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Updated: 2016-12-08T10:14:22+00:00

 



How Marketing Like Netflix Will Save Your Lead-Gen Strategy

2016-12-08T00:01:00+00:00

Posted by chelseascholzWebinars are an incredibly popular lead-gen tool in most marketers’ toolkits. However, times have changed (and viewer attention spans have changed with it). Rather than try and force your audience to show up on time for live events and stay for a full hour (ain’t nobody got time for that), it's time to consider delivering content they can watch anytime they want (just like their Netflix experience). We're talking on-demand video.Now I know “on-demand” is an all-the-rage word as of late, but I really mean it. When is the last time you showed up for a live event or watched a television show on time? Can you even remember? I can’t. (Except for that time I bought expensive tickets to Wicked.) Now you can bet I’m showing up on time for that, because I paid for it. But if it’s free, my pulled-in-one-million-directions brain is going to forgo the things that aren’t urgent (or costly) – which means all those webinars I signed up for are lost conversions for the marketers who run them.By thinking and delivering on-demand content like Netflix, the power is put in the hands of your audience to consume on their time – giving the audience edu-taining content to watch when they feel like it and giving us the ability to collect more leads and product sign ups than demanding live events.Webinars vs. on-demand contentNow as a marketer at Unbounce, I also realize that webinars are a very powerful and well-used channel. Webinars were our bread and butter for a long time, as they are for many other marketing teams, but the shift in attention spans and the way marketers consume content (both professionally and personally) means that we tried to adapt our video content with it and saw great results when we launched The Landing Page Sessions in 2015. We bounced around the idea of producing pre-recorded videos for our audience, which we saw as having a few benefits over webinars:They give you more time to focus on high production value and fancy video editingThey allow the presenter to talk on-screen directly to the audience, as opposed to (less human) full-screen webinar slidesThey relieve much of the stress caused by technical glitches associated with live webinarsThey’re a great way to focus on showcasing your product with explainer videos and demos – showing spectators why they should buy your productThey have the potential to bring in leads and product signups for months without much active effort after the initial launch. No more breaking your back only to rely on the ROI of a very specific time slotAfter all was said and done, this one series with 12 episodes has become an ongoing source of leads for us and brought in 87% more product signups than our webinars over the course of four months. Can I get a “heck yeah!”?!The Landing Page Sessions was built with the goal of showcasing our product, Unbounce, in a way that was valuable to viewers and great for explaining the use of landing pages. During each episode of LPS, Unbounce co-founder Oli Gardner breaks down a full marketing campaign from start to finish and all the videos live on their own microsite where they can be accessed all day, every day. This is a big change from traditional webinars which, as you probably know, include registering for a live event that largely entails 1–3 people chatting over a slide deck for about 30–45 minutes. Not exactly entertaining, but some companies pull them off really well. The problem for us was that while our webinars were well-produced, they had a declining registration rate and, subsequently, attendance rate. As you can imagine, this also lead to a declining amount of leads and product sign ups. The shift to on-demand content was intimidating, but we were pleasantly surprised. There is more work up front with pre-recorded content, but then it lives forever and you can drive as much or as little traffic to it as you want. Let’s break down some of the key benefits of using on-demand content over webinars.3 benefits of on-demand content1. Avoid technical snafus that go into running a live eve[...]



