3 Masterful SEO Insights That Will Change Your Life

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
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3 Masterful SEO Insights That Will Change Your Life

3 Masterful SEO Insights That Will Change Your Life

Some SEO insights offer incremental improvement. Others can change your life forever.

We need both. But today I want to focus on three life-changing insights.

As you can probably guess, these aren’t “tactics.” These are fundamental ways of looking at your discipline. You may even have heard some of them before. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that knowing is different from doing.

These are three key insights that master SEOs put in practice in their daily lives.

1. The Hustle Matters Twice As Much As The Algorithm

Understanding as much as is possible about the search engine algorithms is crucial in order to be an effective SEO.

In fact, I believe that the search industry as a whole is severely underinformed. Many SEO professionals (and agencies):

  • Jump to conclusions far too swiftly from correlative studies.
  • Take universal lessons from anecdotes too often.
  • Ignore Google’s guidelines too frequently.
  • Take industry-wide “best practice” too seriously and their own data not seriously enough.

As an industry, we need to be better skeptics, experimenters, and testers.

I’m not at all dismissing the technical side of SEO when I say that the hustle is twice as important as the algorithm.

The search engine is designed to make ranking difficult. It is built on the foundational assumption that the most cited pages are the most valuable.

You have to get noticed.

Getting noticed takes work.

If you don’t put yourself out there, your SEO strategy is doomed to failure.

I can pretty much guarantee some readers are scoffing right now. “This is supposed to be a life-changing revelation that will change my life? Get real. I already know this.”

For some of you, that may be the case. But for most of you, I think the following is much more likely: you know this is what you’re supposed to do, you’ve heard of it before, but somehow it hasn’t quite sunk in. Somehow, something is holding you back, and you’re refusing to invest in the hustle.

I know because I’ve been there.

We’ve all been there.

We get stuck in that phase of information addiction. If that’s where you are, I know what it feels like.

Deep down, you know you should be putting more of what you’ve learned to action. You know you should test that tactic you learned last Friday. You know you should build a process to ensure that all of this gets done.

But you can’t help it.

Some nagging part of you says “Just this next tactic. Just this next blog post. And then I’ll know enough to really put all of this to action.”

I’m here to tell you no, you need to hit the ground running and make it happen.

And I’m not talking about trying that one tactic one time and forgetting about it.

I’m talking about having the resolve and dedication to make it an institutionalized habit.

  • Put tactics to full use.
  • Make it a part of your routine.
  • Measure the results.
  • Adjust as needed.

This is the only way to cross the bridge from theory to practice. And I guarantee when you start making a habit out of crossing that bridge, you’re going to realize just how much of the theory you come across is a waste of time.

No reserve of knowledge is more powerful than your own history of attempts and failures.

SEO knowledge isn’t power. It’s only potential.

2. If You Don’t Build It, They Won’t Come

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

The winners of the internet don’t “produce content.” They build things.

(Easy there. We’re marketers. You’re reading content right now. We understand the value. Hear us out.)

Are you old enough to remember when the internet first started taking off? Do you remember that hot new phrase: “interactivity?”

Ask yourself, what do you spend most of your time on the internet doing?

Are you consuming the internet, or are you using it?

If you’re like most people, you spend a pretty solid portion of your time online.

More importantly, of the time you spend using the internet, you probably use a pretty small number of sites. Know why? Because most sites are built to be consumed instead of used. Most sites take lessons from their peers at the bottom, rather than the industry leaders at the top.

Just take a look at the most linked sites on the internet.

I see an awful lot of tools and platforms here. Not so many “content producers.”

Again, this isn’t intended as some kind of anti-content marketing rallying cry. Instead, I’d like you to now think about your favorite content site.

Do you use it, or consume it?

What first put them on your radar? Did you land on a random blog post, or did you come across a massive content resource of some kind that you quickly realized you almost couldn’t live without?

Look at any developed online industry and you will find that the top players have at least one page on their site that is elevated to this level.

What I mean is this: the page crosses a threshold. It ceases to be “content” and it becomes a free product. It’s something so valuable that people actually come to use it, not just to consume it. And they will likely use it more than once or twice.

These pages aren’t always the highest converting, but they are usually the most heavily linked, second only to the homepage, and they are usually the most heavily trafficked, with the highest return rate. All of these things play a crucial role in rankings, brand reputation, and brand recognition.

If you have to choose between “producing content” and “building something,” go with the latter. A tool, a platform, a community, or an “ultimate guide” is almost always going to draw more traffic and links than your next piece of “content.”

I strongly believe that you need to produce content and build something. You need both. Most only have one.

The internet was built to be used.

3. If It’s Not For Anything Else, It’s Not For SEO Either

A masterful SEO understands the search engines and understands that they can’t rely on the search engines.

Let me explain.

First and foremost, there are two simple facts:

  • The algorithm changes, and it changes constantly.
  • Google warns us against manipulating the algorithm.

I want to hammer these points home, because they are often either ignored or acknowledged and then quickly treated as though the statements were never uttered.

First, the algorithm (algorithms, really) is updated about 500 times every year.

Just let that sink in. It is updated once or twice every single day.

Google’s search engine is just a massive collection of interfacing code. It is interacting with a constantly crawled and updated search index. No single engineer at Google can possibly understand fully how their own search engine works.

We’re talking about a massive collection of protocols, applications, operating systems, databases, and information retrieval processes. If you’ve ever dealt with complex code, then you know how much one small tweak can change everything else inadvertently. And I’m talking about the kinds of changes that don’t show up as “syntax error.”

So if you’ve been studying all of those “ranking factors” hoping to “reverse engineer” the algorithm, you have presented yourself with a task that is quite literally impossible. We can only hope to find statistical tendencies, and you absolutely must treat every site and every SERP as its own entity with different sorts of factors taking priority.

Second, I can’t stress enough how important this point is from Google’s guidelines:

“Avoid tricks intended to improve search engine rankings. A good rule of thumb is whether you’d feel comfortable explaining what you’ve done to a website that competes with you, or to a Google employee. Another useful test is to ask, ‘Does this help my users? Would I do this if search engines didn’t exist?’”

Don’t get me wrong. The idea that you should only do things that you would feel comfortable sharing with a competitor is laughable, and pretending search engines don’t exist today is even more impossible than it was when the guidelines were first written.

But the implications are clear. If your SEO tactics are only helpful for SEO, and do nothing else for you, you’re on uneasy ground with Google’s guidelines.

Final Thoughts

Anybody who has been doing SEO for a long time know that those “pure” algorithmic SEO tactics fade with age.

Only SEO rooted solid marketing principles continue to work for you in long term.

A masterful SEO always has two eyes open: one on the search engine, the other on marketing.

Remember, the SEO mindset is one of cumulative growth.

We are looking for lasting improvements. Each incremental improvement is intended to tack more visits, more links, and more revenue to our long-term monthly figures, not just to this month’s figures.

That means not just using tactics and strategies that the search engines will always be OK with, but using tactics and strategies that don’t strictly rely on search engines to have lasting, cumulative impacts.

Put these insights to use. You won’t regret it.

Source: 3 Masterful SEO Insights That Will Change Your Life

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
28 Views

SEO Vs. PPC: Pros, Cons And A Holistic Approach To Search

Attorneys are bombarded with information about digital marketing. To break through all of the information online, lawyers know having a strong digital presence is essential if they want to remain competitive.

Paid and organic search are two popular methods of online marketing with two distinctly different approaches. According to a 2016 survey, 53% of consumers use search to find a local business at least one time per month, indicating that attorneys need to have either an organic or pay-to-play strategy or some combination of the two.

Even seasoned internet marketers debate the benefits of paid search over organic search engine optimization campaigns for marketing a law firm online. Both have pros and cons, both require some investment, and both can be incredibly complicated.

There’s A Tool For Every Job

Before we go any further, we can’t say SEO is better than pay-per-click advertising or vice versa. Not every job requires a hammer, and each technique has its place in online marketing. More often than not, these two channels work in a holistic fashion to drive traffic to a website. As is true with investing, lawyers should not place all their eggs in one basket. A thoughtful, comprehensive approach is better than a laser-beam focus on one channel.

