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Monthly Archives: May 2013

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Microsoft Torque: Bing Search On Android Wear With A Twist — Of The Wrist

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By Greg Sterling

The new Microsoft Torque Search app for Android Wear is a clever concept. It’s a voice-search alternative to “OK Google” on your wrist, with a novel twist — literally.

You turn your wrist “forward and backward” to initiate Torque. The app is one of several experimental projects coming out of Microsoft’s innovation lab The Garage.

I tested it on my Moto 360 Android Wear device. I some respects I prefer the UI and aesthetics of Torque to Google’s own Android Wear search UI.

Torque

As indicated above Microsoft is promoting Torque as an easier-to-use alternative to OK Google. Here’s how the company describes it in Google Play:

The presentation of results is also (to me) more aesthetically pleasing than Google’s presentation. Microsoft Torque Search brings the most powerful voice-enabled web search to your Android Wear or Android Phone. With a flick of the wrist, you can say what you want to search from your Android Wear watch. If you don’t have your watch, you can also shake your phone to do the same thing. Torque on your Android phone is both a Torque watch demo and a quick tool to complement existing mobile search without breaking the flow of your active application on your phone.

In my tests this weekend it worked relatively well — when the wrist rotation worked. I performed a lot of wrist-searches but Torque only successfully launched about half to two-thirds of the time. This unpredictability made it frustrating to use.

Right now that unreliability means that Torque is not a viable alternative to Google on Android Wear devices. However when it worked, it worked relatively well (or as well as Google does), delivering the same kind of structured content (e.g., sports, local, directions, weather, etc.) and “lite” web search results that Google offers on Android Wear.

The larger problem is that the overall Android Wear user experience is not very intuitive and often frustrating. While I like the Moto 360 and the LG G Watch R aesthetics very much Android Wear isn’t yet worthy of these improving hardware designs.

It remains to be seen whether the Apple Watch offers a better and more refined user experience. If it does there will be pressure on Google to improve Android Wear quickly.

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Google Maps Revamps Quality Guidelines For Local Pages

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By Barry Schwartz

Google Maps has updated their local pages quality guidelines last night. Jade Wang from the Google team posted the news in the Google Forums saying:

We’ve updated and clarified our quality guidelines for local pages. Please read the new version here, and, as always, feel free to contact our support team with any specific questions about your account.

There are a couple local SEO experts that have dug through the old guidelines to compare it to the new guidelines. I saved a screen shot of the old guidelines, which you can see over here.

Mike Blumenthal documented the “obvious changes” including:

  • Descriptors of any sort are NOT allowed
  • Categories should be the more specific category and NOT the overarching, general category
  • Increased name and category consistency amongst multi location chains
  • Two or more brands at the same location must pick one name
  • If Different departments are to have their own page they must have unique categories
  • Practitioner’s pages, in multi location practices should have their name only and not the name of the practice
  • Solo Practitioners only can use the format of Practice: Practitioner
  • Virtual Offices are NOT allowed unless staffed.

Google Maps local have always been somewhat of the “wild west” of the search space. So many are asking, despite these guidelines, will Google actually have the man power and resources to actually enforce these rules?

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Black Friday Is NEXT Week. Is Your Local Business Ready?

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By Rachel Lindteigen

It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here. Is your website ready?

Did you implement a holiday marketing strategy? Have you checked that everything is in proper working order? If not, now is the time. Before you head to the store to stock up on the last items you’ll need for Thanksgiving dinner, ensure your website is ready to greet your customers.

If your website supports a retail location, double check that all of your store contact information is correct on your social media accounts and more importantly, in the local map directory listings.

Have you updated your listings to include extended holiday hours? Be sure your customers can find this out easily. It’s a bit late to add Schema markup for your store hours and holiday specials now unless you’ve got an on-staff IT person readily available. If you can’t add Schema, it’s OK.

Add information about your holiday hours anywhere you can and be sure you update your information on your website, too. Make it visible, have it on the homepage or provide a prominent link.

