Keep Track Of Your Competitor’s Rankings Along With Your Own

The nature of Google’s algorithm is one of constant change. We know that on a daily basis there are new tweaks and changes happening, as well as the long term trends. Rankings are never the end all metric when it comes to success in digital marketing. However, since you can’t actually access your competitors Google analytics, it can be a very useful comparison metric since you can get that data.

Group & Sync Your Rank Tracking in Authority Labs

Get-Insured-Ranking-Example

Thanks to Get Insured 24/7 for allowing us to use them as an example.

If you didn’t know it :P, AuthorityLabs provides rank ranking. Once you add a domain to your profile in AuthorityLabs you can use the “Sync” feature to add a second domain and have it keep track of the same set of keywords and phrases. Right now I’ve already added the domain a second time to keep track of mobile rankings and was surprised to see they are different from Desktop.

Add in some competitor domains so we can compare performance over time.

Here is how:

Add Rank Tracking For A New Domain

Be sure to select the group you want to added them to here.

On the next step when you are prompted to add keywords, you can actually leave that blank and return to the main domains section. The syncing will do the work for you.

Sync Your domain tracking
Once you add those domains it will take just a little while for them to sync and return results. But from that point forward whatever new keywords you add or remove will be added and removed from all of the domains.

Other Ideas For Using The Sync Feature

  • Group your brand terms vs. your non-brand keywords
  • Group your group your longtail keywords vs. your head keywords & phrases
  • Compare performance by Zip Code
  • Compare Mobile to Non-Mobile

Have some other ideas how you might use this handy keyword Group rank tracking feature? Be sure to share them in the comments!

Tips for Optimizing Tweets in Search

Optimizing-Tweets-Search

A few months ago Twitter and Google released the news that after a 5-year hiatus, Google has been granted full access to the Twitter API, enabling the search engine to feature tweets in search results on a grand scale. All indications were that by midyear we would see content from the micro-blogging site in search results for material across the web.

UPDATE – April 30, 2015 4:00 PM

Martin Beck reported for Search Engine Land that Twitter CEO, Dick Costolo, mentioned the integration of tweets into Google search would begin rolling out sometime in May. So, take the following with this new information in mind. The time to have built up your strategy ahead of the roll-out is very short indeed.

This news puts a few more arrows into the quivers of both SEOs and Social Media marketers. For SEOs, this puts more branded content in more search positions for relevant terms. For Social Media marketers, this increases the reach and shelf life of each tweet crafted on behalf of a brand. For Twitter, it should mean increased activity among new sign-ups and exposure of Twitter content to more people beyond the 140-character ecosystem.

So, what can brands do to take their Twitter game up a notch and position them to take the best advantage of the rollout in Google search?

What It Is and What It Isn’t

Before marketers take one step, all interested parties need to be aware that tweets in search will not directly affect traffic to a website or search result rankings for a website. There is a good chance, however, that tweets in search will increase a brand’s reach and followers, enabling brands to increase their potential audience pool for branded content. If used in an authentic and conversational (read NOT SPAMMY) way, there is certainly an opportunity to improve topic authority and indirectly boost search relevance for those topics.

Do This and Don’t Do That

There are several things to consider in order to optimize branded tweets showing up in results for search queries. First, your branded avatar may or may not show up as part of the search results. Don’t count on brand recognition based on the visual. Make sure that your Twitter handle is clearly identifiable. This is sometimes a challenge given the character limits of Twitter usernames, but it’s incredibly important that you find a way to easily identify your brand by your handle alone. This not only impacts your brand’s tweets, but also any relevant tweets that mention your brand’s handle. Make sure that when others tweet about you that anyone viewing that tweet will know it was your brand mentioned.

Use relevant keywords, but don’t tweet just for the sake of using valued terms. Craft your posts to twitter that are on topic, conversational, and authentic. Don’t ever forget that you are still posting this content to Twitter first and then receiving a search bonus for your efforts. If those efforts are tone deaf or blatantly promotional, Twitter users will not follow, engage, or click-through. If what you’re tweeting is perceived as spammy, you will be reported, blocked and may get yourself locked out of your account.

When sharing content from your blog/website, package the link with more than just the title. Yes, your titles are important, continue to craft them well. However, mix up the Twitter commentary that accompanies links back to your site content. Are there relevant topic quotes from the piece worth sharing? Are there keyword rich statements you could make about the post? Leverage more tweet-sized bites of your content to drive engagement in Twitter and give yourself more search opportunities.