For firms that find themselves in the position of having to choose between SEO and PPC, here is the reality.

PPC: Fast, Targeted And Precise Traffic

Over the past decade, PPC has become a popular way for law firms to get direct exposure to the hordes of people using Google or social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Mainstream ad platforms make it easy for marketers to target the exact audiences they want (and not the ones they don’t care about). Despite the sometimes prohibitive costs of paid search, attorneys can use it successfully to generate quality leads for their firms. A huge plus for pay-per-click is the immediate nature of it. As soon as campaigns are approved, they can start generating traffic and leads. No other form of digital marketing has that kind of impact except email marketing (which assumes you have a large list to communicate with).

Here are some other pros and cons for PPC:

  • The cost per click (CPC) can be very high for legal terms (in some cases, close to $100 per click for competitive niches). However, top positions in search can then be bought, and not all legal terms are that expensive.
  • First-page search traffic can be obtained almost instantly; however, as soon as the ad budget runs out or ads are discontinued, the traffic disappears.
  • Ads can be shown to the specific audience a lawyer wants to reach, helping him or her land the cases he or she wants. However, ad platforms can be complicated and difficult to learn.
  • Although PPC for attorneys can be expensive, some data show that 84% of visitors convert on their first trip a site.

SEO: Long-Lasting Investment In Your Web Presence

Search engine optimization has been catching the eye of law firms that realize the growing need to have visibility on the internet and in search. Google has a dominant market share in the world of search, so it’s no surprise law firms fixate on it. Even though SEO can take a long time to show results (in many cases, four to six months), the dividends it pays last long into the future.

Even after SEO work has stopped, law firms can continue to rank well for their keyword terms for weeks or even months for less competitive keywords. A high-quality SEO campaign is focused not only on search but also an attorney’s entire web presence.  Things like generating good content, building citations out across the internet, and generating a presence on other websites for link building all help build authority for a law firm. In this way, SEO becomes a more thorough marketing initiative instead of a one-off campaign.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?

Here are some additional pros and cons of SEO:

  • SEO can give firms a solid footing in organic search but rankings can be lost to aggressive competition and algorithm changes.
  • Good SEO can help firms rank in applications like Google Maps, which is used by millions of mobile users. However, there are paid positions for those applications too.
  • Optimizing a site for search generates free traffic, but there are costs associated with hiring an SEO agency or spending a lot of your own time doing the work.

Above all else, lawyers should talk to a professional when they weigh their options between paid and organic search. Just like there are a lot of fly-by-night vendors for SEO, there are many for PPC management too. The channel you choose should align with your firm’s near- and long-term goals. It should fit into your budget and those dollars should go where they will get the best possible return on your investment.

Source: SEO Vs. PPC: Pros, Cons And A Holistic Approach To Search

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
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6 Digital Marketing Strategies You Need To Adopt In 2017 

 

Doing business today means finding a way to market your company by harnessing the power of the internet. Still today there are companies that forgo the use of the internet thinking it is too complicated or that they will be fine without it. This kind of thinking is troubling since implementing a digital marketing strategy can do untold wonders for your business. Conversely, many companies adopt digital marketing practices without formulating a guiding strategy. Attempting to market your company or its products online without an overarching digital marketing strategy can be almost as unproductive and frustrating as having no digital marketing presence at all. The choice to implement a digital marketing strategy, therefore, is an easy one. However, since the efficacy of various marketing strategies evolve over time, it is wise to keep the marketing strategy fresh. Here are a few digital marketing strategies you should consider for 2017.

Video is Still King – People on the internet love watching videos. For this reason there is no better way to embark on a marketing campaign than to employ the use of video. With video streaming sites such as YouTube and with social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter relying heavily on video ads, launching an ad campaign based on video ads seems to be a safe bet. According to Eddie Madan, CEO of Edkent Media, video engagement rates are higher than engagement with other types of media because, as he puts it, who doesn’t love being entertained? Video ads allow users to drop their guard and willingly view a commercial. If the video is animated, the chance that they will view the ad is even higher. Video allows users to watch and listen to the ad without having to devote a large portion of their concentration to reading copy. One important note to remember is that a video ad must be fun, entertaining and visually captivating in order to attract viewers.

Interactive Emails – There is something gratifying about being able to interact with emails right in your inbox without having to open another page. With the aid of integrated HTML and CSS this is quickly becoming a much-used tool in digital marketing. Interactive emails allow customers to add items to their carts, choose between colors and styles and even play games right in the inbox. Customers will appreciate this added functionality and it may convince them to interact with the email even more. Keep in mind that even when emails are opened, they are unlikely to be clicked on. Sending out an interactive email can change your click through rate dramatically. Customers will see that your emails aren’t similar to the run-of-the-mill variety they’ve become accustomed to and will sense that your company is a step ahead of the rest.

Social Video Will Explode in Popularity – The importance of video on social media will magnify in importance in 2017. With so many users relying on social media for video entertainment, the importance of using these platforms to launch marketing campaigns will become even more important. Video uploads on just Facebook alone have grown by 75% over the last year. And with over a billion views every day, marketing managers are taking new interest in Facebook. In addition to this, with Facebook’s insistence on autoplay videos, video views are almost guaranteed. Even though Facebook allows the customer to turn off video autoplay, they are either unwilling or unable to do it. Additionally, Facebook’s introduction of live video has created another tool for marketers as it tests users’ willingness to take part in a live-streaming experience.

Mobile is Making Bigger Inroads – The days of catering primarily for desktop computer users seems to be coming to a close with the increasing use of mobile devices as a way of connecting to the internet. 2016 saw mobile traffic increasing massively and the same upward trend is expected in 2017 as well. The upsurge in mobile use means that marketing managers need to make a concerted effort to cater to users on mobile as well as desktop. Marketing managers need to ensure that all visitors will have the best experience possible when visiting the website. In addition to this, Google is beginning to demote sites that do not have adequate mobile optimization – an even greater reason why catering for mobile is so important.

Linking of Machine Learning and Marketing Automation – What good is it to have data but then fail to use it in an effective manner? The injection of machine learning into digital marketing seeks to solve this problem. Machine learning tools allow the marketing manager greater insights into the customers habits and needs. This allows companies to strategize without having to waste time wondering which tactic to employ. Since algorithm will control this messaging, marketing managers no longer have to spend time selecting message, frequency and target demographic. In 2017, look to how marketing takes on a new life with Google Home, and Amazon’s Alexa as conversation with machine learning gadgets is leveraged for marketing strategy.

Countdown Timer in Emails – Countdown timers aren’t at all a new tool used by marketers. However, marketing managers are finding new utility with the tool as they slip them into marketing emails. Countdown timers help convince would-be customers that the proverbial window is closing and that they must take action now. These tools have the added benefit of being a visual aid that the potential customer can recognize and understand in one glance. Additionally, since Gmail displays HTML by default, countdown timers are always shown in emails.

Crafting a digital marketing strategy is a matter of keeping one’s ear to the ground and staying abreast of the fresh trends that can attract new eyes. However, it is good to remember that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to adopting digital marketing practices. Much depends on your customers, your business and what works for you. Knowing these three factors inside out will help you to make better decisions about which tactics you should employ. If tried and true strategies work for you, then there is little reason to change.

Source: 6 Digital Marketing Strategies You Need To Adopt In 2017 | HuffPost

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
28 Views

How To Determine The Right PPC Advertising Budget

One of the top questions I hear from clients and prospects is, “How much should our budget be for pay-per-click advertising?”

The answer to identifying the appropriate PPC advertising budget depends on projections, assumptions and math. In this article, I’ll dive into a few of the formulas we use to help companies determine how much to spend on online advertising.

Lead Generation Formula

The core purpose of running paid ads is to achieve a business objective. We use a lead generation equation to help us reach that objective. The equations are simple:

(Revenue / Sales Period) / Average Sale = Number of Customers

Number of Customers / Conversion Rate = Number of Leads

Number of Leads / Conversion Rate on Traffic = Amount of Traffic

Let’s fill in these equations with some real numbers. Let’s say there is a revenue goal of $1 million. There are 12 sales periods per year (recurring monthly revenue) and the average sale per customer is $1,000.

