Google Testing Smartphone Friendly Icon In Search Results, Again

September 30th, 2014

Google is once again showing mobile smartphone icons on smartphone friendly search results, while searching on your smartphone. Many searchers are noticing it and Brent Payne sent us a screen shot. Here is what the smartphone icon looks like on an iPhone using Chrome: This is what I see on my…



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Calculating The Risk Of Search Engine Spam

September 29th, 2014

Contributor Shari Thurow describes what can happen if you don’t follow search engine guidelines on SEO.

The post Calculating The Risk Of Search Engine Spam appeared first on Search Engine Land.



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How to Collect Email Leads from Twitter in a Google Spreadsheet

September 28th, 2014

One of the best features of Twitter that is relatively unknown to most users is their Lead Generation cards. Your tweet, see live example, will have a button and when another Twitter user clicks the button, their email address is sent to your application (which happens to be a Google spreadsheet in this case).

Whether you are a small website owner or an event organizer, you can use these Lead Generation cards to easily collect email addresses from Twitter users who may be interested in your product. For instance, Twitter users can subscribe to your email newsletter with a click without leaving the Twitter website. Event organizers can use Twitter’s Lead Generation Cards to capture email addresses of people who may be interested in attending an upcoming event.

Integrate Twitter Lead Generation Cards with Google Sheets

The Lead Generation Cards are available to all Twitter users who have a Twitter Ads account – get yours at ads.twitter.com – and there are no costs involved. This tutorial explains how you can create a Twitter Lead generation card and capture all the email addresses in a Google Spreadsheet. Other than the email address, the screen name and the full name of the Twitter user is also collected in the spreadsheet. Let’s get started:

1. Prepare the Google Spreadsheet

The first thing we need to do is create a Google Spreadsheet that will be used to store the details of Twitter users. This sheet will internally contain a Google Script to connect the sheet and your Twitter card.

This is easy. Click here to make a copy of the Google Sheet in your Google Drive. Once the copy is created, go to the Tools menu in the sheet and choose Script Editor. Here choose Start from the Run menu and follow the wizard to authorize the script. Next choose Deploy Web App from the Publish menu.

Twitter Leads - Deploy Google App

On the Deploy screen (see the screenshot above), click the Save New Version button and change the access permission from Only Myself to Anyone, even anonymous. Click the Deploy button and you’ll get a script URL that you should note down somewhere as we’ll require it in the next step.

2. Create the Twitter Card for Email Leads

Go to your Twitter Ads dashboard, click on Creatives in the navigation bar and choose Cards. Here click the big blue “Create Lead Generation Card” to create a new Twitter Card. You can add a description to your card, upload a 800×200 pixel image that will show up with the tweet and give your button a name (Call to Action).

Next expand the Data Settings group and paste the Google Script App URL (that you generated in the previous step) in the Submit URL field. Choose the HTTP method as POST from the drop-down, agree to the terms and hit submit to create your first Twitter card.

That’s it. You can put the Card’s URL – see example – in a tweet and your Twitter followers will be able to share their email address with a click that is directly saved in your Google Sheet.

Twitter Card for Email Leads

Also see: Save #Hashtag Tweets in Google Sheets

If you are web developer, you can further enhance the Google Script to do even more advanced stuff. For instance, if you have published a premium PDF report, you can allow Twitter users to download the report after they choose to share their email address. The script will trigger as soon as someone submits the email address and it will send a mail to the user with the PDF attachment using the Gmail API.


This story, How to Collect Email Leads from Twitter in a Google Spreadsheet, was originally published at Digital Inspiration on 26/09/2014 under Google Drive, Twitter, Internet
Digital Inspiration Technology Blog

Google Marks How Big Its Grown With Animated 16th Birthday Logo

September 27th, 2014

Today’s Google logo marks the search engine’s sweet sixteen. Founded in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google started out as “BackRub” – a search engine Brin and Page originally constructed in 1996 using links to rank the importance of individual web pages. By…



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How Some Companies Succeed at Converting Visitors yet Fail to Earn Great Customers – Whiteboard Friday

September 27th, 2014

Posted by randfish

It’s easy to think that conversion is the end goal for most marketing teams, but any business that relies on customer loyalty needs to take a it a step farther. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand explains a few of the reasons that people we thought were new customers often decide to leave.

For reference, here’s a still of this week’s whiteboard!

Video transcription

Howdy Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week I’m talking about some conversion rate optimization mistakes that we’ve made. They’re pernicious and challenging to understand, because we’ve succeeded in one big important aspect of CRO, which is converting visitors into customers. That might sound like a great thing, but in fact sometimes being great at that can be a terrible thing. I’ll talk about exactly why and how.

I’ve seen this at Moz. We’ve had a little bit of a problem with it. I’ve seen this at many, many other companies. I want to try and use Moz as an empathetic example to everyone out there of how these problems happen.

Succeeding at converting visitors into customers is not the end goal for the vast, vast majority of companies, unless you have a product that you know you’re only ever going to sell once, and that will be the only brand interaction that you hope to have with that human being ever or that organization ever in your lives. Well, usually that’s not the case.

Usually, most companies have a relationship that they want to have with their customers. They’re trying to earn that customer’s brand loyalty, and they’re trying to earn future sales from that person. That means building a longer term relationship, which is how CRO can occasionally go very, very wrong.