#ChatItUp

The gold mine of topic authority for both individuals and brands is the Twitter chat. These hashtag centered real-time conversations are a nexus of influencer outreach, user advocacy, professional development, and expertise. When coupled with the potential of the most popular and quotable tweets surfacing in search, many brands will seriously consider allowing their marketing teams to dive into more of these conversations.

Keep in mind that Twitter chats are not the place for self-promotion. Share your industry knowledge, recognize the valuable contributions of others, and ask questions that further the progress of the conversation. Whether you’re participating in or hosting a chat, keep the focus of the chat about the passion for the topic.

Special guest, Jennifer Slegg, recently joined the ongoing social media marketing conversation on #SocialChat to discuss this very topic.

We asked her “How does consistent authentic participation in twitter chats play a new role in building brand authority?”

No matter what strategies and tactics you plan to put into place, don’t wait to see tweets showing up in Google search next month to launch. Start building the plan into your editorial calendars now.

7 Online Marketing Conferences You Have to Attend

Conferences are at the heart of any successful networking environment, especially  for online marketers. Our day-to-day changes with every update, as well as our opportunities. The biggest news in our industry is usually announced first at conferences and then spread like wildfire across the cyberworld. Whether you’re planning out the rest of your event calendar or prepping for 2016, this conference list is your go-to for the top online marketing events to attend. ​

search-conferences

SearchLove

SearchLove is a two-day event held in three different cities featuring some of the most inspiring content you’ll hear all year. Each panel is featured in single-room settings, ensuring you won’t miss your favorite speaker while having to attend the panel your boss recommended. They also offer a SEO clinic that gives 1-1 time for personal website critic and advice. With three cities and dates to choose from, SearchLove is worth the trip.

City:
 Boston, April 30-May 1
San Diego, September 10-11
London, October 19-20
Price: $999-$1,399
Twitter: @distilled
Speakers to Watch: Will Critchlow, Amanda McGowan, Joanna Lord, and Wil Reynolds
Insider Tip: If you choose to go to any international conference this year, go to SearchLove London! Explore London and the latest in search at the same time.

HOW Design Live

Designers, this conference is for you! Creative minds alike come together to rekindle their passions and discover the latest tools and inspirations at HOW Design Live.  Divided into five programs, each with a specific design focus, there are several different workshops and networking events for creatives to take part in. Packaging design, leadership roles, in-house management tips, and more are covered in this fun and inspiring week long event.

Date: 
May 4-9
City: Chicago
Price: $795-$2,095
Twitter: @HOWbrand
Speakers to Watch: Michael Bierut, Jessica Helfand, Ashleigh Axios
Insider Tips: Be strategic about which sessions you choose. If your an in-house designer, focus on expanding your knowledge with those types of sessions and networking events. 

SMX Advanced

At the Bell Harbor Conference Center in Seattle, SMX Advanced offers the most advanced tactics for SEOs and SEMs. This is no beginners conference. The best of the best attend this search engine marketing conference and walk away with the most valuable information and newest tools to enhance their online marketing efforts and optimization. Expect to hear the words, “Google” and “Mobilegeddon” repeated frequently at this year’s SMX Advanced.
Date: June 2-3
City: Seattle
Price: $129-$1,795
Twitter:
@smx
Speakers to Watch: Cyrus Shepard, Marcus Tober, Jerry Dischler, Stacy Williams
Insider Tips: It’s always important to attend the after-party. SMX Advanced has after-parties you CAN’T miss, no matter how jet-lagged you are. The Opening Night Meet & Greet and the SMX After Dark are huge networking opportunities to connect with some of the big names and ask the rest of the questions you couldn’t during Q&A. Also take advantage of the Birds of a Feather tables during lunch to talk one-on-one with speakers.

