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Monthly Archives: July 2014

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Be Intentional about Your Content & SEO Goals or Face Certain Failure – Whiteboard Friday

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By randfish

Posted by randfish

We’re seeing more and more companies investing in content marketing, and that’s a great thing. Many of them, however, are putting less thought than they should into the specific goals behind the content they produce. In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand covers examples of goals for targeting different kinds of people, from those who merely stumbled upon your site to those who are strongly considering becoming customers.

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 we’re going to chat about being intentional about the content investments that you make. Now this is particularly important because otherwise it can lead to doom.

I got to organize the Foundry CEO Summit last week in Boulder, Colorado. I’m not sure when you are watching this. It might be several weeks ago now. But in any case, I’m talking with a bunch of CEOs and we have a number of discussion topics. One of the discussion topics, which was my personal favorite, one of the ones I was moderating was the top of funnel customer acquisition.

So I’m talking with a lot of these CEOs, B2B and B2C CEOs, about their content marketing efforts. Virtually everyone is investing in content marketing or thinking about it, which is awesome because it is very powerful. But many of them are investing in it somewhat unintentionally, or they haven’t talked with their CMOs and their marketing teams about precisely what that content is.

So we pulled up a couple of blogs from some of the participants. I’m kind of looking through like, “I’m not sure that there’s a strategic initiative behind all of the content that’s being produced.” That can be hugely helpful, and that’s true both for the content side of it and for the SEO side of it.

Many of the folks who are watching Whiteboard Friday undoubtedly are really deep into the tactics and the SEO side. So this video is for your managers, for your bosses, for you to help them understand how to choose content investments and what to expect from different kinds of investments.

Let me show you what I mean. Different kinds of content exist to target people at different sections of their experience with your site: at the consideration phase, where they’re close to buying, this is really for people who are thinking about buying your product; at the discovery phase for people who are just learning about your product or company; and at the viral or super broad content phase, where you’re not even necessarily trying to attract an audience that might buy from you, you’re doing other kinds of things.

So I’m going to try and walk through each of these. I’m actually going to start with the one that’s closest to the conversion process or the conversion point in that process.

So let’s imagine that I’m going to be the marketer at GeekDesk. GeekDesk sells these great sit-stand desks. I have one at home. I have one here at Moz. I love them to death because I stand up and work. I have sciatica in my left leg that I’ve had for many years, and I’ve been trying to work on that. One of the things I did is switch to a sit-stand desk. I actually almost never put it in sit mode anymore. I’m standing all the time. But in any case, GeekDesk makes great ones, ones that I really like.

So if I’m working at GeekDesk, my consideration phase content might be things like the models page, the models of all the different GeekDesks that I can buy. It might be a page on the advantages of the GeekDesk preset heights. GeekDesk has these little settings. I can push one, two, three, four, and it’ll go to different heights. I have one at home where I can push it to two, and it will go to the height for Geraldine so she can work at my desk. Then I press one, and it goes to my height. Then I press three, I haven’t pre-programmed three or four yet. But in any case, maybe if Elijah comes over, I’ll set one for you.

It might be “GeekDesk warranty and return policy,” or “sit-stand desks from GeekDesk.” These are kind of product-centric things. My content goals here are product awareness and conversion. I’m trying to get people to know about the products that I offer and to convert them to buyers.

This is really about information for those potential buyers. So my audience, naturally, is going to be customers, potential customers, and maybe also some media that’s already planning to write about me, which is why I want to have things like great photography and probably some testimonial quotes and all that kind of stuff.

The SEO targets for these types of pages are going to be my branded keywords — certainly things like “GeekDesk” and “GeekDesk desks” and whatever the models that I’ve got are — and then non-branded keywords that are directly, exactly tied to the products that my customers are going to perform when they search. These are things like sit-stand desks or adjustable height desks. That’s what this stuff is targeting.

This is very classic, very old-school kind of SEO and almost not even in the realm really of content marketing. These are just kind of product-focused pages. You should have plenty of these on your site, but they don’t always have overlap with these other things, and this is where I think the challenge comes into play.