I’ve got the three primary examples. These are the three types of things that I’ve seen happen in company after company. It’s not just true in software, but software makes a particularly good example of it because we have a retention type model. It’s not just about converting someone, but it’s also about keeping them part of your service and making your product consistently useful to them, etc.

Here’s our friendly Joe Searcher. Joe goes ahead and searches for SEO tools. Then, Joe gets to the free trial of Moz Pro, which you could conceivably get to if you search in Google for that. We often have AdWords ads running for things like that and maybe we rank too.

Then, Joe goes, “All right. Yeah, maybe I’ll give this a spin. It’s a 30 day free trial.” He sees all the stuff in there. He’s like, “All right. There’s the Moz Bar. Maybe I’ll try that, and I’ll set up my Moz Analytics campaign. I see I’m getting some crawl errors and keyword scores.”

Then, Joe is like, “Man, I don’t know. I don’t really feel totally invested in this tool. I’m not sure why I should trust the results. Maybe I don’t know quite enough about SEO to validate this. Or I know enough about SEO to know that there are some little things here and there that are wrong. Maybe they told me to do some keyword stuff that I don’t feel totally comfortable with. I don’t trust these guys. I’m out of here. I’m going to quit.”

Well, that kind of sucked, right? Joe had a bad experience with Moz. He probably won’t come back. He probably won’t recommend us to his friends.

Unfortunately, we also provided a customer with access to our stuff, ran a credit card, and accumulated some charges and some expenses in his first month of use, and lost him as a customer. So it’s a lose-lose. We were successful at converting, but it ended up being bad for both Joe and for Moz.

The problem is really here. Something fascinating that you may not know about Moz is that, on average, before someone takes a free trial of our software, they visit our website eight times before they take a free trial. Many, many visits are often correlated with high purchase prices.

But for a free trial, there are actually a lot of software companies who convert right on the first or the second visit. I think that might be a mistake. What we’ve observed in our data and one of the reasons that we’ve biased not to do this, to try and actually avoid converting someone on the first or second visit, is because Moz customers that convert on the first, or second, or third visit to our website tend to leave early and often. They tend to be not longstanding, loyal customers who have low churn rates and those kinds of things. They tend to have a very high churn and low retention.

Those who visit Moz ten times or more before converting turn out to be much more loyal. In fact, it keeps going. If they visit 14 times or more or 20 times or more, that loyalty keeps increasing. It’s very fascinating and strongly suggests that before you convert someone you actually want to have a brand relationship.

Joe needs to know that Moz is going to be helpful, that he can trust it, that he’s got the education and the knowledge and the information, and he’s interacted with community, and he’s consumed content. He’s been like, “Okay, I get what’s going on. When I see that F Keyword Score, I know that like, oh, right, there’s some stemming here. It might not be catching all the interpretations of this keyword that I’ve got in there. So I give Moz a little leeway in there because this other stuff works well for me, as opposed to quitting at the first sign of trouble.”

This happens in so, so many companies. If you’re not careful about it, it can happen to you too.

Another good example here is, let’s say, Mary. Mary is a heavy Twitter user. She has great social following and wants to do some analysis of her Twitter account, some competitive Twitter accounts. So she finds Followerwonk, which is great. It’s a wonderful tool for this.

She says, “Okay, I want to get access to some of the advanced reports. I need to become a Moz Pro member to do that. What does Moz have to do with Followerwonk? Okay, I get it. Moz owns Followerwonk, so I’m getting to the free trial page for Moz Pro. Weirdly, this trial page doesn’t even talk about Followerwonk in here. There’s one mention in the Research Tools section. That’s kind of confusing. Then, I’m going to get into the product. Now you’re trying to have me set up a Moz Analytics account. I don’t even own and control a website or do SEO. I’m trying to use Followerwonk. Why am I paying $ 99 a month if my free trial extends? Why would I do that to get all this other stuff if I just want Wonk? That doesn’t make any sense, so I’m out of here. I’m going to quit.”

Essentially, we created a path where Mary can’t get what she actually wants and where she’s forced to use things that she might not necessarily want. Maybe she doesn’t want them at all. Maybe she has no idea what they do. Maybe she has no time to investigate whether they’re helpful to her or not.

We’re essentially devaluing our own work and products by bundling them all together and forcing Mary, who just wants Followerwonk, to have to get a Moz subscription. That kind of sucks too.

By the way, we validated this with data. On average, visitors who come through Followerwonk and sign up for a free trial perform terribly. They have very, very low stickiness until and unless they actually make it back to the Followerwonk tool immediately and start using that and use that exclusively. If they get wrapped up inside the Pro subscription and all the other tools, Open Site Explorer, Moz Analytics and Moz Bar, Keyword Difficulty, and Fresh Web Explorer, blah, they’re overwhelmed. They’re out of here. They didn’t get what they want.

The other thing that really sucks is we’ve seen a bunch of research. There’s been psychological research done that basically suggests that when you do this, when you bundle a whole bunch of things together, they are inherently cheapened and believe the value to be less, and they feel themselves cheated. If you buy all of this stuff and you only wanted Followerwonk, you feel like well, Followerwonk must only be worth like $ 20 a month.

That’s not actually the case. Inside the business we can see, oh, there are all these different cost structures associated with different products, and some people who are heavy users of this and not heavy users of that make up for it. Okay, but your customers don’t have that type of insight, so they’re not seeing it. Again, quick conversion has failed to create real value.

