Penguin 3.0 Update is Overwhelmingly Underwhelming

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Penguin 3.0 Update is Overwhelmingly Underwhelming was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

penguins-800x800For 12-plus months, organic search marketers have been waiting for the Penguin 3.0 update that would allow reformed corner-cutting clients to claim full penalty recovery and regain SERP rank. With six months between updates set as the standard through 2012 and 2013, a full 12-month cycle between updates created quite the build up for Penguin 3.0.

So, when an Penguin 3.0 update was announced by Search Engine Land on October 19, significant SERP rank fluctuation was expected. Instead, what we’ve seen in the six days since the update can only be described as overwhelmingly underwhelming.

Penguin 3.0: What We’ve Seen In the First 6 Days

  • In a post on Google+, Google UK Webmaster Trends Analyst Pierre Far confirmed that the “update” (referred to as a “refresh” twice in the body of the post) started rolling out on Friday, October 17. Wording the change as a “refresh” in the body text gives us the impression that the event we’re witnessing this week is a minor algorithm reiteration more comparable to the quiet release of Penguin 2.1 than the massive release of Penguin 2.0.
  • The Mozcast barometer which monitors fluctuation in Google’s rankings and reports volatile conditions as hot, stormy weather, showed a temperature well over 100 degrees when Penguin 2.0 was launched in October 2013. Currently the Mozcast is showing a comfortable 71 degrees at the time of this posting, and an actual decrease in instability between Friday, October 17 (when the update was announced), and Saturday, October 18.
  • At this point the analysis we’re seeing from our SEOToolSet ranking tool aligns completely with the comfortable, stable Mozcast forecast: we’re seeing very little SERP fluctuation – for better or worse. In general, we have seen neither significant penalty removal or penalty increases. It was thought that sites would show marked recovery for repenting this last year while those continuing their spammy ways would see increases in ranking drops. We have seen neither.

Speculations: Why Release an Update That’s Not Really an Update?

With so much anticipation leading up to the long overdue (in our opinion) release of Penguin 3.0, we can’t help but wonder: after a year, why would Google release a Penguin “update” that is so insignificantly affecting so many?

Here are four speculations we’ve cooked up in our internal discussions:

  • One theory is that the public was getting antsy and Google took this recent action to appease a vocal industry. In this scenario we posit that Google, overwhelmed with millions of disavow requests, has yet to figure out a meaningful way to use the abundance of disavow data. If the elongated lapse in time between 2.0 and 3.0 updates is the driving catalyst for the update we’re seeing this week, then this week’s update may reflect the best they could do to throw us a bone, so to speak.
  • Another speculation shifts the blame toward the upcoming holiday season; reasonably, Google doesn’t want to create mass instability in the SERPs right before Black Friday ushers in the biggest online shopping season of the year. In this case, a bigger shakeup could be coming with a Penguin 3.1 update roll out just after the holiday season.
  • A third speculation takes Google at its word that the update is still rolling out, and the U.S. market will see a bigger impact in the days to come. In the above-mentioned Google+ announcement, Pierre Far says, “It’s a slow worldwide rollout, so you may notice it settling down over the next few weeks” (emphasis ours). Jennifer Slegg reports that the Penguin 3.0 update was rolled out on international Google sites Google.co.uk, Google.de and Google.fr, before roll out on U.S. sites. In other words, there still could be a tiny glimmer of hope that Penguin 3.0 is in fact still rolling out, and will begin to affect U.S. sites with more gusto in coming weeks.
  • The fourth and most pessimistic speculation suggests that this update-slash-refresh may actually be a sign of things to come; what if Google aims to make cheaters pay for their crimes with an unforgettable punishment, as Bruce Clay, Inc. Senior SEO Analyst Robert Ramirez proposed speculatively in an article last month, Does Google Have a Responsibility to Refresh Its Penguin Algorithm? What if this update is a sign that penalties for black hat marketing techniques may be in the initial phase of an exponential increase, evolving into website death sentences with no hope for the penalized to ever fully recover?

What Now? We Wait and See

With a substantial lack of data to show Penguin 3.0 significantly impacting the SERP space, or an at all, really, we can only continue to wait and speculate among ourselves.

penguin-3-underwhelms-3

Photo by Fod Tzellos (CC BY 2.0), modified.

If above-mentioned speculations one, two, or three are true (or near truth), the seismic Penguin update we’ve been holding our collective breath for could still, very well, be on the horizon. This means hope could still be in the cards for former corner-cutters who have been working hard to prune their backlink profiles and waiting patiently for the Penguin update that would result in penalty resolution.

If the more dramatic fourth speculation is closer to true, we’re in for a real game change. In the Search Traffic portion of their Webmaster Tools Help, Google goes to great lengths to teach webmasters how to disavow unnatural links and correct manual link penalties. We like to believe all this training and effort means something and that Google really does want what’s best for your site, and for the greater good. For that reason, we choose not to put too much weight on the Penguin-3.0-as-eternal-death-sentence speculation.

But, still, it all boils down to waiting and seeing.

The bottom line is that something has to give sooner than later.

We’ve been waiting over a year to see Google refresh the algorithmic elements that manage the analysis and judgment of backlink profiles so that reformers can see rank recovery. What we saw this week just wasn’t that update.

Here’s to hoping that update is coming our way…soon.

October 23rd 2014 Google, SEO

Bringing Your Brand Mission & Mobile Strategy to the Next Level: 6 Digital Marketing Lessons from SMX East & Pubcon

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Bringing Your Brand Mission & Mobile Strategy to the Next Level: 6 Digital Marketing Lessons from SMX East & Pubcon was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

It’s been a good month to learn about the latest strategies evolving in Internet marketing, with Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East 2014 and Pubcon Las Vegas 2014 taking place back to back in October. After liveblogging 36 key sessions throughout both conferences, two major themes emerged: the necessity of optimizing for mobile at every turn and the importance of a mission that goes far above and beyond sales.
Collage of pictures from SMX East 2014 and Pubcon 2014
Read on for six lessons, straight from Pubcon and SMX East, on these key themes:

  1. Brand + Mission = Excellence
  2. Think Bigger: Startups Save the World
  3. Focus on Users with “Youtility”
  4. Responsive Design isn’t the Only Choice That Makes Sense
  5. Click-to-Call Extensions Reap Major Rewards
  6. 75% of Users Access Pinterest on a Mobile Device: Optimize Accordingly

Brands Must Have Mission

Keynote speakers at Pubcon had a lot to say on the subject of mission, vision and “youtility” of a brand. If we can take these CEOs and bestselling New York Times authors at their word, successful brands must have a mission greater than sales, possess a clearly defined vision, and think of creative ways to be useful.

