Meet the fake news of the online marketing world (that Google loves!): Review sites

Move over, fake news. Columnist David Rodnitzky takes a look at fake facts about online marketing vendors and why Google’s SEO algorithm isn’t separating the fake review sites from the real ones. The post Meet the fake news of the online marketing world (that Google loves!): Review sites appeared…

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CMWorld Interview: Ian Cleary Talks Technology & Engaged Online Audiences

Successful marketers aren’t born overnight. It takes grit, determination and hard work to navigate your way from noob to expert.

Additionally, the experiences that you have and the lessons you learn outside of the marketing field can impact how you look at and approach your marketing. A shining example of someone that has built a successful marketing career after working in a vastly different field is none other than RazorSocial Founder, Ian Cleary.

Like many speakers at Content Marketing World, Ian is a delightful mix of marketer and technology expert. I was able to catch up with Ian recently and gain some insights into his past in the software industry, his favorite marketing tools and his taken on building an engaged community.

How do you think your experience in the software industry has guided your career as a marketer?

Yes it certainly has.  I had 15 years working in technical roles in the software industry prior to becoming a marketer and having all that technical knowledge and capability helped a lot because of how technical marketing has become. It took me a while to get comfortable being called a marketer!!!

What inspired you to start your current company, RazorSocial?

I had a failed software startup and I wanted to build an international company but I didn’t have an idea for another piece of software! So I decided to build a blog and then build a business around this. Now I get a chance to do content marketing consultancy and training with a lot of global brands and get to speak at conferences around the world. Who ever thought content could be this powerful!!!

As someone that creates and shares a lot of content about which tools to use (and how to use them) what are a few of your favorite content tools and why?

Here are a few of my favorite tools:

SEMRush – This is a great SEO tool.  I use it quite often for competitor and keyword research and for identifying issues on my site.

Buzzsumo – When I want ideas for creating or promoting content I use this.

Agorapulse – when you create great content you want to distribute it to social channels.  This is my tool of choice for social media management.

Optinmonster – When I get visitors to my content I want to build email subscribers and there’s no better tool than Optinmonster.

What is one secret to building an engaged online community?

You need to deliver what your audience has a hunger for and to get engagement you need to engage. An engaged community is when your audience feels they have a relationship with you and a relationship is built through conversation.

What are the 3 most important things marketers need to do to create a memorable content experience?

  1. Get your audience to take action on what you share
  2. Get your audience to subscribe so you can build on that experience
  3. Provide content relevant to the audience.

What do you see as the biggest content marketing opportunity that many marketers aren’t taking full advantage of?

Doing more outreach. We create all this content and share a lot on social media but we don’t do enough to reach out to build relationships, promote content and generate leads.

In your presentation at Content Marketing World you’ll be sharing insights into how marketers can better utilize content marketing tools to optimize their results. Without giving it all away, what will attendees learn from your session?

The 3 things they will learn and tactics, tools and tips. I always like delivering a practical session where you’ll leave the room with action items to implement.

Which speaker presentations are you looking forward to most at Content Marketing World 2017?

I am looking forward to so many.  Here are a few.

Jay Acunzo, Jay Baer,Andy Crestodina, Andrew Davis, Chris Goward, Ann Handley, Mark Schaefer, Donna Moritz, Pierre-Loic Assayag, Jon Burkhart and Michael Brenner and Deana Goldasich. There are so many great speakers at the event.

Want More?

Thank you for sharing your marketing insights Ian!

If you’d like to learn more from Ian and 11 of his fellow Content Marketing World speakers, check out the second eBook in our series, The In-Flight Guide: Creating a Memorable Content Experience.

For more from our CMWorld flight crew, see our recent interviews with Ann Handley, Adele Revella and Amanda Todorovich.


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8 Can’t-Miss Off-Page SEO Strategies to Build Your Online Reputation

Posted by ronell-smith

Off-page SEO is the act of optimizing your brand’s online and offline footprint through the use of content, relationships, and links to create an optimal experience for prospects and search engine crawl bots. It typically leads to gradual increases in positive brand mentions, search rankings, traffic to your site, and conversions.

