Directory Maximizer

6 Companies that are Getting Content Marketing Right

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The web is home to over 60 trillion individual pages. For a typical query, there are thousands (if not millions) of webpages with helpful information. As such, marketing today is about relationships. The way to do this is creating content that stands out.

content-marketing-examples

By definition, content marketing is the science and art of producing content that builds trust and authority in your industry.

Standout Examples of Good Content Marketing

1. Lush Digital Media’s LTV video series

The LTV- Leadership-Thought-Vision video series by Lush Digital Media is content marketing that stands out. Every fortnight, interviews with some of the biggest “Thought Leaders” today from a wide variety of industries including government, technology and healthcare, are published on the agency’s YouTube channel. There is no pitch there! It’s just great information to inspire motivation. The fortnightly dose becomes addictive!

LTV- Leadership-Thought-Vision-video-series

The take-away: Provide value content. It’s not all about selling.

2. ‘The Epic Split’ by Volvo Trucks

A live test aimed at demonstrating the stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering, the Jean-Claude Van Damme stunt video from Volvo Trucks is majestic, powerful and visually spectacular to watch. It was the season finale of a series of 6 stunt videos by Volvo Trucks last year to test the quality of its trucks. Compared to its previous video ads (which have been documentary-style), last year Volvo Trucks invited several guest stars including World Champion slackliner Faith Dickey and Hollywood legacy Jean-Claude Van Damme to realize the ultimate ad for Volvo Trucks.

The take-away: Think outside the box.

3. Google Doodles

Doodles are fun and spontaneous variations of the Google logo to mark holidays and other special events such as anniversaries and the lives of famous people including scientists, artists and pioneers.

Google-Doodles

The first Google doodle was produced for Bastille Day in 2000. It was so well received by users of the search engine that over years, Google has created over 2000 doodles. And while for the most part, a team of illustrators and Google engineers are behind every doodle we see, users can email their ideas to proposals@google.com.

Google Doodles has turned into a much-loved tradition and makes an outstanding example of engaging content marketing.

The take-away: Ask and you shall receive. Your audience wants to feel like they belong.

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Negative SEO | Keeping an Eye Out for the Saboteurs of Search

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Negative search engine optimization! Does it really happen? Can someone who understands the rules of search actually use them not constructively but destructively to sabotage a website’s rankings up the search engine results? If so, should you be worried? And what can you do to protect yourself from potential search saboteurs?

negative-seo

Those are all excellent questions for any online business relying on Google searches for traffic. So let’s talk about negative SEO and shed some light on the subject.

The Concept of Negative SEO

Negative SEO is the name given to the process when someone (a search saboteur or a competitor) makes an attempt to lower a website’s rankings in the search engine results.

But does it really work?

Hypothetically, if a new website gains thousands of links over the course of a weekend, the site will look like it’s engaging in unnatural link building and pushing its rankings up the SERPs artificially; a tactic known to attract the disfavor of the major search engines including Google in a post-Penguin world. In response, it is highly likely that Google’s search algorithms will punish such a website by pushing the offending website pages into the deep invisible layers of the SERPs.

So, if buying or selling links and excessive link exchanges you engage in can harm your website rankings in the SERPs, it follows that similar unnatural links created by a search saboteur can have the same negative effect.

As a matter of fact, prior to January 2003, Google had statement on one of its website pages. It read:

“There is nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking or have your site removed from our index.”

In 2003, that statement was modified. It now reads:

“There is almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your ranking….”

Clearly negative SEO is a real threat and under certain circumstances, it is actually possible for someone with a vindictive agenda to harm your website by, say, changing your robots.txt file so the search engines don’t crawl your website anymore. As for negative SEO via link building, Google has things included in its algorithms to help them determine whether links are self-made or not and ensure that a competitor cannot hurt your site rankings in the search engine results. But even Google admits that they may not get things 100% right all the time.

The conclusion: Negative SEO is real and if you see a situation where you feel that negative SEO is actually being effective, it does not help to bury your head in the sand. You need to recognize the warning signs.

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How to Optimize Content Length for Maximum Engagement

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Blog Posts

One thing bloggers are often conflicted about is this: How long should my blog posts be? The answer is: It depends. The blogging community is divided on the issue and with good reason. At the end of the day, it depends on what you hope to accomplish through your blog.

content-length-seo

The Case for Short Blog Posts

Short blog posts (posts with 200-400 words) have many supporters. In truth, these are perfectly acceptable for a blog aimed at selling a particular product or service. These short blog posts are effective because you get straight to the point with a clear call to action. And because people tend to have short attention spans, you want to get to the point before they forget why they are on your blog.

If you need inspiration on how to properly construct a short blog post, the flawless approach of Seth Godin and David Vandagriff might be of great help. Conveying high quality and valuable information that will inspire interest and trust in 300 words or less can be deceptively challenging.