($1 million / 12) / $1,000 = 83.33 customers

To get to $1 million in revenue, you’ll need about 84 customers. Now, let’s assume your sales team closes one out of every five leads, or 20%.

83.33 customers / 20% = 416.66 leads

Assuming a 20% close rate, you’ll need about 417 leads per year. Let’s assume 5% of your paid advertising traffic actually fills out a contact form to qualify as a lead.

416.66 leads / 5% conversion rate = 8,333.33 visits

With a 5% contact form conversion rate, you’ll need about 8,334 website visits to generate 417 leads, which will translate into 84 customers, which will equate to $1 million in revenue.

Of course, that’s if the numbers work out, which leads us to the next step in determining an advertising budget.

Existing Marketing Strategy

Paid advertising is only necessary if other marketing tactics fall short of achieving your revenue objective. Essentially, paid ads can help make up for the shortcomings of search engine optimization, email marketing, social media marketing and other forms of marketing meant to drive leads for your business.

Which marketing assets are currently driving results?

Taking into account how SEO, email, social and other marketing tactics are performing provides a more holistic marketing strategy. For example, if the strategies for SEO, email and social get you to 75% of your revenue objectives, then you’ll know paid advertising needs to account for the remaining 25%. Instead of driving $1 million in revenue, paid advertising can focus on driving $250,000 of revenue.

Competitor Analysis

What are your competitors spending on paid ads? What are their targeted keywords?

You can spy on your competitor’s paid advertising activity by using a service like SpyFu or SEMRush. Simply plug in your competitor’s website URL and these services will estimate their Google AdWords activity – including their estimated monthly spend, targeted keywords and ads.

The key here is to analyze at least five competitors to get a good baseline for the average spend in your industry. Make a list of three known competitors. Then, include two competitors who are bidding on your target keyword.

Let’s say competitor one is spending $3,000 per month, competitor two is spending $4,500, competitor three spends $0, competitor four spends $10,000, and competitor five spends $2,000.

Typically we’ll throw out the high and low to average out the remaining three competitors and get a ballpark estimate of what a company should roughly spend on Google AdWords to be competitive in their respective industry. In the example above, averaging out competitor spend estimates a monthly budget of $3,166 would be enough to be competitive.

But would it really, given your business objectives of $1 million in revenue? Let’s do some keyword research to see if search volumes will achieve your revenue results.

Source: How To Determine The Right PPC Advertising Budget

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
38 Views

Everything you need to know about visual search (so far) 

Visual search is one of the most complex and fiercely competed sectors of our industry. Earlier this month, Bing announced their new visual search mode, hot on the heels of similar developments from Pinterest and Google.

Ours is a culture mediated by images, so it stands to reason that visual search has assumed such importance for the world’s largest technology companies. The pace of progress is certainly quickening; but there is no clear visual search ‘winner’ and nor will there be one soon.

The search industry has developed significantly over the past decade, through advances in personalization, natural language processing, and multimedia results. And yet, one could argue that the power of the image remains untapped.

This is not due to a lack of attention or investment. Quite the contrary, in fact. Cracking visual search will require a combination of technological nous, psychological insight, and neuroscientific know-how. This makes it a fascinating area of development, but also one that will not be mastered easily.

Therefore, in this article, we will begin with an outline of the visual search industry and the challenges it poses, before analyzing the recent progress made by Google, Microsoft and Pinterest.

What is visual search?

We all partake in visual search every day. Every time we need to locate our keys among a range of other items, for example, our brains are engaged in a visual search.

We learn to recognize certain targets and we can locate them within a busy landscape with increasing ease over time.

This is a trickier task for a computer, however.

Image search, in which a search engine takes a text-based query and tries to find the best visual match, is subtly distinct from modern visual search. Visual search can take an image as its ‘query’, rather than text. In order to perform an accurate visual search, search engines require much more sophisticated processes than they do for traditional image search.

Typically, as part of this process, deep neural networks are put through their paces in tests like the one below, with the hope that they will mimic the functioning of the human brain in identifying targets:

The decisions (or inherent ‘biases’, as they are known) that allow us to make sense of these patterns are more difficult to integrate into a machine. When processing an image, should a machine prioritize shape, color, or size? How does a person do this? Do we even know for sure, or do we only know the output?

As such, search engines still struggle to process images in the way we expect them to. We simply don’t understand our own biases well enough to be able to reproduce them in another system.

There has been a lot of progress in this field, nonetheless. Google image search has improved drastically in response to text queries and other options, like Tineye, also allow us to use reverse image search. This is a useful feature, but its limits are self-evident.

For years, Facebook has been able to identify individuals in photos, in the same way a person would immediately recognize a friend’s face. This example is a closer approximation of the holy grail for visual search; however, it still falls short. In this instance, Facebook has set up its networks to search for faces, giving them a clear target.

At its zenith, online visual search allows us to use an image as an input and receive another, related image as an output. This would mean that we could take a picture with a smartphone of a chair, for example, and have the technology return pictures of suitable rugs to accompany the style of the chair.

The typically ‘human’ process in the middle, where we would decipher the component parts of an image and decide what it is about, then conceptualize and categorize related items, is undertaken by deep neural networks. These networks are ‘unsupervised’, meaning that there is no human intervention as they alter their functioning based on feedback signals and work to deliver the desired output.

The result can be mesmerising, as in the below interpretations of an image of Georges Seurat’s ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte’ by Google’s neural networks:

This is just one approach to answering a delicate question, however.

There are no right or wrong answers in this field as it stands; simply more or less effective ones in a given context.

We should therefore assess the progress of a few technology giants to observe the significant strides they have made thus far, but also the obstacles left to overcome before visual search is truly mastered.

Bing visual search

In early June at TechCrunch 50, Microsoft announced that it would now allow users to “search by picture.”

This is notable for a number of reasons. First of all, although Bing image search has been present for quite some time, Microsoft actually removed its original visual search product in 2012. People simply weren’t using it since its 2009 launch, as it wasn’t accurate enough.

Furthermore, it would be fair to say that Microsoft is running a little behind in this race. Rival search engines and social media platforms have provided visual search functions for some time now.

As a result, it seems reasonable to surmise that Microsoft must have something compelling if they have chosen to re-enter the fray with such a public announcement. While it is not quite revolutionary, the new Bing visual search is still a useful tool that builds significantly on their image search product.

A Bing search for “kitchen decor ideas” which showcases Bing’s new visual search capabilities

What sets Bing visual search apart is the ability to search within images and then expand this out to related objects that might complement the user’s selection.

A user can select specific objects, hone in on them, and purchase similar items if they desire. The opportunities for retailers are both obvious and plentiful.

It’s worth mentioning that Pinterest’s visual search has been able to do this for some time. But the important difference between Pinterest’s capability and Bing’s in this regard is that Pinterest can only redirect users to Pins that businesses have made available on Pinterest – and not all of them might be shoppable. Bing, on the other hand, can index a retailer’s website and use visual search to direct the user to it, with no extra effort required on the part of either party.

Powered by Silverlight technology, this should lead to a much more refined approach to searching through images. Microsoft provided the following visualisation of how their query processing system works for this product:

Microsoft combines this system with the structured data it owns to provide a much richer, more informative search experience. Although restricted to a few search categories, such as homeware, travel, and sports, we should expect to see this rolled out to more areas through this year.

The next step will be to automate parts of this process, so that the user no longer needs to draw a box to select objects. It is still some distance from delivering on the promise of perfect, visual search, but these updates should at least see Microsoft eke out a few more sellable searches via Bing.

Google Lens

Google recently announced its Lens product at the 2017 I/O conference in May. The aim of Lens is really to turn your smartphone into a visual search engine.

Google Lens logo, which looks like a simplified camera with a red and yellow outline, blue lens and green flash.

Take a picture of anything out there and Google will tell you what the object is about, along with any related entities. Point your smartphone at a restaurant, for example, and Google will tell you its name, whether your friends have visited it before, and highlight reviews for the restaurant too.

This is supplemented by Google’s envious inventory of data, both from its own knowledge graph and the consumer data it holds.

All of this data can fuel and refine Google’s deep neural networks, which are central to the effective functioning of its Lens product.