Remember, many of the holiday weekend shoppers will be browsing on their mobile phones; don’t make them dig for information. Help them find what they’re looking for and they’ll be more likely to visit your store or site and buy.

If you sell products or services on your website and offer shipping, there are a few more tactics to review:

  • Include A Shipping Calendar. Do you have a shipping calendar on your website that is easy for your customers to find? If not, add one now. If you can create a separate page for your shipping information, that would be ideal. You can share this via your social media channels, and be sure to optimize the title tag and Meta description. Be sure your shipping information is clear and easy to understand.
  • Feature Deals, Sales & Special Offers On Optimized Landing Pages. If you’re offering Black Friday or Cyber Monday specials, do you have your holiday landing pages optimized and live yet? If they’re not live today, it’s almost too late. Google needs a few days to index new content, so make this one of your top priorities today. You can create your Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing pages even if you haven’t finalized your product specials yet. Get the pages live and ensure the title tags and meta descriptions are optimized. For now, include some evergreen content about Black Friday or Cyber Monday and let your customers know when to check back for more information. Update the product specifics when you’re ready.
  • Create Landing Pages For Holiday Gifts/Special Services. If you’re promoting holiday gifts or offering special services such as gift wrap, create a page to provide that information. The holiday shopping period is short this year; consumers will be looking for convenience options. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just four weeks apart this time. Consumers have only three weekends beyond the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend to shop.
  • Offer free gift wrap. Offer free (or nominal fee) gift wrap with purchase (in store or online) and promote this on your website and in social media.
  • Offer Free Shipping. Offer free shipping, if not for the entire holiday season, consider participating in Free Shipping Day on December 18th.
  • Bundle Related Products. Create product bundles that make it easier for consumers to buy a gift. This is a great way to upsell; you can offer bundles or additional related items.
  • Create An Optimized Page For Gift Cards. If you offer gift cards or gift certificates in store, are you able to sell them online? If so, have you created a page for your gift cards or e-gift cards? Some shoppers, especially the last minute ones who haven’t started yet, may be looking for a very simple gift like this. Send reminders about gift cards via email and social media; have the page visible on your website. Some holiday weekend shoppers won’t want to go near a store but would love to buy their gift cards online. Consider an incentive offer for the buyer, perhaps a small percentage off. You’re more likely to end up with two sales this way.

Finally, think about the customers that find you online and visit you in person over the holiday weekend. They may be tired, they may be frazzled, and they may be going to every store in town in search of that one item their kid absolutely must have that they can’t find anywhere.

Try to make it easier for them. Have extra staff in store to help them; if the weather is cold where you are, consider offering warm beverages like coffee or cocoa in your store. If you provide a great experience online and offline, you’ll be more likely to build loyal customers that want to come back again next year. It’s easier to keep a customer happy than to find new ones all the time.

Before you settle in for the holiday weekend with your family (or staff), be sure your website and retail location are ready for the influx of shoppers you hope to see. Double check that everything is in working order and ready to go before you wind up in a post-Thanksgiving turkey coma.

Once the holiday weekend is over, consider sending personalized thank you notes to some of your best customers (online or offline purchases), it’s a great, easy way to create a lasting impression.

The post Black Friday Is NEXT Week. Is Your Local Business Ready? appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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5 Steps to Run a Successful Kickstarter Campaign by @esornoso

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By Eric Sornoso

Kickstarter is not the first, nor the only, online crowdfunding platform, but it is probably the most fun for those who want to pledge funds to projects. There’s a certain gamification and lighthearted aspect to Kickstarter, which can be leveraged to run a successful campaign and fund your project. In this post, we’ll take a look at the Nomiku Sous Vide culinary device, a neat project that raised more than $750K in pledges from more than 5,000 backers who felt that this particular idea deserved more than the original funding goal of $200K. In five steps, this is what Nomiku […]

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Buried Gems: 6 Important AdWords Reports You’ve Never Heard Of

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By Susan Waldes

Every paid search marketer has their “pet” reports. Some are obsessed with quality score, others with queries, and some chase sheer numbers of active keywords.

