Now Provided Report From AuthorityLabs Quickly Finds You More Keyword Opportunities

With the majority of keywords being “not provided” these days, solid information on which ones are driving traffic to your site has been hard to come by. As a keyword rank tracking tool, we see how important it can be for people to understand which keywords are the most important to focus on when planning an SEO campaign. That’s why we created our new Now Provided reports.

These new reports are pulling together our ranking data, Google Analytics data, and a few other data points to show you how many pages are receiving organic traffic and a list of the keywords that those pages rank for. The initial report gathers a full year of data, so it can take some time to generate, but once it’s set up you’re going to love the insights.

Landing Page Report

Once we have the ranking and landing page data, we start looking for keyword opportunities. These are keywords where you’re not already ranking at the top but there is potential for traffic and lower competition. We use that data to generate a list of top keyword opportunities. If there is anything in the list that you aren’t yet focused on, and those terms could drive valuable traffic, start tracking them and put efforts toward improving those rankings.

Keyword Opportunities

Individual Landing Pages

After you’ve checked out the possible quick wins that are available in the keyword opportunities list, you can start digging into individual landing pages. Any landing page in the report that we have keyword data for will be linked and can be expanded for deeper insights. Click on the landing page you want to view details for and you will see a list of keywords, current ranking position, and several other metrics that will help you determine the best keywords to spend time on. If a keyword has high search volume and low competition, it is probably worth moving up your list of priorities. Keep in mind that you want to focus on terms that convert to leads or sales, so if you’re comparing keywords that are close together in volume and competition, take a look at the CPC data to see which ones are likely more valuable.

Landing Page Drilldown

As of today, everyone with an active AuthorityLabs account has access to this new report. If you don’t yet have an account or haven’t checked out our interface in a while, sign up now and start your free 30 day trial. If you already have an account, login now and follow these instructions for getting set up.

Friday Humor: Videos You Can’t Miss

It is Friday, thank God. It has been a long week of work and unpleasant news. So, I thought we should share some videos that might bring you some enjoyment and relaxation today, because honestly, you deserve it! Everyone at AuthorityLabs wishes you a happy Friday and a relaxing weekend.

Grasshopper.com Videos

Earlier this week Zapier had a blog post on viral videos and I feel in love with Grasshopper’s video strategy and wanted to share the humor with you.

Jimmy Fallon – on Ello, #ThatWasStupid and The Walking Dead

Great Music – New Dork

Jimmy Kimmel – This is Sad- Who Is Joe Biden

How To Build Relationships And Links For Your Business

julie-joyceLink building is one of the most talked about but most poorly understood areas of online marketing and SEO. Everyone recognizes the value assigned to links; not enough people understand the best means of acquiring links or the role links play in making their business stick out from the crowd.

However, for Julie Joyce, links are her bread and butter. Joyce, one of the most-recognized names in link building, is a prolific writer and speaker, in addition to being the director of operations for Link Fish Media, a Greensboro, N.C.-based link building company.

She agreed to let me pick her brain and provide my readers with some fantastic tips.

Q&A

RS: There is so much confusion and misinformation associated with link building. “Yes, you should do it.” “No, concentrate your efforts elsewhere.” “It’s a shady enterprise,” etc. Where do you see link building as fitting on the pyramid with all the other areas at play in online marketing?

JJ: It’s definitely a shady enterprise. Haha! OK, seriously, it can be [shady] and that’s why so many people hate it. It doesn’t have to be though, not if it’s done well, and that’s what everyone forgets. Doing it well is painful and incredibly time-consuming, and in this crazy attention-deficit decade no one wants to do anything that doesn’t have an immediate payoff. I don’t think links are the only answer, but I think it’s difficult to do well online without good links unless you have amazing social media in place. Link building should not be the main focus of marketing any site, though, and sometimes it is and webmasters ignore everything else and that’s never good.

For someone new to link building, what are some of the first things they need to know? That bad links can completely ruin anything good you do.