Discovery phase content is really different. This is content like benefits of standing desks. That’s a little broader than GeekDesk. That’s kind of weird. Why would I write about that instead of benefits of GeekDesk? Well, I’m trying to attract a bigger audience. 99% of the content that you’ll ever see me present or write about is not why you should use Moz tools. That’s intentional. I don’t like promoting our stuff all that much. In fact, I’m kind of allergic to it, which has its own challenges.

In any case, this is targeting an audience that I am trying to reach who will learn from me. So I might write things like why sitting at a desk might significantly harm your health or companies that have moved to standing desks. I’d have a list of them, and I have some testimonials from companies that have moved to standing desks. They don’t even have to be on my product. I’m just trying to sell more of the idea and get people engaged with things that might potentially tie to my business. How to be healthy at work, which is even broader.

So these content goals are a little different. I’m trying to create awareness of the company. I just want people to know that GeekDesk exists. So if they come and they consume this content, even if they never become buyers, at least they will know and have heard of us. That’s important as well.

Remember television commercial advertisers pay millions and millions of dollars just to get people to know that they exist. That’s creating those brand impressions, and after more and more brand impressions, especially over a given time frame, you are more likely to know that brand, more likely to trust them, conversion rates go up, all those kinds of things.

I’m also trying to create awareness of the issues. I sometimes don’t even care if you remember that that great piece of content about how to be healthy at work came from GeekDesk. All I care is that you remember that standing at work is probably healthier for you than sitting. That’s what I hope to spread. That’s the virality that I hope to create there. I want to help people so that they trust, remember, and know me in the future. These are the goals around discovery phase content.

That audience can be potential customers, but there’s probably a much broader audience with demographic or psychographic overlap with my customers. That can be a group that’s tremendously larger, and some small percentage of them might someday be customers or customer targets. This is probably also people like media, influencers, and potential amplifiers. This may be a secondary piece, but certainly I hope to reach some of those.

The SEO targets are going to be the informational searches that these types of folks will perform and broad keywords around my products. This is not my personal products, but any of the types of products that I offer. This also includes broad keywords around my customers’ interests. That might be “health at work,” that might be “health at home,” that might be broadly dealing with issues like the leg issue that I’ve got, like sciatica stuff. It can be much broader than just what my product helps solve.

Then there’s a third one. These two I think get conflated more than anything else. This is more the viral, super broad content. This is stuff like, “Scientific studies show that work will kill you. Here’s how.” Wow. That sounds a little scary, but it also sounds like something that my aunt would post on Facebook.

“Work setups at Facebook versus Google versus Microsoft.” I would probably take a look at that article. I want to see what the different photographs are and how they differ, especially if they are the same across all of them. That would surprise me. But I want to know why they have uniqueness there.

“The start-up world’s geekiest desk setup.” That’s going to be visual content that’s going to be sailing across the Web. I definitely want to see that.

“An interactive work setup pricing calculator.” That is super useful, very broad. When you think about the relationship of this to who’s going to be in my potential customer set, that relationship is pretty small. Let’s imagine that this is the Venn diagram of that with my actual customer base. It’s a really tiny little overlap right there. It’s a heart-shaped Venn diagram. I don’t know why that is. It’s because I love you.

The content goals around this are that I want to grow that broad awareness, just like I did with my informational content. I want to attract links. So few folks, especially outside of SEOs and content marketers, really understand this. What happens here is I’m going to attract links with this broad or more viral focused content, and those links will actually help all of this content rank better. This is the rising tide of domain authority that lifts all of the ships, all of the pages on the domain and their potential ranking ability. That’s why you see folks investing in this regularly to boost up the ranking potential of these.

That being said, as we’ve talked about in a previous Whiteboard Friday, Google is doing a lot more domain association and keyword level domain association. So if you do the “problems with abusing alcohol” and that happens to go viral on your site, that probably won’t actually help you rank for any of this stuff because it is completely outside the topic model of what all of these things are about. You want to be at least somewhat tangentially related in a semantic way.

Finally, I want to reach an audience outside of my targets for potential serendipity. What do I mean by that? I’m talking about I want to reach someone who has no interest in sitting and standing desks, but might be an investor for me or a supplier for me or a business development partner. They might be someone who happens to tell someone who happens to tell another someone, that long line of serendipity that can happen through connections. That’s what this viral content is about.

