Link Building – SEO

link-building-infographic

One topic that I have come to realize is incredibly important in the world of SEO is link building. How does a website become popular and gain tons of links to it? I think MOZ explained link  incredibly well by saying

For search engines that crawl the web, links are the streets 
between pages. Using sophisticated link analysis, the engines 
can discover how pages are related to each other and in what ways.

Links are seen as votes. The more votes you have to your site the higher your going to rank in search engines. However, links are not  the only thing to good SEO. It is only a piece but a large piece. So, keep this in mind as you are developing your sites.

seo-ranking-and-links-1

Having popular websites link to your website are going to increase your visibility on the web by a ton. Another thing that will help your site become more visible is having other sites within your niche link to you. It seems as though it helps your SEO by having sites that revolve around the same topic as yours link to you rather than just general sites. Anchor text can also have a huge impact. If a few dozen site link to a page with the right keywords the popularity of that page will increase tremendously. However, you don’t just want any site to link to you. You want good sites to link to you. This is called TrustRank. In the graphic below you can see how how crawlers can categorize your site and the amount of spam involved.

concept-of-trustrank

Once you have received a high ranking and lots of links linking back to you, you need to keep this up to date. Don’t let your site go stale. Also don’t forget about social sharing. This will help with the links that are linking back to you.

Did you know that links higher up in the HTML is going to be considered more powerful to SEO?

A few tips that MOZ put together are:

  • Links Higher Up in HTML Code Cast More Powerful Votes
  • External Links are More Influential than Internal Links
  • Links from Unique Domains Matter More than Links from Previously Linking Sites
  • Links from Sites Closer to a Trusted Seed Set Pass More Value
  • Links from “Inside” Unique Content Pass More Value than Those from Footers/Sidebar/Navigation
  • Keywords in HTML Text Pass More Value than those in Alt Attributes of Linked Images
  • Links from More Important, Popular, Trusted Sites Pass More Value (even from less important pages)
  • Links Contained Within NoScript Tags Pass Lower (and Possibly No) Value
  • A Burst of New Links May Enable a Document to Overcome “Stronger” Competition Temporarily (or in Perpetuity)
  • Pages that Link to WebSpam May Devalue the Other Links they Host

Having links in your sidebar could actually hurt your instead of being good for you. Whenever you have links located in either the sidebar or footers, your keywords can be ignored or even penalized. The goal is always to have links within the content of a page.

Tips & Tricks to Getting Links:

  • Get your customers to link to you
  • Build a company blog. Make it a valuable, informative and entertaining resource
  • Create content that can be easily shared virally
  • Be newsworthy

So, what about those pesky no follow links?  First off lets start with explaining what no follow links are. In order to start, we should start by looking at a link.

 <a href="signin.php" rel="nofollow">sign in</a>

You can see the rel=”nofollow” section. This is what we call a No Follow. This causes crawlers from search engines to ignore any links that have the rel=”nofollow” and not count that link as a vote for the site. Since we all want to rank high on Google “From now on, when Google sees the attribute (rel=”nofollow”) on hyperlinks, those links won’t get any credit when we rank websites in our search results.”  The reason for having a No Follow within your link is because of untrusted links, paid links, or crawl prioritization.

Anchor Text’s can also make or break the SEO in regards to link building. Let’s look at an anchor text.

<a href="http://www.example.com">Example Anchor Text</a>

The anchor text is the hyperlinked words within a web pages. The wording that is chosen for your anchor text can be very important because it give the crawlers an idea of what the subject matter of the link is about. MOZ has done some research and found that if you have multiple anchor texts within a page but they all link back to the same place, only the first one counts. MOZ also pulled together some of their keys on setting up your anchor texts

