All posts in “Tips & Tricks”

SEO-at-Mango-Fusion

5 crazy SEO mistakes not to make in WordPress

There’s a nasty rumor going around that WordPress is beautifully set up for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) “out of the box.” Now don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of WordPress – but the core software does need a little nudge in the right direction when it comes to SEO. Tom Ewer from ManageWP.

There’s a nasty rumor going around that WordPress is beautifully set up for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) “out of the box.” Now don’t get me wrong – I’m a huge fan of WordPress – but the core software does need a little nudge in the right direction when it comes to SEO. Tom Ewer from ManageWP.

In reality, if your idea of optimizing your WordPress stops at hitting Publish on your latest post, you’re missing out on a lot of potential. But even those of you who feel that you are doing quite a lot in terms of onsite optimization are probably making at least one of the following mistakes (I know I certainly have done in the past).

So take a few moments to digest the following common SEO mistakes made by WordPress users – I’ll be offering straightforward solutions to each one!

1) Not Providing an XML Sitemap

Sitemaps are a way to tell Google about pages on your site we might not otherwise discover.
Google

I have a simple rule of thumb when it comes to learning new SEO strategies – if I hear it on the grapevine I take it with a hefty pinch of salt, but if I hear it from Google I take it as gospel. That’s why my position regarding sitemaps is simple: if Google says it helps them to find pages on your site that they may not otherwise discover, I’m going to give them one.

But that’s not all there is to sitemaps. They can also be used to supply additional information about your website (such as how often you expect pages to be updated) and meta data relating to specific media types (such as the running time of a video). And if you are running a new site or one with only a handful backlinks pointing towards it, a sitemap can make a big difference in enabling Google to discover and index all of the relevant pages on your website.

In simple terms, a sitemap is simply a specifically formatted list of the pages on your site that you would like to be indexed by the search engines. You could create one manually if you like carrying out jobs that can be automated with ease. Otherwise I have a couple of suggestions:

Google XML Sitemaps: with over ten million downloads and an average rating of 4.7 out of 5, you can rest assured that this free plugin gets the job done.

WordPress SEO by Yoast: this free plugin has a number of SEO-related functions, one of which is an excellent XML sitemap generator.

The process of building an updating a sitemap is almost entirely automated. You set a few options as you see fit then let the plugin do the rest. Google says that “[most] webmasters will benefit from sitemap submission, and in no case will you be penalized for it.” With that in mind, why wouldn’t you create a sitemap for your WordPress website?

2) Poor Categorization and Tagging

Few things bug me more than sites that do not utilize categories and tags (sometimes referred to collectively as taxonomies) properly. The simple fact is that categories and tags offer opportunities for increased engagement and traffic, but the bigger issue at hand is that poor use of categories and tags can actually persuade a visitor to leave your site.

This is what you need to know about WordPress taxonomies: if categories are your table of contents, tags are your index When people try to tell me that tags are useless, I ask them of how many non-fiction books they have read that don’thave an index (I just checked five on my bookshelf and discovered that only one of them doesn’t).

Conscientious categorization and tagging of your posts will not only make it easier for visitors to find what they want (assuming of course you create an Archives page that makes accessing categories and tags simple) but it will also boost your onsite SEO. While Google may not rank category and tag pages high in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) (although it certainly does happen), it will be able to get a much better grasp on the keywords that are most relevant to your site by examining them.

Let me give you an example. Say for instance you run a site about zoo animals which has a particular focus on llamas. If you have a tag page for llamas that links to various pages and has various pages linking back to it, that is a strong indicator to Google that llamas are kind of a big deal on your site.

If you want to know more about how to categorize and tag effectively, click here

3) Not Defining Canonical URLs

If you have never heard about canonicalization before then brace yourself – it can be a slightly confusing concept. In order to define it effectively I will turn to Matt Cutts, Google’s Head of Search:

Canonicalization is the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices, and it usually refers to home pages. For example, most people would consider these the same urls:

  • www.example.com
  • example.com/
  • www.example.com/index.html
  • example.com/home.asp

But technically all of these URLs are different. A web server could return completely different content for all them. When Google “canonicalizes” a URL, we try to pick the one that seems like the best representative from that set.

Put simply, if you don’t tell Google and friends which version of a page to index and rank, they’re going to try to figure it out themselves. The last thing you want is search engines having to pick from multiple instances what is essentially the exact same page. The solution is to provide them with a canonical URL.

This is essentially a three step process:

  • Tell WordPress how to present your site (i.e. http://www.yoursite.com/ or http://yoursite.com/).
  • Tell Google (using Webmaster Tools) which URL type you want them to use.
  • Use a plugin (such as the aforementioned WordPress SEO by Yoast) to ensure that canonical URLs are defined on each page of your site.

That may sound complicated but in reality it’s a piece of cake. You can find a complete guide to canonicalization in WordPress here.

4) Not Optimizing Your Site for Google+ Authorship

Like it or not, Google+ is here to stay. You may be surprised to know that it is the second biggest social network behind Facebook, beating the likes of YouTube and Twitter.

But I’m not here to talk about social media strategization. Instead I want to focus on the concept of Google+ authorship and how it can be utilized to strengthen your position in the SERPs and boost click through rates.

If you’ve not heard of Google+ authorship before, you’ve almost certainly seen it. Every search result in Google that incorporates a profile photo of the author is an example. Astonishingly, that little photo has been proven to boost clickthrough rates in the SERPs by 150%. Further, an experiment by Cyrus Shepard from Mozresulted in an additional 56% increase in clickthroughs. In short, by incorporating Google+ authorship on your site, you can attract more search engine traffic with the same rankings.

