Bourbon. Big Daddy. Panda. Penguin.
What do these words have in common?
To the average small business owners, they probably look like nothing more than potential answers to a game of charades. But Web developers and SEO experts will recognize them as names Google has given to its algorithm updates over the years – updates those in the business of digital marketing follow obsessively in order to make sure their content reaches the top of search engine results.
So how does the average small business owner stay up to date on your Caffeines, Vinces and Floridas? By visiting a site like Common SEO Questions, where Eugene Aronsky, a Senior SEO specialist with NetLZ Consulting, offers news and information on internet marketing, SEO, Web design and Web 2.0 optimization.
Eugene recently checked in with us to answer a few questions about SEO – here’s what he had to say.
Hi, Eugene! Tell us about Common SEO Questions… when was the site started? Who should be using it?
The Common SEO Questions blog was started about a year ago. The goal of the blog is to answer questions related to SEO and tech. This blog is intended for anyone who is interested in digital marketing.
What is the difference between a white hat and a black hat SEO tool? Can you offer some examples of each?
“White hat” refers to a kind of digital marketing that is seen as “legal” by Google and other search engines; “black hat” refers to tactics that are seen as manipulative and illegal.
The definitions have changed as the SEO industry has matured, and things that were once white hat are now black hat and can get your site penalized or even delisted from Google…An example of white hat SEO is creating quality titles on your site and making sure that your site has quality content. An example of black hat SEO is engaging in keyword stuffing on your site, using duplicate content (either copying directly from another site or having the same content on each page) and having hidden text on your site that is only visible to search engines. (more…)
If you want to communicate more clearly, it’s time to master the art of good business writing. To polish your writing and make it a useful tool in any business setting, remember to follow the 10 Cs of good business writing:
1. Complete. It’s all too easy to forget that your reader doesn’t have the same information as you. A complete message should include all pertinent information – the when, where, why, who and how. You should also include a clear explanation of any action you want your reader to take.
2. Concise. Check your writing carefully for redundant words, such as “postpone until later” (you can’t postpone until before, so “postpone” is sufficient). Cut out stock phrases such as “I am writing to inform you.” A concise message shows the reader that you value their time. (more…)
Beck Hansen, known to his fans as just “Beck,” is not only an all-American musician, singer and songwriter…he is also a content marketer extraordinaire.
His unique form of content marketing has a storyline with an arc. It is both creative and logical. It has a beginning, middle and end.
So what did he do and how did he do it? (more…)
SEO can seem a vast and mysterious discipline for businesses, so any tool that makes sense of it is welcome. Kathryn Aragon of Crazy Egg recently took our questions about SEO, misconceptions, and how to really get the most out of your SEO analytics.
Hi, Kathryn! Tell us a bit about Crazy Egg. What does it do in the SEO space?
Crazy Egg is a heatmap software that shows you where people are clicking on your site. It gives you the visual data you need to know what people are connecting with on your site, so you can optimize it for better conversions.
What are some of the data points any website should collect and analyze?
The data you need depends on your goals. On the Crazy Egg blog, the goal is traffic and engagement, so we collect data that tells us which content draws the most traffic. That includes the daily email open rate, traffic on each blog post in its first 24 hours vs. total blog traffic for that day, social shares and number of comments. (more…)
The water skiers are barefoot. They’re extreme. They’re attention grabbing. But who are they?
This YouTube video pumps out several captivating scenes of barefoot water skiers doing some gravity-defying flips, spins, glides and jumps in the ocean, everglades and other waterways. Vibrant tunes seamlessly link the clips together for an all-encompassing audio visual experience.
Like so many YouTube videos, this one is designed to entertain, and to be shared. But unlike most videos, this one carries a subtle marketing message. It was not created by amateur social media enthusiasts.
So who are these talented water flyers? Who made the video, and what does it represent? (more…)
Why would one of the biggest and most popular sports-sneaker companies launch its own line of bacon? Is the sneaker market in a downturn, or could this be a creative form of content marketing?
This is Reebok, after all.