Number three, what is SEO? We’re going to have Fred here. Fred’s going to do a search for “what is SEO.” He’s going to get to the free trial of Moz Pro maybe because we were running an advertisement or that kind of thing. Then, Fred’s going to go, “All right. Yeah, that sounds good. I want to do SEO on my website. I know that’s important. Search traffic is important.”

Then, he starts getting into the product and goes through the experience. He has to enter his keywords, and he’s like, “Man, I don’t know what keywords they mean. What do they mean by keywords? I need to learn more about SEO. I’m out of here. I’m quitting this product. It doesn’t make sense to me.”

The problem here is an education gap. Essentially, before Fred is able to effectively use and understand the product, he needs education, and unfortunately what we’ve done is end around and put the conversion message ahead of the education process and thus cost Fred. This, again, happens all the time. Companies do this.

There are ways to solve these. There are three things you can do that will really solve these conversion issues. First, measure your customer journey, not just your conversion path. So many folks look at paths to conversion. You have your reports set up in Google Analytics, and you look at assisted conversions and path to conversions, but you don’t look at customer journey, which is what do people do after they convert.

If you’re an e-commerce or a retail store, you care about this too, even though it seems like a one-time purchase. Do they come back? Do they buy more stuff from you? Are they amplifying? Are they sharing the product? Do you have a good score with them when you ask people on Net Promoter Score like, “Hey, would you suggest or recommend using this service, using our ecommerce shop? Did you have a good experience?”

If you’re seeing low scores there, low return visits, low engagement with the product that you’re offering, chances are good that you’re doing something like this. You’re converting someone too early.

Second, you don’t want to cheapen, mislead, or bundle products without evidence that people will actually enjoy them, appreciate them, and that it matches your customer need, as we’ve done here by bundling all of these things with Followerwonk. It may be the case that this can go one way and not the other.

You might say, as we did, I was like, “Oh, I’m in SEO and I love Followerwonk. It’s so useful for all this stuff. But I wasn’t thinking about the 600 people a day who go into Followerwonk just for Twitter analytics and don’t really have a whole lot of need around other SEO tools.”

So optimizing the bundle one way and not the other was probably a mistake. I think it’s a mistake that Peter Bray and the team are working on fixing now, my mistake that they’re now working on fixing. I apologize for that.

This bundling can also be very misleading. You need to be careful in validating that customers actually want two products, two services, two goods together.

Finally, this is a huge part of how content marketing works. You want to educate before you convert. Educate before you convert and find ways to filter for not right customers.

Imagine if in Fred’s process here, he’d searched for “what is SEO,” and he got to the Beginner’s Guide. Then, he got to the free trial page, and we had identified, “Hey, Fred’s never been here before. He just got done with the Beginner’s Guide when he got to the keyword page here.”

We can nudge him maybe with some proactive suggestions here. But if he goes through and starts entering keywords and he can’t figure it out, maybe we need someone from our Customer Success Team to actually email him and say, “Hey, Fred, is there something I can help you with? Can we set up this process for you? Do you want to have a phone call,” these kinds of things. We need to provide some assistance.

Likely you’re doing one of these things as well. When you get aggressive about converting customers fast and early, yes, you can really juice your revenue. You can turn a low conversion rate into a high one. But you can also in the long run cost your company if you aren’t measuring and thinking about the right things.

Hopefully, you’ll do that and have a great customer journey experience throughout your conversion process. We will see you again next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Broken Link Building Bible: The New Testament

September 26th, 2014

Posted by russvirante

It was a little over a year ago that I first wrote the “Broken Link Building Bible” and it seemed like it was time for an update. If you haven’t had a chance yet, please head over to the original, as most of it is still highly relevant today, and it contains the basics which will not be covered in this post. 

Today I present a New Testament, complete with ethical guidelines, new prospecting, content, and outreach techniques. Throughout this guide I will show you how to accomplish most of these tactics using a culmination of tools like Open Site Explorer, Domain Hunter Plus, or BrokenLinkBuilding.com. Let’s jump in.

Table of contents

  1. Ethical Guidelines
    1. Content Commandments
      1. Cloaking
      2. Plagiarizing
      3. Bait & Switch
      4. Identity Theft
    2. Outreach Commandments
      1. Automation
      2. Unrelated
      3. Misrepresentation
    3. Conclusions
  2. Advanced Prospecting
    1. Section Discovery
    2. Site Discovery
  3. Advanced Content
    1. Panda Guidelines
    2. Publish Date
    3. Be Thorough
    4. Citation Focus
  4. Advanced Outreach
    1. Short Form
    2. Long Form
    3. Double Tap
    4. Slow Play
    5. Bandwagon
  5. Revelation

Ethical guidelines: The BLB Commandments

I have mentioned many times before that I love broken link building because the success of the campaign is directly proportional to the good you do for the web. You aren’t attracting links unless you are fixing them. Not all campaigns are so unscrupulous, however: What is interesting is that even though none of these are traditional link violations like the anchor text manipulation which led to the downfall of guest posting, but they can nevertheless get you in trouble. Let’s run through the list.