Getting Google to verify your authorship is not an entirely straightforward process but it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and will subsequently offer you ongoing benefits. In short, it’s well worth doing. My favorite tutorial is by WPBeginner

5) Not Optimizing How Your Posts Look in the SERPs

This mistake is similar to the previous one regarding Google+ authorship, as it relates to your clickthrough rate in the SERPs.

It is borne out of an ignorance of the importance of what searchers see on Google as opposed to simply where they see it. Although the placement of a website on the SERPs (ie, 1 – 10) is a key factor, people can often be drawn to lower rankings if the titles and/or descriptions are compelling. That is why you should optimize each of your posts to give yourself the best possible chance of attracting a good clickthrough rate.

There are two things that you should concern yourself with:

  • The Meta Title: this is what will display on the SERPs in place of any headline you choose for the post onsite.
  • The Meta Description: Google may choose to use this in place of an excerpt from your post (which can often be nothing more than a confusing mass of words).

By default there is no way to define these in WordPress – you need a plugin to get the job done. You can either choose a standalone plugin (for which my recommendation would be Add Meta Tags) or a plugin that incorporates multiple SEO features (such as the aforementioned WordPress SEO by Yoast).

What Mistakes Have You Made?

Let’s face it – we’re not perfect. If you haven’t made a few SEO blunders in your time then you’re simply not trying hard enough. In reality, this post could be called, “Top 5 SEO Mistakes I Have Made With WordPress.”

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Why Kevin Spacey Deserves a Content Marketing Award

Any good marketing conference has at least one compelling keynote speaker that offers sage, relevant counsel to the crowd. The key ingredient here is relevancy. We crave new thinking, but we also seek application of that thinking to our own lives. Deanna Lazzaroni reports on LinkedIn Marketing

When I tell you that Oscar-winning actor Kevin Spacey presented recently at a marketing conference — no, the largest content marketing conference — you may question the relevancy of his keynote address to such a crowd. I did. He did, in fact, asking himself this very question as he opened his presentation at Content Marketing World last week.

What followed I believe deserves a content marketing award.

In Kevin Spacey’s mind, the connection between his world and ours as marketers is the fact that we all have audiences, and those audiences demand great stories. It is our job to tell stories, better stories, and to do so by incorporating three main ingredients.

The Simple, Yet Powerful Ingredients of a Truly Great Story
Simply put, Spacey explained that what makes a great story is conflict, authenticity and, most importantly, the audience itself.

He went on to detail how each ingredient played a pivotal part in the narrative, providing relevant examples of his own experience as well as marketing examples for us to establish a relevant connection. Spacey, the seasoned storyteller, knew his audience.

Why Creating Conflict is a Good Thing
“A great story creates tension,” he proclaimed. “Without it, there’s no driving force, no passion, no involvement.” When we think about the great advertising campaigns of our time, a tension is embraced and often relaxed through the brand’s effort. Spacey gave the example of Nike, a company that has built its brand around our ambitions to be better, faster, stronger. Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign also comes to mind; a campaign that embraces the tension women hold within themselves, fueled by the pressures we put on ourselves and on society, and lifts that tension by tapping into our emotions and creating a positive impression.

“Our stories become richer and far more interesting when they go against the settled order of things,” Spacey professed. When we challenge the status quo, when we refuse to accept things for what they are and choose to be part of a movement for change, we build great stories. Presenting at Content Marketing World was certainly not norm for Spacey, but he had a message to deliver and a compelling story to tell.

Winning with Authenticity
What I believe won the audience over at Content Marketing World wasn’t the story itself, but the fact that Kevin Spacey delivered it as only he could. He played an authentic role. He spoke with conviction… He also worked in three perfectly placed quotes by Frank Underwood, his character in the acclaimed series House of Cards. Again, the man knows his audience.

“There’s no better way to overpower a trickle of doubt than with a flood of naked truth,” he spoke in the tone of Underwood. The takeaway for marketers: “Stay true to your brand and true to your voice and audiences will respond to that authenticity with enthusiasm and passion.” Spacey gave the advertising example of Volkswagen’s 1960’s campaign, when the brand embraced who it was and delivered the message “Think Small” even while large, over-priced American-made vehicles were all the rage. Volkswagen’s new Beetle stood out against the Ford’s of the world, and it served them well. Like Spacey, the automotive brand had something unique to offer its audience and played that card to its advantage.

Give the People What They Want
Kevin Spacey’s third sage lesson for the group was to stop making content for content’s sake. Instead, he commanded us to give the people what they want, when they want it, and at a reasonable price. The reality is that today the speed of the internet and advancement of platforms has had a major impact on the creative industry – and today, as Spacey put it, “anyone with a camera and an idea can create an audience.” People no longer have to wait for brands and entertainment giants to deliver great stories; they are finding them and creating them.

Today, Hollywood is partnering with Internet stars to produce and market content; brands are co-creating with their audiences; and new talent and new companies that enable this collaboration economy are rising to the top. “Get your minds to work,” Spacey urged us, “for the risk takers are rewarded.” And, quoting Frank Underwood again he reminded us, “There is but one rule: Hunt or be hunted.”

It may not have been what I expected. But by embracing the conflict of this content marketing keynote, delivering his authentic self, and giving his audience of marketers exactly what we wanted, Kevin Spacey demonstrated his own best example of a well-told story. And that, to me, is award-worthy content.