1. Brand + Mission = Excellence

Brand is the outward expression of a mission. Mission is what drives your deepest purpose. Match these well for excellence,” said Chris Brogan, CEO of Owner Media Group, as he delivered a passionate address that appealed to idealism and the bottom line simultaneously. According to Brogan, brands that are fueled by a mission — something they could write on a flag and get people to march behind — are the kind of brands that reap the greatest success.

By infusing your company with a mission, your consumers will feel like they belong to something greater. Brogan asserts that if they feel like they belong to something greater they will become content creators and spread the word of a brand themselves. Brogan points to Crossfit as an example of this, noting how actively and avidly Crossfitters share Crossfit’s mission on social media. What Crossfit inspires (that ordinary gyms don’t) is that sense of belonging — and that allows them to offer their services at a premium.

2. Think Bigger: Startups Save the World

Angel investor Jason Calacanis examined the global impact that mission-minded brands can have. Calacanis discussed six major world problems (cancer, climate change, energy crisis, hunger, unemployment, and repression) and showcased startups that are finding solutions. His final thought? That the work entrepreneurs, engineers and the tech elite perform is the work that lifts the world up. Calacanis believes that even bigger things are coming.

3. Focus on Users with “Youtility”

Jay Baer, president of Convince & Convert, also believes brands are on a mission — a mission of “youtility”. Youtility is the idea of focusing on the “you” who is consuming your content. It’s marketing with the chief aim to be useful. As Baer said, “it’s marketing that people cherish rather than tolerate.”

Marketing that people cherish means abandoning a “me, me, me” attitude. It’s not about touting your brand, but about knowing your audience and supplying them with content (apps, articles, social presence) that will help them. For example, Hilton has a Twitter account called @HiltonSuggests. The account’s entire mission is to find traveler’s looking for suggestions or tips and help them. A look at their Twitter feed shows them talking food, attractions and sights; there’s no call to stay at a Hilton. This kind of youtility, though, leads to something priceless: brand recall and top-of-mind recall.

“Great Youtility can transcend the transaction. Give yourself permission to make the story bigger – you don’t just have to talk about your own stuff. You can talk about other things that are relevant and useful,” said Baer.

A natural consequence of focusing on the “you” is something all brands are hungry for: loyalty. Joanna Lord, vice president of marketing at Porch.com, echoed Baer’s sentiments at SMX East, using Starbucks as an example.

Lord explained that we’re in a place today where businesses need to be just as loyal to customers as they want customers’ loyalty. Look at the messaging on the Starbucks website. It’s hyper-focused on words like “you” and “we” and “our” and “us,” punctuated with three to four word phrases. Marketers are empowered when every morning they can wake up and know they’ve delivered a message to the world.

Consider Mobile Traffic at Every Turn

iphone-410324_1280Mobile optimization has been a hot topic all year long. 2014 was, after all, the year that saw mobile search traffic overtake desktop search traffic. I recently interviewed Jim Yu, CEO of BrightEdge, and he reported that BrightEdge data shows mobile traffic is outpacing desktop traffic by 10. That’s precisely why digital marketers are focusing their efforts on mobile optimization and paying close attention to design, user experience, content and SEO. Like Bruce Clay said at Pubcon, “Mobile will disrupt everything. It’s already disrupting everything.”

4. Responsive Design Isn’t the Only Choice

Each type of mobile site implementation comes with its own set of unique pros and cons. Knowing, however, that Google’s preferred method is responsive design (as opposed to separate sites or dynamic serving), digital marketers tend to advocate responsive design, as well. But not the panelists in “What SEOs Should Be Doing with Mobile” at SMX East.

Cindy Krum (CEO of MobileMoxie) asserted digital marketers shouldn’t feel bound to one type of design; each page should be taken into account on its own.

“You don’t have to commit 100% to one mobile type. Part of your site can have one architecture and other pages can have a different architecture. If it provides a better user experience, then you should do it. Google is not against this if it’s warranted,” Krum said.

Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, agreed. What Google cares about most, he said, is making the user happy. He also emphasized that responsive design does not lead to ranking boost, and a lack of responsive design does not lead to penalty.

5. Click-to-Call Extensions Reap Major Rewards

Jason Spievak, CEO of Invoca, and Daryl Colwell, Senior Vice President at Matomy Media Group, shared statistics that demonstrated the importance of implementing Click-to-Call functionality on PPC ads in the Pubcon session New Mobile Behavior and Click-to-Call Strategies:

  • 47% of mobile users will explore other brands if there is no phone number associate with the business’ search results (Google Mobile Playbook 2013).
  • The average American consumer spends 34 hours a month browsing the Internet on a mobile device (source: Direct Marketing News).
  • By 2018, mobile search will drive 73 billion inbound calls to advertisers (source: BIA/Kelsey).
  • There are 30-50% conversion rates on a call.

Given these statistics, it seems more important than ever to make sure people viewing your ads can easily call your business.

6. 75% of Users Access Pinterest on a Mobile Device; Optimize Accordingly

In Pubcon’s Pinterest and Other Missed Social SEO Opportunities, Cynthia Johnson, director of social media marketing at RankLab, pointed out that 75 percent of users access Pinterest from a mobile device – it’s the digital marketer’s job to optimize accordingly. Practically, this means first and foremost have a mobile-ready site – there’s no point in sending users from Pinterest to a site that they’re going to bounce back from.

This also means limiting the characters in your pin description to those that can be seen on a mobile device (100 characters on iOS/125 characters on Android). It’s also important to consider the order of your boards. When you go to a brand/pinner’s page on desktop, the top eight boards are visible above the fold – on a phone, only the top four boards are visible above the fold. This means, then, that you need to strategically place your best four boards in the top four slots, rather than thinking you have eight to work with.


liveblog-roundup-squareIn addition to mobile optimization and mission-minded marketing, there was an abundance of new and insightful information in all arenas of digital marketing. Virginia Nussey and I liveblogged 36 key sessions throughout the conference. Find an easy-to-read overview of all of them in 36 Coast-to-Coast Liveblog Posts Covering Pubcon Las Vegas & SMX East 2014 and click through to the topics that interest you most. You’ll find coverage of sessions featuring the latest SEO, SEM, SMM and content marketing tactics.

October 22nd 2014 SEO

Keyword research tools: which ones to use?

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Keyword research toolsTwo weeks ago, I wrote a post about the use of long tail keywords. Focusing on long tail keywords could be a good strategy, especially when trying to rank in a highly competitive market. But how do you decide on which (long tail) keywords you want to rank? This post will give you some handy tips and keyword research tools to make your keyword research a bit easier.

Repeat keyword research regularly!