Google-owned company DeepMind is at the forefront of visual search innovation. As such, DeepMind is also particularly familiar with just how challenging this technology is to master.

The challenge is no longer necessarily in just creating neural networks that can understand an image as effectively as a human. The bigger challenge (known as the ‘black box problem’ in this field) is that the processes involved in arriving at conclusions are so complex, obscured, and multi-faceted that even Google’s engineers struggle to keep track.

This points to a rather poignant paradox at the heart of visual search and, more broadly, the use of deep neural networks. The aim is to mimic the functioning of the human brain; however, we still don’t really understand how the human brain works.

As a result, DeepMind have started to explore new methods. In a fascinating blog post they summarized the findings from a recent paper, within which they applied the inductive reasoning evident in human perception of images.

Drawing on the rich history of cognitive psychology (rich, at least, in comparison with the nascent field of neural networks), scientists were able to apply within their technology the same biases we apply as people when we classify items.

DeepMind use the following prompt to illuminate their thinking:

“A field linguist has gone to visit a culture whose language is entirely different from our own. The linguist is trying to learn some words from a helpful native speaker, when a rabbit scurries by. The native speaker declares “gavagai”, and the linguist is left to infer the meaning of this new word. The linguist is faced with an abundance of possible inferences, including that “gavagai” refers to rabbits, animals, white things, that specific rabbit, or “undetached parts of rabbits”. There is an infinity of possible inferences to be made. How are people able to choose the correct one?”

Experiments in cognitive psychology have shown that we have a ‘shape bias’; that is to say, we give prominence to the fact that this is a rabbit, rather than focusing on its color or its broader classification as an animal. We are aware of all of these factors, but we choose shape as the most important criterion.

“Gavagai” Credit: Misha Shiyanov/Shutterstock

DeepMind is one of the most essential components of Google’s development into an ‘AI-first’ company, so we can expect findings like the above to be incorporated into visual search in the near future. When they do, we shouldn’t rule out the launch of Google Glass 2.0 or something similar.

Pinterest Lens

Pinterest aims to establish itself as the go-to search engine when you don’t have the words to describe what you are looking for.

The launch of its Lens product in March this year was a real statement of intent and Pinterest has made a number of senior hires from Google’s image search teams to fuel development.

In combination with its establishment of a paid search product and features like ‘Shop the Look’, there is a growing consensus that Pinterest could become a real marketing contender. Along with Amazon, it should benefit from advertisers’ thirst for more options beyond Google and Facebook.

Pinterest president Tim Kendall noted recently at TechCrunch Disrupt: “We’re starting to be able to segue into differentiation and build things that other people can’t. Or they could build it, but because of the nature of the products, this would make less sense.”

This drives at the heart of the matter. Pinterest users come to the site for something different, which allows Pinterest to build different products for them. While Google fights war on numerous fronts, Pinterest can focus on improving its visual search offering.

Admittedly, it remains a work in progress, but Pinterest Lens is the most advanced visual search tool available at the moment. Using a smartphone, a Pinner (as the site’s users are known) can take a picture within the app and have it processed with a high degree of accuracy by Pinterest’s technology.

The results are quite effective for items of clothing and homeware, although there is still a long way to go before we use Pinterest as our personal stylist. As a tantalising glimpse of the future, however, Pinterest Lens is a welcome and impressive development.

The next step is to monetize this, which is exactly what Pinterest plans to do. Visual search will become part of its paid advertising package, a fact that will no doubt appeal to retailers keen to move beyond keyword targeting and social media prospecting.

We may still be years from declaring a winner in the battle for visual search supremacy, but it is clear to see that the victor will claim significant spoils.

Source: Everything you need to know about visual search (so far) | Search Engine Watch

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
18 Views

What we learned from SEO: The Movie 

Have you ever wished for a nostalgic retrospective on the heyday of SEO, featuring some of the biggest names in the world of search, all condensed into a 40-minute video with an admittedly cheesy title?

If so, you’re in luck, because there’s a documentary just for you: it’s called SEO: The Movie.

The trailer for SEO: The Movie

SEO: The Movie is a new documentary, created by digital marketing agency Ignite Visibility, which explores the origin story of search and SEO, as told by several of its pioneers. It’s a 40-minute snapshot of the search industry that is and was, focusing predominantly on its rock-and-roll heyday, with a glimpse into the future and what might become of SEO in the years to come.

The movie is a fun insight into where SEO came from and who we have to thank for it, but some of its most interesting revelations are contained within stories of the at times fraught relationship between Google and SEO consultants, as well as between Google and business owners who depended on it for their traffic. For all that search has evolved since Google was founded nearly two decades ago, this tension hasn’t gone away.

It was also interesting to hear some thoughts about what might become of search and SEO several years down the line from those who’d been around since the beginning – giving them a unique insight into the bigger picture of how search has changed, and is still changing.

So what were the highlights of SEO: The Movie, and what did we learn from watching it?

The stars of SEO

The story of SEO: The Movie is told jointly by an all-star cast of industry veterans from the early days of search and SEO (the mid-90s through to the early 2000s), with overarching narration by John Lincoln, the CEO of Ignite Visibility.

There’s Danny Sullivan, the founder of Search Engine Watch (this very website!) and co-founder of Search Engine Land; Rand Fishkin, the ‘Wizard of Moz’; Rae Hoffman a.k.a ‘Sugarrae’, CEO of PushFire and one of the original affiliate marketers; Brett Tabke, founder of Pubcon and Webmaster World; Jill Whalen, the former CEO of High Rankings and co-founder of Search Engine Marketing New England; and Barry Schwartz, CEO of RustyBrick and founder of Search Engine Roundtable.

The documentary also features a section on former Google frontman Matt Cutts, although Cutts himself doesn’t appear in the movie in person.

Each of them tells the tale of how they came to the search industry, which is an intriguing insight into how people became involved in such an unknown, emerging field. While search and SEO turned over huge amounts of revenue in the early days – Lincoln talks about “affiliates who were making millions of dollars a year” by figuring out how to boost search rankings – there was still relatively little known about the industry and how it worked.

Danny Sullivan, for instance, was a newspaper journalist who made the leap to the web development in 1995, and began writing about search “just because [he] really wanted to get some decent answers to questions about how search engines work”.

Jill Whalen came to SEO through a parenting website she set up, after she set out to bring more traffic to her website through search engines and figured out how to use keywords to make her site rank higher.

Still from SEO: The Move showing a screen with a HTML paragraph tag, followed by the word 'parenting'.

Rae Hoffman started out in the ‘long-distance space’, making modest amounts from ranking for long-distance terms, before she struck gold by creating a website for a friend selling diet pills which ranked in the top 3 search results for several relevant search terms.

“That was probably my biggest ‘holy shit’ moment,” she recalls. “My first commission check for the first month of those rankings was more than my then-husband made in a year.”

Rand Fishkin, the ‘Wizard of Moz’, relates the heart-rending story of how he and his mother initially struggled with debt in the early 2000s when Moz was still just a blog, before getting his big break at the Search Engine Strategies conference and signing his first major client.

The stories of these industry pioneers give an insight into the huge, growing, world-changing phenomenon that was SEO in the early days, back when Google, Lycos, Yahoo and others were scrambling to gain the biggest index, and Google would “do the dance” every five to eight weeks and update its algorithms, giving those clever or lucky enough to rank high a steady stream of income until the next update.

Google’s algorithm updates have always been important, but as later sections of the documentary show, certain algorithms had a disproportionate impact on businesses which Google perhaps should have done more to mitigate.

Google and webmasters: It’s complicated

“Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] were fairly antagonistic to SEOs,” Brett Tabke recalls. “The way I understood it, Matt [Cutts] went to Larry and said… ‘We need to have an outreach program for webmasters.’ He really reached out to us and laid out the welcome mat.”

Almost everyone in the search industry knows the name of Matt Cutts, the former head of Google’s webspam team who was, for many years, the public face of Google. Cutts became the go-to source of information on Google updates and algorithm changes, and could generally be relied upon to give an authoritative explanation of what was affecting websites’ ranking changes and why.