What Link Building Success Really Looks Like

2016-12-07T00:03:00+00:00

Posted by mark-johnstoneA few weeks ago, a post was published entitled The SEO Myth of Going Viral. It referenced 8 pieces of content across 4 different sites that went viral and, most importantly for SEO, gained hundreds of linking root domains. I was the creative director on a lot of those campaigns while working as the VP of Creative at Distilled. Today, I’d like to add some important context and detail to the original post.I actually agree with much of what it said. However, it's based on the assumption that one big viral piece of content would result in a visible jump in rankings across the domain within about 3 months of the content being released. There are a few challenges with this as a basis for measuring success.I wouldn’t advise setting your hopes on one big viral hit boosting your rankings across the domain. Not by itself. However, if that viral hit is part of ongoing link building efforts in which you build lots of links to lots of pieces of content, you can begin to see an upwards trend."Trend" is the important word here. If you’re looking for a dramatic step or jump as a direct result of one piece of viral content, this could cause you to overlook a positive trend in the right direction, and even tempt you to conclude that this form of content-based link building doesn’t work.With regards to this type of link building and its impact on domain-wide rankings, I’d like to focus on the follow 4 points:How success really looksWhy success looks like it doesOther factors you need to considerHow we can improve our approachWhat successful link building really looks likeSimply Business was held up in the SEO myth post as an example of this kind of link building not working. I would argue the opposite, holding it up as an example of it working. So how can this be?I believe it stems from a misunderstanding of what success looks like.The post highlighted three of the most successful pieces of content Distilled created for Simply Business. However, focusing on those three pieces of content doesn’t provide the full picture. We didn’t make just three pieces of content; we made twenty-one. Here are the results of those pieces:Note: Data missing for the first two pieces of contentThat’s links from 1466 domains built to 19 pieces of content over a period of 3 years.The myth in question is as follows:Building lots of links to one piece of content will result in a jump in domain-wide rankings within a reasonable timeframe, e.g. 3 months.Though this wasn’t the hypothesis explicitly stated at the start of the post, it was later clarified in a comment. However, that’s not necessarily how this works.An accurate description of what works would be:Building lots of links to lots of pieces of content sustainably, while taking other important factors into consideration, can result in an increase in domain-wide rankings over time.To hold up, the myth required a directly attributable jump in rankings and organic traffic within approximately 3 months of the release of each piece of content. So where was the bump? The anticipated reward for all those links?No. The movement we’re looking for is here:Not a jump, but a general trend. Up and to the right.Below is a SEMRush graph from the original post, showing estimated organic traffic to the Simply Business site:At first glance, the graph between 2012 and 2014 might look unremarkable, but that’s because the four large spikes on the right-hand side push the rest of the chart down, creating a flattening effect. There's actually a 170% rise in traffic from June 2012 to June 2014. To see that more clearly, here’s the same data (up to June 2014) on a different scale:Paints quite a different picture, don’t you think?Okay, but what did this do for the company? Did they see an increase in rankings for valuable terms, or just terms related to the content itself?Over the duration of these link building campaigns, Simply Business saw their most important keywords ("professional indemnity insurance" and "public liability insurance") move from posit[...]