Keyword research is an activity you undertake every now and then. If you have a clear definition about the product or service you want to ‘sell’ with your website, you should be able to come up with keywords, related keywords en even more related keywords to make your awesome website (more) findable. As your product and the market will evolve, your keyword strategy should do the same.

Resemble the vocabulary of your audience

The keywords you want to focus your SEO on, should closely resemble the vocabulary of your audience. In order to come up with the proper keywords you really have to get inside the heads of the people who search for your website. What terms will people use? How do people search? Which question does your website answer? You should create a list of all search terms people could use and think of combinations and nuances within these search terms.

Keyword research tools to use

Making a list remains hard. And up until a few years ago, doing your keyword research was much easier. You could simply check Google Analytics to see on which terms people found your website. That is no longer possible. So you’re pretty much left in the dark about the terms people use in search engines to end up at your website. Luckily, there are some other tools which can make your keyword research a bit easier:

Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Use the Google Adwords Keyword Planner to find new and related keywords, but ignore the search volume data! The search volume data in the planner is really only useful for keywords that you’re actually spending money to advertise on. Otherwise, these volumes are not reliable. While not really helpful to decide which keyword is most used by your potential audience, Google Adwords Keyword Planner makes a useful tool in coming up with ideas for potential keywords!

Yoast suggests

Joost developed his own keyword research tool to come up with keywords as well! Yoast Suggests uses the Google Suggest functionality you know from searching in Google. It finds the keyword expansions Google gives and then requests more of them. So if you type ‘example‘, it’ll also give you the expansions for ‘example a…’ till ‘example z…’ etc. Just go on and try it and fill out some of your potential keywords. It’s a great way to quickly find more long tail keywords you can focus on.

Google Trends

Google Trends allows you to compare the traffic for sets of keywords. You can even see the difference for numerous geographical regions. It’s very important to check Google Trends if you expect that some of your keywords are seasonal, for instance due to regulations, holiday seasons etc.

Your internal search engine

What are people looking for on your site? These terms are keywords in the vocabulary of your actual audience and should definitely be added to your keyword list. Do not forget to look at the keywords people filled in that didn’t get any results: this was stuff people were expecting but didn’t find. You can look into the results of your internal search engine with our Google Analytics for WordPress plugin. 

Conclusion

These keyword research tools should make it easier to create a list of relevant search terms. You should make sure to create awesome landing pages for keywords you want to be found on. You should also think about cornerstone content articles and a great internal linking structure in order to make your SEO strategy complete. In our ebook we give a very nice example of a keyword research. Also, we dedicate an entire chapter on how to optimize the (linking) structure of your site. Want to read even more? Stay tuned at Yoast.com, as we are currently working on a new article on ‘how to choose your perfect focus keyword’.

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

October 22nd 2014 SEO

36 Coast-to-Coast Liveblog Posts Covering Pubcon Las Vegas & SMX East 2014

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36 Coast-to-Coast Liveblog Posts Covering Pubcon Las Vegas & SMX East 2014 was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Bruce Clay, Inc. sent livebloggers Virginia Nussey and Kristi Kellogg to Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East 2014 and Pubcon Las Vegas to report live on 36 sessions on key digital marketing topics. Whether you’re interested in SEO, SMM, PPC, mobile optimization or content marketing, you’ll find coverage of the most important sessions coast to coast. Read on for an overview of each liveblog post and click through to read what piques your interest — or read them all!

SMX East 2014 Pubcon

Pubcon Las Vegas 2014

1. New Mobile Behavior and Click-to-Call Strategies

Learn how to enhance your PPC campaigns with click-to-call extensions — and why they matter so much — as Jason Spievak (CEO of Invoca) and Daryl Colwell (Senior Vice President, Matomy Media Group) take the Pubcon stage to talk mobile search advertising.

2. Chris Brogan on Mission-Driven Execution

In Wednesday morning’s opening keynote from Pubcon Las Vegas, Chris Brogan shares inspiring examples of brand and mission. Keep the mission alive with content and participation. Content is the drum that calls us together.

3. Search Algorithm Chaos & Keyword (Not Provided)

In this Pubcon Las Vegas session, Bruce Clay (president of Bruce Clay, Inc.), Prashant Puri (co-founder of AdLift) and Jake Bohall (vice president of marketing at Virante) are going to talk about an always-hot topic in SEO: Keyword data (Not Provided).

4. SEO Mosh Pit

It’s Pubcon’s 15th birthday (and the final panel), and you know it’s a party when there’s beer and cake and an SEO Mosh Pit, a Q&A session where conference attendees get to ask their questions of some of digital marketing’s best minds and leaders, including Bruce Clay, about the current SEO state of affairs.

5. The Importance of ‘Buyer Legends’ with Jeffrey Eisenberg

There’s so much that goes into online marketing, and marketing at largeBuyer legends” are what marketer and bestselling author Jeffrey Eisenberg calls the narratives that craft a customer journey – and it’s also the name the company that he runs with his brother. In this morning’s keynote, Eisenberg will dive into buyer legends, exploring why they matter and what goes into them.

6. SEO Copywriting Style Guide: Tools & Tricks for SEO Writers

The lessons shared by these panelists, including Bruce Clay, Inc.’s SEO Manager, Mindy Weinstein, help writers craft content for people that’s also rich for search engines. Whether you’re writing an article, a blog post, your home page — where do you start? You need to start with the human element.

7. Link Building Without a Penalty

Rhea Drysdale, Joe Youngblood and Russ Jones talk about link building. While this session was covered, Bruce Clay, Inc. does not endorse any of these tactics. Always proceed with caution when it comes to any link building effort.

8. Jay Baer, Author of Youtility – Help Not Hype

Marketing is more challenging than ever. Attention spans are shorter, consumers demand more knowledge, and what worked twenty years ago won’t work today. What does work for gaining mindshare? Being helpful.

9. Real-Time Content Marketing with Wearables & Google Glass

When it comes to wearables, devices and technology are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and Internet marketers are embarking on a new frontier: real-time marketing.

10. Link Building through Press Outreach

Rob Woods, SEO consultant, will share insights on press outreach that leads to strong links in this Pubcon Las Vegas 2014 session. Caveat: Going after press links are hard work, take time and money, and you are going to face rejection from reporters.

11. Jason Calacanis on Startups that Save the World

Angel investor Jason Calacanis’s keynote is unique – it’s not tactical or strategy-driven. It’s steeped in reality and meant to simply inspire and inform the audience of the amazing progress that startups and forward-thinking companies are bring to the world in the areas of six global problems. Startups, he asserts, will solve our world’s problems rather than governments. His keynote, that is meant to inspire us, will cover major advances by tech and startup companies.