Still from SEO: The Movie showing Matt Cutts holding a whiteboard marker next to a blank whiteboard, mid-explanation of a concept. The credit in the bottom right corner reads 'Source: YouTube/Google Webmasters'.

Matt Cutts in an explanatory video for Google Webmasters

However, even between Matt Cutts and the SEO world, things weren’t all sunshine and roses. Rand Fishkin reveals in SEO: The Movie how Cutts would occasionally contact him and request that he remove certain pieces of information, or parts of tools, that he deemed too revealing.

“We at first had a very friendly professional relationship, for several years,” he recollects. “Then I think Matt took the view that some of the transparency that I espoused, and that we were putting out there on Moz, really bothered him, and bothered Google. Occasionally I’d get an email from him saying, ‘I wish you wouldn’t write about this… I wish you wouldn’t invite this person to your conference…’ And sometimes stronger than that, like – ‘You need to remove this thing from your tool, or we will ban you.’”

We’ve written previously about the impact of the lack of transparency surrounding Google’s algorithm updates and speculated whether Google owes it to SEOs to be more honest and accountable. The information surrounding Google’s updates has become a lot murkier since Matt Cutts left the company in 2014 (while Cutts didn’t formally resign until December 2016, he was on leave for more than two years prior to that) with the lack of a clear spokesperson.

But evidently, even during Cutts’ tenure with Google, Google had a transparency problem.

In the documentary, Fishkin recalls the general air of mystery that surrounded the workings of search engines in the early days, with each company highly protective of its secrets.

“The search engines themselves – Google, Microsoft, Yahoo – were all incredibly secretive about how their algorithms worked, how their engines worked… I think that they felt it was sort of a proprietary trade secret that helped them maintain a competitive advantage against one another. As a result, as a practitioner, trying to keep up with the search engines … was incredibly challenging.”

This opaqueness surrounding Google’s algorithms persisted, even as Google grew far more dominant in the space and arguably had much less to fear from being overtaken by competitors. And as Google’s dominance grew, the impact of major algorithm changes became more severe.

SEO: The Movie looks back on some of Google’s most significant updates, such as Panda and Penguin, and details how they impacted the industry at the time. One early update, the so-called ‘Florida update’, specifically took aim at tactics that SEOs were using to manipulate search rankings, sending many high-ranking websites “into free-fall”.

Barry Schwartz describes how “many, many retailers” at the time of the Florida update suddenly found themselves with “zero sales” and facing bankruptcy. And to add insult to injury, the update was never officially confirmed by Google.

Fast-forward to 2012, when Google deployed the initial Penguin update that targeted link spam. Once again, this was an update that hit SEOs who had been employing these tactics in order to rank very hard – and moreover, hit their client businesses. But because of the huge delay between one Penguin update and the next, businesses which changed their ways and went on the metaphorical straight and narrow still weren’t able to recover.

“As a consultant, I had companies calling me that were hit by Penguin, and had since cleaned up all of their backlinks,” says Rae Hoffman.

“They would contact me and say, ‘We’re still not un-penalized, so we need you to look at it to see what we missed.’ And I would tell them, ‘You didn’t miss anything. You have to wait for Google to push the button again.’

“I would get calls from companies that told me that they had two months before they were going to have to close the doors and start firing employees; and they were waiting on a Penguin update. Google launched something that was extremely punitive; that was extremely devastating; that threw a lot of baby out with the bathwater… and then chose not to update it again for almost two years.”

These recollections from veteran SEOs show that Google’s relationship with webmasters has always been fraught with difficulties. Whatever you think about Google’s right to protect its trade secrets and take actions against those manipulating its algorithms, SEOs were the ones who drove the discussion around what Google was doing in its early days, analyzing it and spreading the word, reporting news stories, featuring Google and other search companies at their conferences.

To my mind at least, it seems that it would have been fairer for Google to develop a more open and reciprocal relationship with webmasters and SEOs, which would have prevented situations like the ones above from occurring.

Where is search and SEO headed in the future?

It’s obviously difficult to predict what might be ahead with absolute certainty. But as I mentioned in the introduction, what I like about the ‘future of search’ predictions in SEO: The Movie is that they come from veterans who have been around since the early days, meaning that they know exactly where search has come from, and have a unique perspective on the overarching trends that have been present over the past two decades.

As Rae Hoffman puts it,

“If you had asked me ten years ago, ‘Where are we going to be in ten years?’ Never would I have been able to remotely fathom the development of Twitter, or the development of Facebook, or that YouTube would become one of the largest search engines on the internet.”

I think it’s also important to distinguish between the future of search and the future of SEO, which are two different but complimentary things. One deals with how we will go about finding information in future, and relates to phenomena like voice search, visual search, and the move to mobile. The other relates to how website owners can make sure that their content is found by users within those environments.

Rand Fishkin believes that the future of SEO is secure for at least a few years down the line.

“SEO has a very bright future for at least the next three or four years. I think the future after that is more uncertain, and the biggest risk that I see to this field is that search volume, and the possibility of being in front of searchers, diminishes dramatically because of smart assistants and voice search.”

Brett Tabke adds:

“The future of SEO, to me, is this entire holistic approach: SEO, mobile, the web, social… Every place you can put marketing is going to count. We can’t just do on-the-page stuff anymore; we can’t worry about links 24/7.”

As for the future of search, CEO of Ignite Visibility John Lincoln sums it up well at the very end of the movie when he links search to the general act of researching. Ultimately, people are always going to have a need to research and discover information, and this means that ‘search’ in some form will always be around.

“I will say the future of search is super bright,” he says. “And people are going to evolve with it.

“Searching is always going to be tied to research, and whenever anybody needs a service or a product, they’re going to do research. It might be through Facebook, it might be through Twitter, it might be through LinkedIn, it might be through YouTube. There’s a lot of different search engines out there, and platforms, that are always expanding and contracting based off of the features that they’re putting out there.

“Creating awesome content that’s easy to find, that’s technically set up correctly and that reverberates through the internet… That’s the core of what search is about.”

SEO: The Movie is definitely an enjoyable watch and at 40 minutes in length, it won’t take up too much of your day. If you’re someone who’s been around in search since the beginning, you’ll enjoy the trip down Memory Lane. If, like me, you’re newer to the industry, you’ll enjoy the look back at where it came from – and particularly the realization that there some things which haven’t changed at all.

Source: What we learned from SEO: The Movie | Search Engine Watch

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
28 Views

This script automates adding any AdWords data to a Google spreadsheet

If you’ve ever been frustrated at the amount of time you spend creating PPC reports, you’re not alone. Today, I’ll do my best to help you with a new AdWords script I just finished.

The severity of the reporting problem became very clear to me at a conference I recently attended. Attendees were asked to leave sticky notes describing the most timing-consuming aspects of their jobs. I know it’s not exactly a scientific study, but I found the results fascinating anyway. Here’s what the board looked like:

The orange arrows highlight each note that said “reporting” was the most time-consuming PPC task.

Meetings are another time-consuming task people added to the board several times — but I’m not going to help you fix that with a script, so let me focus on reporting, a topic I’ve covered several times in recent posts here.

When it comes to reporting, you should really try to produce something that gives the stakeholder the data and insights they need, but in such a way that you can easily repeat, and hopefully even automate it. There are plenty of tools that can help with that.

And while automating reports is a reasonable goal, the reality is that there will always be cases where the client wants just one extra piece of data. And because of Murphy’s Law, this will always the one thing your reporting tool doesn’t cover.

Why don’t reporting tools cover everything? By my last count, AdWords has 46 different types of reports available through their API, ranging from common ones like an account performance report to the more obscure, like the keywordless category report:

Reports available through the AdWords API. Screen shot from the Google Developers Site

In all likelihood, the vast majority of people care about just 10 percent of these reports, so engineering resources get assigned to supporting the most commonly requested reports. And even if a tool covers all 46 possible report types, it might not filter the data the way the client wants, or include some of the lesser used metrics, attributes or segments.

So, how do we get custom data from AdWords into virtually any reporting engine? Through a data connector. And one of the most popular places for marketers to store data is in a spreadsheet.

Google Sheets, just like AdWords, can be automated with App Scripts from Google. This means we can write some code to make the spreadsheet connect with a data source of our choosing. Combined with AdWords scripts, which have permission to access your AdWords data, we can create an automation that lets you specify a template for a report, and then automatically add the requested data on a predetermined schedule.