Image source: Cleveland.com

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Successful content marketers do five things differently

Content marketing plays a mission critical role in the growth story of a business, Pratik Dholakiya investigates,

With survey after survey reporting companies will spend more on content marketing than ever before, content marketers need to pull out all the stops to ensure this tactic delivers solid ROI.

There is just one problem, though. Not all content marketing strategies work and content marketers have only themselves to blame. If a content marketing campaign doesn’t deliver results, it means the people in charge have made a hash of it.

Why do some campaigns fail, while others score? What do successful content marketers do differently?

The popular perception is that their skill sets and proficiency make the difference but, more than that, it is their attitude and approach. Two campaigns using similar tactics can throw up contrasting results purely because content marketers behind the really profitable campaign view the same tactic through different eyes.

Successful content marketers do five things differently:

1. They respect content. I know you might be thinking, “Respect! I mean c’mon, where does respect enter the picture?” But that’s what the truly astute marketers do. They respect the potential content has to build brand reputation. They are extremely selective about content. Before content is pushed out, they thoroughly evaluate the potential for it to generate interest, provide an actionable solution, trigger user engagement and go viral.

That respect ensures a particular brand is only associated with high-quality content that adds value to the lives of its target audience at some level or other.

2. They explore content formats. One reason why some content marketers get left behind is their inability to use a variety of content formats.

There is a limit to the returns content will deliver over time. There is range of effective content formats that can be leveraged for marketing, yet ineffective content marketers choose not to explore them.

The best content marketers know how to tell a brand’s story in the best way possible. They find the ideal format to get the message across. They might go the visual route with infographics or videos. They might even take the on-demand talk-radio route a.k.a. podcasting.

They are fearless in their pursuit of customer attention. They know what it takes to deliver the brand message with impact.

3. They accept accountability. Successful content marketers know the buck stops with them. They are in charge. If a content strategy fails to deliver results, they can’t pin the blame on somebody else. A content marketing campaign that fails to deliver is their failure, nobody else’s.

This guarantees they stay away from frivolous decision making. Each strategy is seen from the ROI prism and every outcome of the content strategy is scrutinized for tangible deliverables. It allows them to weed out elements that are not performing and focus on core elements that deliver results.

4. They view content marketing as a cog in the larger marketing wheel. Content marketing is as much a part of your integrated online marketing strategy as is SEO, social media marketing, PPC etc. Smart content marketers ensure the tactics they utilize seamlessly integrate with other marketing strategies to become a single, immensely powerful growth engine for their business. For them, marketing convergence is as important as the success of their content marketing strategy.

5. They have no rule book. The fundamental rule of content marketing is that there are no rules. Successful content marketers experiment and keep pushing the limits of their ingenuity to ensure they promote content that the target audience will welcome. Content marketing, by its very nature, gives you the opportunity to fully vent your imagination. The best marketers use this to their advantage.

Successful content marketers are knowledgeable in detail about their craft. They view content not as a commodity to be sold but as a value-added solution they are responsible for delivering effectively to the intended audience.

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What @iamjohnoliver’s Twitter Rant Can Teach Social Marketers

 

 

 

HBO television host and Daily Show alum John Oliver took some pointed shots at brands on Twitter this Sunday, criticizing several specific brands, and Corporate America in general, for trying to cash in on touchy trending topics. Kevin Shively explores this topic futher.

It’s become common practice for brand marketers on Twitter to “newsjack” popular topics and hashtags, cashing in on the influx of traffic, even when it isn’t appropriate.

Oliver condemned this type of marketing, calling for more responsibility from brands, telling corporations that Twitter is “a cocktail party” and that they don’t belong there, so they should act responsibly. He even provided a “pledge” for brands who agreed with his sentiment.

You can watch the video clip here. Please note excessive swearing and controversial content.

That was Oliver’s point. There are many ways to engage and grow your audience on Twitter. Trying to leverage these more serious conversations has more potential to backfire than the good it presents.

Look companies, your silence is never going to be controversial. No one will ever go, ‘I can’t believe it. Skittles didn’t tweet about 9-11 yesterday, they must support terrorism. I’m never eating them again.’

–   John Oliver, Last Week Tonight

What Oliver’s Segment Can Teach Us

It would be easy for a brand marketer to get upset by Oliver’s lecture, but that misses the underlying value of his rant. Oliver and his team brilliantly pulled off a strategic Twitter campaign as a brand without appearing inauthentic, disrespectful, or tacky.

As marketers, it’s our job to think this way. We may not have TV shows to kick off our campaigns, but we’re in this line of work because we’re creative and resourceful. Piggybacking on tragic, difficult, and personal conversations is a risky tactic that doesn’t add a lot of value.

Meanwhile, Last Week Tonight created a unique experience that encouraged other high profile users to help promote for them. As a brand, this should be the focus, and a basic sense of logic should be used when interacting with a topic.

On Twitter, we follow and engage with brands for the experience they provide (and because we love their products), not because they’re able to jump into every random conversation on the web. Focus on your brand experience, and always be cautious when an organic opportunity presents itself. You’re responsible for protecting your entire brand image, and maintaining your audience’s trust. Don’t take that lightly.

online-course-marketing-strategy

Optimize Your Online Content: Quick Tips You Haven’t Thought of Yet

Consumers demand multiple sharing options

One of the biggest oversights brands make is offering only Facebook and Twitter sharing options, assuming consumers only want to share content or products on the largest social sites. In reality, today’s audiences are continuing to shift to new social networks, fragmenting their social and web activity across multiple channels. By offering only major social sharing buttons, brands dramatically limit new user acquisition and page views. Our data — based on access to share and click-back data for hundreds of thousands of websites — indicate that websites giving users a minimum of five choices generate the largest volume of sharing.