12. Pinterest and Other Missed Social SEO Opportunities

Have an interest in Pinterest? You should – there are 70 million users are Pinterest, and their business is up for grabs. John Rampton, editor-at-large at Search Engine Journal, Stephan Spencer, vice president of SEO at Covario, and Cynthia Johnson, director of social media marketing at RankLab, share their insights on wielding Pinterest for to drive traffic, build community and boost sales.

13.Utilizing Personas in Social Media Contests

One of the most common reasons why business fail to gain ROI from their social media marketing efforts is their failure to fashion their content to target specific personas.

 

SMX East 2014

1. Google’s Gary Illyes Talks HTTPS & the Future of Secure Search; SEO VIPS Share Data/Experiences with HTTPS

Googler Gary Illyes, talks about the future of secure search, Google’s thoughts on secure search, and the possible return of keyword data (scroll to Q & A at end). Eric Enge says he’s seen “no material change” in moving to secure search, and Raza Zaidi weighs in on RSS and WordPress in relation to secure search.

2. BuzzFeed Founder Jonah Peretti Talks Going Viral, SEO, Social Media and More

Jonah Peretti, founder of BuzzFeed, has a history of Internet brilliance. Before founding BuzzFeed, he was a co-founder of the Huffington Post. For tonight’s grand finale, Search Engine Land Founding Editor Danny Sullivan picks Peretti’s brain on the early days of SEO at the Huffington Post, the nature of social sharing, the nuances of different social networks, the role (or lack thereof) of SEO at BuzzFeed, native advertising, and more.

3. 25 Smart Examples of Structured Data You Can Use Now

Have you reviewed your website inventory ad implemented structured data markup wherever applicable. Perhaps most important to your decision of whether or not you need to add markup now, speaker Mike Arnesen shares how to track the ROI of rich snippets.

4 . How SEO & SEM Can Help Each Other

SEO and PPC VIPs Lisa Williams, Aaron Levy and Brett Snyder break down the relationship between SEO and SEM from an operational and tactical level during the first session of Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East 2014’s Tactics Track.

5. All Search is Now Social

Think of an apple and a bag of marbles. Both simple images, and when you compare the two you’ll get an idea of the shift that social media has caused brands to make to stay relevant today. An apple is the old way of thinking of your brand, unified and on-message. The bag of marbles is a little more assorted, a collection, not a unified message but it has 300% more surface area. You’re able to increase the surface area of your brand by releasing individual advocates.

6. SEO Is Never Dead — Marshall Simmonds

In this opening summit session at SMX East, the SEO thought-leading veteran Marshall Simmonds puts to rest the popular critique of search engine optimization, “SEO is dead.” He explains: “If Google is constantly changing, we [search marketers] have to be constantly moving to meet those changes.

7. Branding Your Data Visualizations with Annie Cushing

Annie Cushing makes data pretty and meaningful for her clients with Excel dashboards customized in their colors and fonts and will be imparting her guidelines for making your data visualizations fit your brand, making it a brand identity tool online.

8. The 4th Wave of Content Marketing

We’re at the forefront of a movement to make technologists and marketers talk to each other. This session is called “The 4th Wave of Content Marketing: From Passive to Interactive” and it’s about the next thing in content. Don’t just publish more, make it interactive with marketing apps.

9. Twitter Cards & Facebook’s Open Graph

Take your social game to the next level by implementing Twitter Cards and Open Graph Tags. The speakers in this panel assert that social strategy means thinking about social posts as if they are ads (and therefore crafting them with the same amount of care and creativity).

10. Automation Does Not Equal Strategy

SMX speaker Kevin Ryan posits that “a Tool Box Does Not a Cabinet Make” as referenced in the alternate title of this session on marketing automation. Ryan is going to speak on a bad habit: focusing on the new, shiny new technology and neglecting the strategy.

11. The Future of a Brand

What is a brand and how are marketers in control of a brand? These are the questions she’s been tackling this decade because things have changed, and branding is now a business driver. As such, a brand should have it’s own budget, it’s own team and it’s own conversation with the executives. Joanna Lord explains the best practices of what some better brands are doing.

12. SMX East Evening Forum with Danny Sullivan

Search Engine Land Editor in Chief Danny Sullivan fields questions from the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) East 2014 audience. Find out what he had to say about Authorship, markup, local SEO, how to teach SEO in college and much more.

13. Tough Love: What I Wish CMOs Knew About Search Marketing

Internet marketers know the importance of SEO, SEM and content marketing … but that’s not always the case with the C-Suite. Hillary Glaser stresses the importance of maintaining SEO. If your CEO/CMO is unconvinced of the power of ongoing Internet marketing, Glaser’s insights are definitely must-shares. Erin Everhart shares the seven things she wishes execs understood. Tom Alison rounds out the session by sharing compelling statistics on the future of Internet marketing, and why PPC is necessary for branded terms.

14. Creating, Testing & Optimizing Paid Search Ads

PPC pros share their top tips on testing ads, including tips that account for the shift of mobile users. From “always be testing” guidelines to creating ad testing framewor, discover what matters most when it comes to creating, testing and measuring ads.

15. Learn With Google — Attribution Strategies

In the Learn with Google classroom, the topic of the morning is: Attribution Strategies to Inform Your Search and Digital Investments. Because understanding the interplay of channels leads to smarter marketing investments.

16. What SEOs Should Be Doing with Mobile

When it comes to mobile, Google prefers responsive design. But there is no ranking boost or penalty for using this method when designing your mobile site. Cindy Krum, Michael Martin, Jim Yu and Gary Illyes talk about what happens when sites use dynamic serving, separate sites and responsive design — or some combination of all three.

17. The Importance of Imagery

In a stream of consciousness presentation of images, SMX speaker Rhonda Hanson, Sr. Director of Digital Marketing, Global Marketing, formerly of Concur, thinks about using images to your advantage and points out a few dos, don’ts and trends.

18. Making Moments Matter

The sales funnel has exploded. However, the pieces of the funnel are still highly relevant. You need to be there in the consideration phase. You need to streamline the purchase process so it’s frictionless. You need to work to maintain retention and get fanatical loyalty.

19. Keyword Research for Better Content & Audience Engagement

SEO masterminds Michael King, Jason White and Joe Pawlikowski share their top insights on keyword research. Discover their favorite tools, tried-and-true tactics, thoughts on persona research, (Not Provided) and much more.

20. Deconstructing Pigeon, Google’s New Local Search Algorithm

In July, the quality of Google local search results took a turn for the worse, experts say. The cause? A pesky little creature called the Pigeon Update crawled into the maps, local packs and authoritative one boxes. Learn what changed for searches with generic terms, geolocally modified terms, and see some of the wacky-broken results that have cropped up since Pigeon landed.