Sounds fairly straightforward, right?

Well, for the attorney seated in front of me in my kid’s elementary school lunchroom, I might as well have just told him the earth is flat.

“That makes no sense to me,” he said, pushing his chin forward and tilting his head, as if waiting for me to admit that I was pulling his leg. “You mean, there’s all this stuff [an SEO] does on my site? And there is stuff that we — me, my team and [the SEO] — should be doing off our site as well? That’s like telling me, ‘It’s not enough that you live and pay for a nice house in a gated community. You also need to guard the gate to the community and pick up trash along the road leading up to your driveway.'”

His example could not have been more apt.

“Not caring about off-site SEO is like having that great house in the gated community, but none of your friends want to visit because they’ve heard from others that it smells like vomit on the inside, and no one they talk to can either confirm or deny it.”

By imagining your website as a home you’d like people to visit, it’s easier to see the value of off-site SEO.

I continued: “It’s not enough to only care about your website/brand or your house/neighborhood; you must always be working to enhance its reputation to ensure others will desire to visit/learn more about it.”

He saw the light.

“So basically we do off-site SEO to ensure the work we do onsite and as a brand are most effective?” he asked.

Exactly!

What off-page SEO is and why your brand cannot afford to ignore it

In the SEO world, we don’t need to be convinced of the value of off-page SEO.

We know that well before people seek our brands out, they have formed an opinion of it based on reviews, comments from friends, family members, or online acquaintances, and whatever information we can glean online or offline (apart from your website).

Therefore, we’d be fools to disavow making off-page SEO a priority, given how important it is.

However, the more common mistake — among SEOs at least — is to see off-page SEO through only the prism of link building, which, while important, is not the be-all and end-all of off-page SEO.

That is, in working to build your brand’s off-page SEO prowess, links are certainly a benefit, not the goal.

Think of it this way:

  • Goal of off-page SEO: To accumulate positive signals and interactions for your brand, with the hope of those factors being a net positive.
  • Benefit(s) of off-page SEO: Brand mentions, positive reviews, links, etc.

So while it’s important to think of links when making off-page SEO a priority, it’s also vital that you (a) view them in context (important but not singularly so) and (b) give priority to the host of factors that lead to off-page SEO providing a boost for your brand.

Those factors include, but are not limited to, creating an excellent, worthwhile product or service; guest posting on popular, relevant blogs; building relationships with influencers; earning positive press; capturing positive reviews and responding to negative reviews; and monitoring mentions of your brand, to name a few.

Because our goal is to create a post that’s accessible, interesting and immediately useful, we’ll break down what we think are 8 key areas worth focusing on for off-page SEO under three umbrellas:

  • Brand
  • Audience
  • Content

The intention is to provide a prism through which you can more easily categorize your efforts and a framework by which you can make those efforts a reality.

Brand

“No amount of SEO in the world can help a crappy product or service (at least not for long).” This is a sentence I frequently utter to folks who refuse to prioritize what they offer in favor of trying to put lipstick on a pig.

#1: Create a 10X product or service

When your product or service is recognized as the best in its class, your job as SEO becomes much, much easier.

That’s because both online and offline, people are likely saying great things about the product and brand, which leads to visits to your website, positive reviews on third-party sites, and increased sales of the product.

This only occurs, however, if you focus first and foremost on creating the best product you can.

Easier said than done, I know.

Here’s a great place to start, depending upon where your product/service is in the evolution cycle:

  • Existing product: Deliver the goods on features customers would most benefit from based on requests and complaints online regarding competing products.
  • New product: Focus on the most essential benefits your new product can provide to the prospective audience. When you do this, you remove objections and features present themselves.

#2: Customer service

No one who’s watched the United Airlines meltdown needs to be sold on the value of customer service as an effective asset for off-site SEO. The brand will be paying for that epic disaster for years as millions of folks continue to share the video and images of the event.

It’s not hard to imagine how poor customer service has made the brand’s SEO and PR teams’ reputation management efforts a nightmare.