Cross Marketing at CrossFit
Reebok hosted this year’s CrossFit Games and turned the event into a double marketing opportunity by launching their own line of bacon at the same time. To observers, it was an interesting and curious product choice for this major manufacturer of top-of-the-line athletic shoes and accessories.
As the games were underway in Carson, California, a truck donning the name “Reebok Bacon Box” arrived on the scene. Soon after, attendees were enjoying a host of bacon treats, from carne asada to bacon-wrapped artichokes and pork belly. (more…)
When it comes to brands that consistently deliver innovative ideas, Jorge Barba, the Innovation Insurgent himself, rattles off the usual suspects: Nike, Google, Amazon, Pixar, Disney, Apple, Porsche, McLaren Automotive.
“What they all have in common is they started out as innovators; it’s already in their DNA to think and act differently,” he says. “They all have a distinct point of view of what they want to create, and it starts with impact beyond simply making money.”
This inborn sense of creativity is reinforced by a distinct culture that attracts the talent necessary to conceive, develop and execute new ideas. And while they all differ in how they tactically consistently deliver innovative ideas, Jorge says they all experiment a lot, support and reward their employees and embrace failure.
Jorge, an entrepreneur who writes about the power of innovation on his blog, Game-Changer, recently checked in with us to share his thoughts on how companies can foster free thinking and the development of new ideas, recruit creative thinkers and how anyone can learn to think innovatively. (more…)
One of the biggest buzzwords in the realm of web publishing is “curation.” Today, it’s not enough to create engaging, shareable content – you need to be seeking and sharing the work of others, too.
“To be a true leader in any industry, it’s important to show that you’re not only promoting your own thoughts and ideas, but that you’re also listening and reacting to what others are saying and doing,” says Michele McDonough, chief operations officer of Rock the Deadline, a platform for producing and sharing web content.
And more than just increasing your online presence, curation helps to build trust with your audience by helping them sift through all the news and information thrown at them every day on the web.
“Also, I firmly believe that no computer algorithm is ever going to be able to replace the human ability to determine whether a piece of content is insightful or boring, funny or sad, informative or repetitive…well, you get the idea,” she adds. “The real question for publishers isn’t whether or not they should be curating, but what can they do to become better curators.”
We recently caught up with Michele to get her advice on becoming a better web curator as well as tips that don’t involve the words SEO or social media for making sure people can find your great content. (more…)
The market for freelancers is exploding right now – there are plenty of gigs, but there’s also plenty of competition.
When it comes to landing a job, freelancing expert Sophie Lizard says the biggest mistake people make is competing on price. Since there will always be someone in the world willing to write a blog post for less money than you, trying to undercut other bloggers’ rates just means you’ll never make much money.
“You have to figure out what rate you need to earn to make a gig worthwhile, and politely refuse to dip below that rate unless there’s some kind of big non-money reward to the gig, like getting published on the biggest blog in your niche or getting a testimonial from a really well-known and respected client,” she says.
In addition, it’s bad form to try to land jobs by putting other freelancers down.
“Basing your proposal on the idea that ‘those other writers all suck so you should hire me’ just makes you look arrogant and kind of an asshat,” she says. “Nobody wants to start a long-term working relationship with an asshat, so focus on what makes you brilliant rather than what makes other bloggers suck.”
Sophie, the founder of Be a Freelance Blogger, recently caught up with us to share her sage and (obviously) sassy advice developing smart habits and landing gigs that pay. (more…)
Welcome to Media Shower’s Content Marketing Academy, a new video series designed to answer some of the many questions our clients have asked us over the years.
What’s a keyword?
How often should I post on our blog?
Where do I get new ideas from?
These questions and many more will be answered at the Academy, and you’re cordially invited to join us. I’m Sam, your host. Hi.
Oh, and I should mention that, yeah, there will be some silly moments in these videos. Our goal is to entertain as well as inform!
So let’s start with our first lesson: How to Write Great Headlines. Have you ever wondered how two articles about the same topic can see such wildly varying pageview numbers? The headline difference is one reason why.