21. Conversion Rate Rock Stars

Luke Summerfield shares brilliant insights on designing your site and content to appeal to people’s unconscious brains (i.e., where emotions live). Then Paras Chopra and Khalid Saleh talk technical CRO matters.

22. Search & Find: Marketing in the Age of the Internet of Things

In this session at SMX East, speaker Erynn Petersen takes a high-level view of a future where we don’t go to a phone or computer to get online, but rather all the devices and appliances around us are online.

23. Competitive Research for SEO

SMX East 2014

This session dives into competitive research that will help you identify your true competition (it isn’t always who you think it is) and then assess why and how they are outranking you. Armed with this information, you can fight back and rise to the top of the SERP.

October 21st 2014 SEO

New Structured Snippets: An Enhanced SERP Snippet Is Just a Table Away

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New Structured Snippets: An Enhanced SERP Snippet Is Just a Table Away was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

On September 22, the Google Research Blog announced Structured Snippets, a feature that “incorporates facts into individual results snippets in Web Search.” What it amounts to is elements from an HTML table being shown right in the SERP. If this sounds at all like Structured Data, it should. Sort of. Google displays data from your website on their results page, yet it doesn’t require schema markup or any other specialized coding. All you need is a table. Oh, and relevant data.

The Google post has an example of a Structured Snippet for the query “Nikon d7100”:

structured snippet in google serp for nikon d7100

In order to test these results out, we found the table below from Car and Driver. It’s formatted as a classic table, without any structured markup.

car and driver fast facts

And here is how it appears in the SERP:

google structured snippet serp for dodge challenger

As you can see, the data about the Dodge Challenger in the SERP listing above isn’t quite as easy to read as Google’s Nikon example, but the information is there.

This announcement has been greeted with a fair amount of skepticism, as many webmasters and content creators are frustrated that Google has found yet another way to take data from websites and present it on the search engine’s own pages, consequently stealing clicks from websites that actually published the data originally. But the fact is that there are several reasons to welcome this latest innovation.

Optimizing Structured Snippets

As is often the case, whether you welcome or dread it, this change has a lot to do with perspective. Google introduced this change to improve user experience, so webmasters should have the same goal in mind when thinking of how to include interesting information in tables on their website to garner more attention in the SERPs. Here are some benefits to Structured Snippets:

  1. Challenges webmasters, designers and marketers to reexamine how we present information. A well-made table is an engagement object. It’s helpful for users, and it breaks up long blocks of text. Tables just became another tool in your content utility belt.
  2. No special markup required. Google said it, and based on all the examples we’ve seen, it’s true; you don’t need to learn some new technology to make the most of this change. Got data that would look good/be easier to read in a table? Great. Make that table.
  3. More real estate on the SERP. So far I haven’t heard anyone mention this, but in some instances, like in the Nikon example above, the amount of space for your entry nearly doubles. While it’s possible that Google pulling data from your website and putting it in SERPs may lower your click-through rate, it’s also possible that getting a larger entry in the SERP could help your CTR.

What Structured Snippets Mean for the Future of Search

First off, I’ll tell you what it doesn’t mean: the death of structured data. This isn’t cause for letting your schema markup fall by the wayside; if anything, Structured Snippets reinforce the importance of structured data overall. Why? Because both tools enable search engines to determine A) what your page is about, and B) how relevant it is to search queries. Search engines, as they’re always pointing out, exist to serve users, not webmasters. All of this structuring things allows search engine spiders to efficiently crawl your site and figure out who’s looking for what you’re offering.

It’s possible, and I’m really speculating here, that Meta tags (Title, Description, and the seldom-used Keywords tags) will become less and less important over time. Search engines know that it’s too easy to offer over-optimized Titles (can you say “clickbait”?) and so they’re beginning to look directly into your content; after all, how long has Google been presenting snippets of content in the SERP, where it used to always just be your Meta description? Structured Snippets are one more way to let spiders, and users, get your data quickly and easily.

Search Engine Land points out that Structured Snippets could cause some difficulty for websites that use responsive design, however, as tables are tough to format for mobile devices. Probably worth taking a page from Wikipedia’s playbook in formatting tables for a variety of devices.

One thing that is certain, is that those who make the most of this new tool stand to gain the most ground over those who are slow to adapt.

October 17th 2014 Google, SEO

Homepage optimization

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Homepage OptimizationHomepage SEO does not exist. That was the statement in the post I did last week. However, a lot of the people that commented on our site, and on Twitter and Facebook, still feel that a homepage should be optimized for a keyword. Perhaps optimizing your homepage for search engines works for some of you, but ranking in Google should definitely not be the only purpose of your homepage! In this post I want to explore the main purpose of your homepage and give tips on how to optimize your homepage to make it totally awesome!

What is your website about?

The first homepage optimization tip is of course to check what your website is about. This seems obvious, but your mission, the uniqueness of your website, should be reflected on your homepage.

Is your homepage just a large list of products and services, or did you actually take the time to write a decent welcome for your visitors? Now one of the most annoying things a website owner can do, is actually write ‘welcome to our website’ of course. By welcoming your visitor, I mean telling him what can be found on your website. What is your main product or service? What can be found on your products and on your company itself on the website? And most important: what is the main benefit (USP; Unique Selling Point) for the visitor?

But isn’t this just common sense?

Make your USP specific

The second homepage optimization tip is to make your Unique Selling Point clear. A couple of years ago, Joost and some other SEO’s did a live site review during WordCamp Netherlands and one of the sites being reviewed had exactly that problem. It was absolutely unclear what that company was bringing the customer. I think it was a business coaching website that had a tagline like: “Helping you improve yourself!”. That isn’t a great intro / tagline, as it tells absolutely nothing about the purpose of the company. It might as well be selling great running shoes, helping you improve your running, right? Make sure your introductory content is about the key benefits for the visitor you offer. “Coaching consultants using self-reflection” would already tell a visitor a lot more.

Is this Homepage SEO? Pawedu.com

In the above homepage for PawEdu (yes, it’s a slider, I know – but I really like the b/w images), it is very clear what the purpose of the website is. Yes, the three larger words could apply to more websites, but the tagline below it and the image add nuance to these words.

In most cases, that could indeed mean getting back to a boring business tagline. I’m not a big fan of the vague descriptions half of today’s companies seem to use. That only works when you have the marketing budget to make it your own. We all know what company tells me that I’m Lovin’ It.

But clarity isn’t the only thing that matters on your homepage.

Guide your visitor

A third purpose of your homepage is guidance to your visitor. You should make sure your homepage guides your visitor to your main pages. Of course your homepage needs the introduction or tagline I described above. But that one would be useless if your homepage wouldn’t allow the visitor to click to your main or money pages. These would be the pages where the deal is closed, the product is sold or the contact form can be filled out.