For your brand, focus on a singular goal: Leaving everyone your brand/brand spokespeople comes into contact with — online or offline — feeling as though the interaction could not have been more positive.

For example, at in-person events, make sure staffers wear a smile, empathetically interact with everyone they meet, and go out of their way to answer questions or provide general help. It also means ensuring any content you create leaves people feeling good about your brand.

Blog_Moz_Billboard.jpg

It’s unlikely this billboard was much of an off-page SEO benefit to SouthBendOn.com.

# 3: Focus on web searchers’ intent

Turns out the old cliche that “you attract more flies with honey than vinegar” is very relevant to SEO. People are typically more willing to buy and use your products and services if they can first find them.

A lot of times, our products and services fail to live up to their full potential because we aren’t matching our offering to the needs of our prospective audiences.

A great example of this is creating and sharing content without keywords the audience might be using to look for a similar product.

In addition to matching titles, descriptions, and keyword phrases to searcher’s intent, make sure you focus on where the content is shared and discussed.

It also starts with putting the needs of the audience first.

“For uncovering searcher intent…[s]earch, refine, broaden queries, talk to people, read discussion threads, have empathy,” wrote Rand Fishkin in a recent tweet.

Use Google Autosuggest, Keywordtool.io, Keyword Explorer, and Answerthepublic.com to get in front of what it is people are looking for online relative to your product or service.

Audience

The better you know your audience, the more easily you can interact with, share with, and learn from them.

What does this have to do with off-page SEO? Everything.

Next to no one wakes up and decides to interact with your brand.

#4: Have a responsive social media presence

A typical search comes about because a person has an unmet need (e.g., “where is the nearest pizza joint?”) or has a question they’d like answered (e.g., “how tall is the biggest building in Tokyo?”).

After using Google Autosuggest to find the answer, they’re likely to visit social media to learn more, ask questions, and interact with their friends, family members, and acquaintances.

You see where we’re going here, right?

Social media must be an invaluable component of your off-page SEO strategy.

It’s much easier than most brands think, too:

  • Be there: If you have a social media account, make sure someone is monitoring it and can answer questions and respond to comments in a timely fashion.
  • Be human: People online expect genuine interaction, not robotic responses or constant brand promotion.
  • Be proactive: One of the best things you can do to help your brand is to use social media to be seen as a resource for the online community in the vertical you serve. Even if someone asks a question about a product or service you don’t offer or that is offered by a competitor, don’t be afraid to chime in and offer praise when due.

As you can see, the price of unresponsiveness on social media negatively impacts far more than SEO:

Blog_Moz_CostofUnresponsiveonsocial.png

Source

#5: Build connections with social media/online influencers

When people say “Social media does nothing for my brand,” most SEOs must think, “Oh, but how wrong you are.”

Whether it’s the largely unmeasurable dark traffic social sends to your site or the connections with a base of people who could be customers or supporters at some point, social media can be an asset for any brand, if used wisely.

For off-page SEO, one of the biggest benefits of social is the ability to create and nurture lasting relationships with influencers, those people with huge reach in the way of name recognition, myriad followers and fans, and connections with numerous high-ranking websites.

They’re also typically very much connected with other influencers.

As we see in the image below, even if Google isn’t using social signals to help determine rankings, the interplay of influencers and the sites they represent, like, and visit makes being on their radar a positive.

Blog_Moz_SocialGraph1.png

Image source

An effective strategy for enlisting the help of influencers to boost your off-page SEO is to get to know them in person, at events, and online via group chats/tweets and such, which puts you on their radar without much heavy lifting on your part.

Then, in the future, when you do create and share content, they’re more likely to recognize you and your brand and might share the content themselves.

Even better, later on, after you’ve developed a stronger relationship, you might even collaborate on a piece of content — for their site, your site, or a publisher such as an online magazine.

#6: Recommit to frequenting forums and discussion boards, and comment blogging

Want to get noticed by your desired audience and the influencers they follow?