Less mainstream share buttons such as email, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Google+ (among others) are still effective in drawing in a larger audience. And using a third-party sharing widget that consolidates multiple sharing channels into one JavaScript tag is a smart choice to simultaneously limit downward drag on page load time and increase sharing of your content. Don’t leave valuable click-backs (i.e., free users!) on the table.

Let your users promote the value of your content

Another content optimization technique is including counters to show share volumes. You can display one universal counter that tallies all of your shares across channels, or show individual counters beside each sharing channel. Websites with counters see an average boost of 8 to 20 percent in sharing volume within one month, according to our data. Visual indicators of sharing volume add credibility and affirm the popularity of the content. Digital consumers, like it or not, follow the herd, paying more attention to content with higher shares.

Don’t overlook the number one way people share

Facebook and Twitter get a lot of buzz, but in reality, 80 to 82 percent of all shares on the web occur from users copying and pasting text. This activity is often referred to as “dark social” since marketers and publishers don’t have an easy way to track it unless they use a third-party tool like Po.st. Advanced sharing platforms can track not only how many users are sharing text from certain articles or product pages, but also which keywords they are sharing. This keyword information can help inform your SEO and SEM efforts in addition to offering unique consumer insights.

Another strategy to gain access to dark social activity is to include a link-back to the page where the text originated, driving users back to your website. This way, when the content is shared by the copy-and-paste method, friends who see the shared text know that it came from your owned or earned media.

Leverage social analytics and virality to boost results

While all marketers want their content to be shared and even go viral, we find there’s often an over-emphasis on outbound performance versus the inbound acquisition results.

Let’s take a look at an example: Say a content marketer looks at the analytics dashboard and sees that Video A drove 2,000 Facebook “likes,” while Video B had 800 Facebook shares, 500 tweets, and 200 Tumblr shares. The content marketer may consider Video A a bigger win because it earned more “likes” than the combined number of shares for Video B. However, looking back at the click-back volume, Video A only drove 150 new viewers to the video, whereas Video B drove 400 new viewers. So Video B actually performed better overall — even though the team was initially more excited about 2,000 “likes.” (And creating and promoting more pieces of content similar to Video B will likely drive more new traffic for the brand.)

Virality is an important indicator of successful user acquisition, reflected by the number of click-backs derived per shared piece of content. When we dug into data from the past year, we found several interesting insights about virality trends:

  • Technology, news, humor, and entertainment content has higher virality.
  • Travel, business, and food content has lower virality.
  • Facebook and StumbleUpon have a short time lapse between the share and click-back.
  • Tumblr, Google+, and blogging platforms have a longer time lapse between the share and click-back.
  • Reddit, Twitter, and Tumblr provide the most click-backs per one share.

The bottom line: Simple tweaks, all of which are free, to your owned media pages can drive an immediate boost in content viewership and user acquisition. By executing the approaches mentioned above, you’ll be on your way to increasing your content marketing’s ROI.

Content-marketing

7 Thoughts That Will Change Your Content Marketing Strategy

1. Take “best of breed” seriously

Ninety-nine percent of companies don’t do this. In my third book, Epic Content Marketing, I talk about six principles that are essential to epic content marketing. The sixth, and perhaps most important, is setting a goal/mission to be the “best of breed” informational provider for your industry niche — i.e., to truly be the leading informational resource for your industry.

This is critical to making content marketing work for you. If your content marketing isn’t eagerly anticipated and truly necessary, at some point, your audience will see through the façade and ignore you.

Ask yourself this: If your content marketing disappeared from the planet, would anyone miss it?

If no one would miss your information, you’ve got work to do. Start by setting your goal, then set up the processes and invest in the people you need to reach that goal.

2. Go 6 months without mentioning your product

When I was doing research for the book, I compared CMI’s informational/educational posts to posts that mentioned our products and/or services. The posts that talked about us received about 25 percent of the total unique visitors that a regular, educational post did. At the same time, we received virtually no additional subscribers on our sales-related posts, while our regular posts brought in between 35 and 75 subscribers.

The point is this: The more you talk about yourself, the more you’ll negatively impact your content marketing efforts. Keep the offers outside the content, and watch your program flourish.

3. Follow the “3-legged-stool” model

Almost every successful media company in the world leverages the “3-Legged-Stool” model: creating content for digital, print (print magazine or newsletter), and in-person (customer event or series of customer meetings). I believe that if your brand doesn’t leverage all three channels in a meaningful way, you cannot truly be an industry-leading informational source.

Beyond that, there is a huge opportunity in leveraging print channels, specifically. Just think of it like the value of a trade show where all your customers are in attendance, but none of your competition showed up. That’s the value print content marketing currently represents. I smell opportunity.

4. Leverage native advertising while you can

In a recent LinkedIn native advertising post, I wrote the following:

Publishers are using native to survive and grow. Brands are using native to steal audience from the publisher. It’s that simple.

I’m not sure how long publishers in your industry will offer native advertising opportunities. If I’m a brand, I’m going to want to go all-in on leveraging native to steal as much audience as possible. Look into it.

5. Forget real-time marketing

Some of the real-time marketing examples surrounding the tragic death of Robin Williams will make you sick to your stomach. Brands and publishers alike are tripping over themselves to leverage breaking news for business gain.

The only situation in which you should be considering real-time marketing is if your content marketing strategy is near perfect. Only then will you be well prepared enough to tackle the risks of real-time (and reap the potential rewards).