They need to understand how to look at a site like a human being and think “Will this really be a good link?” instead of getting caught up in the metrics. They need to know why we build links, which is so basic but you’d be surprised at how many link builders couldn’t explain that well.

RS: Many times, the owner of a new site realizes she needs links but worries about where to put her time and energy (e.g., blogging, offline PR/branding, etc.). Where should link building fit on her list of marketing priorities?

JJ: I actually almost never work with brand new sites because some of our tactics are risky, and it’s not a good idea. I’d probably say get your ducks in order everywhere else and then start trying to get some good links, whether it’s by pursuing them or attracting them with your content. I’d probably opt for starting out with social media rather than diving into link building.

RS: How should a business define relevance when looking to attain links from other sites? Dominant site? Dominant site in their vertical? A site that should attract conversions? Easiest opportunities?

JJ: Never go with easy opportunities. A site that should attract conversions is my pick here. I don’t care if it’s a dominant site, if it’s a good site and I think doing a link there is beneficial to both parties [I say go for it].

RS: A lot of chatter now centers on link building vs. content marketing, as if you cannot do both simultaneously. We know that’s not true, but for the business owner who feels she cannot do “everything” at once, what’s your counsel to them?

JJ: Hire someone else? Honestly if you have the time, I think that link building is really not that tricky unless you’re a complete idiot. I don’t think that it should be conducted by someone who doesn’t have the proper time to focus on it, though, because that’s when all the bad links happen.

I’d say the same for content marketing. I think that it’s easier to just build links than it is to develop and properly promote amazing content. They’re both hard work, so I’d seriously recommend hiring a pro if you don’t have the time to do things well.

RS: I’ve written about the importance of working offline to grease the skids for links. What are a few tips you can share along these lines?

JJ: I want to say “be nice, open, and helpful,” but that sounds so simplistic. However, it’s true in many cases. I’ve been asked to do things that led to links because I helped someone out with something as simple as answering a question that was emailed to me after the person didn’t understand a point I made in an article.

That’s not offline, of course, but it’s also not directly online in the way we think of it in terms of getting a link. It’s hard to tell you that you need to connect with people but you do.

I met Lisa Myers ages ago at a London SEO function, and we decided to start the SEO Chicks blog. My writing there ended up getting me a spot somewhere else, and that gig got me a spot somewhere else, and it kept going.

Get out there and nicely network but don’t do it expecting anything. Do it because it’s appreciated by other people and doing something offline can be quite lovely if you spend all day staring at a screen.

RS: Finish this sentence for me: “Businesses that commit to link building can expect to _____________”

 JJ: “[B]roaden their reach and traffic sources.”

Measuring, Managing and Marketing What Matters Most: Part 1

manage-measure Recently, I was digging around the web for stats related to online marketing, when it hit me: We’re all awash in a sea of information. There’s data on top of data on top of data associated with anything and everything, from social media to content amplification, web design and branding.

What marketers need is answers, not more information.

That’s why we’re kicking off our “Measuring, Managing and Marketing What Matters Most” series. We want to help modern marketers gain clarity about what information is relevant, thus important, to them, then share tips about how to effectively measure and manage that information.

In a nutshell, this snapshot is designed to help you get your mind around an area of the business that deserves attention, allowing you and your team to dive deeper and make the area a point of emphasis for an allotted amount of time.

By doing so, we help you wade through the morass of useless information to get at what’s important, in addition to why and how you can use what’s available to effect change in your business.

Where Do You Start?

Online and in conversation, the most-asked question in marketing is “Where should we start?” There are just too many rabbit holes to go down for any one person to be able to keep it all straight:

  • Content
  • Analytics
  • Social media
  • Web design
  • Personas
  • SEO
  • CRO
  • Customers
  • UX
  • IA
  • Conversions
  • Mobile

And on and on and on.

Most businesses choose to focus on the area that yields the biggest dividends first. However, the most successful businesses tackle the area that’s likely to cause the biggest problems if not handled carefully and with conviction. No matter what industry you’re in, customers top that list.

