How To Analyze A Link: Link Building Basics

link-building-student-chalkboard-featured The importance of link quality in SEO cannot be overstated. Before you begin any link building project within SEO, you must be sure you're pursuing links that will not only have an impact today, but will continue to have a positive impact in the future. That means understanding what makes a quality link, and why. Let's take a look at the elements of link analysis, which are: Relevance Link Type Authority Location Smell Test Relevance Relevance should always be the north star of your link building compass. Without relevance, a link will, at best, be sub-par quality and, at wo [...]


The 7 Types Of People Who Want To Help You Build Links

Full Infographic at SocialBarrel With so much of link building focused on creating actual relationships these days, the idea that you can build high-quality links without people seems preposterous. Yes, I know there are still things like directories and post submissions but, come on…  a real person has to approve those, right? Building relationships can be tough, but trust me when I tell you -- there are actually people out there who want to help you. Even better…you might already know them! You just have to know where to look: 1. The Person Talking About You One of the most basic link building tactics is identifyin [...]


Use Google Keyword Research To Target The Long Tail In Local Search

seokeywordresearchpic There's something of a void where local business marketing is concerned. Local marketers understand they need to target keyword queries in SEO and PPC campaigns, but they assume they know what people search for, and they miss out on valuable referrals because of it. Here's a brief guide on local keyword research to close the gap. Companies tend to get somewhat myopic about understanding how consumers try to discover their type of business. It's natural to find out how some people find your business and then focus your efforts on building and reinforcing that successful vector -- even to the [...]


How Search Engines Work — Really!

how-search-engines-work For those of us in SEO (or aspiring to be), there are a lot of little details that fill our days. Server architecture, 301 redirects, 404 errors, title tags, and various other things. Sometimes, we forget to sit back and figure out what it all means. Add to that the fact that most SEOs were never trained, but just picked things up "on the job," and it's no surprise that most SEOs don't really know how search engines work. When's the last time you sat down and considered how search engines (like Google) really work? For me, it was last month, while writing the post about a recent Google W [...]


SEO Checklist For Startup Websites

Focus Your SEO on Revenue and Profit Startups have a lot going on. Staffing, outreach, overhead, paperwork, development, testing, financing -- and that's just before lunch. Regardless of the industry, startups are by their nature volatile businesses that are stuck bootstrapping much of the heavy lifting early on in their lifecycle. [caption id="attachment_141624" align="alignright" width="200"] Image via Shutterstock[/caption] While entrepreneurs are experts in their given fields and may even know quite a bit about conducting business online, it's unlikely that they are worried about SEO considerations. However, you don't n [...]


Measuring The Effect Of Semantic Markup On Your Search Traffic

There’s a lot of buzz these days around the wonderful world of Schema, semantic markup, and rich snippets -- much of it centered around the increased click-through rates from SERPs and other amazing SEO benefits such markup provides. But, once you've added the markup to your website, how do you measure the results? The ability to do this has been rather limited to date, though annotations make it much easier than it ever was. (If you’re not using annotations on a regular basis, get yourself in the habit -- you'll thank me later.) Before you build any report, think about what informatio [...]


Tips for Analyzing The Impact Of Your Marketing Activities In Google Analytics

I work with a wide variety of clients across a wide variety of industries, and one of the most common issues I come across is what I call analytics forgetfulness. What typically happens is that a company will devise a plan to improve their online marketing and will implement various changes as a result -- but then, nobody remembers to measure the impact of these changes or otherwise conduct any sort of followup down the road. Email marketing pieces, AdWords changes, even new landing pages are added to a marketing campaign; yet the "when," "how" and "who" are lost in the ether. Below are [...]


Using Advanced Segments & Scroll Depth To Test Content Types In Analytics

sel_advanced_segment_10 Last month, I gave readers some tips on measuring engagement using Google Analytics and WordPress. This month, I want to dig deeper into how you can use content scroll depth to help craft a strategy for your future content curating efforts. Creating a website that attracts visitors via search engine optimization is one part of the equation; engaging the users to read your content, search and come back for more is another facet of online marketing. As I explained last week, I do think how well people engage with your content may be, or may become, a type of ranking factor. It would at least [...]


How To Measure Content Engagement And Effectiveness With Analytics & WordPress

For many of us that own blogs and generate excellent relatable content, engagement seems to linger just beyond our reach. We write well, there's praise, tweets, shares, +1's – but just how much of your content is being read? Going beyond the search and keyword into how those keywords bring the visitor into content they either read or don't read, is the next step beyond basic Google Analytics. Many in the industry believe a fast bounce from your page back to the search results is a negative in Google's eyes. That user is basically voting your content down, saying "this isn't what I wanted [...]


A Data-Centric Approach To Identifying 404 Pages Worth Saving

A critical part of doing a site or link audit is checking to see how many 404 (page not found) pages there are in a site. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen an audit that lists the total number of 404 pages and advises developers to find appropriate pages to redirect these 404 pages to. That’s no big deal if we’re talking about just 20 to 30 pages. But, when a site has 404 pages in the thousands, and you tell the developers to fix these pages, you’re going to look more than a little ridiculous. So, how can you find out which of those 404 pages are actually important? Two [...]