Of course there are more, but these are the obvious ‘guides’ on most homepages:

  • Sliders, or better alternatives
    It’s pretty obvious that we at Yoast don’t like sliders. Still, a slider is used very often to promote these pages. The lack of attention these pages get, is one of the reasons why we don’t like sliders. But that slider area is a great spot for guidance. If you would add an image of your featured product, including a great call-to-action button, that would make sense. If you want to rotate that with every browser refresh, I’m the last one to stop you. It’s a great way to make your homepage appear different with every visit.
  • Menu
    The most obvious one is of course the menu. Have your thought about what is in your menu? Is it structured and focused? Let me give you an example: this is the menu of a financial consultant we reviewed a while ago:
    Be clear
    Start Here could be a call-to-action, of course. But Hard Choices is just too general. In the end, I would replace both with names that describe the content after the click.
  • Products
    If you have an online shop, the possibilities are endless. But don’t add the entire category list in your sidebar. Focus on your most visited categories and add these in a prominent spot on your homepage. Add your best selling product to the homepage, perhaps in that larger image we mentioned at ‘sliders’ above. Be creative. Your homepage seems the best spot on your site to announce a new product, for instance. If your shop has a sale, make sure that people notice it on the homepage.
  • Search as a call-to-action
    In around 80% of the sites we review, the search bar is located in the header or footer. If you are selling thousands of products, or if you have written over a hundred articles on your site, chances are that a search bar will come in handy for your visitor. Why not make that one your main call-to-action and list it as the main element (instead of that slider) on your website? Doing this is actually step two. Step one is making sure your search result pages look decent.
  • Contact
    You also have to realize that a (returning) visitor could just be looking for your contact details. List a link to your contact page where one would expect it. That could be in the last spot in your menu, but could also be an address in your footer, or a (short) contact form in the sidebar.

Do not clutter!

Do not go overboard in guidance on your website! One of my favorite words of the last decade is ‘clutter’. Don’t clutter your homepage with all kind of actionable guides, but pick two or three that make sense on a site like yours. And focus on these.

Is this Homepage SEO? Trendypeas.com

This is a great example of a focused homepage. TrendyPeas has even thought of making that call-to-action a distinctive color. One could argue about the three ‘extras’ on the right of the menu, but due to the use of faded tabs and the hard yellow call-to-action in the main image, I think it works. The extra focus on the Halloween menu item is subtle next to the large image below it and the blue tagline in the header above it.

Homepage Optimization: the conclusion

Your homepage should make clear what people can find on your website. It should focus on your unique selling point. And, it should guide your visitors to your most important pages. Perhaps you can focus on these things and still optimize your homepage for a certain keyword. What do you think about that?

Of course your website is more than just your homepage. If you want to optimize your entire site, be sure to check our site reviews. We will do a complete website review starting from $699!

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

October 15th 2014 SEO

Q and A: Will changing my PDF document title impact my search rank?

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QuestionHi Kalena

When optimizing a PDF, Adobe Acrobat allows users to choose if they want to display the document’s file name or its title in the title bar at the top of the document (File>Properties>Initial View>Windows Options).

During a recent talk about PDF creation I was asked if changing what’s displayed from the default file name to the actual document title would have an impact on search results.

My gut feeling is that it has a positive impact, but I don’t know enough about SEO to actually confirm this. Do you know?

Thanks heaps!

Cheers
Diane

————————————–

Hi Diane

Your gut is right! The way you name your PDF file can impact where it ranks in search results.

A lot of webmasters believe that PDFs can’t be indexed, but in fact, Google has been able to index PDF files since 2001. Despite the different encodings used in PDFs, Google can extract useful data from them, provided they’re not encrypted or password protected. If text is embedded as images, Google can even process the images with OCR algorithms to extract the text.

Just like other web pages, PDF files have the ability to rank highly in search results, depending on their content, if they have been optimized and also depending on the way they’re embedded and linked to from other web pages.

Google uses two main elements to determine the title shown for PDFs: the title meta-data within the file, and the anchor text of links pointing to the PDF file. You can influence the title shown in search results for your PDF document by updating both. Doing this gives the algorithms a strong signal about which title to use.

Links embedded in PDF files are treated similarly to links in HTML: they can pass PageRank and other indexing signals, and Google may follow them after crawling the PDF file.

You can pick up some more tips for optimizing PDF files in these resources:

Hope this helps.

——————————————————————–

Like to learn more about SEO methods? Access your Free SEO Lessons. No catch!

 

October 13th 2014 Google, SEO

Pubcon Liveblog: SEO Mosh Pit

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Pubcon Liveblog: SEO Mosh Pit was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

It’s Pubcon’s 15th birthday (and the final panel), and you know it’s a party when there’s beer and cake and an SEO Mosh Pit, a Q&A session where conference attendees get to ask their questions of some of digital marketing’s best minds and leaders, including Bruce Clay, about the current SEO state of affairs.

A panel of

A panel of digital marketing’s best minds at Pubcon’s SEO Mosh Pit

Leading the charge is moderator, Brett Tabke, Pubcon CEO. Introducing the SEO Mosh Pit panel and their predictions for SEO in 2015:

Bruce Clay, President, Bruce Clay, Inc.

The industry will be 90 percent mobile within a year, and it will change everything.

Gareth Hoyle, Co Founder / CEO, LinkRisk / Marketing Signals

Google will give more clarity to updates and Matt Cutts was kicked out because of Penguin!

Joe Laratro, President, Tandem Interactive

Just introduces himself, no predictions.

Jenny Halasz, President, JLH Marketing

A Dismal prediction: the divide between SMB and enterprise will widen and it will be hard for small businesses to compete in the space.

Tony Wright, CEO/Founder, WrightIMCG

He welcomes the Google overlords, as it takes content from websites and displays it for its own monetization.

Eric Enge, CEO, Stone Temple Consulting Corporation

Dramatic expansion in Knowledge Graph and answer boxes. More structured snippets, and more webmasters won’t like it.

Mike Grehan, CMO & Managing Director, ACRONYM

Matt Cutts is a multi-millionaire and doesn’t need to work anymore.

Greg Boser, President & Co-founder, Foundation Digital, LLC

Mobile is going to be huge, predatory aggregation is going to be huge, and we will all be here moaning about Google and its products.

First Question from Brett Tabke: Is SEO dead? Should it be called something else?

GARETH HOYLE – SEO is never going to be dead, it’s just going to change what we do. It’s never going to die, and will become 5 spots as opposed to 10.