Focus on consistent, valuable information… become the expert… get the process in place… be patient.

6. Kill a channel

Here’s a publishing truth: It’s likely that, with each new channel you add to your content marketing plan, the other channels you are already using will take a small hit in quality and focus. I’ve seen this time and again as our concentration goes wider and our relevance gets broader.

I’d like to challenge you to kill a channel (or two) and put a renewed focus on the channels that are most worthy of your time and attention. Be amazing: Be great at distributing content through three channels; use another three to heavily promote that content; and forget the rest… at least for a while. Then check the results.

7. Begin with the end in mind

If you’ve read Stephen Covey’s long-time best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you’ll recognize this one as the second habit: Begin with the End in Mind. In Covey’s words:

It focuses on what you want to be and do. It is your plan for success. It reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world.

If you don’t know what you want to be, in terms of your content marketing, when you grow up, how will you know if you are on the right path?

Things to do:

  • Create your content marketing mission statement.
  • Set a subscriber goal for your content.
  • Decide what you ultimately want subscribers to do.
  • Answer the question, “How Will We Know We Are Succeeding?“

Do you have a major issue that is driving your success, or stopping you from succeeding? Please let me know in the comments below.
Want more insight on how to manage today’s biggest content marketing challenges? Sign up for the Content Marketing Institute Online Training and Certification program. Access over 35 courses, taught by experts from Google, Mashable, SAP, and more.

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Content Marketing in 2014: The State of the Enterprise

Professor Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing,” in which he discussed how the field would change with the “new age of electronic marketing.” In the coming decade, Kotler wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

There’s only one problem: Fifteen years have passed, and this vital transformation hasn’t happened yet.

Consumers have changed, marketing operations haven’t

In case you haven’t noticed, almost every marketing conference you attend these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides. Consumers are now empowered by digital technology… they are becoming more aware… they are researching, engaging, buying, and staying loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed… Yes, we get it. Consumer behavior in the age of the social and mobile web is different than it was before.

In fact, maybe it’s actually more accurate to say “is changing” and “will continue to fundamentally change,” as content’s continual evolution shows no sign of slowing. The challenge is that marketing operations in enterprise companies have largely remained just as they were when Kotler wrote his book — i.e., they are still working from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Continue the article here

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7 Social Media Résumé Concepts That Will Make You Rethink Yours

An Irish pub is only accepting Snapchat résumés. KFC recently held 140-second interviews to fill its manager of digital greatness position. Does it seem like your paper, text-based résumé may no longer do the trick? Check out some of these amazing social media résumés to spark your job hunting creativity By Aleksandra Sagan:

socila2Résume-ale

Brennan Gleason, a web and graphic designer, created the résume-ale to promote himself and his design work. The cardboard box holding four beer bottles filled with blond, home-brewed ale is adorned with his résumé. Each of the bottles has a QR code on the label, leading to a piece of Gleason’s online portfolio. The spiffy packaging – each bottle cap even had his self-designed logo – helped Gleason land his latest gig as creative director at Techtone, a digital marketing agency.

 

 

 

 

The QR code mouth-piece

Victor Petit, a self-described creative working in marketing and advertising, felt a standard print résumé would not be enough to land him a highly sought after internship. So, on the backside of his résumé, he printed a photo of his face with a QR code in place of his mouth. When scanned, the QR code directed prospective employers to a video of Petit’s mouth that could be laid over the photo on his résumé so they could see and hear him speak about his experience.

Facebook profile

Sabrina Saccocio ditched the traditional résumé template and opted for something everyone would recognize: a Facebook profile. When she submitted the resumé to Steve Pratt for a gig at CBC’s Radio 3, he called it “the most creative résumé I’ve seen in years,” on his blog. The profile included the basics—like her contact information and education history. But, also included comments from “friends” recommending her work, samples of content she’s created that had gone viral, and showed off her sense of humour—her relationship status? Married (to her job).

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The living résumé

While most people don’t immediately think of Pinterest when they’re hunting for work online, that didn’t stop Rachel King from creating her living résumé on her Pinterest page. On the board, King pinned her résumé, media coverage of her work, and various speaking engagements. She recently accepted the head of communications position at DogVacay, a dog-sitting service.

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The Amazon sales pitch

Philippe Dubost seems to know that the point of a résumé is to sell yourself. So, he turned his into an Amazon product page. The page shows off his relevant work experience in the form of reviews, and includes short recommendations from former employers and colleagues—who also happen to give him a 5/5 average customer ranking. How did the unique résumé format turned out for Dubost? He’s currently not available, and it’s unclear when or if the item will ever be in stock again.

The Google search

Experts are constantly reminding job hunters to clean up their social media profiles in fear of the imminent Google search by a prospective employer. Eric Gandhi decided to use the Google Search format in his favour instead by turning it into his résumé. The search term to find his résumé? Creative+Hard-working+Talented+ Excellent Designer+Unique+Autodidactic… and on it goes. The first result reads: Did you mean: Eric Gandhi? His contact information and work experience are found below, ending with some clever Google search suggestions, including “Try Eric Gandhi.”

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#Twesume

#Twesume forces job-seekers to sell themselves on Twitter in 140 character or less. The twesume includes a brief synopsis, #twesume, and a link to some secondary material—like a LinkedIn page, YouTube video or perhaps one of the more creative résumé formats from above.

4 Steps to Audit Online Content After Hummingbird and “Not Provided”

CMI readers know that it’s possible to measure the effectiveness of content marketing efforts without keyword data — something we’ve had since 2011 to think about — but it shouldn’t just be a case of damage limitation for people who work with web analytics.