The Case for Long Blog Posts

In contrast to people who endorse short blog posts and make them work are those who are of the opinion that longer blog posts are meatier. We’re talking about 1,000 words or more here.

The question is: If short posts work, why would anyone sit down and write content with 1,000 words and above?

The answer is simple: It’s good for search engine optimization.

According to a research by serpIQ, for most SERPs, at least 1500 words for blog posts is a good target.

The reasoning: For some years now, Google has been trying to favor fully fleshed out site with a lot of quality content. With longer posts, you have more flexibility with keywords. So in a typical 1,500-word blog post, it’s highly likely that you’ll include a lot of keywords that may not be specific but still related to the theme of your post as compared to limiting yourself to one or two specific keywords. To Google, this will qualify as content designed to provide valuable information to users rather than please bots.

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How to Search for and Fix Low Quality Content on Your Website

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When Google rolled out the Panda update in 2011 it was aimed at websites with low quality content and designed to prevent thin websites from ranking high in the SERPs. The Google Panda update was meant to be a huge wake up call; a glaring reminder that content should be written for the users and not for the search engines.

low-quality-content

Since then, Google has been increasing clear about the fact that if you want to improve your site’s ranking in the Google search results, one of the most important steps is to ensure that it contains plenty of rich information. But still some webmasters attempt to improve their rankings in the SERPs and ergo attract visitors by creating pages with many words but little substantial value.

Thin content and shallow pages with little value will kill your website rankings. Maybe you’ve been lucky so far in escaping penalizations but each year, Google changes its search algorithm around 500–600 times.

Examples of content with little value include:

  • Auto-generated content
  • Doorway pages
  • Scraped content (and low-quality guest posts)
  • Thin affiliate sites

Automatically Generated Content

“Auto-generated” content is by definition content that’s been generated programmatically. It will most often consist of paragraphs of random text that contain the right keywords sprinkled at the right intervals but overall, the content will make little or no sense whatsoever to a human reader. Examples of auto-generated content include:

  • Text translated by an automated tool
  • Text generated through Markov chains and other automated processes
  • Text generated using automated synonymizing
  • Text generated from scraping RSS feeds
  • Content from different web pages combined without human review

Thin Affiliate Sites

Often times, affiliate websites feature content such as product reviews that appear, verbatim, on sites across that affiliate network and do not have enough unique content to differentiate them from other sites on the web. Such “thin” affiliate websites do not provide value for web users and create a frustrating user experience. It therefore makes sense that pages with product descriptions and reviews copied directly from the original merchant can suffer in Google’s search rankings.

Scraped Content

Content taken or scraped from other sites on the assumption that a large volume of content on a website is a good long-term strategy regardless of factors such as relevance and uniqueness provide no real value to users. Additionally, this practice also constitutes copyright infringement.

Sites that republish content from other sources or modify it slightly, for example, by substituting synonyms, are obviously shallow.

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4 Creative Link Building Ideas for Ecommerce Websites in Boring Niches

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Since the late 1990’s search engines have used link data in complex algorithms to evaluate sites and pages and their relative popularity and importance. Obviously links are not everything in SEO but many search professionals estimate that link-based factors constitute a large portion of the search algorithms used by popular engines such as Google. Through links, Google can not only measure the popularity of websites but also other metrics such as trust, spam and authority. After all, trustworthy sites tend to receive links from other trusted sources while spammy sites receive very few of those.

link-building-seo

Some of the popular link building strategies for ecommerce websites include:

1. Getting your loyal customers to link to you by sending out graphic icons that link back to your site

2. Maintaining a business blog; making it a fresh and entertaining source of industry news and information.

3. Creating content to serve as “linkbait”. In the SEO world, “linkbait” refers to content that inspires viral sharing such as humor.

4. Be newsworthy. Staying in the news by periodically releasing a great product or giving away something for free is a very effective way to earn links.

But what happens if the industry you’re in is very boring? Are some industries too boring to develop a cohesive and long-term link building strategy?

Link Building Opportunities for Websites in Boring Industries

Amid terrific stories being shared and linked to every minute in dynamic industries such as home improvement, footwear and fitness, link builders in the more challenging niches sometimes get stuck on how to even come close to competing.

But boring is a very subjective tern. If you really think about it, you’ll realize that any business, no matter how boring it may come off as on the surface, has interesting stories.

  • Every business has customers with problems they need to solve
  • Every business owner has a story to tell
  • Every employee face challenges at work everyday

All these make interesting human stories. The challenge is for a link builder to be creative enough to leverage and exploit these stories.