Over the years, I’ve developed a set of “go to” reports where I always find meaningful insights and account improvements. You probably already know what some of them are — the query report, the time of day report, etc. — so I won’t bore you with those. Instead, I’m sharing 6 “hidden reports” that are underutilized by almost all search marketers, largely because they are buried and difficult to find.

When I audit an account, looking for problems or missed opportunities, these are the places I look before I even take a glance at the keywords. At least one of these hidden reports never fails to provide useful data or illuminate problems that somebody else has overlooked. Beyond that, these 6 reports, when combined, define the context of an account: the goals, the problem areas, and the expectations.

So, whether you are looking for what somebody else missed, troubleshooting an account problem, or simply searching for some new inspiration, I advise you to check out the 6 buried but important reports in AdWords below.

The Report: Demographics On The Display Network

Where to Find It: Shared Library > Audiences > and then click into one of your existing Rule-Based remarketing audiences.

demo_on_display

Why It’s Important: This report visually shows the demographic composition of your audiences. (I usually look at the “converted users” audience first.)

This report is a great, already prepared visual for quarterly business reviews, audit finding presentations, and other client presentations. It shows who we are trying to reach and who we actually are reaching.

Understanding your audience demographics, especially on different areas of your site, can be helpful for developing personas — even if “persona” in this case just means an informal acknowledgement that you are mostly appealing to “men in college” (or whatever your audience is).

The data and the personas you build from this demographic understanding define who you should be targeting on Google Display Network, what sort of messaging you should use in your ad text, and the value propositions to highlight on your landing page.

In the example above, it’s clear that this audience skews very female and 25-34. Thus, I should consider going after new moms in my GDN campaigns or testing imagery on my landing page showing women age 25-34 using the product.

The Report: Top 10 (And Top 500) Visited URLs With Remarketing Tags

Where to Find It: Shared Library > Audiences > on the top right of the page, click the “View Tag Details” button > click the text “Your AdWords tag is active” text toward the top of the pop-up >

You’ll see the top 10 URLs that are firing your remarketing pixel — Scroll to the bottom of the pop-up and you can download the top 500 URLs.

remarketing_urls

Why It’s Important: This shows what site pages have your remarketing pixel on them and are generating people for your remarketing audiences.

When I audit accounts, I always look here and almost always find pages that should have a remarketing pixel and aren’t in this list. The landing pages that are used for SEM are often stand alone pages, and it’s pretty common for a developer to leave off the remarketing pixel. Also, whole subdomains — such as blog. or m. — are often missing the pixel.

Your remarketing traffic is one of the most valuable assets in your PPC arsenal – this report will help you identify any missing pockets of traffic you could be using to drive more valuable remarketing.

The Report: Main Sitelink Feed

Where to Find It: Shared Library > Business Data > and then click into “Main Sitelink feed.”

Why It’s Important: From this view of your sitelinks, you can see reporting data with rows that include the destination URL of your sitelinks — it’s a column that is unavailable in the sitelinks reporting on the ad Extensions tab.

Data points that are rarely seen tend to amass errors over time. Because of this, sitelinks are often forgotten during destination URL updates, branding or copy changes, and changes in URL parameters and tracking.

This report has only existed for a couple months. Of the account audits I’ve done since then, I’ve found outdated tracking parameters on the sitelinks of more than half of those accounts. If you are within an account that you manage, you can fix those URLs inline in this report as well.

The Report: Conversion Actions

Where to Find It: Tools > Conversions. It’s where you go to add a new conversion type. However, there are other reasons to visit this data.

[CLICK TO ENLARGE}

Why It’s Important: This report gives you a fast, easy visual of your various conversion types and the amount each is contributing to the conversion column that you see in all your other reporting. In the screenshot above, for example, you can easily see that leads are about 30% of the total conversions and that calls from ads are contributing only a tiny amount of activity.