For content marketers, the removal of keyword data from Google represents a huge opportunity to overhaul the way we report on our online content. With this opportunity in mind, now is the perfect time for a content audit.

Hummingbird and the opportunities for content marketers

It’s no longer possible to trace a significant drop in traffic back to the loss of a certain keyword using analytics, so many businesses are adapting by rank-checking a greater number of keywords on a regular basis. It goes without saying that a drop in rankings is likely to cause a drop in traffic to your online content.

Combined with connotations of the Hummingbird algorithm update, which helps Google understand what its users are looking for without relying on what keywords they are using to search, “Not Provided” means digital marketers must learn to live without keyword data.

However, whether we deal directly with search engines or not, content marketers have never really been as interested in keywords as the SEO industry — which is why now is our time to shine. Finally we’re in agreement that how we’re finding content is less important than what we’re actually finding.

The need for a content audit

Although publishers check Google rankings of hundreds — or even thousands — of keywords each day, it’s how our content is performing that interests us. Tracking the performance of all these keywords without understanding the contents of the pages that rank for them means we’re selling ourselves short.

A CMI post from Chris Moritz demonstrated a great way to create a content inventory, which includes populating a spreadsheet with all of your content and detailing actions to take in relation to that content.

Compiling a report of all URLs on a website can be a mammoth task, though. Typically the number of pages that actually make up your site dwarfs the number of pages you’ll remember ever putting live – most sites have many stakeholders, plus Google has a frustrating tendency to invent duplicate pages. (Try using Screaming Frog to crawl your website; set the spider to look for what Googlebots looks for, and watch it compile a list of pages you never knew existed — the results will probably astonish you.) You can export a list of pages to a spreadsheet directly from Screaming Frog’s spider, including meta data, and even the number of words on each page. Creating an inventory from all these pages can take an extraordinarily large amount of time for a large site, and although it’s absolutely necessary, it’s also extremely inefficient.

A content audit is intended to identify “low hanging fruit,” so auditing a sample of pages is the most efficient way to do this. If you’ve undertaken any kind of keyword research, you’ll already have identified the pages that will provide you with the biggest opportunities.

How to audit content without keywords
keyword

1. Check which pages rank best for your target keywords

We’re looking to influence ranking pages, so the first step is to find out which pages are ranking most strongly for your chosen keyword set. We employ our own purpose-built rank checking software, but the Rank Tracker tool on Moz.com can do this for you, as well. It also provides a useful look at whether the ranking for your page has changed recently.

Choose your keywords and Moz will track their rank in Google along with the URL that appears — you can also search for keywords manually: check rank for keyword The results can then be exported to Excel directly from the Moz tools in CSV format: keyword rankings results It’s best to format the results as a table — this makes them easy to categorize and easier to filter for certain content types: keyword ranking results table
kpi

2. Choose your KPIs

We need to measure how well our content is performing, and SEO professionals have long since learned that gauging how much Google likes our pages without looking at what users want is a recipe for disaster. In 2014, the search engines are rewarding sites that create rewarding experiences for users (rather than those that just pander to their algorithms), so incorporating engagement metrics such as page views, bounce rates, and exit percentages can provide a good indication of how useful the page actually is. For example, pages that rank well but have a huge bounce rate aren’t likely to rank well for long, so now is the time to do something about it.

The example below shows the bare minimum of metrics:

example of bare minimum metricsData such as pageviews, bounce rate and exit percentage can be easily exported from Google Analytics, and used to populate a table of ranking URLs by employing VLOOKUP (John Doherty created a useful guide on how to do this). However, to populate the rest of your table, you’re going to have to look through the pages manually (see Point 3, below).

Marking down the content type is extremely useful for trend spotting and allows us to scale our audit further, looking specifically at blog content, product pages, etc., by applying filters. In some circumstances a content marketer may only have influence over certain sections of the site (with the other page types falling under another department’s remit). Including conversion rates is also a good idea, if that’s something you can track through your analytics software. If a page isn’t driving sales, you’ll want to know why.
big-data

3. Dig into the data

Using marketing automation whenever possible is a good idea, but when auditing content, machines can only tell you what isn’t working and, at best, give you a vague idea of why. If you’re using a tool like Screaming Frog to crawl your site and get a list of pages, it’s easy to export information around meta data (e.g., are your title tags too short; are your titles missing, etc.) and the amount of content on a page (potentially a large margin of error, especially if your site has to contain things like disclaimers on product pages). However, the best way to work out what a user would do on a page is to have a look yourself. Google softened its Panda algorithm because only a real person can decide how useful a piece of content is — bounce rates and exit percentages might tell you that your content isn’t as useful as it could be, but to find out how to improve it you’ll have to read it. Look out for:

Titles that do not accurately describe the content
Obvious stock photography and low-quality images (Google may take action against sites that are over-using stock photos because users just aren’t buying them as authentic)
Broken links
Weak calls to action (are you telling users where they need to go next?)
priority

4. Prioritize your actions

A comprehensive catalog of your pages — and recommended actions to take with them — is the aim of the exercise, but this can be a daunting task. Here’s where the “content types” field can come in handy. Look for patterns — it may be that you find the descriptions on your e-commerce product pages are duplicated, for example — and make changes to sections of your site based on how damaging they’re likely to be on your rankings and conversion rates. This could be an extensive task, like rewriting all your product descriptions, or it could be relatively minor edits like changing headlines.