ERIC ENGE – SEO is never going to die, but there are new technologies coming out that someone needs to be on the front lines of trying to figure out, discovering new ways to get traffic. The SEOs of tomorrow will always be figuring out new stuff.

JENNY HALASZ – SEO will never go away. There is an intersection between content that people want to see and availability of the content. There is also “Subject Experience Optimization.”

BRUCE CLAY – Many years ago he said, “SEO is dead as long as it’s alone.” Because SEO is part of larger digital marketing, there is always something new. Every Monday, SEO is a brand new industry. As long as there are web pages, there will be SEO, and it will be integrated with all forms of digital marketing.

TONY WRIGHT – SEO has come back from the dead so many times. If you can’t adapt to change, then you are in the wrong business. To most, SEO is dead, but to the rest of us, we figure out what works, and we implement it. SEO is not dead as an industry.

MIKE GREHAN – Danny Sullivan was in his office recently, and together they reminisced over an interview from 14 years ago and they couldn’t recognize what SEO was.

Next Question: Does Google have too much power and influence in our lives?

JENNY HALASZ – A simple “yes.”

GARETH HOYLE – Google in the EU has created a great barrier to entry, but we don’t need to use Google. But we keep coming back to it.

TONY WRIGHT – He was in PR with Microsoft, and fought antitrust action against the company in the 90s, and Microsoft was taken down by 2 guys in a garage, not the government. This is the cycle, but no one knows what’s going to replace Google.

ERIC ENGE – There needs to be something dramatically different, but we don’t know what it is. Google will run out of runway eventually.

MIKE GREHAN – In ‘06 Google stopped calling themselves a search engine; they are a digital marketing company now. Google has made so many changes, but they’re not for us, they’re for the user. Hummingbird is not meant for people with a keyboard, because we are talking into mobile phones.

BRUCE CLAY – Asks how many people owe their jobs to Google’s changing all the time? Most raise their hands. Of course.

Next Question: How is mobile changing the game for marketers?

ERIC ENGE – It changes the website fundamentally, based on mobile users and devices. Organizations without mobile are already behind and will feel the financial pinch next year.

TONY WRIGHT – Makes a prediction that there’ll be 2x the mobile analytics tools at the conference next year.

JENNY HALASZ – We need to consider where the customer is and the context of how they are using devices.

JOE LARATRO – Very few are starting to scratch the surface in mobile behavior. Important issues need to be addressed as a result of this new behavior. The greatest opportunity for mobile is building direct connections with users.

MIKE GREHAN – Google does parlor tricks, they don’t actually answer real questions. Example – is it moral for girls to take the pill? See what answers you get. Google is just a database.

ERIC ENGE – Build your own audience, no matter the platform – this is how businesses succeed.

TONY WRIGHT – Web presence should be the center of your universe. You will avoid a lot of problems if you execute on this concept.

BRUCE CLAY – What if Google decides that organic is no longer needed on mobile phones? That would change our lives dramatically, and there’s nothing to prevent that from happening.

MIKE GREHAN – Does Google have all the power? What about Baidu, and Yandex? He’s a new grandfather again for the fifth time (congratulations), and never sees his grandkids open a mobile browser. It’s all apps.

Up next from Brett Tabke: What would be the top recommendations for earning money in the coming year?

BRUCE CLAY – Get better at PPC. He believes that people will get squeezed out of organic, because Google is not in the business of giving away free traffic. The problem is competition, and we are going to have to spend more money to make more money. Because Google doesn’t make money on organic, the real estate on SERPs will be shrinking.

MIKE GREHAN – Everyone is a publisher, and creating your audience. Build your own audience.

GARETH HOYLE – Paid social. Not all people hang out on Google. Use the context of different social platforms to increase presence. If you can make a website, you can make money.

TONEY WRIGHT – There are big opportunities to create better websites. And websites that work on mobile. People need sites that just work.

ERIC ENGE – Yes, create an audience, but how do you do that? We should all strive to solve problems without asking for a penny.

JENNY HALASZ – Diversify. Build content, audience build, brand build. Mobile marketing. Do not be solely dependent on Google for your audience.

BRUCE CLAY – For brick and mortars, be afraid of Amazon. They are opening up a brick and mortar on 34th Street in NYC. Do not underestimate the ability of large online companies to jump into real life.

Audience Questions

Do you think there will be any profit in semantic optimization for the Knowledge Graph?

JENNY HALASZ – Google has developed a knowledge base on how to properly implement schema. Google recognizes the need to make it easier.

MIKE GREHAN – If Google understands the intent of a query, then structured data is not necessary.

ERIC ENGE – Google is getting good at understanding how likely a user is to be satisfied based on UX, which is somewhat outside the realm of schema. This validates the research by Searchmetics on co-occurrence.

MIKE GREHAN – Co-occurrence has been around for forever, but as the lexicon changes, how does Google adapt? One third of queries everyday Google has never seen before. Keywords used to be strong, but Google thrives on end user data. How media is consumed is the most important thing, which is why content is so important.

Q: Where will marketing strategy be on wearables next year?

TONY LARATRO – Don’t be a glass hole.

TONY WRIGHT – Looks forward to the day he can optimize his fridge.

ERIC ENGE – Consider all searches as voice search, because no one types things on their watch.

JENNY HALASZ – Voice and video

Q: Can Siri compete with Google? Will Facebook create a search engine?

ERIC ENGE –  He published a study using 3000 keywords running on Google, Cortana, and Sir – Google answered 58% of questions, Siri 29%, Cortana 21%. But were the questions fully answered? Google: 83%,  Siri: 40%,  Cortana: 20%

TONY WRIGHT – Facebook will have a Knowledge Graph type function.

MIKE GREHAN – You are tapping into a network of trust, so a Facebook search engine will be powerful.

Q: Why does SEO matter more than just to SEOs? How does a company that doesn’t want to invest in SEO do so?

TONY LARATRO – There are a lot of roadblocks, and sometimes SEO is not the best way, like with competing with Google products. No breaking that ceiling. You have to find opportunities to get through to the organization.

JENNY HALASZ – SEO is about marketing. Companies should continue to invest in it because understanding customers never changes.

TONY WRIGHT – SEO is not an island. If it is, you will fail. You must be able to integrate. Requires more than just on-page optimization. It’s about web presence, which must include an all of the above strategy.

ERIC ENGE – If there are big competitors in front of you on the SERPs, you’re not going to win that battle. You must find the battles you can win in the space.

GARETH HOYLE – Buy ads. Maybe SEO is not the right avenue depending on the topic/keyword. SEO is the glue that brings everything together. Everyone needs to speak to everyone. Google what you want to rank for and assess where you need to place your SEO efforts.