Content commandments

  • Thou shalt not cloak: Cloaking with broken link building usually takes the form of recreating content and then using either the canonical tag or traditional IP delivery techniques to point Googlebot towards a more commercial site. You really aren’t going to get a huge boost out of using this technique, and more importantly, you are missing out on the opportunity to build a genuinely great site. If you are already creating content that’s good enough to form a successful BLB campaign, why not just expose that content on your site? It’s a big risk for a little reward.
  • Thou shalt not plagiarize: Sorry, folks, but you can’t just copy the old site or page off of Archive.org and expect to get away with it. You’re asking for a DMCA complaint. How hard is it to update content? Also, link to the original creator’s website for good measure!
  • Thou shalt not bait and switch: This is just like slow cloaking. Why kill really good content on your site that deserves links, only to redirect to a page that doesn’t? Use BLB as a platform for developing a great, content-rich website.
  • Thou shalt not commit identity theft: This one is really egregious. If you find a whole domain that is now expired, don’t simply recreate the whole site and then send emails from that site as if you are the original owner. Seriously, I can’t believe I have to write this, but I have seen it in the wild.


Outreach commandments

  • Thou shalt not automate sends: The fastest way to kill a campaign is to just send out thousands of automated emails. You will get terrible conversion rates, piss off webmasters, get your IP blacklisted, and waste good prospects. Take your time to hand-select your targets and customize your emails.
  • Thou shalt not send unrelated emails: Not all broken links are good opportunities. Only send emails to prospects whose sites have a good likelihood of playing ball. I have seen campaigns where success rates are 10%+ because the link builder was careful enough in the prospecting process. If you send too many requests to unrelated sites, your deliverability will suffer.
  • Thou shalt not misrepresent: There is no need to lie to your prospect. Don’t pretend to be some kid working on a project or say “I was visiting your site when…”. You will see in the outreach templates below that there are some really strong pitch emails that don’t require you lie. You’ll sleep better at night, and trust me, genuine-sounding emails do a lot better than disingenuous ones.
That is enough for the commandments for now, but let me be clear: You aren’t going to get the same performance bumps with the above techniques that you might have received out of paying for guest blog posts or using manipulated anchor text. There really is no good reason to bastardize the BLB process with these types of techniques. Be good.
Which leads me to the next section:

Advanced prospecting techniques


Section discovery

One of the most important additions to the Broken Link Building Bible is the proper methodology for finding sections within websites that are missing, rather than simply a single page. You can often double or even triple the number of relevant prospecting opportunities by simply using this discovery technique. It is fairly simple; here are the steps when not using BrokenLinkBuilding.com:
  1. Go through the normal procedures of identifying relevant BLB opportunities following the steps outlined in the BLB Bible.
  2. Use a backlink tool like Open Site Explorer to export the Top Pages from the site that has the broken link opportunity. For example, if you found a broken link to http://www.joesite.com/important-page.html, you would want to run a Top Pages report for the joesite.com domain.
  3. Export the results by setting “filter by status codes 400 or greater” (this will pick up both 404s and error pages). Finally, visit the archive.org versions of these pages to see if any are strong opportunities.

And, here are the steps using BrokenLinkBuilding.com:

  1. Click on the list icon next to the opportunity you want to examine for section 404s
  2. Click on the Archive link to look at the archive pages to see if it matches your campaign
  3. [Pro Tip] If you find a great opportunity, mine its backlinks for more broken link opportunities or use it as a URL campaign inside BrokenLinkBuilding.com

Site discovery

The above technique may sometimes reveal entire domains that are 404′d, but often rather than being 404′d they are simply no longer active. Because of this, the sites do not return any error code at all. If you find an entire domain that is 404′d, you have a huge opportunity to reclaim links.
First, a quick note on the ethics we discussed before. If the domain is no longer registered, you have every right to snatch it up. However, I would argue that it is probably not in your best interest to simply redirect this site to yours. I would recommend a different method – one that is likely to pay dividends in a couple of directions.
  1. Register the domain using your valid contact information
  2. Do not re-launch the site
  3. Begin reclaiming links through Broken Link Building like you always have
  4. If and when the original webmaster reaches out to ask why you now own the domain s/he accidentally dropped, offer to transfer it back to them and build a relationship that could earn you a link from that site as well.
This method allows you to protect the asset from others, potentially earn a link from the asset, continue the BLB process, and stay within the BLB commandments. You might be able to squeeze more authority out of it with a redirect, but I doubt Google will give you all the credit.
So, back to the prospecting side. How do we find these types of domains? Well, here we would want to enlist the help of Domain Hunter Plus, a fantastic Chrome Extension that helps you find not only broken links but unregistered domains. Instead of rehashing, a perfectly useful guide
can be found here at PointBlank SEO.

Advanced content creation

In the BLB Old Testament, I didn’t spend enough time talking through what type of content is most likely to succeed with broken link building. It seems straightforward enough that content similar to the broken resource is likely to do well, but is there anything else you can do to improve the success rate? Of course. I will run through a couple of them here…
  • Think Panda: If you have never read through the Panda Questionnaire before, take a look at it here in the section labeled “Briefly: What is the Panda Algorithm”. Your BLB content should try and hit these guidelines with perfect precision. Make sure your content is insightful, well written, thorough, and cleanly designed. Spending extra time with your content will make a huge difference in conversion rate.
  • Be obvious about the publish date: The last thing that a webmaster wants to do is replace one broken link with another. They need to feel confident that the replacement you are offering them won’t get outdated any time soon. The easiest way to do this is make it clear that the content has been updated by a certain date. In fact, I recommend including this in the outreach email, saying something like… “this one was updated recently and seems to cover the same content…”
  • Be thorough: The webmaster you reach out to may only be interested in a small part of the page they once linked to. A giant resource page on cancer may have a specific statistic they are citing, or a description of a particular treatment option. Make sure that your content covers all the bases. Once again, this ties into the outreach itself and explains why the one-to-one email campaigns do better than automated campaigns. If you look at your target’s site before emailing them, you know which sections to point out in the outreach email that show why the new link you propose meets her/his needs.
  • Citations: Unless your site is already a well known and respected brand, chances are you need to build up your credibility a bit before you start asking people to link to your content. Make sure your site is Wikipedia-esque in its outbound linking and citations. You will often find that many of the sites which you are reaching out to actually have great content that you can cite in your own work. Nothing increases the likelihood of a converted outreach email than the webmaster finding their own content properly cited as part of the body of research behind a strong content piece.

