Archives for : November2014

Recommend Us

Recommend Us empowers you to easily capture client recommendations for your business, website and display them on your WordPress page or post.

German Legislator Calling For Google Breakup Has Serious Conflict Of Interest

The German member of the European Parliament behind the call to break up Google, Andreas Schwab, has a conflict of interest. According to the NY Times, he has ties to and earns money from a German law firm that represents anti-Google publishing interests in Germany. German publishers lobbied for…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Conquer Your Competition with these Three Moz Tools – Next Level

Posted by EllieWilkinson

Welcome to the second edition of Next Level! In the first Next Level blog post, the Success Team and Help Team here at Moz created 10 video walkthroughs to help you “power up” your knowledge of the Moz tools. We’re continuing the educational series with a new video and a workflow showing you how to take on your competitors using Moz. Read on and level up!


For SEOs, the battle to rank highest in the search results often comes down to survival of the fittest. But if you know how to size up your competition, you can gain the upper hand and become king of the jungle! Come on a SERP-fari in this Next Level video and try these three ways to use the Moz tools to out-hunt all the other lions.

Workflow summary

To review, here’s an outline of the three steps to scoping out the competition!

(You’ll need a Moz Pro subscription to use Keyword Difficulty and Fresh Web Explorer. If you aren’t yet a Moz Pro subscriber, you can always try out the tools with a 30-day free trial.)

  1. After you’ve entered three competitors in your Moz Analytics campaign settings, head over to the Keyword Difficulty tool to get a detailed look at the search results for keywords you’re targeting. Don’t forget to run a full SERP analysis report for even more data!
  2. Next, investigate your competitors’ recent links and brand mentions using Fresh Web Explorer to get some content and link building ideas.
  3. Finally, head over to Followerwonk to find potential Twitter followers to poach from your competitors.

Looking for other resources to help you plan your attack? Here are some that might help. Go get ’em, tiger! (But watch out for zebras…)

If you have other ways of using the Moz tools to rule the jungle, we’d love to hear them! Sound off in the comments below.

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

Google Ends Authorship

For two years Google offered “Authorship” to the writers among its user base, which provided a portrait of the writer that was sometimes featured next to the writer’s article in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). The anticipation behind this effort was that if there was a portrait of the author next to the article more people would click on it, so this was a way to reward authors who participated in the effort.

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

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…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Google’s Panda 4.1 Update: Who Will It Affect?

Google updates its search algorithm several times throughout each year. Some updates are more significant than others, and the latest one, known as Panda 4.1, is one of the more significant ones. Here are the details.

How Can the Value of Top-of-Funnel Channels be Measured – Whiteboard Friday

Posted by randfish

Rand has talked many times about what he calls “serendipitous marketing,” where the work we do at the top of the funnel can take winding and often unexpected paths to conversions. One of the most common questions about content marketing, public relations, and other top-of-funnel efforts is how to prove their value. 

In today’s Whiteboard Friday, Rand offers up three ways you can attempt those measurements, along with a bit of perspective you can bring to your clients and higher-ups.

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

How Can the Value of Top-of-Funnel, Demand-Creation Channels be Measured or Proven?

Video transcription

Howdy, Moz Fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we’re going to talk about the value of top of the funnel demand creation, sorts of channels and tactics, and how you can actually measure the value behind them.

I’m guilty of doing something. I’m going to own up to it. A lot of the time when I talk about these kinds of tactics, stuff that sits at the very top of the funnel that creates that demand or interest in your potential target market, I call them serendipitous and unmeasurable channels. It is true that many of them are very serendipitous, but it’s not entirely true that they’re completely unmeasurable. They’re just very, very hard to measure, but not impossible.

So today I’m going to walk you through that, not because I actually expect you to go and try and do this with every one of those serendipitous, hard to measure channels, but because I think you need to, as a marketer, have this in your toolbox and in your knowledge kit so that when your CMO, your boss, your client, your manager, your team says, “Hey how do we know that xyz is producing returns,” you can say, “Actually, we don’t know that.” Or, “We proved it once, and we have the data from then. We continue to believe that it will drive investment. But here’s how tough it is to measure, and this is why we continue to invest in it and believe in it as a channel even though we don’t have the proof.”