MozCon

Dear MozCon,
You are wonderful.
Sincerely,
All Marketers

Date: July 13-15
City: Seattle
Price: $800-$1,499
Twitter:
@Moz
Speakers to Watch: Cindy Krum, Adam Singer, David Mihm, Rand Fishkin
Insider Tips: Take as many photos with Roger as you can and attend the #MozCrawl. The #MozCrawl kicks off Monday night and is a pub crawl worth attending. Get to see your SEO idols have one too many and then post photos for evidence on Twitter. #Gotcha

SEO-Conferences

Content Marketing World

Finally, something dedicated to us content junkies. Content Marketing World is the Harry Potter World for writers. Over 2,600 marketers from more than 50 countries attend this content conference for a reason. It’s worth it! With over 80 sessions and some of the top brand and content marketers in the industry attending, have your pencil and notepad out and be prepared to take notes.
Date: September 8-11
City: Cleveland
Price: $495-$2,495
Twitter: @CMIContent
Speakers to Watch: JOHN CLEESE (YES!), Kristina Halvorson, Jay Baer, Joe Pulizzi
Insider Tips: Participate in CMW’s Twitter chats before attending the event. You’ll get a feel of who will be attending and who the regulars are during their #CMWorld Twitter chats. Follow @CMIContent’s feed each Tuesday from 12-1pm ET.

Pubcon

Pubcon, the premier social media and optimization conference, is our favorite conference. We attend each of their three conferences throughout the year in three of America’s best cities. Since 2000, Pubcon has been bringing the very best in online marketing and SEO to thousands of attendees from over 130 different countries.

Pubcon-Austin
Date:
Las Vegas, October 5-9
New Orleans, March
Texas, April
Price$249-$4,499
Twitter:
@Pubcon
Speakers to Watch:
Lisa Buyer, Jabez LeBret, Brett Tabke, Joe Laratro
Insider Tips: Pay close attention to @Pubcon’ s Twitter feed for clues and events happening each day, like the infamous AuthorityLabs scavenger hunt. You won’t want to miss out on that. You’ll also want to participate in the Mastergroup Workshops where you can get 1-1 attention and attend the exciting U.S. Search Awards. 

State of Search

Most likely the most affordable SEO conference you’ll attend all year, the State of Search is the perfect conference to satisfy everyones appetite, from the newly Googled to the Matt Cutts. No matter where you are in your online marketing journey, this conference offers a Texas-sized dose of insight and inspiration from leading marketing professionals. Expect extensive programming on SEO, local SEO, PPC, and social media marketing.

Date: November 16-17
City: Dallas
Price: $250-$550
Twitter: @dfwsem
Speakers to Watch: Rand Fishkin, Duane Forrester, (more to be announced)
Insider Tips: Each year is getting bigger and bigger, so be prepared to see some really big names announced for this year’s lineup.

Conference Attendance Tips:

  • There usually isn’t a dress code for conferences, but that isn’t an excuse to not shower. Do yourself, and the company you’re representing, a favor and look presentable.
  • BUSINESS CARDS! The worst thing you can do is forget your business cards at the hotel or run out. Trust me. I now carry an oversized stack at all times – in my laptop bag in two different places, a small stack tucked in my back pocket, multiple stacks in all of my purse pockets, and another stack in my wallet (both sides). #neverrunningoutagain
  • Live tweeting with the conference hashtag is a great way to break the ice and start conversations with attendees you wouldn’t have before. You can also hear about the latest events and get invites to fancy dinners and after-parties by following the conference hashtag.
  • Don’t be afraid to attend the conference in the first place. Conferences are a blast! Aside from being 100% mentally and physically exhausting, they’re a darn good time and open up many doors. Don’t hesitate to walk through those doors and meet new people who share the same passion.

Did we miss your favorite conference? Comment below with your must attend conferences.

The Four Fixes To Avoid The Google Mobile-Apocalypse

The Scarlet Mobile Letter

Fix mobile usability issues found

If your client has recieved this email then you are among the thousands of SEOs who have been shaken into action by Google’s pending mobile update. Could I include graphs and infographics that show the increase in mobile use by online customers, of course but that’s not really important right now. What’s important is how do I fix this and prevent my client (or my own site) from losing rankings because it’s not mobile friendly?

An Update Like No Other: They Actually Tell You Specifically What To Do

Pass/Fail. Yes/No. In order to push the business world into paying for mobile friendliness Google is sounding all of the alarms, and making SEOs jump to take care of those mobile accessibility issues that have malingered in the background of Google’s page speed insights for the past year. However, this is not a subjective update where the criteria are vague or abstract and implemented on degrees.

“Will degrees of mobile friendliness impact rankings? E.g. two sites, same SEO, both mobile friendly but one site has a better mobile experience. Would the site with better UX on mobile rank higher in mobile search?”

“As we mentioned in this particular change, you either have a mobile friendly page or not. It is based on the criteria we mentioned earlier, which are small font sizes, your tap targets/links to your buttons are too close together, readable content and your viewport. So if you have all of those and your site is mobile friendly then you benefit from the ranking change.” – Mary from Googl at the 47:10 mark and here’s the full Q&A session:

In case you missed that, they cited 4 concrete, specific pass/fail criteria for you to check.