So, here we go! Let’s get you a free tool to put any AdWords data you want into a Google Spreadsheet.

Step 1: Set up the report template in Google Sheets

Copy this spreadsheet into your own Google Drive. This sheet will look very boring when you first load it, but there are about 600 lines of code in the “Script Editor” section where all the magic happens. This will also be moved to your Google Drive when you copy the script into your own account.

Notice that when the spreadsheet finishes loading, you’ll have a custom menu called “AdWords Data Grabber from Optmyzr.”

Select the type of report you’d like to run from this custom menu:

When you select a report type, the spreadsheet connects with AdWords to get the appropriate attributes, metrics and segments for the selected report. It automatically sets up drop-downs in the spreadsheet to let you choose which elements to include in the report and what filters to apply.

Go to the “Settings” tab and choose a date range for your report from the drop-down. Since the goal is to set this report on an automated schedule, the only options are relative date ranges.

Next, select any filters you want to apply to the data. A pretty common one would be to filter for items that have more than 0 impressions. This step is optional.

For things where AdWords expects you to choose from a set list of values, the spreadsheet will present you with a drop-down of valid choices, for example, for campaign status, you could choose “ENABLED.”

Now, go to the “Report” tab and select the data you want to include in each column. Once again, the spreadsheet will already be loaded with the available options for the report type you have selected.

Step 2: Install the AdWords script

Now to automate the data pulls, simply install the following AdWords script code into your account and set it on a reasonable schedule, like weekly or monthly.

/*
// AdWords Script: Put Data From AdWords Report In Google Sheets
// ————————————————————–
// Copyright 2017 Optmyzr Inc., All Rights Reserved
//
// This script takes a Google spreadsheet as input. Based on the column headers, data filters, and date range specified
// on this sheet, it will generate different reports.
//
// The goal is to let users create custom automatic reports with AdWords data that they can then include in an automated reporting
// tool like the one offered by Optmyzr.
//
//
// For more PPC management tools, visit www.optmyzr.com
//
*/
var DEBUG = 0; // set to 1 to get more details about what the script does while it runs; default = 0
var REPORT_SHEET_NAME = report; // the name of the tab where the report data should go
var SETTINGS_SHEET_NAME = settings; // the name of the tab where the filters and date range are specified
var SPREADSHEET_URL = https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dttJTb547L81XYKdTQ56LcfO9hHhbb9wm06ZY5mKhEo/edit#gid=0; // The URL to the Google spreadsheet with your report template
var EMAIL_ADDRESSES = example@example.com; // Get notified by email at this address when a new report is ready
function main() {
var currentSetting = new Object();
currentSetting.ss = SPREADSHEET_URL;
// Read Settings Sheet
var settingsSheet = SpreadsheetApp.openByUrl(currentSetting.ss).getSheetByName(SETTINGS_SHEET_NAME);
var rows = settingsSheet.getDataRange();
var numRows = rows.getNumRows();
var numCols = rows.getNumColumns();
var values = rows.getValues();
var numSettingsRows = numRows 1;
var sortString = ;
var filters = new Array();
for(var i = 0; i < numRows; i++) {
var row = values[i];
var settingName = row[0];
var settingOperator = row[1];
var settingValue = row[2];
var dataType = row[3];
debug(settingName + + settingOperator + + settingValue);
if(settingName.toLowerCase().indexOf(report type) != 1) {
var reportType = settingValue;
} else if(settingName.toLowerCase().indexOf(date range) != 1) {
var dateRange = settingValue;
} else if(settingName.toLowerCase().indexOf(sort order) != 1) {
var sortDirection = dataType || DESC;
if(settingValue) var sortString = ORDER BY + settingValue + + sortDirection;
var sortColumnIndex = 1;
}else {
if(settingOperator && settingValue) {
if(dataType.toLowerCase().indexOf(long) != 1 || dataType.toLowerCase().indexOf(double) != 1 || dataType.toLowerCase().indexOf(money) != 1 || dataType.toLowerCase().indexOf(integer) != 1) {
var filter = settingName + + settingOperator + + settingValue;
} else {
if(settingValue.indexOf() != 1) {
var filter = settingName + + settingOperator + + settingValue + ;
} else if(settingValue.indexOf() != 1) {
var filter = settingName + + settingOperator + + settingValue + ;
} else {
var filter = settingName + + settingOperator + + settingValue + ;
}
}
debug(filter: + filter)
filters.push(filter);
}
}
}
// Process the report sheet and fill in the data
var reportSheet = SpreadsheetApp.openByUrl(currentSetting.ss).getSheetByName(REPORT_SHEET_NAME);
var rows = reportSheet.getDataRange();
var numRows = rows.getNumRows();
var numCols = rows.getNumColumns();
var values = rows.getValues();
var numSettingsRows = numRows 1;
// Read Header Row and match names to settings
var headerNames = new Array();
var row = values[0];
for(var i = 0; i < numCols; i++) {
var value = row[i];
headerNames.push(value);
//debug(value);
}
if(reportType.toLowerCase().indexOf(performance) != 1) {
var dateString = DURING + dateRange;
} else {
var dateString = ;
}
if(filters.length) {
var query = SELECT + headerNames.join(,) + FROM + reportType + WHERE + filters.join( AND ) + dateString + + sortString;
} else {
var query = SELECT + headerNames.join(,) + FROM + reportType + dateString + + sortString;
}
debug(query);
var report = AdWordsApp.report(query);
try {
report.exportToSheet(reportSheet);
var subject = Your + reportType + for + dateRange + for + AdWordsApp.currentAccount().getName() + is ready;
var body = currentSetting.ss<br>You can now add this data to <a href=’https://www.optmyzr.com’>Optmyzr</a> or another reporting system.;
MailApp.sendEmail(EMAIL_ADDRESSES, subject, body);
Logger.log(Your report is ready at + currentSetting.ss);
Logger.log(You can include this in your scheduled Optmyzr reports or another reporting tool.);
} catch (e) {
debug(error: + e);
}
}
function debug(text) {
if(DEBUG) Logger.log(text);
}

In this code, edit lines 17 through 22 with your preferences. The most critical field to update is the one with the URL of the Google spreadsheet we created and modified above.

Now you can preview the script; if your settings are fine, you should see a success message similar to this one:

Your spreadsheet should then contain the requested data and could look something like this:

Note: There are many metrics that cannot be combined in reports, for example, conversion type name cannot be reported at the same type as clicks in the campaign report. Checking for this before attempting to populate the report is tricky, so the script will return an error about your error.

When this happens, simply update the headers in the “Report” tab of the spreadsheet and run the script again until all errors are cleared.

Including the data in a report

You can use the data as-is in Google Sheets, but you can also include it in automatic scheduled reports. In Optmyzr, you would add a reporting widget that points to the URL of the spreadsheet. The tool then pulls in that data and includes it in the report, using the same styling as the native Optmyzr widgets. Your client won’t be able to tell the difference, and you’ll look like a hero for delivering the custom data they want on an automatic schedule.

Conclusion

PPC reporting takes a ton of time. And because clients invariably have some custom requests for their reports, reporting tools often need some custom integrations to deliver the goods. This AdWords script, together with the Google Apps Script in the spreadsheet, lets you bring custom data from AdWords directly into most reporting engines where you can now automate one more thing.

I hope this script helps you get back a little bit of time to do other things. And if you’re anything like the people who left the sticky notes on the board, I hope you’ll enjoy that next meeting!

Source: This script automates adding any AdWords data to a Google spreadsheet

10- Jul2017
Posted By: DPadmin
34 Views

SEO case study: Zero to 100,000 visitors in 12 months

You need more traffic.

More visitors on your site means more impressions, more signups, more purchases — more revenue.

But how do you capture more traffic from search results that are becoming more crowded, more diverse, and evolving in the way they are delivered?

With SEO, of course!

Today, I want to share a process we’ve developed at Siege Media to earn links and visibility, and to increase web traffic for our clients. I’m going to walk through how we built a site’s SEO strategy from the ground up — growing from zero visitors to 100,000 — and share key takeaways that you can apply to your own strategy.