Advanced outreach

Short-form

This is often the go-to template for broken link building. It is quick, easy, and effective. However, I wouldn’t use it on your highest-value prospects. If there is a really good opportunity, jump to the long-form and spend some time crafting a thoughtful email. Here is what it looks like…
  • Subject: found a broken link on ##page##
  • Body: Just wanted to let you know there is a broken link to ##broken## on your page ##page##. Found this instead ##replacement##. Might want to fix it.
And that is it. Short and simple. Of course, you would want to replace the ##page##, ##broken## and ##replacement## with the page that has the broken link, the broken link, and your replacement link respectively.

Long-form

The long form is very effective for high value prospects and is worth your time and effort. Generally speaking, there are 3 parts to an effective long-form outreach template…
  1. Inbox justification
  2. Custom pitch
  3. Thank you
Let’s run through these really quickly…
  1. Inbox Justification: Go ahead and get out on the table why you are emailing the webmaster. They don’t know who you are and the least you can do is offer them early on a reason to read your email. Don’t lie. You don’t have to say “I was reading your website and I found…”. Just say something to the effect of: “Hi, I am ##name## and I noticed that you have a broken link to ##broken resource name## (##broken resource link##) on your ##page name## (##page url##).” No need to mention the replacement yet.
  2. Personal Touch: Here is where you explain why your replacement is a good fit and why you are personally invested in it. Go ahead and say if you are the business owner. If you created excellent content, there is nothing to be ashamed of! Tell them why you care about people finding the right content and how yours improves upon the one you are replacing. Give them a reason to believe if they add your link that it will stay updated for the long haul. Normally, you want to touch 3 main points: it’s new and improved, it’s here for the long run, and you are personally invested in guaranteeing that.
  3. Thank You: Finally, be cordial and grateful that someone took the time out of their day to read your email. Don’t just say “thanks,” but actually express some gratitude for not hitting the delete button the second it showed up in their inbox. You’d be surprised, but genuine thankfulness is so rare in emails these days that many people are shocked to just have someone be nice. Honestly, when is the last time you wrote an email where the send off was something more than “thx” or just your name?
Long story short, the long form can be far more effective, so use it for your top prospects every time. Once you get good at it, you will see your conversions jump dramatically.

Double tap

The double tap is the follow-up method for either the short form or long form. If you haven’t heard back from a webmaster (give it a week or so) and it is a high value prospect, send a second email from a different account but don’t make a recommendation for a replacement. Just point out that the link is broken. A lot of webmasters blow off the first email because one broken link doesn’t seem like a big problem. However, if multiple users indicate that it is a problem, it will draw their attention. Here is a quick pro-tip. In the follow-up email, don’t say the page that the broken link is on, just say they have a broken link pointing to ##brokenpage##. This will send them searching through their inbox for that email they ignored before which had all the information.

Slow play

The reverse of the double tap is the slow play. The slow play involves first sending an email that simply says “you have a broken link to ##page##”. These types of emails likely result in a response like… “what page did you find it on?”. You then have an in to say something like… “Hold on a second… yeah, the broken link to ##broken## is on ##page##, I actually just put up a replacement here ##replacement##”. This methodology is particularly good if you aren’t comfortable leading with the content pitch. Unfortunately, it does require more effort.

The bandwagon

Sometimes all a webmaster needs to hear is that their competitors are delivering when they are not. It can seem odd that you so easily found a replacement for their broken link, but if you explain to the webmaster that you found the replacement
on a competitor’s website, they will be more likely to add it so more of their users don’t end up with a better experience on the competitor’s resource page. Of course, make sure that you actually score a link from the competitor’s website first before you start using that in an email. Otherwise you are likely to get called out and, frankly, it would be a violation of the ethical guidelines we discussed earlier.

Revelation

I’d like to conclude with some thoughts on the future of Broken Link Building. The technique has been around in one form or another for over a decade now. It has slowly grown to become more scalable with improved prospecting and outreach tools. However, it has never exploded like other link building fads because…

  1. There is a limited, although renewable, supply of opportunities
  2. Content creation is often necessary for success
  3. Quality drives conversion rates

The shortcuts just aren’t the same; they’re the very shortcuts that tend to get us in trouble with Google. I want you to think about Broken Link Building just like you might think of a natural resource. Let’s use it wisely. There is plenty to go around.

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The 2014 #MozCon Video Bundle Has Arrived!

September 25th, 2014

Posted by EricaMcGillivray

Your advanced course, the videos from MozCon 2014, is finally here. Whether you’re looking for the latest dive into SEO, wondering what you should be doing with mobile, or figuring out how to step up your PR, the MozCon videos have a bit of everything from leading industry experts.