Pages with too little content or content that’s duplicated across your site should be your priority for optimization, as these are less likely to be included in Google’s search results. Make a judgment call: If you think the pages could add value they will require rewriting, whereas old pages that aren’t relevant anymore should just be removed.

If you have even just a few pieces of duplicate content, they can damage the rankings of your entire website. Of course, you wouldn’t create duplicate pages on purpose, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there. These things have a habit of creating themselves, or being left around by other people!

Labeling pages to be deleted is straightforward — it can be as simple as highlighting spreadsheet cells in red. Depending on the complexity of your site, you might want to use a key, coloring pages to remove in red, pages to be redirected and consolidated in orange, etc., for example. A huge advantage of using a spreadsheet to track your content assets is that this process is completely bespoke (for sites with multiple stakeholders, it may be most useful to create an additional column and mark pages with remove/keep). This way, pages that aren’t yours to remove can be quickly and easily filtered out, leaving you with a much more actionable data set (and a shorter to-do list!)

Additional considerations

Don‘t worry about links: It might seem strange that a content audit intended to enhance the SEO value of your site is extolling the virtues of ignoring your backlink profile. But this profile is not a reliable indicator of how well a page will perform in Google’s search results, and it definitely doesn’t indicate how users will feel about it.

Your page will need some links, but if your page already has enough links to rank in the top five, it has enough links to rank at the top. If your content provides the definitive experience on a topic, backlinks may come naturally; and either way, your priority should be to ensure that your website is in the best possible position to capture sales or leads from the traffic that is reaching you. Once you’ve sorted this out, then you should start to think about link building.

Do something about high bounce rates: Pages with high bounce rates don’t necessarily need everything and the kitchen sink thrown at them. It could just be that you’re displaying the wrong page to users. For example, users searching for “gift ideas” and landing on your e-commerce site probably don’t want to be greeted with a page of product listings (if they want to randomly select a gift, they can browse Amazon at their leisure). Rather, “ideas” keywords show that users are looking for insight. Consider creating resources to target those keywords. A list of what’s hot on your site might be enough. It’s data you’ve already got!

Don‘t panic: If you’re tracking 2,000 keywords, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have to look through 2,000 pages when you scale a content audit in this way. One page may be relevant for more than one term, and I would advise against creating a separate page for every single term you want to target. If you do have pages that serve a very similar function, consider combining them, as this will likely provide a much better user experience. Simply move copy across in your CMS, ensuring that you implement 301 permanent redirects from the old version to the new — the last thing you want to do as part of your content audit is to create brand new duplicate pages!

As marketers, we have to ensure that everything our brands are displaying to customers is of the highest possible quality if we’re to sell our services. Google has made it possible for those customers to easily find things we’d forgotten we ever created; a content audit is necessary to remind us how much we still rely on those things. In many cases we report on how customers are interacting with them on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis. Directly influencing ranking pages through content strategy ensures that the keywords we’re reporting on are performing as well as possible. It’s not manipulating the figures; it’s improving the value of the pages we’ve already identified as valuable.

SEO The Past, Present, and Future

[subtitle]How to Focus Your SEO Efforts for Maximum Visibility in 2014 [/subtitle]

How Search Engines Work

Any time you search for something online, you are almost instantly presented with a list of (mostly) relevant results from all over the web. Somehow, search engines are able find the web pages that match your specific queries. How do they do this?! And – more importantly – how can optimizing for search engines still play a role
in helping your business get found?

In the simplest terms, you can think of searching the web as looking in a very large book with a very, very impressive index. This index tells you exactly where
everything is located. When you perform a search, programs check against the index to determine the most relevant search results, as well as the order (or “rank”) in which they will appear and be returned to you.

What Is SEO?

SEO refers to techniques that help your website rank higher in organic (or “natural”) search results, thus making your website more visible to people who are
looking for your brand, your product, or your service via search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

google-yahoo-bing_

Over the years, the recipe for ranking success has included things like title tags, meta descriptions, keyword tags, keyword density, H1 tags, image attributes, links from certain domains, volume of links, quality of links, internal link structure, anchor text in inbound links, and more.

The Changing Face of SEO

More recently, the ingredient list for a “perfect” search ranking has expanded to include tweets, retweets, likes, social mentions, page load time, rel-canonical
management, and content marketing. Along the way, some old standbys made their appearances … things like user experience, quality of content, and depth of
content, to mention a few. Yet with all of this SEO knowledge that has been accumulated, so many websites still fail. How is this possible?

The answer:MARKETERS ARE STUCK IN THEIR OLD WAYS.

How We Used to Think About SEO

Once upon a time, SEO could be defined using two broad categories: 1) on-page SEO, and 2) off-page SEO, which could be boiled down to 1) keywords, and 2) links.
The idea was to aggregate as many of each in order to beat your competitors in the search results and rank as close to #1 as possible.

seo_

The Problems with “Old SEO”

  1. SEO was treated like a game.
  2. SEO was about quantity, not quality.
  3. SEO was focused on search engines,not searchers.
  4. SEO was too “cookie cutter.”

Learning from the Past

Rankings happen for many reasons, and the keyword or query is just the initiator of the process. You should optimize a page to be the strongest it can be in search
only after you’ve made it the best page for a specific need or topic.

There are multiple variations of keywords for any one topic, and therefore your focus should be on the page and the topic, not just one or two of potentially hundreds of keywords.

Never assume that your site should rank #1 without first knowing why it’s helpful to searchers. Just ranking isn’t enough: You need to provide what people are looking for with enough depth and insight that they stay on your site and are compelled to take action (contact you, share your content, etc.).