If you are tracking on-page calls or app installs, these will also be reported as their own conversion type in this view.

If you only have one conversion type, this view is still valuable because it shows you your “repeat rate.” Repeat Rate is the total amount of conversions divided by the unique conversions — unique conversions being a single user clicking on a last ad and the conversions that ensued.

If you are an e-commerce business, multiple conversions are usually a good thing. In lead gen, repeat conversion would typically be considered duplicate leads and of little to no value.

Understanding your repeat rate will help you set the right Optimization setting, CPA goals and the right conversion window for each of your conversion types. A quick look at this data can illuminate problems in how conversions are being tracked and what the correct settings should be.

I found an account recently that had a repeat rate of close to 2 on their phone call conversions. Very few businesses want a person to call more than once, as it typically means they customer is not getting the information or service they need.

This finding uncovered problems with their phone system. People were getting cut off in the middle of phone calls and having to call back. They identified and fixed the issue with the phones and realized a big chunk of “conversions” (all the calling back) they’d been counting as success metrics in their account, actually were not tied to actions that had value.

The Report: Conversion Web Pages

Where To Find It: Tools > Conversions > then click in to one of your web-based, listed conversion names.

conversion_webpages [CLICK TO ENLARGE}

Why It’s Important: This report shows the pages that are firing your conversion pixel. A quick scan will quickly show you if there are thank you pages that are not showing conversions which should be and pages that are contributing conversions that shouldn’t be.

This report uncovers if the distribution of the pages driving conversions “makes sense.” With the help of this report, I’ve found instances where the AdWords pixel was logging dozens of conversions that were actually on staging sites, falsely inflating results. I’ve also found instances where legitimate conversion actions were not being reported by identifying where a pixel was not properly placed or had become “broken” at some time.

Hovering over the bubble in the “Tracking Status” column will show you the date of the last reported conversion from a page. Was the last reported conversion on the same day as a recent site update? If so, and you’ve had an inexplicable drop off in conversions since then, this will help illuminate where the problem is.

The Report: Search Funnels Time Lag

Where To Find It: Tools > Conversions > and then click “Search Funnels” in the Left Navigation > Click “Time Lag” in the left navigation.

time_lag

Why It’s Important: Use the search funnels time lag report to understand what your latency is to conversion.

I have a client where 98.8% of the conversions come in the same day as the click. When I look at yesterday’s numbers, I know they won’t change much. I have another client where only 44% of the conversions happen on the day of the click. It’s pointless to look at yesterday’s CPA for this client because after 30 days pass, it will be less than half of what it looks like right now.

Guess which client has a huge focus on remarketing? The 44% client. In fact, my 44% client still generates significant revenue 30 days after the last ad click, and we are considering extending their conversion window to 60 or even 90 days. Their products are very expensive, and there is a long consideration period before a customer decides to make a purchase.

There are other interesting data points in the search funnels reporting to check out while you are there. The importance of the other data will vary based on your business and account dynamics. Thus time lag data, and understanding account latency, is important to all accounts.

Final Thoughts

Grab your shovels and find these 6 buried reports. I guarantee that you will learn something about your AdWords account that you didn’t already know. You may discover a problem, have an “aha!” moment, or (at the very least) get some inspiration that fuels your next set of account optimizations.

The post Buried Gems: 6 Important AdWords Reports You’ve Never Heard Of appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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3 Common Challenges Facing All SEO Managers

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By Casie Gillette

Anyone managing an SEO program, either in-house or for a client, knows there are a multitude of challenges. In fact, at SMX East back in October, Mark Munroe gave us this hilarious quote applying Murphy’s Law to SEO:

When it comes to SEO anything that can break, does break @markemunroe #smx

— Casie Gillette (@Casieg) October 1, 2014

It’s true! Just when you think everything is perfect and things couldn’t be better, something inevitably changes. Such is the life of an SEO.

Take heart, though. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that, while there will always be challenges, these challenges often aren’t new. They are typically something we’ve experienced before, a variation of something we’ve experienced before, or something a friend or colleague has experienced before.