So the audience is really not just specific influencers or customers, but anyone who might influence potential customers. It’s a big, broad group. It’s not just these people in here. It’s these people who influence them and those people who influence them. It’s a big, broad group.

Then I’m really looking for a link likely audience with this kind of content. I want to find people who can amplify, people who can socially share, people who can link directly through a blog, through press and media, through resources pages, that kind of stuff.

So my SEO targets might be really broad keywords that have the potential to reach those amplifiers. Sometimes — I know this is weird for me to say — it is okay to have none at all, no keyword target at all. I can imagine a lot of viral content that doesn’t necessarily overlap with a specific keyword search but that has the potential to earn a lot of links and reach influencers. Thus, you kind of go, “Well, let’s turn off the SEO on this one and just at least make it nicely indexable and make the links point to all the right places back throughout here so that I’m bumping up their potential visibility.”

This fits into the question of: What type of content strategy am I doing? Why am I investing in this particular piece? Before you create a piece of content or pitch a piece of content to your manager, your CMO, your CEO, you should make sure you know which one it is. It is so important to do that, because otherwise they’ll judge this content by this ROI and this content by these expectations. That’s just not going to work. They’re going to look at their viral content and go, “I don’t see any conversions coming from this. That was a waste.”

That’s not what it was about. You have to create the right expectations for each kind of content in which you are going to be investing.

All right everyone, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Whiteboard Friday. We will see you again next week. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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New #MarketingNerds Podcast: What It Takes To Get Your Business Ranked Locally with Bernadette Coleman by @johnrampton

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By John Rampton

In this weeks Marketing Nerds, we had the chance to sit down with local SEO expert Bernadette Coleman with Advice Interactive Group. In this episode of Marketing Nerds, we cover: We go into onsite and offsite rankings and how to rank better online. Details about what you need to do to get your local listings updated locally and people into your business. Helping your local citations and making sure they are healthy and clean. Know what data is most important for your business. How to optimize your Google Listing. How important is consistency online. What you need to know about data […]

The post New #MarketingNerds Podcast: What It Takes To Get Your Business Ranked Locally with Bernadette Coleman by @johnrampton appeared first on Search Engine Journal.

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AdWords’ New Demographics Charts Offer Visual Insights On Age, Gender & Parental Status

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By Ginny Marvin

The Demographics tab under the Display Network section in AdWords now displays charts on gender, age and parental status for campaigns running on the display network, including retargeting campaigns.

The Demographics tab began rolling out last month. The new charts make it easier to visualize who your ads are reaching on the display network. You can view demographic reach in the charts by impressions, clicks or conversions with a drop-down.

You can also analyze demographic data further by enabling “View demographics combinations”. This allows you to see performance by two or more demographic criteria — Females, Age 34-44, for example. Combination detail is available at an ad group view or account view. You may see lots of “Unknown” entries, these can be filtered out if desired.

These insights can then be used in bidding with demographic targeting, and inform your ad copy targeting different demographic groups. Demographic targeting can be combined with any targeting strategy on the display network.

Note that demographic targeting is not available in all countries.

Hat tip: Kim Clinkunbroomer, Philly Marketing Labs

The post AdWords’ New Demographics Charts Offer Visual Insights On Age, Gender & Parental Status appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Free Ride? In Europe, Google Will Remain Firefox Search Default Despite No Deal

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By Danny Sullivan

How much does it cost to be Mozilla’s Firefox search provider in Europe? Perhaps nothing — because Google will continue to be the provider there despite not having any formal deal with Mozilla, come this December.

Yesterday, it was big news that Mozilla announced new deals making Yahoo the default search provider for Firefox in the US, Yandex for Russia and Baidu for China. Previously, Google had been the provider in all these countries.

While no terms were disclosed, the Google deal has earned hundreds of millions of dollars for Mozilla over the years. It’s expected that Yahoo will be paying the same.

But Mozilla’s blog post about the news made no mention of the situation in Europe, nor South America, Africa, much of Asia and the rest of the world.