Visit the most popular blogs in your vertical, and leave comments. In recent years, comment blogging has fallen off in popularity, in large part because comment spam led to most blogs no-following their links.

For the purpose of off-page SEO, links are less of a priority.

Your goal is simply to be where the action is and to leave a thoughtful comment that might catch the eye of the blogger, the platform’s editor, and any influencers who might be reading the content.

The same applies for sites like Reddit and Quora, where you can follow topics specifics to your brand or vertical and quickly get noticed for being knowledgeable, thoughtful, and empathetic in answering others’ questions or helping to drive discussion.

The SEO subreddit is very popular, frequented by many of the big names in SEO.

The relationships formed on these platforms have a way of paying huge dividends and can be invaluable for off-page SEO and reputation management.

Often someone notices your comments on one of these platforms, starts following you there, and then later does a Google or LinkedIn search to learn about you or your brand, which ultimately leads them to your website, where they might sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your blog.

#7: Quit guest blogging for links

You read that right.

Instead of guest blogging solely for links, use this tactic to help you build a rapport with some of the top publishers, editors, influencers, and brands online.

If done correctly, the links do come. But as long as you make links the priority, whereby it’s obvious that you’re looking for a transactional relationship as opposed to one that is mutually beneficial, the tougher it’ll be for you to use guest blogging effectively for off-page SEO.

Read, leave comments on their blogs, and connect with the top publishers in your vertical — or publishers that cover your vertical. Once you have developed a rapport and, hopefully, have a reputation for creating quality content, inquire about creating a guest post for the platform, assuming that option is available.

Even if that door doesn’t open, you’ll be able to hone your pitch and eventually get a foot in the door with other publishers.

Remember, too, that your website is but one tiny fish in a vast ocean of options. You need to connect with others in many places off-site to build the reach and influence that’ll drive attention and visits to your site, which is where guest blogging can big a huge asset.

Your brand’s success depends upon a lot of factors outside your website. Image source

“Should you do guest posting for SEO? As a primary objective, I’d say no. But… reality is that the indirect impact remains very powerful,” wrote Stone Temple Consulting’s Eric Enge. “There is nothing like building your reputation and visibility to cause people to want more of your content. You get to build up your own audience, and ultimately some of these people will find their way to your site, find great content there, and link to it.”

Content

When most people say, think, or write “content,” they most often think of text, images, videos, and information shared via social media.

In reality, content represents the entirety of the experience your brand designs, creates, and shares online and offline, from logos and tag lines to personnel, phone calls, signage, blog text, images, videos, etc.

If a prospect or customer can interacts with it, you’d better believe it’s content.

And before you offer up, “Well, Ronell, what if one of my staffers has mustard on her shirt in a video we post online?” (Trust me, someone would ask that.) “Is that content, too?” Yes, that faux pas is part of the content experience a prospect or customer could have with your brand.

In fact, it’s the sort of thing that can lead to someone seeing your company as not having all of its ducks in a row, injuring your reputation in the process.

#8: Experiment with content types

But don’t fret. When it comes to off-site SEO, the main thing I want you to focus on with regard to content is to see beyond text.

I’m a writer. I love words.

As a newspaper reporter, I always argued with my editor when he said “Words without images lead to words getting ignored. Images sell.”

The same for video. People eat it up.

You’ve no doubt heard that mobile is gobbling up the world as I write this. Well, guess what those untold millions are doing on their mobile devices?

Largely consuming videos, which are expected to account for 85% of the content being shared online by 2019. Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook Live, anyone?

Image source

Videos and images can be a huge boon to your brand’s off-page SEO, largely because they can both be a low-investment/high potential vehicle used to drive awareness and traffic back to your site, enhancing your off-page reputation in the process.

A few low-cost, low-effort ways to use video and images include:

  • Post how-to videos on YouTube, which is the second-most visited website in the world and the #2 search engine behind parent company Google. What’s more, popular videos can and do rank in the SERPs.
  • Share daily musings or recaps of distillations of recent events via Facebook Live
  • Snap meeting or office funnies via Snapchat
  • Compose image albums on Imgur, Flickr, and other popular photo-sharing sites
  • Tweet videos of interesting things you notice throughout the day

Video and images are great way to show some personality and make your brand feel human, real, and alive to people who might not have heard of your company, or who’ve only recently discovered it.