  • If many links point to a page with the right keywords in their anchor text, that page has a very good chance of ranking well. Real examples of this include the search engine result pages for the queries, “click here” and “leave.” Many of the Google results for these queries rank solely due to the anchor text of inbound links.
  • People have a tendency to link to content using the anchor text of either the domain name or the title of the page. This is an advantage to SEOs who include keywords they want to rank for in these two elements.
  • Too many inbound links to a page with the exact same keyword-rich anchor text may cause Google to scrutinize that site’s link profile more closely; using manipulative methods to acquire keyword–rich anchor text is not recommended.
Sources:
MOZ: All Links Are Not Created Equal
QuickSprout: A New Era Of Link Building Ch 1
Majectic SEO
Word Stream: What is Anchor Text?
MOZ: What is Link Building?
Google: Use rel=”nofollow” for specific links
WordPress: Nofollow
MOZ: Anchor Text

 

Additional Reading:
http://moz.com/blog/link-building-101-the-almost-complete-link-guide-updated-for-post-penguin
http://moz.com/blog/category/link-building
http://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo

 

Final Thoughts – Digital Marketing

I originally took this class for two reasons. One because it sounded interesting and second because it was part of my web content certification program. When I came into this class my hope was that I could potentially learn something new. Since I have been playing with my own blog and social media elements, I wasn’t sure exactly what I would get out of the class.

However, I have been pleasantly surprised. There is so much I learned and also realized I need to learn more about. As registration roles around, typically, people start asking what classes others recommend that they take. One of the classes I always say is digital marketing. The reason I give them is always, “digital is everywhere!” Even if you don’t work in digital per se, you need to know how it works because it will affect what you will be doing.

We are online all of the time. So understanding and knowing how things work online is crucial to many businesses and even our own lives. By taking this class I was able to get the understanding of why and what things actually do.

Over the duration of this class I managed to write over, 9,994 words in posts this quarter. I think writing this much over the quarter has really improved my writing.

screenshot

You’ve Got the Cool Ideas – Co-Creation

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So, instead of sending your jobs oversees, why not also do another things similar to outsourcing? Why not crowdsource? Crowdsourcing is the new way to creat your products. It can also be called co-creation. “Co-Creation adds a new dynamic to the producer/customer relationship by engaging customers directly in the production or distribution of value” (Co-Creation). Having co-creation as part of creating a new product allows for your customers to feel attached to the company and the brands that they are helping develop. Co-Creation can go further than just helping the company create a product. They can also help build content such as reviews.

However, there are some risks to be aware of when considering co-creation?

Privacy – Internet consumers are increasingly concerd wih their privacy on the internet.

Legal – Co-Creation can be a legal risk because customers and clients can both unknowingly violate copyrights and or inellectual-property.

Brand – A brand can be built up just as much as it can be torn down.

Goal Divergence – Can the companies and the customers objectives be matched?

Effort – Co-creations requires just as much effort from the producer as the customer.

Equity of Returns If conributors do not perceive an equitable reqard for their effort, they are likely to defect to other forums.

Define the Objectives – Clearly defined objectives will help customers know how they are involved and what changes will be made.

Select the Right Co-Creators – Not everyone who has a good idea is going to be a good co-creator.

Be Clear About Rights and Expectations – Everyone needs to know what is going to happen and what they have the right to do so that there isn’t an issue later on.

Control the Channels –  Producers can control the risks by carefully selecting customers to support, controlling the channel, and managing the co-creation by proxy.

Outsource Co-Creation  – A company can bring in a third party to manage risks and confront challenges associated with co-creation.

Provide Capabilities for Co-Creation – They must provide the right tools to their customers to allow co-creation.

Manage Incentives – Providing the right reward and level of rewardfor effecive co-creation to happen.

Lays

Most of us know of the Frito-Lays “Do Us A Flavor” competition that happened last year and that they are doing again this year. Green Book put a few tips together that are reflected in the Frito-Lays competition.

  1. Have a simple objective.
  2. Bring their ideas to life.
  3. Provide instant feedback and encourage social sharing.
  4. Plan for distractions.
  5. Make Sense  of it all.
  6. Hunt for Qualitative insights.
  7. Run on all devices.