The knowledge we gain through these experiences makes it much easier to bounce back when Murphy’s Law heads our way.

Below, I’ve outlined three common challenges facing SEO managers and a few solutions on how to deal with them.

1. Mismanaged Expectations

Perhaps one of the most common issues in our industry is the lack of understanding about what SEO is and what type of results businesses should expect when embarking on an SEO program.

Be careful out there!

After all, SEO means a variety of things to a variety of people, and with so many different people out there talking about SEO and offering SEO services, there is no one definition or one right way to do things…which can often lead to mismanaged expectations and unhappy clients. It’s up to us to ensure our clients understand what we’re offering and what to expect.

Examples:

  • Client A comes on board and they want more organic traffic and more organic leads. Six months into the program, organic leads are up and organic traffic is up, but the client is not happy. Why? Because they thought for their investment, their traffic and leads would be double what they are.
  • Client B is run by a Marketing Manager who knows that an SEO program is an investment that can take time. However, Client B’s CEO thinks SEO means rankings – immediately. After repeatedly Googling a list of keywords and not seeing their site in position #1, the CEO is angry and wants the Marketing Manager to get it fixed.

While these are two very different scenarios, they are also very common. As SEO Managers, we need to make sure we are getting both of these situations straightened out or we risk losing our client.

How Do We Do This? Here Are A Few Tips

  • When creating any SEO program, evaluate any and all past data to determine what type of results are realistic. While we can never give an exact number, setting a goal based on past results can help keep expectations managed. If they don’t have any past results to pull from, use what you have learned from other clients. Look for clients in similar industries with similar traffic patterns and marketing budgets. It’s not apples to apples but it can provide a baseline.
  • Educate at every level. While the marketing manager may be the person you are directly working with, they are likely reporting to someone else. Help them manage up. Provide resources, explanations, hop on calls, etc. Do whatever you have to do to help them be successful and in turn, help you be successful.
  • Report on what’s important to the client. Kerry Dean gave a great presentation on SEO reporting metrics in which he noted that what we report on isn’t always what’s important. I have certainly made the mistake of sending reports to clients only to find out they didn’t understand the data or didn’t care about the data presented. Work with your client to ensure you are reporting on their business goals.

2. Resource Constraints

“We don’t have the resources.”

I’ll pause to let you think about how often you’ve heard that in your lifetime as an SEO. If I had a dollar…

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Seriously…this is what I’d have.

An SEO program doesn’t touch just one department. You need the web development team, the content team, the lead gen team, the social media team…you get the picture.

The challenge lies in that not all companies have these teams on staff, the existing staff has full workloads, and budgets do not allow for unlimited work.

Examples:

  • Client C has an external web development team. The web development team works within a set budget, allotting a certain amount of hours to the client. When technical SEO recommendations are provided, Client C has to determine if/when these will fit in the web development budget. If there isn’t time or budget this month, the SEO recommendations are pushed out 30-60 days.
  • Client D has set some pretty hefty goals for the program and in order to hit those goals, they need to be creating 2-3 pieces of content per week. Half way through the year, two of their writers quit, leaving them short-handed and content creation at a halt.

In each of these cases, resource constraints have the possibility to slow the program and hurt results. As SEO Managers, it’s our job to mitigate damages and help out where we can.

How Do We Do This? Here Are A Few Tips

  • Understand resource constraints ahead of time. During the discovery phase, we try to find out as much about a potential client’s resources as possible. Who is their web development team? Is it in house? How much access do they have to them? How many writers are there? What is their current capacity? While we can’t avoid scenarios in which resources leave, if we know ahead of time what we’re working with, we can set better expectations (refer back to previous section) and prepare our own strategies better.
  • Prioritize. When resources are limited, make sure you are prioritizing recommendations. If three different recommendations are provided but the client only has the time/budget for one, help them understand which one they should focus on and why. Obviously the one that’s going to provide the best results.
  • Know when to step in. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and offer to do some of the things yourself. In the world of consulting, results are what matter and if nothing is done and there are no results to show, you lose the client or your job. What can you take on that will help them, and help you?