The general outline of our strategy was:

  1. Start slow and take advantage of “easy wins.”
  2. Focus on securing a handful of strategic links to important pages.
  3. Establish passive link acquisition channels to build momentum.
  4. Be intentional about content creation and its impact on search.
  5. Level up over time, and target higher-value opportunities.

Let’s dive into the case study.

Note: We had control over every aspect of the site, making it much easier to accurately attribute organic gains to the SEO work we were implementing, as well as to make SEO recommendations every step of the way. I have also anonymized the data to maintain confidentiality for the website.

1. Starting slow with a new site

Starting with a new site, we understood there were limitations.

At the beginning, we focused on opportunities with low competition and decent traffic value. We used SEMrush to determine traffic value and manual research to gauge competition.

Examining the search engine results pages (SERPs), we looked for results with:

  • bad exact-match domains.
  • a lack of big name brands.
  • low-quality or outdated content.
  • pages with low link counts.

Here is an example of this type of SERP, for [life insurance quotes in California]:

You can see that although some big brands are ranking (State Farm and GEICO), there is also a bad exact-match domain result:

Clicking this link shows the content quality is pretty low:

There are other poor results in the SERP, too:

Finding results with these types of pages would give us confidence that we could easily build something searchers would prefer.

Once we identified potential opportunities, we built best-in-class content targeting those specific SERPs. To separate our content from others in the space we used:

  • custom-built graphics.
  • clear, concise, compelling copy.
  • original photography.
  • optimal formatting — font size, column width, scannable text and so on.

By building content that would best answer searcher intent and needs, we set our pages up to be successful in the SERPs.

More resources:

2. Securing a handful of links to important pages

Pages need links to rank in search.

But the number of links needed to be competitive depends on the page, site, niche, type of query and so on. Furthermore, search engines have become more sophisticated in how they evaluate links, placing more emphasis on quality and less on numbers.

What we learned from doing this project is that bottom-of-the-funnel pages really only need a handful of quality links to rank well, and from there, positive engagement signals would further validate the page as an authority in the eyes of search engines.

Of course, securing links to bottom-of-the-funnel pages is extremely difficult because these pages typically aren’t link-worthy. The purpose of these pages isn’t to inform or entertain; these pages exist to drive conversions, and that doesn’t usually compel other sites to link.

There are a few situations where serving direct value to your site aligns with the goals of other websites, and link opportunities exist. These opportunities involve hyper-focused link pages that are relevant to your content.

Using the same insurance example, a page like this would represent a hyper-relevant links page for a company that offers pet insurance:

This strategy isn’t sustainable for a long-term, large-scale campaign because these situations are limited. But we learned that you only need to execute on a select handful of these opportunities to be successful with bottom-of-the-funnel pages.

Other opportunities available to bottom-of-the-funnel pages include:

  • egobait — a specific person, brand, product or service, for example, is mentioned on your page.
  • unique product or service — resource pages that list the small number of vendors available.
  • discounts or promotions — the linking site’s audience is eligible for exclusive discounts.
  • local — resource pages exclusive to local vendors and service providers.
  • reviews — pages that review your product or service.

You can’t build a sustainable link acquisition campaign with these tactics, but you can secure a few quality links to your converting pages and drive initial engagement for your site.

More resources:

3. Establish passive link acquisition channels

Link building is really hard.

Link acquisition is a manual process that is ongoing, forever. My favorite description of link building came from former Googler Matt Cutts, who defined it as “sweat, plus creativity.”

Because securing links is so difficult — and we knew we needed links to grow traffic — we sought to establish passive link acquisition channels to amplify all our link-building efforts.

Part of our content strategy was to use high-quality, original photography, and this provided a perfect opportunity to attract passive links. Rather than copyrighting or watermarking our photos, we decided to use a Creative Commons license that allowed others to use the photos as long as they linked back to their original source (on our site).

For example, in the screen shot below, Ars Technica is citing the photo they used for their article.

Even massive publications like this need great photos and often turn to Creative Commons or other sites to do that.

Along with having your images cited, other potential ways to earn links organically include:

  • sponsorships and community involvement.
  • compiling original data or research.
  • being interviewed or quoted.
  • building a unique tool.

The key is to create something original, and then make it easy for others to cite (link to) you as the original source.

More resources:

4. Strategic content creation

Content drives SEO success.

It’s possible to secure a few links to bottom-of-the-funnel pages, but you’ll need middle and top-of-the-funnel content to sustainably capture attention and links.

Creating useful content for your audience is always a sound strategy, but you can take it a step further by being intentional and strategic about the content you publish. We maintained a relentless focus on SEO — creating every page with search, and the opportunities available to us, in mind.

To determine opportunity, we compared SEMrush traffic value against competition level.

Using the “pet insurance” example, we can analyze potential opportunities. For example, this site is ranking number one, which SEMrush estimates is worth $31.2K:

However, it looks like the competition for this SERP is fairly high with strong results such as Canine Journal, Consumers Advocate, Consumer Report and Nerd Wallet.

To find something less competitive, I’ll try [exotic pet insurance], where Nationwide is ranking number one and has a traffic value of $2.9K in SEMrush:

Looking right below the Nationwide result, I can see these pages ranking with bad exact-match domains:

Navigating to the page further validates this is a bad result:

This represents an opportunity to create content that would better serve users and have a great chance to rank.

Along with manually reviewing the search results, you can also use Moz’s Keyword Explorer tool to get an estimate of the competition and difficulty surrounding various terms and phrases.

Of course, investing into creating quality content is important, but the key takeaway for us was the success we saw from being strategic about the SEO impact of the content we created.

More resources:

5. Leveling up over time

Momentum is key in SEO.

As you build traction with your campaign, SEO tends to have a multiplying effect where your results will build exponentially. As you earn more visibility in search, you begin to attract more visitors — and if you satisfy the needs of those visitors, they will keep coming back (increasing traffic), endorsing your website (links) and sharing how great you are with others (social media, blogs, podcasts and so on).

We recognized our site was building momentum, and after six months of work, we started to raise expectations. We began to target more competitive spaces (which we avoided at the start), and because we had built a strong foundation, we were successful.

We established a solid baseline of authority and trust with our site, giving us the ability to compete for higher-value terms. Seeing early returns, we began taking even bigger bets on the content we created — not only investing in original design and photography but also adding interactive elements such as custom tools and video.

For example, in this screen shot you can see the payoff:

We targeted a very competitive, high-volume topic in the summer months of this year, and the result is more all-time highs, beating our previous numbers by a significant margin.

Another strategy that was fruitful was updating and improving old content using “Last Updated” post dates. Whether it be updating copy or adding a video, we found that small updates to existing content helped us in a variety of ways — it provided content freshness, increased click-through rate (CTR) and showed readers the post isn’t outdated.

For example, you can see Brian Dean of Backlinko executing this strategy here:

As we started targeting more competitive terms and earning more visibility, we began seeing significant gains in traffic, eclipsing 100,000 visitors by the end of month 12.

More resources:

Recap

We didn’t use any secret tricks or hacks to grow traffic. Rather, we invested in building quality content, and we implemented various link acquisition strategies to match each stage of the project. As the site grew, so did our expectations and goals.

To recap, here’s our process for growing traffic:

  1. Start slow and take advantage of “easy wins.”
  2. Focus on securing a handful of strategic links to important pages.
  3. Establish passive link acquisition channels to build momentum.
  4. Be intentional about content creation and its impact on search.
  5. Level up over time, and target higher-value opportunities.

This is a repeatable, scalable process that we’ve found to be effective. Of course, you will need to tweak and adjust this process a bit to fit your unique situation and needs. However, I hope you can take the key lessons we learned from this project and apply them to your own strategy.

Source: SEO case study: Zero to 100,000 visitors in 12 months

29- Jun2017
Posted By: DPadmin
26 Views

What To Look Out For To Avoid A Google Penalty

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You may be the best in your business or practice but, without search engine optimization, you’re either average or a nobody in your field.

As digital marketing consultant Alex Chris writes, “Search engine optimization or SEO is a set of rules for website (or blog) owners to follow for the proper optimization of their websites to improve their search engine rankings.” He also added that “millions of users per day are using the internet to look for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.”

