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Monthly Archives: February 2015

#SMM 101: How to Leverage Twitter For Your Clients by @esornoso

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By Eric Sornoso

Although many online marketers see Facebook as the be-all and end-all of social media marketing, it is important to remember that Twitter is considered a more dynamic and flexible platform for brand promotion. Businesses and brands haven’t even scraped the surface of Twitter’s true potential. There’s a lack of information about Twitter advertising, so I wanted to a few methods that produce solid results. Did you know 80% of users on Twitter are accessing it via a mobile device? There is a real opportunity for businesses to reach potential customers no matter where they are or what they’re doing. You also have the […]

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#SMM 101: How to Leverage Twitter For Your Clients by @esornoso

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By Eric Sornoso

Although many online marketers see Facebook as the be-all and end-all of social media marketing, it is important to remember that Twitter is considered a more dynamic and flexible platform for brand promotion. Businesses and brands haven’t even scraped the surface of Twitter’s true potential. There’s a lack of information about Twitter advertising, so I wanted to a few methods that produce solid results. Did you know 80% of users on Twitter are accessing it via a mobile device? There is a real opportunity for businesses to reach potential customers no matter where they are or what they’re doing. You also have the […]

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SearchCap: Bing Ads Editor, Client Management & Google Knowledge Graph

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By Barry Schwartz

Below is what happened in search today, as reported on Search Engine Land and from other places across the web.

From Search Engine Land:

Recent Headlines From Marketing Land, Our Sister Site Dedicated To Internet Marketing:

Search News From Around The Web:

Industry

Local & Maps

Link Building

Searching

SEO

SEM / Paid Search

Search Marketing

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5 Steps to Ace #Mobile App Marketing by @DholakiyaPratik

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By Pratik Dholakiya

Apps have been around for much longer than most of us realize. The first apps made their appearance in the 1990’s via PDAs like the Psion and the Palm Pilot. The years that followed saw apps that ran on Java, Symbian, Brew, Bada, and more. Apps as we know them today made their debut in 2008 with the launch of Apple’s App Store shortly followed by the launch of the Android Market by Google. Today, app development is a full-fledged career option with 627,000 jobs created by the iOS ecosystem since 2008 in the US alone. The year 2014 was […]

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Search In Pics: Android Caveman, Google Ski Trip & Rope Logo

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By Barry Schwartz

In this week’s Search In Pictures, here are the latest images culled from the web, showing what people eat at the search engine companies, how they play, who they meet, where they speak, what toys they have, and more.

Google Android Caveman:

Source: Google+

Google Rope Logo:


Source: Google+

Google Ski Trip At Lake Tahoe:

google-ski-trip-resort-1425041307
Source: Google+

Google My Other Car Drives Itself Bumper Sticker:

google-bumper-sticker
Source: Google+

Google Maps Pegman Birthday Cake:

google-pegman-birthday
Source: Google+

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New Bing Ads Editor Version (10.7) Now Available

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By Ginny Marvin

Today, the latest Bing Ads Editor, the indispensable desktop tool for (PC users only) managing campaigns, is now available with several new features. Here’s a look at what the new BAE has to offer.

Interface Changes: You’ll notice some updates in the layout of the new BAE. These aren’t huge changes, but the use of more traditional and prominent icons as well as a change from using all caps is welcome and makes navigating that much easier

Keyword Text Editing: The biggest win is probably the ability to edit keywords in the editor pane after they’ve been synced to the cloud. This was one of those seemingly small problems that was actually quite frustrating. All fixed now, so you can edit your keyword text all you want.

Radius Targeting: Radius targets are now included in the location targeting window in a new tab next to Area targeting.

Downloading & Uploading: The new version also offers more control over which campaigns you can download with a “Campaigns I select” option. You also have the ability to download basic campaign data (read: faster) or to include first page bid estimates, top-of-page bid estimates and quality score in addition to the basics. Similarly, BAE now lets you post changes to an individual campaign rather than in all campaigns.

Here’s a quick overview video from the Bing Ads team on the updates:

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How to Optimize Images For SEO by @michielheijmans

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By Michiel Heijmans

If you are a blogger or write articles for an online magazine or newspaper, you likely encounter this question on a daily basis: Should I add an image to my article? The answer is “Yes”. Images make an article more vivid and can actually contribute to improving the SEO for your article. In this post, I’d like to explain the steps that should be taken to fully optimize an image for SEO. Use Images Images, when added with a certain consideration, will help understand your article a lot. “A picture is worth a thousand words”. Yeah, well, probably not for Google, […]

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What Can Businesses Do About The Knowledge Graph Dominating Search Results?

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By Nate Dame

Let’s just start by admitting that we’ve all Googled ourselves.

And by “ourselves,” of course, I mean “our brands.” If you’ve Googled your company name recently (or the name of any company, for that matter), you’ve probably seen the Knowledge Graph at work in the rich side panel of search results.