For MozCon 2014 attendees, you should’ve received an email with your unique URL for a “free” copy of the videos, included in your ticket cost.

MozCon 2014 was the best ever! I know, we say that every year, but I swear on Roger’s antenna that it really was. We’ve settled into our new home at the Washington State Convention Center, and hosted 1,400 people at this year’s gathering (a sellout crowd!). There were 28 future-focused sessions, cram-packed with advice and actionable recommendations from some of the industry’s most innovative minds. Topics ranged from SEO and A/B testing to analytics and content marketing. Here’s a taste:

How did attendees like the sessions?

This year, 43% of attendees took our post-MozCon survey, and here’s what they had to say about the content:

What precent of presentations did you find interesting?
56.3% said 80%+ were perfect and 36.6% said 50%+ were interesting.

Were the presentations advanced enough? Over 70% said yes

Marshall Simmonds at MozCon 2014

Tell me more about these videos

If you’re wondering why it takes two months to produce and perfect these videos post-MozCon, it’s because we go the extra mile to create something easy-to-digest for you. Our videos show both the presenter and their presentation, so you don’t have to hide the presenter’s face to flip through a slide deck. You can also download each deck, so you’ve got easy access to links and reference tools.

For $ 299 for Moz Pro subscribers ($ 399 for non-subscribers), the 2014 MozCon Video Bundle gives you instant access to:
  • 28 videos (over 17 hours) from MozCon 2014
  • Stream or download the videos to your computer, tablet, phone, phablet, or whatever you’ve got handy
  • Downloadable slide decks for all presentations

Buy the 2014 MozCon Video Bundle

Non-subscribers: Save $ 100 by signing up for a free 30-day trial of Moz Pro!

The 2014 free presentation

Each year, we release one of the top presentations for everyone to watch for free. Last year, we gave away 
Kyle Rush’s on CRO, and the year before, Wil Reynold’s #RCS.

This year, check out ”Prove Your Value” with Dana DiTomaso, partner at Kick Point; she talks you through the best ways of reporting your work to your client or boss.

Still not convinced? Enjoy our cat Pinterest board. Or, if you’re super-excited about MozCon and interested in the live show, buy your early bird ticket for MozCon 2015. We sold out this year, and expect to do so again, so get ‘em while they last!

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

EU Antitrust Endgame Looking More Murky, Risky For Google

September 24th, 2014

The Wall Street Journal added more color to the unfolding story of the collapse of the Google-European Commission antitrust settlement. Notwithstanding denials by outgoing competition czar Joaquín Almunia, it’s clear that pressure from major European publishers, rivals and politicians…



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Survey Reveals Google RLSA Performance Benchmarks & The Promise Of Cross-Channel Retargeting

September 23rd, 2014

Contributor Matt Ackley shares insights gleaned from a survey of 224 marketers about their retargeting practices and performance.

The post Survey Reveals Google RLSA Performance Benchmarks & The Promise Of Cross-Channel Retargeting appeared first on Search Engine Land.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

Searchmetrics Ranking Factors 2014: Why Quality Content Focuses on Topics, not Keywords

September 22nd, 2014

Posted by searchmetrics

Searchmetrics recently launched their yearly Ranking Factors Study that bases numbers on rank correlation and averages of top 10 SEO rankings, and this year’s analysis shows that content on top-performing sites is much more holistic and less keyword-focused.

Everybody talks about how ”content is king.” People are advised to “create quality content for users,” and not ever since keyword (not provided), some have said “the keyword is dead.” Though these phrases may convey somehow understandable approaches, they are often nothing more than empty clichés leaving webmasters alone with without any further information.

Making relevant content measurable

What is quality content? How can I create relevant content for my users? Should I still place the keyword in the title or use it seven times in the
content?

To understand how search engines develop over time and what kind of features increase or decrease in prevalence and importance, we analyze the top 30 ranking sites for over 10,000 keywords (approximately 300,000 URLs) each year. The full study with all 100 pages of details is 
downloadable here.

In a nutshell: To what extent have Panda, Penguin, and not least Hummingbird influenced the algorithm and therefore the search results?

Before we get into detail, let me—as a matter of course—point out the fact that correlation does not imply causation. You can find some more comprehensive information, as well as an introduction and explanation of what a correlation is,
here. That is why we took two approaches:


  • Correlation of Top 30
    = Differences between URLs within SERP 1 to 3

  • Averages
    = Appearance and/or extent of certain factors per position

The “Fall” of the Keyword?

Most keyword factors are declining. This is one of the major findings of our studies over the years. Let me give you an example:

The decrease of the features “Keyword in URL” and “Keyword in Domain” is one of the more obvious findings of our analyses. You can clearly see the
declining correlation from 2012 to 2014. Let’s have a look at some more on-page keyword factors:

What you see here as well are very low correlations. In other words: With regard to these features, there are no huge differences between URLs ranking on
positions from one to thirty. But there is more than that. It is also important to have a look at the averages here:

Explanation: X-Axis: Google Position from one to 30 / Y-Axis: Average share of URLs having keyword in description/title (0.10 = 10%). Please note that we have modified the crawling of these features. It is more exact now. This is why last year’s values are likely to be actually even a bit higher than given here. However, you can see that relatively few sites actually have the keywords in their headings. In fact, only about 10% of the URLs in positions 1-30 have the keyword in h2s; 15% have them in h1s. And the trend also is negative.