So bear with me for a second. You’ve got your classic marketing funnel. Top of funnel stuff is like creating that awareness of the issue, the problem, the challenge, your industry. Your middle of the funnel is where you’re showing off your solution. The bottom of the funnel is usually where you’re convincing folks to convert and then trying to retain people. So this is fairly simplistic. Most marketers are familiar with it.

The stuff that fits into this creating awareness bucket, that very top of funnel demand creation stuff, those are things like: public relations, getting in news and media and press coverage; a lot of social media engagement, especially social media that is not directly tied to either supporting your product or pushing your product is in that bucket; a lot of conferences, events, trade shows, booths; certainly all those coffee and beer meetings that you might have with people in your field, people outside of your field, and people who are curious; a lot of those serendipitous meetings.

Anything that it fits into what we call top of funnel, which I actually like the shortened acronym there TOFU, TOFU content marketing. Much of the content that content marketers invested in and create is designed to be kind of above the funnel, before people are actually interested in your product or solution. Actually, this includes a lot of things that are brand advertising focused, that are just creating awareness of who you are as a company and that you exist, without specifically talking about the problem folks are facing or your solution to that problem.

So proving the value of this stuff is insanely hard. Let’s use public relations as an example. The classic yard stick that PR professionals have traditionally reported on are number of stories and the quality of those stories and pieces, and where they’ve been published. That’s a lot like in the SEO world reporting rankings and traffic. They’re very high level metrics. They’re sort of interesting to know. But then you have to have the belief that they connect up, that the rankings and the traffic are going to connect up to conversions, or that getting all those print pieces on the web, getting those links, or whatever is going to convert.

This is tough. The way to prove the value of this is you basically have these three options. You can segment, meaning that you segment by something like an industry vertical, by the demographics of your target, pr by geography. I’ll give you an example of this.

So Moz might say, “Hey, we really think that among urban professionals in the technical marketing fields, that is who we’re going to bias all of our public relations efforts to over the next year.” So we’re going to tell our PR firm, our in-house PR person, “Hey, that’s what we want you to focus on. Get us the publications that are relevant to those folks, that are read by them on and off the Web. That’s where we want to be.”

This is interesting, because it means that we can then in the future actually go and measure like, “Well yeah, we had this kind of a result with that particular group that we targeted with PR.” We had this much lower result with this other group that we didn’t target with PR, that we could the next quarter or the next year. This is one way of doing it.

Geography actually is the most common way that I see a lot of startups and technology companies doing this. They basically focus all their efforts around a particular city or a particular state or region, sometimes even a country, and they’ll do this.

At one point, I actually did run a split test using Sweden and Norway, which were places where I visited several people from Moz over the course of a couple years, spoke at some conferences and events, and then we looked at our traffic from those countries, our coverage in those countries, our links from those countries, and eventually our conversions from those countries. We did see a lift, kind of suggesting to us that maybe there was some value in those conferences.

Number two, the second way to do this is you can invest in a channel or tactic for only one of your product lines. If we’re at Moz, we’re going to say, “Hey, you know what? We’re going to do a lot of public relations for Followerwonk specifically, but we are not going to do it for our SEO products. We’re not going to do it for Moz Local. But let’s see how that goes.” This is another sort of segmentation tactic and can be effective. If you see that it works very well for one particular product, you might try repeating it for others.

Then the third one is that you can invest for a limited period of time. Now what’s sad is this one is kind of the most common, but also the worst by far. The reason it’s the worst by far, at least usually, is because most of the work that goes into any of these types of channels, think about it, press and PR, or a coffee and a beer meeting, or going to conferences and events, oftentimes takes a long time to show its value. It builds upon itself. So if I’m doing lots of in-person meetings, some of those will filter back and build on themselves. If you hear about Moz from one or two people in Seattle, well, okay, that’s one signal. If you hear about it from 10, that’s another thing. That might have a different kind of impact on how our brand gets out there.