Focus First On Customers, Not Strategy Or Tactics

Talk to any marketing strategist worth her salt, and she’ll tell you the weakest spot in just about every marketer’s repertoire is customer knowledge. Marketers know who they’ve sold products to. They typically have no idea of those customers’ overall needs with regard to the business, however, and they know even less about how to continue serving them.

Don’t fall into this trap.

Use this three-step approach to get your team and your business headed in the right direction:

  1. Brainstorm about who your ideal client/customer is - don’t be restrained by thinking only of the clients/customers you’ve done business with.
  2. Think of what they desire from a brand such as yours in the way of content - ads, web page, web design, web copy, style, tone, social media presence, etc.
  3. Discern what your business is uniquely qualified to offer this audience – what makes you different but more relevant than the competition?.

Have an assistant or member of your team type up this information, then share it across the company, asking for input. At the next meeting, bring this information to the table, at which point you begin discussing how to put information to action, creating content based on this newfound knowledge.

What seems like the simplest exercise known to man or woman is actually the missing element for many businesses, especially those who can’t seem to gain consistent traction for the brand. The information gleaned during this exercise becomes a veritable blueprint for everything your company does going forward.

Give this exercise a try and let us know what you think.

SEO and the Techno-Illiterate

Much as we may want to deny it, people can, and do, live without the faintest notion of the nature of technology. They may use technology and its products; but, by no stretch of the imagination could they be described as knowledgeable consumers of technology. – Technological Literacy Reconsidered”Journal of Technology Education 2013″ – Walter B. Waetjen

When I was a teenager I was a volunteer for a local church program that was offering basic computer education to under and unemployed people in our community. We had a small computer lab of 8 desktops that I built and a course that matched the local Community College’s Computerized Business Applications 101 course. This was one of the first comments I heard as the students came to class for the first time.

“I don’t know how to use a mouse. I’m afraid that I’ll break that thing if I touch it!”

Overcoming Technology Phobia

Fear Uncertainty Doubt

There’s so much to know about the online world, it’s easy to see how people overwhelmed by it would be shadowed by fear and doubt. Image Source:  Paul Downey

To say that the students of my class were all “characters” would be like calling Mardi-gras a little quiet costumed get together.

No one in the class was under 40 years old, and most of them had been to rehab at least once in their life, if not in the past 2 years. Regardless they were beaming with enthusiasm at the opportunity that learning how to use computers might bring and yet at the same time a sense of haunted dread seemed to tug at the corners of their eyes when I started telling them about the curriculum we had developed.

Being a Digital Native vs. Being a Technological Castaway

Digital Natives have grown up with technology

Digital Natives have been exposed to technology from the beginning and have advantages over those who may not have kept up with it in later life. Photo credit: Waag Society

“How many of you have used a computer at all in the past month? ” I asked. No one raised their hand. I was blown away, the idea that none of them had used a computer even in the last month when I was using mine to play Starcraft and Final Fantasy 11 online every single day was completely foreign concept. I had taken a computer class in school in first grade!

“How many of you have really used a computer on a regular basis before?” One of the eight students meekly raised his hand. When I asked “What did you do with that computer?”I got a surprising answer.

“I helped load the punch cards for a computer at an old job I had in my twenties!”

Smiling a little bit I let him know that things had changed a bit since then but we’d take it one step at a time. Of course, I didn’t realize how small those first steps would need to be.

Digital Self-Doubt

I could see the irrational fear in her eyes as I asked to class to turn on their computers and to click on the icon on the desktop for Microsoft Word.

While everyone else had put their hands on their mouse, she had picked it up and was looking at it like it might bite her. That’s when she took a deep breath and told me the truth. She really truly didn’t know how to use a mouse.

I had her take a deep breath before having her put the mouse down and put my hand over hers to show her how it moved the cursor on the screen, and that left clicking did actions and right clicking gave options. After a week of coming to class and practicing you couldn’t have guessed that she didn’t know how to use a mouse.