Source:

Co-Creation: A New Source of Value

SAGE: Consumer Cocreation in New Product Development

Green Book: Lessons from Frito-Lay’s Facebook Co-Creation by David Bauer

Jeff Howe: The Rise of Crowdsourcing

I Forgot My Wallet, Purposely – Mobile

We’ve most likely taken our beloved debit card out of our wallet and stuck it in the pocket of one of our jeans, then tossed those jeans in our hamper, to then leave with out the card and be SOL when we go to make a purchase. Well, I have realized that there is one thing though that I rarely leave without. It’s my phone of course! So what would make life easier, than if you could combine your wallet and your phone and just use your phone to pay. After spending the day testing this out Laurie Segall, CNN Money, realized there are some drawbacks to each of the new apps that allow you to pay straight from your phone. I think one of the biggest was if you loose your phone, whoever finds it has almost free access to your money.  A few of these apps include, Google Wallet, PayPal, LevelUp, and Square.

LevelUp seems to be on the forefront of this new way of paying. They are trying to make things not only easier for the customer but also for the client as well. You also know that local coffee shop, Starbucks, is also changing the way we pay for our coffee. I know that I am guilty of constantly using this app. It just makes my life so much easier. Most of the time my card is hidden is some random pocket in my purse, backpack, or the like, but my phone is usually very accessible. This makes my entire purchase easier and stress free.

Like I said above one of the downsides of using your phone in place of a credit card is that if you either loose your phone or it gets stolen, your information is much easier to access. When you loose your card, typically you can just call the bank and cancel the card. When you loose your phone, can you remotely log out of the app? Starbucks also had another issue of the username and password being saved in plain text instead of encoded. Uh Oh! Well, they have “fixed” that issue.

funnybitcoinpics001

Another thing that has become popular is bitcoin. Bitcoin according to Wikipedia is “Not a real currency, bitcoin is nonetheless commonly referred to as a digital currency, virtual currency, electronic money, or cryptocurrency.” Bitcoin is suppose to be able to transfer between currencies directly all around the world. This could be fairly handy if Bitcoin stays this way. However just like any currency, it could quickly change. You can now use the Bitcoin ATM up in Vancouver is you are wanting to easily transfer Canadian dollars to Bitcoin and vise versa.

Sources:

CNN Money

Boston.com

Boston.com – LevelUp

Forbes

Wikipedia

CBC

 

 

We Don’t Look Up – Mobile Advertising

Image

I know I am a huge doer of walking around with my nose to my phone and not actually looking what is going on around me. I stand in line at Starbucks, sit at dinner with friends and family, even go to the gym and guess where all of my attention is? Yes, it is all on my phone. Let me just show you how bad it can actually be! One you can just look at the pictures I pulled together below. I may or may not be on my phone in them and they may have come from one friend of mine’s Instagram account.

phone2 phone phone5 phone4 phone3phone6

I feel like I would be considered your typical 20 something year old, so if I am on my phone constantly, it is probably the best way to reach those all around me also. What do you think? According to Google (which I typically trust considering who they are), “research shows that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal.” It is incredible how little is spent on mobile ads compared to all the other forms of media ads, since this is a place where we spend just as much time, if not more. Spending on mobile ads could end up hitting $18 billion in 2014 (Mashable: Study: Mobile Ad Spending). So, now I would be asking the question of who is spending this money? Well it seems as though Consumer Packaged-Goods advertisers are going to be the ones to increase their spending the most. Up to 98% of CPG advertisers are going to increase their mobile advertising budget so that they can spend more (Advertising Age). Here’s another interesting fact, Google and Facebook make up the majority 68.5% of the mobile advertising market (Mashable: Google and Facebook).

In Action

New to twitter is ads that automatically play when a tweet is clicked on. Red Bull has been on of the first to try this new ad format. Below you can see a screenshot of one of these ads Red Bull has now started using. Red Bull is using these ads to increase the downloads of their iPhone app that contains an interactive puzzle game, which is essentially a giant ad for Red Bull.

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Uh Oh!