3. Unexpected Changes

Expect the unexpected. It’s what we’ve been taught in life and it applies to the workplace as well. Changes that are out of our control will happen. Companies will be bought, employees will leave, budgets will be cut, and there is nothing we can do about it.

expect results

In fact, the timing of this post is impeccable as I just had a client tell me s/he was leaving to take another job. While it’s sad to see someone you enjoy working with leave, in this day and age, it’s happening pretty frequently.

People no longer stay at one position their whole life, and a 2-3 year stay is becoming the norm.

Here Are Some Other Examples:

  • Client E has been working with you for three years and the results have been spectacular. So much so that the client has gained a ton of notoriety and awareness and has been acquired by a Fortune 500 company. The Fortune 500 company will be rolling the client’s site into theirs…which will be managed by the in-house SEO team.
  • Client F has been with you for two years. The program has been run through the Marketing Manager but a new CMO was hired. The CMO has a preferred SEO vendor they’d like to use.

Unfortunately in these scenarios, there may not be a ton you can do to retain the client but there are a few things you can do to ensure the success of your business.

Here Are A Few Tips

  • Help in any way possible. Even if a client is leaving, I offer to help where I can. Referring back to Client E, yes, we are no longer responsible for the site but we do care about the success. We’ll give them a list of URLs and recommended steps for integrating the site without losing too much traffic. Always end on a good note because you never know where your contact might end up.
  • Stay in touch. I am generally sad when my contact leaves the company. Between emails, phone calls, and in-person meetings, you really get to know them and care about them beyond just business. Get their email, connect on LinkedIn, send a card, etc. Aside from the personal aspect of it, having a strong network is important. Plus, they may need an SEO vendor at their next company.
  • Don’t beat yourself up. When a client leaves due to any reason, I take it personally. I think about what I might have done differently or how I could have communicated something better. As noted above, in some cases it really has nothing to do with you. Learn what you can and move on.

Final Thoughts

The life of an SEO is always an adventure, but hopefully, these tips will help guide you when challenges arise.

What are some of the common challenges you’ve faced as an SEO manager?

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21 Link Building Ideas That Have Nothing To Do With Guest Posting

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By Erin Everhart

As an industry, I think we’ve gotten better at not relying completely on guest posting as the only way to get links. I think. At least, I sure hope we have.

Don’t get me wrong: Guest posting done correctly still works really well – note the emphasis on “done correctly.” I’m not recommending you remove it from your tactic list, but a little tactical diversity never hurt anyone.

Note: I’m keeping these high level and vague on purpose in order to inspire as many starter ideas as possible. I find this to be ideal for brainstorming. It’ll be up to you to take the ones you like, add your own twist, and flesh it out to make it work for your company. (C’mon, I can’t do all the work for you!)

PR Boilerplate. Press releases aren’t dead. Make sure you have an optimized boilerplate at the end of all of your news releases that talks about your company. It’s almost always included if/when your release gets picked up by another source.

Executive Bios. Make your executives available for interviews or Q&As with industry publications, and make sure all their standard bios have an optimized link.

Internal Linking. Don’t limit yourself just to external sources. Revise your internal linking strategy to make sure you’re giving Google all the right signals on what pages are most important.

Job/Internship Postings. Make sure any open positions you have live on your site, not just on Monster or Career Builder. Most colleges and high schools will link out to active listings, and you can refer traffic to your job posting from any of the listing sites.

Glossaries. Especially if you’re in a jargon-heavy industry, publish a glossary of terms or acronym list as a resource for others.

Reddit AMA. Especially if you’re in an interesting industry, participate in Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). You’ll get some great questions and start building a community of people. Then, compile the questions and answers in a blog post to share.