1. Do a Google Search and Sift Through What Comes Up for Inspiration

Building and maintaining a business blog is one of the few link-building strategies personally recommended by the engineers at Google. Blogs are unique in their ability to contribute fresh content on a consistent basis. These then go on to participate in conversations across the web and earn links from other blogs.

But if you’re in an industry like, say air filters, chances are, you don’t have much to say let alone something to say everyday or periodically. So it helps to do a Google search and read through the stories that come up. Occasionally you are bound to come across a piece of information or a statistic that would make a link-worthy piece of content.

For example, did you know that according to the EPA, indoor air contains 2-5 times more contaminants than outdoor air? Don’t you think this piece of data has the potential to interest a lot of people and inspire a really nice blog post?

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A Handy Guide to Local SEO by Directory Maximizer

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As a local business user, your SEO budget is one of the most important things you manage each month. A website’s listing on search engines provides peace of mind to thousands of business owners around the world by enabling them to get in touch directly with local customers, where word of mouth or physical advertising wasn’t cutting it.

local-directory-listings

But local business owners tend not to overlap with technology experts or software engineers, but we do think that traditional businesses need to go through the learning curve of setting up a local SEO campaign. Here are some vital tips that will help with your local search rankings and enable you to get quick access to hungry customers.

1. Optimized Local Place Pages are Key

The first and most important step to take to ensure high rankings in local search pages is to build “Place Pages” for all the search engines you’re targeting. (Here are the links to Bing, Yahoo! and Google Places)

This ensures that the search engines understand you run a local business, which will then allow them to incorporate your listing into their search results.

However, it is vital for you to optimize your places page with accurate and targeted information, to make sure you are placed above your customers.

  • Categorize your business into the relevant category – uncategorized businesses are NOT listed in search results!
  • Ensure all of your information is accurately specified – you have the same NAP (Name, Address, Phone) everywhere, in all the listings, for consistency’s sake
  • Make sure you upload plenty of high quality photos
  • Detail your hours of operation
  • Specify the services you offer

2. Reviews Matter. A Lot.

Reputations make or break businesses. A highly rated business will get more clicks than a 1-star or 2-star listing – which is very important as far as SEO goes – a competitor who is getting more clicks will rise higher in the rankings. Moreover, it is becoming more and more apparent that Google is looking at ratings as a factor for rankings. Make sure you invite all users to your website to leave a review! Be proactive about responding to reviews – your involvement in the websites reputation is a very positive sign.

Don’t post false reviews! This is the easiest way to get penalized – let the reviews flow in naturally and honestly.

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5 Tools To Track Your SEO Metrics

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In search engine optimization, SEOs often refer to the following concept:

“If you can measure it, then you can improve it.”

Translation: Measurement is critical to search engine optimization success. And although every business is unique in its own way and every website has different metrics that matter, professional SEOs track several metrics to collect data about rankings, links and more in an endeavor to assess their SEO strategy and subsequently pave the road to success by making the necessary improvements and/or adjustments.

seo-toolsSome Universal Metrics that Every Business Tracks

Key to understanding the concept of recommended metrics to track is an understanding of KPIs, a term that you probably hear more often than any other in the nascent field of Web Analytics. KPI stands for Key Performance Indicators.

By definition, KPIs are financial and non-financial metrics that an organization can potentially use to qualify, quantify and measure its progress towards pre-set goals. As mentioned above, every business is unique so an important note here is to remember that there is no such thing as a universal list of KPIs that you can simply follow for organizational success. If such a list exists somewhere on the web, it’s either a guide or someone is putting up information that’s misleading. Think about it for a minute. Even if two businesses are in the same sector, they may have different goals and that will drive the need for different KPIs. In essence, what works for Jane might not work for June, figure of speech.

With that said, in this post, we’re only covering those metrics critical to optimizing for the search engines. So the following list of metrics is pretty “universal”. They would matter to any business in addition to other, more actionable KPIs.

1. The contribution of each traffic source for your site

These include:

- Direct navigation

- Referral traffic

- Search traffic

These numbers are critical to helping you identify weaknesses and compare data over time to evaluate and track your marketing and traffic acquisition efforts.

2. The contribution of each engine to your search traffic

Three engines make up over 95% of all search traffic in the United States: Google and the Yahoo-Bing alliance. Knowing the contribution of each engine to your search traffic is critical for several reasons. Let’s discuss two.

- First off, by measuring the contribution level of each engine, you can assess performance. Should your search traffic drop someday, knowing the relative and exact contribution levels from Google and Yahoo/Bing can prove to be essential to diagnosing the problem.

- Secondly, certain SEO efforts have better results with some search engines than others. For example, better keyword inclusion has more benefit with Bing & Yahoo! while specific anchor text links from different domains has a more positive impact with Google. By evaluating the performance of each search engine towards your overall search traffic, you can uncover tactics that have strategic value.