So this time period stuff I really don’t recommend and usually don’t like. There are cases where it can be okay.

In all three of these, though, what makes it so incredibly challenging is that we have to be able to observe a number of metrics and then try and take the segments that we’re supposed to be looking at, whether that’s time or a product or a vertical or geography, and we want to observe metrics like traffic. We might try to look at mentions, especially for PR and branding focused stuff. We might look at links. We might look at conversion rate and total conversions. Then we have to try and control for every other thing that we’re doing in our marketing that might or might not have affected those metrics as they apply to these channels.

This is why honestly that control bit is so hard. Who’s to say whether public relations are really because we did a big PR effort and we talked to a lot of folks? Or is it because our products got a lot better, customers started buzzing about us, and the industry was turning our way anyway? We would have gotten 50% of those mentions even if we hadn’t invested in PR. I don’t know.

This is why a lot of the time with these forms of marketing, my bias is to say, “You know what? You need to use your educated opinion, and you need to believe in and invest in the quantity of serendipity that you believe you can afford or that you can’t afford not to do, rather than trying to perfectly measure the value that you’re getting out of these.”

It’s possible, but it is tremendously challenging. These are some ways that you can try it if you’d like to. I’d love to hear from all of you in the comments, especially if you’ve invested in this type of stuff in the past or if you have other ways of valuing, of figuring out, and of convincing your managers, your clients, your bosses, your teams to go put some dollars and energy behind these.

All right everyone, we’ll see you next week for another edition of Whiteboard Friday. Take care.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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

InBoundio Marketing Plugin

InBoundio Marketing Plugin can be used to manage contacts/leads and send emails to them.

Oh No They Didn’t: European Parliament Calls For Break Up Of Google

Today many Americans are busy preparing Thanksgiving meals or getting ready to travel to the homes of friends and family to celebrate the holiday. But Google certainly won’t be giving thanks for the European Parliament’s vote in favor of a resolution to “unbundle”…

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Getting Started With Paid Promotions

Posted by anthonycoraggio

I’m receiving more and more questions from clients about how best to leverage paid content distribution and paid social platforms (here referred to together as ‘paid promotions’). There’s a lot of reason for increased interest—as content production has ramped up in digital marketing, it has become harder and harder to stand out from the crowd and reach the audience you want. Facebook shutting down companies’ free lunch social distribution has only further pressed the issue—and sometimes you’ve simply maxed out on other paid channels!

But more than simply being an extra ‘pay to play’ option, paid promotion is a crucial part of any holistic digital marketing strategy. By using the range of paid online promotion and advertising tools available, we can take more comprehensive control in presenting the best user experience throughout the funnel—delivering the right content, at the right time, to the right person. There are three primary functions of paid promotions:

  • Improve the breadth and depth of content distribution
  • Use powerful targeting to drive more qualified traffic
  • Capture, retain, and shepherd qualified users to ultimately produce conversions

How and why you might use paid promotions will of course vary quite a bit, but regardless of your end goal, there are two key tasks for anyone seeking to succeed in doing so. Do these two things right, and you will have laid a solid foundation for achieving your goals.

First…

1. Define and target a specific audience

Defining a target audience in digital advertising or paid promotions is a more exacting exercise than usual, because we’re actually operationalizing a definition that can be precisely carried out by setting controls in a PPC-like interface. Think of it like programming a computer—you need to break down your definition in extremely concrete, exclusive terms that are interpretable by the tool you’re using. Don’t despair though—it’s not hard to do, and if you’ve been a good marketer and developed some proper user personas you’ll be ahead of the game!

Answer these questions to set a concrete definition of the people that should be targeted with a given campaign or content release. These are typically going to be the criteria you actually enter into an interface when starting a promotions campaign on a tool like Facebook or StumbleUpon.

Demographic Information – Our ideal target for this content is…

Age  Many platforms will offer simple age based targeting, usually in the form of your typical “18-24, 25 – 36” type brackets.