The four horsemen of the Mobile Apocalypse

How to Set Your Mobile Viewport

This meta element basically communicates with your browser to set the initial size of the screen so you don’t end up with 1/2 the page content unviewable which is a terrible mobile experience.

<meta name=”viewportcontent=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1“>

Articles on how to configure your Viewport

Size Tap Targets Correctly

Set your tap targets for Homer

It’s kinda like that but with smart phones.

If you have been using your smart phone’s browser for more than a day, you’ve run into a situation where you’re trying to click a link that right next to another and you’ve got less than a 50/50 chance of getting it right the first time. This is an unfortunately common occurance, so I for one am happy this made the list of issue for Google to target.

Articles on how to size your tap targets appropriately

Appropriate Font Sizes For Mobile

Sneakers-Movie-Cinemagraphs

Your site’s not going to be very useful if the font is so small that it’s illegible or the users have to pinch to zoom to be able to read the text.

Articles on selecting font sizes that work on mobile

Mobile Readable Content

Don't Kick the bots

If you try to kick the bots, you’re gonna have a bad time.

It’s tempting to block all the bots you know are scraping your site, but you may accidentally be blocking some vital elements with that robots.txt file. If Google can’t render your site correctly because Googlebot is being blocked from accessing resources you refer to in your site design then you just might fail the mobile friendly test. This often happens in wordpress when you’ve disallowed  /wp-content or  /wp-includes in your robots.txt file.

Articles on finding blocked resources:

Have your sites already been affected by the update? Any other major mobile friendly action items that you have on your list? Please share in the comments!

In House SEO Recap: #Pubcon Austin

Brian-Erin_Keith

The following is a recap of material presented at Pubcon Austin regarding issues unique to in-house SEOs.

Keith Goode, Chief SEO Evangelist seoClarity

Selling Your SEO Value Proposition to Decision Makers

Challenges – Time and Resources

33% of an SEO’s work time is spent pulling data and 44% of that time is spent analyzing and reporting. Not much time left for execution of SEO strategies.

SEO is not an off-the-rack solution. In order to win the budgets and resources needed to be effective, you need to make sure that your requests align with business goals. The things that are important to you in your SEO world are only a small slice of the over-all needs of the business for the C-suite. It’s not that they don’t understand or don’t value what you do. They have to balance your needs against the rest of the needs of the company. Keeping that in mind will help you frame your requests for budget and resources in a way that will help your team and the decision makers.

Brian McDowell, Director of Search Intelligence Conductor, Inc.

How to hire an SEO

SEO is technology, marketing, and sales.

What should you look for during an SEO interview?

  • Strong math skills
  • Outgoing personality
  • Predictive thought process
  • Analytical thought process
  • Site audits for SEOs
  • SEO agressiveness
  • PPC or Development experience
  • SQL, mySQL or Excel proficiency a must
  • Advanced implementations of analytics
  • Favorite tools and when they use them

Resources for Training an SEO

  • Beginners Guide to SEO from Moz
  • Google intro to SEO
  • How search works
  • Google webmaster guidelines
  • Dirty little secrets of search by David Segal
  • Periodic table of SEO success factors
  • Mobile SEO from Google Developers

Erin Everhart, SEO Manager The Home Depot

Proving the Value of SEO

Decision makers understand that SEO is important, but they don’t understand how that happens. And Google doesn’t make it easy. Every time the algorithm changes SEO must explain themselves again.

SEO and content marketing takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. You must communicate that to executives. There’s an incubation period for SEO. What we fail to communicate is the compounding benefit of SEO. $1 spent on SEO now continues to pay dividends over time, unlike PPC.

Show a competitor beating you. It’s amazing how quickly an executive will move to give you what you need when you can demonstrate that the business is falling behind the competitors.

Tell the right story with your data. Don’t focus on just SEO. Show how what you do impacts the overall business. Demonstrate how visits relate to revenue. Include how search is part of customer research. This is particularly important for businesses that have both brick-and-motar and online shopping. Search is just as likely to lead a customer in store as it would be to lead to a sale online.