That’s just the beginning of the Knowledge Graph at work. There are many types of Knowledge Graph widgets, but perhaps most concerning are the times that Google scrapes content from websites to display it directly in search results.

In fact, 1 in 5 search results now include Knowledge Graph features, and the potential impact on organic search traffic is enormous. (Wikipedia page views declined 21% after the Knowledge Graph came out.)

google knowledge graph serp

These developments beg many questions. Will these answer boxes start showing up for keywords that are important to my business? Will the Knowledge Graph begin to impact my traffic and bottom line? Do I want my content showing up in answer boxes? What can I even do about it?

Google’s Knowledge Graph is hard at work expanding its reach, and every marketer should have a clear and complete game plan in response. Below are the key areas to consider.

Graph Panels: The “About Us” Content

Branded searches are increasingly displaying Knowledge Graph sidebar panels for everyone from enterprise corporations to small local businesses.

google knowledge graph brands

google knowledge graph dear mom

Depending on the brand and business model, these panels might include:

  • Basic info and a brief description from Wikipedia
  • Photos from Google Plus
  • Stock prices from Google Finance, Yahoo Finance and MSN Money
  • Reviews from Google
  • Social profiles
  • Competitors
  • Related searches

These panels are a powerful commentary on your brand. Not only do buyers tend to trust information from third parties, the Google Knowledge Graph is training users to look for and trust what they read in these panels.

If the information in your brand’s Graph panel is accurate and complimentary, it is a welcome feature. If it is not, you have (some) power to update your brand’s Knowledge Graph information and content as necessary.

My Content “Scraped” Into Knowledge Graph Answer Boxes

At first, the Knowledge Graph started displaying quick facts and short answers in the main-column answer boxes – mostly from Wikipedia. Websites providing in-depth information and long-form content weren’t worried about losing traffic to Google scraping.

But, the Graph is getting smarter. It’s learning to pull step-by-step instructions for “How To” queries, and how to pull answers out of bigger content pieces.

google knowledge graph content scraping

“how to use schema”

google knowledge graph content scraping

“richest woman in the world”

If this happens to you, is Google stealing your traffic? Probably. Is there anything you can do about it? Not a thing. (Except removing all of your content from the internet and joining the EU in their antitrust action against Google.)

In light of where the Knowledge Graph has come from, and where it may be headed, getting your content scraped by the machine might be your best option. The answer box is still (mostly) linking to the original source of its information and generating additional trust for the chosen website.

Competitor’s Content “Scraped” Into Knowledge Graph Answer Boxes

At first, no one wants their content to be scraped. But as soon as we see our competitors in the answer box, we revert to our toddler years and suddenly want something just because someone else has it.

It would be nice to be the source singled out as Google’s trusted informer, but remember that buyers who really want in-depth information will continue to scroll past Google’s quick answer. Users who just want a fast answer aren’t users who convert to clients, so let them grab their info from the Graph and move on.

Focus your time on writing magnetic headlines and creating outstanding content to attract buyers into your website.

Does This Fundamentally Change SEO?

So, what do you do? Do you optimize content to try to get scraped, or do you ignore the answer box and focus on attracting traffic that will actually convert?

Yes.

And fortunately, both of those tasks are pretty much the same thing.

First, in most cases, the source getting pulled into the Knowledge Graph’s answer box is already in the first few organic results on the SERP anyway.

google knowledge graph scraping top results

In cases where the answer box features a page further down the rankings — although here it only jumped to #2 — the decision seems to be based on on-page considerations.

For a “How To” query, Google favored the formatted numerical list on the KISSmetrics page over a broader discussion about schema. (Or, the Google bots resented being referred to as, “stupid machines” in the WordStream title and docked the site.)

That means good SEO that improves your ranking overall will also improve your chances of appearing in the Graph’s answer box. And even if you never squeeze into the answer box, your target audience is still looking for more than a quick answer.

Prospects that need to make a purchase, now or in the future, will need more than the short text provided on a search result. That means prospects will still click through to high-ranking websites, although perhaps in fewer numbers.

Last month I discussed 20 factors that translate to “quality content,” and some of those that speak specifically to users and to Knowledge Graph scraping include:

  • Organize thematic subsections.
  • Write a strong title and H1.
  • Ease up on the primary keyword.
  • Clearly define the author(s) on the page.
  • Offer unique value (not just unique content).

A strong SEO content strategy is still a winning strategy, even as the Knowledge Graph keeps growing.

The Knowledge Graph may impact the total number of visitors going to your site, or you may even get your best content in the Knowledge Graph’s answer box. That doesn’t change the fact that you are probably wasting your time unless you are converting your organic search traffic into leads or at least collecting their email addresses.