By the way: What you see in positions 1-2 is what we call the “Brand Factor.” It is often a big brand ranking on these positions, and most of them differ from the rest of the SERPs when it comes to classic SEO measures.

Actually, taking only correlation into consideration can sometimes lead to a false conclusion. Let me show you what I mean with the following example: 

The correlation for the feature “% Backlinks with Keyword” has considerably increased from 2013 to 2014. But the conclusion: “Hey cool, I will immediately
do link building and tell the people to put the keyword I want to rank for in the anchor text!” would be a shot in the dark. A glance at the averages tells
you why:

In fact, the average share of links featuring the keyword in the anchor text has declined from 2013 to 2014 (from ~40% to ~27). But what you see is a falling graph in 2014 which is why the correlation is more positive with regard to better rankings. That means: the better the position of a URL is, the higher the share of backlinks that contain the keyword (on average). On average, this share continuously decreases with each position. In contrast to last year’s curve, this results in the calculation of a high(er) positive correlation.

Conclusion: The keyword as such seems to continue losing influence over time as Google becomes better and better at evaluating other factors. But what kind of factors are these?

The “rise” of content

Co-occurrence evaluations of keywords and relevant terms is something we’ve been focusing on this past year, as we’ve seen high shifts in rankings based on these. I won’t go into much detail here, as this would go beyond the scope of this blog post, but what we can say is that after conducting word co-occurrence analyses, we found that
Proof and Relevant keywords played a major role in the quality and content of rankings. Proof Terms are words that are strongly related to the primary keyword and highly likely to appear at the same time. Relevant Terms are not as closely related to the main keyword, yet are still likely to appear in the same context (or as a part of a subtopic). These kinds of approaches are based on semantics and context. For example, it is very likely that the word “car” is relevant in a text in which the word “bumper” occurs, while the same is not true for the term “refrigerator.”

Proof and relevant terms to define and analyze topics

Let’s have a look at an example analysis for Proof and Relevant Terms regarding the keyword “apple watch,” done with the Content Optimization section of the Searchmetrics Suite:

The number behind the bar describes the average appearance of the word in a text dealing with the topic, the bar length mirrors the respective weighting (x-axis, bottom) and is calculated based on the term’s semantic closeness to the main keyword. Terms marked with green hooked bubbles are the 10 most important words, based on a mixed calculation of appearance and semantic weighting (and some further parameters).

As you can see, the terms “iphone” and “time” are marked as highly important Proof Terms, and “iwatch” is very likely to appear in the context of the main keyword “apple phone” as well. Note that simply reading the list without knowing the main keyword gives you an idea of the text’s main topic.

The above chart shows an excerpt from the list of Relevant Terms. Note that both the semantic weighting and the appearance of these terms is somewhat lower than in the previous chart. In contrast to the Proof Terms list, you won’t know the exact focus of the text just looking at these Relevant Terms, but you might probably get an idea of what its rough topic might be.

Content features on the rise

By the way, the length of content also continues to increase. Furthermore, high-ranking content is written in a way that is easier for the average person to read, and is often enriched by other media, such as images or video. This is shown in the following charts:

Shown here is the average text length in characters per position, in both 2014 and 2013. You can see that content is much longer on each and every position among the top 30 (on average) in 2014. (Note the “Brand Factor” at the first position(s) again.)

And here is the average readability of texts per position based on the
Flesch score ranging from 0 (very difficult) to 100 (very easy):

The Flesch score is given on the y-axis. You can see that there is a rather positive correlation with URLs on higher positions featuring, on average, easier-to-read texts.

But just creating more (or easier) content does not positively influence rankings. It’s about developing relevant and comprehensive content for users dealing with more than just one aspect of a certain topic.
The findings support the idea that search engines are moving away from focusing on single keywords to analyzing so-called “content clusters” – individual subjects or topic areas that are based around keywords and a variety of related terms.

Stop doing “checklist SEO”

So, please stop these outdated “Checklist-SEO” practices which are still overused in the market from my perspective.
It’s not about optimizing keywords for search engines. It’s about optimizing the search experience for the user. Let me show you this with another graphic:

On the left, we have the “old SEO paradigm: 1 Keyword (maybe some keyword variations. we all know the ”
An SEO walks into a bar joke”) = 1 Landing Page – Checklist SEO. That’s why, in the past, many websites had single landing pages for each specific keyword (and those pages were very likely to bear near-duplicate content). Imagine a website dealing with a specific car having single landing pages for each and every single car part: “x motor,” “x seats,” “x front shield,” “x head lamps,” etc. This does not make sense in most cases. But this is how SEO used to be (and I must admit: the pages ranked!).

But, to have success in the long term, it’s the content (or better, the
topic) that matters, not the single keyword. That is why landing pages should be focused on comprehensive topics: 1 Landing Page = 1 Topic. To stick with the example: Put the descriptions of all the car parts on one page.

Decreasing diversity in SERPs since the Hummingbird update

How these developments actually influences the SERPs can be seen in the impact of Google’s Hummingbird. The algorithm refactoring means the search engine now has a better understanding of the intent and meaning of searches which improves its ability to deliver relevant content in search results. This means search engine optimization is increasingly a holistic discipline. It’s not enough to optimize and rank for one relevant keyword – content must now be relevant to the topic and include several related terms. This helps a page to rank for several terms and creates an improved user experience at the same time.