With a proper SEO guide, any website and business can grow into one of the most trusted brands on the internet.

Unfortunately, there are some issues with SEO that you should know about before you hire an expert. In Bob Sakayama’s article “When SEO Failure Results in Google Penalties or Rank Suppression,” he pointed out that the professionals are the ones who often trigger most of the severe Google penalties. In short, these “experts” who were hired to prevent such problems from happening in the first place are the ones who really trigger the penalties. If that is the case, why should we even consider the idea of hiring an SEO expert? In my years of experience in the search engine optimization industry, there are many factors that can trigger penalties due to the constant changes in rules. Whether you’re an optimizer or a website owner, you should know the factors that can cause serious problems in the long run.

We can live with owner-triggered rank issues because they won’t affect your established traffic, rankings and profit the way penalties would. On the other hand, Google penalties can ruin your business. There are many different types of penalties; you could get a penalty for unnatural (spam) links to your site or an over optimization anchor text penalty from using a piece of software to build links. You could also be penalized for using the same exact content from another website or using a keyword too many times on a page, which is known as “keyword stuffing.”

Penalties are also due to the constant changes in the rules. With the rapid changes, most SEO agencies can’t keep up with the latest improvements. Most optimizers are passive which is bad because you can’t make proper adjustments in time. Here are some tips for beginners and old professionals on what to look out for to avoid a penalty from Google.

Unnatural Links To And From Your Website

If we take a look at the link schemes section of Google’s Quality Guidelines, we’ll find out that any links made by an SEO with the intention to manipulate a website’s ranking are clear violations of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. In short, unnatural links to your site can get your website in trouble.

Google also warns about unnatural links from your site. Google is now capable of determining natural links from unnatural links. It focuses on links that act as editorial votes for a site. If you somehow manipulate links from your site, there’s a high chance you’ll receive a penalty. My firm recently helped water filtration company AquaOx (which I am a partner in) recover from a major Google penalty. The previous SEO company used a link-building software to create unnatural links from the website. Unfortunately, the company got caught and the site was pushed far down in the search engines to page 10. We had to go through a list of links, tag the ones that were really bad and disavow those links in Google Webmaster tools. Our next move was to build high-quality links from the site. Once Google noticed our cleanup operation, the search engine made some adjustments in the search rankings. Although penalty recovery is not a quick process by any means, the accomplishment is rewarding.

Publishing Keyword-Heavy Content

Spamming keywords into compelling content is an old trick that used to work for many SEO agencies. Unfortunately, Google made the competition tougher with its frequent changes. My personal belief is that the search engine prefers a website with about 2% of the content being keywords. If it is annoying for users to read unnatural keywords in a website’s content, the same thing is true with the search engine. Website owners or SEO companies should keep track of their keyword count by using keyword counting tools. In my practice and belief, high-quality content does not need many keywords to rank higher in Google. Avoid many of the top 10 Google penalties by investing in other tactics like proper keyword research and keyword placement instead of spamming with keywords.

Spammy Structured Data Markup

Although schema markup (structured data markup) can boost your search engine content discovery and make other improvements, this strategy can get you slammed by Google. A spammy structured data markup can potentially hurt your site as you will receive penalties from the search engine. The best way to avoid structured data markup penalties is by following the rules set by Google. You can either adhere to the guidelines of the search engine or use a structured data testing tool. Either one is better than getting into serious trouble.

Deliberately Cloaking Web Pages For SEO Or CTR Purposes

Cloaking web pages for your personal interest is a big crime against Google. Cloaking is where one version of the site is shown to search engine spiders and a different version is shown to the user viewing the site. Once caught, your site will face serious challenges and issues. The search engine discourages any form of manipulation to level up the game and keep the credibility of websites on the search result.

Being penalized isn’t the end of the world for website owners, though. There are ways to get your website back on track. As a professional SEO, my first recommendation would be to look for the right people for the job.

Source: What To Look Out For To Avoid A Google Penalty

29- Jun2017
Posted By: DPadmin
46 Views

Why Do Small Businesses Shirk SEO?

Plenty of small business marketers have embraced social media, but many are neglecting SEO, or search engine optimization.

It’s a challenge to stay afloat as a small business today. Budgets are stretched and competition is stiff. Customers expect more and more.

So why not embrace one of the most effective ways to grow your business? Why not gain an edge by using a marketing tactic so many of your peers have overlooked?

Why not invest in search engine optimization?

Plenty of small business marketers have embraced social media. However, only 28 percent of the small business owners we surveyed for WASP Barcode Technologies’ “2017 “State of Small Business Report” said they use search engine optimization (SEO). And the smaller a company is, the less likely they are to use it. Only 25 percent – one in four – of companies with five to 10 employees are doing SEO.

Yet, SEO is the most effective marketing tactics available to small businesses. BrightLocal’s 2015 survey of small businesses found that SEO came in second place (only after word of mouth) as the most effective internet marketing tactic.

So why the disconnect? Well, if you look closer, there are a number of reasons why:

1. Trust

Almost every business owner has heard horror stories of a company that hired a shady SEO company and then either lost most of their rankings or was outright banned by Google. Another common anecdote is a small business that has spent lots of money on SEO only to get poor results or no results.

2. Complexity

SEO is complex – there’s no way around it. That complexity makes it hard for the average small business owner to tell whether or not a hired SEO is telling them the truth. And even if the small business owner asks a business friend if they know of an SEO company that’s good, that referral may be based on limited information.

When you factor in the typical two to three-month delay in seeing results from SEO efforts, it’s no wonder why it’s hard to find a reliable SEO. (Though there is a very good list here.)

Complexity is an issue for all business owners who would prefer to do SEO themselves. Unfortunately, SEO is not something you can learn and master in a couple of hours. And given that most small businesses don’t outsource their marketing, that means going outside to hire an SEO firm (or any marketing vendor) is something they’re not used to doing.

3. Expense

Small business marketing budgets tend to be tight. Good SEO tends to be expensive. It’s not a great combination.

But many small companies try to save money. They use inexpensive SEO firms that employ shady tactics to get their pages ranked. At first, everything seems fine, but then Google releases another update and the rankings tank. The SEO firm pleads, “This is just what happens.”

Now the small company is not only out of all that budget they’ve spent – they’ve also lost those search rankings and all the traffic to their website those rankings were generating. That can cause a major disruption in a business. Just ask anyone who’s ever been badly burned by an algorithm update. It can take months to recover. No wonder small businesses are leery of SEO.

4. Time

Patience is hard to come by. But SEO rewards patience in spades.

It takes time to build good rankings – sometimes months or even years. And there’s often a gap of several months between trying a new SEO tactic (like blogging, for example) and seeing results.

Compare that to advertising, where results are almost immediate, or a direct mail campaign, an email blast or almost other kinds of promotion.

Of course, this isn’t a problem just because small business owners are impatient. Many owners have patience galore. What they don’t have is an unlimited amount of cash. The pressures of cash flow are always on their mind.

What can you do about all this?

Should we just give up and not even try SEO for our businesses? Of course not. We just need to take the long view. That’s what SEO requires more than almost any other marketing tactic (except maybe content marketing, which is practically a sister to SEO).

There are three basic rules to apply to SEO for small businesses. They counteract all the issues mentioned above:

  • Learn the basics. You may not have days to learn SEO, but there are some good basic tutorials that can help a lot. If nothing else, they’ll educate you enough to hire a quality SEO firm and not get burned by somebody promising to “Get your site to the top of the search results.”
  • Stay patient. Good SEO takes time.
  • Invest wisely. Good SEO costs money.

Conclusion

While it’s disappointing to see so many small businesses missing out on the benefits of SEO, there could be a silver lining to it for you.

If you’re among the minority who can commit to this tactic, who can invest in it (if only a little) for the long term, you’ll have a major advantage over your peers. And once you start seeing results, you’ll have a free stream of traffic going to your site. That SEO traffic will also be more likely to convert and more likely to come back.

What do you think?

Are you doing any search engine optimization for your small business? Is it working? Which optimization tactics have worked best? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.

Source: Why Do Small Businesses Shirk SEO?