Google Being Google

Knowledge Graph features can be treated similarly to Google algorithm updates: they are expressions of the search giant’s constant quest to provide a killer user-experience. As with the algorithm updates, the strategies might change, but Google’s end game never does: satisfied users.

The Knowledge Graph may, in fact, begin to impact your SEO traffic, but that doesn’t mean it will completely eliminate marketing opportunities. The Knowledge Graph is raising the bar for quality content yet again. It also makes converting the traffic you do earn more important than ever.

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How I Lost My Clients Their #1 Ranking And Their Profits Exploded Overnight!

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By Stoney deGeyter

I started my business right about the time Google did. I wish I could say Google and Pole Position Marketing shared the same growth trajectory…

Google vs PPM

While both Google and Pole Position Marketing started the same year, sadly their revenues do not parallel each other.

…but sadly, my dream of buying super-soldier robot armies is yet to be realized.

This story isn’t about me, however. It’s about these people:

The Andersons

Mom and Pop Entrepreneurs, Andy and Shirley Anderson

Andy and Shirley started their battery company after Andy developed an allergic reaction to the resins he used at his previous company. That company sold, giving the Andersons enough money to live on while they started something new. Enter a vehicle maintenance products company called Unique Maintenance Products.

Andy started selling products such as fuel additives and alarm systems at trade shows and large swap meets across the country. Eventually, he worked his way into selling battery chargers for cars and motorcycles along with the accessories. He then added motorcycle and off-road vehicle batteries as well.

About 16 years ago, Andy asked me to build him a new website that would help him get more sales online. I promptly built his website using cutting-edge coding technology called “HTML frames.” HTML frames were great! Until they weren’t.

After the site was complete, Andy wanted more. He asked me to SEO his website so he could get top rankings and even bought me a program called Web Position to do it with.

I said, “Thanks, Dad.”

Yes, Andy is my stepfather — and he was also my very first client. Twelve hours earlier, I had picked up a book called something like “Learn HTML in 24 Hours” and used that knowledge to build my first website. Much like college, I got halfway through and dropped out because I was busy already doing what I was learning how to do!

Setting & Blasting Through Business Sales Goals

When I first started optimizing Andy’s website, the goal was to sell enough products online so the Andersons didn’t have to go on the road to survive. Kids, before the internet was created, people had to actually go to places to sell their products! Strange world, I know!

Every few months, the Andersons would load up their RV with product and travel to a trade show or two. They’d sell enough to live off of for a while, go back home to restock, and then hit the road again.

The Andersons' RV

Traveling was a way of life for the Andersons. You do what you have to do to survive. Plus, RVing is fun, I hear.

I remember when the Andersons no longer had to travel for business. From that point forward, they did it just for fun. In fact, now in retirement, the Andersons are planning to sell their home and become full-time RVers. Must be nice.

But traveling for fun was a long way off for the Andersons because they soon found that they could sell more product online than they ever sold from their RV.

With their traveling days behind them — for a while, at least — their next goal was to sell $100,000 worth of product. At a 35-40% margin, and a great reduction in fuel costs, that was a good living for them. It was within the first year or two of building their new site and investing in online marketing that these two goals were hit.

Sure, it doesn’t sound like much, but to a mom and pop shop, it was fantastic!

As the business grew, Andy realized that their profit margins were in battery chargers and motorcycle batteries. They began phasing down the maintenance products to focus more on the battery side, renaming the company toward this new focus: BatteryStuff.com.

As the company approached the $500,000/year mark, it came time for the Andersons to retire. Sadly, they sold the company, but the new owner decided to keep our team on as their optimization and marketing company.

Beat Out By Spam

The business continued to grow, and within a couple years the new owners were doing $2M in business each year. But like every growing business, they see every missed opportunity as a loss.

See, we struggled to get BatteryStuff to #1 in the search rankings for their two most important terms, “motorcycle battery” and “motorcycle batteries.” For years, the best we could do was get them into the #3 position — and that was beginning to fall, with rankings hitting a “low” of #4 or 5.

To add insult to injury, a fired BatteryStuff.com employee was able to get his new website to #1 using spammy SEO techniques that we simply refused to do ourselves. Every SEO who’s been in that position understands what it’s like to see a nobody company come out of nowhere to “dominate” the search results using tactics that Google tells us don’t work! Talk about frustrating!

But we refused to play the same game, doing our best to convince BatteryStuff that the methods the competitor used would ultimately hurt them. If we chose to use the same tactics, we may get them to number one, but it would be short-lived and at the expense of ruining their ability to ever rank again. “Just watch,” we told them.

It wasn’t long — though it felt like an eternity — before we were proven right. One day, the competitor disappeared from the top spot. In fact, they pretty much disappeared completely from the search results. Vindication, at last!