5 Simple Ways To Debug Your Google Analytics Installation

As you might guess, we QA a lot of Google Analytics installs. It is often a maddening task that makes you want to "gaq." However, there are some nice tools that go a long way toward making life easier. If you are questioning the data you're getting out of Google Analytics; if your e-commerce reporting doesn't match your sales; if you really thought there'd be more downloads of your whitepaper on the fonts used in movie credits; then you can use these tools to find out if Google Analytics is broken or if the error lies somewhere else. This is how we do it. Things That Go Wrong Typos [...]


The SEO Guide To Getting Started With Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools can be a powerful ally. But, if you make a mistake or put this power in the wrong hands, it can mean trouble for your search engine optimization. In this post, I provide a basic SEO Guide to Webmaster Tools to help get you started if you aren't taking full advantage of WMT yet. It is very important to point out that some of these things are more detrimental than others. Also, there could be multiple articles written about each of these tools and reports. This SEO guide to Webmaster Tools is a simple overview with a little insight. [caption id="attachment_153210" al [...]


How To Create A Sustainable Link Plan

it's not sustainable I've recently spoken with three business owners who have approached me in a fairly atypical way: instead of asking me for a proposal, they've given me theirs. It's been a fascinating glimpse into the dangers of thinking that just because you read a lot about link building (and by and large, most people who tell me what they "know" will work say that they read every link building article that comes out), you're equipped to run a successful campaign. Here's the most common thing that these guys have in common:   They have a link plan that is absolutely and completely unsustainable [...]


Drilling Into Top Conversion Paths For Valuable Insights

Getting the whole story from your analytics is always a work in progress. Not only do we need to look at user behaviors (or the lack thereof), we need to look at user experience interaction as well as revenues. One mistake I see many novice and new-to-analytics marketers fall into is ending their research path at the Revenue report in the E-commerce section of Google Analytics. While knowing how much revenue your products are generating is important, there's more than just direct revenue. While the argument can, and should, be made for engagement being a form of ROI, I'm actually referring [...]


15 Tips To Launch A Successful Multilingual PPC Campaign

Unfortunately for those of us who work in the international space, launching a global PPC campaign is much less successful than doing so domestically? Why is this and what’s to be done? Culture and language is the answer you’re expecting from me – right? Yes, that’s definitely an important part of the mix, but there is more, much more, to it than that. Listening to Chinese military strategist, Sun Tzu, can give us a few clues. I have a sneaking suspicion that he would have also made a great PPC strategist. [caption id="attachment_148854" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Knowin [...]


Analytics For The New Social Media Manager

I have been astounded at the number of social media jobs brands large and small have created over the last year. With each month, more brands realize that Social media isn't an afterthought; it's something that takes time, strategy, attention and even aggression to keep ahead of the pack. With all of these new positions come a large number of employees who are making their first foray into the world of Social Media. They may have been promoted from within, from another department, or maybe they previously handled SEO or paid search ads within the marketing department. Many companies ta [...]


Back To Basics: Getting Started With Keyword Research & Content Creation

Sometimes, the best path to success in SEO is going back to the basics of good old fashioned keyword research and content creation with the end goal in mind: the customer and the conversion. In this article, I’ll look at a website that was submitted for review from a “Keywords and Content” focus. The site is Restoration Parts Source (RPS), an e-commerce website supplying restoration car parts and accessories for new, vintage and classic U.S. makes and models. 1.  Don’t Focus Only On Broad Keywords In his submission, Michael, RPS’s Web consultant, listed some keywords that [...]


Analytics Matched Search Queries Vs. AdWords Keyword Details Report

A question recently came across my desk regarding the use of the Matched Search Queries Report in Analytics when compared to the Keyword Details Report in AdWords. The inquirer was interested in the benefits or drawbacks to both reports, also asking if they were interchangeable. I figured this was a great question to answer in the Search & Analytics field, so I'll do my best to define and give my opinion regarding the pros, cons and interchangeability of these two complex reports. First, we need to understand what each report provides data-wise. Let's take a look at the basic data av [...]


Reporting On Social Media Engagement

I was in this industry when people were starting to throw around the phrase Web 2.0. Video marketing was in its infancy, Facebook was only for college students, and MySpace was where you sold things to a 12-year-old. Along with my time in the industry, social media has grown from a conversation we had with clients, but didn't really worry about, to an intensely competitive and important form of marketing. As we traveled through the lifespan of social media marketing to date, we heard and said a bunch of phrases like, "revenue tracking isn't really possible here" and "your revenue is in [...]


How To Gather Evidence To Help Determine If It’s Time For A Mobile Website

Is t time for a mobile website? I was talking to some clients a few weeks ago and in separate conversations, both asked me if it was time for a mobile website. Their current websites rendered okay on a smartphone, but they noticed a lack of conversions for mobile users, as well as a high bounce rate. Generally, a page that can be enlarged can be read on a mobile device. What you run into for the user is a lack of functionality and interaction with the site. Dropdown or slide out navigation is nearly impossible to click on; if you're using video or Ajax functionality it can be lost or not n [...]


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