They can also work wonders for your off-site SEO.

For example, say your brand has found that customers who visit your white papers have an increased likelihood of becoming customers. You might shoot video interviews of the subjects or clients featured in the most popular websites, then post the videos to YouTube, in addition to sharing them with the clients to post on their site and disseminate via social media.

This increases the likelihood of even more people seeing the videos and wanting to learn more about your brand.

It’s time to think holistically

The complete list of off-site SEO tactics that can bring your brand success contains far more than eight elements.

Our goal with this post is to spur you to think beyond what’s comfortable or convenient, and instead consider what’s (a) doable in a reasonable amount of time and a reasonable degree of effort, and that (b) has the potential to yield a significant amount of success.

We’re convinced that a brand who works diligently to deploy the tactics listed above will be better able to thrive.

Recommended resources:

Brand

  • Why You Must Become a 10x Brand
  • The Brand Halo Effect: Does Brand Awareness Impact Organic Search Rankings?
  • Why is Building Your Brand an SEO Strategy?

Audience

  • Do Social Signals Drive SEO?
  • Tips and Tactics for Amplifying Your Content
  • How to Earn the Amplification of Influencers
  • How to Hack the Amplification Process
  • Discovering Which Sites Your Target Audience Visits

Content

  • YouTube SEO: The Ultimate Guide
  • The 100 Best Infographics
  • Content, Shares, and Links: Insights from Analyzing 1 Million Articles

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!


Moz Blog

Teens are increasingly struggling with their emotions — and talking about it online

TwitterFacebook

Teens and young adults often put a stark spotlight on their struggles by writing candidly about them on social media.

SEE ALSO: Sheryl Sandberg bears her heart and soul in ‘Option B’

Though plenty of critics respond to this behavior with a dramatic eye roll and accusations of narcissism, there’s something much more complex happening beyond a dashed-off post about feeling sad, disappointed, or anxious. 

New research suggests that more teens and young adults are dealing with emotional and mental health distress than ever before. They’re also being asked by mental health advocates and celebrities to open up about their pain. The hope is that such honesty will reduce stigma and connect vulnerable young people with support and professional help.   Read more…

More about Social Media, Mental Illness, Science, Research, and Mental Health


Social Media

Online Marketing News: The Age of Mobile, Cheetos Snackware & Twitter Expands Pre-Roll

Why Creativity Matters More in the Age of Mobile [Infographic] Based on Facebook’s new ‘Why Creativity Matters in the Age of Mobile’ report, this infographic shows four big shifts that are driving the way that we consume media, including that consumption is no longer linear, our visual-first evolution and more. Social Media Today Goodbye Forever, Orange Fingers — Eating Cheetos Could Get an Epic Upgrade Cheetos and Betabrand are coming together to solve a long-time snack crisis — Cheeto fingers. The mix of brilliant understanding of the user experience from a product standpoint, and creativity in finding a resolution involving user-interaction, is an inspiration for marketers everywhere. Inc. Expanding Pre-Roll Ads to Periscope Video Twitter is expanding their pre-roll ads as their video viewership continues to grow. The platform is now giving publishers the opportunity to monetize content while allowing brands to advertise against that content with pre-roll ads on Periscope. Twitter Mobile now accounts for nearly 70% of digital media time [comScore] comScore recently released a report that shows 70% of digital media time is spent on mobile, with less than one third being consumed on desktop devices. 60% of that mobile time is spent within ads. However, while less than one third of digital time is spent on desktop, 80% of ad dollars are being spent there. Marketing Land Introducing Pinterest Propel for successful advertising Pinterest has announced a new program called Pinterest Propel to help train soon-to-be Pinterest advertisers from agencies and brands alike. In order to qualify for the benefits, like 30-day one-on-one phone support, advertisers must be prepared to spend $ 100/day or more on Pinterest ads. Pinterest More Ways to Share with the Facebook Camera On Tuesday, Facebook rolled out two new ways to share photos and videos: a new Snapchat-esque in-app camera that allows users to add effects and dynamic objects to their photos, and they’ve added Facebook stories to the main Facebook app. Facebook Google AdWords Rolls Out 3 Important Upgrades to Dynamic Search Ads Google AdWords has released three new improvements to Dynamic Search Ads. These changes include page feeds that allow advertisers to specify exact URLs within DSAs, expanded text ads and showing more relevant ads by default. Search Engine Journal What Consumers Really Think About YouTube’s Offensive Content Problem and Its Advertisers AdWeek recently commissioned a survey of 502 consumer respondents to show what they really think of the ongoing controversy of advertiser’s content being shown prior to offensive content: “the questionnaire shows that enough people (36 percent) view ads as endorsements by brands to cause concern among marketers. At the same time, 55.1 percent of survey participants said their opinion didn’t change about such brands.” AdWeek What were your top news stories this week? We’ll be back next week with more top online marketing news. Have something to add? Share your thoughts in the comments to Tweet to @toprank.

