Category Archives: SEO Hampstead NC

Facebook Posts See More Engagement on Weekends and After Hours [Study]

by Jessica Lee,June 11, 2014Comments

Facebook’s ever-evolving algorithm keeps marketers on their toes when it comes to how to get the most visibility from status updates. So TrackMaven set out to uncover how to gain more engagement from Facebook posts with its latest research published in “The Marketing Maven’s Guide to Facebook,” which studied more than 5,000 Facebook pages and about 1.6 million posts. 

What it discovered was that in many instances, pages saw more engagement during the hours and days you may least expect it. 

Similar to the results TrackMaven uncovered in its blog post study and Twitter research, this study shows that most brands were active with their marketing activities during the business week; however, posting Monday through Friday during normal business hours was not always the most effective on Facebook.

TrackMaven found that while there was a significant drop in the frequency of posts on the weekends, the average engagement (measured as number of interactions per post in the study) was much higher for posts on Saturdays and Sundays. 

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Content Marketing: 3 Overlooked Content Sources

Every marketing strategist, from SMB to enterprise and B2C to B2B, has one thing in common: content.

Content lives at the core of all marketing campaigns and is the glue that connects initiatives at every level of the marketing mix.

Content comes in many forms: white papers, articles, blog posts, infographics, webinars, videos, contents, polls, interviews, images, etc.

The importance of content cannot be overstated and neither can the struggle that marketers have producing it.

Let’s look at three commonly overlooked content sources and tactical ways to squeeze more content out of them.

Events and Speaking Engagements

Most companies have an internal champion that speaks at industry tradeshows, webinars, and the like. Each of these engagements can easily fuel multiple content assets. Here are a few examples of how:

The Speaking Engagement: First, make it a process to have all speaking engagements recorded. These videos can be hosted on your site to showcase brand visibility and subject matter expertise.Transcription: Transcribe the speaking engagement using a service like GMR Transcription. Edit the written document and use it as text that can be indexed and read. There’s a good chance your audience may prefer reading the content vs. watching and listening to it.Blog Post: Write a blog post that summarizes the main talking points of the speaking engagement and even the show where the engagement took place.Article: Write an article that dives into more details from the speaking engagement’s main points. Perhaps add more color to the main talking points by doing some research to provide additional resources and validation. You can also have the speaker provide additional details in the article that might not have been communicated at the event.Host and Record Brainstorming Session

This is something that few marketers do, yet it works incredibly well. Best of all, it’s cheap, fast, and fairly easy to accomplish. Get a small group of experts together on a topic of importance to your company and simply get a conversation going. Ask open-ended questions around typical customer challenges. Let’s use Web analytics as an example:

What is the best way to get lead tracking set up in analytics?What is the best solution to overcoming “not provided” challenges?What are the three most common analytics mistakes that you come across?How do you solve each of these mistakes?

Most important is to make sure you record the conversation! Once you have a recording in place, you can go back to the recording to get details on the answers and responses. To put this in perspective, the average conversation has 196 words per minute or 11,670 words in an hour. If an average blog post or article is 1,000 words, you can see how an hour-long brainstorming session can create numerous content assets.

Content Repurposing

Many of you are probably aware of the idea that big content assets can be cut up into smaller ones. The traditional example of this involves cutting up a white paper into a series of articles or blog posts. Take a look at this presentation for an example of how this is done.

The opposite of this concept can be effective as well, where smaller assets are repurposed and packaged as a larger one.

For example, you could compile 20 blog posts on a particular topic and turn that into a PDF that is used as a gated asset – from the previous analytics reference, it might be “20 Great Web Analytics Blog Posts.”

You can also take a select number of these blog posts that are closely related and weave them together into one unified white paper. If you take the time to categorize and index all of your content assets, it can make this process much easier.

Special SEO note: These examples should primarily be used for gated purposes to avoid duplicate content penalties from search engines. Having said that, this approach is a legitimate way to maximize existing investments in content assets by using them across other channels like marketing automation, PPC, and video.

Summary

Creating great content is a big challenge, and companies will never get away from the need for publishing regular, fresh, and compelling content. With that said, marketers often overlook existing assets that can be used as a stopgap during content dry spells associated with things like budget cycles, timelines for new content, and the like.

The Original Search Marketing Event is Back!

How to Find Link Building Opportunities in 5 Steps Using SpyFu’s New Backlink Builder

by Dave Davies,June 12, 2014Comments

Last month I covered Majestic SEO’s Clique Hunter and outlined how it can be used for relevant link building. Well, this month I’m going to cover something I can almost guarantee you haven’t seen before because it only just became available in open beta. Anyone who listens to my show on Webmaster Radio and heard my interview with Mike from SpyFu will know…I’m extremely happy to see this enter the market.

The tool is “Backlink Builder” by SpyFu. It will be opening up to everyone in a couple of weeks.

Now, with all the great tools already out there to help people find solid links you may be asking, “Why do I need yet another?” Great question.