That’s it, nothing but applause for the SEO Mosh Pit. Entertaining as always, and happy 15th birthday Pubcon!

October 10th 2014 SEO

Why focus on long tail keywords?

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While writing our book ‘Optimizing your WordPress website’ I worked closely together with Joost in creating a section on Search Engine Optimization. The first chapter — after the introduction in SEO — had to be keyword research. ‘Keyword research is the basis of all Search Engine Optimization,’ Joost explained to me, ‘without proper keyword research, all other things are basically useless’.

Back in 2010 Joost already wrote a post called the basis of keyword research in which he states that ‘keyword research is the basis of all search marketing’. At the very least my husband is consistent! And more importantly, I think he is absolutely right [Note from Joost: yeeehaw!].

At Yoast.com, however, we did very little to provide guidance to our readers in doing keyword research. That’s a bit weird, it being the most important part of SEO and all… That’s why I would like to dwell on this subject for a number of posts, helping you understand the importance of keyword research and sharing some of our secrets in how to execute a proper keyword research.

In this post, I would like to help you understand the importance of understanding your own product and the effort you should make to rank for long tail keywords.

What is your mission?

If you want to sell something, you should simply have a damn good product! And you should be well aware of what your product or your website offers to your audience… what makes it special. If you know and understand this, it will be much easier to make your audience like and buy your stuff. You should thus take some time to think about the uniqueness of your product and write that down. Perhaps you sell cruises to Hawaii. You offer great facilities for children, making the cruises especially suitable for young parents or single moms. Offering great cruises to Hawaii for single moms could be the uniqueness of your service.This is your mission, your niche, this is what you have to offer to your audience! Do  make sure you write down your mission in words that are used and understood by your audience.

Competitiveness of the market

In some markets, it is really hard to rank. Some markets are just highly competitive, with large companies dominating the search results. These companies have a very large budget to spend on marketing in general and SEO specifically. Ranking in these markets is hard. You will be unable to compete on a small budget in a market like the travel industry using search terms as Vacation Hawaii.

However, if you have your mission clear, you should be able to define what makes your product or website stand out from this market.  And you should use YOUR mission in order to start ranking! Taking my example of cruises for single moms to Hawaii, would mean that you should focus on the less competitive term [single mom cruises Hawaii]. Again, use words that are used by your target audience (and avoid difficult terminologies).

Long tail keywords graphic

Long tail: the more specific your keyword, the less your competition

Long tail keywords

The longer (and more specific) search terms are, the easier it will be to rank on the term. Keywords that are more specific (and often longer) are usually referred to as long tail search terms. Long tail keywords are more specific and less common. They focus more on a niche.

It is much easier to rank for long tail keywords than for more common keywords. Another benefit for focussing on long tail keywords is that, although these keywords are used less in search, the visitor that finds your website using them is more likely to buy your service or product.

The longer and more specific the search terms are, the higher the chances of conversion are. I am currently looking for a cottage in France to spend our next summer vacation. I started my search with the term ‘vacation France’. I quickly discovered I wanted to go to the Dordogne, and preferred a house in the countryside. My search still continues, but now I use terms like [vacation house countryside Dordogne]. A long tail keyword. Using this keyword, I found new sites, which more closely resembled my vacation wishes. Chances for me to book my vacation largely increased.

Use your mission to define long tail keywords

The definition of your mission, in which you make crystal clear what the awesomeness of your product, site or blog is, should be central in choosing the long tail keywords you want to rank for. Trying to make your website rank for a specific term can be quite profitable, as long as this specific term closely resembles the product you’re selling. The terms you have used to describe your mission can be nicely used to focus on in your SEO strategy. These words should be central in the long tail keywords you aim your website to rank for. People using the terms of your mission and finding your website will be relatively small in volume, but these people do have the highest chances to buy your product or to become regular visitors.

 

This post first appeared on Yoast. Whoopity Doo!

October 10th 2014 SEO

Pubcon Liveblog: Link Building through Press Outreach

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Pubcon Liveblog: Link Building through Press Outreach was originally published on BruceClay.com, home of expert search engine optimization tips.

Rob Woods, SEO consultant, will share insights on press outreach that leads to strong links in this Pubcon Las Vegas 2014 session.

Rob Woods at Pubcon Las Vegas 2014

Rob Woods at Pubcon Las Vegas 2014

Why do Press Outreach?

  • One of the few authoritative links left that are guaranteed to stay safe for the foreseeable future
  • Press links have good link equity
  • One link can lead to many links
  • Don’t just focus on link equity – traffic is good, too, as are citations
  • Press links are important for small, local sites as well as big, national sites

Caveat: Going after press links are hard work, take time and money, and you are going to face rejection from reporters.

Getting Ready

Have something to say. A lot of people think they can reach out to the press without having something to say. Whatever you’re pitching must be newsworthy. You have to be helpful, know your stuff, and build a decent press page.

Press Page Must-Haves

  • Basic explanation of who you are
  • Proof of why you are an expert
  • Social proof if you have it (we have 100,000 Twitter followers, etc.)
  • Include the assets a writer would need (logos, infographics, images)
  • Contact info

What to Talk About

  • Leverage current events
  • Leverage seasonal events
  • Site or app launch
  • Major events

Finding the Right Journalists

Search for your major keywords and comb through the SERP results (10 pages deep even) and find articles on your subject. You can also comb through Google News results.

Find out as much as you can about the journalist. Journalists and bloggers get a ton of inquiries – differentiate yourself by knowing how to get their attention by getting to know what they write about, what they’re interested in.

Look at their Twitter, their LinkedIn, their bio pages, etc. Maybe you’ll find a commonality that you can mention in your initial correspondence (for example, perhaps you went to same college or root for the same sports team).

Associated Press and Reuters should be your top targets. If you’re reaching out to them, make sure to write custom, carefully crafted emails.

Remember:

  • Be useful.
  • Be timely.
  • Be available. Reporters work weird hours. Be there for them when they want you.
  • Don’t be afraid to give away the farm. Give them lots of information up front.
  • Respond quickly.

Tools

  • Muckrack: a good place to find journalists on Twitter, searching by “beat” or niche. Through Muckrack you can save lists and create alerts
  • Followerwonk: search Twitter bios by keyword
  • Use Vocus or Cision to find journalists and their contact info

Acing Your Interview

  • Be prepared for written, phone, Skype or live interviews
  • Make and use notes
  • Know your stuff
  • Be professional
  • Be flexible with your time. If they want 8 p.m. … be there at 8 p.m.
  • Get media training of public speaking experience
  • Practice
  • Bend over backwards
  • Have unique data or insight they can’t get anywhere else
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for the link

 

October 9th 2014 SEO