Crowdsourcing. Poll the experts in your industry and compile their thoughts about a recent news story or industry shift in a blog post of your own. You’re ego-baiting, and it’s likely they’ll do a quick write-up when they’re mentioned. If you’re asked to participate in a crowd-sourced article, always do it. You’ll get mentioned and a link.

Free-To-Use Images. If there’s one thing everyone needs, it’s copyright-free images. Create an image gallery that anyone can use as long as they attribute the source.

Chamber of Commerce. If you’re a local business, most chamber of commerce sites will include you in their business directory.

School Clubs. Volunteer to speak or help out at your local college or high school, especially if they have a student club that’s in your industry.

Work With Charities/Nonprofits. Especially with the holidays coming up, there are tons of opportunities for your company to give back to the community with a charity/nonprofit partnership. You can donate money or time to the cause – or, even better, co-host an event and help promote it. They’ll probably talk about and link back to you on their site. Make sure it’s something you have a passion for or something related to your industry. You’re not doing this for the link – you’re doing this to help a good cause.

Sponsor Events. The same tactic for charities but for events. Relevance is still critical here. Al’s Cigar Shop probably shouldn’t sponsoring the 5K Race to End Smoking. Don’t just give them money to sponsor – actually attend the event. Do a write-up of it afterward and ask the event to share it.

Contests/Giveaways. Pretty standard. Host a contest with a tasty prize and have people enter by writing on their blog why they should win.

Host Events/Meetups. Host an event or meetup. Invite influencers in your industry. Ask them to help spread the word. Most local newspapers or websites (like the chamber of commerce) have event and calendar listings that you can add to with a link back.

Broken Link Building. Still works, but refine your execution. No more “Dear Webmaster” email. Build the relationship. Position yourself as helping. Don’t necessarily ask for anything in return right away. Moz has the most comprehensive post on the best way to execute.

Testimonials. If you use a product or service (and really like said product or service), offer the company the ability for them to do a case study on you or if you can provide a testimonial on how much you like it. Again, make sure you actually A) use the product/service and B) really do vouch for it.

Data Insights. People love to link to anything rooted in data: “A new study found…” and “According to a recent survey…” are almost gold mines for content ideas and linkability because people want to report on findings. Use the data you already have, or ask your customers how they shop for your products.

User Research. Publish your own findings of any user research studies about how users shop/interact/buy within your industry. You can set up quick testing through UserTesting.com without a lot of cost.

A/B Testing. Did you make a change on your site that worked remarkably well? Tell people about it. If you use VWO or Optimizely, they frequently publish case studies of A/B tests that have worked well on their platform, so tell them about it and see if they’ll do a write up.

Keyword Research. Publish your keyword research for your industry in “Top Searched Terms For The Pretzel Industry.” It may seem counterproductive to be giving away keyword research to your competitors, but it’s not that hard to get anyway. This just puts in a readily available spot and provides an easy way for people to link to and share it.

Case Studies. Shoot, you don’t have to publish just digitally-driven things that you’ve done. Maybe you feng shui’d your cubicles or invoked Flannel Friday which increased morale 57%. If you’ve done something cool that others could mimic, write about it.

What are other some creative link building ideas you can think of that have nothing to do with guest blogging?

The post 21 Link Building Ideas That Have Nothing To Do With Guest Posting appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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58% Of Local Marketers Will Change Tactics After Pigeon Update

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By Myles Anderson

There has been much expert analysis and published research on the impact of Google’s Pigeon Update.

In this post, I am going to share the results of some recent polls we conducted with attendees on a recent InsideLocal webinar, the topic of which was “The Impact of Pigeon.” (Note: webinar recording can be watched here.)

We wanted to measure the experiences and observations of the 600+ SEOs and SMBs on the webinar to see how they compared to the published, “expert” viewpoints.

We asked 4 questions, and here is what we found out.

1. Has Pigeon Delivered Good Changes For Businesses & Searchers?

Pigeon Update - Good for Searchers and Businesses

Respondents: 402

Key Findings:

  • 69% believe that Pigeon has delivered good change for searchers
  • 53% believe that Pigeon is bad for businesses

Commentary:

The general consensus is that Pigeon has delivered better changes for searchers than for businesses. The tighter geographic radius of results implies greater targeting of results, and the re-focusing of the “centroid” around the user and not the city makes results more user-centric.