An Introduction to Modern SEO

According to Google, SEO is “about making small [meaningful] modifications to parts of your website. When viewed individually, these changes might seem
like incremental improvements, but when combined with other optimizations, they could have a noticeable impact on your site’s user experience and performance in
organic search results … [where] your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.”

In short, you need to understand not only the web, but also your visitors and what your visitors want – and get –out of your website.

The Key to SEO: Meaningful Content

What does Google consider “high quality”?

By creating content that is high quality, compelling, and relevant, you can engage your site’s visitors in a meaningful way. When content resonates with someone,
it feels personal and authentic. The new direction of SEO is all about creating a unique user experience for each visitor and personalizing those experiences as much as possible.

How Your Website Helps (or Hurts) SEO

You want your website to easily provide that unique user experience, right? Unfortunately, most websites are stale and do just the opposite. Here’s why:

  1. Websites need additional coding to optimize for mobile.Many websites today require special templates or additional coding to
    optimize for mobile. When a mobile searcher arrives on a site that isn’t mobile-friendly, you can bet they’ll have a less-than-stellar experience.
  2. A website’s CMS is isolated.A content management system (CMS) often stands alone from the rest of your site’s architecture, creating a fragmented experience for your visitors.
  3. Websites offer the same static experience to everyone.76% of website visitors want a site that “makes it easy for me to find
    what I want.” And yet, most websites show the same thing to every person who visits.
  4. Some websites are slow to load.Social media and mobile have more influence on SEO than ever before. Despite this fact, most CMS tools have yet to incorporate these elements out-of-the-box.

So, What Do You Need?

You need a system that functions as a fully integrated website. One that is part content system, part personalization engine, and that is customizable for you,
your team, and each individual visitor.

Inbound marketing is about tailoring your content creation strategy to attract not just any old person wandering around the internet, but your ideal customers
— also known as your buyer personas.

Wouldn’t it be great if for each one of those personas the content that your website displayed was actually unique – like how Amazon tailors what you see based
on what you like? (Full disclosure: We’ve built a system that can do just that. It’s called a COS: content optimization system.

Where Do Keywords Fit In?

keys

The tried-and-true approach to keyword optimization requires that you research relevant keywords, track visitors through your site, watch conversions, tweak, and
then try to make the right decisions. The keywords you optimize your site around serve as the foundation upon which each and every page is built. Selecting the right keywords (those that speak to – and use the same language as – your ideal buyer) is essential to building that framework.

Beyond having a strong, user-focused keyword foundation, your website pages themselves can help to attract new visitors to your site. This is because Google gives precedence to pages that load quickly and whose HTML is search-engine friendly.

Keyword Research Tips for the Modern Marketer

  1. Understand “transactional” vs. “informational“ keywords.
  2. Use alternative tools like www.similarsites.com or marketing.grader.com for competitor research.
  3. Google’s keyword tool is now “Keyword Planner”.
  4. Use AdWords auction insights.
  5. Look at data from Webmaster tools.

Loss of Data Needn’t Mean Loss of Direction

With Google encrypting search more widely now (80% or more of a site’s keyword data is now “unknown”), marketers may be at a loss as to which keywords are
driving success. However, if you focus entirely on what you don’t have anymore, your SEO will come to a standstill. Instead, focus on what you can (or could) have,
such as page analytics and visitor data (i.e. how an individual found your website and how they’re engaging with your content).

With so much broad data available to help you understand your visitors today, it’s easier than ever to look at behavioral patterns, build sites that elicit desired
responses, and align your business in ways that impress searchers and keep them coming back.

How to Rock at SEO Today: 10 Tips

  1. 1. Develop more unique, in-depth content
  2. Truly understand what “quality” means
  3. Truly understand your buyer personas
  4. Don’t add content for the sake of having more content
  5. Never add pages without having direct access to them
  6. Rethink what “link-building” means
  7. Rethink what “keywords” mean
  8. Test your pages in different browsers before publishing
  9. Make sure your site is technically optimized (if using a traditional CMS)
  10. Make sure you have a Google+ personal profile and that it’s tied to your content

If You’re Useful, They Will Come

We don’t want any old traffic coming to our site – we want the right traffic. We want the people who are going to be the most likely to become leads, and, ultimately, happy customers. The content that best attracts those “right people” is content that is educational in nature and that appeals to those who are just beginning to recognize they have a problem that needs solving.

Your blog is an excellent (if not the best) place on your site to provide this helpful, educational material, and one of the most effective ways to share this content with the world is through social media. Regularly sharing content via your social posts, tweets, etc. can also help to get your name out there and – in return – bring people to your website.

Create for Humans, Not Search Engines

Search engines are extremely complex. The bottom line is that search engines are trying to anticipate what human beings want as they search … even before they
begin their search!

It is very easy to get caught up in the old way of thinking about SEO: links, keywords, and rank. However, modifying your website’s content with the idea that you’ll “rank” in Google is like going out and buying a lottery ticket with the hopes that you’ll strike it big.

When in doubt, always err on the side of providing relevant and coherent content that your website’s visitors (your prospects) can digest. If you find yourself
doing something solely for the search engines, you should take a moment to ask yourself why.

To Summarize, Here’s What Will Help:

  1. Providing unique experiences throughout your website to better engage users
  2. Surfacing unique content readily and easily
  3. Creating content that provides context and personalization
  4. Establishing a content strategy that focuses on creating quality, in-depth, and unique content
  5. Understanding your business’s buyer personas
  6. Having clearly defined business goals (other than ranking)
  7. Covering basic SEO to improve your site’s visibility in search results