In a
recent analysis on Hummingbird, we found that the diversity in search results is actually decreasing. This means, fewer URLs rank for semantically similar (“near-identic”) yet different keywords. Most of you know that not long ago there were often completely different search results for keyword pairs like “bang haircuts” and “hairstyles with bangs” which have quite a bit of overlap in meaning. Now, as it turns out, SERPs for these kinds of keywords are getting more and more identic. Here are two SERPs, one for the query “rice dish,” and one for the query “rice recipe,” shown both before and after Hummingbird, as examples:

SERPs pre-Hummingbird


SERPs post-Hummingbird

At a glance: The most important ranking factors

To get an insight of what some of the more important ranking factors are, we have developed an infographic adding evaluations (based on averages and interpretations) in bubble form to the well-known correlation bar chart. Again, you see the prominence of content factors (given in blue). (Click/tap for a full-size image.)

The more important factors are given on the left side. Arrows (both on the bubbles and the bars) show the trend in comparison to last year’s analysis. On the left side also, the size of the bubbles represents a graphic element based on the interpretation of how important the respective factor might probably be. Please note that the averages given in this chart are based on the top 10 only. We condensed the pool of URLs to SERP 1 to investigate their secrets of ranking on page 1, without having this data influenced by the URLs ranking from 11 to 30.

Good content generates better user signals

What you also notice is the prominent appearance of the factors given in purple. This year we have included user features such as bounce rate (on a keyword level), as well as correlating user signals with rankings. We were able to analyze thousands of GWT accounts in order to avoid a skewed version of the data. Having access to large data sets has also allowed us to see when major shifts occur.

You’ll notice that click through rate is one of the biggest factors that we’ve noticed in this year’s study, coming in at .67%. Average time on site within the top 10 is 101 seconds, while bounce rate is only 37%.

Conclusion: What should I be working on?

Brands are maturing in their approach to SEO. However, the number one factor is still relevant page content. This is the same for big brands and small businesses alike. Make sure that the content is designed for the user and relevant in your appropriate niche.

If you’re interested in learning how SEO developed and how to stay ahead of your competition, just
download the study here. Within the study you’ll find many more aspects of potential ranking factors that are covered in this article.

Get the Full Study

So, don’t build landing pages for single keywords. And don’t build landing pages for search engines, either. Focus on topics related to your website/content/niche/product and try to write the best content for these topics and subtopics. Create landing pages dealing with several, interdependent aspects of main topics and write comprehensive texts using semantically closely related terms. This is how you can optimize the user experience as well as your rankings – for more than even the focus keyword – at the same time!

What do you think of this data? Have you seen similar types of results with the companies that you work with? Let us know your feedback in the comments below.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!


Moz Blog

Prime Reasons for, why SEO plays in enhanced web traffic

It has been recently found that, the strategies opted by the SEO Birmingham companies have become critically significant to the success of small businesses. If your online business is not making use of SEO Birmingham, this write-up discusses prime reasons why you should opt for the local strategies used by SEO Birmingham companies.

As per the recent findings, more than 39% of the NETIZENS experience problems while searching for the local businesses over the Word Wide Wed. People know about the existence of the local business, but suffer inconvenience while locating web information about such businesses. The major reason behind such inconvenience suffered by the Netizens is that such business fails to understand the relevance of SEO Birmingham. Thereby, if your business provides products and services over the web nationally or internationally, search engine optimization can be of great help over making the brand visible on the search engine results.

Nowadays, more and more people rely on the Internet for finding local businesses

There have been times, when the local business did not worry about the scope of SEO, just word of mouth has been more than enough for spreading their existence to the local consumers. But, today as per the statistics more than 84% of the people make use of the Internet medium for locating the local businesses. No telephone directories, people rely on search engines.

Thus, it becomes essential to change the traditional marketing strategy to modern day strategy of online marketing.

SEO Birmingham costs a little less

If you are considering Adword strategy to capture the online marketing domain, you must be aware of the fact; the popularity of the keyword chosen is directly proportional to the amount of the fee paid. Selection of local keywords means lesser keyword competition, which means you need not pay extra costs.

Helps in reaping the benefits of advanced Google features

SEO companies in Birmingham, such as SEO Results4u at Avon House, 435 Stratford Road, Shirley, Solihull, West Midlands, B90 4AA 0121 746 3121 also contribute to the SEO landscape of their local area, be it Solihull, Birmingham or even the wider West Midlands area.

People are actually unaware about the fact, Google plus has changed the traditional way of Internet usage. If the keywords chosen are relevant to the domain to the local market, you very wisely unlock enhanced services offered by Google:

  • A map representing the physical location of a business
  • Appealing pictures with respect to the business
  • Make use of the reviews posted by the user

Truth be told, without using the local platform of SEO, Google plus fails to recognize your business, which clearly means lack of authentic information over the web.

Local SEO encourages better and enhanced credibility

People trust Yahoo, Bing and Google with their eyes closed and believe, these magical search engines have remedies for each and every query. It is a well-accepted notion among the commoners, the brands that appear in the top search lists are most wanted and authentic service providers. So, if you want people to believe in your brand's credibility, Search Engine Optimization adds credibility to your brand power among the commoners. Local SEO adds credibility as well as a definite increase in the web traffic.

Your Peers are using

Business is all about competition. Your peers are using it and yielding the benefits, why aren’t you?