It Is Not Going to Explode

When I told the class that this would be the first time they were going to change the computer settings for the monitor display they gave me blank and stunned stares.

“I don’t think I can do that…I’m sure that I’m going to break it on accident!” one student said. I then gave them an exercise to make them understand that they couldn’t do just that.

“I’d like you to press every button on the keyboard, and click everything you can think of to make the computer break short of bashing it with a hammer.” After a while the nervous chitters turned to laughs as they dragged icons around, opened folders, typed gibberish, and changed the screen resolution but no one was able to destroy their computer.

After that they went to the tasks we gave them with a little less fear and hesitation.

Looking Back to Move Forward

For the final at the end of the class they all emailed me a word document, an excel spreadsheet, and a powerpoint presentation. I can still remember the proud glow of accomplishment they had on their faces when I reminded them of how far they’d come from that first day.

I was ecstatic when I got a call several weeks later from a potential employer actually checking on one of my student’s resume references and was overjoyed to able to tell them that they she was proficient in basic Microsoft Office and would make a great addition as a receptionist.

Techno-Phobia and Small Business

While I was still teaching that class I started working with a real estate website hosting company as online customer support for their websites. We offered full website assistance as long as they had us on the line. To my horror, I found that many of the people I was talking to who were selling million dollar homes had as much technical skill as the students at my school.

From the concerned Realtor who couldn’t figure out where the letter went in her scanner that she wanted to “email” us to the guy who printed out his website, wrote down changes and mailed it to us. Whole pages of handwritten content he wanted added to his site. It wasn’t that these people weren’t intelligent, clever or talented. It was that they had worked in a world of paperwork, literal paper work and hadn’t kept up with the relentless march of technology.

Resolving Techno-Babble Problem

Remember each step needs to be explained in real English, not techno speak . Make each step small and clear, don’t assume they know a single thing.

During my tenure as a customer support rep basically for a website, I learned that a lot of the battle was in the day to day terminology that I had become so used to that I didn’t even realize that people might not be familiar with these terms. I often find myself explaining just what those three letters mean let alone our understanding of Google’s algorithm. But that’s part of our job, explaining complex technical elements to others who may not share our same level of expertise.

Overcoming the Technological Literacy Gap

Here some concrete ideas on where we can start to make changes to our own thoughts and processes to actually help the situation:

  • When you’re faced with a person who is not familiar with these terms, it’s very easy to make them feel inadequate if you’re constantly stopping to spell it out. Instead, use simple practical vocabulary and don’t just drop in technical terms expecting them to be understood wholesale.
  • Break down larger abstract concepts into more concrete smaller pieces.
  • Be patient and don’t be condescending. They likely have far more experience in other topics that would leave you scratching your head, so be polite.
  • Metaphors are Rosetta Stones, they can help translate complex ideas into understandable elements.

Do You Have A Techno-Illiteracy Story?

Have you run into a situation where a high level executive or business owner you’re trying to work with shows a complete lack of technical skills? Please share your story and what it took to overcome the gap!

Learn About Building Tools w/APIs and WordPress Optimization: #Pubcon

Pubcon is only a few days away and you need to start planning which sessions you will be attending! Our own Brian LaFrance will be speaking in two important sessions you don’t want to miss:

How to Build Tools Using APIs

Wednesday October 8,  10:30a 11:30a –  Salon C

Topics Covered

  • Why you should be using APIs to create your own tools
  • Who should be using APIs
  • How you can use APIs even without knowing how to write code
  • Examples of data mashups
  • How to manage an API for your clients if you are a data provider

WordPress Optimization

Wednesday October 8, 3:50p 04:50pSalon A

Topics Covered

  • How to get set up with the right hosting for your site
  • Security Best Practices
  • Designing for Mobile Users
  • Improve Site Speed
  • Integrating Social

See You There!

Come up and meet the AuthorityLabs crew and participate in our Pubcon Scavenger Hunt!

Check out our Pubcon survival tips