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Online Marketing News: Millennial Micro Influencers, Apple Clips, Facebook Seasons

Infographic: Who Is the Millennial Female Micro Influencer? Who is a millennial female micro influencer? How does she compare to your average social media user? She tends to have a larger following with more engagement, and posts about topics like travel, fashion and health and fitness. This infographic sums up who this person is and what her followers and habits are like. AdWeek Apple introduces Clips: the fun, new way to create expressive videos on iOS This week, Apple introduced Clips — a new way to create expressive videos out of music, photos, video clips and more. These Clips also feature interactive titles that are based on your voice, and are easily posted directly to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vimeo or a variety of other platforms. Apple New: Save Your Live Video to Your Phone Late last week, Instagram announced the newest addition to its live videos – users can now save their live videos directly to their devices. However, these saved videos will not retain comments, number of views or interaction data. Instagram 52% Say Majority of Their Business Marketing Activity Is Digital [DATA] Search Engine Journal reports: “According to a survey sent out to Search Engine Journal’s Twitter audience, 52% say majority of the overall marketing activity for their business is digital.” Does this mean that brands are straying away from traditional advertising in favor of digital? According to a recent study by AdRoll, 65% of marketing decision makers spent more than half of their marketing budget on digital marketing. Search Engine Journal Facebook rolls out seasonal greetings at the top of the News Feed Facebook’s Goodwill team — the same folks that brought us Friend’s Day videos — have rolled out new animated media to announce the change of the season. In the northern hemisphere, users will see images of birds and flowers. In the southern hemisphere, users will see falling leaves. TechCrunch New: LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences will target ads based on people’s web browsing, email addresses According to Marketing Land, “Later this year LinkedIn will once again let businesses target the people who visit their websites with ads on the Microsoft-owned, business-centric social network. On top of re-adding website retargeting — which is already offered by Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest — LinkedIn will also enable business to target ads based on people’s email addresses, as its aforementioned rivals already do.” Marketing Land How Much Instagram Influencers Charge to Post Sponsored Content MarketingProfs reports: “Influencers charge $ 271, on average, to share a sponsored post on Instagram […] Modeling influencers charge the most ($ 434, on average) per sponsored Instagram post. Music influencers charge the least ($ 201, on average). Modeling influencers also tend to have the largest audiences (141,563 followers, on average), and music influencers tend to have the smallest (26,403).” MarketingProfs Google Admits Brand Safety Is a Global Problem Prompted by recent events in the UK, where a media group paused all of its clients’ display spending due to ads appearing next to questionable and/or unsafe content through Google’s ad network, Google is reevaluating their practices around unsafe advertising. However, advertisers must also call themselves into account and ensure they understand where and how their ads are being placed. For brands to maintain safety, everyone needs to be watching. Ad Age What were your top online marketing news stories this week? I’ll be back next week with more online marketing news. If you have something to share, sound off in the comments or Tweet to @toprank.

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Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®