But that wasn’t the last time we would be vindicated. With the competitor gone, BatteryStuff’s new owner wanted to be #1. Yeah, we know. The problem was, at least the way we saw it, that the company had about a 2-year backlog of recommendations that were not being done. We were dutifully optimizing content and building links, but the web developer wasn’t actively working on the architectural recommendations we’ve been requesting.

“If you just implement those recommendations, you’ll overcome the barriers keeping you from the top rankings,” we told them confidentially!

And then Steve, the new owner of BatteryStuff, did something surprising. He called me on it. “Ok,” he said, “we’ll get these taken care of, and then you’ll have no excuse for not getting us to #1.”

Talk about pressure! As confident as I was in our recommendations, there was no way to guarantee that implementing them would jump them to #1.

We suddenly became a praying company!

Why Doesn’t Every Client Do This?

Within about six months, BatteryStuff had hammered out 90% of the recommendations we had for them. We knew the clock was ticking. Whether we would keep or lose this long-standing client depended on us getting them the results they wanted.

Sure enough, it wasn’t long after implementing our recommendations before their two priority keywords shot to the #1 position! So what did I do? I threw it in my client’s face!

“Suck it, bro!”

No, I wasn’t being inappropriate to my client — just my brother. Andy, our stepfather, sold the business to my brother, Steve. And I didn’t really say “suck it.” He is my big brother, after all. But I did think about it!

The important thing is that we were able to demonstrate the important part site architecture plays in good SEO.

This is a story that all SEO clients need to read! But this isn’t a story about getting to #1 — it’s a story about losing that #1 position and being all the better for it.

When Losing Rankings Is Good For Business

The #1 rankings achieved were a bonanza for business. BatteryStuff continued to grow, adding new products, creating its own line of motorcycle batteries, and moving to a bigger warehouse.

We continued to tweak the site navigation and architecture, creating new product category pages and product filtering options that increased the site’s landing pages from a few dozen to a couple hundred. That made a huge difference, allowing more pages to rank for more specific product queries!

And then one day, the worst possible thing happened. One specific architectural recommendation was put into effect which caused an almost immediate loss in the search engine rankings we worked so hard to achieve. At the time of this writing, you won’t find BatteryStuff ranking #1 for “motorcycle battery” or “motorcycle batteries.” Instead, you’ll see that some big-brand chains have overtaken them.

It’s still not a bad story. Here is a mom-and-pop shop with under 10 employees duking it out with Autozone, BatteriesPlus, and O’Reilly Auto Parts!

But here’s the kicker: at the same time that we saw the drop from #1 to #4 in Google, BatteryStuff also saw a sharp increase in organic traffic.

What the WHAT?

Organic Search Traffic

Organic traffic continued to grow even after they lost top search rankings.

We needed to investigate this as it seemed pretty counterintuitive. Why would we lose rankings but grow in organic traffic?

As we dug deeper, we found something interesting. The number of pages drawing search traffic shot up. The site saw a 22% increase in pages drawing clicks from search, adding almost 1,000 pages! And remember, this happened when we lost rankings!

BatteryStuff Landing Page Visibility

The number of pages getting traffic from search engines shot up at the same time we lost #1 rankings!

A Big Win For Website Architecture

One of the things we tried to avoid with BatteryStuff’s architecture was too much link dilution with category and product pages.

With the architecture in place, that was able to get them to #1; we had corralled much of the link juice toward category pages where the bulk of the keyword search volume fell. The problem is this placed products very far down the click-chain, making those pages less authoritative.

The products were very high up the click chain for the visitor, but using nofollow, we forced the search engines to take a longer route. So we removed the nofollow from the product links, allowing the search engines to “find” the products more quickly. But by doing so, it drove down the authority of the top-ranking category pages, resulting in the drastic loss in rankings.

Yet, as the category pages lost rankings, we saw rankings for product pages shoot up. While product-specific keywords get far less search volume than the top-level category keywords, taken together, their search volume exceeds that of the individual higher level phrases.

The loss in traffic from rankings to the motorcycle battery page was more than compensated by the increase in traffic that resulted from the product pages now ranking better.

All said, with the increase in traffic, revenue increased as well. With a per-visit value of $1.12, this site generated about $1.5 million more in revenue in 2013 than it did in 2010. In 2012, they generated just over $1.5M. In 2013 their revenue was $2.6 million — a 92% increase in just 3 years!

Organic Revenue Growth

Organic revenue continued to grow even after they lost top search rankings.

While we haven’t given up on getting the site’s #1 rankings back (new recommendation: invest hundreds of thousands into online marketing like Autozone!), we’ve proven that sometimes the #1 spot may be holding you back from even greater profits!

Addendum: If you’re wondering about the whereabouts of the Andersons; well, so am I, most of the time. Last I heard, they were spotted enjoying their retirement in the great outdoors.

The Anderson's reward for building a successful business.

The Anderson’s reward for building a successful business.

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