What Facebook’s News Feed Algorithm Update Means For Businesses

Strap on your seat belts and get ready to be blown away. Facebook made yet another algorithm update to their News Feeds in attempt to better the user experience and add even more obstacles for businesses. The idea behind the update is to provide a better balance (and division) of content from friends to pages, giving users more updates from their family and friends and less updates from the pizza parlor down the street.
mike-myers-gets-some-pizza-hut-in-waynes-world
Image Source: PerizHilton.com

What Exactly Did Facebook’s Update Change?

Facebook has always tried to come up with new ways to provide a quality News Feed, filled with updates from people we care about, or at the very least want to creep on. As business pages began evolving into our News Feeds, Facebook faced the battled between balancing business updates with baby pictures. Trying to find a happy middle and give users the experience they actually want, Facebook updated three sections of it’s News Feed algorithm to show more real content from real people.

Update 1:

For those who don’t have a lot of followers or follow those who don’t post often, Facebook’s first update is directed towards you. Instead of restraining from showing multiple posts from the same user, Facebook is “relaxing that old rule” so you have more content to see in your News Feeds, regardless of if it’s just 62 photos from your Aunt’s wedding.

Update 2:

I think I can speak for all of us when I say most of the important announcements about family and friends are shared on Facebook before through a call. The second algorithm update is to ensure you see each of those announcements and stay better in the loop of the exciting news. Posts from users you engage with the most on Facebook will appear higher at the top of your News Feeds. Updates from public figures and pages you follow will still have relativity on your News Feeds, but most likely won’t beat your sister’s engagement announcement on Facebook.
gen-why-engage-elite-dailyImage Source: Elite Daily

Update 3:

As a marketer, Update 3 hurt the most. Have you ever discovered a new page or business because a friend you follow on Facebook commented on the post? Facebook’s third and final algorithm update will lower the order of these stories on your News Feed, decreasing the chances of new businesses being found organically on Facebook. Apparently, users told Facebook they don’t care to see what pages their friends are liking or commenting on. Facebook listened and is lowering the possibility of you seeing this type of content in your News Feeds, pushing more baby photos to the top.
baby

What Does This Mean For Business Pages?

In Facebook’s blog post announcing these updates, Facebook gently stated that, “In some cases, post reach and referral traffic could potentially decline”. So what exactly are the cases that could make our post reach and referral traffic decline even more than it already has? According to FB, it all depends on your actual posting activity and who your audience is:

  • How often you post updates
  • What kind of updates do you share (videos, text, images, etc.)
  • What time of day you’re posting, compared to what time of day your audience is online
  • What type of content your audience interacts with regularly
  • If your audience follows more pages than actual friends
Of course, advertising with Facebook is always a huge help and increases your chances tremendously of showing up in News Feeds.

What Do We Do Now?

Although update 1 and 2 don’t affect business pages directly, the overall updates decrease the chance of posts from our company pages showing up in News Feeds. Lucky for us, Facebook was kind enough to end the blog post with tips for driving referral traffic and posting. Here are a few of their suggestions and recommended best practices for posting:
  • Post Frequently
    Post frequently, without posting too frequently. Posting every hour, on the hour, is downright annoying. Limit your posts on Facebook to 1-2 a day at times your audience is online most, while quickly responding to any engagement.
  • Share Links, Photos, and a Variety of Content
    Text updates are boring and less likely to be shared on your audience’s News Feeds. Post inciting content that your audience actually wants to see and represents your brand positively.
  • Upload Videos to Facebook with a Call to Action
    This is probably the best tip they could have given. Videos have taken over social media and are currently the most engaged media. Refer to my Beginners Guide to Video Marketing for tips on shooting and posting your marketing videos.
  • ​Create Content with Social Context in Mind
    Stop writing bad posts. People didn’t share your pixelated images before, and they definitely won’t now. ​​Take time to curate quality content that you would want to share on your own page.
  •  ​​Target Your Posts
    1. At the top of your Page click Settings, then click Post Targeting and Privacy and check the box
    2. Create a new post on your Page
    3. When done, select the target icon in the bottom left corner and click Add Targeting
    4. Target based on gender, interests, age, location and more. As you refine your targeting, you’ll see how many people your post could potentially reach.
  • ​Use Trending to Find Popular Topics on Facebook and Post about Them
    The trending feature Facebook offers is similar to Twitter’s trending and highlights the top stories people are talking about. If you can relate your business to a topic, do so and include hashtags and @ mention relevant pages.

What do you think of Facebook’s new algorithm update? Comment below and tell us what steps you’ll take to protect your business page against the new update.