Tactical Keyword Research in a RankBrain World

2016-12-06T00:00:00+00:00

Posted by Dr-Pete Summary: RankBrain represents a more advanced way of measuring relevance, built on teaching machines to discover the relationships between words. How should RankBrain change our approach to SEO and specifically to keyword research? This story starts long before RankBrain, but the action really kicked in around May of 2013, when Google announced conversational search for desktop. At the time, voice search on desktop may have seemed like a gimmick, but in hindsight it was a signal that Google was taking natural language search seriously. Just a few months later the Hummingbird update rewrote Google's core engine, and much of that rewrite was dedicated to dealing with natural language searches. Why should you care about voice? For most sites, voice is still a relatively small percentage of searches, and you've got other priorities. Here's the problem, illustrated by the most simplistic Google algorithm diagram I've ever created... If there were two algorithms – one for text search and one for voice search – then, yes, maybe you could drag your feet. The reality, though, is that both text and voice search are powered by the same core algorithm. Every single change Google has made to adapt to natural language searches impacts every search, regardless of the source. Voice has already changed the search landscape irreversibly. Natural language in actionYou may be skeptical, and that's understandable. So, let's take a look at what Google is capable of, right now, in 2016. Let's say you wanted to find the height of Seattle's iconic Space Needle. As a seasoned searcher, you might try something short and sweet, like this... "Space Needle height"Google understands this question well enough to attach it to the corresponding Knowledge Graph entity and return the following: The corresponding organic results appropriately match the informational query and are about what we've come to expect. Google serves this search reasonably well. "What is the height of the Space Needle?"Let's try to shake off our short-form addiction and try a natural language version of the same search. I won't repeat the screenshot, because it's very similar, as are the organic results. In 2016, Google understands that these two searches are essentially the same. "How tall is the Seattle Space Needle in meters?"Let's try another variant, switching the "What" question for a "How" question, adding a location, and giving it a metric twist. Here's what we get back: Google understands the question and returns the proper units. While the organic results vary a bit on this one, reflecting the form of the question, the matches remain solid. Natural language search has come a long way. Build great concepts!This all may be a bit alarming, from a keyword research perspective. Natural language searches represent potentially thousands of variants of even the simplest queries. How can we possibly operate on this scale as search marketers? The popular notion is that we should stop targeting keywords and start targeting concepts. This approach has a certain logic. The searches above share a general notion of "tallness," which might look something like this: "Tall" and "height" are fairly synonymous, words like "size" and "big" are highly related, and units like "feet" and "meters" round out this concept. In theory, this makes perfect sense. In practice, the advice to target concepts is a bit too much like saying "build great content." It's a good goal, in theory, but it's simply not actionable. How do we build great concepts? We all intuitively understand what a concept is, but how does this translate into specific search marketing tactics? There's an even bigger problem, and I can illustrate it with one box: Ok, one box, a logo, and two buttons. At the end of the day, you can't type a concept. Search users, whether they're typing or speaking, have to put words into that box. So, how do concepts, which we all agree exist and are useful, translate into keywords, which I hope we can all agree are sti[...]



Mastering the Owner Response to the Quintet of Google My Business Reviews

2016-12-05T00:06:00+00:00

Posted by MiriamEllisTwo dates to know: August 4, 2010 – the day Google enabled owner responses to Google My Business reviews; November 17, 2016 – the day Moz enabled incredibly easy GMB owner response functionality in the Moz Local dashboard. Why are these noteworthy events in Local Search history? Because reviews and owner responses are direct reputation management, free marketing, free advertising, damage control, and quality control all wrapped up in one multi-voice song about your brand. What’s missing from the picture of this free-for-all of voices caroling sentiment about your brand? You are — the conductor! If you’re not leading the tune — from setting customer service policies, to training staff, to managing complaints, to engaging directly with consumers online — you're giving up available reputation management controls. Make no mistake: No brand can prevent every sour note, but with owner response functionality, you can not only retune relationships with valuable customers, but can also protect revenue by keeping those customers instead of having to invest 25x as much in obtaining new ones. Owner response mastery is, indeed, smart business. For the past six years, since Google launched owner responses as part of its local product, I’ve been studying them and acting as a consultant to a variety of local business owners and agencies regarding effective usage of this remarkable capability. Today, in celebration of Moz Local’s support of this function, I’m going to break down the types of reviews into 5 categories and offer you my tips for skilled management. With reputation and revenue on the line, every local brand needs an intelligent strategy! Getting up-to-speed on owner responses During our recent launch, a Moz community member let us know he'd never heard of owner responses before, so real quick: Many review platforms give you the option, as the business owner, to respond to reviews your customers have left you. This is normally done from within your dashboard on that platform, or, in some cases, via mobile apps. In the Moz Local dashboard, the Google My Business owner response function is a real time-saver. We alert you when new reviews come in, and you simply click the ‘reply’ link to write your response. A little form pops up in which you can type away handily: Now let’s delve into responding to the five basic types of reviews most local brands can expect to receive. Type 1: “I love you!” Real-world example: Diagnosis: This is the customer every brand wants to have: the delighted evangelist who goes to the lengths of saying that nothing else on the local scene can compare to what the business offers. Honestly, reviews like this are like beautiful greeting cards validating that your business is getting it right on all points. Pure music to your ears! Owner response strategy: Many business owners ask if it’s necessary to respond to positive reviews. My short answer is yes, if you wish your business to come across as courteous and engaged. Part of conducting the flow of your reputation is acknowledging customer satisfaction and thanking them for the time they invest in writing such nice things about your company. It’s just good manners. Having said this, I’ll qualify it by mentioning scale. If your enterprise has 100+ locations which each have 100+ positive Google My Business reviews, responding to every single one may not be the best use of your resources. Prevent the appearance of ungrateful neglect by aiming for a percentage — maybe 10% — of ‘thank yous’ in response to your best reviews. Pro tips: Your thanks can be brief, but avoid repetitiousness. Write a unique response each time. There are owner response profiles out there that have made me strongly suspect robots manage them, as in ‘thank you for your review’ written on 30 different responses. Avoid that. Remember that owner responses are content consumers read. They are, in essence, free advertising s[...]