Gender – Again, this is a simple demographic setting and is often available. Think about setting up separate ‘A/B’ versions to separately address men and women when relevant!

Education Level/Status – Is your audience in school? Have they completed a degree? Facebook and LinkedIn will let you drill in on these parameters.

Geography – Be as specific as possible. Generally, the combination of a state/province and a metro area level is as granular as geotargeting options go.

There are a few more options you can find on places like Facebook -income level, marital status, employment status, and more can be particularly useful in B2C contexts.

Many platforms will also give you an opportunity to define your target audience by interests, so think about what relevant topics or subjects the target user might be particularly interested in or looking for while online! For example, likes for travel blogs, language learning sites, famous travel writers, country specific cuisine, etc all can be used to converge on a very specific type of person.

2. Choose promotion channels

Once your target audience has been defined and the above questions answered with the best data available, you must consider the channels or platforms that will best make use of it. There are three major factors:

  1. Which platforms have targeting capabilities and an audience that can best replicate the user profile using their targeting?
    • Remember to weight the user’s expected online behavior heavily in selecting platforms – while one might offer targeting to match the most targeting characteristics, if your audience does not actively use the platform’s core service it is of little value as a promotional channel.
  2. Which platforms can best present the media to be promoted?
    • It is important not to detract from the user’s experience of the content, or place it in a channel that does not fit it’s form. A long form video, for example, will not usually fare well in skippable preroll spots or on-site rollover placements.
    • Remember also that use of different platforms can depend on device – and so might the usability of your content!
    • What behavioral context is preferable to achieve your objectives for this piece?

I strongly recommend taking a few minutes to browse around as a user when making these decisions, in order to think less abstractly about the experience you aim to create. Choosing channels is often a case-by-case process, but for common objectives there are some simple, intuitive guidelines to keep in mind:

  • If you want your content shared, promote it on channels that have built-in sharing capabilities (social media, StumbleUpon).
  • If you want users to feel they’ve ‘discovered’ a piece, focus on content plug-ins (Outbrain, Zemanta, etc), discovery tools (StumbleUpon), and more niche placements (subreddits, subject blogs)—depending on the accessibility/simplicity.
  • If your goal is a high level of direct exposure for content at a low price, content discovery plugins and display ad networks can deliver. Cost is relatively low and inventory is high, so it’s easy to get eyeballs on your work.
  • If conveying authority is important, officially sponsored or openly disclosed promotions on respected media platforms or with trusted individual publishers can be a good tool—though often more expensive.

It can be useful to combine these guidelines to plan for more complex goals. For example, if you want to convey a sense of ‘discovery’ but also encourage sharing, StumbleUpon Paid Discovery could fulfill both these needs—the sponsorship is subtle, the user is in ‘discovery mode’, and SU has a social sharing frame right on top of the page. If that audience isn’t engaged enough, you might bring traffic to a piece via Reddit and retarget for sharing on Twitter.

Planning for promotion should not be an exclusively post hoc activity—the content itself should be created with intended placement and utility in mind. Engage early in the process as goals for the content are first set, so that creative development and objectives do not ultimately conflict with the feasibility of promotions. Simply being involved in the conversation to flag potential problems is often enough!

Think outside of yourself…

One of the most critical parts of this framework is leveling what you want to achieve with what users will accept and value in a given medium, so I want to take a moment to reinforce the importance of this.

In answering questions of targeting and placement in a performance-driven world, it can be dangerously easy to think egocentrically, only in terms of what YOU want your customer to do in a given context—or more insidiously, what you want them to want to do. Remember that as a marketer or advertiser you are necessarily carrying tremendous baggage, both in terms of product knowledge and expectations. It’s tremendously important to step back from your own (or your company’s) perspective and think as a user.

What you ultimately need to reach your goals isn’t necessarily what individuals using one of these channels wants when doing so, or are ready to do. Take the time to understand your audience and reach out to them in a way will resonate with the journey they are on. 

What considerations do you pay special attention to when promoting content? Are there areas of the discipline you’d love to learn more about? Hit me back in the comments!

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