There have been plenty of complaints about increased spam appearing in results, which isn’t good for anyone.

But this issue may be overplayed; renowned local search expert Mike Blumenthal pointed out during the webinar that increased spam is typical of other recent Google updates (e.g. Hummingbird), and Google will tackle this issue in time.

2. Have You Changed Your Local Search Strategy Since Pigeon Update?

Have you changed strategy since Google Pigeon Update

Respondents: 441

Key Findings:

  • 58% have changed or plan to change their search strategy due to Pigeon update
  • 33% won’t change their search strategy

Commentary:

The majority of those who completed the poll have either adjusted their search strategy or plan to do so. A number of Pigeon studies have pointed towards more power being given to traditional organic search ranking factors, such as domain authority and links, while pure local signals have lost power.

What the poll didn’t ask (simply because we didn’t have time) is what these strategy changes include. An obvious conclusion would be that SEOs/SMBs would focus more on such Organic signals, but is this a wise move? Google will release further updates which may reverse the direction they’ve taken here.

The consensus of the expert panelists on last week’s webinar (who were Mike Blumenthal, Joy Hawkins and Andrew Shotland) is that businesses shouldn’t obsess about Google. They are better off focusing on a diversified marketing strategy which focuses on activities which build their brand, reputation and relationships.

This will ultimately deliver more customers from a variety of sources and most likely greater search visibility with it. Google will reward businesses that have high trust & engagement factors.

3. Have You Gained Or Lost Traffic Since Pigeon?

Impact on website traffic since Pigeon Update

Respondents: 365

Key Findings:

  • 37% have lost traffic vs. 28% who gained traffic
  • 87% saw only a small amount of change

Commentary:

In this poll we asked about all search traffic; we didn’t specify local search traffic vs. organic traffic.

The results show that any shifts in traffic have been minor for the majority of businesses — just 13% have seen significant losses or gains. It’s likely that those that lost significant traffic have some fundamental issues with either their organic signals or their Google+ Listings (e.g. hidden dupes or “closed location” dupes, which are massively dragging them down).

Some industries have seen local packs stripped out completely (e.g. Realtors) so these are likely be some of the worst affected businesses.

On the whole, more businesses claimed to have lost traffic rather than gained. But is this drop in quantity offset by an increase in quality? Let’s find out….

4. Have You Received Better Converting Traffic Since Pigeon?

Better Converting Leads Since Pigeon Update

Respondents: 376

Key Findings:

  • 24% have witnessed worse converting traffic vs. 18% who have had better converting traffic
  • 58% have seen no change pre/post Pigeon

Commentary:

Much has been made of the increased relevance of results since Pigeon. Tighter geo-graphic radii and smaller pack sizes should be giving users a more targeted set of businesses to choose from.

A common theory about Pigeon is that while volume of traffic may have dropped, the clicks generated would deliver more targeted traffic leading to higher conversion.

Unfortunately, the results of this poll don’t concur – 82% of respondents said they have seen the same or lower conversions, while just 18% have seen better converting traffic.

Conclusions

Considering the responses to all four survey questions, the overriding feeling is that Pigeon hasn’t delivered a major shock to most SEOs/SMBs. The impact of the update varies depending on the specific circumstances of a business and there are few clear winners or losers.

However, over 50% of businesses/consultants plan to modify their search strategies to cope better with these changes. These changes should certainly take a long-term view into account — i.e. less chasing down Google and more focus on building the reputation and authority of your business.

Given that both traffic volume and quality appear to be lower, now is a great time to diversify away from Google and build a more diverse customer engagement and acquisition strategy. If this is done well and builds brand value and authority, then increased search visibility should follow.

The post 58% Of Local Marketers Will Change Tactics After Pigeon Update appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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