Is mobile adveritising useless? People don’t seem to buy things using their phone or even fill anything out (SEER Interactive). SEER Interactive points out a few myths that come along with mobile advertising:

  1. Advertisers can’t run smartphone local advertising because geo-tareting on phones isn’t as reliable
  2. Fat fingers mean broad keyword lists which aren’t as efficient.
  3. Advertisers don’t have the data needed to set bids or budget.

Sources:

Google | Think Insights: Mobile Ads

Mobile Marketer: Red Bull unleashes One-Click Twitter Video to Hook App Downloads

Mashable: Mobile Ad SPending to Hit $42 Billion by 2017, Eclipsing Radio

Advertising Age: Guess Who’s Planning to Spend Big in Mobile?

SEER Interactive: Smartphone Advertising Myths Debunked

Mashable: Google and Facebook Control Two-Thirds of Global Mobile Ad Market

Bloomberg TV: No Rules on Mobile Ads

The New Personalization – Big Data

Make-It-Personalized-Thumbnail

Did you ever or do you now have a favorite store that you can walk into and they just know you? They know your sizes already, the styles you like, and even know what to pull for you without you asking. Well, computers have been able to take this personalization to a whole new level. Hey, why can’t we predict that you are pregnant (Target), just by the stuff you buy? We live in a day now that everyone expects us to personalize everything. This expectation isn’t general either, they expect personailzation that is very detailed.

I-WANT-DATA-NOW

Marketers use several attempts to personalize their marketing. However, they are not always the most effective. (Srlvidya Srlharan)

  • Emphasize digital channels
  • Focus on superficial customer attributes
  • Fail to determine causual impact of personalization

However, analytically driven personalization can work if you: (Srlvidya Srlharan)

  • Use predictive modeling to understand customer patterns
  • Activate personalization with cross-channel campaign management technology
  • Automate decisions with a real-time decision optimization engine
  • Refine personalization with testing tools

Something to keep in mind when trying to personalize is that the customer is not only gaining benefits from better recognition, but also getting relevant offers and experiences. The customer isn’t the only benefits the company because it retains customers and helps you understand the significant returns. (Srlvidya Srlharan)

Personalization, Can It Go To Far?

What is better for a retail than an expecting or new parent? If only we could find a way to tell even if these parents aren’t divulging the infomration. Well, if you haven’t heard, Target has figured it out. Target wanted to go above and beyond in predicting the childs birth. Since birth is public record, new parents get bombarded with baby advertisements. If only Target could get to them sooner, well they figured out how. I’m not going to bore you too much with all the technical talk about how Target did this, but in the end they were sued and can’t use this form of personailzation. If you are interested in reading all the technical stuff that goes along with companies learning from you, check out this article in The New York Times.

Also Orbitz has been doing some personalization of their own. They are showing different computer users different hotels. Why is this? Well they have found that those using Apple computers spend up to 30% more on hotels nightly (Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels). Is this violating us? This is a tough line to walk when it comes to personalization. We demand that website create personal experiences for each of its guests, but then we get mad when they do personalize it. As a Apple user, it does irk me when I see that Orbitz is showing me the higher priced hotels, but they aren’t showing the same hotel for different prices. So, in reality they are just using personalization to change what a person sees first. They aren’t actually changing the options that are available.

Hollywood has even started using analytics to predict when a movie should be released and if it will do well. I feel like this is a different type of personalizaiton. Instead of end user personalization, they are using it personalize when the movie is going to do its best.  This is a whole new world of personalization.

Big Data

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According to Wikipedia” Big Data usually includes data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools to capture, curate, manage, and process the data within a tolerable elapsed time. Big data sizes are a constantly moving target, as of 2012 ranging from a few dozen terabytes to many petabytes of data in a single data set.” Big data has also been defined, by Doug Laney, as being a part of the three V’s (volume, velocity, variety), but also 2 more things to conisder according to SAS (variability, complexity). Let’s look at these a bit more.

Volume: We can store tons of data, so we’ve got to determine the relevance of this big data and how to use analytics to create value.

Velocity: We’ve got to deal with this data in a timely manner. It comes to us now very quickly.