Most of the tools we use right now are based on finding trends in backlinks or assigning metrics to them. Moz gives their score to link x, Majestic or ahrefs assign a different value but then show you which competitors they link to, etc. All useful functions.

Using current tools we get to understand how sites interlink on the Web and, with some understanding, what domains are likely hubs or are passing weight. To understand what SpyFu does a bit differently it’s important to understand what they are as a global toolset.

As their core, SpyFu collects and stores ranking data for phrases. Lots and lots of phrases. Historically I’ve used them for competitor analysis to understand which phrases a company might rank for or be bidding on via PPC. Enter a URL and you’ll get a decent snapshot of what that person is bidding on and what they rank for organically and how they’ve ranked over the past seven years.

A service that knows which sites have ranked in which positions over the past seven years…and you’re looking for relevant, long-lasting links. I’m going to pause right now and let that sink in for a second.

OK…so now that that has sunk in, let’s give you a sneak peek of how it can be used to find great resources.

To keep things smooth…let’s even use the same phrases I used in my last article and find links that would be suitable to help rank for “seo blog.” This time though we’ll look for links we’d pursue to rank SpyFu’s blog.

Step 1: Enter the Phrase You Want to Rank for Into SpyFu

Google Payday Loans Algorithm Update Launch is Imminent

Less than a month after announcing a significant update to its algorithm targeting spammy queries such as payday loans, Google’s Distinguished Engineer Matt Cutts announced yesterday at SMX Advanced that another update will launch this week.

Cutts called this the second part of the payday loan update, and it could launch as early as today, or sometime this week. He said this update tackles spammy queries, whereas the May update, which launched just days before Panda 4.0, targeted spammy sites, according to Cutts.

Aside from targeting queries like payday loans, this will also look at queries such as

Pre-PPC Strategies For Launching a New Product

by Howard Jacobson,June 13, 2014Comments

PPC has long been the cheapest, quickest, easiest way to test-market products and services, offers and pricing, positioning and copywriting.

But in order to use PPC to ask and answer questions about what the market thinks of your offers, you have to already have a product or service ready to go. Whatever your ad promises, your landing page has to begin to deliver.

And no savvy entrepreneur would create their product without doing a ton of market research first, so they could have some confidence that enough people were willing to pay to solve that particular problem.

So we’ve got a Catch 22: you can’t do PPC market research without a product, and you can’t build your product without that market research.

Before we solve that problem, let’s talk briefly about what that preliminary market research needs to address. According to Sharon Livingston of The Livingston Group, the first step is to identify your bulls-eye customers: the ones who are most like to buy into the functional and emotional benefits of your product.

If I’m thinking about offering a vegan meal delivery service, I can create very different products depending on who my market is. I can do frozen meals for busy families with large freezers. I can offer freshly made, locally-sourced gourmet meals for wealthy urbanites. I can use lots of “fake meats” for new vegans still missing their beef and bacon, or stick to whole foods and lots of produce for people more concerned about reversing or preventing disease.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The initial market research should inform the creation of my Minimum Viable Product (MVP), a phrase popularized in Eric Ries’ book The Lean Startup. The MVP needs to meet, not global needs, but the needs of a specific set of early adopters who will be willing to try something new, not expect instant perfection, give feedback, and eventually evangelize. Steve Blank, in his book “Four Steps to the Epiphany”, calls these customers “earlyvangelists.”

So how do we conduct that research?

Step 1: Identify potential market segments

You can’t test a market segment until you’ve defined it. So for my vegan meal service, I start by making some assumptions. Some of these are based on my own experience, some might be based on things I’ve seen or read or heard, and some are probably just hunches.

For example: Women will be more interested in men. Liberals more than conservatives. Urban more than rural. Families with kids more than singles or double income, no-kid families.

These assumptions may or may not be true. Since we’re testing them, we’re not relying upon them. But we can’t test them until we name them specifically.

So I might come up with three contestants for earlyvangelist:

A vegan mother of two kids still at home who works outside the home, lives in a big city or suburb of a big city, and whose total household income exceeds $75,000.A college-educated, married woman in her early 60s whose husband is on meds for hypertension and whose daughter told her to watch a documentary on the relationship between food and health.A single woman in her 20s who lives in a big city, blogs for a hobby, and never learned to cook.Step 2: Figure out how to reach these market segments

A market segment is useful to you only if you can reach them reliably and affordably. Here, Facebook Graph Search is one of the most useful tools around. Kevin Milani, VP of Digital Marketing for Virtual Marketing Staff, uses Graph Search to find out about people who like similar products and services to the ones his clients plan to launch.

You use Graph Search by entering strings of search parameters into the global Facebook search bar at the top of the page:

Quick Internal Linking Insight Using Google Analytics

by Ben Goodsell,June 13, 2014Comments

An essential aspect of assigning priority to any SEO recommendation is to understand scale as it applies to the site in question.

For example if a site is linking to URLs that have a certain parameter, these pages are unique in the eyes of search engines and if not handled properly can be considered duplication. The solution to cleaning up any particular non-ranking page type is two fold.