3. Visits referred by specific search terms and keyword phrases

The keywords that send traffic to your website represent yet another piece of your analytics pie. You want to keep a tab on these on a regular basis to be able to make out new trends, streamline your performance for key search terms and identify keywords and keyword phrases bringing in the most traffic. For example, certain keywords that are only in demand at specific times of the year, month or week.

4. Conversion rate by search term

When it comes down to organizational success, few metrics matter as much as conversion. With the above data, you can do two things.

- Check your rankings for the key search terms converting the most and improve these positions in the SERPs.

- Because analytics will also indicate to you what pages visitors are landing on, you can subsequently ameliorate these for a better visitor experience.

The value of this metric, as you can see, is tracking the keywords that continually send visitors who convert.

Measuring Metrics and Finding the Right Tools for the Job

From the above section, it’s pretty clear that choosing a web analytics software is a critical process. You have to make sure you have the right tools for the job. The key consideration is that no matter which analytics software you choose, remember to test different versions of pages on your site. The aim is to make as much improvement to your conversion rate as possible using the results. Testing pages on your website can be as simple as testing two versions of a page header. It can also be as complex a process as simultaneously testing hundreds of variants of a page.

Some free tools

- Yahoo! Web Analytics. This was formerly known as Indextools

- Google Analytics

- Piwik Open Source Analysis

- AWStats

- Mondovo (Free Edition)

The paid ones

- Omniture

- Mint

- Clicktale

- Moz Pro

- Raven

- Mondovo

5 Tools to Measure and Improve your Search, Brand and Content Marketing

Google Analytics

While choosing one specific analytics tool from all the options available can be tough, Google Analytics is among the top recommendations because of it’s broad collection of tutorials and guides available over the web. Google Analytics also boasts the unique advantage of cross-integration with some other distinct and helpful Google products such as Webmaster Tools and Adwords.

Why choose Google Analytics

1. Know your audience

Your customers go everywhere and every step of the way, Google Analytics helps you thoroughly analyze and understand your visitors: where they are, who they are and how they are interacting with your pages.

Some of the available SEO tools:

Advanced Segments: Lets you segregate and analyze subsets of your traffic that led to conversions.

Audience Data & Reporting: Focuses on your audience: the kinds of people they are, how they find your content and so on.

Traffic Sources: Can be used to evaluate your referrals, direct traffic, organic search keywords and custom campaigns.

In-Page Analytics: Use it to see how users really behave on your pages.

2. Reach your business goals

If you need to assess the performance of your marketing campaigns across different digital platforms, Google Analytics can help you with insights into which campaigns are really driving visits, sales and other actions. Google Analytics is also equipped to help you send the right messages to the right people at the right moments through the use of tools like Remarketing and real-time reporting.

Some of the available SEO tools:

Data-Driven Attribution: Assigns values to marketing touch points across the customer journey.

Multi-Channel Funnels: Shows you the effects of your digital marketing activities including search, social, email and more.

Real-Time Reporting: See how many people are on your site right now, where they are based and what they are viewing.

Remarketing: Helps you narrow down on customers who have shown an interest in your products and/or services before.

3. Split-testing made easy

Google Analytics gives you insights you can turn into real results. So start testing! From marketing plans to a particular photo on your front page, Google Analytics has tools available that you can use split-test different pages and strategies.

Some of the available SEO tools:

Advertising Reports: Lets you see how well your advertising dollars are working

Content Experiments: Lets you test and compare variations of your pages to determine which designs bring you the most conversions.

Piwik

In this digital era we now live in, insights into the pulse of your website and the source of your visits is essential to driving business growth and success. Piwik is a leading and valuable open source web analytics platform giving hundreds of thousands of businesses and organizations insights into their website’s visitors, marketing campaigns and much more. Websites that use Piwik include T-Mobile, Forbes and Sharp.

Why choose Piwik

1. Web analytics

Whether your site only garners a few visits a day or over a million, Piwik can help you gather valuable information about your users by tracking KPIs such as visits, conversion rates and keywords.

2. Ecommerce Analytics

Integrating Piwik with your ecommerce software can help you analyze revenue, conversion rates, average order values and other statistics. Would it not help to see which of your products are the most popular or have the highest conversion rates. Piwik makes it possible for you to extract this information in real time through a detailed Ecommerce log.

Some of the tools:

Real time data updates: Monitor in real time the flow of visits to your website and what your visitors are doing once on your pages.

Customizable Dashboard: Lets you create a new dashboard with widget configuration fit to your needs.

All Websites Dashboard: Perfect to let you see what’s happening on every website you own at a glance

Goal conversion tracking: This tool allows you to stay on your course and see whether you are achieving your goals.

Event Tracking: Lets you measure interaction on your sites and apps.

Site Search Analytics: Tracks searches performed via your internal search engine.

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