Variety: Data comes in so many different ways, we’ve got to be able to quantify it all and use it appropriately.

Variability: It is not always consistent. There are peaks and very slow periods.

Complexity: With data coming from so many different sources, it is important to connect and correlate relationships, hierarchies and multiple data linkages or your data can quickly spiral out of control.

I’ve Got Data, But Now What?

big-data

All sorts of companies are collecting data on what we buy and our behavior in a store or on their website. The thing is that they don’t always know what to do with this data. This is where places like ComScore come into the picture and help places like Starbucks can turn to help them sort through the data.

You’re Probably Sick Of Hearing About Him

Obama used database marketing to help him gain the advantage. He was able to use Big Data as a way to introduce different types of emails to potential different guests attending different events. Also within this, you have to be careful of your own habits, because campaigns can now tell you exactly what you want to hear using big data (Obama’s ‘Big Data Victory). Most people who understand big data would say this is probably a huge reason why Obama won the election over Romney.

Sources:

The Wall Street Journal: On Orbitz, Mac Users Steered to Pricier Hotels

The New York Times: How Companies Learn Your Secrets

Advertising Age: At Starbucks, Data Pours In. But What To Do With it?

Harvard Business Review: Using Analytics to Predict Hollywood Blockbusters

The Wall Street Journal: Obama’s ‘Big Data’ Victory

Time: Obama Wins

 SAS: What is Big Data?

The Easy Way to Find a Job – SQL

Gaining An Edge

Our parents went to college to gain an edge, we go to grad school to gain an edge, and that still might not be enough. In today’s world having marketing skills just isn’t enough to give you a step up on your competition. Those who have technical skills are going to be the ones who are going to go farther and get paid more (yes, I did just say that).  Honestly, “a great technical marketer can devise, develop, launch, and analyze their marketing campaigns with little or no assistance” (Every Marketer Should Be Technical). Time after time, Computer Weekly, reports that SQL is still the most important IT skills. They may or may not be strictly talking about people who work primarily in IT, but the importance remains the same. How do you think you are even going to communicate with anyone who works in IT if you have no idea what they are even doing?

integration-shared-db

MOZ lays out a great process and the capabilities a technical marketer should have:

  1. Find something to improve.
  2. Devise a strategy.
  3. Forecast the improvement.
  4. Pull customer list from database.
  5. Wireframe the email, and write the copy.
  6. Design and code the HTML for the email template.
  7. Instrument end-to-end tracking
  8. Launch a campaign.
  9. Evaluate the results.
  10. Automate for ongoing success.
  11. Correlate those that receive email with purchases.
  12. Repeat.

Why Learn SQL?

Since SQL is the standard coding language that is used to communicate with databases. This can cut your time down by tons, because you are no longer having to do everything by hand. This coding language allows you to communicate with databases, get the information you need easily, and rerun any data easily to find and fix errors. You can easily start to learn some of these skills by jumping onto the W3C schools website. This is a great way to familiarize yourself with the basics.

Knowing SQL can do so many things for your business. UDemy points out two things that it did for their business, but there are also more than just these two. The first is that “learning SQL has literally doubled or tripled the speed at which our marketing team can learn and execute.” The second being they “don’t just learn faster. [they] learn cooler, more interesting shit.” Could you imagine walking into an interview and telling them that you could easily do 3x the amount of work? Ya, you can with just a little training and a lot of commitment.


 

Out There

All you have to do is go out to places like Glassdoor or Indeed to see the desire for marketing positions with SQL. Places such as Big Fish or All State are both look for people with these skills. Why wouldn’t you want to put yourself above the crowd and easily find a job? I know I would. This is extremely important for places like ComScore whose main purpose is to interpret data.


Sources:

MOZ: Every Marketer Should Be Technical

Vault Analytics: Why Learning SQL Will Change Your Life

UDemy Blog: Why Every Startup Marketer Needs to Learn SQL

Computer Weekly: SQL is Still Most In-Demand Skill

UDemy: SQL for Marketers