Direct search engines to remove pages from index (like noindex).Make sure the site is not using these URLs within internal linking.

Most SEO crawlers have the ability to export internal linking information, but it can be a time and resource consuming process to do comprehensively. Benchmarks are necessary to make sure our clients non-ranking page types are handled properly. This article shows how to quickly and easily use information already available to you in Google Analytics to get a list and find pages linking to a particular group of URLs.

Tools used for this demonstration:

Google AnalyticsInternal linking – explained below or import this one.List of Pages – Google Analytics Dashboard -> Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages or import this one.Google Webmaster Tools Parameter Handling

Before we begin create your own custom report for internal linking.

Search Engine Basic Concepts

by Eric Enge,June 16, 2014Comments

Baffled by search engines and how they work? Not technical in orientation? Unfortunately, this make you susceptible to bad SEO advice, or sets you up to potentially be taken by a bad SEO firm.

This post will provide a layman’s level explanation of the basics of search engines. Let’s dig in.

The Basic Three Search Engine ConceptsRelevance

This is the basic first question that a search engine has to deal with when looking at any web page. What’s it about? Search engines want to know this because it helps them respond to user search queries with pages that are relevant to that query.

There are many signals that can be used to determine the relevance of a given page. Some of these include:

The title tag of the web page. As you would expect, the title for any document should be a leading indicator its contents.Semantic analysis of the content. This is not tied as much as it used to be to specific keyword phrases, but the general relevance of a page is analyzed based on the words and phrases used.Anchor text used in links to the page. The text you click on in a link also acts as a label for what you would expect to find once you get to that page.Topic matter of third party web pages containing links to the page. If lots of pages about automobile topics link to your page selling a used Ford Mustang, that’s a good thing.Topic matter of the site on which the page resides. Your page about selling a used Ford Mustang will do better on a site about used cars then it will on a site about water parks.How users respond to the content in the search engine results pages (SERPs). If everyone that clicks on a link immediately jumps back to the SERPs and clicks on something else, that could be a bad sign.

Addressing Thin Content

In 2014, one would think that we would have made a full transition from “old SEO” to “new SEO”.

The old school of thought is about building an experience for search engines, creating a page to create a ranking. The new school of thought is about molding an insightful, useful experience for the site user.

Still, we see many complaining about Panda and Penguin losses. Aside from the schemes you can create to get beat up by the Penguin algorithmic update, a lot of what the Panda algorithm update series of years past encapsulates is the concept of quality unique content vs. unoriginal, syndicated, or thin content.

What is Thin Content?

Google helps us to understand how our sites should behave via their Webmaster Guidelines. While this is a regurgitation of common sense for those who know how not to be an uber-spammer it doesn’t help us to get a handle on what thin content truly is.

Google’s Amit Singhal in 2011 provided some information on what counts as a high quality website. This post detailed some ways to think about whether your site holds “thin” or low quality content. This is the mindset that helps Google’s Search Quality Raters, so it helps for you to hold this mindset as well.

How to Assess Thinness

Thin content in many cases is not as obvious as understanding that you do not scrape copy from other sites or exist to syndicate content. You need to take a detailed look at the mission of your content, what purpose it serves, and how your visitors digest and engage with your content.

Common SEO tactics of the early 2000s are no longer relevant, there is no need to build content solely for keyword rankings instead of providing added value to users.

Thin content is any content on the site that is of low value, to the user and to you as well. It is content that stands in the way of goal funnels, informing others, impeding crawl budget, inflated internal link counts, ultimately causing noise to a search engine.

To begin understanding our thinness we have to lean of a few tools. First things first:

Screaming Frog

Run a URL scrape of the site and export this list to sort URLs by word count. Also sort URLs by folder. Are you seeing that half of your blog content features posts that are 250 words? This is thin content.

Google Analytics

Review All Pages section and sort by exit rate. For those pages you see that aren’t specifically expected to usher an exit, what you had expected to have a better user acceptance, are you seeing 75 percent or higher bounce rates? This is thin content.

This data is telling us that users aren’t getting what you might expect out of page. Granted, you may have technical issues, too many external links opening in the same window, or other SEO mistakes occurring, but at least you’ll understand where to adjust your focus.

Take your analytical analysis a step further and just as we did with the URL scrape review site pages by folder via filtering pages by folder, Content Grouping, or Content Drilldown. This can shed some light on thinness issues at a folder level rather than simply at page level.

For a moment, let’s think about ourselves and not the user or search engines. Review the goal success of these page visits as well. If there are pages that don’t serve a purpose for a user and even more so for the objective of your site, why is even there?

Open Site Explorer

Review the backlinks for your domain. Step into the Top Pages tab to gain an understanding for what content on your site is receiving links. You may find that what links you do possess are to the homepage and high level pages and that there are pages or site sections with no real link authority.

When you export this list also take note of page level associated tweets, Facebook shares and likes, and Google