a comprehensive content builder that enables filling in SEO-optimized content and setting up a publishing time frame to keep your campaign on track. It’s one of the best tools for staying ahead of the social game.

5. Google Tools

Though not everyone likes the way they operate, Google has an arsenal of toolsthat you should at least check out when it comes to search engine optimization. Google Webmaster Tools, Google Analytics, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, PageSpeed Insights, and more can all be utilized to test the success of all SEO-related content and strategies. The best part is, most of these tools are entirely free for the basic versions.

6. Screaming Frog

This free tool is legendary for its ability to “spider crawl” through websites, links, images, code, and apps in order to collect useful data for maintaining your website.  You’ll be able to fix many of the errors that would otherwise hurt your rankings, such as image errors, incomplete meta tags, or copied content.Screaming Frog is also very useful for spying on competition and receiving reports on inbound and outbound links.

7. SimilarWeb

SimilarWeb is an excellent tool for gathering insightful data about your websites, customers, or even competitors. It can also be used to define a target audience, pick up on branding cues, report on traffic sources, and track other helpful metrics. Though there are other free tools that do the same thing, this apparatus is particularly useful because it delivers all the information in easy-to-read graphs, which simplifies the process.

When it comes to getting started in the world of SEO, startups have an armory of resources at their disposal. Staying ahead of the competition and watching your rankings improve over time is made infinitely easier with the help of these tools.

Source: 7 Best Free SEO Tools for Startups

23- Aug2016
Posted By: Mandy Jackson

Maximizing Links From Seasonal Inbound Campaigns

With the holiday season looming, assessing the scope for effective SEO link building projects is top of mind for most SEOs. Columnist Chris Liversidge discusses how you can maximize your backlink gain this winter.

The time has come to start planning your link building campaigns for the 2015 holiday season.

But before doing that, it’s important to define what success looks like. Here’s a checklist of potential goals you might set as a result of your link-building efforts:

  1. Grow domain diversity. The variety of domains linking to you is a more important part of your backlink profile than the sheer number of links, so finding new sources of links is critical to inbound campaigns that actually move the needle for SEO.
  2. Capture seasonal trend traffic (and, therefore, links).
  3. Build top-level keyphrase page performance (pages targeted to “christmas toys” and so on).
  4. Hit up social influencers with delightful seasonal content to build content visibility via social channels.

Any or all of the above can be reasonable strategic goals for a seasonal campaign, and they may lay across some firm KPIs — “improve rankings for seasonal keyphrase sets,” for example, or “capture 30 percent market share from a particular seasonal trend traffic.”

It’s important to set priorities, however, so that you don’t spread your efforts too thin. Additionally, determining your priorities will help identify which type of campaign will best meet your strategic goals.

For example, video content intended to ride the wave of a seasonal trend would more greatly benefit the second and fourth options above than the others. (Video content can drive traffic and gain extreme social success while failing miserably to capture links from new domains that matter.)

Once you’ve established your goals and priorities, it’s time to draw up some projects targeted to some underlying KPIs. Let’s establish good KPIs, measurement methodology and time scales first.

Growing Domain Diversity

Looking at domain diversity first, there are two areas for measurement: campaign landing page and general domain backlink diversity.

Measurement for both requires a benchmarking phase, followed by an appropriate period of time for measurement. Building links, particularly links that need to show up in third-party tools, takes time.

I also advocate using multiple tools for backlink measurement so that you can give context to your performance. I typically use Google’s Search Console as one tool, simply because qualification of the value of a link ultimately comes down to Google’s opinion, after all.

Other tools will, by necessity, be third-party, and your personal preference can take priority here. I prefer simply because I’ve found its domain depth to be greater than that of other suppliers. Also, I like its historic graphing tools. All options will give you the most important ability here, however: competitive benchmarking.

In SEO, it is important to remember that you don’t operate in a vacuum. So pick your three or four main competitors and make sure you benchmark yourself against them for:

  1. Total links and domain diversity for all pages on domain
  2. Total links and domain diversity for target seasonal hub page

Come February, you should expect all third-party tools to show a fairly accurate picture of movement for yourself and chosen competitors across those metrics. Another benefit of waiting this long is that any short term links (links from blog category listing pages or awful scraping sites) will be long gone.

Calculate a relative performance rate for improvement from benchmark to show alongside your absolute performance change to illustrate overall gain in context. You’ll be surprised how well competitor context goes down with the C-suite.

Capturing Seasonal Trend Traffic & Improving Keyphrase Rankings

Capturing seasonal traffic terms as an objective requires forecasting of trend volumes, so break out Google Trends and identify uptrending top-level generics and associated breakout terms.

Also, get creative. Take a look at your industry trends discussed in trade magazines, conferences and newsletters. Try to survey your target audience if you’re in B2C. What are people talking about or excited about? Think about upcoming fashion trends or movie releases that might play well. Test your ideas with focus groups or customers.

Build out a hit list of terms or groups of terms you are going to try to capture. Benchmark your ranking positions, and take a view on what ranking positions you’d want during the key buying period: traffic captured will be driven from this point, so overlap this strategic option with achieving improved rankings.

Match your keyphrase targets to your site landing pages. Use a tool like Screaming Frog for this if you don’t already have a good idea of the landing page keyphrase targets onsite currently. Run a scrape and pull out the keyphrases matched to <title> and <h1> content; these are your current landing pages for those terms.

Take a moment to ask yourself, “Are these good landing pages?” If not, schedule some content builds for new pages.

Now, take a look at the traffic driven to these pages for the same season last year using your Web analytics package. That’s your benchmark. By how much are you going to drive that traffic up? How much will be via improved rankings and how much by content projects? Set these goals out.

If you are going through this exercise for the first time and have plans for seasonal projects but not necessarily the in-house resources to execute your plans, think about quantifying the value that your performance will bring at this stage, too.

You could calculate the increased revenue generated by the traffic uplift and/or grab the value of capturing that same traffic via PPC or programmatic channels: are you giving the best ROI? If so, you have a strong business case for extra resources to help your inbound projects succeed.

Targeting Social Influencers

Finally, when thinking about targeting social influencers, I recommend using a tool like BuzzSumo to gather intelligence on who the mover and shakers are for particular search terms. Tie these terms into your seasonal keyphrase targets, and use Buzzsumo to find what content worked well in the past for those terms.

At this stage, I like to also pull the backlink information for that highly shared content to triangulate the content’s ability to garner links. If there is a strong crossover, then you have a social audience that is no just engaged but also has a high tendency to link — the perfect audience to prioritise for a successful inbound project.

Final Thoughts

So, get your embarrassing knitted jumpers on early this year, pop a Christmas bauble under your monitor and start humming Bing Crosby songs to get the creative juices flowing on your inbound campaigns and beat the competition to the (non-alcoholic) punch.

Source: Maximizing Links From Seasonal Inbound Campaigns