Which Page Markup + Tags Still Matter for SEO? - Whiteboard Friday

2016-12-02T00:04:00+00:00

Posted by randfishShould you focus on perfecting your H1s and H2s, or should structured data demand all your on-page attention? While Google hasn't completely pulled the rug out from under us, don't let the lack of drastic change in page markup fool you. In today's Whiteboard Friday, Rand outlines where to focus your efforts when it comes to on-page SEO and offers some tools to help with the process. src="http://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/cx5rryebcs?seo=false&videoFoam=true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" class="wistia_embed" name="wistia_embed" allowfullscreen="" mozallowfullscreen="" webkitallowfullscreen="" oallowfullscreen="" msallowfullscreen="" width="100%" height="100%" style="background-color: initial;"> Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab! Video TranscriptionHowdy, Moz fans, and welcome to another edition of Whiteboard Friday. This week we are going to chat about page markup and tags and which ones still matter for SEO. Now, weirdly enough, you would think that over the last, say, seven or eight years we would've had an enormous growth in the number of tags and the optimization options and what you have to do on a page, but that's not actually the case. Google kind of gave us a few that were important — things like rel=author — and then took some away. So it's changed a little bit, but it is not as overhauled massively as you might think, and that's a good thing. Old-school SEO markup Old-school SEO best practices were sort of like, okay, I had to worry about my title, my meta description and keywords tag — keywords a little less though, keywords haven't been worried about for maybe 15 years now — my robots tag certainly, especially if I was controlling bot behavior, rel=canonical and the rel=alternate tag for things like hreflang, which came about six or seven years ago, and my headline tags. Some potential basically markup or text tags that could change the format of text, like strong and bold and EM, these have gotten less important. I'll talk about that in a sec. Obviously, with URLs worrying about rel=nofollow and other forms of the rel tag, and then image source having the alt attribute. This was kind of the basic, bare-bones fundamental minimums. There were other tags that some people employed and obviously other tags that Google added and took away over time or that they paid attention to a little bit and then didn't. But generally speaking, this was the case. Modern SEO markup Nowadays there are a few more, but they're really centered around just a few small items. We do have metadata now. I'm going to call this SEO even though technically it is not just for the search engines. Those are Open Graph, Twitter Cards, and the favicon. I'll talk about that in a sec why that actually changed even though favicon has been around for a long time. Then, things like the markup for Google itself, the structured data markup that's part of schema.org that Google is employing. I want to be clear. Google is not using every form of schema. If you go to schema.org, you can find schema markup for virtually anything. Google only uses a small portion of that. While certain websites have seen an uptick in traffic or in prominence or in their visibility and display in the search engine results, it is not a guaranteed rank booster. Google says they don't typically use it to boost rankings, but they can use it to better understand content, which in my opinion, better understanding content is something that often leads to better rankings and visibility, so you should be doing it. As a result, many of these old-school tags still apply of course — alt attributes and in the header tag the title and the meta description, meta robots, canonical. What's changed?Really what's changed, the big things that have changed, added to the header of pages, I would tell you generally speaking that you should think and worry about: Twitter Cards Open G[...]