In an interview with Search Engine Land, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard confirmed that Google would continue to be the search default in Europe. That made it seem likely that Mozilla had signed a new deal for Google in that area but just didn’t want to be public about it.

It turns out there’s no deal with Google at all. In an email today, a Mozilla spokesperson got in touch to clarify there is none. From the statement I was sent:

In most European countries, Firefox users will not see a change. In the US, Yahoo will become the default search, Baidu in China and Yandex in Russia. We’re proud to offer more choices than any other browser and as always, all Firefox users are free to change the search provider to fit their choice.

Our current financial relationship with Google around search will expire following the end of the current agreement (see December 2011 announcement here).

The first part of that says nothing that wasn’t in the blog post. It’s the second part that’s key, that Mozilla is stressing there is no deal that will happen with Google after the current one expires next month.

We know Google will continue to be the default in Europe. We also know now there is no deal making that happen. That suggests Google’s going to get a free ride in that area and any other country not covered by the announcements. Not bad for Google!

Then again, we also don’t know the share of searches that happen from Firefox in Europe (I asked Mozilla for this yesterday; I still haven’t gotten a response). It potentially is only a tiny amount.

But still — it’s odd that Mozilla wouldn’t have done a deal with Yahoo that covered Europe and other parts of the world. Not going with Bing makes sense — Microsoft makes a rival browser to Firefox.

It might be that Firefox is simply going to continue to use Google’s results but keep a much smaller slice of the search revenue, something similar to what happens in the AdSense For Search program. Still, this seems unlikely. That program is designed for small-scale sites. If Firefox wants to collect revenue from Google search, I’d expect it would need a formal deal in place.

The Guardian points out that the last time contract renewals happened, in Europe, Firefox shifted to Bing briefly. I didn’t recall this happening — I also see that it happened a few weeks before the contract expired. It sounds like it might have been an attempt to put pressure on Google for a better deal.

If that’s the plan this time, I’d say any negotiation tactic has gone out the window when Mozilla is saying that Google gets Europe and other places around the world without needed a deal at all.

The post Free Ride? In Europe, Google Will Remain Firefox Search Default Despite No Deal appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Philae Google Logo Marks Incredible Accomplishment Of ESA’s Rosetta Mission To Land Probe On Comet

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By Amy Gesenhues

Google wasted no time acknowledging the incredible accomplishment of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) successful Rosetta mission today, updating its homepage with a space-themed Google logo featuring the ESA Philae probe that landed on Comet 67P.

With Rosetta we are opening a door to the origin of planet Earth and fostering a better understanding of our future.

Launched all the way back in March 2004, the Rosetta mission is the first controlled touchdown on a comet’s nucleus. According to ESA, the Philae probe traveled 6.4 billion kilometers through the Solar System before finding its way to the comet in August of this year.

Google’s Philae doodle is an animated illustration of the probe, and includes sharing icons that lets users post the logo on their social media pages or send via email.

The logo links to a search for “Philae,” the name given to the probe and taken from the Philae Island in Lake Nassar, Egypt where the Rosetta Stone was discovered.

From the ESA website: “Just as the Rosetta Stone provided the key to an ancient civilisation, so ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft will unlock the mysteries of the oldest building blocks of our Solar System – the comets.”

The post Philae Google Logo Marks Incredible Accomplishment Of ESA’s Rosetta Mission To Land Probe On Comet appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Thanksgiving Day Google Logo Serves Up An Animated Turkey For The Holiday

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By Amy Gesenhues

To celebrate today’s holiday, Google’s homepage includes an animated Thanksgiving Day turkey with sharing icons to post the bouncing turkey on your social pages.

Along with the illustrated bird, is a link answering the question “What is tryptophan?” to clarify why it’s so difficult to stay awake after ingesting large quantities of turkey.

The backdrop for today’s Thanksgiving Day Google Doodle includes an arrangement of autumn inspired leaves spelling out Google, but after record-breaking snowfalls across the Northeast, a winter-themed animation probably would have been more relevant.

Here’s hoping you stay warm, have plenty of food, and much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving from Search Engine Land!

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